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Friday, December 29, 2017


This is the time of year when we stand at the crossroads and look both ways, backward and forward. What did we do with our time in the past year? How did we fail or succeed? What are the projections for the next year?
What did we do in 2017?
  • Had family sale in January for Leroy's mom
  • I started on an assignment to write a book on the history of the John F Martin company
  • I spoke at 18 Mennonite schools in February and March
  • Had public sale for Leroy's mom in April
  • Caught our breath in May
  • We celebrated our 50th anniversary in July and were honored with a party in August
  • My book, Loyalty Test, finally appeared on the market the beginning of August
  • I was the main speaker on a Burkholder tour arranged by the historical society in September
  • I started a new writing project in October and the John F Martin book was released
  • We went to see The Ark in Kentucky and Flight 93 Memorial in November and I finished crocheting an afghan
  • I reached "threescore years and ten" in December
What are the plans for 2018?
  • Get great-grandparent degree in January
  • Go to Sarasota in March (haven't been there since 1972)
  • Finish current writing project
  • Scrapbook 2017 pictures
     Tentative plans
  • have a quilting
  • crochet an afghan
  • retire from Shank Door (???)
And of course there's all the daily routines to fill the days and goals in other areas. There's the perennial need to lose weight, grow grace and knowledge of the Lord, and keep learning new things. There is no end mark for some of those  things. I'll turn my face toward 2018 and keep plugging away as long as I live.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Icing On The Cake

I had a great 70th birthday. Gifts, cards, phone calls, and the works. Leroy brought me a dozen roses. I thought he was up to something when I saw him get some money out of my wallet but I knew enough not to ask questions on my birthday. If it sounds crooked that he took money from my wallet to buy them, remember he's the one who earned the money so it was his to start with.

We went out to eat for supper, using a gift card we got for our anniversary this summer. Since I didn't have to cook, I had the whole day to entertain myself however I wished. So I had fun writing a story.
The icing on the cake was an email from a fellow Burkholder researcher. We can now go back one more generation in our Burkholder ancestors. 
The earliest Burkholder to which we could document our line was Joseph Burkhalter who was born in the 1620s and married Elizabeth Widmer. They lived at Ruderwil in Switzerland. Now the church records from Trachelswald show that Joseph was born June 6, 1623, to Jost and Cathrin (Fueni) Burkhalter. They were married in 1612 and lived on a farm named Haslematt (or Heslimatt) within sight of the famous Trachelswald castle. Many Mennonite tourists visit this castle because Anabaptists were imprisoned there. We were in the castle and looked out over the countryside but did not know we had an ancestral home on the next hill. 
Haslematt is the house/barn in the foreground and the castle is in the background. It's only a few miles from here to Ruderswil where three generations of our Burkholders lived before the fourth generation emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1754.

Now that we know Joseph's parents were Jost and Cathrin, the next question, of course, is, "Who were their parents?" Since Jost and Cathrin were married in 1612, they had to be born in the 1500s. Genealogy research is never finished but I am delighted that we can go back one more generation. What a birthday present!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Numbers Roll

I have one more day left in my sixties and then Thursday the numbers roll to the big 7-0. Yikes! That sounds like a number for my mom or grandma, not me!
One of my friends who went on one year ahead of me and knows the ropes gave me this poem in a card.

Poem for Seniors

A row of bottles on my shelf
caused me to analyze myself.
One yellow pill I have to pop
goes to my heart so it won't stop.
A little white one that I take
goes to my hands so they won't shake.
The blue one that I use a lot
tells me I'm happy when I'm not.
The purple pill goes to my brain
and tells me that I have no pain.
The capsule tells me not to wheeze
or cough or choke or even sneeze.
The red one, smallest of them all,
goes to my blood so I won't fall.
The orange one, very big and bright
prevents my leg cramps in the night.
Such an array of brilliant pills
helping to cure  kinds of ills.
But what I'd really like to know
is what tells each one where to go.

I can laugh at that one because I don't have all those ills or take so many pills. But I can identify more with the second one she gave me.

