Saturday, August 29, 2009


About 5 years ago I had my first interview when Bob Welch came to talk to me when Ordinary Days (the self-published version) first came out.

I think I was a bit of an uncooperative topic because I had never given much thought to such things as the writing process and what I want people to take away from my writing. I remember I said, several times, "Listen, I'm just me. I just write. There's nothing profound about me or my life. I don't think a lot about why I write and all that."

I used to listen to author interviews on NPR and would roll my eyes and think, "Oh will you just get over yourself?" as these authors would go on and on about their voice and their process and their inspiration and their all kinds of other dreamy words that really don't mean much.

My theory was, just write it and get it done.

Well. I've been interviewed a few time since then and learned to drum up fancy-sounding answers to probing questions because these poor people really do need some material to work with. I think maybe I got a little too good at this.

Today a very nice woman from Brownsville was here to talk to me because she needs to interview an author for a communications class she's taking. Oh my. I had never faced such detailed questions in my life. What is my goal when I write? What is my thought process? How much do I carry writing over into daily life, even when I'm not writing? When do I know I'm finished? and much more.

Well, would you believe I really got into this. How flattering, that someone actually wants to know what I think about, how I visualize the writing process, what is most rewarding about it. I pulled vague dreamy NPR-sounding phrases out and dangled them around like I really knew what I was talking about. "It's like a picture in my mind, and then I'm trying to arrange a puzzle to replicate what's in my mind."
"So you're very visual?"
"Yes!" [too happily]

I'm afraid I enjoyed it way too much.

And talked way too much. Bless her heart, Ms. Cieri never yawned or turned glassy-eyed. And she has enough material for three essays, at least.

Later I had a sudden horrible fear that her "class project" was just a front, and in reality she's doing a comic radio show on how authors just go off about themselves if given half a chance, and here's Our Prime Example [roll tape].

This is the subtle pitfall, I think--to start to believe that it really is important what I'm thinking, how I motivate myself, what I visualize, how I self-edit.

As opposed to just sitting down and doing what needs to be done, and then going and feeding the chickens and studying my Sunday school lesson.

Praise God for the people in my life, much as I resent them at times, who keep me grounded and remind me that I am not more important than anyone else and I should just get over myself already.

Quote of the Day:
"I found my skirt that I was missing. . .in the bottom of my sleeping bag."

How to Order Books

Various people have asked how to order Emily's and my books, so here's how.

To order my books (Ordinary Days, Upstairs the Peasants are Revolting, Downstairs the Queen is Knitting), mail a check for $12 ($10 for book, $2 for postage) to me at this address:
31148 Substation Drive
Harrisburg, OR 97446

Emily's book ("Emily"):
You can order them from me at the above address for $8 plus $2 postage per book.
You can also order them (signed!) from Emily at the same price, but I'm not going to put her street address here for the world to see, so if you want to get them from her, email her at for instructions.

Thanks to everyone who asked.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Amy's Teeth

I don't think I've seen someone come out of anesthesia since Paul had hernia surgery 22 years ago and I gave him some contraband Mt. Dew too soon and he threw up and then he mumbled, "Why don't you just go shopping?" so I did, and he never remembered saying that.

Today Amy and I went to town and she had two troublesome wisdom teeth removed. I sat in the waiting room with a laptop on my lap and had barely 15 minutes of work done on my next column when the nice lady came in and said I can come on back. "And bring all your stuff with you--you'll be leaving out the back." I saw the wisdom of this little procedure as time went on--imagine being a terrified person in the waiting room and seeing these glassy-eyed swollen-mouthed patients staggering out.

I was taken to a little anteroom and there was Amy seated in a recliner, with a puffy mouth and a bandage on her elbow and a clothespin thingie on her finger connected to a monitor that beeped and blinked. Her eyes looked a bit tired but really she didn't look as bad as I expected.

But she kept trying to talk, and that was just weird. Her mouth was numb and stuffed full, but she kept trying to make me understand. "How long have you been here?" "How long have I been awake?" "When did you get here?" And, weirdest, she grabbed at the cord to the monitor and mumbled, "I just have all these things coming out of me," and then she realized it was only one cord, connected to her finger. Oh.

And when the nice lady brought her teeth in a little bag, Amy desperately wanted to know which had come from which side of her mouth.

But she didn't divulge anything juicy or embarrassing. And now she remembers none of this.

Now she's up in her room propped up on pillows, still heavily sedated, and eating yogurt and peach shakes whenever we change the gauze.

