Sunday, July 31, 2011

Preachers- Part 2

I don't know as much about David R.(Ross or Rositer, I can't remember) Evans, my Grandpa Evans' grandpa. He was a circuit rider for the Methodist Church. I know Uncle Eddie has/had his book of sermons written in Welsh. David married Emma Dukes from Martha' Vineyard, MA.
I piece ideas together and realize I have some research to do. Grandpa told my mother Emma was from the famous rich Dukes, like Dukes University, and I can't think of the woman whom Lauren Bacall played, but anyways those Dukes. Also, during the Great Depression, the first William Lewis Evans passed away. I believe this was early in the depression, 1932. His cousin, Henry Evans, an owner of Evans Steel in Boston, showed up at the country church in Coolspring Township, near Mercer, PA for the funeral, in a chauffer driven limousine. My mother explained this was a very big deal, as I think it would be today,too. My question, would such a rich and important person show up for a funeral in a back country church today with all the paparazzi?
I've been thinking of David and Emma. What did they leave behind for Jesus? I assume they came from hard working, puritan work ethic backgrounds. What did their families say when they gave up the persuit of the American Dream for preaching God's Word? I'm speculating here, putting a story behind the facts, sketchy facts, at that.
William Evans, the first, retired to Coolspring Township, from Turtle Creek, near Pittsburgh. He was the choir director of the white country church, which is also where the Seth Thompsons were members. That is how Grandma, Hazel, met Grandpa, Lew.
Just an interesting side note, WLE,1, was born Dec. 4th, Grandpa, Dec. 5th, Grandma Lewis, Dec. 6th, skip a generation and Mary Ellen Dec. 8th.
David is another story of faith, I would love to know more about and write the story.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Preachers- Part 1

Sitting in the dark movie theater, but back in a fictional post Civil War West- Cowboys and Aliens, my mind raced with ideas. I craved more back story. I could see a prequel and sequel or a really interesting novel. The preacher portrayed needed more story. I demanded more information.
I thought of James Satterfield- Clergyman Satterfield, who planted most of the Presbyterian churches in this area of Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio. I want to write about him some day. There is recorded history of him because of his role in the church. I'm still looking for my notes, which I will find(from 11 years ago.) Why am I interested in him? He was the brother of my 7th great grandma on Hazel's Thompson side, Margaret who married Edward Campbell. They came to Hickory Township in 1800. James came too to start churches.
The Satterfields are first recorded in Queen Anne's County in Maryland, on the upper peninsula. This is around the 1740's. He was too young to serve in the Revolutionary War, I remember. He found "religion" when he was 14. That is the way the old history books talked about as we say now, born again or is that too Christianese? James made that decision to follow Jesus and went to seminary when he was old enough. If my memory serves me correctly, I believe he was working on a river boat. So sorry, I have to find my notes!
The family in that time moved to Washington County in southwestern PA. Edward came to Mercer County to buy and sell Donation land that was intended for Revolutionary War veterans, but not too many wanted to venture to the frontier. In the late 1700's,early 1800's, one's life insurance policy was canceled if one moved west of the Allegheny Mountains.
James felt led to this area. He started the Moorefield Presbyterian Church, which was a log cabin where Moorefield Cemetery is now. He is buried there, fairly close to the main drive into the graveyard. This is in Hermitage by the Shenango Valley Freeway and on old 18, we used to call it, or Maple Drive.
Most of the Presbyterian church histories in this area mention James Satterfield. My reporter, historian friend, who passed away a few years ago, Mairy Jayne Woge, told me, James wore a long braid down his back and he was called Clergy or Clergyman Satterfield.
His second wife was the daughter of General Mead of Meadville, just up the road. They had a son, Mede, who pastored in Harrisville, PA.
James's house is torn down or fallen down now. It was on the Shenango River just south of Wheatland. One lady at the historical society remembered the house, since she had grown up near it.
James preached up till he was ninety, riding on horseback to the churches. In November and I'm sorry I can't remember the year, but it was in the 1840's, he got caught in the rain. Yes, every good nurse knows pneumonia comes from bacteria or virus, but he caught pneumonia and suffered with it for two weeks in bed at I believe a daughter's home. Just before he died, it is recorded that he declared his "wick was trimmed and ready," like the in the parable of the ten virgins. He was ready to meet his Lord.
In my "movie" of David and Mary Thompson, James's niece and her husband, I see James Cromwell(from Babe) playing James Satterfield. Take note, Mary Ellen. Of course by that time, who knows where James Cromwell will be...

