I had an article printed in this past Monday's newspaper about the importance of volunteering in the community. You can read it here.
The online version of the paper is read by people all over the country who like to keep tabs on their home town, and yesterday I got an email from one of those people who now lives in California. Actually, I'm not sure where the man is from, but he has a 92-year-old father-in-law who has moved to California after living here for 87 years, and the man longs for something from home. The elderly man has a hankering for buckeyes, a local nut.
People in Ohio call themselves Buckeyes, like people from Indiana are Hoosiers. I'm not sure what a hoosier is, but this is what a buckeye looks like:
You can find them on ground around the buckeye trees they fall from. There is also a candy version made with peanut butter coated with chocolate that is pretty popular, but the guy wants the real thing. He lives in an assisted living situation, and he likes to pass out these nuts as a way to strike up a conversation with strangers and tell them about his home town. Last year he gave out over 100 of them.
When my father was elderly, before Alzheimer's took over, he used to use the smallest thing to strike up a conversation or crack a joke. He got the biggest laugh, even if it was his own, when he would be finished with a piece of chewing gum and say, "Know why I threw that out? Because I done chewed the hell out of it." Bah ha ha. When I picture this elderly man from Ohio reaching into his pocket for a buckeye and offering it to someone so he can tell them about the home he misses so much, I remember my father and those corny jokes and one-liners, and I can't help but do what I can to give this man the prop he needs to make friends.
When I wrote about volunteering, scrounging around looking for nuts on the ground wasn't what I had in mind, but I can't see saying "no" to this request that I gather a pile and ship them out west. So, now I have to go buckeye hunting.