Not much fun, but better than years of having wisdom teeth coming in sideways.

Quote of the Day:
"If clones of Mom ruled the world, 99% of the commerce would be between mutual garage sales."

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Lesson #1: You Never Know

Emily has been learning all about The Writing Life: Selling Books, especially the first lesson which is: You Never Know.

So we had that signing at Barnes and Noble, heady stuff, with lines of people waiting patiently to meet us, dozens of books sold, and the manager coming by to personally thank us.

Then we geared up for the fair. The Lane County Fair is always one of my biggest events of the year and I always make sure I'm there on Seniors' Day, Wednesday, when my biggest fan base comes by to say hello and buy books. I've sold up to 50 books on Seniors Day in past years. So several months ago, when I first got the email from Bill the organizer, I signed up Emily and myself for Wednesday. And then I made sure we both ordered lots of extra books for the day.

Wednesday was a very hot day. We headed for town after lunch and parked in the field by the fairgrounds and shlepped our boxes and water bottles over to the gate and then past the monster truck corral and over to the big main building and into the Atrium, a large room with a glass roof, and there we found our spots along the crowded Authors' Table, between Bob Welch and Dan Armstrong.

The afternoon wore on and things went steadily downhill. Sitting in that glass-roofed room on a day when it was 101 degrees at the airport was not to be described. I think there was a faint whiff of air conditioning out in the hallway at some point, but it was lost in the heat and crowds, and as soon as people entered our room they gasped and exclaimed because it was even hotter than the rest of the building.

I was afraid Emily would faint so I kept her supplied with water. She had on this nice blouse but it was tight across her back and she said if she only had a loose t-shirt she thinks she'd be ok. So I went into the huge booth area where you can get cool gutters and chamois cloth and energy rocks, and found a plasma-donor booth with free t-shirts--in size XL only. I took one back to Emily and she went and changed, throwing fashion to the winds, and came back with this blue t-shirt that hung on her like a sack, but she felt much better.

So there we were, sitting and waiting in the heat, and very few people came by. It turned out that the fair was under new management which had decided, just the week before, to suddenly switch Seniors' Day from Wednesday to Thursday. Furthermore, they had neglected to list the specific times that each author would be at the fair. So all those wonderful people who normally come to say hello had no way of knowing when we'd be there. And all the slots for Thursday were full, so we couldn't come then.

We talked a bit about packing up and going home, but writers are a tough lot, and we just knew that if we did, someone would get off work early specifically to come see us, and we wouldn't be there.

[Since we stayed, this person didn't show up, of course, and we sat in the heat and tried in vain to catch the eye and interest of hot, bored people who walked by.]

It was very sad and disappointing, and now we both have lots of inventory on hand that will probably just sit here for a while.

But I think the lesson is definitely getting through to Emily: You Never Know. I guess I needed a refresher course as well.

Quote of the Day:
"But it may have been better this way, because just think of all the older people who would have keeled over in that heat."
--Dan Armstrong, who is more considerate than I am, about the change of dates for seniors

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Family Photos

Ruth from Swartzendruber Photography came and shot us the other Sunday. Click here to see the photos. I am downright vain about my beautiful family. Indulge me, I'm the mom.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

For the Locals

Emily and I plan to be at the Lane County Fair today from 2-8pm and Friday from 5-8. Stop by and say hi if you can. We'll be at the Oregon Authors' Table in the main building, in the glass-roofed section.

Also, Emily is having a book signing at our house tomorrow (Thursday) evening from 7-9.

Call if you need directions--541-995-3773.

Quote of the Day:
[Clatter clatter bang] "I hate being short!"
--Amy, in the kitchen, apparently trying to get something in an upper cupboard

Monday, August 17, 2009

Cape Dresses

Someone asked me recently, via a blog comment, what I think of cape dresses. I would love to know what brought this on, but no explanation was given.

(These are dresses with an extra piece of fabric over the bodice, from shoulder to waist, required by many Amish and Mennonite churches, for modesty and uniformity.)

I guess I think of them the same that I think of a lot of other things such as refrigerators, crayons, dogs, and many more temporal things: they can be good and useful as long as you expect them to do only what they are able to do.

I used to wear cape dresses back in the day and never liked them, primarily because I could never get them to fit right, no matter how much fussing and fiddling and fitting I did. It was very frustrating. I really didn't need them for modesty because I always wore bulletproof polyester double knit and didn't have any shape to speak of, and the capes always looked floppy from the side. And I wished I could buy my clothes. So I had a nasty opinion of capes.