Friday, July 29, 2011

Celebration Time, C'mon!

I realized this is my 90th blog posting! I have to celebrate something I enjoy so much. If I had prizes, I do something great like that. Maybe next month, when I win the Publisher's Clearing House- $5,000 a week for life!
I've been thinking of celebration and what that means. What do I want to relate in this blog? Memories of family for sure, the fun we had growing up in a Christian family, in church and Christian life. But I want to be careful to not have the reader confuse Christian with religion. The new buzz is don't speak Christianese. My motto is following hard after Jesus. What does that mean?
Life lived to glorify God, by reaching out to those in need. Our home was always opened to the sick, needy and wanting. We kids knew all were invited. Several of Dan's friends lived with us while they were getting on their feet after being in the service, or such. Family members recuperated in our home. Uncle Dave and Uncle Bill lived with us.
Prayer and Bible reading were common. Mom read her devotions after breakfast with her coffee. Talk of God was not unusual. It was life. And we did have a lot of fun.
Today for me, life is an adventure. Yes, there are trials. Jesus promised that, but He has overcome them. He is fighting for us. I have the privilege of approaching the throne room of the Maker of the Universe anytime I want. He invites me by covering me with His righteousness. I just mention Jesus name and my sins are forgotten by the Lord Almighty.
As I try to live this life, I know I'm in a battle, not only with unseen forces, but my own self. Victories are to be celebrated. God does fight for us. He often says in the Bible- The battle is Mine. Many psalms start out with lamenting and depending on human strength, but lead to trusting God and praising Him. I read Psalms every day to get me started.
Life is not boring. As I read the Bible every day, I'm amazed at how the verses meet my problems or mood that day. I've read and reread it, yet every day the words of life are new, fresh, breathing into my life. I hear advice and comfort in other ways, too. A song on the radio or word of wisdom, the sermon on Sunday often is a summary of what I've been hearing all week. Life with an infinite God is not boring.
Reaching, touching people is my job, but also my mission. I treat them like I would want to be treated or would want someone to treat my family. With that mind set and the Holy Spirit, caring is easy. I also find it interesting the remarks made. Often, I hear, "That cat won't come out when people come, but look at it!" as a cat just sits by me. I feel they can sense the presence of the Lord. I pray anyways I leave the peace of God where I go. Now if that isn't something to celebrate!
That is the best part. Jesus wants me to be His friend. Not because of what I do. It is not much. But because He made me, knows me and loves me, as the Bible says, with an everlasting love.
Life is worth celebrating with Jesus.
That can be your prize for reading my 90th post today, if you don't know Jesus of the Bible this way, get to know Him today. You just tell Him you're a sinner,(Romans 3:23) unworthy of knowing the Ruler of the Universe- yes, like in Isaiah 6- "Woe is me"- but trust Him to love you and forgive your sins by what He did on the cross(the ending of the first four books of the New Testament- Matthew, Mark, Luke,John) and ask Him to live in you- Rev. 3:20. Life will never be the same.
You will have a God who rejoices over you with loud singing(Zephaniah 3:17)
For some crazy Jesus follower blogs, I suggest my reading list, especially and the Priest for those who don't go to church. and all the rest. They are great people.
Celebrate, celebrate, dance to the music!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ready to Show Love

