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Monday, July 30, 2007

Anniversary Party

We reached the 40th anniversary of our wedding date on July 15, but this weekend we enjoyed a big party our children hosted to celebrate the event. I cannot believe how dense I was to all they were doing behind our backs. The thought they might have a party had crossed our minds but we agreed there are no signs of anything going on and we were happy with that. How wrong we were!
Cheryl and her family arrived about bedtime on Friday night. She wanted to go shopping on Saturday and I thought we had all day. We went to Ephrata and mosied our way home. She tells me now she about wilted when I suggested going into Dutchway's restaurant for a little lunch. She turned down all suggestions for other places to shop, so we went home. (She had things to do I didn't know about!)
I had told all our children to come for supper around 6 and was surprised to see Gene and Amy were there already. As soon as I got out of the car, everyone that was there came and surrounded me.
Gene said, "I didn't get the lettuce and tomatoes for supper tonight."
I said, "I was just at Dutchway. I could have gotten them if you had told me."
"Well, I figured we don't need them."
"Oh! So when YOU have to buy lettuce it isn't necessary." (We have this on-going joke about me being too tight to buy lettuce.)
"What time were you expecting people to come?"
"Six o'clock."
"Well, if you're here at 6 you'll be disappointed because nobody is coming."
"They're not?! They all said they can."
"No. They're not. And you're not supposed to be here either. You're supposed to be at Blue Lake at 3:30."
After all the clues I missed, the light finally came on then. It was so much more fun for them if we were surprised, but I am left wondering about my mental capabilities! Things were said and done right under my nose and I never caught on to a thing.
I was overcome when I got to Blue Lake and saw all they were doing for us. It was a full-fleged party with 170 people invited that lasted from 4-8 p.m. Of course, not everyone came, but we counted 111 in attendance. It was so much fun seeing who all showed up and visiting with everyone.
I was especially surprised to see Amos and Nora Hoover there. They gave us the "biggest" gift--a 500,000,000 German Mark note from 1923. That money was printed in September and worthless by November. A lot of people lost their fortunes in the process. Now I am wondering if I am a multi-millionaire or not. Imagine it! 500,000,000! I guess I'll frame it because I'll never have another million in my lifetime.
In spite of the note with the invitation stating "no gifts," we did get quite a few cards with cash gifts in them. It will take some thought what to get with it. I certainly am not going to spend it for groceries! We had a wonderful time and made many memories that will last a lifetime. Many thanks to everyone that came and helped make it happen!
Here are a few pictures from the party.

Meeting the guests.

The party in progress.

The bridal party, minus the best man who lives in Florida and could not attend. Notice our wedding clothes hanging on the wall behind us. Why didn't I wear the dress? Three guesses and the first two don't count!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Things That Truly Last

After supper last evening I literally "hung out" on the patio--in the hammock. I had a busy day filled with a lot of little things that added up to a full day's work. I was so tired I didn't even take a book with me. That turned out to be a good thing.
With no printed page in front of me, I was more aware of the world around me. I heard the music of the kadydids and crickets, saw the points of light courtesy of the fireflies, smelled the fragrance of drying hay in the field across the road, and felt the gentle little breezes coming through the screens. This is life at its best!
I was reminded of Rudyard Kipling's poem, Philadelphia. He talks about how different Philadelphia is today from colonial days and then winds up with this verse (emphasis mine):

If you're off to Philadelphia this morning,
And wish to prove the truth of what I say,
I pledge my word you'll find the pleasant land behind
Unaltered since Red Jacket rode that way.
Still the pine-woods scent the noon; still the catbird sings his tune;
Still autumn sets the maple-forest blazing;
Still the grapevine through the dusk flings her soul-compelling musk;
Still the fireflies in the corn make night amazing!
They are there, there, there with Earth immortal
(Citizens, I give you friendly warning).
The things that truly last when men and times have passed,
They are all in Pennsylvania this morning!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


A year or two ago the Pike church at Hinkletown put new siding on their building and installed new windows. I was fortunate enough to latch onto one of the old windows. It sat in my basement ever since while I batted around ideas what to do with it. Suddenly, inspiration struck!