On Growing Older
Everything is farther away than it used to be. It is twice as far to the corner and they have added a hill, I noticed. I have given up running for the bus; it leaves faster than it used to. And it seems to me, they are making stairs steeper than in the olden days.
Have you noticed the smaller print they are using in the newspapers? And there is no sense in asking people to read aloud; everyone speaks in such a low voice I can hardly hear them.
It is almost impossible to reach my shoe laces. Even people are changing. They are much younger than they used to be when I was their age. On the other hand, people my age are so much older than I am.
I ran into an old classmate the other day, and she had aged so much I didn't even recognize her. I got to thinking about the poor thing while I was combing my hair this morning, and in doing so I glanced at my reflection. You know, they don't even make mirrors like they used to!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Memories are Keepsakes

It must have been at least two years ago when Daryl and Velma said they want to give me a weekend at a cabin for my 70th birthday. I was supposed to think who I would want to invite and give them plenty of notice so they don't plan anything else for the first weekend in December. So I started thinking who I would invite to fill the seven bedrooms in the cabin. 
Of course, I can't do anything like that without my sisters so that was a given. Who else? My three friends from our teen years. We four girls hung out together every weekend and did all kinds of crazy stuff together until we got married. I am the last of the four to turn 70 this year. I told them way back in February this year to reserve the first weekend in December for my birthday party. There was still some room so I invited the sister-in-law who is closest to my age. That was a winning combination!
We went to the cabin Friday evening and people started trickling in about 6. I only had to pack our clothes and bedding because Daryl and Velma brought all the food and did the cooking and dish washing all weekend. We had the whole weekend to visit with our friends. We talked, ate, played games, put puzzles together, etc. What a party! Velma loves to cook and we were very well fed.

This picture has too much glare but it's the only one I have of us putting puzzle together.

This was our "gang" of four girls and still going strong more than fifty years later. Some friends come and go in our lives but we have stuck together through it all. We're all a couple months apart and lined up by age. Dolores was the first to turn 70 this year, then Anna Mary, Laverne, and me. You can see I'm both last and least.

We scattered to attend various nearby churches Sunday morning and then came back to the cabin for lunch. During the week before, two couples said they would go home Saturday night so Velma said I can invite four more for Sunday lunch. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to have company without having to cook! I had a little trouble finding people on short notice but three more came, another old friend from teen years and a cousin and her husband. Sunday was the official birthday dinner complete with a cake. Velma avoided a starting a forest fire by putting only 6 candles on the cake.

These are the ladies who were there on Sunday. 
Lidyan (cousin) Betty Ann and Carol (sisters), me, Millie, Anna Mary, Laverne
We sisters dressed alike on Sunday. Carol got the fabric in Mexico this summer. 

We looked forward to this weekend for a long time. We had a lot of fun reminiscing about the good old days and catching up with each other's lives. All too soon, the weekend was over and passed into the memory category. Weekends only last a short time but memories are keepsakes forever.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving

This is not original with me. I found it online and am passing it on because it is so true. 

Unlikely Things for Which to be Thankful

Before you slice into the turkey and pass the cranberry sauce, it’s fitting to ponder the goodness of God and give thanks.
The very basic of manners, saying thank you sets us apart as grateful people. As Christians, when we thank God, instead of . . . what do non-believers thank? . . . fate? luck? chance? . . . , we rightfully acknowledge the source of our blessings. James 1:17 reminds us,
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
Today, in the spirit of grateful thanksgiving, I’d like to give thanks for some unlikely blessings:

1. A sink full of dirty dishes, because it means we’re eating well.
2. Long hours at work, because it means we have gainful employment.
3. The electric bill, because it means we have central heat to keep us warm on cold nights.
4. Many years of memories from large family dinners, because I have been blessed to have known good times with parents - grandparents & even great-grandparents.
5. Our sagging bookshelves, because it means we have enough reading material for a lifetime – and the ability to read it.
6. The dust that relentlessly appears on every piece of furniture in my home, because it means I have furniture.
7. The gas prices that keep changing, because I have a car to take me places & enough money to go.
8. The mess in my house, because it means I have people who like to spend time with me.
9. The changing seasons, because God keeps His promices.
10. The laundry basket full of dirty clothes, because it means I own more than one outfit.
11. My cluttered pantry, because it means I have so much food in my house I need a closet in which to store it.
12. The sad stories I hear on Facebook, because it means I’m connecting with friends & can pray for answers in their lives.
13. The husband who wakes me up in the middle of the night when he hears a strange sound, because it means I have a spouse who loves & protects me & our property & he has slept beside me for many years.
14. A bathtub and three sinks that need cleaning, because it means I have indoor plumbing.
15. Too many family members to fit around the Thanksgiving table, because it means our family likes to gather for family times.
16. The phone that never holds a charge long enough, because it means I have family & friends to talk to me.
17. The junk mail in my mailbox, because it means I have the ability to send letters to anyone in the country in a timely, reliable manner.
18. The hard times that I have made it through, because they have strengthened my faith in the God who has promised to be with me always.
19. The long list of people who have asked me to pray for them, because it means I can help lift their burdens.
20. The head full of details that need to be attended to, because it means I’m still in my right mind and can properly process information.
21. The sore muscles from exercise, because it means I have the ability to walk (and even run).
As you prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, why not take a few moments to make your own unlikely thankful list? It could turn your perspective upside down.