But now neph Byran's wifelet Amy comes along with the most chic, pretty, classy cape dresses ever, and she doesn't even have to sew them herself--I think she buys them locally there in Pennsylvania--and I think, ok, it wouldn't be hard to wear capes like that.

Ultimately, modesty proceeds out of your heart, and if it's not there to start with, a cape can't put it there. But once the heart is taken care of, I could see where a cape could be helpful.

And if you decide to be part of a church that requires them, you should wear them without a big fuss. That's sort of basic.

Quote of the Day:
"OOHH! I wish they were ugly!"
--what a relative of mine thinks when some people gush on and on about their grandchildren

Sunday, August 16, 2009


My very first book signing at a bookstore was at a B. Dalton, I believe. As I recall, eight books sold and I thought that wasn't very many, but the store people told me that if four books sell, it's considered successful.

Yesterday's signing with Emily at Barnes and Noble turned out to be very successful in terms of books sold, but the best part of it was the sheer fun of doing this together.

Andrea the coordinator had widened one aisle over in the Pacific Northwest section, set up a table with two chairs for us, and set up 30 chairs for the audience. So we got to speak sitting down, which is nice. And we shared the microphone, which was of good quality, always something to be grateful for.

The chairs filled up, and about 40 or 50 people were standing, something I have never experienced before. We were helped enormously by Bob Welch's wonderful column last Thursday, and also by the mother-daughter novelty, as I don't think either of us would have drawn such a crowd by ourselves.

Emily spoke first, then I did, and then people asked questions for a while. I had introduced my talk by saying that 19 years ago I gave birth to my third child, and then this year I gave birth to my third book, also on July 6. And then during the question time, a lady asked Emily how old she is, and she said, in blunt Emily fashion, "I'm 19. Didn't you hear my mom? She said that at the beginning of her talk." Horrified, I hissed, "Emily!" Thankfully the asker didn't seem offended.

Then it was time for signing books and talking with people one on one, which is always interesting.
The portly professor of languages showed up again, and again urged me to write an Amish novel.
A woman wondered where we get our head coverings because her daughter just started covering and wants something besides a bandana.
One woman gave me a pack of 64 crayons, tied with a purple ribbon, inspired by my column on poverty. Emily wonders when someone will read that story and decide to give her an American Girl doll.
A number of people had stood at the back, knitting, while we spoke. It turned out there's a knitting club in Eugene, and every so often they band together and knit in public, and they decided to do so at this signing, because of the title of my book. Believe me, it was an intriguing sight to see a bearded man at the back, expertly knitting with four needles.
Nick Harrison's wife gave me a copy of his devotional book on prayer.
Kay Porter from the Red Moons writers group gave me a hug and said she's been sending Reiki vibes to Emily during her sickness.

Meanwhile, several people shared their stories with Emily--a girl who lost a school year because of a head injury, a woman whose granddaughter has diabetes and longs for a normal life, and so on.

B&N had ordered 70 of each of our new books. 61 of mine sold, which is phenomenal, but all 70 of Emily's sold, plus a few, so they had her sign "book plate" stickers for the overflow.

I wish I could have seen a glimpse of this during the darkest days of her illness.

While we were signing in comfort, the boys of the family plus Keith the nephew and Trenton the friend were climbing the South Sister, one of the highest peaks in Oregon, where you climb 4900 feet in elevation in 5.5 miles. It was Matt's fifth trip up, and the hardest, since he hasn't been sacking seed this summer. Sacking doesn't sound like great preparation for climbing, but I guess it is, judging from how much easier it was for the young(er) guys. Matt says the last part of the climb is about 1500 feet up a pumice-covered slope the angle of our flight of stairs going upstairs.

Paul and I are thinking about having a goal of climbing the South Sister together the summer I turn 50.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Amy and Jenny, like Cinderella staying home from the ball, took care of the three little neighbor kids whom we kept for two days.

These three provided us with lots of entertainment and nostalgia, since they are the genders and approximate ages that our three oldest were some 17 years ago. Six-year-old Jayce told us how he likes to watch "FBI." Not sure what that is, exactly, but he likes it. And he said:

Quote of the Day:
"I watch it just in case I'll be an FBI."
"But I think I'll be a preacher."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My Cup Runneth Over

I am at that stage I hit every summer where the little bucket in my head starts overflowing. Here's the family's schedule this week--maybe that'll explain why.

We note that through all this Paul works 16-hour days.