Before expensive technology and maybe a more trusting community, we left our churches unlocked, even our homes, or in the summer, just locked the screen door to let the cool night air in.
Reverend Hatch told the story in the sermon of finding a young man in the pews. I believe it was in 1972, that famous summer. Our minister lived in the manse, next to the church. His office was in the basement of the new building. This morning he walked through the sanctuary after the storm the night before, discovering a vagabond lying in the front pew. The twenty-something man, apologized for being there. He must have overslept, he just came in during the storm for some shelter, and maybe to think, he explained.
Rev. Hatch affirmed that there was no problem with the traveler being there. This place is for shelter and thinking. They talked for a while. The aimless man hitch hiking across America telling a bit of his story. Our town became exposed when an exit on I-80 opened. The congenial preacher offered the man some food, which he declined. He was just passing through. As they exited the back door of the Narthex, the wanderer observed the war memorial. "That means something, doesn't it?" Rev. Hatch affirmed that many people died in that war, but then he also told him about Jesus dying. The man made no commitment, but told Rev. Hatch, "You're all right." and went on his way.
Not quite the evangelistic story of today, but I believe it is a story uplifting the spirit of keeping our churches open, along with our hearts, ready always to show love.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Summer Camp

I watched the little ones race out the door for the vans and five fun days of camp, after I did my nurse duties of checking heads for lice(there were none!)
My camp experience began even before my first day when I was a kid. We had camp Sunday at our local camp near Elmelton, PA. The singing and sermon were under trees with potluck dinner afterwards and tours of the camp. Such happy days that I could not wait until I was old enough to go to camp.
My parents drove me on a Sunday afternoon, after church and a quick lunch. A forty-five minute drive on the interstate lasted forever. Registration over,into the woods with rocks bigger than my dad jutting out of the ground. Sunlight filtering through the green mass of leaves. Our destination is a small house size three sided cabin with a large canvas flap over the front. I rolled out the sleeping bag, meeting the girls in my cabin. Mom and Dad exit, enjoying a quiet ride home through the foothills of the Alleghenies.
Seldom did I know anyone. They are all from western Pennsylvania. The grouping is a boys' cabin and a girls' cabin with a young man and lady as counselors. We are a family for a week.
Sunday evening dinner served family style, as they all are. We hiked to Chapel Rock for evening vespers. Chapel Rock is twenty or thirty feet high behind the wooden half-logs that serve as pews in this secluded worshiping place. I love the songs, they are different than what we sing at church, although the doxology is included. The many groups, new families, follow the path back to our cabins, and we have a campfire. Prayers are said and we go to bed in some of the darkest dark I've ever experienced, but I'm not afraid, I'm excited!
The first year on Monday morning, I have to take the swimming test. The mountain nights are cold and the water feels colder. I'm expected to swim across the pool and back if I want to be in the deep end. This is a big deal for a kid, to have the privilege of swimming in that end of the pool. I pass. I've been swimming since I was three, so six years later, I should be able to pass, but still jitters invaded my stomach.
Our days are filled with a big breakfast at the dining hall, clean up at the campsite, morning devotionals, don't forget your Bible. We sing and learn. Hikes, crafts, swimming, soft ball games fill up the daylight. FOB- flat on back or flat on bunk after lunch at the campsite, where the time is to rest, but we write postcards, read or talk quietly. We never sleep, but sometimes the counselor does. It seems interminable.
One day we hike all day with a packed lunch to the creek that flows into the Allegheny River. It reminded me of a Lassie TV show- in the beginning as they show the mountains and clear blue sky of California. The creek has a spot deep enough to swim and jump off one of those boulders.
Dinner, family style again at the dining hall, singing with a woman playing a guitar, some great songs again. Then we wind our way to Chapel Rock for vespers, sunlight again streaming through the trees. Except for when we are in the field, it never feels hot and I always went in the hottest part of summer.
Sometimes, a summer storm blows up, but I was never evacuated. We had one night during the week we slept under the stars in my years in various places. Once by the creek,when it did rain. We scrambled under the picnic shelter. Another time on Chimney Rock, a rock with a dark hole to skid down from the top to the bottom. We never slept in Ice Cave, but that was a delight, too.
Friday evening is full of tears. We have bonded. Many have made their first decisions to follow Jesus or to follow Him closer. Before the internet, we depended on letters. The girls were prompt at writing. Only my last year there did I keep up letter writing with two boys, they were brothers, one was my sweetie and the other my boyfriend. I also wrote to their sister. Their father was the minister of the week that week, bringing the whole church with them. I loved them all. We all wrote often. A few of the girls I got to see again at a local football game in the fall. I'm envious when I think what we could do now with all this technology.
The last morning of one year, we had communion at daybreak by the pond in the open field. Bleary eyed, bed hair,sweatshirt clad, we break the loaf and share the grape juice.
Saturday morning, one year, the girl counselor sang Leaving on a Jet Plane, making up words about camp,"All the bags are packed, they're ready to go, Moms and Dads are blowing their horns..."
The first year after my stuff is in the car, I show Mom and Dad as much as I can. I don't want the magic to end. As soon as I'm in the car, it's over. I can sing the songs and tell the stories, but Westminster Highlands is gone until the next year.
Chris Rice sings a song about his childhood summers, his cathedral. Chapel Rock, the creek, the boulders and even the black snakes, but mostly the people, are my cathedral.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Still Going Strong

