Storm Thoughts

November 20 – Storms are grand and amazing things. Several weeks ago we had a big thunderstorm in October, a fairly uncommon event around here!

It was a very warm day, right on into the evening with high humidity and a temperature of 85. As I was sitting out on the porch studying and reading, I looked up at the sky from time to time, watching the lovely clouds move on by. Several times I called in to Dale who was sitting inside reading, and suggested he come out to enjoy the scene. He chose not to!

171120_StormClouds

[ Storm clouds ]

When I had finished my reading, I noticed that some darker clouds were rapidly approaching. Since I have always enjoyed watching cloud formations and seeing them turn into faces, or animals, or other pictures of my imagination, I wanted to stay on the porch. However, those clouds began to change their looks! Here and there were blackish ones, traveling from the north and west. Then the wind began to blow, and blow, until I decided to get my camera. Just as I got back to the porch, that wind decided to show me who was boss! Talk about a storm! And the wind and rain came up all at once! I quickly took a couple pictures before I had to dash inside to keep from being soaking wet!

Lightning flashed both near and far as we watched through the screen door. Almost-scary thunder followed, and we were both happy that we were safely inside. And what was making the news on TV? Just what we were experiencing. All through our area and all the way to Kansas City where pictures showed that the storm definitely was part of their evening! Moving quickly across the TV screen were notices that this area, and that one, and still others were under storm watches, and even a possible tornado. As Dale and I stood in front of the set, I always pointed to the letters “Cass,” since that’s where we live. Over and over and over those notices of lightning strikes, flooding, and fallen trees, along with power outages, made us more than thankful that we had not been affected by them.

171120_Rummikub

[ Rummi-kub ]

I can’t remember a storm continuing as many hours as did that one. Later, after we had eaten supper (a late one because we were more interested in news than in food), we sat down to play Rummikub, our favorite game. An hour later we went back to the TV and were shown many uprooted trees, some of them lying on roofs. No power yet. In fact, several thousand customers still had no power in the morning.

171120_CatBench

[ Cat on the bench ]

And what about Cat? When Dale and I are out on the porch with the cat inside, we continue to hear a plaintive mew as she stands by the door, begging to join us. Of course, I got up from my chair to let her out to enjoy the wind. After jumping up to her favorite resting place on the bench, she practically went to sleep. However, as the storm came on, she decided she would accompany me as I went inside. But she likes so much to be outside that she continued to beg us to let her out!

When it was time for bed, we called and called and begged and begged, but no Cat to be found. “Well, I don’t know about you,” I said to Dale, “but I’m not staying up all night until that cat decides she is no longer the boss and will come in so we can go to bed!” So off to bed we went, about midnight, with the garage door open just enough that she could squeeze under.

Fast forward to about four in the morning. Just for fun, I went out to the garage door area, and before I could call her, there she was! Must have missed out on her usual hours of sleep, because she hardly ever went outside the next day, but just lay on the rug or on the couch and slept, with not even one eye open! – CHRIS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Piece on Poetry

171115_Poetry1November 15 – Just finished reading a couple e-mails, including one from our son David who is a talented poet! Actually both of our kids grew up enjoying poetry of all kinds, especially the limericks and humorous ones with the punch line on the fifth. But before long they were branching off to the poems of history, and nature, and character. As they went off to school and enjoyed the poetry units in English classes, they began to write their own. How well I remember both kids coming up with interesting verses right on through the years. Folks have asked Dale and me to write some lines in honor of friends. Sometimes they want to thank their friends or poke a little fun at them.

Often in the evenings before television had become so popular, the four of us would sit around the kitchen table writing one line for a poem before passing on the paper to the one next in line. Often even the first one or two lines would be comical and we would chuckle! Sometimes one of the kids, after reading a couple lines that they just knew had to be written by their dad, would point a finger at him and say something like, “Oh, Dad! Why did you say that?” When Dale answered by asking, “Well, how do you KNOW that I wrote that?” One of the kids would answer, “Well, surely nobody else would!”

