Monday, July 30, 2012

New Blog?

I'm reading a book by Frank Delaney, Tipperary. I'm about over half way through the novel. The time being present as a history teacher has found a manuscript by man born in 1860, Ireland, writing his country's history. There are other sources to the story, like the writer's mother's journal. The man from the 1800's is named George O'Brien.
George is a traveling healer, deciding against being a doctor, but learning healing arts from a more experienced healer. His brother, Euclid, is a sickly young man, who stays at home. George regales his brother with stories of his journeys. Euclid calls them "Tales from the Road."
If you do not know, I am a home health nurse and have been traveling the road for 20 years. I find myself entertaining family and friends with "tales from the road." Being careful of privacy, of course. So many instances are so similar. Trailer parks, old farmhouses, new mansions, elderly apartments and low rent apartments. The sweet farm couples, the fascinating hoarders, old ladies or men residing in their recliners, the ones who are never home(Medicaid). The smokers and those who think you smoke because you just left a smoker's home. There are differences among them all, but I can start a story and a fellow home health nurse will identify. Then I delve into the facts of this patient.
So when I read Euclid's quote, I thought, that could be the name of my blog. I have the travel stories of my youth, as well as the home health stories and stories now of vacations.
What do you think, reader? Should I make the blog more specific than my musings? Or shall I bite off one more chunk of life with another blog?
Do you want to hear more about the book I'm reading. I felt like an inadequate writer as I read Mr. Delaney's description of a World War I widow. Do I dare make the changes? I won't reread the section. Wow, I thought, I never thought of that. I have so much research to do once I write my stories, then rewrite them.
Let me know what you think. I value your opinion.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Dog Days

We need to get through Dog Days of summer. I heard on the radio they really start in July until the first week in August. I don't know, but I have been feeling them. This morning, as I'm able to crack the window open, I feel the coolness that refreshes. I'm able to wake early today after a twelve hour sleep yesterday with a dragging spirit all day.
The storms and threats of storms kept me unmotivated as well as the rest of the family. David coughs, racking his chest. I'm frustrated but can't ask him to do anything. Around six, after we decided not to do anything, except Mary Ellen to a play in Greenville(which she did not want her mother tagging along), I grab my socks and sneakers to walk the dog. He watches me, until he fully realizes he is going for that wonderful walk. I pick up the leash. He practically falls down the stairs, then backs up to sit on the bottom step while I put on his lead. Oh, he is so grateful.
We walk at a fairly steady pace, as we went the evening before. Almost to the end of our road, a clear sky on one side and dark bank of clouds on the other, he is sniffing all the wet long grass and downed branches. The rain starts with the sun shining. "Oh, let it pass over."
We run to the park entrance and I crunch up beside a tree to keep dry. Surely this will pass, but no it starts harder and soon it is dark. I hear that thunder. Harrison is ready to race home. I call my husband, who quickly picks us up in the mini van. So much for the walk.
Later it is cool, with no clouds and a bright moon. But I have settled for the night. Harrison, too. I'm revising my story to submit to a contest and itching to look at the one I'm trying to finish. Mary Ellen returns home and I decide with Back to the Future blaring, I've lost the 1918 aura. Bedtime, as I want to leave early in the morning to hear the priest without a church from Sweden, who is preaching at a church in Youngstown, OH.
I woke readily this morning. We need rest and to struggle through the Dog Days. Oh, beautiful refreshing that comes when we endure.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