This year, thank God for something you usually take for granted. And have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Road Trip

We went to Ohio this spring for a graduation and cabin weekend. Other than that, we didn't get far beyond the Lancaster-Lebanon-Berks county circuit. One of the things on our wish list was to go see The Ark in Kentucky. When we are at our daughter's place we are two-thirds of the way there so Leroy said we'll go to the Ark the next time we go out to Cheryl. We usually go around her birthday in October but this year we waited until November because one of her children was being baptized. That way we could roll everything into one trip.
We left Saturday morning and got there around 2 pm. In the evening they took us to Cambridge to see the Christmas light show. The streets are lined with Victorian scenes and the courthouse is covered with an elaborate lighting display which is synchronized with the Christmas music. 

We were too tight to pay for a ride on one of the horse drawn carriages so we just walked through part of town until our toes were frozen and then called it quits.
Sunday was a quiet day of rest and worship. Jeremy was baptized in the morning service. They had communion in the evening but we stayed at their house.
We left at 7 Monday morning and headed for Kentucky. We used our car but Richard did the driving. He goes to Cincinnati often on the truck and knew the way. It was nice to sit in the back seat and not have to be bothered with driving. 
We got into the Ark at noon and spent four hours walking through all three floors. It was off season so we didn't have to battle with crowds.

The Ark is the size stated in Genesis but the inside is the product of imagination how it COULD have been. There are some animal cages, workshops, and living quarters for Noah's family. Notice the outline of a cross on the door. 

Most of the animals were models but the ones below are real--and watched very carefully.

Each couple has their own living space in the upper floor.

Noah's wife watches him catch a dove.

There are also many other displays on the flood, creation, science, and the Bible throughout the ark. A special feature was display of things on loan from the new Museum of the Bible in Washington DC. This is a Torah.

The oldest piece in the display was this Psalm Codex Leaf in Greek on Egyptian Payrus dated 150-400 A.D.

There is a small zoo behind the Ark. It was too cold to prolong our visit but it was worth it just to see this kangaroo with a baby in her pouch. It looked to me like Mama must not be very comfortable dragging that bagful of baby around.

We stopped for supper and finally got home at 10:30. It was a long but worthwhile day.
Naturally, we weren't in a hurry to leave Tuesday morning and didn't head east until about 9 am. We drove about half way home and got off the turnpike at the Somerset exit to see the Flight 93 Memorial. Again, it was off season and not crowded. The Memorial Plaza overlooking the crash site is outdoors and it was cold. The sloping wall on the left side of the walkway marks the edge of the debris field.

A boulder in the debris field marks the spot where the plane landed at a speed of 536 mph. It exploded on impact and blew down about 100 trees. Everything and everyone was blown to small pieces. What a senseless waste of 40 lives!

The walls at the Visitor's Center on the hill above the memorial indicate the path of the plane as it came down. The wall below is made of 40 individual slabs engraved with each passenger's name.

