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Monday, April 30, 2007

Honors Convention

Yesterday afternoon we attended the Honors Convention at Alvernia College. Gerald is on the Dean's List again this year and was recognized for that achievement. Last year each student went forward to receive his/her certificate as their names were called. This year the group simply stood to be recognized and then collected the certificate after the program ended. (He's the guy wearing the blue and green striped shirt with his hands stuffed in his pockets.)

The Awards, of course, were given to seniors and/or faculty. Even though the recognition of Dean's List students was curtailed this year, we were glad we could be there and pleased with Gerald's grade average. In three more weeks he will finish his second full year and has two more to go. Am I dreaming or do I faintly hear the strains of Pomp and Circumstance?

Friday, April 27, 2007

You Know . . .

When I was about six years old I thought we lived in the middle of the world and everybody else lived around us. I remember trying to figure out how other people got to where they were going if they didn't start out from our place. Eventually, I was transplanted from Lancaster County to Berks County, but I never lived anywhere other than Eastern Pennsylvania. I don't know about you but . . .

You know you’re from Eastern Pennsylvania when...
· You hear horses clopping down a paved street and don’t need to run to the window to see what's going on outside.
· Red Beet Eggs and Shoofly Pie make your list of top ten favorite foods.
· You know cinders will be spread on the roads instead of sand when it snows.
· You think "Agnes" and when you hear 1972 and "TMI" when you hear 1979.
· You are traveling out of state and if asked where you are say "P-A" rather than saying "Pennsylvania".
· Words like: buggy, hoagie, ham balls, and spritzing actually mean something to you.
· You ask the waitress for "dippy eggs" for breakfast.
· You call Sloppy Joes "barbecue."
· You can stop along the road to buy fruits, vegetables, or crafts on the 'honor system.'
· You consider Pittsburgh to be 'out west' and you know the fastest way to Philly is the Turnpike.
· You do things "once," as in "I'll go check in the back room once."
· You end your sentence with an unnecessary preposition. Example:"Where's my coat at?"
· You have an uncontrollable urge to buy bread and milk when you hear the word "snow."
· You know several people who have hit deer more than once.
· You know several places to purchase or that serve Scrapple, Lebanon Bologna, Hot Bacon Dressing, Soft Pretzels, and Cheesesteaks.
· You know the only way to make good fastnachts is to cook them in lard.
· You know what "Cow Tipping" and "Elbedrich Hunting" are.
· You know what a "State Store" is, and your out of state friends find it incredulous that you can't purchase liquor at the mini-mart.
· You know what a Moravian star is and what to do with it.
· You know what REAL pot pie is.
· You know what's knee-high by the Fourth of July.
· You live within two miles of a plant that makes potato chips, corn chips, pretzels, candy, or ice cream, or that packages turkeys or bologna.
· You prefer Hershey's Chocolate to Godiva.
· You say the correct pronunciation LANG-kist-er (instead of Lan-CAST-er), and LEB-nin (instead of Leb-a-NON).
· You say things like, "Outen the lights," "I'm calling off today," and "They're calling for snow."
· You say you're going out to the shed "awhile," instead of "for awhile."
· You think everyone from another state has an accent.
· You think the start of deer hunting is a national holiday.
· Your idea of a traffic jam is ten cars waiting to pass a tractor on the highway.
· Your turkey has "filling," not "stuffing" or "dressing."
· You know what distelfinks and hex signs are.
· You actually understand this list.

You may live elsewhere, but if your roots are here you understand the list above as well as I. Since this is such a colorful place to live, why are you there instead of here?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Catlin Mennonite Church

A friend of mine is working to preserve an old Mennonite cemetery in Marion County, Kansas, which is all that remains of the Catlin Mennonite Church. A fund is being established which will provide for the preservation of the cemetery. If you know anyone who might be interested in this project, spread the word. Additional information can be found at:

Surnames buried in this cemetery include:
Winey, Horst, Kuhns, Good, White, Dohner, Burkholder, Shelley, Risser, Hunsberger, Snyder, Wismer, Bare, Newcomer, Shupe, Weaver, and Eberle.

The Positive Side of Life

Here are some sunny thoughts on a rainy day:

Living on Earth is expensive, but it does include a free trip around the sun every year.

How long a minute is depends on which side of the bathroom door you are.

Birthdays are good for you; the more you have, the longer you live.

Happiness comes through doors you didn't even know you left open.

Ever notice that the people who are late are often much jollier than the people who have to wait for them?

If Wal-Mart is lowering prices every day, how come nothing is free yet?

You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened.

We could learn a lot from crayons: some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, some have weird names, and all are different colors....but they all exist very nicely in the same box.