Monday--Vacation Bible school in the evening for me, Jenny, and Steven.
Bob Welch came in the afternoon to interview Emily.
After Bible school Paul whisked me away to the Hilton in Eugene to celebrate our 25th anniversary. (A longer trip coming this winter, we think)
The boys worked their usual warehouse shifts--Ben 6am to noon, Steven 9-2, Keith 2-10.
Matt came home for the night.

Tuesday--Paul took me out for breakfast but had to answer about 10 phone calls while we ate.
Jenny went to the neighbors to find out how to feed the cat and chickens.
Paul spiced up his life by dropping his phone in purple paint.
Jenny went to her friend Kaelin's house overnight.
The boys worked as usual.
VBS again in the evening.

Wednesday--Amy and Emily drove down to Ashland to spend part of two days with Marni, another author in the Louder Than Words series.
Neph Randy came by to borrow our van while they have family here.
Emily had her web show so I sat in Pioneer Villa for an hour and watched and ate, then went to VBS from there.....and in the middle of VBS Keith the nephew called and said he never got his supper at the warehouse, so I had to call Ben and Paul to figure out what was up, and Emily texted me to ask if I'd help her pay to see a Shakespeare play, and Jenny's bee sting was itching like crazy, and a child in another class was found with head lice, and I being the senior mom was pulled aside to give advice
Boys at warehouse as usual.

Thursday--Jenny started taking care of Coffeys' animals while they're gone.
VBS program in the evening.
The girls came home safely after I left for VBS.
The boys worked.
Matt came home again.

And looking ahead:
Friday--We babysit 3 little ones for two days while their folks go to the Freedom Rally in Washington.
I take Ben to Albany for his drivers test.
Jenny feeds Coffeys' animals and also Leroy and Anita's dog--this is vacation season for the neighbors.
Steven's friend Trenton comes to spend the night.
I buy/prepare food for the boys on Saturday.
Boys work.

Saturday: All the boys go hiking--up the South Sister I think.
Emily and I have a book signing at Barnes and Noble.
We take the three littles to their house in the evening to put them to bed.

I feel like if I were still on the sunny side of 40 this list not only wouldn't overflow my bucket, I might even have plenty of sloshing room. But we all know only too well which side of 40 I'm on.

Quote of the Day:
"I guess sacking seed kind of impairs your judgment."
--Ben, explaining why he was limping

Welch column on Emily

Bob Welch was here the other day and talked to Emily about her book. The column is in today's paper. Click here.

And he has a picture of her and a few quotes from the book on his blog.

And in case any of you watched her webcast, please know that we do plan to teach her how to explain what it means to be Mennonite.

(Ok, in case you didn't watch....there was a live feed where you could ask her questions, and someone asked what a Mennonite is, and she was completely flummoxed by the question, which kind of proves the point that Mennonites tend to just do but not talk about what they do, but kind of an embarrassing moment for the mom....really didn't realize she wouldn't know how to explain this.)

But hey, pretty much everything else was articulate, funny, and well spoken, and she didn't panic when the screen went blank for minutes at a time.

Quote of the Day:
"She writes with a wonderful touch of teenage panache."
--from Welch's column, a phrase that will make Emz very happy I'm sure

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Garrison Keillor writes about how he grew up in the "Sanctified Brethren" denomination and as a result never learned to dance or even to move in a coordinated, graceful fashion. He once tried to sweep into a room and someone told him, "You must be Baptist," and he said, "No, when I was growing up, we thought Baptists were liberal."

I don't often think of such things but I did when we were in Africa and I was amazed at how Kenyans just know how to move. In worship, especially, but other ways too, clapping, swaying, just moving in a way that was a joy to watch.

Unlike, I am sure, how it is when I try any sort of movement. I normally limit my moves to such things as marching down grocery store aisles (I am told I have a reputation for marching) or filling the dishwasher, or sitting down. I don't try much clapping in rhythm or swaying, being Mennonite and all.

But this week I am teaching summer Bible school, and when Mennonites lead singing with a hundred children, they incorporate all the moves they never use otherwise. "Walk walk walk, in the light," we sing, marching west, then east, repeating the line. And at the end of each line we clap.

And then there's "Wrapped up, tied up, tangled up in Jesus" which involves maneuvers more complicated than double crochet, and "It's a great thing to serve the Lord," and other songs which require hands and feet doing things in a manner that coordinates with the words.

I am terrible at this. I walk walk walk to the right with my row, focusing on singing and walking at the same time, then ok, now I need to turn and keep singing, and suddenly everyone claps before they change direction, and I simply can't do it. I just don't have it in me.