We spent another hour looking at the displays in the Visitor's Center where it was warm. Then we headed east again for the final lap of the road trip. We chalked two things off our "someday" list on this trip. And to top it off, it was an all-expense-paid trip using the gift money we got for our 50th anniversary this summer. Thanks to all who made it possible.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Open House and Refugees

On Saturday we attended the 32nd Open House at the Christian Aid Ministries warehouse at Ephrata. We spent the day there and were both challenged and blessed. The morning and afternoon consisted of speakers involved in various aspects of CAM's work. Several sessions focused on the work and opportunities in the Middle East. Their enthusiasm for their work was contagious.
One of the newest ministries is on an island off the coast of Turkey. It is an hour and a half across the water to the island. Refugees risk their lives crowding on little boats to make the crossing. If they can reach the island, they are in the European country of Greece. Sadly, some boats capsize and people lose their lives in the attempt. Many of the people on these boats are children and some have no identification on them. They wind up in the refugee camp waiting for resettlement. 
This is just one of many refugee camps. The refugees have been streaming out of northern Africa, Iraq, Iran, and Syria, trying to escape war. Many of the towns where they lived are totally destroyed and there is nothing to go back to even if it were safe to return.
Dean Taylor is working in a camp on one of these Greek islands. He said the majority of these refugees are Muslims. One of the reasons they have a bad impression of American Christians is due to the immodest dress which runs counter to their beliefs. When they see modestly dressed, meek and quiet Mennonite women, they get  different impression and are ready to listen. 
The refugees have come from countries which are closed to missionaries, but now God is bringing them to us and putting them in places where they can be reached. As they see Christians ministering to their needs, they become more open to the Gospel and are being converted. Dean is working on setting up a discipleship training ministry to teach these new Christians how to share the faith with their own people. It is an incredible opportunity and we should seize the moment while the door is open.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

New Arrival

This morning I picked up my copy of my newest book, The History of the John F. Martin Company. This is the second book published this year and number eleven in the lineup. 
I counted it a privilege to be asked to write this book for the company. John Martin was my uncle, married to my father's sister, Edna. We spent a lot of time with their family and I knew them well. I remember the butcher shop on the farm before the company was incorporated. 
John and Edna were married during the Depression and struggled to find solid financial footing while their family continued to grow. John's butchering business began with dressing chickens which he took to market in Philadelphia. Many years later he began doing custom butchering in the shop where he once dressed chickens. Then he got into the retail business and incorporated in 1961 as John F. Martin & Sons. Eventually the family built their own grocery store.
The business grew by leaps and bounds with products being shipped across the country. The company outgrew the plant on the farm, opened a second plant, and moved all the bacon production into it. Both plants include a warehouse department which handles products not made by the company. 
John would be amazed if he saw his company today. He was just trying to make a living to provide for his family and had no intentions of establishing a business of this size. But I'm sure he would be pleased to see his grandsons are now managing the company and this year two of the fourth generation became partners in the business.
If you would like to read the whole story, look for this book in local bookstores.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Changing of the Guard

So far this fall has been warm and dry. We have not turned the heat on yet which will help to stretch the heating oil supply. On the down side, I'm afraid we won't have a very colorful leaf display this year as that requires sunny days and cool nights. 
This week it began to change as we had some rain and days that didn't get out of the sixties. As I was cleaning today I brought out some fall things to replace summer ones and took some screens out of a few windows. I put the candle lights in the windows again. I think it looks so welcoming to have lights in the windows but take them out over summer when the daylight lasts so long and the windows are open. I also divided a Boston fern and brought it inside. The patio where my plants live in the summer is not heated and the jungle moves indoors for the winter. It's not too cool out there for them yet but it won't be long until the rest come in.
I finished housecleaning the kitchen yesterday and am ready to shift into my fall and winter projects. I have the usual scrapbooking and crocheting to do and also plan to put a quilt in this winter. At this point the winter doesn't look as hectic as the last one. I'm looking forward to a more relaxed pace. 
I'm glad I live in a place with four distinct seasons. Each one is beautiful in its turn and has its own work to do. Variety is the spice of life.


Monday, October 2, 2017

Burkholder Tour

On Saturday I did something I never did before. I was the main narrator on a bus tour sponsored by the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society. The tour was based on my newest book, Loyalty Test. The bus was filled by the middle of June, more than three months in advance. I did not know who had signed up so it was interesting to see who came. 
We left the historical society at 8 a.m. Our first stop was the Groffdale Mennonite cemetery where Christian Burkholder and some of his family members are buried. Lloyd Weiler was the speaker there. He gave us some Groffdale history and showed us the gravesites of Christian and his wife's grandfather, immigrant Hans Groff, who was the first to settle there in 1717.

 This picture was taken several years ago. There was no snow on the ground on Saturday!

After that, we drove by the first farm Christian Burkholder owned on the south side of the Fairmount hill. The land stretches north to Farmersville Road at the foot of the hill. This stone house was built in 1770, the year Christian paid his father-in-law for the place.

