April 27, 2007

Lite stuff; of hiking, guns and such…

Category: News — Ira @ 7:54 pm

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-to-merv.jpg 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!



(No Comments)

  1. Guess my true colors are showing, I agree with Ira ::gasp:: more gun control laws would be ridiculous – Let’s try enforcing what we already have. As an adjunct instructor, I have been frustrated by how our hands are tied, and sympathize with the Profs who tried to do something about (or for) the quiet, clearly disturbed student in their classrooms. In January at semester in –service, I attended a session put on by Security and Student Services. What struck me as so odd was here was a professional describing all the mental health and/or counseling services available to students, who at the end of his talk said instructors are not allowed to refer students to these services; in fact, no one is because that constitutes a violation of privacy laws.

    Comment by Glo — April 28, 2007 @ 7:38 am

  2. Hello Ira, We got back from D.C.[daviess co. Ind.] To comm. the passing on of our auntie Mary..Bro.Joseph’s and Mom & amp; Dad and Sis.Rachel flew in from kan. too & amp; Us, from our family were there.Had a great vist there with Mom’s side, and also made as many ‘calls’as we could get in that short time. Some time we do want to go to Dinky auction. We went to several Amish stores. The thing we noted was that some stores have no sign or anything to show it’s a store. You have to know where its at or you won’t find it. So many great people there. D.C.is my homeland, I suppose. In fact, would like to see a move started to move our nation’s capital to its proper place in Washington, Daviess Co. [Washington D.C]. We could call it ‘The Common Sense Capital’ Turn your swords into plowshares. It’s corn planting time…Also, We were teasing Sis. Rachel about Kan. being so windy. Pap Yoder once said if your hat blows off in Kan. don’t waste energy chasing it, just wait till another one rolls by, then grab it…And Oh, Ira, Pa. isn’t Your ‘homeland’, is it? Aren’t they rather …….., and do they out there in Pa. hunt tourists for sport?

    Ira’s response: Don’t think it would make much common sense to beat all our swords into plowshares at this time. In fact, the opposite would make more sense to me. As for hunting tourists, I’ve heard such rumors, but have never participated. You should check the link on my Links Page to Ira Lee Wagler’s site; he has quite a bit to say about tourists and such.

    Comment by uncle jess [pops w] — April 28, 2007 @ 11:03 am

  3. If it worked for the Phillies, Joe Torre would probably like you to pronounce a curse on the Yankees. After losing the 7th straight last night to the BoSox, the headhunters are on the loose in the Bronx. Of course, in the words of the McDonald’s commercials, “I’m lovin’ it.” -g

    Comment by Gary — April 28, 2007 @ 11:07 am

  4. So, did you hear… In an effort to insure that the Yankees win that elusive twenty-seventh World Series title, Mr Steinbrener has signed every player on the major league roster.

    Comment by mervin — April 28, 2007 @ 11:11 am

  5. can relate to sunny weather! was very lovely here until this weekend. Had LARGE dust storm that sent grill, large potted plants and bamboo shade flying about the back patio…thought to myself that i should dash out and take down the shade before it took out the window. unfortantly the wind took out both me and the shade…was very glad no one was watching! several battle scars remain today. wandered out to back patio this morning and as uncle nate would roar when he lived here..”there is something wrong when you go outside to enjoy your first cup of coffee and you start sweating”. Summer is well on its way.

    also have link to send you for monastery in Tucson. my friend Fred spent some time there and raved about it…will make sure to get it to you this week.

    much love:)

    Comment by janice — April 29, 2007 @ 4:24 pm

  6. Ira, sleeping pills prevent dreams, thereby beginning the vicious cycle of even more bizarre dreams when you allow yourself to have them. It seems dreaming is a way to work out the days stresses (among who knows how many other things). Even God “gives to his beloved sleep,” or, “gives to him in his sleep,” and I have oft been amazed at awaking to an answer of some problem I’d mentally toiled at previously.

    Yes, I think your site is a good one, and I am saving your essays in a special folder on my hard drive, something I’ve not even done for Dr. Mattson!

    Comment by LeRoy Whitman — May 1, 2007 @ 6:20 pm

  7. Hey Uncle Ira,
    It was good seeing you again and having you at our house for Sunday lunch! I also enjoy reading your website from way down here in Jamaica…I especially liked the paragraph you wrote on my mom!(:
    I hope all is well at home! -elaine

    Comment by Elaine Wagler — May 3, 2007 @ 10:43 pm

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