Tell Me a Story about … Musicals!

Close your eyes … no, wait, if you close your eyes, you won’t be able to read this post! Pretend your eyes are closed. I’m going to give you a line from the lyrics of a well-known musical. See if you instantly hum the melody.

“Good morning, good morning! We’ve talked the whole night through!”

What’s the next phrase? Let’s try another one.

“The hills are alive with the ….”

Did you get that one? I didn’t give you much to go on, but I’m betting you did.

What is it about musicals that grabs our spirit and won’t let go? In my childhood home, we watched Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as often as they came on Musicals Btelevision (that was pre-video days!). I fell in love with Elvis Presley as he sang, “Love me tender; love me true.” I sang along with Rodgers and Hammerstein songs from records on my phonograph.

Was it the music? The lyrics? The actors and actresses? Or maybe the dances!

Who wouldn’t want to dance with Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen to “The Best Things Happen while You’re Dancing” in White Christmas? And when the King of Siam dances with Anna in The King and I, who doesn’t want to find a partner and say, “Shall we dance?” I dreamed of being in a musical myself someday.

Well, that’s as far as it got … a dream. I didn’t have the courage or the time.

Then, we had children … who grew up watching Mary Poppins and to whom I sang, “Someone to care for, to be there for, I have you two! Someone to do for, muddle through for, I have you two!” (In case you don’t know, this is from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.) These daughters went on to make their dreams a reality. Between having roles at local theaters, performing as a vocal group with their cousins, and creating their own drama troupe, they sang, danced, and lived the dream.

Those were some amazing years. I can still hear their young voices singing through the musicals, including newer ones. “We go together like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong!” from Grease melted into “Open the gates and seize the day!” from Newsies. Choreography for the dance numbers in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance still fills my memories.

And yet, some of my fondest memories involving musicals come from … laughter!

Every time my maternal grandmother watched Whoopi Goldberg wiggle in the “Hail Holy Queen” number in Sister Act, she almost fell on the floor with her guffaws. It makes me laugh just remembering her. I would go upstairs to the apartment built onto my parents’ house just to watch the VHS with her, though I watched her and not the movie.

When she passed on her love of Singing in the Rain to our daughters, we bought the video. I thought sure it would wear out from the number of times we rewound it to watch “Make ‘Em Laugh.” And we’re not talking once each time, we’re talking three or four times with each viewing! Donald O’Connor made ‘em laugh!Musicals C

During the girls’ performing years, the laughter continued. Anyone who’s seen Pirates of Penzance can testify to its hilarity. However, add to that the fact that our drama troupe lacked male actors. Enter our middle daughter’s ability to pull off male roles, and you come up with a great Frederic, the young pirate who turns 21 and realizes a whole world awaits him … with females. As the only girl in the cast who could hit the highest soprano notes, our eldest daughter played the role of Mabel … the love interest of Frederic … played by her sister! And the laughs came through many … interesting situations.

Then, they began having roles in musicals at other theaters, including two of the brides in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. The show itself brings much laughter in its silliness, but with one teen daughter starring as the “bride” opposite a man who had daughters her age and the other teen daughter starring opposite another teen with whom she swore, “If he dares try to really kiss me (vs. a stage kiss), I’ll deck him right on stage!” … well, you can imagine the results.Musicals A

And one of the later musicals saw our oldest starring as one of the two stepsisters in Cinderella, a role she hadn’t considered but fully embraced. (Right, in photo) Audience members were heard to say the two of them made the show. Stage actors are taught to hold the next lines for the audience’s laughter to die down. Well, if they’d done that, the show may have been four hours long!

So, yes, musicals play a huge part in my memories, but the laughter … it truly makes the heart glad!

 

What musicals ring out in your memories? Did you have a favorite? Were you ever in one? Please consider sharing your musical memories with us.

Tell Me a Story about … Glasses!

When my husband and I got married, we had so much extended family that between our shower and wedding gifts, we lacked … well, nothing. Towers of gifts included bedding, artwork, photo albums, and lots of kitchen stuff. Pots and pans, small appliances, cutlery,Glasses A dishes, mugs, and glasses.

In my previous blog post, I mentioned using my paycheck at Murphy’s Mart, a local department store, to put things I thought we’d need on layaway and pay them off. One item I recall was a set of chocolate brown, plastic cups so we’d have something to offer water or iced tea to visitors. Our wedding gifts included several sets of glasses, including floral squat ones as shown in the photo.