171115_Poetry4Back to their school poetry… They were often asked by the teachers to memorize a poem to go along with whatever special holiday the school would be celebrating. At home we tried to make sure they did more than memorize. They had to speak with good expression, even if it meant altering their usual voice to match the occasion.

By the time they were in high school they had become acquainted with some of the more well-known and loved poets taken from our books of poetry, which filled shelves in the book case in the living room.

(I think I had better stop here and let you know that if you don’t appreciate poetry, you might as well skip over the following list of poets! But for those of you who really do enjoy that subject, keep on reading).

I could have added another big paragraph of poets, but the following list is long enough: Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Burns, Lewis Carroll, Emily Dickinson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Eugene Field, Robert Frost, Julia Ward Howe, Helen Hunt Jackson, John Keats, Francis Scott Key, Rudyard Kipling, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, James Russell Lowell, Edna St Vincent Millay, James Whitcomb Riley, Christina Rossetti, Carl Sandburg, Walter Scott, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Robert Louis Stevenson, John Greenleaf Whittier, and William Wordsworth. (and I removed another twenty-five poets from list, but I guess there are still enough left!)

OK, now back to the blog, and son David. Twenty-five years ago, he came up with a special Thanksgiving idea to celebrate the wonderful holiday (inspired by Garrison Keillor). In the church were many folks of all ages. He told them that he would write a Thanksgiving poem containing suggestions written by all those who would like to contribute to the song. While the service was taking place, he would find a quiet place of his own where he would get all of the notes arranged in various categories, and then proceed to write the song. Two hours later, his wife and two friends were standing on the platform behind the pulpit waiting to sing the three songs he had written and set to music as he accompanied them on the piano.

171115_TGSongThis year many of the church folks were out of town, and others would not be back next week or the next. It seemed as if there would have to be a cancellation of the project. Now, how could that be, when this work had been going on for these 25 years with hardly a problem! Working with the church family, the folks involved decided that they would continue the project. The first verse of the first song this year was the first verse of the first song David created those 25 years ago. I’m sure some of the church folks remembered that occasion and maybe even something they had submitted to be included in the songs every year.

Now just a closing of this blog. When Biz was about 3, she was chosen by someone in the church to memorize a very short poem by Emily Dickinson, a well-known writer. I can still see her trying her best to make sure she said each word correctly with good expression. She would tip toe around the living room saying the lines quietly to herself—until she would say quite loudly, “I know how to say that “pome” now because I learned how to do it, all by myself!” (Yes, I know the correct spelling of poem isn’t showing up, but that’s how she pronounced it then!) While David and I were facing her as she climbed up on the couch, she very carefully pronounced every word.

171115_Poetry2With a typical smile, she said, “They might not need me; but they might. I’ll let my head be just in sight; A smile as small as mine might be. Precisely their necessity.” ― Emily Dickinson.

If I never remembered any other part of that poem, I would never forget the three words, “Precisely their necessity.” And that’s the reason I am putting this part in the blog. As Dale and I were lying awake a couple nights ago, I mentioned to him that for some reason, I was going over and over the few lines I could remember from the poem Biz delivered when she was so young. About half an hour later with both of us trying to remember, there were the words that I had been trying to come up with! That was really surprising to me because the little story about Precisely took place about 87 years ago.

Now David memorized poetry as if he would never again have the privilege of storing treasures in his brain! One of those lengthy poems begins, “Howdy, Mr. Winter, if it isn’t you again!”

Howdy, Mr. Winter! If it isn’t you again!
Haven’t had a visit from you since I dunno when.
Though I heard you laughin’–must ‘a’ been a week ago–
When the north wind shouted just as it began to blow;
Thought I heard you chuckle when the grass was turned to brown
An’ the withered flowers lost their holt an’ fluttered down.
Hear you at the window; hear you in the chimney, too–
Howdy, Mister Winter; howdy, howdy do!