In the 1780s. Christian bought three farms on the north side of the hill for himself and two of his sons. These farms stretched from the Conestoga creek and up over the Fairmount hill and down to Farmersville road on the south side of the hill. He owned the whole Fairmount hill and the land on three sides of it. What would he say if he could see it today?

This is the view from the hill of the land Christian and his sons farmed. Christian's farm is the set of buildings in the center left. His son Abraham's farm is on the left edge and Christian Jr.'s farm is just right of center, marked by the red roof building.

Before going down to the farms, we went into the Muddy Creek Library on the Fairmount hill to see Christian's Martyrs Mirror and Froschauer Bible as well as other artifacts on display.

We got off the bus at Christian's farm. The current owner is the tenth generation of Christian's descendants to own the farm. In the attic is a date stone that once said the house was built in 1775 but a jolt during a severe thunderstorm shook off the plaster on which it was written.

Our next stop was at the Ephrata Cloister where Ken Sensenig told us the story of John and Anna Bear's voluntary service there during the Revolutionary War. While nursing the ill and wounded soldiers, they caught the typhoid of their patients and also died.

Christian's sister Elizabeth married Jacob Sensenig. We drove to his farm south of Hinkletown and showed the people how to find the Sensenig cemetery on their farm where they are buried. Unfortunately, the bus could not drive the long bumpy field lane to reach it and it was too far to walk. All we could do was tell them how to find it and give them a photo of it. They will have to go back sometime on their own to see it.

Lunch was served at the Village Chapel in Voganville. Then we headed for Bowmansville where Christian's oldest brother lived and preached. We pointed out a few highlights along the way such as the mill and the place where the first Mennonite church was built in 1794. It stood on a spot that is now in town. We pulled off at the Pine Grove cemetery where we believe Ulrich is buried but he has no legible gravestone. It is probably one of the old field stones that no longer has any markings.

Then we went to Ulrich Burkholder's farm. He first lived in a log house and then constructed a stone addition. The current owners have done a wonderful job of restoring the house. The log end is on the left. They have added a new log addition on the back. The owners invited us to tour the inside of the house and served cider on the porch. For some, this was the highlight of the tour.

Our last stop was a bathroom break at the Bowmansville Mennonite Church. Then we headed back to Lancaster and arrived a half hour ahead of schedule at 4:30 p.m. It was a long but interesting day. From the feedback I got, our guests enjoyed the tour and felt they got their money's worth. I enjoyed it too but am glad it's behind me. Now I'm done with all my speaking engagements for this year. Well, except for teaching Sunday school, but that doesn't count.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Nostalgic Journey

Yesterday I tackled a project that has been on my bucket list for several years. My sister gave me a big bag of the letters I wrote to her over the years and I thought someday I will read them. They stayed safely tucked away "until I have time." Yesterday I decided the time had come and dug them out of hiding.
The first thing I needed to do was sort and organize them. It took me most of the day to do that. Now each year is in a separate folder with the letters flattened and in order by date. They are ready to be read and enjoyed. I read a few snatches here and there and look forward to reading them in entirety. I'm sure I have forgotten many of the little incidents they will reveal.
I made some interesting observations as I organized the letters. Most of the envelopes were missing but I amazed myself that I had faithfully written the date on all but a small handful of letters. That greatly helped in organizing them. The first letter was from 1965 after my sister was newly married and the last was in 2004. I kept the few envelopes that were included because they show the rising cost of postage. In 1965 a stamp was five cents and by 1996 it had risen to thirty-two cents. 
The letters also revealed other progressions. In the 60s and 70s most of my letters were written on whatever scrap or advertising tablets I could get free. In 1980 I had enough money to actually purchase a tablet of plain writing paper. 
All of the letters were handwritten until 1991. Then I purchased my first computer and the first typed letter appeared. By 1992, the majority of the letters were typed. The first computer paper had those strips on each side with holes to feed the paper through the printer.
I got a Juno email account in 1996 and after that most of the letters were sent by email. They would have disappeared into cyberspace but my sister printed them out and saved them. I'm sorry to say I did not return the favor and save all the letters and emails she sent to me.Old letters are fast becoming antiques as this generation communicates by disposable messages via email, text, twitter, and whatnot. 
I will read these letters to see if the words I wrote are worth saving for my posterity. If I wrote words better left unsaid, those will disappear. "By thy words thou shalt be justified and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Gift Wrap

The Gift Wrap and The Jewel

I looked in the mirror and what did I see
But a little old lady peering back at me,
With bags and sags and wrinkles, and wispy white hair
and I asked my reflection, how did you get there?