But those glasses aren’t the glasses I thought of for this post.

At an early age, I developed a bad poison ivy rash over 90% of my body. This caused some vision disturbances which led to a prescription for glasses in elementary school. I Glasses Bwore them as you’d expect a shy girl in the 1960s to do – not much at all. Through the rest of school, I dealt with the visual issues, but not until I was married and trying to work two jobs at once did I begin having serious problems.

After a few years, I began wearing glasses full-time. The frames for these glasses went from plastic to metal and back to plastic. The photo shows many frames available in the ‘70s. Today, I rely on my glasses more and more to see things near and far.

But those glasses aren’t the glasses I thought of for this post.

This morning, with the current ban on gatherings involving people outside our families, I decided to start a new Bible study as my trade-off for church. I’d heard of a company offering a series of Bible studies with videos for free plus a slight charge for the ebook study guides. I figured that would fit my needs well.

Since my word-of-the-year for 2020 is FOCUSED, the Bible study 20/20, by Christine Caine 005814000(of Women of Faith), jumped out at me. I paid for the ebook, installed their app on my tablet, and logged in to watch the first video portion. Besides Christine’s delightful Australian accent, the topic and accompanying Bible story brought joy as I realized what a perfect study I’d been led to.

As the title 20/20 suggests, it involves sight. Christine spoke of focusing (remember my word-of-the-year?) on the people right in front of us. She brought up the questions of who we see and who sees us. She included a statistic on the popularity of taking selfies to the tune of one million per day! And her point? How can we see others when we’re looking at ourselves so much?

She also spoke of how we would see if we looked through our regular glasses, a pair with scratched lenses, a pair without lenses, and a pair with the wrong prescription. I must admit to losing track of what she said we’d see or wouldn’t see because a memory of long ago came to mind.

And that’s the glasses I thought of for this post!

While I was a senior in high school, we experienced an extra heavy snowfall. To go to church one day, our dad cleared some of the snow, but much was still around the car doors. My brother opened the back door to get in, and I opened the front door. I reached out and grabbed the door frame between the two doors for balance to cross the snow by my door … just as my brother slammed his car door.

Glasses CLet’s leave the rest of that part of the story for another time. Today’s memory came from what happened later (no church for us). After icing my hand, I went to my bedroom and grabbed a journal I’d started a couple days before. I’d never kept a diary, but being a writer, it was bound to happen that I’d fall in love with journaling sometime.

I remember being thankful the hand slammed in the door was my left hand, and I wrote right-handed. One of the first lines I wrote that day said something like this: “Once again, I don my ‘glasses.’” I’d started calling my journaling “glasses,” although I don’t recall why.

Years later, as I reread those journals, I saw the name for what it was – a young girl-turning-woman’s way of finding herself and discovering her God. I’d just become a Christian less than a year before, though I’d gone to church all my life. I’ve journaled for the past 40+ years, seeing myself grow and stagnate, become and change through the lens of those journaling “glasses.” I’ve also learned to see God and what I’ve been missing in His work for me.

Brandon Heath says it best in his song, “Give Me Your Eyes.” Listen to this link and find your “glasses” so you can see what you’ve been missing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5AkNqLuVgY

 

Did you wear glasses as a child? Do you remember a special set of glasses your family used for water or iced tea? Did you have a set for family and a set for company? Share your story of whichever glasses you feel led to write about. Blessings!

Tell Me a Story about … a Paycheck!

“Would you kids like to stay up until your parents get here? As soon as we hear them pull in, it’s up to bed quick as you can. Okay?”

3-16-20 DWhat kids wouldn’t agree to such a proposal? Stay up late while the babysitter takes the rap if they get caught? But, this first-time babysitter had a problem. Oh, it wasn’t the kids, though they did have behavior problems. The trouble was the creaky old farmhouse they lived in, the one which could have been from the set of some horror movie.

BUT it was my first job. I would earn money of my own. I sat for five hours with four school-aged kids and one dog which was having breathing problems because of eating a chicken bone. I even did their dishes which filled the kitchen sink, the table, and every available counter. My first paycheck: $5.00.