A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

Working for God doesn't pay much, but His retirement plan is out of this world.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


The garden is finally planted! Gene and Amy asked if they can have their garden with us since the deer that roam their neck of the woods are bound to come uninvited and their shale ground is not very productive. They came after supper last night and helped us plant lettuce, radishes, spinich, cabbage, onions, sugar snap and hull peas, potatoes, and even a row of corn. We'll plant more corn and other things after we get back from the trip we're planning in early May.
I don't remember if April 24 is a record for being the latest we ever planted, but it comes close. Weeks of cold weather postponed planting. We had a layer of snow on April 16, but a weekend in the 80s finally made the ground fit to plow and plant. It's a couple weeks late, but God kept His promise that as long as the earth remains there will always be seedtime and harvest. The seeds are planted and the rain that is forecast for this afternoon will get them started on their way to harvest.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Not Lost

We were at Gordon Martin's funeral this morning. He was killed in a motorcycle accident last Saturday, April 14. This has been quite a week for the Nevin Martin family. In addition to Gordon's death, his sister Heidi, who was riding with him, was flown to Hershey Med with a broken pelvis and wrist. She was able to be at the funeral, but in a wheelchair. Then on Wednesday Gordon's brother, Rodney, and his wife had a little boy. I don't know what name they were planning to give him, but his name is Gordon. Rodney's wife was there too, but also in a wheelchair. And then there was also his fiancee, Ruth Ann. I don't know if they had a date set for their wedding but they were making wedding plans.
It is 13 years since Steve's death, but I have not forgotten how it feels and well know what the Martins have to face in the coming days. We've been to some viewings for young men in the last 13 years but this was the first time we were at the funeral of one. It brought back a lot of memories. I thought they had the kind of service Gordon would have enjoyed. It was nice they paid tribute to his fiancee with a couple songs.
One of the things the minister said that I heartily agreed with was this statement. "Hang onto the Lord for dear life. That's all you have to hang on to." I just don't know how people that don't have the Lord get through these kind of things. If there were no hope beyond the grave there would be no way to cope with such a loss. But I always come back to the thought that things are only lost when we don't know where they are. When we know our loved ones are with the Lord, then they are not lost---just temporarily out of our sight. As long as they live in our hearts and memories, they are still with us.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Furniture Polish and Fresh Air

I've been housecleaning my bedroom today. Yes, I am one of those old-fashioned women who still gives the house a thorough annual cleaning. I have slipped a little, because my mother taught me to do both spring and fall housecleaning. These days, due to having only three people in the house instead of the eight (and therefore less dirt) and the fact that my back limits such streneous activity, I spread my housecleaning out over the year instead of a six-week period every spring and fall as I used to do.

As I swept and turned the mattress, I was already anticipating the pleasure tonight of hoisting myself into the high antique bed in which I was born and lying down between the air-dried sheets and quilt. (OK Smarty! I heard that snicker! The bed was already old when I was born.)

I feel sorry for the people who have never known (or forgotten) how it feels to go to bed in a room that smells of soap, window cleaner, furniture polish, and fresh air. Oh yes! I know there are many things far more important than a spotless bedroom. I certainly want to leave a greater legacy behind than a clean house and would consider myself a failure if my obituary headline could say nothing better than, "Meticulous housekeeper." Still, there is a great sense of satisfaction in going to bed in a room that smells of furniture polish and fresh air. I get to experience it only once a year. And that, to me, is the smell of spring.

Monday, April 16, 2007

False Alarm

April is acting like March. I guess we are paying for the nice, warm weather we had in January as winter tries to reclaim the time it exchanged with spring back then. The coating of snow we had this morning and fierce Nor'easter we are having today reminded me of a poem I clipped from some forgotten source years ago.

False Alarm

Now snowsuit knees begin to fray
And mitten pairs go half astray
And tots exhibit feet of clay;

Now idle sleds commence to rust
And roller skates become a must,
Returning robins readjust;

Now sunshine graces each demeanor
And muddy lawns grow daily greener,
We send our woolens to the cleaner;

In readiness the earth awaits
Spring's bonus days at bargain rates;
Poised are the poet laureates

Their vernal verses to compose
Reviewing novel rhymes for rose
In cadence clear, yet grandoise;

And then it snows.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Spaghetti Supper

We had not been to Ohio to visit Cheryl since October. We knew if we don't go in April it will not happen until June. When we found out they were having their annual fund-raising Spaghetti Supper at the school on Friday night we decided to leave early enough to take that in too. Because of the distance, we get to very few of their school functions.
We sailed out there in good time, making the trip in only five hours. Sure was different than last spring when Leroy had to stop at every other fence post because of his battle with the prostate problem.
The spaghetti supper was delicious. Cheryl and her family were slated to help from 7-8. Cheryl was in the kitchen cooking hugepots of spaghetti.

Richard and the boys helped serve at the dessert table. They ran out of pies and the rest of the people had to be satisfied with cookies. I managed to snag a piece of raspberry pie before that happened. They figured they served about 325 people. We don't make a habit of driving 5 hours for spaghetti, but it was worth the trip. Since this is a veal growing area of Ohio, the meatballs were made from veal. Leroy thought they were so more-ish he went back for a second plate.

We had a nice weekend with Cheryl and her family but it wasn't any warmer than here. Earlier, they had a longer spell of warm weather than we had here so they had to mow yard already. Her tulips are blooming too. I have not seen any around here. It is unusual for them to be ahead of us at all. We had rain all the way home this afternoon, sometimes rather heavy. It's good to be back. There's just no place like home!

Thursday, April 12, 2007


After about a year of reading my brother's blog and weighing the pros and cons of having a blog, I decided to try it. I am not the globe-trotting missionary he is, so I will not have as many exciting things to report. But I do love to write. So I'll make a start and we'll see what develops. The picture will confirm to those who know me that "It is I." Those who stumble upon this by accident can look at the picture and wonder.