May 14, 2010

Pit Stop…

Category: News — Ira @ 5:52 pm


….a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion:
for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?

–Ecclesiastes 3:22

All right. Time for a little break. And a brief update.

It’s been an intense five weeks or so, since the last post. Yeah, yeah, I know. I intended to post here at least once a month, but it just didn’t happen. It’s not that I want to ignore the blog. But for the first time in three-plus years, there’s something vastly more important, writing-wise, that demands pretty much all my attention.

And you few (you know who you are) who kept harassing me with whiny emails, well, here’s a new post. Peace, I say, peace.

The week after returning from the Tyndale trip, I left again for a few days. This time to Mays Lick, KY, for my niece Laura May Wagler’s wedding to Joshua Mast on Friday, April 16th. Big Blue and I headed out late Wednesday afternoon, on leisurely road trip. Stopped at the Holiday Inn in Cumberland, MD for the night. Cumberland is a fascinating old town nestled among the steep hills. Very unique architecture, tall steeples on old churches. And the trains hiss and clack and run all night, right past the Holiday Inn.

I pulled into Mays Lick late Thursday afternoon, to all the bustle and stir associated with an Amish wedding. Guests arriving from all over. Including my parents, who technically live in Mays Lick, but had been staying in Aylmer with my oldest sister Rosemary for a few months. They arrived about the same time I did, around 3:30. Dad was all in a dither because he still had to finish his tax forms and get them mailed off before 5 PM that day, April 15th. Somehow, don’t ask me how, he got it done.

Mom looked thin and impossibly frail. My sisters led her around like a child. She smiled and smiled and claimed to know me. But she did not speak my name. And I didn’t push it. She seems to be in a peaceful place, perhaps the most peaceful since her childhood.

Then hanging around all evening with a lot of people from a lot of places. A great crowd of Waglers had assembled from various points. The Amish and the non-Amish. It was all good. A loud time was had by all.

On the day of the wedding, I heard my brother Joseph preach again. And my Dad led a song in church. One of these times will be the last for Dad. The local Bishop performed the marriage ceremony, after a rather detailed journey through the Apocryphal story of Blind Tobit and the hair-raising adventures of his son, Tobit, Jr. Who traveled through dangerous territory to court and marry an even more dangerous woman whose seven previous husbands had all been murdered on their wedding night by evil demons. I had not heard the story for many years.

In some Amish communities, they honor Tobit by painstakingly expounding on the minutest details; in some they briefly skim through the tale. And in others, they pretty much ignore it altogether. It was interesting to hear again, but in my opinion the good Bishop perhaps over expounded just a smidgen. At least for my taste. But then, no one asked for my opinion.

After all these years, I’ve finally analyzed why I have so little patience with the Tobit story at Amish weddings. It’s because that story winds up the sermon. Once it’s told, the couple is promptly married and the service is soon over. So by the time the Bishop gets around to starting it, everyone’s already been sitting for quite some time, usually two-plus hours. When the Tobit story starts, the end is in sight, and everyone stirs restlessly.

Don’t know why I’m grumbling about Tobit. The wedding was very enjoyable, from start to finish. Lots of people. Great food. Great weather.

On the day after the wedding, Saturday, a group of us drove up to the Cincinnati area and toured the Creation Museum. It was interesting, very detailed. Overall, though, mildly disappointing. Really nothing new that I hadn’t seen or heard before. It was OK once, but I wouldn’t spend the money to go through again.

And since returning from that little trip, I haven’t relaxed much. Working ten-hour days at my job, then two to three more hours every night on the computer. And emailing my editor now and then. The book’s first three chapters are in the final stages of rewriting. They are due next week. I’ll be at the computer all weekend.

Other than that, there’s not a whole lot to say about the book. Other than it’s stressful. More so than any term paper I’ve ever done in college and more than any brief ever submitted in law school. Or oral argument, for that matter. All kinds of thoughts jumble through my head. What if it’s not what they want? What if…..? Aaarrgggh..

But that’s the reason I’m turning in short segments, especially at the beginning. If I’m on the wrong track, there’s time for corrections.

A few thoughts on the passing scenes.

The little group of “dangerous” militia guys I mentioned in my last post still languish in prison. Last week a federal judge, to her credit, ordered them immediately released on bail. The thuggish Feds appealed that order to a three judge panel. So they sit, the eight misfits, rotting away, all because of words they spoke. I’ll be surprised if they ever again see any sort of freedom.

And then of course, there’s the BP oil rig that “accidentally” exploded three weeks ago. Oil has been spewing into the ocean ever since. An environmental nightmare. Right on cue for the wacko extremists to scream for a permanent ban on all offshore drilling forever. Meanwhile, a lot of other two-bit countries keep sinking wells and extracting oil at a feverish pace.

It’s all a bit too convenient, if you ask me. The accident. Better chance than not, the BP rig was sabotaged. Few things are as they seem, or as authorities claim. Neither is this, in my opinion.

Who was it? It’s anyone’s guess. Could have been “black ops” forces. Or wacko environmentalists. Maybe North Korea sent over its entire fleet, consisting of one outdated, clanking sub, and blew it up. I don’t know. But the results sure fit the political agenda of a lot of powerful people. Maybe I’m paranoid, but it just seems way too convenient. Way too convenient.

The Feds have done at least one thing right lately. They’ve honored the Simpsons with their own stamps. Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie all on one sheet. Couldn’t believe it the other day when I saw them at the Post Office. I immediately bought a sheet. Won’t use them, though. I’ll store them away in my desk. Some day they’ll be worth something.

I’ve got one major break planned this summer. On the first weekend in June, I will join last year’s group and camp inside the oval at the Pocono 500 for three days. Hopefully we’re a bit more seasoned this year, and won’t have any fires inside or outside the motor home. And hopefully our neighbors will rest easier this year. I’m sure looking forward to the trip. Slurp, slurp. I will be taking my laptop, however, and try to get some writing and editing done.