Although I watched those kids several times, I didn’t start earning real money until my 3-16-20 Afirst big-girl job as a hostess at the local Elby’s Family Restaurant. I don’t recall my starting wage, but that job didn’t last. Maybe because of my dislike of coring two huge mounded flats of strawberries every shift … or maybe because of my embarrassment from hanging up on the “big boss.” I’d answered the phone right when I’d gotten a $600.00 overring on my register and forgot to hit “hold” before putting the receiver on the hook.

When I graduated, I moved into full-time jobs, such as working at Murphy’s Mart, where most of my paychecks went to paying for things on layaway for my coming wedding. After that, I had a stint at the Great A & P Tea Company (because my dad worked there, and this was the only thing I could do that he did … another story someday). Again, didn’t last long … my husband yelled at the manager when I called to take off because I was sick.3-16-20 B

Finally, I landed a solid, full-time position as a bookkeeper and the die was set. For the next four years, I worked in accounts receivable, accounts payable, and accounts computerized (a.k.a. the first time a computer was used in the office).

Another job, one which I’d prepared over 50 years for, came with several paychecks of varying amounts, $0.00 being the prevalent one. Yes, I meant zero dollars. Writers are taught not to give up their day job.

But what about having to PAY to get a paycheck? That was a new one to me, but it’s exactly what happened on my first REAL sale of two articles a couple summers ago.

Preparing for a writers’ conference, I’d done my homework, studied the marketing needs of the publishers and editors coming to the conference, and wrote several articles and devotions to pitch to meet those needs. I met with an editor of online inspirational websites. She accepted one article, for which I knew there would be no monetary reward. Knowing ahead of time about the no-pay standard, the thrill came from her acceptance.

DSCF4784When it came to the second article, I met with the woman editor of an online magazine for writers. She enjoyed the humor in the article and offered to buy it for $10.00, the price mentioned on the website as their normal payment for articles of this type. Again, no surprise there. HOWEVER … in order to see said article when it got published, I had to purchase a subscription to the online-only magazine … a subscription costing $25.00.

So, those of you to whom math comes easy will see I paid $15.00 to receive a paycheck for $10.00!3-16-20 C

Fast forward to 2020 and the tides turned! I sold seven devotions to Guideposts for the All God’s Creatures 365-Day Devotional for 2021. I already received the payment for these devotions, an amount allowing me to attend a new writers’ conference. Now, that’s a paycheck I thank God for!

What about you? Tell us about your first paycheck. Where did you work? What did you do there? Was the pay worth the job? Leave your story in the replies’ box.

PS: If you aren’t yet subscribed to get automatic messages when a new story comes out, please consider doing so. If you are, thanks, and accept my apologies for the long hiatus I had from this blog. Too many reasons to spell out, but I’m back and ready to share our stories again and get to know one another! Blessings!

Tell Me a Story about … Leaves!

11-5-18 B.jpgA few questions for you:

·       Have you ever raked leaves?

·       Have you ever jumped in a pile of raked leaves?

·       Have you ever re-raked and re-raked piles of leaves in which others have jumped?

·       Have you ever gathered an armful of leaves and thrown them on a sibling or friend … or parent, if you dared?

·       Have you ever tried to remove bits of crumbled leaves, broken twigs, and dried grasses from your hair after a leaf battle?

·       Have you ever thrown leaves in the air in abandon, watching them freefall in the wind for a second time?

How many “yes” answers did you have? If four or more, you are a true autumn-leaf-play aficionado—which simply means you love to frolic in autumn leaves! You thrill to the sound of your feet crunching over crispy orange oak leaves covering the sidewalks or the sight of red maple leaves flipping across the ground as you kick them over and over. 

Maybe you, as I, have special memories of these things. One of my favorites I participated in, but another I enjoyed the aftermath of the fun. 

The latter came in a photograph, my favorite of all-time, the one which graces my Facebook blog page and my business cards. One year for my birthday, our daughters asked a friend for a photo shoot of the three of them. They chose autumn, my favorite season, and Little Buffalo State Park as the location, a place where we have many fond memories. Some photos showed silly girls with tiny pumpkins on their heads (no names mentioned). Others gave Mama a heart attack when seeing her offspring hanging off beams in a covered bridge. But the one of the girls tossing leaves in the air, joy on their faces, blesses me most. 

Now, the one I took part in! Our one son-in-love grew up in a city and had never raked a pile of leaves. So, as soon as our oak tree dropped most of its yellow-orange leaves, I encouraged him to bring his then four-year-old daughter, Rosemary, for a day of leaf play. 

