Wonderful September Weekend

The weather forecast for the weekend was very favorable, with a chance of showers Saturday night.   So we filled most of it with activities!    We began by volunteering to take a van to the Luzerne County Fair on Friday night.   I ended up with one student from each of the following countries :    Chile, Italy, Mexico, The Netherlands, Afghanistan, Spain, and the US –  what an international experience, all looking forward to their first visit to a fair in the US.  The kids had a great time.  The highlight for me was observing  a 4 day old calf snuggling up to its owner and falling asleep with its head on her lap!   Friday was a long day.  We left the house at 7 am and did not get home till 11PM.

Saturday was a day for work around the house.   Imagethe goal was to finish the shingles on the front of the house,  and I made it..  Now we just need to finish it with bleaching oil,  and then I can move on to the rest of the house..   The hours flew by and soon it was time for dinner.    Macaronni and Cheese and home made split pea soup..  I then built a fire in the pit in the back yard and we treated my niece who was visiting to her very first SMORE.   I think that she liked them – she had three 🙂

This morning dawned a bit dreary,  but my step daughter, k , was motivated.  She made whole wheat banana waffles for all of us to enjoy for breakfast.   The sun came out early in the afternoon , and my wife and I headed to the Blakeslee Preserve for a hike.Image

the colors are a bit washed out in the photos, but it was a beautiful hike.  We will have to return later in the fall.   The trailhead is a little over 6 miles from our house.

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Perhaps the biggest treat was returning home to the  aroma of cabbage soup that  k had made.   Janet made smashed red potatoes  and hot cider, and we considered ourselves awfully lucky to be able to sit down at a table  in a kitchen filled with the fragrance of wholesome food.    The work week is just hours away, so we need to focus on a little school work before calling it a day.   Weekends such as this are truly a blessing!

 

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A Sunday Drive…

ImageA few days ago, my wife,  Janet,  noticed an advertisement for  a 1940’s  theme weekend at Eckley Miner’s Village, a museum that is dedicated to coal mining in north east Pennsylvania, not too far from where we live.  She was particularly interested in the fact that a Holocaust survivor,  Severin Fayerman,  would be speaking at the event..   http://www.eckleyminersvillagemuseum.com/

So we made plans to attend.   But, we also discovered that my brother,  Craig, would be performing in Coopersburg in the evening,  so we expanded the itinerary and made a day of it..     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cnb_8ZDeXgY

Mr. Fayerman’s talk was very moving.   It was our first experience hearing an actual survivor  of Auschwitz discuss the details of his experiences inside a Nazi concentration camp.   I have had the good fortune, however, of  having friends in NH who experienced World War II from two different, yet  harrowing perspectives.   Titia Bozuwa  grew up in occupied Holland and wrote a captivating book about her life as a young girl at the time  http://www.amazon.com/In-The-Shadow-Of-Cathedral/dp/0975482513,  and her husband experienced the war as an inmate in a Japanese Concentration Camp.  http://www.amazon.com/Emperors-coming-behind-Barbed-Indonesia/dp/0975482548 

 Despite the trials that Severin, Titia and her husband Gijs experienced in their formative years,  each of them has lived full, productive, and exciting lives.   Most importantly, even after eighty or more years of life,  they are particularly gracious  and have energy to share with those who happen to be in their presence.   These are qualities  that I happen to admire most about them.  

In addition to the speaker,  there were WWII  encampments and  interpreters,  and one of the houses in the village was open, furnished just as it was  in the 1940’s.    Sometimes we tend to ignore the history in our own back yard – I would recommend a visit to Eckley by those both near and far! 

After spending some time at the museum,  we headed south towards Tamaqua, the town that I associate with my grandparents.   My Grandfather worked for the Reading Railroad, and his job required that he move from time to time.  But Tamaqua was home, and that is where we visited them when I was a child.    It just so happens that Janet’s grandparents and mine are buried at the same cemetery  located in Hometown, just north of Tamaqua.   We decided to stop just to see if we might find their graves,  but we did not have success.   We will have to do a little research before returning again at some point!

As we approached Tamaqua, I related to Janet the memory of driving out to the country with my grandparents for ice cream.   We went to Heisler’s dairy.  I stopped at a gas station in town and asked if they were still open..  they are..  and we got directions..   Image

Fortunately for us, they were not quite this busy, but the ice cream was just as good as I remember it,  and the purple martin houses and mini golf course  are still there..   It was well worth the  short detour into the country!

We then headed south again, towards the Lehigh Valley,  home of Mack Truck,  and Martin Guitars..  and my brother the rock star!      Most everyone that I know  who have children have questioned at one time or another how it is possible that children raised in the same household, by the same parents,  can turn out so differently..   That is certainly the case with my two brothers and me..  I am the youngest.. the one who happened to benefit from observing my older brothers and figuring out the easiest way to navigate through adolescence – easiest for both me and my parents  🙂     But we have all turned out to be nice guys, doing our own thing, in our own way..    Dan, the oldest,  now lives in Tennessee, Craig  lives in Coopersburg, not far from out hometown of Quakertown,  and, I currently live in Bear Creek Township, just outside of Wilkes Barre.    Craig is the rock star..  he  had a dream of making a living by playing his guitar from early childhood,  and he has done it.  I admire his talent and his determination..  and, even though I grew up listening to him play day in and day out.. ,  It is a lot of fun to see him on stage –  maybe more so now that we are a bit older and he has mellowed and branched out a bit..   In fact, we just listened to his latest CD last night on the way home,  and I swear that two of the tracks would be welcome on CMT.. although I am sure that he would argue that to the death 🙂

He and his friend Nyke  van Wyk  just got back from a tour in Ireland,  and they were performing at a benefit in Coopersburg..  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pzY0MgWiD8

  We happened to arrive just as they were preparing to play..   we surprised my  niece and chatted a bit with my sister-in-law and then found that my Uncle Dick  and Aunt Joanne were in the crowd.. It was nice to touch base with them having not  not seen or talked with them for probably 30 years..   

After the show my  sister-in-law asked us over to the house for tea..   this is like even better than getting a back stage pass!   of course, there was no back stage at this particular venue  🙂     We  enjoyed looking at her pics from the trip to Ireland  and chatting with them,  but then it was soon time to head home.  

We  are beginning to sense that the end of summer is just around the corner and that the demands of school are nearly  upon us, and that makes days like this even more special – time to enjoy each other’s company,  time to explore the area around us, time to revisit childhood memories,  and time to spend with friends and relatives.    It was a great day!