I have noticed with my age or the Zoloft, I have been sweating buckets. This year, not just summer, has been warm. I sweat even in the air conditioning.
I remember Mrs. Boal perspiring. I'm trying to imagine her age in the 1960's. I know her daughter, Grace, was the same age as my  mother, born in 1923. I'm thinking Mrs. Boal, even though she seemed ancient by our standards today, was probably only in her sixties. Their fiftieth anniversary was 1971.
I'm not sure why that is all relevant, except to say although I was a little girl, she seemed old and today if she acted like then, would be old. Her sweat trickling in rivulets from her forehead fascinated me. Those beads of clear liquid on hot humid days before air conditioning as she worked on her flowers made me envious. I wanted my sweat to bead like that.
She wore a scarf around her hair to protect the set, I'm sure. In the pink tiled bathroom between their two bedrooms, I stared at the blue rinse bottle for her locks. A lady could have blue, sliver or purple. The colors arrayed at church on Sunday morning, as we fanned ourselves with the funeral home fans.
A few years later, the younger ladies had wet hair as they worked diligently in the kitchen and Fellowship Hall with that evening sun baking those rooms during dinners or receptions. My hair has felt like that this summer. The sweat soaked roots look so dark to my blond top. Oh, well. I'm thinking shaving it all off this year. But I won't.
My friend Sherry and I sat with my family in church during those hot summer days. We tried to be near the opened windows to catch the rare breeze. Summer was great though as we could get away with not wearing nylons. We used our fans or bulletins to move the air. I thought of a story about twins, Hollie and Mollie, enduring a service in heat. Didn't have much of a plot, though.
This morning, I thought of the plot for the third story of my Gables and Gingerbread Tales. The ideas of the basic story come easily as I drive around, looking at houses, countrysides, small towns. I have always loved history, so setting them in last century came naturally, just as Hollie and Mollie was thirty some years ago. But plots to drive a nice tale takes much time to ponder and develop. A long work in progress, as I sweat through the summer. I am excited how this trilogy is shaping up. All the delays of writing with my hectic life are part of the plan. I gently allow that yoke to lead my way. No sweat, there.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Not quite 365, a year of posts, but celebrating 350 posts! I enjoy writing this. I love writing. I relish the interaction.
Sorry this week has been skimpy on the writing. Working the weekend, and going every night some where has crimped my style.
This time of year in the dog days of summer, I find myself drifting. I tend to stay awake too late and find it difficult to jump out of bed in the morning. The lovely lingering summer evenings as the temperature cools off regenerates me. I want to revel in the morning, too, but find the late nights make stretching in bed more inviting.
Then we have the humidity, where the energy is sucked out of person. Today, with the air surrounding me like a hot wet blanket, sweat pouring off me like a fountain, I wait for the storm. Tornado warnings with sirens lead me to help a man down his stairs for the first time in long time. He has his wood shop down there and he threatens his wife he may not want to leave. He has been missing his tools.
I know how he feels. I want my writing. Take me downstairs to write. With no work worries. Some day. Will a storm help me to that place I can write?
Tension feels the air before a storm. I felt it this morning in my head with irritation. Yet, I plow through, watching the sky. Then sometimes, like today, it rushes through almost bypassing where I am. Yet, the stickiness remains and clouds pile up over 20,000 feet. I watch for more storms.
I don't know what tomorrow will bring, or even tonight as thunder crackles outside. I keep writing in the storms. I invite you to keep reading.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Rules for Dating

Writing about the dances and boys, I thought it would be fun to publish the rules I had for dating.
My mother told me I couldn't date until I was in ninth grade. The summer before I entered ninth grade, I informed Mom of that promise, "I get to date this year!" 
She dryly remarked, "And so many boys are calling."
According to Mom, she had a lot of boyfriends through her years. Giving candy to her. A mother driving them to freshman dance. Even at high school reunions in her later years, the men flocked to her. But she still didn't date after Dad, ever. Even when she became a widow. I guess when you have the best, you can't settle for anything less.
A common rule when I was fifteen: date someone near to my age. As some of the girls in my class went to prom with seniors when we were in eighth grade, this became a timely rule. The next year the high school raised the age to sophomores allowed to go to prom.
Dad didn't really make this a hard and fast rule, but he did discourage dating Roman Catholics. He suggested that if a way of worshiping God is important to me, which it was, this would only cause trouble later down the road. He made this remark while I was waiting for my date to be finish with church on a Saturday evening.
Lafayette, my gray miniature toy  poodle, leaned the toughest on his rules for the kind of boys I dated.
1) They couldn't smoke. 2) Have long hair. 3) Wear boots. I trusted his reactions to the boys that came for me at the house. He did like David, although, he broke rules 2 and 3. He judged character. If a man can't be kind to a lesser creature, he is not worth dating.
My Siamese cat, Dusty, liked David, too. I guess I listened most to my animals after my heart when choosing my husband. I think after thirty years, they proved to be wise advisers.

Miss Mollie's Musings: Still Going Strong : My post from last year's start of NWMC

Miss Mollie's Musings: Still Going Strong: We arrive early to the campus after the drive through the Amish farms that seem to never change on the hill to 208. Etched in the cement is...

Friday, July 20, 2012

God So Loves You

I'm not the only one to notice this. I've been called a hater because of my traditionalist views by strangers. I feel more hate from those defending a view than those standing up for beliefs of all Americans, no matter how varying they may be. I thought and prayed about posting this. Fear started to take over, until I remember God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love and self control. I hope this post helps someone else struggling with our changing world.
Spring of 2011, as I shopped, I prayed, "Dear Lord, help me to see this homosexuality issue through Your eyes." I know He loves them. I know He also thinks the act is wrong.
Not long after, I heard the story of Christopher and Angela Yuan on the radio. They wrote a book together of their journey, Out of a Far Country. I bought the book as soon as I could. I also gave it away to my niece because as I read it, I felt she needed to read it as well. He gave me the explanation that I needed.
Chris came out of dangerous homosexual, drug lifestyle being HIV positive. His mother also had to make her journey into the love of God. He will not say whether he was made homosexual or that it is a sin. He, after much studying and thinking on this subject of his life, has come to the conclusion that God calls us to holy sexuality. He does not feel he needs to be married to serve God. Nor does he want a homosexual relationship again. Jesus is to be our focus in life.
Chris spoke with such love and understanding, I cried, as I listened. I knew God was answering my prayer. He calls us all into a relationship with His son. Maybe as Paul says, we should be unmarried. But God created marriage as a way to glorify Him, and a symbol of His relationship with His people.
I know this will draw controversy if I had a large audience. But as I know people in the gay lifestyle, I must reach out in love. Even if they don't appreciate that my beliefs are based on Romans 1 and 2. I know God so loved the world. I want to be like God in that respect.

