It has been a week filled with sadness in the Miami Valley and all of Ohio.
Mike got the call in the early hours of Sunday morning that there had been a mass shooting in Dayton. By sunrise most of the facts were clear. Nine victims had died and many more were injured. After conversations with Mayor Nan Whaley, we headed to Dayton to meet with her and the police.
There, we visited the scene and traced the steps of the killer. A taco cart still filled with taco shells and fillings and condiments stood by the entrance to the alley where he had entered the street. Crime scene tape still remained. The most startling were the markings on the pavement where the shooter himself went down — just inches in front of the door — where he would have entered if it weren’t for Dayton’s incredibly brave and well-trained police.
We returned to Dayton Sunday night for the candlelight vigil. The entire street was packed with mourners as far as the eye could see. Ten white doves were released — one for all of the survivors, then nine for the victims. They soared over the crowd, and a couple even returned later in the evening. There were beautiful prayers, beautiful music, and words from Mayor Whaley, police officers, Mike and other elected officials. Candles were lit just as the sun was going down.
On Tuesday, Mike announced a series of proposals to reduce gun violence and increase mental health treatment and prevention. Then on Wednesday, President Trump and First Lady Melania came to Dayton. We were among those who greeted Air Force One, and we rode with them to Miami Valley Hospital to visit the injured and their families. President Trump went into each room and talked to the patients. The first patient was a young woman. A bullet had entered her brain and exited. But her friend, who had been with her, told the president, “When I heard her voice it was like an angel singing.” The nurses said she is their miracle.
Another victim was a former Marine. He and his brother had been in the district and they both had been hit. The brother who had already been released sat beside him. The president told him he was strong and brave and presented a presidential coin to him. The first lady, dressed so beautifully in a long navy sleeveless dress, talked softly and sweetly to each of the patients and told them how our whole country is praying for them.
As the president walked around the hospital, a mother emerged from her son’s room to ask him to come visit her son who was badly injured in a motorcycle accident, which he graciously did. Hospital employees were delighted to see the president and first lady — everyone wanted selfies with them.
We then accompanied the president and first lady to a large room where first responders, firemen, doctors and nurses and released patients had gathered. The president told the policemen how amazing their quick action was. They said they had great training. But the president said it’s also about bravery and courage and guts, and that he was so very proud of them for that.
The president and first lady also talked to the doctors and nurses and thanked them all for their great service in treating the injured so quickly and expertly. Then they talked to the survivors who had already been released. He listened to their stories on how they had shielded their friends and saved their lives.
We returned to Dayton on Thursday for a press conference at Dayton Children’s Hospital. Mike talked about his initiatives to help children with mental health needs, and how to help communities support these children. Then we joined Mayor Whaley back in the Oregon District for lunch at Lily’s Bistro. Mike and I believe Mayor Whaley has shown great leadership throughout this crisis.
It was incredible to see so many people in the district, there to give support to Dayton.
Lily’s has fresh, fun seasonal food, using as much regional food as they can. They have a different deviled egg on the menu each day. We tried the orange cardamom egg, which was beautiful and delicious. I also had a lovely fresh tomato salad. Being there really made me think of growing up and going to downtown Dayton when I was young. I loved to go to Rike’s for a little back to school shopping. And I especially remember eating on the fifth floor, which was such a treat. Mike’s grandmother, Alice DeWine, also loved shopping there and going there for lunch. I remember she especially loved their celery seed dressing, and would buy some to bring home. I found an old recipe that is supposed to be the Rike’s recipe for celery seed dressing. I thought it would be great this time of year to drizzle over fresh fruit or fresh tomatoes.
I also looked through my wonderful 1979 Discover Dayton Cookbook, published by the Junior League. Some recipes in it were from celebrities that appeared in their Town Hall Series. I was especially intrigued by Celeste Holm’s recipe for zucchini soup. It just seems like the perfect recipe to try right now when my garden is full of zucchini.
As we continue to think about and pray for Dayton, it seems like a good time to make these recipes and share them with you.
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Rike’s Celery Seed Dressing
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 onion, grated
1/3 cup vinegar
1 cup salad oil
1 tablespoon celery seed
Put dry ingredients in a small bowl and mix. Add a small amount of vinegar and then add oil gradually. Put in jar with a lid and put in fridge. Shake and pour on salad.
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5 or 6 zucchini, cut into small pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
Seasoning salt to taste, 1 teaspoon or more
Chives to garnish
In a large soup kettle, simmer the first four ingredients until the zucchini is tender. Put in a blender or a food processor and puree. Add cream, milk, and salt. Chill thoroughly and correct seasoning. Garnish with chives. Yields 6 to 8 servings.
First Lady Fran DeWine is a Cedarville resident, Yellow Springs native and guest columnist.