 One of the few years I can't attend opening night of the New Wilmington Mission Conference this year. The weather is cool and raining. My prayers go up for this life changing conference.
Memories from my post written three years ago:

We arrive early to the campus after the drive through the Amish farms that seem to never change on the hill to State Route 208. Etched in the cement is NWMC under our feet. I look to the bricks. My father's is easy to find. After he passed away, the church that he served so long and well, placed the memorial there- Gerald Lewis, Not ashamed to testify II Tim. 1:8b. I do not kiss the brick as my sister suggested. But I do the mental, spiritual kiss toward heaven. "Happy birthday, Dad, in a place where there is no time." I always think he is in that great cloud of witnesses. Not always looking at us, but still cheering us on.
The heat is oppressive, but it wouldn't be missionary conference if it weren't. I tell Katie we need to sit on the edge of the outdoor auditorium. I tried once to sit in the middle and that really was too uncomfortable. On metal folding chairs, I soak it in. Up front a circle of pray-ers, by the world map of florescent orange tags marking mission stations, are holding hands in preparation for the evening service.
I lift my head up to the flags of the countries and states. I love the lake, seeing walkers on the far side with their golden retrievers and black labs. Soon, the junior high delegates meander down the hill to the sawdust floor. My heart leaps, I'm so full of anticipation of an evening of singing, preaching of far away lands and the tradition that is 106 years old this year.
My vague first recollection is this same auditorium, my father help build years before I was born, darkness and the lighted stage. Leaving my sister in a steaming dorm room, as she was a delegate. As I got older, we came for the evening sessions, the singing with enthusiasm became my highlight. I always loved missionaries. How anyone could find this boring always beyond my imagination. Now the singing is with a praise band and this year, led us well into the presence of the Lord. For many years, the choir director encouraged the singing. My sister's daughter also had the opportunity to be a delegate from her church in New Jersey. I even planned my trips home to coincide with the conference.
I brought my girls here as babies with my mother. The first time Katie came, Mom encouraged me to allow her to play in the sawdust, "Danny played with his trucks during the meetings." Then someone urgently told us that glass was in the sawdust and I grabbed Katie. We spent that evening on the grass on the hill. Next time, we found out childcare was provided, even a vacation Bible school for older kids.
A memorial service for a friend of my parents was included one year. We sat in the chapel and bag pipes filled the small space with Amazing Grace. Mom told us stories of this missionary and I wished I had been born earlier.
I must admit another important part of the memories and tradition is food. Ice cream at the Dutch Isle afterwards and chewing over the message of the evening. How did it touch you? Once or twice we went to the old Isaly's for our ice cream. Mostly the Dutch Isle provided our ice cream with family and friends. Last night we enjoyed it under their metal canopy, with that rhythmic rain and smiling at the Amish family, with the small girl staring us over as we were staring at her and her siblings. The father got the buggy just like our father would get the car in the rain. He waved at us as they left. I prayed for their safety on the non-lit road in the storm that came up after an oppressively hot day.
I love the tradition, yet the freshness every year of seeing the Holy Spirit winding His way through the lives of young people, urging them into His service. I relish the history of the white haired ones who had served, yet still on fire for Jesus. This is Church being the hands and feet of Jesus. This is exciting!
"Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place..." we sing at the end of the service with our sweaty arms around each other, swaying.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Master Knows