Casino Dances

Summer sunset over Lake Julia

The remodeled Casino
The night of the father/daughter dance
At our Buhl Park, there is a building called the Casino. There is no gambling there. It is where the original farm house sat next to the farm pond. Now, this body of water is called Lake Julia, which is actually a reservoir, that we walk over the dam on the north side. A beautiful setting that creates romance.
I was fifteen going to my first summer dances at this building. I'm not sure how I got there this first summer. Dad must have driven us there, but I have really drawn a blank on that. I know the second year when we were sixteen, and someone drove the gang.
These dances had live bands playing the songs. The Casino made out of old wood, like the twenties, painted in flat colors of dark brown and tan. We climbed stairs to the second story in our best summer casual clothes. No dresses. Teens from all over the Shenango Valley already gathered, dancing.
I loved the Beach Boys sets and the Beatles sets. Amazing even then we loved the oldies, and they are still popular. When the music slowed or we didn't like a song, we left the main floor to the balcony around it. A window with no glass provided a place to sit. My freshman estranged boyfriend sat on it one evening. Not being able to drive, we had kind of broken up for the summer. Some of his friends started to drive, bringing him to the dance. After seeing each other, we got back together the next day.
I can't remember who called after the dance, but we talked till three in the morning. He rode his bike downtown and we spent the afternoon together, walking around the cemetery, cause those are the kind of dates you go on in a small town when you don't drive. We talked and talked.
The summer I was sixteen, we had broken up for good, as I wanted to go to prom with a senior that spring. Twice burned, the boyfriend didn't want to go into the frying pan again. So I met lots of boys from all over, Sharon, Hermitage(called Hickory then), Masury, OH, (yes, they crossed the state line) and Sharpsville. I love how we all so easily became friends, all the girls and boys. And we sustained those friendships outside the Casino Tuesday night dances.
Sometimes I wore my hair in a pony tail. Other times, just down. I took a nurse's aid class that summer at Vo-Tech. I paid five dollars and if you had perfect attendance at the end of the course, they returned the money to you. One time, I came home from that class on Casino Dance night, washed my hair and my mother braided small braids all over my head. I let it dry, removed the braids to reveal the Amy Irving hair.(think Carrie.)
We loved these dances, looking forward to them all week. Dancing and then strolling on the balcony. Going downstairs to the concession stand for a refreshment. After the last dance, we then hung out at the McDonald's parking lot, until the security cop suggested we go home. Most of us had to as we were still driving with the Cinderella license.
Just one more crazy memory of my teen years. I don't think they have these dances any more. Funny, how now I live near the Casino, yet my girls never attended one dance there. Had pictures taken outside it for homecoming and prom. I did see a father/daughter dance this spring. The girls wore party dresses, though, much more formal than our nicest jeans and tops.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Private Pool Swimming

