Monday, October 15, 2018

Pick and Choose
Another weekend where I should have been cloned, but I am really glad that I wasn’t. Friday was the semiannual Buckwheat, Pancake, and Sausage Festival in Ohiopyle Pennsylvania. These two events are the major fundraisers for the Ohiopyle Volunteer Fire Department. While many other fire departments rely on street fairs and ticket sales, the community comes together to setup, clean, and cook for three days in the fall. I’ve shared before that I started to volunteer there while dating my wife almost 45 years ago, working up from washing dishes, to baking cakes to finally frying sausage. Friday I was on my feet from 8 o’clock AM until 5 PM.
Saturday, I had to choose to fry sausage, volunteer at the historical society, or join others of our church family for the Seedline Project. Seedline is a ministry that is based near Cincinnati, Ohio and prints the Bible and other parts of Scripture in different languages to be distributed to missionaries and churches abroad. The texts are brought to our church, assembled, stapled and trimmed before being boxed and readied to be shipped. This collection of John and Romans Scripture was in English and their destination will be South Africa. In the past we have assembled French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Croat. This time we assembled 8,233 booklets.
I had to leave hurriedly to drive to my Granddaughter’s birthday party. It was a small gathering of Parents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and Grandparents, but very important to Hannah. I was glad to get home and raise my puffy, tired feet.
Sunday, there was no choice, only whether to go to church or not. Because I am in the choir, that isn’t a choice. Yes, I am in the choir. Because of a curse of my mother, I have always tried to tell a joke, story, or sing a chorus that had something to do with something said. My mom Sybil Beck had the habit of singing ditties and that habit has transferred to me.
If you think that isn’t strange enough, our Assistant Pastor is starting a men’s quartet and I was asked to join. I’ll keep you informed as to the location and date when we will make our debut.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Foggy Brain Freeze Wednesday
When I woke on Wednesday morning, both of my hips ached and my calves sore. I wasn’t sure whether it was a weather change or I slept awkwardly during the night. My calves being sore could have been left over from the intermittent cramps that I’ve been getting. The quinine in the tonic water helps when I remember to drink it.
Between keeping up with my blog, entering my Haiku poetry into the computer, and adding to my next Tommy Two Shoes and Cora Mystery book I’ve been busy. I have my laundry caught up and volunteered for several hours at the Chestnut Ridge Historical Society. I abandoned them after only two and a half hours because of the discomfort in my hips. Shifting between sitting and walking jobs, I managed to put in a few hours.
When I came home, I took something for pain, watched some television, then napped. When I woke, I was confused as to what day it was. My brain kept telling me that going to church was imminent and from that, I thought it was Saturday. When I finally got the details worked out in my head, it was 8:45 p.m. and the Wednesday evening prayer meeting was 15 minutes over and done.
Thursday, more work on my Haiku and Tommy Two shoes. My cousin Peggy’s daughter Dawn Bermel Osborne called. She and her husband were taking a mini-vacation and driving through the area from Illinois. She is researching and visiting the Rugg and Miner (Minerd) cemeteries and homes.
She messaged, saying she was in the area and we met for the evening meal. At home, we always called it supper, but many call it dinner. At home, dinner was always lunch, so I never know how someone will interpret what I write.
Anyway, we had a nice meal; we chatted and caught up on our families and what was happening in the area. I got a few hugs and took a picture.
This gives me more incentive to visit Illinois, cousins, and my Fourth of July Facebook friends and visitors. Look out. I may just visit you guys one day.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Burning of Old Glory

It angers me when I see someone burning Old Glory

Disrespecting America’s flag and its great history

Dishonoring all who sacrificed to keep it flying

Suffered horrific wounds, loss of limbs, and even dying

From its inception with George Washington at Valley Forge

Patriots rallied to our flag against tyranny’s scourge

Our banner of freedom flew high in the War of 1812

Defiant of the oppression it waved at our southern gulf

Sadly dividing father and son in our Civil War

Its powerful ideals too great for many to ignore

Again our boys waved it in World War I and World War II

To stop the slaughter of innocents: Pole, Czech, Slav, and Jew

Our men fought in Korea and Vietnam ‘neath its hue

Facing uncertainty because their country asked them to

Nine-eleven came. True Americans loved that flag too

Citizens gathered for safety ‘neath the red, white, and blue

What’s happened to patriotism, loyalty, and all?