(and on for three more verses…)

As you can see if you reread this blog, poetry has always been a part of the life of the Fairchild family! Not only do we still enjoy reading the thoughts of others expressed in poetry, but it’s a good feeling to know that we still can remember so many of those poems, just as if we were way back years ago memorizing them – CHRIS

 

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Chestnuts and Stuff

171109_ChestnutSquirrels

[ If we don’t get the chestnuts, the squirrels do! ]

November 9 – For a week or so, we had a big box in the garage that was just filled with chestnuts. These tasty nuts are both good for you to eat AND enjoy. I hadn’t planned on freezing any because we have been giving them away to so many of our friends who enjoy them.

We were surprised to find that many of them had never seen an edible chestnut before. Some thought they were the same as horse chestnuts. But since the nuts were really filling up the box, we decided to freeze them. After filling about 20 plastic freezer bags with 50 or so nuts in each, we had emptied the big box, but had to shuffle around the freezer contents so all would go in.

I mentioned earlier this week that Dale had said he was going to work in the tomato patch and then use the weed eater to clean up the osage row of tree stumps. Well, I decided I might as well head outside, too. I pulled out the hand mower so I could mow a path along the side of the burning pile where so many volunteer tomatoes were. I left lots of them behind as they were soft and squishy (who could possibly enjoy a squishy tomato?)! Fortunately this was not the case where the plants had been given a chance to grow without a problem.

171109_ScrawnyTomatoes

[ End of season scrawny tomatoes ]

Had to brace myself as I stood because there were so many places I had to bend over to get those tomatoes. Several times, I lost my footing and ended up sitting on the pile! After an hour of clearing out the four sections where the tomatoes were, I decided to see if I could find the place where the Pearlie Pinks had been larger, by far, than the others.

Now the problem was the same as when I had picked weeks ago. Branches and big vines made it almost impossible to reach the tomatoes, but I learned long ago, even as a child, that if you give up, you don’t gain anything. If you do your best maybe you can win the fight! And fight, those tomato vines did their best to keep me from reaching the tomatoes. Just as I reached the middle of the section, my feet sank down in a big hole. Fortunately, I could get out of that mess, and move on. Once finished with the job, I turned around to go back but had to lift a big branch high enough that I could climb underneath, and then jump down to the surface.

171109_OutdoorFootwear

[ Outdoor footwear ]

My “work” was not yet over! Sitting out on the porch, I spent over half an hour scraping off the stick-tights that were still “stuck tight” to my slacks and shirt and socks. That is such a slow disgusting process; those bothersome things aren’t the best decorations to be found on outside clothing this time of year!

So here I am, at the end of another lovely day with no strong winds blowing me around, but thankful for the Lord’s care and the unexpected gifts He gives! – CHRIS

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Fall, Fire, and Flowers

171107_Weedeater

[ Dale and the weed-eater ]

November 7 – Dale has just passed by telling me that he is on his way to get some work done outside. He has been using the weed eater to clean up some areas of grass today as it’s pretty hard to MOW over the area under the spruces where the old osage row was in place when we moved here nearly twenty years ago. Those tough old trees are proving their ability to last a long time, with most of the stumps still in the same place they were planted so long ago. And since he says it’s time to add Sta-Bil to all our outdoor gas tanks, we’re basically done mowing until next spring.

171107_DoorBurning

[ Old door ready for burning ]

I haven’t written a blog for awhile it seems, so I am trying to get my thoughts together At this time of year there are so many interesting things to be taken care of that it’s hard to stay inside. Our burning pile has grown to a pretty large area since it was cleaned up over a year ago. We have been afraid to start a fire in case it got away from us.

