Tag Archives: # UrbanMeyer


On Friday I had the pleasure of dining with Mr. Herman Mehling, with members of his family and mine, at the St. Augustine restaurant The Ice Plant.   Unbeknownst to me, it was his 94th birthday.  I have never shared a birthday with a 94 year old before so this was quite special.  I had been wanting to meet him for a long time.

Herman, a.k.a. “The Jesus Man” is the father-in-law of my former Nordstrom Menswear salesman Bruce from Columbus, Ohio.  How, you ask, are you having lunch with your former Nordstrom salesman, his wife, and her father?  That is a story for another day.    Before our “tribulations” he and his wife Judi stayed at our Florida cottage when they visited Herman on several occasions.   During the last few years of my crazy life, Bruce called to check in every few months, even after he left Nordstrom.   Sometimes I could not return his calls as I was in the throes of a crisis; no matter, he did not stop trying.  Now that I am living in the Florida cottage with four animals and a teenager, hosting Bruce and Judi was not an option, so lunch it was.

A few years ago, as a gift for sharing our home, Bruce and Judi gave me one of Herman’s Jesus signs.  This is what the sign looks like up close:




This is what the sign looks like from a distance:




Bruce and Judi, who also visited with my parents and in-laws, also gave each family one of these signs.  It was this sign that greeted me at the dermatologist’s office on Valentine’s Day, the one month anniversary of my mother’s passing.   When my mother died, my youngest sister, MCV asked how she could get her hands on one of those signs.  My parents’ sign sits on a roll top desk by the front door, monitoring the comings and goings of all.  I called Bruce and he personally delivered two (one for each sister) to my snowy back porch in Ohio.  (Polly Positive whisked them inside and I eventually mailed them on).

Back to Herman.  You can watch an interview of him here.

As mentioned in the interview, Herman had several careers:  Police officer in the Bronx, firefighter, sheet metal machinist.  As a police officer, Herman delivered two babies.  It is evident that Herman is good with his hands.  At age 92, Herman developed “the tremors” in his right hand.  This has not stopped him from producing four signs a day, the production of which is a story in itself.

Today, since it is Memorial Day, we honor the part of Herman’s life path that was a sheet metal repairman in the U.S. Navy during World War Two in the Pacific Theater.  Assigned to a repair ship, he and his fellow sailors stayed behind the lines and repaired ships damaged in battle, preparing them to go back in.   One day, as Herman was on the deck of his ship, the small ship next to him exploded, killing all fifty US sailors aboard.  The Navy does not know what caused the explosion:  A mini Japanese submarine, an internal situation, who knows?  A mystery in the line of combat.  Herman did not die in combat but he watched others who did and it those young men on that ship that we honor today.

Bruce, Judi, and Herman brought me two more Jesus signs on Friday.  One is sitting in our  Florida cottage – our original one is either in Arkansas or in storage in Ohio.  The other is being sent to a former policeman in Washington who is suffering from cancer.   I had the temerity to ask for more and they gave me three more from the stash in the trunk of their car.   Even Urban Meyer has one in his home.  I had not yet seen the interview wherein Herman states he would like his children to pass them out to those who attend his funeral.  If that is the case, Herman cannot stop making Jesus signs for a long time.  It will be a big party.  His 95th is already inked in on my calendar.  If you NEED one of Herman’s signs, I will inquire however, as to their availability.  They are not for sale – they are freely given.

In closing, I leave you with the words from verse 2 of hymn 719 in the Book of Common Prayer.  Written by Katherine Lee Bates, O Beautiful for Spacious Skies, the music is set to Materna by Samuel Augustus Ward:

“O beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife

who more than self their country loved, and mercy more than life!

America! America! God mend thine every flaw,

confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law!”


So today, fly your flag in honor of the fallen, cherish your liberty, enjoy a meal with your family, friend, or stranger, and give thanks that although flawed, America is still beautiful thanks to those who gave their lives for us.








Filed under Family, Fine Dining, Folkart, Friends, Holidays, Life, People, Religion

Is Jesus Bigger Than Football?

