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Monday, June 27, 2011

Stauffer Family Car Show

When I first learned to know Leroy in 1961 he drove a white 1953 Chevy. Check those fender skirts and wide whitewall tires!

When we started dating he drove a black 1964 Corvair which his dad bought brand new for him. I liked that cute little car.

The year before we were married he bought a brand new1966 Chevelle. That was the last brand new car he ever owned. Eventually one of our sons bought it and its back in our garage waiting to be restored.

In 1978 Leroy bought a 1967 Chevelle with about 30,000 miles on it. Another son bought this car when we were finished with it and restored it. There it is in all its glory at the head of the line at his wedding. He is very sentimental about that car because he came home from the hospital, got engaged, and took his first ride as a married man in it. Now they are expecting their first child and I'm not surprised if  he brings his newborn home from the hospital in it.

With a family of six children in 1990 we could not afford anything fancy when it was time to replace the 1967 Chevelle. So we bought a 19-year old car on a public auction. This 1971 Olds also had about 30,000 miles on it which was the selling point. It was purchased new in 1971 and driven by an old lady who went to a nursing home in 1990. She proudly told us she ordered that color and it is called "Bittersweet." This was the ugly duckling of our cars. Our children were embarrassed to be seen in an orange car and called it "the pumpkin." But it was as solid as a rock and served us well.

No one wanted the pumpkin when we replaced it in 1998 with a 1995 Pontiac which was a more acceptable dark green color. It had 47,000 miles on it and we put another 200,000 on it. We did go on some trips in it but the majority of the miles were put on just running around in little circles to school, the grocery store, church, etc. It still runs but has some aging problems that would cost more to fix than the car is worth. After 13 years, we decided it is time to turn it out to pasture and get something newer.

On Saturday Leroy took the plunge and bought a gray 2007 Buick Lucerne CX. It has 26,000 miles on it. This is an old man's car, built for comfort and a smooth ride. I think we will like it.
So there you have it. The Stauffer Family Car Show. We had four cars in the 44 years of our married life and drove them for an average of eleven years. I'm not going to tell you how old Leroy will be in eleven years from now. It's a number too fierce to mention.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Don't Miss the Boat

The theme for our Bible School this year was "Don't miss the boat" and centered on the story of Noah and the flood. The two couples in charge of Bible School did an outstanding job of keeping the children's attention and making it a memorable week. The display in the pulpit area changed each night as Noah, his wife, and three sons came to talk to us. I should have taken my camera earlier in the week but I waited until the last night and that was a mistake. On the last night the flood was over and the ark was empty. But maybe you can get a partial idea of the scene from these pictures.

It might be a little hard to see but this is a wooden barrel filled with peanuts.

If you click on the picture to enlarge it you might be able to see the marks Noah made on the upper right side of the wall to show how many days they were in the ark. The short lines represent the days he waited for the birds to come back after the waters had gone down.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Electronic Gadgets

My camera has been acting strange lately and I interpret that as a warning it is soon going to give up the ghost. Gene bought this digital camera when he lived in Oregon for a year way back in the previous century (1999). I bought the camera from him when he got married. It has served me well for five years but a camera that is more then ten years old is quite elderly (as cameras go) and not worth trying to repair.
I don't have the male hunter-gatherer instinct so I don't need a big shooter. My female nesting instinct prefers a little thing I can carry in my purse. But when it comes to replacing electronic gadgets, I am technology-challenged. I don't know how to compare the features or tell what I am getting. Gene and Daryl both bought new digital cameras in the last six months so I am going to depend on them for advice before I take the plunge. One thing I know, it will be a digital camera. After I learned how to use a digital camera I soon knew I will never go back to film. Funny how quickly luxuries can become necessities.
I never thought I needed a cell phone either but one year Leroy got a phone for me for my birthday. Yes, it does come in handy sometimes. If I can find a camera that is as senior friendly as this phone I'll be good to go!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sister's Day

We had a Sister's Day yesterday to help my oldest sister celebrate her birthday. She chose to have us help her with some work at the Juniata History Center where she is director. In two hours we boxed about eight years worth of Mennonite Weekly Review papers for storage in the archives. We could have worked on it all day and not have finished but at least we made a small dent in the pile. I had to practice some self-control and not let myself read the papers. I did make copies of the front page of two of them which caught my eye.
We went to a little restaurant for lunch and then spent the afternoon at the cabin putting the final two coats of paint on the new wall we installed on Memorial Day. Our spackling job leaves something to be desired but it is still a big improvement.
What we sisters do is not as important as just being together. There was one 30-second pause when no one said anything but then we got a second wind and were good to go again. It was a fun day!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Family Weekend

