The sun is out, the sun is out, or at least it was out before it rained today (Friday, 4/27). All things look fresh, the grass is growing, and Lancaster County’s farmers are bustling in the fields. Last week, after about the 250th consecutive sunless day, I told a guy at the gym that I’m about to go berserk if the sun doesn’t shine soon. This was a few days after the Va. Tech massacre, so my remark was perhaps a bit untimely, as reflected by the guy’s dubious look (Is he serious? Should I call the cops?). I now understand a bit better why the ancient Egyptians worshipped the Sun God Ra. Sunshine bestows life, and to the heathens, such a provider of all life was quite worthy of worship and adulation.
If the sun returns after the rains by this Saturday (if not, next Saturday), I plan to go on my first hike of the season at the Seven-Falls (Tacquon Glen) trail in southern Lancaster County. The trail is beautiful, and as the name suggests, has numerous waterfalls and many rock formations. It even has a forlorn stone chimney standing by itself in a small clearing, the remnant of a now long-forgotten dwelling (either that, or a whiskey still). Often in the summer, the trail is quite populated with many hikers, their children and lots of dogs, about which I am less than enthusiastic. The dogs, I mean. Hopefully, this early in the season it will be relatively private. The loop takes about an hour to walk and it takes me 45 minutes one way to get there, so I actually spend more time on the road than on the trail. But that’s OK.
It was a long and unusually draining week. The viewing for Merv Esh was Sunday late afternoon and evening at Spring Garden Church, and, not wanting to go alone, I asked my brother Steve to accompany me as a protector/bodyguard from unwanted solicitations and other overly aggressive expressions of sympathy/good wishes. We got there a bit before 4 PM and went through the line before the major crowds arrived. Steve didn’t have much body-guarding to do, as we spoke to very few people. It’s not that I dislike folks or crowds, it’s just that in a time such as this, most don’t know what to say (as I wouldn’t in a similar situation), and want to say something, so often the words come out, shall we say, a bit awkward. But I appreciate the thoughts and the heart behind them. And I don’t discount the sincere prayers on the behalf of all involved.
Merv’s funeral was Monday, so Graber Supply was closed for the day, the first time ever (in my memory) that it was closed on a regular business day. Merv was one of our main guys, and we all wanted to show respect in any way we could. The service was at the Pequea Baptist Church, with a large crowd attending, including a lot of builders and customers Merv had dealt with over the years at Graber. Merv was laid to rest at the grave yard at Spring Garden Church. At the office, it’s starting to sink in that he is really gone.
Tribute at Merv’s work station
We have several local celebrities to announce. First, my sister-in-law, Wilma Wagler, was featured in the “Who’s Cooking” section of last week’s Sunday News. The article detailed how she likes to cook, her favorites, and even had a full color picture of her standing in her kitchen holding a family favorite, a Pizza Casserole (here I pause to drool.). To read the article, see my Links page. Congrats to her and Ella Lapp (her daughter) for nominating her.
Then I opened Tuesday’s New Era, with nothing more on my mind than perusing my favorite section, the comics, and checking the baseball box scores, when I saw a long article entitled “Packing Heat in Plain View.” It had a full color, full length picture of one of my friends (who for now will remain anonymous), sitting at the Friendly’s Restaurant in Gap with an automatic pistol holstered in plain view on his belt. After I picked myself up off the floor, I discovered that my friend has a habit, now widely publicized, of walking around the mall and other public places fully and openly armed. After the Va. Tech tragedy, the article detailed how most states have “open carry” laws, and how most people aren’t even aware of it. To the reporter’s credit, he provided a fair and balanced (No, I am NOT Fox News.) perspective of those, like my friend, who cherish their rights to carry arms for protection. My friend even came across as a sane and normal person, which is unusual for a newspaper article on this subject.
The local reporter was certainly more respectful of gun rights than the skewed and hysterical blathering of those in the national press. The Va. Tech massacre is bringing out the usual rabble of loony anti-gun nuts, clamoring for more gun control, as if that would have kept the lunatic from carrying out his destructive and psychotic plans. Our society as a whole has deep and entrenched moral problems, as more and more disconnected and utterly soulless people commit more and more heinous crimes, each one seemingly trying to gain more notoriety than the last with a more shocking and bloody deed. It seemed to me that I remembered some Old Testament warnings about what would happen if a nation turns its back on God. After a bit of searching, I found the verses that had stirred in my memory:
Leviticus Chap. 26:
15. And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: ………
22. I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your high ways shall be desolate.
The young man who killed 32 people at Va. Tech was a wild beast, and no, we should waste no energy or effort in trying to “understand” his motives. I would not say that he was sent by God, but he certainly was permitted by God to do what he did. This may seem simplistic to some, but I believe that after all the courts have done in this country during the last four decades to wipe out every reference to God from our schools and in the public square, our nation now stands naked before and unprotected by the God it scorned. My conclusion is not rocket science, which is probably why so many people discount out of hand such a black-and -white analysis of cause and effect.
What happened to Don Imus several weeks ago is the result of another great boil in the psyche of our society, the power trips of the “cry racist” hustlers. I’m no fan of Imus, but the public lynching triggered by his gaffe was despicable. My hero Fred Reed addressed the issue of Imus and others who suffered the same fate in his latest column, and I can add absolutely nothing to what he wrote. Please check out the April 21st column on his site on my Links page. It speaks for itself.
Ellen and I have been communicating regularly, mostly via email, and she recently informed me that she has been offered employment at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, AZ. Ellen is one of the most natural, caring and highly-skilled nurses in the world, and with this position, she has reached one of the pinnacles of the Nursing profession. I’m very proud of her, and she will be the most outstanding nurse at the Mayo Clinic, of that I have no doubt whatsoever.
After I bashed the Phillies in my last blog, they have pretty much done nothing but win. This is a disturbing and distasteful turn of events. Next thing you know, they’ll go on a prolonged tear and win their division. The gloating from the local hooligans would be intolerable. Oh, well, at least the Yankees are still having serious bullpen problems. May their woes continue (Save it, Thorne). Now that I’ve said that, they will probably do nothing but win for the next few weeks.
I have been taking my drugs as needed to sleep. With them, I sleep soundly, but feel tired and unrested the next day. For several nights this week, I decided to go without. On those nights, I had vivid and irrational nightmares. Usually I remember them as I wake up, but they fade into oblivion during the day. So I’m between the proverbial rock and hard place. Sleep well with drugs and be tired, or sleep without and be tired with nightmares. This only reinforces my deep suspicion of all pharmaceuticals.
Thanks to Thorne Warner of New Hampshire for emailing me several links to Monastery retreats in the New England area. I am in contact with two such and hopefully will be able to make a trip this fall for a week of quiet reflection, writing and worship.
Finally, the windows of Heaven, at least those located directly above my house, opened up a crack this week and poured out such a blessing of food that I was barely able to receive it all. Well, perhaps that is a bit dramatic, but many thanks from my heart to those who shared, most notably Dave and Darlene Flaud, who were the first to give a large box of delicious goodies that provided several meals. Lancaster County rocks!
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