To keep warm in the late autumn chill, we bundled up in sweaters and headed out. I handed the rake to Rosemary’s dad and said, “Here you go! Rake all these leaves into one huge pile!” 

He looked around at the large area covered by leaves from a giant tree and gave me a look that said, “Do what?!” I smiled and grabbed Rosemary’s hand to show her how to kick the leaves as fast as Daddy raked them. He raked, we kicked, leaves flew! 11-5-18 A.JPG

Finally, I corralled Rosemary by having her lie down so her mama and I could cover her with leaves. While she giggled and wiggled, her daddy finished the pile. Rosemary and I held hands, raced across the now bare grass, and leapt into the leaves, spreading them far and wide. 

Daddy looked a bit bewildered as I handed him the rake he’d put down. Being a good sport, though, he reraked the pile over and over to his daughter’s delight. Her joy rang out as she jumped in pile after pile … with me, with her mama, and, giving him a break from raking, with her daddy. 

What a fun memory! I just know God has a big old leaf-pile up there in heaven waiting for those of His children who love the feeling of flying through the air to land in a mountain of orange, red, and gold. And you know what? I think Jesus will be jumping in right beside us!

*** Do you just love jumping in autumn leaves? Share a story with us! Click on the words beside the date of this post. Scroll down to the box with the heading, “Leave a reply.” Thank you for sharing! 

*** If you leave a comment, check back for my reply to it. I always respond to comments!

Tell Me a Story about … a Field Trip!

“What did that billboard say? A cat show?”10-3-18 B 

Most times, I only glance at signs while driving on the highway … well, the big ones, not the directional and speed limit ones. This time, I noticed the billboard advertising a cat show in our area for the next day. 

Figuring the ticket prices wouldn’t fit a homeschooling family on a sub-zero budget, I still got off the next exit and circled around to check for more information. Imagine my surprise to discover it cost only $5.00 for adults and children under twelve got in free. The next day, I counted out some change we’d been saving, and our two daughters and I went to a cat show! 

Why, you may ask, all the excitement over a field trip to a cat show? We’d chosen pets as our unit study theme for the beginning of that school year, and anything pet-related topped our list of things to do. We’d visited a pet store, managing to get out with a toy for our dog instead of the twelve pets the girls thought we should have bought. 

10-9-18We’d also gone to a German Shepherd kennel, where the owner showed us how his search-and-rescue dogs worked. Afterward, the girls showed him how they’d trained their dogs and braided their own collars and leashes out of psychedelic yarn. He paid close attention as they explained their techniques and put their STUFFED dogs through their paces! (He restrained his laughter until after we were gone, I suppose.)

So, a cat show added a new dimension to our study, and besides, we all three loved cute, cuddly kittens! Well, I thought there would be “cute, cuddly kittens.” 10-3-18 A

“Mama, that cat lost all its hair!” “Mama, that cat hurt its ears!” “Mama, where is that cat’s tail?” 

As we walked around, I realized I didn’t know much about cats. What an educational field trip, for both the students and the teacher! We peered into kennel after kennel of fluffy Persians, sleek Siamese, and exotic Maine Coons. The latter, we decided, topped our favorites’ list, especially since their grandma owned two of them.

10-3-18 EBefore we left, we wanted to take in one of the judging sessions, to see how it was done. We sat on some folding chairs and watched the judge lift one end of a cat, then the other, hold up its tail, then its head. And the cat just took it in stride. Our youngest piped up a bit loudly, “Mama, if we did that to Misty, we’d get scratched!” 

The judge looked at us, smiled, and invited our kindergartner up to join him in judging the next cat! And she went! I don’t recall what happened, but the experience remains one of our most recounted of those early years. And all because of a chance sighting of a billboard. 

Oh, how I loved God’s serendipitous delights He sent our way during our homeschool years! And He still loves sending them today. In fact, while looking for photos to add to this post, I discovered a breed of cat which may have been crossbred with an ocelot – an Ocicat!

*** What field trip memories do you have? Share a story with us! Click on the words beside the date of this post. Scroll down to the box with the heading, “Leave a reply.” Thank you for sharing! 

*** If you leave a comment, check back for my reply to it. I always respond to comments!

Tell Me a Story about … Magazines!

FOF 1 A (3)How recently have you meandered into a bookstore and checked out the magazine racks … and racks … and racks? Even with the number of magazine publishers closing, there remains a plethora of choices to fit any age, any interest. Women’s magazines full of recipes and homemaking tips. Men’s magazines filled with car engines and fishing lures. Kids’ magazines with puzzles and coloring pages. How can anyone decide on just one?