The second weekend in June is our annual family weekend. The plan is to spend a weekend at a cabin one year and do a sightseeing day trip on alternate years. There have been some years when the date had to be adjusted (like the year we were on a tour to Israel) and some years we had to go with Plan B due to weather that did not cooperate with our sightseeing trip. Where we go and what we do isn't as important to me as just spending time together as a family.
This year we went to Arthur Shirk's cabin on the Texter Mountain. It was the first time we were there and I liked it for a couple reasons. 1. It was close to home so we didn't have to drive a couple hours to get there 2. It is in a secluded part of the mountain so it felt like we were way out back somewhere 3. The cabin was big enough for all 28 of us to eat and sleep under the same roof. I was especially glad for that when the weekend was punctuated by showers and thunderstorms.
The rain politely controlled itself during the day so the children could play outside. They enjoyed the swings, sliding board, and bike trails as well as the variety of activities their imaginations produced. The adults and teenagers played some games too but I was satisfied with being a spectator to whatever was going on.
Another blessing at this cabin was the under-roof fire pit. We had planned a hot dog and mountain pie roast for Saturday supper. Dale started getting ready to build a campfire but the looks of the sky changed his mind. We transferred the firewood to the pit and the rain began just as the fire blazed up. We could go on with our supper as planned.
We went to our own church Sunday morning because it was my turn to teach the ladies class. After church we took Leroy's mother along back to the cabin for dinner and the afternoon. Here she is with our nine grandchildren and her great-grandchildren.

And here we are with our grandchildren and five bonus ones that call us Grandpa and Grandma. (Our tenth grandchild is still in hiding and will make his/her appearance at the end of the year.)

I had a great time just enjoying the privilege of having everyone together. We are so blessed to have a family that can get together, have a good time, and all go home still friends. Even the children get along very well. If there were any disagreements among them it was over so quickly I wasn't aware of it. One more weekend has been added to my grandma's treasure box of memories.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Keepsake Dresses

I just finished making my dress for Gerald's wedding. This is the last dress I'll make for a son's wedding. It is still seven weeks in the future but I hate doing things at the last minute. I would rather have the dress hanging in my closet for seven weeks than have to scramble to finish it the week of the wedding. I was told to wear pink for this wedding and bought the fabric when we were in Nicaragua in February. It's an emboridered cotton which should be comfortable for a summer wedding.
As I was hemming the dress I thought it is probably destined to someday join the other keepsake dresses in my cedar closet. I have worn out or given away many of my dresses over the years but there are some I keep for sentimental reasons. (I had no sentimental attachment to my maternity dresses and happily parted with them when Gerald was born!!) I have a couple little dresses I wore before I went to school, the one I wore for my baptism when I was ten, a rust-colored taffeta I wore when I was thirteen and fancied I was an elegant lady. Then there is a blue satin bridesmaid's dress I wore more than forty years ago, my white lace-over-taffeta wedding dress, the silver dress I wore for our 25th anniversary, the dresses I wore for our children's weddings, and the black one I wore for the funerals of my mother and our 18 year-old son (only five months apart).
One thing I've learned is that children do not leave the way they came. The six children we raised (plus one stillborn) came to us in a fifteen-year span but it is twenty years since the first one left the nest. The youngest is leaving last but the one who was third-born was the first to marry. Our only daughter married at the age of 20 but the boys waited a little longer, marrying anywhere between the ages of 23 and 29. Now we've come to the end of the line and my pink dress is ready and waiting to be worn at the last wedding. I'll wear it after the wedding for awhile but I expect it will eventually join the line up of keepsake dresses in my closet.

Monday, June 6, 2011

June in the Country

I don't know how it is where you live but to me, June is many lovely things--blue skies, warm air, roses, strawberries, the smell of drying hay.

I love the open country
Where everything seems clean;
And the wide spread of beauty
With many shades of green

I love the hills and valleys
That sleep 'most anywhere;
And the tall quiet mountains
With cloud-dust in their hair.

I love the verdant meadows
Where flowers bloom so bright;
And orchards, oh so fragrant,
With blossoms pink and white.

I love the harrowed gardens
That wait with upturned face;
And the winds softly touching
The seedlings now in place.

I love to hear birds singing
In treetops overhead;
And listen to them saying
A prayer before their bed.

I love the open country,
Now especially in June,
When symphonies are playing
And nature is in tune.
(Gertrude Rudberg)

The roses on the rail fence in front of my house have put on a dazzling display of beauty this year. (Click to enlarge)