Category Archives: ROADS SCHOLAR

Stories and experiences as we travel … around town, the nation, and the globe.

“Double Debit Indebtedness”- Part Two

Hi Friends:

It was this past August, and Carol and I were returning from a trip to Georgia. As we traveled up Highway 93 North, we stopped at the newly remodeled/rebuilt New Hampshire Visitors Center in Hooksett. They did a great job on it, making it a combination of shopping/dining/gas stations and a New Hampshire History Museum. I spent a long time at the exhibits, and wanted to spend more time, but we wanted to get home by dark, as we have to travel through moose country on the last leg of the journey home.

As I stepped off of the curb, into the parking lot, I glanced down at the pavement … yes … always on the lookout for that penny … but, this time, I saw something much more: It was a shiny Bank Debit Card. As I reached down and picked it up (sub-consciously looking around to see if I was noticed), I saw that it was a Business Debit Card. I noted that it looked fairly new, and it was still well within the expiration date. I then took my wallet out, and placed it inside, for safe-keeping.

Here’s the first thought that I had:
I was glad that I was the one who found it.
I was glad that the owner didn’t have to worry about someone using their lost card.
I know full well, as I never carry cash and always use the same type of card for transactions, which, these days, if the amount of the debit is under a set amount, you don’t even have to sign the receipt.
As a “card-carrying” businessman myself, I know full well the possibilities, and the concern which a lost card can bring.

I thought about how long we were at the Welcome Center … I would safely guess that it was the longest period of time we’d ever spent at one of these stops. It seemed to “be arranged” that we would step off that curb at just the exact, right time. It’s hard to imagine someone seeing the card and not picking it up … regardless of motive. It must have “just been dropped” … just before we headed out.

Anyway, I am thankful, as I wrote in Part One, that I was raised to be honest. I remember, as I thought about the “coincidence” of us finding the card, how thankful I was to have been given the opportunity to bless someone we didn’t know, just by being honest.

First thing the next morning, I called the telephone number listed on the back of the card, and explained about finding the card. The Bank was in Massachusetts, and no one had called, yet, about the card being missing. Somehow, that made me more grateful to have found it. If the wrong person had found the card, and it wasn’t noticed to be missing for a while … well, I was glad I found it.

I really didn’t want to give my name or any information; I just wanted to report the card. However, there was something else that moved me to at least give my name and telephone number. I wanted whoever owned the card to know that there are still honest people in the world. You just never know how your actions, even small, may affect someone else in a positive way. I know that regardless of how I am treated by someone, or I see people who act in a negative way, how much it blesses me to see someone who was “raised right.” It encourages me to “keep on keeping on.”
So, I gave my contact information, and explained to the man at the Bank why.

Later that day, when I came back in the house from Summer chores, there was a message on the answering machine. I recognized the name from the name on the Card. He left his telephone number. Again … I thought about not calling … I really didn’t want to. It was no big deal to me, it was just something you do. Period. But, I got that same feeling about someone else knowing that there are still honest people in the world … so I called.

What are the chances? The man’s Bank was headquartered in Massachusetts, but he lived in New Hampshire. He had been traveling to spend some time with his son in college. Somehow, he noticed something about me, just from the way I talked: That I was a Christian. Then, he confirmed that, he too, was a Christian. What are the chances? In our conversation, of course, he thanked me. Right off the bat, I told him how thankful I was to have been “raised right,” and explained to him my motive for wanting him to know that, yes, there are still honest people in the world.

That was in late August. Now, it’s the Labor Day Weekend. It’s the Saturday of the Holiday, and of course, I spent the day at School. Leaving the School, I did something I hardly ever do: I stopped at the local Bank branch to take some cash out of the ATM. By the way, do you know why they call it an ATM? Because that’s where All The Money is. Anyway, as I put my card into the slot, it wouldn’t go in. I tried it again. Still wouldn’t go in. Then, I saw why:
You guessed it … there was a Debit/Credit Card left in the slop. Shiny and new … and, it was Saturday … Banks wouldn’t be open until Tuesday … Long, Holiday weekend. Yet, again, I felt that same feeling. How it was the first Saturday I had worked at School this School year. I know it was the first Saturday of the School year, but you get the idea. I hardly ever stop at this Bank’s ATM, as I don’t carry cash as a rule … even if I plan to spend it all on the next stop …

I was so glad I was “raised right.”
Raised to be honest.
And, that I was taught the difference between right and wrong.
And, yes, taught to work hard.
By the living examples of those who raised me, who were as hard-working as they were honest.
I may have strayed, but they never did.

Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

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Returning Home from the “Country:” Tim McGraw and “Don’t Take the Girl”

Carol and I just returned from a trip to Georgia, which brought with it many tears, as well as laughter, and unforgettable moments. I’ll try to write on these as soon as possible. The “tears” part will take some time to get the words together …

How blessed we are.
Period.

We are so blessed to have many readers from all over the world. I try to never forget that our friends are located “everywhere.” When we feature a video, we always remember that many in our “audience” have never been exposed to certain artists, or maybe even types of music, like, maybe Southern Gospel, or Country music. This is true “both at home and abroad.”

There is one “common denominator” with every video, or artist, we’ve shared. The same rule applies to a video, or a writing, we share:
If it blesses us, it will bless others.

I’d like to share a video with you which … well … may fall into each of these categories for many of you. I’ve had this “on file” for a while, and, maybe, since I have just had a “refresher course” on the true meaning of “family,” it seems like a good time to share this one.

This is Tim McGraw, and his recording of “Don’t Take the Girl.”

“Don’t Take the Girl” is a song written by Craig Martin and Larry W. Johnson. It was released in March 1994 as the second single from his album “Not a Moment Too Soon.” The song was McGraw’s fifth single overall, and his first number-one single on the Hot Country Songs chart. It reached number one on the Canadian country charts as well, and it was also a successful pop song, reaching number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100. This was McGraw’s second music video. It was directed by Sherman Halsey.

Samuel Timothy “Tim” McGraw has been married to singer Faith Hill since 1996, and is the son of the late baseball player Tug McGraw. I was a fan of Tug McGraw’s, and, just a couple of days ago, when I was having a conversation about Tim McGraw … I called him, “Tug.” Couldn’t help it … I was a big fan of his father …

Tim McGraw’s “Soul2Soul II Tour” with Faith Hill is the highest grossing tour in country music history, and one of the top 5 among all genres of music.

One final note before I go to the video, and, I share this in honor of Carol, and all our friends of Italian heritage:
In acknowledgement of Tim McGraw’s grandfather’s Italian heritage, Tim McGraw was honored by the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) in 2004, receiving the NIAF Special Achievement Award in Music during the Foundation’s 29th Anniversary Gala.

Yeah!!!!!!!

The last several days, as we traveled, I have tuned the radio up and down, and was excited to hear both Gospel and Country … sorry … had to tune away from some Country songs … been guests at two great Country Concerts (front row!), and, well, realized how much I loved live “Country” music … and, missed it …

It had been so long since I heard the names:
Jimmy Johnson
Tommy Thompson
My best friend Bo

And, phrase and lines like:
“Someday you’ll change your mind”
“Picture show”
“Johnny hits his knees and
Then he prayed”
Here’s Tim McGraw and the official video of “Don’t Take the Girl”

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Keeping Up With John Adams/Thomas Jefferson/The Stone Library/ Just “Keeping Up” (Remembering July 4th, 1826)

I can’t believe I used that title …

I have always considered John Adams to be the most under-rated President we’ve had, if I may use that term.
And … Abigail Adams … incredible …
When I think of people “ahead of their time,” I always place Abigail at the top of the list.

One of the great thrills Carol and I have had is the opportunity to visit the John Adams birthplace, on Franklin Street in Quincy, Massachusetts. On the same property is the birthplace of John Quincy Adams, their son, and 6th United States President. I also consider John Quincy Adams the most intelligent President we’ve had, with his learning and ability to speak so many languages.

We have visited “Peacefield,” the home and farm purchased in 1787 by John Adams, and lived in by their son, as well. It is also lovingly called “The Old House.” What a thrill to visit “the Library out back.” What a thrill to step into that Library! The Library! The Stone Library, built in 1873, contains more than 12,000 books that belonged to the family.

