Futility

Just like people who live in houses, RVers have things that just don’t stay done. Futility is doing dishes, or laundry, or making the bed. Some days or even weeks, it seems like we just keep doing things that have to be done again. In an RV, that includes dumping the waste tank and filling the fresh one, in addition to all the inside things. This week we didn’t do anything much that was noteworthy until yesterday.

When I was in college at Friends University, I was privileged to be a member of the Singing Quakers, an elite choir that was widely known around the nation and even the world. One of the highlights for me was singing a spontaneous concert in the Air Force Academy chapel while we were on tour. Fast forward to the 1990s and Heidi was also selected to sing in the Singing Quakers. She traveled with the group on an eastern European tour and had many highlights of her own. Twenty-five years ago, a group of Singing Quaker alums under the leadership of Dr. Cecil Riney (who was my director as well as Heidi’s) started an alumni choir. They rehearse each week and once each year they perform one concert. Dr. Riney retired several years ago. Last night was their 25th anniversary celebration and the concert didn’t disappoint. Each year they have a guest conductor and this year they brought in Dr. Alan Raines from Dallas. In addition, the Northwest High School Concert Choir participated as well. This program at Northwest was new to me but the group excelled. We enjoyed the performance very much.

Our granddaughter Jadelyn turned 15 this week. We got to watch her dance team do their performance at half time of the regional football finals, which Sedgwick won. The band also marched, with Jadelyn on bass drum again. Today, we went to Texas Roadhouse after church to celebrate. Happy birthday, Jade!

This week will be full of tying up loose ends, in addition to those things that seem so futile. By Thursday, we should be ready to move the Pace Arrow outside to make room for the Flair, which we still haven’t sold. LeRoy’s hot tub will be emptied, sigh! Fortunately, there is another one waiting to be filled in Yuma. Thursday night is Jadelyn’s first performance as Lucy in “You’re a good man, Charlie Brown!” and Friday morning we will point our noses toward San Antonio. After visiting friends and relatives in a couple of places, we should be at Lackland AFB for Ben’s graduation ceremonies beginning Thursday morning very early. We are so excited for him!

See you on the road again!

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Time passes

While it seems like last week that we got here to the Landing again, in just under two weeks we will be ready to leave again. We sure hope we are ready by then, anyway. LeRoy has been working on various projects to be sure we will roll out safely. We’ve only driven this Pace Arrow from the dealership to a couple of mechanical appointments and it was empty then. Now that the cabinets and bays are full of our “stuff”, it’s important that the doors stay shut and the shelf contents stay put. LeRoy’s ingenuity comes in handy so many times! We believe we’ve solved most, if not all, of our quandries.

The pictures I’ve been trying to post for the last couple of weeks are finally available, so I’ll throw they in. The first are from a VW show on the 19th. Back in our past, LeRoy was into all things VW and dune buggy. (Who am I kidding? He STILL is!) His favorite shop was called V-Dubs and was owned and operated by Bill Tumbleson and Tom Elliott. They built two engines for us and boy, those buggies could run! We enticed a whole entourage in Osborne County into the dune buggy community and we caravanned 5 hours each direction to the Little Sahara Sand Dunes in Waynoka, OK about once a month. Recently LeRoy made contact with Tom on Facebook and we found out that he was going to be in Wichita for the VW show. He lives in Missouri now, but he brought his current VW.

While we never owned a VW van, we had two friends who owned them. Funny thing, we were probably far more hippies than they were!

Hippie wagon, even now!

On the 25th, we drove to Ellsworth to visit our oldest granddaughter and her family. We had a nice visit and really enjoyed having them all to ourselves. Usually the whole extended family is around! Many of you remember that Rachel (Rae) was born weighing 1 lb. 5 oz and spent a long time in the NICU at Wesley Hospital. Now, little miss is 18 months old and very mobile. Her favorite trick, if her parents don’t get there first, is to climb the long flights of stairs in their house! We did corral her, and her parents, for dinner before we left town, though.

Our little town of Sedgwick has a very good restaurant called Cy’s Hoof and Horn. We ate at several restaurants across Nebraska and Kansas in September that advertised the “best chicken fried steak in…”, some claimed the state, some claimed the midwest, blah, blah, blah. None of them compared, in LeRoy’s expert opinion, to Cy’s. Every time we have the opportunity, we take friends and visitors to check out their chicken fried steak. We’ve been regulars at Cy’s recently! Their prime rib is terrific, too.