In "It's a great thing" the moves change so fast I can't keep up. Sweeping arms, crossed arms, pointing up, and I am always two steps behind. I can either sing or try to do the motions right, not both.

Rachelle and Phebe, the song leaders, are great at this, so maybe it's a me thing and not a Mennonite thing.

Either way, it's a bit too much like being back in Miss Jensen's P.E. classes, trying to jump hurdles or dribble a soccer ball.

Quote of the Day:
Jenny: How come you never make chocolate chip cookies without chocolate chips?
Amy: That's like making hamburgers without hamburger.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Em on Web show

FYI: Emily is scheduled to talk about her book on a live web show Wednesday the 12th from 5-6pm Pacific time (8-9pm Eastern time).

here's the link:

or click HERE

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Today's Column

Here's today's Letter from Harrisburg. It's a takeoff on the recent reunions.

Also, this happy little notice was in today's paper.

Quote of the Day:
(Today in Sunday school. . .)
Emily: So what do you do if you have this person who just latches onto you like a heavy 3-year-old with their arms around your neck and they always want to talk to you and spend time with you?
Phebe: I don't think it's your responsibility to fix their life!
Rachelle: I think Oregon has found its Dr. Phil. . .

Friday, August 07, 2009

Something's Broken Here

So today my boys were working on fixing old pallets and both of them managed to step on a nail within half an hour of each other.

It's been 5 years since their last tetanus shots so I called the doctor and he ordered shots to be given.

I hauled the boys to the clinic. We are 100% self-pay, so I am always into saving money. Could we just get the shots without the office visit, I asked. Yes, said the receptionist.

So the boys went back to the lab and got shot and I went to the other room to pay.

"Oh dear," said the lady at her computer. "I hope she gave you the cheap shots and not the expensive shots."

I asked her to clarify.

"Well, she has here that she gave them the Dtp, which is the diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis, which is $74, instead of the Td [I think] that's the tetanus-only, for $9."

"All they needed was the tetanus shot," I said.

"Yes, well, I'll check to see for sure what she gave them. I'd hate to see you pay for the expensive one."

She called. I was thinking rapidly boiling thoughts.

"Oh! Good news! All of these come under the category of Immunizations for Kids, so the shot is free, and all you have to pay is the administration fee of $15 each."

I paid it.

And then I left, thinking that this is one of many many things that's wrong with our medical system. First, let me say that it is a good thing that I can walk into a local clinic and get shots for the boys. That's good.

But this is what's wrong: I didn't need or ask for anything besides the tetanus shot, yet I would have been expected to pay for the Dtp and be thankful for the opportunity. If it hadn't been for the free shots program, the bookkeeper would have charged me $74 per shot, without batting more than one eyelash or thinking this was all wrong. And if I didn't like this, I would have had to go through the torture of appealing to hard-to-reach, smooth-talking, intimidating supervisors and administrators who would make me look stupid and tightwaddy.

Can you imagine if you went to have your oil changed, and asked for the cheapest oil and nothing else, and a mechanic accidentally added Techron MotorBooster and a few other expensive fluids, would they get by with charging you for the extra stuff? Of course not.

Something is wrong here.

Quote of the Day:
Me, after almost rear-ending a pickup: Oops, I was writing a blog post in my head.
Ben: That's ok. I talk out loud to myself about football when I'm in the bathroom.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


Emily the new author is forever checking out how her book is doing online and "vanity googling" every possible combination that would lead her to a mention of herself or her book or the series online. And she is wondering how she can get people to review her book on Amazon, because Debi the editor says that will help a lot.

I check the ranking of my new book on Amazon now and then, and Google for mentions, but not with any great urgency, now that I am such a seasoned author, cough cough.

But you know, I really wouldn't mind having some reviews of Downstairs on Amazon.

Emily thinks we should offer people a real incentive, like if they post reviews of her book, then I get to post something embarrassing about her on my blog, and vice versa. Something dangerous like that.

I think surely there are less risky but still effective incentives, so I bring it to the congregation: if you've read either Emily or Downstairs the Queen is Knitting, what would it take to inspire you to go post a review?

Quote of the Day:
Me, trying to sound up on basketball: So Hedo Turkaglu isn't coming after all?
Ben: Mom, that was big news over a week ago.

Sunday, August 02, 2009


I think it is a cool thing when my daughters want to be like their great-aunts someday.