Politicians have forgotten the “Never forget” call

They’ve hidden their rank disloyalty in freedom’s banner

Allowing desecration of our flag in any manner

They praise entertainers’ disrespect and taking a knee

It may be normal for these traitors, but never for me

If you hate the red, white and blue, leave you don’t have to stay

If you think things are better elsewhere, please just go away

I’m proud of Old Glory. May it ever fly over our land

May it ever freely wave and always for freedom stand

Monday, October 8, 2018

It seemed like the entire weekend was focused on friendships. Saturday evening I attended the wedding of a daughter of my wife Cindy’s best friend Debbie Detar. They were friends for many years and we spent many of our holidays in their home or them in ours. Bill and Debbie Detar had three children as did Cindy and I, two daughters and one son for each family. We lived little more than two miles from each other which made it convenient to visit frequently. It was Debbie who fixed Cindy and I for our first “blind” date. I met Cindy at my cousin’s wedding, so we knew each other slightly.
After an evening spending time celebrating with my children and grandchildren sharing the festivities, I made my way home feeling tired, stuffed with good food, and with a need to relax.
I was invited to attend a Friends and Family event at my son’ Andrew’s church. The Bible Baptist Church is located in Brownsville, Pennsylvania. Sunday morning started with Sunday school taught by Pastor Tommy Dallas’ father-in-law Pastor David Bixler. Pastor Biller drove from his church Emmanuel Baptist Church in Williamsport to speak at this event. Pastor Dallas invited him because he is family and a special friend. Pastor Bixler spoke about friendship, not just acquaintances, but real lifelong bosom buddies. Having a friend with whom another person can rely, no matter the situation or the time of day should a need arise, a special friend who will stand beside them during the thick and thin times with a friendship that will outlast distance and time.
Pastor continued same theme into the message that immediately followed the Sunday school. He mentioned several friendships in the Bible. One of the strongest was with David and the son of Saul the King. It was a friendship that was so steadfast and strong that Jonathan protected David from Saul’s wrath and from the plan to kill David. He shared that we have a friend in Jesus, who gave his life for all mankind. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 A young man and his sister came forward to accept Christ as their Savior.
A potluck meal was served and everyone was invited to stay. As with most Baptist potlucks, the food selection was vast, varied, and very tasty. When our appetites were sated, we waddled back upstairs to have the second service in lieu of a later evening service. Pastor Bixler expanded on the love and friendship found in Jesus Christ.
I made it home in time to attend choir practice and hear another sermon from our Assistant Pastor, Christian Garcia. He spoke on setting goals in our lives, either the things of the world or the things of God.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Doubled My Pleasure
Even cutting out my two volunteer days, I found my dance card a bit full. Wednesday, I had a monthly meeting and meal with the “Grand Dames” of Frick Hospital. It is a chance for me to rub elbows again with the nurses with whom I’ve worked and who have retired from Frick Hospital in Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania. The meal was held at Brady’s Restaurant Acme, Pennsylvania. The good thing is that I didn’t have to cook, the restaurant was local and didn’t have to drive very far, and the food was good as usual. There nearly two dozen ladies there and I was the only rooster in the hen house and garnered free hugs from all. I hope I don’t regret this 40 years from now. Ha, ha.
Wednesday evening was prayer meeting at my church. The church also has separate programs for the children and youth.
Thursday, it was the Retired Frick employee meal. Twice a year we gather to eat, relax, and talk together. This session was held at the Black Dog Pub, just across Route 31. Recalling and retelling stories that made life memorable while working there, meeting those we worked with and shared our lives with for so many years. It was great reestablishing those ties and seeing old friends.
I was to attend a writers meeting at the Mt. Pleasant Library Thursday evening, but the aching in my hands and hips caused me to stay home, take some pain meds, and try to type more haiku poetry into the computer.
Saturday I have a wedding to attend and reception. It is the daughter of my wife’s best friend. We spent many holidays together in their home or ours. They had three kids as did we. It seemed to work out quite well. Gift exchanges equaled out.
Sunday, my son Andrew’s church is having a friends and family day. I plan to attend if at all possible.
Each week I fool myself thinking I’ll have a few quiet days, and again I find that I’ve lied.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Autumn Buckwheat and Cider