As we started changing classes with new girls in general classes, my friendships expanded in junior high. I do think one girl moved to this area about this time as I think about it. Donna Fox lived on the Bedford Road side of town. She had an above ground pool. Often I went there to swim. We swam into the night often. I loved night swimming as well.
Another friend Dawna lived on the other side of town. She, too, had a above ground pool. I didn't go there as often. I remember her mother commenting on her hair. I don't think she had washed it for quite a few days because she was always swimming. Chlorine makes a good cleanser, right?
Mid July found us swimming so much. Night swimming exciting and alluring. I loved being with friends. We'd make whirlpools in the smaller private pools. Played Marco Polo. Lived in our swimming suits, usually bikinis.
I taught a class at my church this evening. The girls are younger than junior high, fifth and sixth grade. They ran in, jabbering about a boy, who will decide on Sunday which one of the girls he likes. Their shiny, clean hair and glowing faces give away they had been swimming most of the day. That is the way we looked. My hair soft from so much water and using conditioner. We didn't have flat phones that texted, took pictures and videos. Yet, they still seem so much the same as us, on their summer vacation, excited about camp next week.
Summer time, hanging with friends, feeling free for a short time. These extra hot days make me miss the night swimming, staying up watching horror movies, sneaking phone calls after the parents retired to their rooms. With caller ID, I doubt kids even know about those prank calls. Doors left open all night to let in the cool night air, if it cooled. Cricket sounds, occasional car sounds or someone out walking late at night filled the stillness of quiet times.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Summer of 1976, the Bicentennial of our country had a lot of celebrations. With Girl Scouts, I took two trips to Philadelphia. Pennsylvania had a passport kind of promotion to visit every county in the commonwealth.
Reenactments of Revolutionary War battles dotted the landscape. John Jakes America series in books, then I believe TV, told stories of our early history. Seemed everyone had one of his books in their hands.
Summer was hot. Imagine that. But some summers are hotter than others. I believe this one was a hotter  one. The first trip to Philadelphia with the Council, we camped. We met with another troop from Norristown, PA. We had a picnic in the outskirts of Philly on a muggy evening. I was not thrilled though with the "gang" showers. And not being able to blow dry my hair or do the whole routine I mentioned in the other post. We wore white blouses and forest green shorts, not flattering. We visited the Mike Douglas show with Vidal Sassoon, as guest. My beauty question before the show, we were asked to write on 3x5 card, was how to look great when camping with no electricity or mirrors. It didn't get chosen.
John Davidson,(the original Breck Girl) and David Brenner were also guests. I admired them both, but felt so conscious of my camping looks in that humidity that I would have died if I had really approached them. So I scrunched in the seat, hiding.
The next trip to Philly was with our West Middlesex troop. We camped out Beverly Hills style, well, not quite. We did stay at a Holiday Inn in the city. I sat on the edge of the balcony taking in the city sounds. My mom was a chaperone for this one. They all had fun corralling us into the rooms.
I loved this city as well, with cobblestone streets, the street entertainers, and food. The old neighborhood with narrow, but tall houses intrigued me. The street vendors and the man who played the glass harp thrilled me. Seeing people in colonial garb strolling around. I did not like the smells and heat of the Italian market.
Big celebrations at home as well. We were so proud our country made it two hundred years. It seemed so long. Everything brought our independence fight, and victory to our constant attention that summer.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Dreaming, Best Go to Bed

The day was too short. I can't think now to post, as I'm tired. I think next year, I'll take the month of July as vacation. Dreaming, so I best go to bed.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Stuck in the 70's

I just read an article about Farrah Fawcett's feathered hair style. My, how everyone wore that. I looked at photos I carried in my wallet when I was in high school and post, since some were senior pictures, as well as my nursing school classmates. That hair blown back from our face, maybe a little dippy do on the ends. The boys had hair like that, too.
I knew one boy a few years older than I, with beautiful blonde, almost white, hair. His style perfected I heard with a curling iron. I know I worked my hair for an hour in the morning. I used the hand dryer, I set it in hot curlers and then added touches with the curling iron. Every single morning, except Saturday, if I were staying home to clean, but sometimes I had to be out volunteering for something. Then I worked on the perfect hair.
I studied those pictures yesterday. We thought we were all different. Yet, we were so uniformed. I think today, it seems the high school girls all have long hair in pony tails. If the girl is a jock, she also wears a headband.
I loved the blow dryer when it became popular. I styled my hair with grace. I loved my hair. I felt sorry for the women older than I, who hadn't learned how to style their hair within these trends. Now, I feel sorry for me, as I sometimes washed my hair three times a day, so I would get the "look." Why was I so obsessed with my hair. I didn't even watch Charlie's Angels. Or much TV at all. But I wanted to be fashionable. I wanted to fit in and turn heads.
I read the article on Farrah's hair influence the day after I thought of the quest for the perfect feathered style. This trend is making a comeback. Styles are like that. Seems someone gets a look and soon it is seen everywhere from news anchors to teachers. And they always return with a twist on the original.
We are watching the American Film Institute's top 100 films. I forget some of the movies that I saw so long ago. The 70's styles flash back. I think it is funny how when I see some actors that were so fresh at first, I realize how they are that person imitating many other persons, but still that person, after all these years. Still great actors, but as Solomon said-"Nothing new under the sun."