I went through the things I got at Aunt Esther's sale in February and picked out an assortment of old postcards, calling cards, etc. which I mounted on a piece of poster board and then framed with the old window.

Some of the items are the calling cards of Leroy's grandpa, Amos Wenger, and his brothers, Ammon and Noah. There are postcards sent to Amos Wenger and his second wife, Lydia Good, in 1908-1914 and also some scarce postcards of the Pike Church and the center of Ephrata taken in the early 1960s. But I think the prize piece is a little valentine Grandpa Wenger got from his first wife, Amanda Shaub. The tiny card (center bottom) was in a little envelope on which she had written, "From your true love, Amanda." She died in 1933 from complications of childbirth. After that, the household things were sold and the children scattered in various homes. Not many of Amanda's things survived, so this little valentine with her own handwriting is a real treasure. And the window from their church is an appropriate frame for them.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Sore Knee

I walk about a mile and a half every day (Lord willin' and the cricks don't rise). My one knee has been grumbling for a couple weeks and was getting more insistent about it so I decided to take a week off and see if it gets better. It is still sore but not as bad as before. I don't know what ails it but I subscribe to my grandpa's philosophy---"It got this way itself, it can get better itself." It surely isn't age. :-)

A man went to his doctor complaining of a sore leg. “Doc, I’ve tried all kinds of salves and ointments, and it’s just not getting any better.” After examining him, the doctor said, “I’m sorry, but there’s nothing I can do. It’s just old age you’re feeling.”
“But, Doc,” said the man, “my other leg doesn’t hurt, and it’s the same age.”

Monday, July 16, 2007

Pool Forge Park

If you're looking for a nice spot for a picnic, try Pool Forge Park at Churchtown. It's right along Route 23. There is a sign at the end of the driveway to let you know when you have arrived. There are a couple of neat old stone houses in the park and a covered bridge. A pavilion is still under construction. There is also a playground and a stream if you like fishing. We were there Saturday evening for a birthday party. I wish it was closer!

Friday, July 13, 2007


I have been abundantly blessed this week in studying the little book of Habakkuk to teach the ladies Sunday school class on Sunday morning. The little book is basically a dialog between the prophet and God that culminates in a song of praise. It goes something like this (in my own words):

Habakkuk: God! Don't you hear me crying for help? Why don't you answer? Why don't you do something? Must I forever see all this sin around me?

God: I am doing something. You'll be so amazed when you see it you won't believe your eyes. I am raising up the Iraqis to be a world power. They will come in and scoop up captives like you scoop up a handful of sand.

Habakkuk: The Iraqis? They are worse than we are. How can allowing such a wicked nation to wipe us out be justified? Answer me that.

God: Mark this down in big, bold letters. Wicked men trust in themselves and fail; but the righteous man trusts in Me and lives. I am not blind. The Iraqis will get what they deserve in the end. Eventually everyone in the earth will realize God alone is the supreme ruler and stand silent before Him.

Habakkuk: God, You are great and powerful. I trust Your judgment. Even though I dread the terrible things that are going to happen, I will trust in You no matter what.

When I look at the setting of this book I can see parallels to our times. The nation of Israel had been taken into captivity by the Assyrians, leaving only the small nation of Judah where Jerusalem was located. Then the Assyrians were conquered by the Babylonians (Iraqis) and Judah breathed a sigh of relief that they didn't have to worry about the Assyrians anymore. They didn't know the Babylonians, who were even worse than the Assyrians, were about to become the new world power and wipe them out. That did not even seem like a possibility.

Fast forward to the 20th century.

In the 1980s Americans breathed a sigh of relief when communism crumbled from within. We no longer had to worry about Russia marching in and taking over. But how long was it before we started hearing about Osama bin Laden and seeing terrorist attacks? These attacks are growing and become more vicious. Will the terrorists manage to subdue the free world? What terrible things might we have to live through? What shall we do?

Read Habakkuk's prayer song in chapter 3. No matter what happens, we can trust in God. He is sovereign. He knows what He is doing. Although everything we have is totally destroyed, we can trust God to see us through. In the end, He will punish the wicked but "the just shall live by faith." Even if we lose our lives in a terrorist attack, we shall LIVE eternally by faith. Even in losing we win!