How do you explain to a dog who sees the wall to wall sunshine from an air conditioned house that it is really too hot to walk? How do you explain to him that you have no A/C in the minivan because of an accident and he would get overheated when all he wants to do is go, go, go? And had been used to it.
My heart broke last night for Harrison, my beagle mix. Even standing in the oppressive heat as we loaded up to go to Pymatuning, he stubbornly held on to the hope he could go with us. Oh, with his black blanket coat, he'd have heat exhaustion. Those sad brown eyes, "Mom, why are you leaving me here?" "Ice cream?" A tinge of regret fleeted through me, yet, I knew he couldn't have tolerated the 97 degree weather. And stopping for food along the way would have been unbearable.
After we ate and didn't wait for food to digest, just dipped into that cool water, I know Harrison is afraid of the water. It holds no appeal to him. I guess no Lab in his blood. We tried as a puppy. He planted his feet on the shore. He cocked his head as the girls coaxed him as if to say, "Where's your body? What are you doing?"
One early fall day, Harrison and I walked on Jamestown beach. After cupping some water in my hands bringing it close to him, reticent, he drank. The gentle lapping of the minor waves unnerved him. That is the closest he got to lake water. He wants no part of it.
I still want to try to get the dog to enjoy the water with me, but just like last night, I knew the best thing is to leave him in the air conditioned house. I imagine him at the lake, maybe in the water with the heat driving him to it along with the desire to be with the girls and the boys, yet those eyes not hiding the discomfort of going against his nature. He'd want it done as soon as possible, like his bath. He stands there letting me wash him, but that look of reserve. "I could jump out, but I do want to please you. I don't understand."
How often are we kept from a seemed pleasure that when obtained would make our eyes sad?
Or plant our feet firmly on the edge of the shore not understanding the pleasure that awaits? The delight of coolness on a hot summer evening, the weightlessness of water?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Midsummer Blues

I could stay up, and I do, until midnight, and find myself waking before 530. I love the summer. I love the dewy, quiet mornings full of peace. I adore the evenings of lightning bugs and walkers, sunsets of vermilion. The lingering twilight of the midwest and imagine how much longer the evening is on the very border of the time zone. And the shadows just grow as the cool comes.
The hint that this can't go on forever and soon, too soon, will be over. The long sunlit days of endless opportunities overcrowded with too many commitments. The blues come from working in the heat, not soaking by a pool or lake or better yet the ocean. The energy slowly ebbing as the day goes on.
Ah, deep cool of an air conditioned room and the nap that is needed from short nights encourages me to carry on in the evening. Yet, like today, the extreme heat is too much for a walk, it has messed with my stomach.
Oh, to do everything, to relax and drift away on a raft or something like that.
I know summer can't last all year because of my desire to not miss a thing. All the delights of sunshine and not being able to dive into them all at once. How could a human live like this all the time? As much as I hate to confess this blue fact, we need rest. We need the seasons. Even when the weather doesn't turn as cold as here, like California, the daylight shortens, the shadows lengthen, giving us time to reflect in a different way, driving us into our homes.
I want to do it all, but I am only one person with limited resources. I take pleasure in nature, being with my family and indefatigable hours of summer. Why can't I have it all?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Missing Out

