Tuesday, May 31, 2011

More Reflections on Mom

My Mom is a special person. And here I want to preserve some memories of her and her life.

My mom enjoyed quilting at home and at church. She also quilted each year
for our local Christian school spring auction. Here she is working on a crazy patch quilt.

My mom made this quilt in 1985. My wife and I are blessed
to have this quilt on our bed in colder weather.

She also quilted wall hangings.

My dad got this apron for my mom many years ago.
My dad was a poultry farmer.

Here mom is holding a ring-necked pheasant. My dad used to hunt them
every year on his farm and mom would make pheasant pie.

Here mom is attempting to feed a peacock probably at the Philadelphia Zoo.
Us children looked forward to those trips to the zoo.

Here's mom from before my arrival on this earth.

Here's mom as a young child.

And here's mom as a toddler.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Day in the Sun

Saturday, after about ten days of rain and clouds, we finally had a beautiful, sunny day. I decided to celebrate by grilling chicken over charcoal and taking a few photos of flowers around home and at our neighbors. So this post is celebrating a glorious day in the sun.

Wonderful green against a beautiful blue sky
The blooming tree in the front is very sweet-smelling.

Moments after first lighting the charcoal to grill chicken tenders

The charcoals just about ready to be spread out

Chicken tenders prepared by my wife just before going on the grill

Almost ready - yummy!

Ready to eat along with asparagus and English muffins

A red rose near our house

A beautiful rhododendron

Another pretty rhododendron

Monday, May 16, 2011

Fond memories of Dad and Mom

It's amazing sometimes what a photo or a few photos can do a person and the memories they trigger both happy and sad. This particular post was inspired by the photo below that my sister gave to me last week.

This photo of myself with my Dad and Mom was taken around three and a half years ago at the wedding reception for my wife and I. Our whole family with all their children was there for our wedding celebration. And my sister came all the way from from Thailand. She is my only sister and I couldn't ask for a better sister than her. We didn't fully know it then but the normality of life as we then knew it was swiftly coming to an end.

At that time we already knew that Mom had Alzheimers and was having some memory problems. But she could still take care of the house, make meals, and have meaningful conversations. And she could still appreciate and enjoy our wedding. But soon after that her abilities rapidly declined. Today she needs total care and she isn't capable of holding a conversation. Yet she is still special; she is my Mom whom I love and who my whole family loves. As for my dad as many of my readers already know, he was diagnosed with cancer a year ago from last fall and passed away the beginning of March this year. But we have many good memories and that is what I want to continue to share in the rest of this post.

Dad always loved dogs. Over the years,
he had a variety of Collies, Beagles, and mixed breeds.

He enjoyed snow and trying out a mini-bike
that one of my brothers bought.

He enjoyed games and celebrations. Here he and Mom are passing
a breath mint from one mouth-held toothpick to the other.

King of the Mountain after coming home from church

Dad enjoyed gardening each summer. Here he is with
some extra tall sunflowers and I think squash.

He enjoyed reading the newspapers to keep up with both local and world news.

Here he and Mom are browsing hymn books
possibly in preparation for singing in a quartet.

And here is Dad on his 65th birthday.

And here is a dogwood in memory of my Dad

Monday, May 9, 2011

Favorite Radio Story Programs From My Childhood

During my childhood years in the 1960s and 70s, Mom and Dad had Christian radio stations playing during just about all our waking hours. Us children looked forward to hearing the many Christian radio stories and dramas that were aired throughout the week. Below I am highlighting a few of the old time radio story programs we enjoyed.

Big John and Sparky

Big John and Sparky was aired on Saturday mornings. Big John was a mild mannered dad that loved and cared for Sparky who is a puppet. Adventures followed Big John and Sparky as they met up with a variety of characters. Big John voiced most of the characters and planned the sound effects and music. Sparky's voice was created by speeding up the tape to create his high pitch. Occasionally they did some music together, too. Below is The Little Red Caboose. More programming can be heard on Internet Archive - Old Time Radio.

Ranger Bill

Ranger Bill, Warrior of the Woodland, struggling against extreme odds, traveling dangerous trails, fighting the many enemies of nature. This is the job of the guardian of the forest, Ranger Bill. Pouring rain, freezing cold, blistering heat, snows, floods, bears, rattlesnakes, mountain lions. Yes, all this in exchange for the satisfaction and pride of a job well done.

Ranger Bill, Warrior of the Woodland, struggling against extreme odds, traveling dangerous trails, showing rare courage in the face of disaster, in the air, on horseback, or in a screaming squad car. Ranger Bill, his mind alert, a ready smile, unswerving, loyal to his mission. All this in exchange for the satisfaction and pride of a job well done.

One of the above two opening lines were used at the beginning of each episode. This was a Saturday afternoon program that I listened too as a child. Naturally, this radio drama series drew me with my love of nature and adventure. A number of Christian radio stations still carry repeats of this radio drama series. These stories can also be purchased on CDs from Moody Audio.

Sailor Sam

I loved following the adventures of Sailor Sam on both land and sea as a kid. Since I grew up on a farm, I had farm chores to do; but when this story came on, I was allowed to come into the house to listen to the program and then when it was over I went out and finished my chores. Unfortunately, I could not locate any sound file for this program to embed here. But there is a Sailor Sam blog that describes many of the episodes in this series. These also can be purchased at Moody Audio.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Youth Couch Derby

Yesterday, my wife and I went to watch the seventh annual youth couch derby that was taking place in the large parking lot of Franconia Mennonite Church in Montgomery County, PA. It was being sponsored by Franconia Conference and Eastern District Mennonites. For this derby, the youth turn couches into hand pushable vehicles and race to see who can get through the curvy course the quickest while accomplishing several different tasks. Below are some photos from this race.

At the starting line

Coming round the curve

Energetic youth

Approaching youth leader water dousing station

A more traditional couch on wheels

The back row and the person at the wheel have all the hard work

Some youth show a lot of spirit with painted faces

Others show spirit by enthusiastically preparing to douse their youth pastor

The youth in this last photo were from my home church Perkiomenville Mennonite.
You can see many more photos of this team at the church's web site.