Here is an excerpt from the Will of John Quincy Adams, dated January 18, 1847:

“I give and bequesth my library of books, my manuscript books and papers, and those of my father, and all of my family pictures…to my son, Charles Francis Adams, trusting that his mother shall at all times have the use of any of the books in the library at her discretions; and I recommend to my said son…to cause a building to be erected, made fire-proof, in which to keep the said library, books, documents, and manuscripts safe…and I especially recommend …that he will, as far as may be in his power, keep them together as one library…”

Take it from someone who just spent, on Saturday, during what others call “Summer Vacation,” seven hours working inside a High School Library … If you get a chance to see “The Stone Library” …

Carol and I also have visited the crypt, underneath the church, which is the final resting place of John Adams, Abigail Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Charlotte Adams. There just aren’t words to describe what it was like, being there. Standing there. I can still feel it.
It was a trip, made with our Pastor and his Wife, which we will never forget. The images just won’t leave.
I’m grateful for that.

This is another one of those great trips we’ve taken, and is “on the list” to share photos. We often get requests from friends who have joined us on some of these trips, who keep asking us, “When are you going to put together the video” or slide show, etc. Or, “When are you going to send us the pictures?” Even on trips when we’ve left the United States, we haven’t “gotten around yet” to sharing the stories or pictures from these trips. We usually don’t mention our trips publicly, but, on occasion, I’ll slip up and say something like, “Yeah, I remember seeing something like that in South America” or something, which is always met with something like, “I didn’t know you went to …”

One day … we’ll get around to it, I’m sure.
I always feel like I should be talking/sharing about something else besides us.

So, we’ll try to do better with sharing. If it’s any indication, this trip to the Adams Homestead … with our Pastor and Wife … was something like 12 years ago … or, longer …

I still consider the book “John Adams,” by David McCullough, the best biography I have read. David McCullough won the Pulitzer Prize for this (I was an early advocate) and for his book on Harry Truman. I must also mention in this writing how much I enjoyed his “1776” book. His descriptions of individuals knows no equal. I still vividly recall, from his book on John Adams, his physical descriptions of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. I read the book, and wrote the excerpt below, well over 10 years ago. It is never “my time,” but “the time” to write or share, so, here now, is the excerpt I wrote over a decade ago:

On this day in early July, the week of our July 4th, I think back to reading this from the book on John Adams:

“That John Adams and Thomas Jefferson had died on the same day, and that it was, of all days, the Fourth of July, could not be seen as a mere coincidence.
‘It was a visible and palpable manifestation of Divine favor,’ wrote John Quincy Adams, in his diary that night, expressing what was felt and would be said again and again, everywhere the news spread.

In the weeks and months that followed, eulogies to Adams and Jefferson were delivered in all parts of the country and largely in the spirit that their departure should not be seen as a mournful event. They had lived to see the expanded greatness and consolidated strength of a pure republic. They had died amid the hosannas and grateful benedictions of a numerous happy and joyful people. And, on the nation’s 50th birthday. Which, said Daniel Webster in a speech in Boston, was proof from on high that our country and its benefactors are objects of His care. Webster’s eulogy, delivered at Faniel Hall, on August 2nd, lasted two hours.”

I just remembered … we’re flying out early Monday morning … to spend several days in the Deep South … I haven’t finished writing about our last trip there … several years ago …

Blessings,
Ted and Carol

P.S. Following 12 years of bitter silence caused by their disagreement over the role of the new federal government, these two old friends managed to reestablish the discourse of their younger years spent in Philadelphia, where they both served in the Continental Congress, and Paris, where they served together as ambassadors to France. In 1812, Benjamin Rush, a Patriot and physician from Philadelphia, initiated a renewed correspondence and reconciliation between his two friends and ex-presidents. The correspondence continued until Adams and Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence that all three friends had signed in 1776.

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Maine Memories: Cling Peaches and Bar “Harboring” Bible Study

It was one of those moments we never thought we would see … or hear.