We well remember a couple years ago when we set one of our fields on fire, and we just couldn’t put it out. Fortunately, neighbors Harvey and Bob were just driving past on the road and could see what was happening. Down they came with tools they carry around in their farm truck. That left a blackened field, but fortunately nothing was damaged. We really didn’t want the fire to spread to our neighbor’s field the other side of the fence! So we have held off on the burning until our grandson could burn it for us, with the tractor sitting nearby to stop any spreading flames.

We have finished harvesting chestnuts and picking up black walnuts. We just try to keep ahead of the squirrels, but we can tell by the many empty shells lying around under the trees that we have not really been successful! First thing in the morning, as soon as I look out the window, I see that red bushy tailed guy racing around in the area, getting ready to bury his prize chestnuts. Of course, when we arrive with a couple buckets to claim ownership, that sneaky guy is gone!

171107MorningGlories

[ Morning glories ]

Last month as we were driving to church, Dale called out, “Look at that! One of those blue morning glories!” For the last ten years Dale has been planting these beautiful flowers in a row along the fence by the road, especially because our son-in-law Harvey enjoys them so much. As he would drive along the road on his way to his farm tasks, he would enjoy the beautiful sight. However, this year Dale said he “just didn’t feel up to it!” So many tall weeds grew along the fence, that he decided it was too much bother.

But on that day, there it was! Only one plant with only one flower, but it was there to cheer our hearts. By the time we were back home, that blossom had faded and shriveled. I made up my mind right then, that I would get up early enough the next day to get a picture of another one that would open. That I did, and found not one, but two beautiful big blue blossoms as they clung to the wire fence by the road. To me, that was just another proof that God loves us always, whether we are plants or people! – CHRIS

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Harvesters, Part Two

October 31 – Two weeks ago you got part 1 of Richard Comes to Harvesters. At last, here’s the conclusion!

171031_Flowers

[ Handing out flowers ]

As I have mentioned before, the line of cars waiting for the folks to be served, generally stretches way up the hill away from the church. Usually Dennis or Jim stand down on the road waiting till the way is clear so the cars one by one make their way up to the food. On the windshield are small cards of various colors telling the workers how many of each type of food goes to that particular car. Anywhere from one family up through seven, but mostly in between, from two through four. How thankful the recipients are and how gracious they are in expressing thanks!

The number of the workers varies, but usually there are about 15-20. Two of the leaders, after they have found how much of each food is available, go around telling the volunteers to give out a certain amount. After about two or three hours of distribution, the last vehicle disappears down the road, and we begin the clean-up. Old cardboard boxes are carried down to a section where they are burned. The pallets are carried by Dennis and his tractor to a place at the end of the parking lot to be picked up the next month when the truck arrives with palettes full of food once more.

171031_Stamps

[ Stamps from the Post Office ]

Speaking of Dennis, it was interesting to me to find out that he and Richard were postmasters at the same time, but in different areas. They had some interesting words to exchange! Speaking of Richard again, we became fast friends over the years as I continued to buy new stamps for my collection. He made sure that I didn’t miss out on any of them.

We have special time together every week as we drive up to the post office to see how he is doing. Why is he there every time we go there? Because he knows when our weekly visits are, and stops in at the same time to see if he can be of help there at the post office. So many people who come in while we are standing off in a corner catching up on how we are doing, call out, “Good morning, Richard. Good to see you again!” And now, if he continues working with Harvesters, he will find more friends there.

Our Harvesters program began roughly seven years ago this last September. In 2013 there were only 8 volunteers, but we had 25 or so this last September! From about 2,500 pounds of food given out in the beginning year, last month the volunteers gave out over 16,000 pounds. Only once in the five years that we have been helping with the program have we had to skip the day’s work because of rain! Total households served are around 140-150.

