Kate and I spent Saturday and part of Sunday in Cincinnati, where we stayed in a Catholic convent that had been converted to a B&B/retreat center, visited the sobering Underground Railroad Museum, ate some fantastic Mexican food at Nada, saw a goofy movie in Newport, Kentucky, and got to hang out with the Vineyard Central folks in a beautiful, abandoned Catholic church.
It was all quite wonderful, but the best part of the weekend, for me, were the unexpected connections with the Cincinnati Reds, my childhood love, and a team I later abandoned because they suck. Saturday night at Nada we sat next to Paul O'Neill and family, a great outfielder in his day (late '80s through the late '90s), a member of the Reds Hall of Fame, and later a member of the hated New York Yankees. A guy's got to earn a living, I suppose. Sunday morning we met Russ Nixon, father of Vineyard Central pastor Dave Nixon. I didn't make the connection immediately, but it nagged me all day, so a bit of Googling revealed what I thought I remembered. Russ Nixon was a former major league catcher, and was later the manager of the Cincinnati Reds. He and his wife showed up at his kid's worship service.
These things tend to come in threes, so I was anticipating the prospect of meeting Pete Rose at the gas station or supermarket. It didn't happen. But two out of three isn't bad (it'll get you to the World Series every year), and it was a fun sidelight to a fun weekend.