Count down has begun to our departure, which is now been moved to Nov. 14. See you on the road!

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Pardon me while I scream…

I started the blog this afternoon and started to add photos. Unfortunately, neither of my usual methods of transferring pictures from my phone to the computer worked. I have a feeling that the newest upgrade of my phone may be at fault but I don’t know how to remedy the problem.

Therefore, I’ll just condense what we’ve done until later. In the last couple of weeks, we’ve been catching up with friends, both here and on the road. One couple we’ve known since we lived in Osborne, KS in the 1970s. He worked with LeRoy there and I don’t think we’ve seen them since. Another couple have also been full time RVers for a long time. They spend their winters in Texas and the rest of the time in a metal building similar to ours down the road a little way. We traveled to Ponca City, OK to visit a 5th grade classroom of a friend and caught up with a high school classmate of LeRoy’s and his wife. They like us so much they came to see us this Friday! We made a trip by car to Belen, NM for the memorial service of a bus friend, David St. John and spend a little time with his wife Lois before returning home.

I’m recovering well from cataract surgery on both eyes. Just two weeks more of drops in my right eye and then I can go to my regular eye doctor for a new prescription, although both eyes are now 20/20 and I only need readers if my arms are too short!

This past weekend was filled with fall festivals and car shows and we’ll have to have pictures for those stories, so I guess that’s about it. I’ll keep working on this, just not today!

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Bits and pieces

Life is made up of blocks of time and, like a jigsaw puzzle, each block is made up of smaller pieces. No monumental happenings in these last few blocks, but each piece comes together to form the big picture.

On September 24, our grandson Ben left for basic training in San Antonio. The man primarily responsible for Ben’s choice of the Air National Guard was Louis Locke, from our Friends church here in Wichita.

While Ben towers over me and is 19 years old, he’s still a boy in Granne’s eyes, but in a few weeks, the boy we prayed with before he left and placed in God’s hands will return a man ready for the commitment he has made to serve our country.

We are now fully moved into our new home for the road, new residential refrigerator installed and living room furniture in place. This tour starts at the front door.

So far, so good. We are comfortable in our new ride and I really enjoy having a residential refrigerator again. It has so much more room and is so much more accessible with a bottom freezer. A new, taller toilet in the bathroom is one of the next things on the agenda.

A week ago we went to Tecumseh, KS to the annual Melton Family Reunion. These reunions celebrate the family now spanning many generations from my great-grandparents, Thomas Jefferson and Elizabeth McDonald Melton. The first reunion, I think, was held in 1938. By comparison to the first reunions I remember in the 1950s, this one was pretty small and we discussed what we might do to spark more interest. None of us are getting any younger, but we think it is still important to pass on this family legacy! One of the things in the works is a Facebook page for just this leg of the Melton family as well as holding the reunion at a time when younger families might be available. We decided that next year’s event will be held in July, while school is not in session. Since the building in Tecumseh is air conditioned, the weather should not be a problem. We also made the decision that, going forward, the reunion will be held in even years only instead of every year. Maybe with a few tweaks, the history will still be passed on.

The last time I wrote, my right eye surgery was in doubt. However, my surgeon decided that it should be done and I had that surgery on Friday. It seems odd not to wear glasses all the time! We’re still doing all the unceasing drops for both eyes for a while, but at least surgery itself is out of the way.

Fall weather is trying to get through, although I’d prefer to wait on the really cold stuff. We can’t leave for Yuma until just before Thanksgiving!

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Happy birthday to me!

I’ve had a wonderful birthday week! Last Sunday we got to go to church with Heidi’s family at Northridge Friends, our home church here in Wichita and then ate lunch with the part of that family that wasn’t involved in some other activity. Such fun to have them around! Then Sunday evening we went to Long Horn Steakhouse with several couples, friends who have stayed in our lives for more total years than I care to add up. What a way to celebrate, even though my birthday was still a day away!

On Monday, we went to Newton to look at a larger motor home that was on a used car lot there. It looked as good in person as it did on the internet, so we made arrangements to buy it and we picked it up on Wednesday afternoon! How’s that for a birthday present?