This weekend was the Orval Smucker reunion. Orval was Paul's grandpa, he of the long johns in July (they were short-sleeved! interjects Aunt Allene, and light-weight!) and dangerous driving habits (Darrell remembers riding in the back of the pickup with a few cousins and Orval would look at the ryegrass over here and the sheep over there, but never at the road) and raspy voice and interesting song-leading at the Harrisburg church (he was always one beat ahead of the congregation the whole entire song, says Steve, how did he do that?)

As you can see, I can't start talking about the Smucker reunion without wandering off down rabbit trails and getting hung up on vivid personalities. This is really a fascinating family, with its share of errors and sin, and yet there stood 8 fine men of the second and third generation, singing impromptu, beautifully, all of them forces to be reckoned with and reason for much pride in their forebears.

Speaking of forces to be reckoned with, the Smucker guys tend to wind up in leadership of some sort, and this afternoon four of the wives suddenly found themselves caught in a very intense discussion of the unique challenges of their roles after one happened to ask another about how it's going being a minister's wife. We never did solve any of our problems but oh how healing it was to know I'm not the only one.

Paul preached a sermonette today, but he wasn't one of the eight singers mentioned previously, and neither did our family grace the group with well-harmonized music like a few of the others did. The musical gifts in this line are phenomenal, and in the in-laws too, leading to families who burst easily into lovely enthusiastic melodies. Paul and I have completely missed out on this gift but we are not made to feel inferior at all for this, and a few of our children have the touch so that's redemptive.

The Aunts came from Arizona, Illinois, and Ohio. Wilma has passed on, but Luella, Nadine, and Allene entertained us with countless stories. Actually just their ordinary conversation is entertainment, the snappy rejoinders, the debates, the complete unpretentiousness. Allene told about being a college student, desperate to earn money over the summer, so she drove a seed truck every day from Wilton's farm in Lookingglass all the way up to the warehouse here, a hundred miles. Wilton told her one day that the fan belt is about to go, and if the truck sounds like this and gets hot, stop right away.

"Why in the world didn't he just put on a new fan belt??" we all said. Allene didn't know. You didn't discuss such things with Wilton. He was Older. She didn't elaborate on that adjective but implied that it was heavy with meaning.

The story continued. Sure enough, just past Goshen it happened, the sound, the hot engine. Allene stopped the truck and climbed over the fence and headed back to Goshen on a frontage road. Someone picked her up and took her to a gas station. She had to call Grandpa to find out what kind of truck it was.

"How did you call him? On your cell phone?" someone asked, being clever. "Of course not, I didn't have a cell phone," said Allene, "and I don't think I had any money with me, either." Nadine snapped, aside, "You have money now and you still don't have a cell phone!"

The truck got fixed and Allene considered the story finished. It sure wasn't finished in my mind. "How could your dad do that--send a college girl down the road in an old seed truck with a fan belt about to go? You would never do that!" I asked Paul on the way home. He didn't know the answer either but didn't see any need to obsess about it. Smuckers deal in logic and are not as good at obsessing as the people they marry.

Yesterday we went to Silver Creek Falls and Allene and Nadine kept up with their great-nieces on the 4-mile hike. This is why the girls want to be like them when they get old. I can well imagine the repartee with Amy and Emily will be equally entertaining in 50 years.

The adventuresome genes obviously went rattling down through each generation, judging from the children riding tricycles on a flatbed truck (Paul and his sibs, leading to one of the scars on Paul's forehead, no wait, that particular scar was from pushing sacks of seed off the truck and tumbling down with one of the sacks) and John teasing Todd on his wheelchair by steering him just a bit toward the creek, a nailbiter story that had us all digging our heels into the creek bank right along with John, trying to keep the much-heavier Todd out of the water and suddenly the weight shifts and over he goes into six feet of water, and just like that the cousins are all there unbuckling him and holding his head above water, and soon Aunt Susie is on the creek bank having an understandable conniption, and finally they end up hanging onto Todd's belt and dragging him up the bank because there was no other way to get this poor boy with no muscle tone up and out of there.

And the next generation has plenty of stories but I'm sure I don't know half of them, and no doubt at reunions 25 years from now I will hear of shenanigans I knew nothing of and praise God for his mercy in sparing my children from their own foolishness.

Meanwhile, Aunt Nadine said she'd teach Jenny how to skin a bullfrog.

Quote of the Day:
"Is the next one going to be In His Nightgown?"
--cousin David, looking at my book titles*

*hint: Wee Willie Winkie