Being a writer and having an extra share of cFOF 1 C (2)reativity, when it came to teaching our daughters about writing, I chose not to focus on reports—the dreaded book reports of elementary school and those nasty 10-pagers of secondary levels. I figured the skills necessary to write those scholarly pieces could come through a more fun and no-less-educational foray into the world of magazine-making.

While studying animals, we created whole magazines with stories, poems, and more. Pictures cut out of glossy nature magazines and pasted on notebook paper allowed them to write short articles about the animals, which included a bit of research and teaching on journalism styles. Lists of horse breeds or FOF 2 B (2)habitats became word search puzzles. Pictures made from those old trace-and-color books became “Color Your Own Picture” pages.

Even comic strips drawn on blank sheets of copy paper offered lessons: art, dialogue, comedy writing. Add construction paper covers and staples to hold them all together and we had a magazine to treasure … and put in the portfolios for proof of our lessons in English, math, sciencFOF 2 A (3)e, art, and more.

With ten years between the first two daughters’ school years and their sister Faith’s, I had the joy of doing this exercise twice. I remember Faith called her magazine Kit’s Kreatures, after her favorite American Girl.

But Faith didn’t stop there. One day she came to me and said, “MaFOF 2 C (2)ma, I want to make my own magazine and sell subscriptions to it!” And so we did … and Focus on Fun was born.

Over the next four years, Faith developed, designed, and co-wrote her own 16-page magazine, with as many as 22 subscriptions one year. We kitchen-table published it, as professionally as we could, being lucky enough to own a copier (perks of a husband who works in the office products industry). Though often stressed to get the current issue out on time, we still enjoyed the brainstorming for each issue, choosing new “columns” and other articles to write.

This venture also gave Faith an incredible foundation in running her own business with credits and debits, overhead and invoices. The entire experience filled her homeschool FOF 1 B (2)days with more learning, academic and life-skills, than any 10-page research paper would have brought her. And it was a whole lot more fun!

The photos included with this post are from various issues of Focus on Fun. If anyone is interested in how we went about this, contact us at legaciesletloose@gmail.com!

*** Have you ever written a magazine article? Do you read any magazines regularly? Share your thoughts with us! Click on the words beside the date of this post. Scroll down to the box with the heading, “Leave a reply.” Thank you for sharing!

*** If you leave a comment, check back for my reply to it. I always respond to comments!

Tell Me a Story about … Dinosaurs!

9-5-18 E“Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous! Such difficult words, my gracious! They happened, you know, way back long ago, for these were the dinosaur ages!” 

Ah, how the words of that simple poem ring in the ears of my memories! We chose to homeschool our daughters, and what a delight that experience brought this mama! God used my desire to teach in the best way possible. And having an outlet for my overly-active creativity added my own uniqueness to the fun. 

One year, we did a unit on dinosaurs, complete with two huge, 3-D cardboard dinos displayed for the first day. The poem above came from a cassette tape with an hour’s worth of dinosaur poems and songs, including “Danny, the Dancing Dinosaur” who “loved to dance and he loved to roar”! I recall snippets from others, but the short poem above stood out because our daughters loved saying the “big words.” In fact, they could say parasaurolophus and ichthyosaurus long before I could even identify them! 

That September, we took a trip to Dinosaurland in Virginia. During our drive, I slipped the dino 9-5-18 Fcassette into the car’s tape player to surprise the girls. Singing with different music helped pass the time. This one delighted the girls and their mama and would be played often, with lots of dinosaur stomping and roaring … and little girl giggles. 

Dinosaurland brought thrills as we toured the park-like grounds. What’s behind that tree? Oh my! A stegosaurus! And over there … is that … could that be … yes, it is! It’s a tyrannosaurus rex! And look! There’s blood on its mouth from its recent kill lying on the ground in front of him! (Daddy thought this a realistic display, but mama hurried the girls towards the gift shop!)  