Uncle Bill, my mom's older brother, served in the Army twenty seven years or about. He often got out, I heard, then when the economy soured, returned to the service. He saw 3 wars or for the historically accurate, 2 wars and a conflict- World War II, Korean and Vietnam. He was stationed all over, Holland, Germany, England, during WWII, where he met his wife, Madge. They lived in Hawaii and I think also Japan.
After Hawaii, Aunt Madge put her foot down to settle in Tennessee, near Fort Campbell. That is the only place I knew her to live.
One summer he was there and we visited. This wasn't unusual, as before I was born, the family made the trip with Grandma. I believe Dan got bit by a bug and swelled up and I think this is when Gerri Lee acquired a blood clot, too. But sometime, I'll have my sister guest blog and tell some of their stories, first hand.
The summer I went with Mom and Dad, was probably like any other summer in Tennessee, much hotter and humid than in Pennsylvania. My impression was everyone had air conditioning. No one had it when I was growing up, just businesses, especially funeral homes- Cunningham's was cold.
I mentioned before, I entered my first air conditioned church in Clarksville, where my cousin, Andrea and her family attended. Andrea is the oldest cousin and by 1970 had three children. Lynn, only 3 years younger than I, Daniel, yes named for my brother, and Toni, the name Grandma could never get right. I loved playing with them. I only met them a few times. Andrea traveled to PA, when I was in kindergarten and then either a year before or after this trip. I almost immediately picked up their southern accent. Never did get down the "yes, sir" or "yes, ma'am," like my mother dreamed. Nor did I did say, "Mamma," or "Daddy" but I sure got that drawl quickly. I'm even thinking it now as I write.
Uncle Bill had a large backyard that green overgrown trees invaded. Cousin Billy loved cats and they had plenty.
I walked in the kitchen one night and Uncle Bill had scooped loads of creamy mounds of vanilla ice cream on cantaloupe boats. Oh, that peachy color and wonderful ice cream on a southern summer evening invited my taste buds, but cantaloupe never delighted my tongue. I was sorry. I could only have ice cream. How could that beautiful color hold such a strong unsatisfactory taste for me? Others loved it, if I listened to Uncle Bill describe it that night and had never tasted it, trying it would be the treat enraptured.
The adults gathered around the table impassioned with this summer dessert. I ate my ice cream, thinking I missed something. But to this day, even with the health benefits of this melon toted, I cannot get it past my front teeth. I love the smell of it, especially candles. I could just sniff and take in the aroma for minutes. Come near my mouth and suddenly it is vile.
I think it is funny the different tastes we all have. I would never criticize a melon, cantaloupe, or honey dew lover, I wouldn't back in that kitchen out of respect for my elders, nor now remembering how inviting those boats looked, yet how I couldn't bring the fork to my mouth. Yes, I'm sure I'm missing out, but then there is probably something you're missing out on, too.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


There have been many praying people in my life. Today, because of the brevity of a blog, I'll write about three.
One lady, my preschool Sunday School teacher, a friend's mother and later my junior high youth group leader impressed my young soul. I go back to that Sunday School room surrounded by windows, the bright morning sun filtering through them. Young boys and girls in showy clothes, no sneakers then, boys wore ties, sometimes suits, girls frilly dresses, bows and socks, lined up in miniature wooden chairs. We sang lively songs, and then this lady stood in front of the children, with a lyrical voice using Thees and Thous, prayed. It was beautiful and never real long. Yet, even with the language of old, I sensed she was talking to God. I know she was now because of her life as I got older. Those flowery prayers rang true because of her testimony, her example. Her prayers led us into the throne room of the living Lord.
Reverend Hicks came to our church when I was 15. He was quiet in manner and voice. I believe because of sinus problems, his sound seemed to stay in the back of his throat. His common visits in the hospital rooms and at homes always ended in prayer. His style was conversational. I felt God was his friend and knew the Almighty listened to this humble man. Jesus visited with this preacher as his prayers evidenced. Like the old hymns, In the Garden, and He Lives<, I knew Jesus with him and I loved to hear him pray.
The most influential was my dad. His prayers were probably a mixture of these two styles. He always prayed before our meals and we were ushered into God's presence by them. I think though even more than hearing my father pray, which was a delight, was knowing he was up hours before the rest of us, drinking his pots of coffee, sitting at the far end of the kitchen table by the back door, talking to God. I believe knowing he was a praying man helped us through so many trials. He loved the Bible and studying it, he knew it and the Author. I never saw my dad on his knees, position not important in our religion. We were taught because of Jesus, you could come to Him in anyway. It was talking with God, because He loved us and wanted to talk with us.
God choses to work through our prayers. These are only three. My mother prayed, too, her style hesitant out loud, but again, I know she prayed. As Revelations 5:8 points out wonderfully, there are gold bowls filled with incense- the prayers of God's people! So many times, I think of these gold bowls, the prayers of my ancestors cheering me on, sustaining me, I imagine they prayed for their children and their children's children. As I also know my prayers are mingling with those before.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

