Sweet Corn and Sweethearts

This was a week for sweet corn and sweethearts.  I’m sure that doesn’t make much sense to you but hopefully by the end of this story, you will understand.

Every year Fairborn has a sweet corn festival.  This year we celebrated 30 years.  It is sponsored by the Fairborn Art Association and the Fairborn Lion’s Club.  It is held atCommunityParkand this family-oriented event features handmade arts and craft booths.  They display and sell a variety of items like jewelry, oil and watercolor paintings, candles, and wood crafts.  There were activities to entertain the young ones such as train rides, pony rides, a big bounce house, face painting and balloons.


Then there are the food vendors.  Of course they have the festival favorites of pork chop sandwiches,Texastenderloins, walking tacos sausages, watermelon and funnel cakes.  But the focus of the festival is the sweet corn.  Brentlinger’s Farms supplies the corn and it is steamed in an antique steamer whose whistle sounds every hour on the hour.


Each year they also hold a sweet corn eating contest between the City ofFairbornand Wright Patterson Air Force Base.  For the past several years, the City has taken the trophy and I wanted to help them take it again this year.  I have participated in this macho ritual almost every year, and with this being my last year as a councilman, I was bound and determined to be there.


Our team this year consisted of me, Stuart Snow, a fellow councilperson, Randy Hoskins, Mitch Boedicker and Mark Jamison.  The first leg of the race required each member of our team to square off against a member of WPAFB.  Whoever ate their corn first, won a point for their team.   We were not able to hold our own corn; there was a corn holder for that task.  Judge Beth Root has been doing a wonderful job of that for years.

I know the team was concerned about my ability to participate due to MSA destroying the muscles that control my swallowing.  I have to admit I was also concerned, but I planned to bite the corn off the cob, and hold it in my cheeks until I was done so I could swallow it more slowly.   We decided to start off with me and follow with the order of the team as I listed them above, with Mitch and Mark being our anchors.


With a brief explanation of the rules, the contest started.  Beth held the corn up to my mouth and I bit in with everything I had.  OWWWWW!  The corn had just been brought over from the steamer and it was HOT!!!!  I tried to not concentrate on the heat, and just eat as fast as I could.  The kernels were bouncing around inside my mouth and I could feel the pain on the inside of my cheeks.  I closed my eyes and kept chomping on that cob and all of a sudden Beth was holding my naked cob in the air.  I had won my heat!  Each team member followed, and we won the rounds 3 to 1 with one tie.  The second part involved the two fastest eaters from each team going head to head.  Of course we would have Mitch and Mark do this for us.  Not only are they outstanding employees, they are mean corn eating machines!  They, in no time flat, had won their round and we prepared for the third round.  This round was a team speed round.  Once again it would start with me, and end with Mark.  My mouth was on fire, so this time I didn’t eat quite so fast, but my opponent and I finished at about the same time.  We lost some ground on the next two contestants, but Mitch worked to catch us up, and when it was Mark’s turn, well let me just say, there was nothing but pieces of cob left when he was done and once again, the City reigned as champion corn eaters!

We each received a certificate of participation and a coupon for a walking taco, and with the pride of knowing we hold on to the trophy for another year.  As we were heading back to our car, I asked Susan to take a look at my lip.  It felt like I might have had a blister.  Susan stopped to look at my mouth, and said I didn’t have a blister, I had raw areas.  The corn had burnt the skin off my lower lip.  It was really starting to hurt.  I went home, applied some Neosporin and ice, and basked in the pride in knowing I didn’t let my guys down.


If you remember last week, I met some new wonderful friends.  I received an email from Ray Olfky, one of those new friends asking if I would be interested in attending the 5K Run/Walk for Health at Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark on Saturday.  He also asked if I would be the official starter and afterward the run, if I would be able to mingle with people, share my health stories, and “brighten people as you did for us the other night.”  Of course, I was honored to accept his invitation, so today, bright and early, Susan, Angelina and I headed down to the MetroPark.

I have never been to WegerzynGardens, but they are beautiful!  Endless flowering plants and even a huge, walk through sculpture make from tree saplings.  Once there, I found out that this was sponsored by the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority – Beta Eta Omega Chapter.  These Sweethearts hold this event annually.  I believe this was their 6th year.  Runners pay a registration fee and 100% of the money they raise is donated to a health organization.  The following is posted on their website:


We have continuously been supportive and generous as a substantial contributor

to many organizations such as: Mary Scott Nursing Center, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Dayton Urban League, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Hospice of Dayton, Dixon Wellness and Worship Center formerly West Community YMCA, and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Educational Advancement Fund. Beta Eta Omega has continued to accept the challenges of our national program goals through the implementation of several projects.