On the homefront, one of the reading activities we did remains a favorite of the girls. Each of them picked a dinosaur—a brontosaurus for Holly and a triceratops for Sarah. (Note: this came before we realized there’s no such thing as a brontosaurus! What we grew up calling a brontosaurus, the paleontologists first called an Apatosaurus and first names stand. ) 

9-5-18 BWe found the length of each dinosaur … without the benefit of internet for all of you hurrying to google it. Holly’s came in at a whopping 75 feet, while “Cera” barely topped 30. Next, we cut one-foot lengths of colored yarn. Each time the girls read a book, they chose a colored strand and tied it to the last one they’d chosen, winding them into a raggedy ball. Of course, since “Cera’s” ball was completed sooner, “our Sarah” started adding to the bronto-ball to finish it. 

To end our unit study, we bought the girls wooden skeleton kits to put together. Did you ever try to glue the backbones of a triceratops down it’s curvy spine, trying to decide if this piece is a tiny bit bigger than that one, making it needed closer to the end of the tail? And how in the 9-5-18 Dworld do you make a parasaurolophus’ long head protrusions stay in place?

I don’t think God had this much trouble when He put those skeletal pieces together to create dinosaurs, but I’m glad He did so. What joy the animal world in all its many varieties, past and present, brings to our family and many others around the world!

*** What dinosaur memories tromp through your mind? Share some with us! Click on the words beside the date of this post. Scroll down to the box with the heading, “Leave a reply.” Thank you for sharing!

*** If you leave a comment, check back for my reply to it. I always respond to comments!

Tell Me a Story about … deer!

8-9-18 C (2)I love this photo taken by our daughter Faith. First, I think the photo itself showcases her photography gifting. Second, I enjoy the walks we take in the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, also called Pine Creek Gorge, where she took this photo. And finally, I love it because I love the whitetail deer!

If asked my favorite sport, I’d say, “Spotting deer.” As evening falls at the cabin, most of us start changing clothes and getting flashlights and cameras ready for one of the most fun parts of our day. In the higher mountains, cooler air from a rolled-down window brings a chill not there during the day, so shorts and T-shirts are exchanged for jeans and sweatshirts. In my childhood and part of our daughters’, we would need heavy coats and gloves to keep warm enough. Global warming, I suppose. Smaller children get pajamas so they can transition to bed easier once we get back.

Discussions come next about who rides in whose car. Young people prefer to ride together so they can chat; older people prefer the luxury of space to sit in comfort. And the rest, well, they get shoved in here and there. Then we pick where to start for drivers to know the route for the caravan. Do we begin on “Alan’s Road,” so dubbed after my Uncle Alan bought his own camp on it? Or take a chance at seeing a bear near Lyman Lake before it got dark?

Last, arguments break out if there are any youth along about whose turn it is to use the spotlight. This coveted position gives the one spotting the best view of the deer or bear or porcupine or, if certain people are along, a yeti (for those who believe in that story or to scare those who don’t).

My excitement equals that of the youngest spotters as we turn onto the first dirt road. 8-9-18 EWatching the spotlight or the headlights, depending on our seat in the car, we wait for glimpses of shining eyes in the spotlight or some critter crossing the road in front of us. I never lose the delight of a doe’s warm eyes if close enough to see them or of the white spots dotting the tiny fawns. I never tire of using the binoculars to see if the deer sports antlers to excite the hunters in the car. And I never forget the count … um, was that fifty-two or fifty-three … oh well, maybe I do. 

God blessed us with an amazing world full of animals to watch and care for and love. To me, the sight of deer frolicking in a meadow or stretching their graceful necks to reach the apples on the tree will never fail to bring a smile and fill my day with an extra measure of joy.

*** Did you ever go spotting deer? Tell us about your times or about another “deer” story you have in mind. Click on the words beside the date of this post. Scroll down to the box with the heading, “Leave a reply.” Thank you for sharing!

*** If you leave a comment, check back for my reply to it. I always respond to comments!

*** Next week, in honor of back-to-school, I’ll share a story from our homeschool days!

Tell Me a Story about … a Lane!

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane … or at least down the memories of a certain lane, the one leading from the main road to the cabin we call camp.

Dirt or grassy lanes draw me, entice me to follow them. Deer trails, hiking paths, even lawn mower tracks say, “Come see where I go!” But I know exactly where the lane to the cabin goes—my heaven on earth.

No matter how old I get, the thrill of watching as we round the 8-20-18 Bbends in the road from Galeton, PA, toward camp never lessens. I inch forward on the seat, straining against the seatbelt, picturing the final turn. There it is! The farm where the owner lives and the barn where he used to milk his cows in days gone by. (I would watch the owner’s kids bring the cows from the pasture, across the creek, and down the lane to the barn, only to repeat it the next morning in reverse.) The lane, tucked between the two buildings, never changes, except from rutted and dusty in the hottest months to rutted and muddy from recent rain showers.