171031_PamSharna

[ Laughter and fruit ]

The Harvesters group keeps up with the volunteer program as one of their reps visits from time to time. During October, one lovely lady, Sandra, drove in and parked right beside us. A few minutes later, Josh, one of our young guys came rushing across the parking lot directly to our truck. With his arms outstretched for a hug, I quickly got out and returned that hug; young folks are a real blessing! After Josh left, the lady said she was surprised that a teen, especially a boy, would do that sort of thing, especially to older folks! Well, I’m only ninety, so why should he think I’m old!

After Pam and the lady checked out the program and found it to be most satisfactory, she joined a group of young folks who were packing various items while they joked and teased. She really enjoyed their company and remarked that they had done a really good job! She had to go back to the office so someone else could drive to her job, but I think she was enjoying the visit because she must have said that four times or more before she finally said, “Well, I really do need to go, now!” – CHRIS

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Pastor Suarez, Farewell

October 27 – Last weekend was both a very sad time, and a very happy time. That sounds like I don’t know much about anything, but there’s a reason for those two adjectives: sad and happy. Years ago, while giving English tests, I surely would not have given credit to a student, who when asked to give similar adjectives, wrote SAD and HAPPY! But, as you read on through this blog, if you haven’t given up on the writer already, you will see what I have in mind.

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Pastor Suarez

About two years ago, our new pastor, Daniel, came out from California to work with us in the church. In April his parents from Florida helped with the renovation of their new house. In the months to follow we were so glad to have this smiling man with us. How we did love his family!

I checked out my journal here and there, and found these words about them. “His wife Marilyn is pretty and unassuming. She taught the Sabbath School lesson, not only bringing good information but her big smiles told of her happiness.” One of the best sermons preached by Daniel was at the Communion Service in May. He told of the “three V’s of the cross: Violence, Vicarious, and Victory.”

How I loved the Suarez children! On the first day they arrived at the church, all five of them were standing quietly along a wall when I walked in the door. “I give hugs,” I said to them,” and I’ll start with you because you seem to be the oldest.” Right down the line I went, enjoying those kids and their hugs! They were so polite and friendly, and I am sure they always will be as they are the children of Daniel and Marilyn!

About the end of September last year, Daniel was diagnosed with stage 4 colon and liver cancer. Though he tried very hard to recover from the problem, he was in the church hardly at all after that because of the pain and other problems cancer brings. He would go bravely for a number of treatments, and was in great pain most of the time.

Doctors and specialists were amazed at his courage as he tried to keep the pain from getting him down. Every time he would go for a test or treatment, he would be comforting the medical folks instead of the other way around. His weight continued to go down, and his taste for food diminished. Marilyn stayed by his side from day to day, trying to comfort him and take his mind off the real pain. How kind and loving and brave she was, ever loving him deeply.

171027_PastorFamily

[ Pastor and his family ]

We in the church prayed earnestly for the family every day. Before he became so tired and in pain, he always had folks to come and wish him well and pray for him. However, as the cancer continued to grow, his family finally came to the place where they suggested there should be only a few visitors, or none at all.

Marilyn and the five children stood strong during the entire sad days, trying to keep their lives moving along day by day as they continued to work hard in school, right up until the last couple weeks when they were called to come home to spend the last days with him.

Moving on to those sad times, we remember his death on October 15, 2017, just about a month before his fiftieth birthday on November 15.

Last weekend, Dale and I, along with so many other folks who knew and loved Daniel, joined the family at the Lee’s Summit Seventh-day Adventist church of which he was the pastor, to take part in the Celebration of Life. So many came that there were very few spaces left unoccupied.

Men, women, and children from the area near the church, to those of other states, and Cuba where Daniel grew up, were listening closely to get the message this tragedy gave. The message? Live every day the way you would like others to remember your life! Do what you can to help in any way possible, and be thankful for life. Pastors from a number of states and countries spoke of Daniel’s abilities and his love for all, young and old. He might have chosen to work in “higher” positions, but, instead he wanted to do the work he always loved. He chose to “be there” for all.