In addition to the traditional/annual programs, Beta Eta Omega responds to the immediate and emergency needs of the community. In response to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the chapter contributed to the AKA national Hurricane Katrina relief donation. We also adopted a family that was relocated to this area. Our family received books, furniture, clothes, toiletries, and more along with a financial contribution in the excess of $3500.


I met their president, Rosalind “Roz” R. Harper and also found that in addition to this event, this year alone, they have also participated in a Walk for MS, a Fight for Air Climb for the American Lung Association, and put up two walls in a home at Habitat for Humanity.

5k Run/Walk Participants - Fairborn, Ohio


Today’s event was very well attended with runners whose ages ranged from 4 to 81 years old.  It was an honor to be their starter and to also be there as they crossed the finish line.  After the run was completed, I spoke to the participants to give them information on Multiple System Atrophy and how it has changed my life.  I hope I was able to give them some inspiration that they can pass on to others they meet as they support and encourage those with medical issues that just because you are handed a death sentence, doesn’t mean it’s time to lay down and order the lilies.


These women are so wonderful to be involved in so many activities that support those less fortunate or those suffering with chronic health issues.  I give them the Sweetheart award for all they do.


At this 5k Run/Walk today, I also met three very unique individuals.  These three runners actually run these events barefoot.  That’s right, barefoot.  Over all types of terrain and in all temperatures.  Personally I am a tenderfoot and barely walk barefoot on tile floors.  They shared their story on the health benefit of not wearing shoes, (Susan is a big fan now), and how it helps build the fat padding, muscles, ligaments and bones of the feet.  They had a very good example of this fact.  They said if you broke your arm and it was in a cast, once the cast is removed, your arm is smaller.  They say wearing shoes is the same as a cast.  It does not allow for your feet to do as they were intended.  So hats off to a man that identifies himself as Dayton Barefoot Runner, Brian Criswell, (a Fairborn native) and Trissa, who doesn’t look as old as she kept saying she is!


I am still on my mission to raise awareness for MSA and we are planning a fundraising event for Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at Texas Roadhouse inFairborn.  Texas Roadhouse will donate 10% of the check total of those who have the MSA flyer that night to Greene Giving – Hope for MSA.   Tuesday nights are also Kid’s Night at Texas Roadhouse with Andy Armadillo and the Balloon Man making wonderful hats and surprises.  Watch this site or my Facebook account for flyers.


Until next week….Please pray for those on the East Coast that are currently suffering the wrath of Hurricane Irene.  Ohio Task Force One has been dispatched to the coast with convoy of 14 vehicles, 80 rescuers, 4 K9′s and over 80 tons of high tech rescue equipment.  They are positioned at McGuire AFB inNew Jerseyriding out the storm and will begin the rescue mission once the storm has passed.

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6 Responses to Sweet Corn and Sweethearts

  1. Stacy on August 28, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Frank…you do us all proud!! and so true about Wegerzyn it is a lovely place…and the childrens garden…is amazing!

  2. Frank Gilbert on August 28, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    You are a true inspiration for what one can do DESPITE what is happening to you. I look and you and wonder “what the heck do I have a right to cry about”. Thank you for being so strong and helping me be strong in turn. You and your family are always in our thoughts and prayers.

  3. Bob Summers on August 28, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    I love it! You just keep on keeping on! All this will only help to make something big happen. Most important is you are enjoying yourself, and encouraging other by just being you. I’ve heard it said people want to see authenticity,not a copy. Well sounds like those around you are getting to see the real deal! You are a “Difference Maker!”
    Philippians 2:4 God Bless!

  4. Mona Law on August 29, 2011 at 4:25 am

    Frank you have more energy than I have! You are a true inspiration to all those with disabilitiies, and to the rest of us that are or have taken care of their loved ones! Good Luck and keep doing what your doing to bring awareness!

  5. Paul on August 29, 2011 at 4:53 am

    Go get them Frank. Way to go. You continue to amaze me with your accomplishments.

  6. Bob & Kay Strank on August 29, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    Frank, as usual you keep on inspiring us with your wisdom and courage. God bless you Susan and your family

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