Art and Ice Cream

The day spent mostly in travel to get a wand for the old Rainbow vacuum cleaner. I love how we have one thing on our agenda and end up having a full day. Cloudy, humid day makes being in air conditioned car a pleasure.
A Rainbow vacuum uses water if you are not familiar with this. We bought it the fall after we were married as some salesman making the rounds in our apartment complex knocked on our door. Six hundred dollars in 1982 was quite a tidy sum, that I believe we even financed it. I love the idea of no bags to empty, no dust. Changing sweeper bags always seemed counter-productive to me. I love my Rainbow. I feel it cleans best.
The problem with just wanting to get a part for a thirty year old vacuum cleaner that is sold in a pyramid scale is the salesperson wants to sell you a new one. The new ones are twenty three hundred dollars. After we picked up the new wand to fit our model, we visited a pet store in the unimpressive Meadville Plaza. David then drove by the store as we left the plaza with the warning to not look at the vacuum store, because the owner will run out to sell us a vacuum cleaner. Quick, duck!
We were on US Route 6, or Conneaut Lake Road. Six miles to the town of Conneaut. Conneaut Lake is the biggest natural lake in Pennsylvania. I remember the Lewis family reunions on some of the hottest days of the year, taking that pontoon boat out to the middle, diving in that deep cold water. Cooled a person to the core, just what you want when it is hot. I had David drive by the Campbell cottage. Houses are very close to it now. Even resort areas, only good for a few months of the year, grow up.(See 8/14/11 post)
We would have loved to do more, but our oldest daughter had to work. So I directed David down State route 18 over the Great Marsh and Amish country, the rolling hills of our lake country.
Katie suggested that Penn State Creamery was set up at the Hermitage Arts Festival. We made a stop there behind the city building beside the high school. It's not a very big festival, but always fun to wander through the booths of crafty items. Chandler Beatty following in his mother's footsteps with his art. Similar painting style, but more defined in detail. Not so many barns and landscapes. We joked about art being local observing his zebra painting of part of the face, focusing on the eye. The zebra lives at Pymatuning Deer Park in Jamestown, PA, so it is local. I think I have a magazine article in the making.
We didn't get our ice cream as Penn State had no presence at this affair. We donated to the children's cancer fund for some lemonade. We were still very full from our dinner in Meadville.
I love creativity. I feel a little restless like I should have my laptop to tap away writing something as I sit and observe the people. I love the live bands. I love the smell of  Seeds of Faith barbeque. I love running into people I know. I love talking history as a print of Mt. Hickory sits at the Hermitage Historical Society booth. I find out some one is writing a book about the Pierce family and the connection to Barbara Bush. Oh, the time to meet people for more than fleeting conversation. I will meet Rod Alexander who is writing this book.
I'm full of hope and ideas tonight as I reflect on my day. I pray now for energy to carry through. I pray for the grace to accept my limitations at this time. A little bit of ice cream would help, too. I doubt they have peachy Paterno any more.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Morning Prayer

Peace flood my soul!
I breathe in the quietness of the morning.
Lord, I need to breathe in You.
Give me strength for the day
Joy in the journey.
My attitude be that of Christ's
And may I do all things through Christ which strengthens me.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Day Four- Fourth of July

 We finally got our beach day, although, in the morning I didn't think it would happen. I woke early. Waited for the opportunity of lull in the breakfast crowd, then made the best Belgium waffle. I think I want one- an iron specifically for that. I observed the morning crowd. Kids just have that sleepy look, with slightly messed up hair. The best this day was the four year old boy with his toy Black and Decker chain saw, with goggles. He was ready to do some work.
I returned to the motel room and with the gray darkness and everyone still sleeping, I slumbered, too. A storm passed, I vaguely heard the thunder. I do feel isolated in a motel room.
We woke around eleven. Thank goodness for the noon check-out time. Scrambled around, packing and deciding to be ready for the beach. We ate snack food, trail mix and Grandma's cookies. David drank his Pepsi.
We drove around the Isle again till we found our beach 6. I have come to call that one, home. I think the storm cooled the lake water some. I don't think it was 76 degrees anymore. We messed around in the waves for about an hour. Then read on the blanket. David is not a fan of the beach, which is why Tuesday was to be our beach day so he could do the other Erie stuff he likes to do. But we were heading home today and he was antsy.
I returned to the water one more time. Then strolled quite a ways down the shore. The clouds rolled back and sun with higher temperatures ruled the day. With the breeze, the heat didn't oppress. Soon though, the hunger pains of the skimpy breakfast and my early one, pushed us to Taco Bell. Then we jumped on I-79 south.
Time to journey home through the pastoral settings of northwest Pennsylvania. The rolling hills, the expanses from the hill tops, the Great Marsh, Amish and English farms with white houses and fences. I did sleep some.
Our air conditioning broke some time while we were gone. The house, stuffy, and of course hot, made me feel for the people who had lost their electricity with the storms earlier. Windows quickly opened, house fan chugging away. I fell into a stupor through the night with the droning and heat.
Animals were thrilled we were home. I get almost knocked over by Harrison when I have been gone for a while like this. The next morning, I remained in the stupor, being dragged out of bed to tell David which A/C repair man I wanted to come. We called him five years ago, when our kids both graduated from high school.
All my energy when away stayed in Erie. My most ambitious chore was laundry. But isn't that the purpose of vacations- to rest and relax and rest?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Day Three

The day produced the showers, actually heavy downpours, with the sun shining. We decided against a beach day. Breakfast, lunch for me, at the Cracker Barrel started the day for the girls. We shopped around the Millcreek Mall, I don't remember it being so big, while a headlight was replaced by Sear's.
I didn't mention the friendly people in Erie. I wanted to post on Facebook that I want to move to Erie, but avoided mentioning I was away. In K-Mart, first the clerk was very helpful, not surly. OK, she's paid to be helpful. Then as I reached out to another shopper tracking down the sunblock, I decided we were some kind of twins. At the same time, we both said we like No-Ad sunblock and SPF 15. Another lady shopper in K-Mart, spoke a cheerful comment.
The AAA clerk and I struck a conversation like we knew each other for a long time. Then David noticed the openness of the community. My theory is summer is their one good season and they are making the most of it.