Congratulations to Mervin (my nephew) and Marlene Wagler, of Worthington, IN, on the birth of their first child. A daughter, Hosanna, born on May 4th.



  1. Welcome back from the grindstone, dear Ira. I check each Friday to see if there is anything new. Davis County has been miserable these past couple weeks. Rain, Rain and more Rain. Farmers starting to replant soon as it dries up so. Please get a good pic of the 24 in Pocono for me. Would love to be joining the group.

    DJ from Davis County

    Comment by DJ — May 14, 2010 @ 6:33 pm

  2. I’m making records
    My fans they can’t wait
    They write me letters
    Tell me I’m great

    For 5 long weeks I had to read what I could find, mostly the Wall Street Journal, finally some sane writing that tickles the brain when you read it.

    The government probably is causing the oil spill BP; they are trying hard to bash Toyota so our GMC can make money, they’re trying to bash the health insurance companies into submission, they’re bashing Goldman Sachs for making money on the government’s bad mortgage laws. I don’t think you can read in modern history where the president ever made so many derogatory comments about people that don’t agree with him.

    I’m so paranoid that if someone told me that the government highjacked this blog, I would almost believe them.

    The Tobias story can be long and boring, and most ministers get lost in the details and almost seem to forget the purpose of the story.

    Great Post!!!!! Good to hear that you’re still doing things that normal people do.

    Keep writing, I can’t wait!

    Comment by Crit — May 14, 2010 @ 7:08 pm

  3. After the wedding, I came home and read the Tobit story for the first time. It is an interesting and fast-paced account. I was shocked to discover there is a fish in the story. I never heard a mention of the fish in the Amish weddings (maybe I had tuned out). After reading the story, I cannot imagine telling it without mentioning the fish.

    Comment by Reuben Wagler — May 14, 2010 @ 8:26 pm

  4. Ahh, the Tobit story. You summarized my thoughts well. This is the only place in the Bible, (wait, this isn’t the Bible) but if it were, well, I was intrigued by the dog mentioned in the story. When Tobit left his parents and traveled, a dog accompanied him. Then later, I think perhaps when he arrived back home, the dog is described as being there and wagging his tail.

    What has this got to do with the story? Probably nothing. But if I were telling it, the dog would be in it. And the fish.

    Should the Amish quit using the Tobit story at weddings? I think so. This would be a grand opportunity to talk about Jesus and the Bride of Christ and all that.

    But who am I to say…….

    Comment by Lester Graber — May 14, 2010 @ 9:21 pm

  5. Well (I.M.not-so-humble-O) the Tobias story is a bit odd for using at weddings. Wonder how on earth that got started.

    Comment by ann — May 15, 2010 @ 4:49 am

  6. Tobit story not withstanding, from a historical perspective, Tobit would have been in the scriptures Jesus and most Christians used throughout history. Virtually every time the NT quotes from the OT it quotes the Septuagint which includes those books most Protestants have excluded since the Reformation. Today they are often referred to as the Apocrypha.



    Comment by Leon — May 15, 2010 @ 1:30 pm

  7. It does not need a government or private sector conspiracy (I love Ira’s Facebook posted cartoon about the various kinds of organized crime) to explain the BP oil rig disaster. For too many years, I have needed to live with idiots disguised as engineers and engineering managers, quite a few licensed. I have needed to wonder if some of them found their degrees and licenses in Cracker Jack boxes. Many times, the most elaborate conspiracy imagined is really Murphy’s Law and corollaries (such as Murphy was an optimist) combined with incompetent, herd following managers working in a bureaucratic, CYA environment.

    Comment by Mark Hersch — May 19, 2010 @ 10:07 am

  8. Ira,

    I had learned of you from Amish America some time back. A few months ago I was in a home in Vincennes and was shown something signed by you. Had to scratch my head a few minutes to recall where I had run into that name before. I’m glad to see you’re writing in your blog again.

    My worst suspicions about the episode with the “militia” group in Michigan are as you say, but we’ll never learn from the media what’s really going on. I don’t know if it’s even accurate to refer to them as a self-styled militia.

    I had a mildly amusing encounter with a local militia officer back in early 1995, both on-line and in person. He was wondering if something that had been said on one of their radio programs was true, because it involved my workplace. I explained that yes, we probably were on some United Nations list of biological reserves or whatever, but that didn’t mean the U.N. controlled us, because we get $0.00 dollars from them. I presume the guy is still around, but I don’t even remember the name. We were on a group bike ride together, but family kid-sitting duties meant he had to go home and couldn’t stay for the picnic lunch at our destination. I sometimes think of how easily he could have got caught up in one of these stings.

    Comment by The Spokesrider — June 4, 2010 @ 12:02 am

  9. Correction. That was in summer 1994 when I met the militia guy. 1995 was when militias got associated in the public mind with the Oklahoma City bombing.

    Comment by The Spokesrider — June 4, 2010 @ 12:04 am

  10. Oh Ira! Really? The BP crisis being planned by some extremist group? How about greed, irresponsibility, a total lack of concern for human and animal life on the part of the BP Mega Corporation? It sickens me. What kind of world will my children live in as adults? No, I think the spill occurred because BP just didn’t give a rip. Tisk! Tisk! Shame on them!
    I gasped when I read about pastors preaching the life of Tobit, Jr. at some weddings. Now isn’t that light, airy, festive and full of encouragement for the newlyweds. Dangerous woman, murder, evil demons- Yeah! I would have loved to have heard that at my wedding. Ah, no.
    Be well. A loyal fan.

    Comment by Francine — January 9, 2013 @ 5:30 pm

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