Another birthday present was a painting that Heidi painted at an evening with the women of Northridge. She knows me pretty well, since both the colors and the flower are pretty special to me. It’s hanging on the wall in the kitchen of the new motor home now!

Any woman that I know loves getting a haircut and I saw my favorite stylist on Tuesday. I told her she could have free rein except for all over color and as always, I was pleased with her work. And then on Friday I got another “present”. I had cataract surgery on my left eye! I can sing along the old song “I can see clearly now”! The right one may or may not be done in the near future, but I’m seeing at a distance well enough to just use reading glasses at present. The right eye just doesn’t see as well. Just don’t look too closely at the wrinkles!

I’ll have pictures of the inside of the Pace Arrow in a few days. We’re changing out the RV refrigerator for a residential one, since the existing one didn’t turn on. Can’t say that I’m sad at all about that! We also have a couple of recliners on order to replace the director’s chairs in the living room. We had things pretty well put away until we turned on the water and discovered a pond on both levels under the kitchen sink. Once it dries out and we get things arranged again, we’ll show it to all of you!

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September’s half gone!

As much as I had planned to keep up to date after we got back to decent internet service, it just didn’t happen amid all that was going on, so I’ll try to catch up.

Two weeks ago today, we pulled away from Rock Eddy Bluff and headed toward a bus rally in Ogallala, Nebraska. Since we were in the state anyway, we stopped to visit my sister Florence Marie at her home in Weeping Water, on the east side of the state. She had just come home from a trip to Hutchinson, KS to a class reunion at the school where she taught home ec and was librarian. Her son Jim Walter from Elkhart, IN came down to take her and I think both of them had a good time. We visited with both of them and Florence Marie’s daughter Kris and Gary Wissel and their son Matt, as well, but Florence Marie is the only one who got a picture.

Jim left Tuesday morning and we left a few hours later. We traveled across I-80 and really enjoyed the mostly flat, straight road after a month in the Ozarks!

Our gathering of Eagles was at Lake Ogallala, just below the dam for the bigger Lake McConaughey. We had a beautiful setting for a rally and Nebraska showed us a “warm” welcome. We had not yet (and haven’t even now) escaped the heat and humidity! Our tiny Flair was the smallest of the 15 coaches that attended. Three were Prevosts, two counting us were motorhomes and the rest were Eagle conversions. We’ve been around long enough that we usually know most of the people and buses that come to rallies, but this time we met new friends from California, Florida, Iowa and Texas in addition to the familiar faces.

In addition to several good restaurants and beautiful lakes, Ogallala has some unique attractions. I am always intrigued by historical homes and the Mansion on the Hill is definitely unique. It was built in 1887 by a widower who served as a cashier in the Bank of Ogallala, L. A. Brandhoefer, but apparently he never lived in the house. He sold it to a banker and the society pages of the local paper state that Brandhoefer and his new wife were frequent guests there.

The walls of the house, both exterior and interior, were solid brick. The rooms were pretty good sized. Each bedroom had a large closet, which was unique for the time. We lived in a house in northern Kansas that was built just a few years prior to this one and there was only one closet in the whole house! Another unusual feature was that the house had 2 bathrooms, but no running water. Not sure how they drained the tub and while it was better than an outhouse, I’ll take flush toilets every time!

The kitchen, especially by today’s standards, was pretty small and work surfaces were nearly non-existent. Several of us have had or currently still have Hoosier cabinets like this one and I remember a wood stove in our kitchen when I was a young child. I’m pretty sure Mother cooked on a more modern gas one, but the wood stove was a warm place on cold winter mornings.

Maybe it says something about our age, but we found ourselves saying “We had one of those” way too often as we went through the rooms on three floors of the house.

The Petrified Wood & Art Gallery was another one-of-a-kind exhibition. Twin brothers Harvey and Howard Kenfield started collecting Indian artifacts after they returned from the Korean war, followed by collecting petrified wood. Somewhere along the line they started building miniatures using finely cut petrified wood as shingles and other building materials.

In 2000, they donated their entire collection to the foundation that became the Keith County Community Foundation, stipulating that it stay in Ogallala. The current structure was originally a skating rink and dance hall and later a hardware store.

One of the twins (don’t ask me which, I couldn’t tell them apart!) showed us a piece of stone that bends. He said it is sandstone and it is the mica in it that allows movement. The only other one in existence, he said, is in South Dakota.