You once were straight and vigorous,
And now you're stooped and weak,
When I tried so hard to keep you
From becoming an antique.

My reflection's eyes twinkled,
And she solemnly replied,
You're looking at the gift wrap
And not the jewel inside.

A living gem and precious,
Of unimagined worth,
Unique and true, the real you,
The only one on earth.

The years that spoil your gift wrap
With other things more cruel,
Should purify and strengthen
And polish up that jewel.

So focus your attention
On the inside, not the out,
By being kinder, wiser,
More content, and more devout.

Then, when your gift wrap's stripped away,
Your jewel will be set free,
To radiate God's glory
Throughout eternity.

By Wanda B. Goines (age 92)

Monday, September 18, 2017

Switzerland Film

This video was produced for the 300th anniversary of the Hersheys in America and celebrated this past weekend.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

More Changes

About this time last year, Leroy's mom decided she is tired of maintaining a house and wants to go to an assisted living home where she would not be so lonely. At 93, I could understand and appreciate that decision. Her diminishing vision and hearing increasingly limited her activities. She put her name on the waiting list at her first choice of a Home and set about disbursing her possessions. 
We had several family meetings to discuss how to proceed and contracted with an auctioneer for a public sale of her property and contents at the end of April this year. Then we sorted through things that she thought should stay in the family or that someone in the family might want for sentimental reasons. A family sale was held at the end of January for those things. It was a blessing to have her with us to tell us what things were and where they came from.
Then the huge task of emptying the house and preparing for public sale began. Two auctioneers were selling most of the day on April 29. By the end of the day her possessions had been reduced to personal things that would fit in one room. 
A room was still not available at the Home so she lived with her single daughter until there would be an opening for her. We were pleasantly surprised when the wait turned out to be only four months. On Mom's 94th birthday, she was informed that a room was available. A few days later, on Labor Day, she moved to the Home. 
Some old people are uncooperative and cause major problem for their children. We have been blessed with a mom who always accepted life as it came and made the best of it whether it was pleasant or not. She decided on her own that she no longer wants to drive a car and when she was ready to go to a Home. She is a great example of aging with grace. I hope I can be the same if I live that long and not create a problem for my children.

Thursday, August 24, 2017


Life is a series of changes. Most of them are so gradual they are barely noticeable unless you look back over a period of years. Other times, the changes come swiftly or even unexpectedly and life is never the same again. We had a couple changes this week that we knew were coming but they happened the same day.
In October it will be 49 years since we moved into the house we built the first year we were married. We had a list of things we wanted to do "someday" and began the next spring by seeding grass on the lawn. As the family grew, we added bedrooms and bath upstairs, built a separate garage (and enlarged it when the boys were teenagers), fixed up the basement, put shutters on, and added an enclosed patio. The last thing on the list was to blacktop the driveway. It finally happened. They came on Tuesday to get it ready and the asphalt was applied on Wednesday. We will never have to rake stones out of the grass again when the snow drifts melt. 

While most of this was being done, I was off on a play day with Grayson. I started keeping him one day each week when he was about two months old. He was just a little bump in my cradle.

But he grew fast 

and we had a lot of good times together.

He liked to help bake and work in the garden.

Next week he will start kindergarten and go to school every day so the visits will have to stop. Yesterday was his last weekly visit so I decided to do something special to mark the occasion. He's all into trains right now so a trip to Strasburg Railroad was just the ticket. He jumped up and down when I told him we're going for a ride on a real train.

We both enjoyed the ride and topped off the day with lunch at McDonalds on the way home. Then we came home to watch the machines working on the driveway.
When I look at the time ahead of me I feel at loose ends. I have finished all the writing projects I had started, Grayson won't be coming anymore, and my best history collaborator passed into history himself on August 8. What am I going to do? I need a new project. 
Jab! That was my conscience telling me I need to get off the computer and begin with housecleaning the patio. It's time for that end-of-summer job. Okay, okay. I'm going.