After shopping most of the afternoon, we needed refreshment. Off to Presque Isle for the famous orange cream twist at Sara's. One size fits all. The sun peaked out from the clouds. We drove around the peninsula, making a stop at the Perry Monument. Reading the placards, we heard rumbling. We continued around the circular drive.
Then we saw the sky, scrambled onto this beach and watched the storm roll over the lake. Until the lifeguard sneered that we had to leave the beach, because they had been evacuated, so why did we think we were better than the lifeguards?
Our visit broke the drought. We rushed through the downpour to a Backyard Burger. We felt sorry for the bikers leaving as we got our food.
Not quite shopped out, after the storm, we lingered for an hour and half at Barnes and Noble. I wish I had brought my phone camera in, but I protected it from the rain. The clouds broke up and a sun so bright and orange pink glowed through the damp air. I then settled in a comfortable chair and read excerpts from a book I'm contemplating buying. I already bought one book that day at Books  A Million.-John Wesley's book of sermons on the Holy Spirit and Power, language brushed up a bit for modern readers, but it also was in the van.
We got back to the motel too late for me to swim. Back hurt in the morning. With two TV's and the internet, the family settled down with contentment.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Day Two

 We woke leisurely Monday morning. I did get up earlier to enjoy the front porch again. I moved a chair around so the sun doesn't blind my eyes. I read and type in my journal.

After lunch, around one o'clock, we finally headed out the door. Dad stared at David. Mom asked him what he wanted to do and he nodded toward David and announced, "I want to go with him." That broke my heart. Because I also know as soon we were hardly out of town, he would ask where Ellen was, or when we were going home.
Our hearts do linger in Emporium. It is Grandma's and Grandpa's, home for David and a peaceful place for me, that I have visited for thirty two years. Love abounds throughout the home.
The mountain roads curved ahead of us after we leave town. We get to a point where there are no telephone poles for eight to ten miles on Norwich Hill. Luscious green, clear blue skies and puffy white clouds formed as they say a picture perfect day. David enjoyed this as he grew up in this area, and went this way to his college in Edinboro. I stare out the window at the undergrowth, loving the sunlight jumping on the ferns.
The Kinzua Viaduct(officially), brought back many memories. David retold how his dad, on a trip there when David was eight, crossed the bridge on the railing. David thought for sure he was going to be a half orphan. I gazed over the side, thinking how Diane and Herman climbed this trestle before it was a state park. David and I, before Katie was born, rode the train to the bridge, as well as across. The train didn't linger, but for a half hour. David almost missed the train. The whole excursion lasted eight hours.
The hawks soaring around above and below us fascinated me. No humidity with mountain breezes created a comfortable day. Then we continued through the towns on US Route 6, the oil wells, the refineries, the Allegheny.
We arrived at our motel around 430 pm. Looked around our room, the lobby, then decided to get food at Sara's and spend the evening at the beach. Sara's, as always, totally packed with people in beach attire, hard to find a parking space. When we get to the beach, I feel all the tension of the day leave my shoulders. Unfortunately, the lifeguards leave at 730 and we arrived about ten after seven. No sense getting wet, then slop around in sandy suits while we shop.
Swimming at the motel pool reminds me how this is one of the best exercises. I slept so well that night, with no back pain. The next morning, though the day dawns hazy, hot and humid. I play smile and hide with an adorable six year old girl in the breakfast room. She made her mom sit in another chair, so she could sneak a peek at me, by turning her head quickly.
I think of a line from a book I'm reading, Tipperary, set in the late 1800's, by Frank Delaney. The main character decided when he was nine or ten on a trip with his father, that he liked hotel living. I imagine how different that experience is from mine. We don't think of clean, crisp linen sheets to slide between. Most of look for bed bugs, now. I didn't see any. More likely 150 years ago to find critters in the bed, I would think.
I waited this morning in the lobby for the family to wake. Then we would decide what to do, as the weather was labile.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Day One- Summer Vacation 2012