171027_PastorProgram

[ In Memory… ]

His five children, all in their teens, took part in the services by reading Bible quotations, singing special music, and delivering the Eulogy. They were so proud to be known as the children of Pastor Daniel and Marilyn Suarez. Daniel David, Adrian, Yonathan, Daslyn, and Kevin loved their father so much and always prayed that he would live a happy life when the sickness was overcome. But, that’s not the way it all turned out.

But one day soon, when Jesus returns to take His children back to heaven with Him, all of this sadness will be forgotten and turn into such great happiness as cannot even be measured! That’s why those children and their mother will continue to carry on, while their lives will tell of their love for the Savior, overcoming those initial sounds of sadness and moving on to delight in being with Pastor Daniel again.
As Job wrote, “I know that my Redeemer liveth and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. And though after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.” Then Paul, in the book of 1 Thessalonians said, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first.”

All through the services, beautiful and touching music was sung or played, giving us hope and thankfulness, choosing once again a time when the sadness turned to happiness.

Several hours later when the Memorial Service was over, many of the people joined in a long line to tell the family our thoughts of love for them and to hug them tightly. Yes, deaths always bring unhappiness and sadness, but these feelings can be overcome, as we found through the family of Daniel! – CHRIS

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Fall Jobs

October 24 – The end of the growing season has just about arrived, with rain and cooler weather. The other day, Chris wanted to use the hand mower, so I got it out of the barn and she started it up and away she went, mowing around trees and areas where the rider mower could not go.

171024_CalicoPods

[ Calico limas ]

In the meantime, I got out a small bucket and went to pick the current crop of ripe calico lima beans. These are beautiful large beans and we have been freezing them while using other foods. I saved quite a few of the best pods and will use their seeds for next year’s crop.

After awhile Chris switched to the rider mower and did a great deal of the yard with it, but at last just had to quit and come in and take a break. But soon she wanted us to go out to our large burning pile and take some pictures of the tall golden sunflowers that had sprung up in it.

While looking for a good spot to take the pictures from, she discovered an amazing patch behind the pile, numerous tomato plants that had sprung up on their own over the past several months. There were hundreds and hundreds of ripe tomatoes, mostly Pearlie Pinks that are a very prolific bearer of plum-shaped-and-size tomatoes. We could hardly believe there could be so many, and we had never looked back there all summer.

161030_LastPearlyPinks

[ Pearlie Pinks ]

Of course, we soon had some buckets and were busy filling them. The vines had grown up all over and through many dead branches we had thrown on the pile, and we soon found it was hazardous to walk on them. We had to walk very carefully, for it would have been very easy to crash through and land in a heap among the scratchy branches. After a lot of picking we had filled two four-gallon buckets of tomatoes, and then some. Up to the house we staggered, and Chris soon had them all poured out into a couple of large shallow cardboard boxes so she could take good pictures.

We took some up to Harvey’s folks and his sister’s family, and some to our neighbor Joe and some to Harvey’s Aunt Betty. We found to our dismay that there are a lot of stick-tite bushes growing among the tomato plants, and our clothes had become plastered with the little stick-tites that took a long time to remove.

171024_Chestnuts

[ Chestnuts ]

Our second chestnut has joined the first, and is bearing now. It is larger and older than the one we have been harvesting, but has much smaller burrs that usually contain only one nut or even none at all. But the nuts are larger than those from the other tree. Our cucumbers are done for the year, and I have pulled up the vines dragged them away for disposal.

Have been using our new chain saw recently to cut some branches we have been waiting to cut for a long time. Apricot and albizzia and oak and an old stump that I cut into but still have not removed completely. These have all been added to our burning pile. Was surprised at how heavy some of the branches were, while other varieties were fairly light. I would have cut those heavier ones into smaller sections had I known about the weight! – DALE

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In Which Richard Comes to Harvesters

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[ Dale amidst the boxes ]

October 17 – Probably most of you have become acquainted via our blog with the work of Harvesters in this area. This group works so hard to see that those who don’t have much food in their pantries or fridge, are treated to enough to make a number of nourishing meals.