It’s time again for the Autumn Buckwheat and Sausage Festival in Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania. This year the date falls on October 12, 13, 14, 2018. The tradition of using buckwheat flour to make pancakes goes back much farther than the beginnings of the Ohiopyle Buckwheat Festival which started in 1947. The festival had very humble roots, starting out as the fund raiser for the Ohiopyle Volunteer Fire Department and by the community wanting to keep alive the history of the area. It still remains the chief fundraiser for the fire department.
Early methods to fry sausage and “bake” the buckwheat cakes started out by cooking the food in cast iron frying pans over single burner open gas flames. The ground pork was hand shaped by helpers before they made their way into the skillets.
That way of cooking continued at least until 1974 when I started to volunteer there to spend time with my-wife-to-be, Cindy Morrison. For a few years, my job was to wash dishes. That was a major undertaking. It seemed there was always something to wash.
I was pressed into service baking the buckwheat cakes, a move up in responsibility. This takes sweat and special care. By then, wide griddles had been introduced. It was a hot job. The temperature of the griddles must be maintained for even baking of the cakes, limiting the air flow to that room. Smoke and heat quickly accumulates and at times it becomes very uncomfortable.
I was “rescued” by my father-in-law, Elmer “Bud” Morrison to fry the sausage. Soon afterwards, the sausage frying area converted to the wide grill surface. They hold nearly 3 dozen of the seasoned pork patties. At last count, there were a dozen grills thoroughly cooking the sausage patties before serving. I have volunteered for nearly 45 years.
Chris Fennimore and WQED television came to shoot a segment on volunteerism one year and usually repeats its showing this time of year. Most years he makes the trek from Pittsburgh to visit the festival.
The sausage patties are placed in huge roasters to be transported upstairs to the dining area or to the school building next door to be kept hot and ready for those who came to enjoy the autumn leaves, Ohiopyle Falls, and the meal. The only change in the menu was the addition of pancakes for the palates of a younger generation. Steaming buckwheat or pancakes, sausage, freshly fried potatoes, bread and butter pickles, and applesauce are placed on the table to assuage the taste buds and hunger of the diners.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Suits of Armor
Our Pastor finished sharing a study on Ephesians 6:10-18, the armor of God. It wasn’t a onetime message, but each piece of the armor was addressed in depth. Sometimes, the information about a specific article of the protective covering took two sessions to describe how it was worn and why it was worn. Roman soldiers controlled Israel and its cities. So, it’s natural for the Disciple Paul to compare Christians to the soldiers around him.
Before I share the different pieces of armor, I want to share some of my own thoughts. As a recruit in the United States Navy, I underwent basic training to harden my muscles and my resolve. In the Navy, I only had to get used to the itchy wool uniforms while Marine and the Army counterparts had their uniforms, weapons, backpacks, and armor which was heavier and more uncomfortable than what I had to endure.
At first, the gear issued often would feel awkward to don and uncomfortable to wear, but as the recruit becomes familiar with the attire and hardened to the task of wearing the protection, it became almost second nature to them. The armor was there for one reason only, protection. Whether the soldier was in a defensive position or in an attack mode, the attire was there to save their lives.
I won’t attempt to share all of the spiritual ramifications, but Paul mentions that we should gird ourselves with truth. The girding holds everything in place while covering abdomen to the knees protecting the soldier from being wounded. It also secures the breastplate of righteousness, holding it securely to the body to keep the back and the chest safe from attack. Spears, arrows, darts, and swords were less likely to pierce the thick leather and metal of the plate.
Paul mentions having feet shod with the gospel of peace. Roman boots protected the soldier’s feet from the rough terrain and often had shin guards, many had hobnails for traction. Then there is the shield of faith. The shield was large, rectangular, and became a shelter for the soldier from fiery darts. The helmet of salvation protected the head, ears, and much of the face. The final piece of equipment was the sword of the Spirit, the word of God.
Many people think that the sword was the only offensive piece of the armor, but the shield and boots of the Roman soldier often became weapons of a trained warrior. Just like the recruit, the ease that a Christian has with the armor comes from its daily and repeated use and familiarity.