(Now if you're going to be in my Sunday school class on Sunday, I just spilled the beans and you know already what I am going to say.)

Monday, July 9, 2007

40 Years

On July 15 we will celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. In recognition of the occasion, we had our portrait taken and I have updated the picture on my profile with the anniversary picture. When I compare it with the picture taken on our wedding day, I can't believe both of these pictures are ME.

Leroy says, "If it's true that time flies when you're having fun, we must be having a ball." It hasn't all been fun and games. There are some spots I wouldn't give a nickel to live through again, but that doesn't mean they were all bad. Even the hard times were good for me. But there have been plenty of good times to compensate for the hard times and I have never regretted the choice I made 40 years ago.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Try This!

While sitting on a chair, lift your right foot off the floor and move it in clockwise circles.
Then raise your right hand and draw a 6 in the air.
Your foot will automatically change directions.
Try it!

(Some people must not have enough to do or else they lay awake nights figuring out things like this.)

Friday, July 6, 2007

I Hate Changes

I hate making changes, especially those related to technology. There are people who like to be on the cutting edge of new technology. They are the people who stood in line for hours (or days) to get the first iPhones last week. Not me! I'm skeptical. My philosophy is that new technologies usually have some bugs in them that need worked out. Let somebody else have those headaches and then maybe someday I'll try it.
It's not just technology. I won't tell you how old the wallpaper is in my kitchen but it goes quite a few years back into the previous century. I sleep in the same bed in which I was born. And I still have every (unchipped) piece of the china doll dishes I got for Christmas when I was six years old.
What makes me so reluctant to change? I think I found the answer.
Yesterday I finished typing a list of my ancestors, tracing 16 lines back to the immigrants or beyond. All but one of those lines are Swiss/German and all of them arrived in Pennsylvania in the 1700s. Some of them lived in the Philadelphia area for a short time, but then all of them moved inland to Lancaster County where they put it in park and stayed for generations.
I can count on the fingers of one hand those who died in another state or county. The vast majority lived not only in Lancaster County, but in one of the three Earl Townships. (Earl, East Earl, and West Earl)
My ancestors lived in Lancaster County for 250 years until my parents broke the pattern and moved to Berks County in 1967. Maybe that's why it's so hard for me to make changes. It's in my genes.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Cherry Pie Filling

I just finished canning 18 qts. of cherry pie filling. These cherries were on the tree this morning and now they are preserved for the winter.

Is it really cheaper to can your own pie filling? I'm not sure it is, but this is more about taste than cost. There is no cannery in the whole United States that can match the taste of home canned cherry pie filling. Here is the recipe for the best of the best cherry pie filling.

3 qts. sour cherries, 1 qt. water, 1 pkg. cherry Kool-Aid, 3 c. sugar

2 c. water, 1 heaping cup of clear jel, one 3-oz pkg. cherry Jell-o

Pit the cherries. Combine 1 qt. water, Kool-Aid, and sugar; bring to a boil. Dissolve clear jel in 2 cups water and add to the boiling mixture. When thick and clear, add Jell-o. Stir until Jell-o is dissolved. Pour over cherries and stir to mix. Put in jars. Cold pack 10-15 minutes.

The Kool-Aid and Jell-o add flavor and color to the cherries. If you try this recipe you'll never go back to your old one!

Monday, July 2, 2007

A Lousy Beautician

Leroy served two years of alternate (I-W) service at a hospital in Morristown, NJ from 1965-67. There was a mental hospital about five miles from there which also had a large group of I-Ws. On Saturday there was a reunion at New Holland of the guys that served at both places.
When we got there, some of the crowd were visiting on the parking lot. At first glance Leroy thought he doesn't recognize anybody. But the longer we were there the more people he knew. The name tags helped a lot!
The organizer said it for me when he said he couldn't believe how OLD everybody looked. But then, it WAS 40 years ago in May that Leroy finished his service. Like it or not, I guess we fit in with this grayed, faded glory crowd. The "cool dudes" are old bucks and the "chicks" are clucks. I think we've all mellowed and I hope grown wiser as well. Time may be a great healer but it is a lousy beautician!