One of the more fascinating (?) aspects of living in Ohio is the Cult of Football. After years of living abroad, football is futball to me. I got over it. There were neither Saturday college matches to watch or attend nor Monday Night Football. One adapts and moves on. The San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers were replaced by  Manchester United and Real Madrid. Culturally, this was a loss, but not a huge one.

While I was gone taxpayers funded bigger and better football stadiums, salaries, and scholarships.

I will be the first to admit I was confused, my first football season in Columbus, by the sea of the Scarlet and Gray on Fridays. Searching for olive oil in Costco, marooned, colorless, in the aisle with both an Amish and a Muslim couple, we stood out like sore thumbs. There were Buckeye necklaces, fat knobby nuts strung on satin ribbon, festooning the flat-chested and big boobed alike, women universally attired in bulky sweatshirts; football jerseys clung to men searching for steak like armor, stocking their carts with beer, Cheetos, and the laundry detergent their wives asked them to get.

I would think to myself, “What is going on here? Isn’t the game tomorrow?” Somebody actually had to explain this tradition to me – the psychological pumping of the crowd on Fridays, creating a ripple effect of enthusiasm rolling into game time on Saturday, otherwise known as school spirit. You don’t have to actually attended The Ohio State University to be a FAN. In my naivete, I thought this reserved for the alumni. Why root for a school if you didn’t go there?*

So, when one of my alma maters, the Oregon Ducks, went to the National Championship Football game, I naturally had to root for them. My history with Duck Football is a fraction as storied as Raftbuddy’s so I will let her opine on that entire subject. Mine is infinitessimal. Raftbuddy’s father was a “football figure”, shall we say, and she was a Duck cheerleader. While in law school she was also the president of the U of O Student Body Association. She could also be a member of Mensa but I forget – her list of accomplishments is loooooong.

I was deep in enemy territory on Monday night. If you watched the game, you know what happened. No need to rehash here. Suffice it to say, the Ducks were paddled. Several “friends” have not forgotten to send their condolences for the Duck loss/Buckeye win. Several friends have wisely refrained from making contact (Bea Long and Mrs. Victoria Sekret). During the game, Flaky Friend and I texted throughout the game our anxiety. Raftbuddy and I texted our mutual admiration of Mark Helfrich. The Oregon cheerleaders were much sexier than the Buckeye Gals. I was happy for Buckeye #43 as he coached Thing 3 in powderpuff football her freshman year – Darren Lee is a wonderful person and an outstanding player. But for the life of me, I could not understand why Shelley Meyer was crying as she swamped Ezekiel Elliott in a hug aftewards.** Two reasons occurred to me the next morning: a) her husband was perhaps not such a peach to live with this QB injury plagued season and b) they got a bonus ($250K!).

So what does this have to do with Jesus, after all? Civility, that’s what. In educated America, we are politically correct in almost every aspect of our life, fearful of offending other people, tiptoeing around hot button topics, keeping our neighbors at arms’ length lest we express a contrary opinion and ruin the relationship altogether. We will not say radical Islam. We dance around race. But when it comes to football in America, all Jesus bets are OFF.    We let our true colors show, in all their gory glory. Sadly, I am not immune. I am (slightly) ashamed to say I was just the teeniest bit elated when my a fellow church congregant, a huge Roll Tide fan, was humiliated by the recent Buckeye victory over ‘Bama (said congregant attends every game, both home and away). He puts more in the plate than I do, I am sure, so again, am letting that pass. Shelley lives on the other side of town and it is safe to say our paths will never cross – I wish her all the best.  Je suis Charlie.  Tout est pardonne.

In conclusion, a few notes for the Ducks: keep your heads above water, get along swimmingly with your fan base, and wear Green and Yellow every Friday on your Costco run. Start a tradition. Recruit other Oregonians to the cause. A Duck, after all, is bigger, better, and more attractive than a damn Nut.


*As an aside, Coach Urban Meyer went to University of Cincinnati and Duck coach Mark Helfrich went to Southern Oregon University. (If you are employed by the school, you get a pass.)

**Let it be stated: I am a crier. Having said that, I could never, not in a million years, imagine Raftbuddy’s mother doing the same thing. I look forward to being corrected if such is the case.


Filed under Life