The Little Church of Keystone has a unique story, as well. Keystone today is a tiny community, but even in 1908 it was not big enough for two church buildings. A small group of teenage girls, supported by a local rancher’s wife, raised enough money to build a church. With a special dispensation from the pope, both the Catholic and Protestant congregations were allowed to use the same sanctuary.

Inside the sanctuary, there are two altars, one Catholic

and one Protestant.

In order to be able to accommodate the congregation for each separate service, some ingenious inventor came up with reversible pews.

The last regular services were held in 1949 but the Little Church is still available for weddings and other events.

Our friends Wilbur and Laura Bradbury in their purple Prevost came to the Landing after the rally at a more leisurely pace than we did, but we enjoyed having them while they visited Wilbur’s sister in Andover. They are always welcome, but for now, we’ll look forward to seeing them in Yuma.

I had an appointment with my cataract surgeon, Dr. Gangadhar, on Tuesday. For now, I will have surgery on my left eye on Friday Sept. 20. The right one will be scheduled at a later date.

One of my favorite things about coming back to the Landing is being here for grandchildren’s school activities. There’s only one granddaughter still in the Sedgwick school system. Jadelyn is a freshman in high school and more involved than Ben and Bailey together! On Tuesday afternoon we went to a volleyball match. I really like watching her serve. Then on Friday evening, we attended the high school football game. Jadelyn is on the dance team and they cheered alongside the cheerleaders. I think she enjoys what she does, don’t you?

At half time, the dance team did their routine and then the marching band came on the field. During concert season, Jadelyn plays bassoon and since it doesn’t usually work well marching, I expected to see her playing flute, her first instrument. I had a hard time finding her…playing bass drum! Next on her schedule is the fall school musical. This year they are doing “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” and she will be playing Lucy. Believe me, we will be here to see that performance, even though it’s after we would normally leave for Arizona. We’re hoping there won’t be an early snow this year!

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Kenner Church of God

Back in 2012 when we first came to stay at Rock Eddy Bluff, the Coreys took us with them when they went to vote. Their polling place was Kenner Church of God, a little country church just a few miles down the road. We met a few of the members that day and attended church there the next Sunday and every week thereafter until we left. I know I’ve said it before, but the Kenner people really know how to make you feel accepted and at home. One of the reasons we came back this year is that when Coreys contacted us to ask if we could come, they said the people at the church had been asking about us. So for the last four Sundays, we’ve been in the second pew from the front. Today is the last time for this year as we will be leaving next Sunday. I thought I would show you around a little.

As you walk into the sanctuary from the fellowship hall, there is a pew across the back set apart from the rest. It bears this sign:

Since the garden here has been producing a good crop of tomatoes, the cucumbers were just what we were lacking. When we were here before, there were eggs occasionally but whoever used to bring them must not have an abundant supply anymore.

At the front of the church is a huge stained glass window on which the pulpit is centered. We appreciate the pastor, Bev Sharp, and her commitment to the community. She knows about every aspect of her congregation’s lives and is a real prayer warrior as well as a good preacher and pastor.

To the right is a copy of one of my favorite hymns, How Great Thou Art. In fact, I find the words of the second verse coming to mind often as I walk up the lane to the mailbox. “When through the woods and forest glades I wander…”

Through the school year, they faithfully fill backpacks with food that are distributed to children each week so that they will have nutritious food over the weekend when they might not have anything. They also helped supply school supplies before the fall semester started. We will miss being a part of this little congregation that does such big work in their community.

One day this week after a very stormy night, the owner’s daughter called and asked if LeRoy could please apply his lumberjack skills to a tree that had fallen across the lane. She had driven her children up toward the road where they meet the school bus, but they had to run the last quarter mile or so because they were met by this.

The partially hollow tree had broken off at the ground and now lay across the road. LeRoy got the tractor and the chainsaw and soon went to work.

LeRoy has been at work off and on this summer removing part of the sun scorched old decals from the side of the RV and had a plan for replacing the rest. Unfortunately, this first attempt did not work as planned so we’re on Plan B. In the meantime, he has at least made it shine!

While we really don’t want a pet while travelling, we have really enjoyed being around Holstein. However, we think having us around as long as it took to do laundry this week was more than she wanted. I’ll leave you with this parting shot.

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