I set up the format for the contest. It wasn't too hard, but I have to be online to write on it. I have my work cut out for me. I may be spending hours at a place with wireless. Or rising earlier than my usual time. I dusted off the manuscript yesterday, and boy, could I do some cutting and revision. It is good to let some time simmer a pot. Again, I ask for prayers as I embark on this endeavor.
So as I promised, vacation stories from earlier this week, with pictures. We arrived in Emporium at our usual late time, 930PM. David's parents were just leaving the porch. I call them Mom and Dad, have since before I was married. Sometimes, now I do refer to them as Grandma and Grandpa, since I'm with three of their grandchildren often-my daughters and David's niece.
Dad, unfortunately, has a mind that is retreating into the non-memory land. It now seems to be getting worse by the day. As Katie says, he has a hard time even remembering the script. This affects us all, as he was such a strong leader. I keep thinking that was only five years ago, he ruled the house and his family.
Sunday, I sat next to him in church. Communion was celebrated. The liturgy for this shines on the screen in front. Dad quietly reads along and my heart melts in a way I have a hard time describing. I am moved. The pastor, Chris, who is a retired woman minister, leads the sacrement. She offers Jesus' love. All of this, has made this Lord's supper one of the most meaningful ones for me in a long time. I felt Chrirst's presence in our midst. And I'm sad, my words are unable to convey the mystery I felt.
After this service, I feel changed, more loving, more forgiving, more like Jesus. I talked with Pastor Chris to tell her how God worked through her love. We end up talking a long time. Her last charge was in Fredonia and Big Bend, what the Methodists call a two point charge. I know the area well, as it was my first territory when I started home health nursing twenty years ago. She had just been in the Charleston UM church for a funeral the day before. They used the bigger sancturary since Big Bend is a small white country church. She is fascinated with writers and I tell her ministers and their stories fascinate me. Also, my heroine in the novel I'm presently writing is named Christina, she is Christine. I love cookie hours after church, especially when it starts at ten.

Sunday is pleasant, hot, but not humid. I love the blue and green of Pennsylvania in the summer. In the evening, we sat on the large porch. Watched the moon rise and visited. The mosquitoes didn't come near.

Friday, July 6, 2012


I'm going to take a break from the summer stories to write about what I love-writing. I am, according to most wisdom I read, going about this in the wrong way, but I feel I must follow my heart and limitations. Writing magazine articles is the grunt work before book writing, I read over and over. I did have some ideas, but with working full time as a home health nurse, that feels like I never leave the job, to do research for short pieces is a difficulty.
Not only research for the article, but also how it is to be formatted. That scares me more than developing an idea and piece. What does a particular magazine require? Yikes! That is so intimidating to me. I loved writing feature articles for the school newspaper in high school, but we just had to write-in long hand for me. The teacher edited and the printer had the format.
So, I do hope to get some magazine articles written. I have to tour O'Neil Coffee. Thought I'd do it on my vacation, but time has run out. This is a vacation to rest for me. I hope before the summer is over, I will have that together for a food and/or travel magazine or two.
Yesterday, I wrote 2661 words on the latest novel on which I'm cutting my teeth. I'm almost to the end, which I believe is why writing came so easily. I do have the conclusion in sight, which makes a story tell itself. I'm actually pretty excited about this story.
My plans include submitting my first story to Re-Write Conference contest. A chance to be published by Tyndale House. That deadline is August 1. Again, it is figuring out the format to submit the writing to the contest. I will get help today. Maybe, I'll be in San Diego in September- keep praying for me and my writing.
My love is the story and I think writing magazine articles is more nonfiction. I love writing on this blog. I do wonder how to increase readership. Mary Ellen and I decided the author has to have an agenda, like visiting all the plaques on the roadside of a state, or cooking their way through a cookbook- oh, that has been done. She notices that method on Tumblar, which is a picture blog.
Tomorrow I will post my vacation pictures if they are any good. I will write about our mini vacation in northwest Pennsylvania. I must agree with Uncle Bill, who traveled the world over, there is no place more beautiful than our state.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Wyoming and High Altitude

We hardly spent any time in Laramie. The town, flat and barren, but I felt the effects of the altitude. I rode Herman's ten speed, becoming very short of breath. I walked across an empty lot to the convenience store, amused at the prairie dogs popping up and down all over the land. I loved the summer any where, but so much fun with interesting and different things to do.
The Dairy Queen was the only ice cream stand in town. So strange from Shenango Valley. Diane and Herman drove a long way to Fort Collins, CO for Baskin Robbins ice cream. We did that and toured through the Rockies, Estes Park, had to climb Mt. Evans, where nothing but sky spread out before our Nova's hood. Herman drove, Mom and Dad sat in the front and Diane and I cut up in the back seat.
Snow lingered on the mountains, although summer temperatures prevailed.
I saw a double decker outhouse at a mountain museum. We stopped at Fort Laramie, not near the town. We stayed a night at Jackson, ate at Jenny Lake Lodge, where Princess Grace vacationed. We strolled around Jackson. Somewhere around here, we watched Yankee Doodle Dandy, with James Cagney on the motel TV late night movie. My mother enthused about his dancing. This was my first encounter with his hoofing.  I love the grand lodge at Yellowstone, next to Old Faithful. We didn't stay there. I stared at the bubbling mud near the geyser, as we walked over the wooden path.
Casa Bonita, a Mexican restaurant in Denver, was my first introduction to Mexican food. This huge place included a dinner show with divers. I loved most the sophipias- oh, heavenly. Never found them again like at this restaurant.
Mulling around the Cody Museum in Cody, WY, I heard a camera click and some laughing. Boy Scouts trailed me and took my picture. We got to talking and found out we were practically neighbors. They lived in Coraopolis, PA. Being fifteen, having boys pay attention to me was quite a confidence boost. I loved how the dry air relieved the frizzies in my hair.
We also were introduced to buffalo burgers and raisin cream pie. One restaurant that appeared as a hole in the wall, had a great dinner. I remember most the bacon wrapped petite steak. Food, on vacation, tastes better than other food.
So many memories of this trip. The best was Dad could drive long distances again. Mom and I were at that friction phase of teen age daughters and mothers. I couldn't even tell you why I didn't like her then. She felt it and bought me a pair of horse head earrings, with an apology, which made me feel very awkward. Couldn't I just have my rebellion in peace?
A rodeo also filled the new experiences for me. Funny how I admired the girls in their boot cut jeans, plaid shirts and cowboy hats, but knew there was no way I could wear that back home. I did get boot cut jeans, though. No cowboy hat.
A fresh accident just outside of Laramie with barefoot jean legs, lifeless beside the road caused shuddering. Also, seeing a boulder rock indented into one of the roads we were on, just prior to when we came upon it. Life could be cut off in second.
Long evenings driving in the car, we could listen to WFAR from Farrell, PA. A taste of home before the internet was imagined. Love the skip off the heavyside layer.
The expanse of the sky, the low humidity, the prairie dogs, bright sunshine and new experiences comprised a wonderful vacation. I renewed my friendship with Diane. I grew some from the learning.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fourth of July

