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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Historic Downtown Lancaster, PA

I know it's been awhile since I've posted anything. Sorry 'bout that. We've just been doing regular stuff - hanging with family, babysitting (I love it!!), and staying out of the heat. But, yesterday, my friend, Cheri & I went to Lancaster, PA.

Most times when people think of Lancaster, PA (if they think of it at all), they think of the outlet shopping and the Amish Country. Well, Cheri and I had been to both numerous times, so we decided to explore downtown Lancaster. After having a
good lunch at the Central Market, which is Lancaster's Farmer's Market, we went to the Visitor's Center and signed up for a walking tour. I just love walking tours!!

Our guide was not the best I've ever had, but he was a nice older gentleman. We started with a short slide show that gave us an overview of the city. Did you know that Lancaster was once the capital of the United States? I certainly didn't. And it was for a very short time, but still . . . Lancaster is also the city in which the Woolworth's stores started. President Buchanan made his home in Lancaster. And the force behind the 17th Amendment which abolished slavery, Thaddeus Stevens, lived here, too. Stevens was also the "father" of our public education system.

During the tour we saw many beautifully restored homes from the late 1700s to the mid 1800s. There are several historic churches in the city, too. One of the churches was originally built as a children's church for Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. Apparently, the founders of Holy Trinity were German speaking and as children were born here and grew up, the children were English speaking. The older generation did not want to change having their services conducted in German so they built a whole other church for the kids to go to and have their services in English! Gosh, guess they never heard of having two services!

Holy Trinity is still active today. I loved the title of
the message for this past Sunday: "He Who Must Be Named." If you're not a Harry Potter fan, you won't get the joke. But, it is funny, I promise you. And it shows how much our spiritual life can be influenced by the media!

Another person everyone knows, Milton Hershey, grew up in Lancaster. One of his first businesses, a caramel factory, is still standing. It is now a senior citizens home. The building is in the midst of the historic district.

On the side of one of the historic homes is a fire department plaque. Apparently, if your home did not display this plaque and a fire broke out in your
home, the fire department would just pass you right by. This plaque was only obtained by paying a tax of some kind. Amazing.

DeMuth Tobacco, located in the city, is the oldest tobacco shop under continual family ownership in the United States. It was started in 1770 and has been handed down ever since. One of the DeMuth sons is a well-known painter - not to me, but to
those in the art world, I guess.

Cheri and I had a good time exploring Lancaster. I know there is much we missed, but you can only do so much at one time. The great thing is to be able to share it with a good friend.

September is shaping up to be rather busy. Not sure how much of it will be of interest to you, but I'll try. I will be going on a trip to New Hampshire with my mom. We'll be visiting my mom's sister, Aunt Helen. Randy & I saw Aunt Helen and my cousin, Wanda and her husband, Bob, last fall when we traveled to Maine. My mom hasn't seen Aunt Helen in years and wants to do so before age and/or ill health keeps them doing so. Randy & I will also try to get in as much time with friends and family before leaving October 1st for our trip south.

Take care of one another. Keep in touch. Until the next time . . .

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Proud of our Soldier

Yes, I know - this is supposed to be a blog of our travels. Well, since it's my blog, I figure I can deviate is I want to. And I want to brag on our son.

Kevin is currently stationed in South Korea. We are grateful that, for now at least, he is not in a combat zone. He is constantly training in order to become a skilled soldier. So I just wanted to share a couple of pictures of him "at work" and let everyone know how proud we are of him and his willingness to serve our country.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Reuniting with Family

What a great week we've had! Last Tuesday we went down to my folks' house to visit for a few days, culminating in the visit with my cousin, Mary and her family on Friday.

Lindsay & Reagan came down on Wednesday. Boy, do I love spending time with them! That little girl brings so much joy to my life - I have a hard time not smiling when I'm with her. She is such a happy little one and finds such delight in everything she sees and does. It helps me to do so, too. It's kind of amazing how something I've been doing all my life, such as swimming, takes on a whole new thrill when I do it with Reagan. Her excitement in doing new things (or even the same thing over and over . . . and over again) gets me excited, too. For those of you who have not had the pleasure of grandchildren yet, just wait - you'll see what I'm talking about! And to watch my daughter mothering her daughter is overwhelming. Lindsay is a great mom and I am so proud of her!

Anyway, my folks sure enjoyed having Lindsay & Reagan there, too. They don't get enough time with them, either. I'm just so darn grateful that my granddaughter is able to get to know her great grandparents. Isn't that cool?!?!!

Thursday evening Paula & Lou came in so they could be there for Mary's visit. They had taken a few days off to recoup from the wedding and to celebrate their ninth anniversary.

Friday afternoon, Mary and family, including her mom, Ann, arrived. Mary is married to Tim and they have two children, Robert (20) and Anna (16). I have not seen them in 14 years!! They live in Wales (Tim's British) and the last time they were in the United States I was not able to see them.

Mary and I were great buddies when we were kids. Technically, she is my second cousin, I think. We had a discussion about that, it's so confusing!! She is my mom's cousin's daughter. Anyway, she and I were the only cousins our age; everyone else was older and didn't have anything to do with us. We spent lots of time at each other's houses and just had a great time together growing up. We lost touch as we got older and our lives took different turns, especially when she went to college and I got married. But, when she married Tim, Randy & I had the privilege of participating in their wedding. I just couldn't believe that Mary was going to leave the country and live that far away! Shoot, she'd hardly ever left Washington, DC where she'd lived all her life. I liked Tim right away, though, and it seems he has continued to make her happy for the last 22 years.

We had such a great time reminiscing and laughing. Boy, did we laugh. Mary & I
seemed to just pick up where we left off. It was fun telling a few stories to Mary's kids about their mom. Mary's kids are just great. She and Tim have done a great job with them. Robert is at college (university, they call it) and Anna just graduated from high school. Tim is a chef with a caterer and Mary works part-time in the local grocery store.

The day went so fast, it was hard to say good-bye. But, Randy & I decided we are going to visit them in a couple of years. Yes, we're gonna do it. It's crazy not to travel overseas when you've got family waiting for you and a free place to stay!

Once again, God has reminded me of the many blessings He has given me. To have extended family that means so much and to be able to spend time with them is very special. I need to take more time to show my gratitude for these blessings.

Enjoy the pictures. We've got a pretty quiet week this week, but I'll have some fun stuff to share next week. I'm going to see "Menopause: The Musical" with a girlfriend and then we've got Randy's 40th high school reunion coming up. I'm sure I can find something to share with you all about this stuff! :)

Take care. Be sure to tell one another how much you love each other. Until the next time . . .