Every 2nd Wednesday of the month, the big truck comes into our church parking lot where a group of volunteers, some church members, others with just a heart of gold to help out with the distribution. Sometimes a problem comes up, and we can’t start at 9:30 am as we usually do, but not long after that, when the various kinds of food are all ready to be given out, the volunteers move to the boxes they will be taking care of.

Years ago, when the program first began at the present site, the food was in various compartments in the truck. However, not too long ago, it was put on palettes which were removed from the truck and placed in a semi-circle in the driveway. Makes it much easier for the volunteers to do their part in distribution. When the food was in the truck, it was hard for short people like me to reach the food at the top of the big boxes! I had to nab someone taller to cut part of the cardboard away, not once, but several times before the box was empty. With the new palette program, I can pick up the food from the front or back or side, whichever I choose.

This time, however, one pallete while being lifted out of the truck was jiggled around enough that it broke the supporting bands and fell heavily to the gravel driveway! Whish! Whoosh! Sizzly Sounds! Finally, all was quiet, but the soda pop was scattered here and there finally landing in a big heap. Was that pop wasted? Not at all except for those that had popped open!

171017_CarLinesOne of the teen-age volunteers, a relative of Pam and Dennis who were instrumental in getting the Harvesters to the church, decided he was going to do what he could to save that pop! As the cars were moving slowly up past that area, he quickly went to them, one by one, and asked what kind of pop they would like. Running quickly to the pile, he found the pop and ran back with the drink the drivers chose. Talk about a considerate and bright young man!

After unloading, all is ready for the program to begin! Richard, a good friend to so many in the Pleasant Hill area (and former postmaster), and a special friend to us, asked if he could come to help! Could he?!?!! Since we are always in need of volunteers, we didn’t hesitate or take time to think about the offer.

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[ Richard and Dale \

So this time at the end of the line, Richard took his place carting ten-pound sacks of potatoes to the waiting cars and pick-up trucks. Dale was next in line with huge heads of cabbage. I enjoyed delivering beautiful melons.

As usual there were so many different kinds of food that it’s hard to remember all of them. Besides the potatoes, cabbage, and melons, here’s a list from memory: watermelon, avocados, buns, strawberries, mushrooms, eggs, papaya, pineapples, grapes, mangoes, plantain, flower bouquets, bread, and more.

I think I have mentioned in earlier blogs, that I really do like to talk to people, to give hugs or handshakes, and just to find out how they are doing. At first, I was in a bit of trouble because I talked instead of giving out the food, so Mike always worked near me so he could do what I should have been doing! Young and friendly Josh does the same thing, so even if I’m not doing my duty, I am enjoying conversations with people who might need a little pat on the back or a few words of assurance! (more tomorrow on this subject…) – CHRIS

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Old Books, Old Letters

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[ Old poetry books from the Moyers ]

October 12 – As my mom used to say when we were kids many years ago, “I’ve been so busy today that you’d have a hard time following me around!” Way back then I couldn’t understand what she was talking about, because I always thought that kids of my age could run around a lot, and could easily beat out any adult. Besides, who could be that busy?!

I often found myself up in my favorite tree with a book in my hand, reading away by the hour—after I had completed the chores Mom had for me to do. Guess that’s why I didn’t want to sleep in for a couple hours after my dad had gone on to work. Seemed to me a real waste of good time, especially when I could be reading a good book. Not that we owned many ourselves because the wages Dad made didn’t do much besides buy the things we really needed. Sometimes the school library had sales of out-of- date books that we could buy. Not too many because we didn’t have enough nickels or dimes to buy more than a couple.