It's a bummer,
It's the Fourth of July
It's a bummer,
Oh, don't you make your momma cry.
It's the Tower of Pisa,
The Mona Lisa.
It's a bummer,
It's the Fourth of July

This little ditty was made up by one of Tracy Powell's friends in Grove City. She lived on the street perpendicular to Uncle Dave's and Aunt Nome's on Superior Street, at the top of the hill. I forget her name. I'll call her Patty.
The Fourth of 1975, we visited the Grove City Lewis' and I got to hang out with Tracy and her friends. She lived on the other side of State Route 208. We walked all over the neighborhood. While we sat on swings, Patty started making this song up. Funny how it sticks in my mind, that almost forty years later (yikes!), I start singing it around June 30th and woke to it this morning.
The next year, Dad, Mom and I traveled to Wyoming to visit Diane and Herman in married student housing at Laramie University. We took a few days to drive out. The first night, we visited Becky, Dad's cousin, in Aurora, IL. The third of July, we stopped at a beautiful Holiday Inn in Lincoln, Nebraska. The indoor pool was Olympic size. I had a great time swimming. I wore a halter top denim jump suit after swimming to dinner. We didn't leave the motel. I felt very grown up at fifteen.
The next day, the Fourth, we pushed on to Laramie. I had never been this far west before. Nebraska stretched out. Two days before was the last time my mom ever attempted to drive on I-80 in Ohio. Her neck did not move, as she didn't go over 55. My dad, patient as ever, allowed her to try, but he couldn't rest or relax, so he soon took back the wheel.
We arrived at married student housing in mid afternoon. The two room cinder block apartment did not have a walk-in closet. So Herman teased me that I had no place to sleep. Mom and Dad would sleep in the bedroom, while we slept in the living room. We would not spend too many days there; touring Wyoming and Colorado filled the agenda cooked up for us.
We were in the land of cowboys, for real. Watching the young men in their trucks, with cowboy hats on their heads.  For the fireworks display we rode Herman's silver truck, all five of us in the front seat, to a hillside. Some sat on hoods, and some still sat in the trucks. If the locals loved a firework, they honked their truck horns, or hooted and howled. I think they all were in trucks.
The Fourth was not a bummer either year.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Some of the Most Important Things

The next year of 1975, after Mom and Dad finished with their four days with the final shift at the Children's Home, we left for Fredricksburg, Virginia. We traveled through the night. I slept most of the trip, stretched out in the back seat, when no one panicked about seat belts.
I woke just as we got off the exit. Except for one wrong turn, which I quickly adjusted, I was able to direct my dad to Dan and Jody's apartment. Jody couldn't believe I remembered from a year earlier. I knew then I had inherited my dad's sense of direction. We were supposed to call Jody from the exit, at a pay phone, of course. But I surprised her.  The best part is Dad trusted me.
I loved riding in that back seat. I had a cozy spot, with blanket and pillow. I read the whole way home.  I read a book about the end times- before Left Behind. I was still in my close walk with Jesus, then. I read books, like Chuck Colson's Born Again, and a Pat Robinson's book, that I can't remember the name, the topic was on his starting the 700 Club.
I can't remember much what we did that year. We only had the three days that Mom and Dad were off work. Jody was working this year at a restaurant, like Country Kitchen. All I know it was good Dad was able to drive on long journeys again. We went a few years when he was not able to take these trips. He didn't work the shifts any more, so we were together a lot. Good things can come out of bad. Relationships and time spent on them are the some of the most important things in life.