8-20-18 ARounding the first corner, we come to a one-lane wooden bridge. I close my eyes and bring back the times when, as youths, my brothers or I would get out of the car to unhook and re-hook the chains across the entrance and exit of the bridge, although we could never understand why they needed a chain stretched across both ends of a one-car-length bridge. Today, no chains bar the way, but the ghosts of them clank in my mind as we cross.

I’m now almost bouncing in my seat like a toddler on a jumping horse. Another few yards and I’ll be able to see the cabin! There’s the other camp on the right which never has any vacationers, but where we once saw a bear digging in the rusty burn barrel in plain daylight. My mom had wound her window down to talk to him … until he advanced toward the car. Wow, could she ever wind up a window fast! Good thing it wasn’t one of those slow-moving automatic jobs, right?

“We’re here! We’re here!” Echoes of our joyous cries from childhood mingle with today’s yaps of our dog as he catches onto my excitement, not really understanding it, but knowing it must be something fun. And oh, how right he is. But it’s also so much more—it’s family, it’s home, it’s8-20-18 E (2) heaven—even if it’s only for a week.

We pull up in front of the porch and I push at the car door, wondering why it won’t open, then laughing at myself for not pulling on the handle first. The first gurgling of the creek hits my ears, the first musty scent from the open cabin door fills my nose and my memories, taking me back to the days of my youth, when four scrambling dogs, three wild kids, and two grateful parents poured from the side doors and back hatch of our loaded-down-and-overflowing station wagon.

We’re here! The end of the lane—but not the end of the memories, not when we make new ones each time we drive back this particular memory lane.

*** Where has a lane led you in your life? Tell us about it! Click on the words beside the date of this post. Scroll down to the box with the heading, “Leave a reply.” Thank you for sharing!

*** Next week’s post sports one of my favorite photos our photographer daughter has taken!

 

Tell Me a Story about … a Creek!

8-13-18 C (2)Thunder echoed through the hollow, rattling the loose window pane in the cabin door. The afternoon’s thunderstorm had grown into a wailing, angry force, and with the darkness, it seemed to be trying to fight its way inside the cabin. Rain pounded the roof, wind howled and whipped the walls and windows. Lightning bolts streaked across the night sky, leaving eerie periods of illumination.

Inside the cabin, most of the children and adults slept through the ruckus. Some of us, however, could not. Thunder storms bouncing around the mountains could scare an avid storm-chaser, but this one seemed more intense than any before. It roared overhead and burst from the hollow as though chased by unseen demons.

We could hear the water of the small creek, which had gently flowed between its banks during 8-13-18 Bthe earlier part of the day, change to something from a movie about whitewater rafting. Huge crashes, one after another, sounded like dynamite exploding, first up the hollow a ways, then closer, in front of the cabin in which we sat listening, shivering, wondering if the building would blow apart any second.

After the long night of sleepless terrors, the morning showed the incredible power of the storm. The sun had returned, but the torrential rains had swollen the creek, swirling waters pounded the banks, seeking an outlet to the tension from the night before. The ground felt swampy beneath our feet.

What astounded us most was the layout of the creek itself. It did not resemble that of 8-13-18 Ayesterday, nor of the years I’d spent wading its waters. During the night, what we mistook for thunder was huge boulders tossed by rising waters. Rocks, as large as monster truck tires, had been tossed like leaves across the water and deposited in another section of the creek hundreds of feet downstream. The power necessary to uproot these boulders from where they’d sat for who knows how long and tumble them like children’s building blocks to a new resting place, seemed unimaginable. We’d heard it, we saw the aftermath, but we couldn’t take it in.

 That storm made us more aware of our human frailty and God’s power. He created the earth with a word, causes the storms to rumble, commands the sun and moon to rise and set. His power can toss a boulder, crumble it to bits, yet He created us, frail human beings who need His help to breathe and live each day. And He does so because He loves us. Wow … 

 *** Do you have a memory about a creek you’d like to share with us? Please do! Click on the words beside the date of this post. Scroll down to the box with the heading, “Leave a reply.” Thank you for sharing!

 *** Next week, a post written while vacationing this weekend at this wonderful place!