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[ Textbooks, anyone? Dutch Twins? ]

But what really made me feel happy was the fact that one of our neighbors, Ellen Falvey, the teacher in a little country school, noticed that all of us kids really loved to read, so she would let us borrow enough books to read for the summer! How well I remember The Dutch Twins, Tom Sawyer, Little Men, Little Women, Little House on the Prairie, In the Big Woods, The Little Engine That Could, and so many others.

Now and again these days as we go to a garage sale, I buy up all (and there might be only one, or not even that) the old books, even text books that I can find. So interesting and fragile they are! But these days, when I am about my mom’s final age, I, too seem to be busy all of the time, and get some of my reading done while I am working, using an old cassette tape, or a CD that I carry around outside in a case when I work in the garden or mow the lawn.

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[ Old Minuteman yearbook cover ]

Speaking of old things, I recently enjoyed sorting through a collection of “paper work” that my son David brought for me to look at. They were a collection of cards, letters, and memories from an old friend of the family who died a number of years ago. Sure did enjoy them, including a ton of cards sent to her by her husband. There was even a WWII ration book with many of the stamps still in place. – CHRIS

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Thoughts on Harvey, Irma, and Maria

October 9 – As I sit here in the comfort of our home this evening, I am reminded again how blessed we are and how thankful we should be to know that we have nothing of the sad days that the folks in Puerto Rico, Texas, and Florida are still recovering from.

171009_MariaPathNo longer is a news broadcast what it used to be when there were at least a few words spoken or a smile on the face of the news anchor or in the broadcast itself. Dale and I were talking about that just a few days ago. By the time all of the shocking news items have been on the TV or radio, there’s just no time left to tell about anything else and to help us to meet problems with courage, and even thankfulness that we are still alive, that we have water and electricity that our friends are not suffering or among the missing.

One of the saddest parts of the news is this: folks, who have lost so much of anything they ever owned, finally get the OK to go back to their home to see how much they have lost. There they find that a good many of the possessions they had to leave behind when they took shelter in various approved places, were nowhere to be found. Someone figured out what to do to steal some of the few items those folks had left. Dale and I have discussed that many times, and I guess we just don’t understand that sort of behavior. How in the world could a person make off with the very few possessions left behind by flood victims?

171009_StormCleanupIn these sad days, I often find myself sitting in one of the big chairs watching TV and listening to the reporters and cameramen in so many locations, the latest in Florida, telling of any changes in the areas, those who suffered with Harvey, and the poor folks in Puerto Rico who are left with nothing. All are facing a monumental task of trying to get back to normalcy.

When I saw the diagrams on TV of the THREE storms all in the same area just waiting to show their power, I could hardly believe they would settle down in various locations so close to each other, just showing who is boss! Where are the people of the islands who were pounded with storms before those storms moved north! Where are those in Mexico, with so many dead? How many years will it take to get back to what used to be normal in Texas, or Florida, or several other states north of them?

One of the things that I know I would really miss is a glass of cold water! When I take the plastic bottle out of the fridge to enjoy, I can’t help but wonder how much a person in the hurricane area would enjoy, even just a swallow or two!

171009_IrmaCleanupWhen I think of those highways with all the bumper-to-bumper traffic, with families who tried to move out of the way of danger, I wonder how their children felt about the whole sad story. So many have never seen or heard of anything like this in their short lives. With their schools closed, with friends scattered, with nothing at the shelters but real necessities if they even have those, life is not the same. They will never forget these sad days and would give a lot to go back to normal.

Adults will have a very difficult time as well, trying to salvage what they can of their former home before they went to live in a shelter. What will most of them do, with hardly any having flood insurance, when it comes time to rip out all of the ruined walls and floors, and try to replace their ranges and fridges, their furniture and bedding. It is very hard for those of us who have had no connection with the plight of those down south to really understand the problems.

This has not been a very cheerful blog this time, but I’m sure it’s not very cheerful for those folks either. Please keep them in your prayers – CHRIS

NOTE: just to be clear, I did not take any of the pictures in this post.

 

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