Friday, February 09, 2001

Boss, I feel bad; I'll be recovering on the fairway

By Howard Wilkinson
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The “sick” began dialing Bill Donaldson's number at the crack of dawn. The minute Mr. Donaldson, the assistant pro at Avon Fields Golf Course, walked into the pro shop early Thursday morning, the phone began ringing.

        Golfers by the dozens woke up, had a cup of coffee, and caught the weather report - high temperature in the mid-60s, a mixture of sun and clouds, spring-like conditions.

  Today's high could reach a record 70 before the bottom falls out and winter returns tonight.
  A cold front will move in late this afternoon with rain, strong winds and severe thunderstorms occurring into the night. Temperatures will drop into the upper 20s by Saturday morning. Saturday's high will be in the low 30s.
        “Everybody got excited all at once,” Mr. Donaldson said.

        Some of them were sick - sick of work, sick of snow squalls, sick of heart-thumping heating bills, of salt-covered cars, of what forecasters call the “wintry mix.”

        Of course they weren't all “sick.” Some were retired or working a late shift, delighted to be able to take advantage of an unexpected break in winter to chase a white ball around the brown grass.

        “I don't see how I could not take advantage of this,” said Bill Smalley, a retiree from Bond Hill, as he putted around the Avon Fields putting green. “May not get another day like this for a while.”

[photo] A spring-like day Thursday brought Wendy and Peter Panagos of Hyde Park out to play with their 15-month-old son Maxwell at the shelter area at Lunken Playfield.
(Ernest Coleman photo)
| ZOOM |
        It was an entirely sensible sentiment, given the fact that the calendar still reads “February” and the official end of winter is still six weeks away.

        Still, it was a nice break.

        A day when people started drifting into the traffic circle at the Eden Park Overlook - to swing for awhile on the swing sets, roller skate or just sit on the overlook wall and look out over the muddy Ohio River.

        Robert Butler, a young engineering student at nearby Ohio College of Applied Science, was out at the Eden Park overlook in a ball cap and T-shirt at noon Thursday, a camera bag slung over his shoulder.

        He took pictures of gnarled oak trees, the rusted water fountain and the graceful curves of the river, constantly adjusting his lens speed to account for the sun popping in and out of the clouds.

        “I really wanted to get outside,” Mr. Butler said, as he set up another shot. “There's no sense in staying inside today.”

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