An Unexpected Find

As I mentioned yesterday, we easily found ourselves at the Maag Library Book Sale. I wondered what would I find in all these old textbooks. I wandered around, just slightly engaged at first. I glimpsed a paperback, thinking that looks lightweight for college commerce. A sepia picture of a woman,her hair styled with ringlets on either side of a middle part, dressed in bonnet and 1840's frock. Covered wagons fading in the background. In blue joyful print, Jubilee Trail, in white caps, below, A NOVEL. The author's name in the same light blue color, Gwen Bristow. Definitely reinforced my impression of summer reading.
I ambled around some more, looking at fascinating titles, but was drawn back to the brown and beige cover. I picked it up, read the back, more interesting I decided. I put it down. Oh, do I want to carry books around? Not really, it's hot. But this is a donation and David and the girls are still exploring the books.
I kept it and then decided what's a few more books. One on the Panama Canal, a thesaurus "For the Extraordinarily Literate," one on journalism and research and a little pocket style manual on clarity, grammar, punctuation and research filled the plastic bag for a modest donation from my husband.
The novel I started reading that evening. The two forwards pushed the level of interest and my background information on the writing of this western higher. I soon found I had read fifty pages. The beginning reminded me greatly of The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton, only the female lead wanted out of New York society in 1844. She was no May. Both bred to be the perfect society lady, wife and mother, but Garnet hides her desire of more. May has no desire, never even understanding it.
I heard an author a few weeks ago that the secret to a great story is participation. Jubilee Trail brings me into the New York society, the quiet life of a well bred lady and then her adventures quickly after her marriage to a trader, from a good Boston family, to New Orleans and "theater" that would have been forbidden to her in New York. The writing style from 1950, even though quaint, reading between the lines, I understand the old West.
I am so pleased with the choices I made Saturday. I think how decisions made can add so much to our lives. Pray to make the right ones in all things.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Bright Shining City

The other day we went to Youngstown, Ohio, for the university's art festival and the Greek Church Festival. Since it was well past lunch time, we rushed to the Greek Festival. We're no experts and I almost hate to order that I sound not initiated. I point to the food, saying the English description, like Greek cheese pie or spinach pie- yum. Mary Ellen and Katie do say the Greek words. At the table, we try each other's treat. We can hardly wait for the Greek pastries, oh, heaven. Baklava, a creamy Baklava(well, that's what we called it), spun philo covering nuts, honey and cinnamon and Greek doughnuts. Oh, my.
The sun flirted with puffy clouds and though hot, there was no humidity. I know I'm crazy, but I love Youngstown. A feeling of that's my own city every time I look down Wick Ave. to Federal Plaza. I love rounding 680 with the view of downtown from the interstate, too. It's not a big city. It has a bad reputation, but the downtown just shines to me. I have felt called to this city since 2001, when I first started working there. I even loved the East side, although I only go in the morning. Driving past McGuffy Plaza that is mostly abandoned, now, with Elder in his bright suits and hat, holding up a paper and he sports shades. I always wave to him, not sure if he remembers me.
When I first started over there finding my way by studying a map and falling back on memory, I had a front plate that loudly declared,"I 'heart' Jesus" and most people smiled at me. Families respected the home health nurse, watching out for me in "this bad neighborhood." Now, I don't go there as often, because my territory changed, but when I'm there, I drive a daisied VW bug through all the sides of Y-town.
We crossed Wick Ave. to the campus, strolled a little way to a path to the Festival. If you know us at all, you would not be surprised we soon got hung up at the Maag Library book sale. I found several treasures for a donation. I'll write about the book tomorrow!
An Indian girl danced over behind the Butler Art Museum in the background. I loved the metropolitan aura. The leaves danced with the sun as it was quite perfect in the shade. I finally pulled myself away from the books.
I absorbed the different people, the crafts and displays, even though not hungry, the smells from the food booths and the sounds. Drawn to the concert in Kilcawly plaza to a young sound, more shade and people mulling around quietly. I enjoyed the dogs, a poodle and two chihuahuas, greeting each other.
I had never realized driving past YSU campus how beautiful and delightful it is, a hidden gem in the city. The Vindicator, which I have read for 5 years now steady, has reported on it. I'm sure perusing this paper every day has increased my love for this city.
And to top it off, Handel's had $1 ice cream cones that day, once a year to thank their customers. Which we parttook as we left the city out 193, with all the Northside! Well, I may exaggerate about that, but not the special feeling I have of Youngstown.