Carol and I were traveling through the Maine coastline, trying to get in as many communities and lighthouses as possible in a few days’ time. We fell in love with Camden, Maine, and stood speechless as we experienced one of the most beautiful places on earth, the Pemaquid Point Light, in Bristol, Maine.

While we decided not to visit the area of Bar Harbor, Maine, wanting to devote several days there on a future trip (because it is the “Gateway to Acadia”), we spent much time in Boothbay Harbor. While there, in Boothbay Harbor, we just had to stop at a particular local restaurant … yes … based strictly upon the name … we just had to stop … as we stepped into “McSeagull’s Restaurant” … I remember thinking, as I read the sign overhead, “Eat, Drink & Flounder – Just for the Halibut!” … I thought, “You can’t make this stuff up” …

Not sure if I should mention one of the differences between restaurants in New England and other places … maybe things have changed, but, in New England, almost all restaurants are accompanied by the words “and Pub.” I remember, growing up in the South, that where you bought groceries, or where you ate, depended upon whether they served or sold alcohol or not. I can remember thinking, “Yes, but where do you buy your gas?” This is in reference to the only places open to buy gas were convenience stores, which sold more “stuff” behind the counter than just gasoline … Maybe that’s changed, as I can’t think of a grocery store “up here” that doesn’t at least sell beer. Restaurants the same. I know that in New Testament times, reading about Paul’s travels, for example, the word “tavern” is used. Why? Because these were the only businesses which were open. Often, as you travel, off-season, this is the same way in these United States.

Anyway, here we were, in Boothbay Harbor, at McSeagull’s, not in the “bar” area, but, certainly within sight and sound of the bar … as this was the only part of the restaurant which was open … as we heard something we never thought we would hear …

The date was November 6, 1971.
It was episode # 7, in the second season, of “All in the Family.”
This was the 20th episode of the series, and it was titled, “Edith’s Accident.”
The story was by Tom and Helen August, and the teleplay was written by Michael Ross and Bernie West.

Yes … “All in the Family.” To this day, one of our favorite shows. Somehow … that seems like a confession … I mention often that we don’t watch network television, but still watch the “old” shows on an “oldies” TV channel we get.

“Are you actually saying that you watch “All in the Family”?
Yes.

The show didn’t take place in today’s time. It took place in another time. A time we lived in, grew up in. And, shows like this take me back to those times. Hey … we love to watch “Sanford and Son” also … I think about this: People I know, who watch “All in the Family,” also love to watch “Sanford and Son.”
Interesting.
I remember when, on Friday night, we’d watch “The Brady Bunch,” then “The Partridge Family,” then “Sanford and Son,” then “Chico and the Man.” That’s a lineup, don’t you think? A common theme? Family. Have things changed? Changed on Friday nights? Think about it.

I remember my Mom laughing … laughing … I would be laying on the floor, in front of the television (black and white, of course), and Mama would be on the couch, behind me, and underneath the painting of Jesus praying in the Garden … laughing … and, on rare occasions, Daddy would come in … and, laugh … join in the laughter … I remember … I remember …

Yeah … I still remember that …

The “All in the Family” episode is entitled, “Edith’s Accident.” Edith, who doesn’t drive, or own a car, has a car accident. It is one of the most memorable episodes in TV history. Has there ever been a better cast? We all know their names. We all know the relationships.

This episode is also known by two words. Just two words:
“Cling Peaches.”

Edith has an accident, as a can of cling peaches … in heavy syrup … is propelled … into the hood of a car … Who owns the car? A Priest. Father Majeski, played by Barnard Hughes. Archie doesn’t trust Father Majeski, thinking he is taking advantage of Edith. In fact, he thinks Father Majeski is a fake … not really a Priest at all … Archie thinks the best way to catch this fraud is by tape-recording the meeting with Father Majeski:
Here’s the conversation:
Michael Stivic: “Archie, you’re violating his rights under the First Amendment.”
Archie Bunker: “Whose side are you on anyhow, huh? Look at me, I know I got a lot going against me, I’m white, I’m Protestant, I’m hard-working. Can’t you find one lousy amendment to protect me?”

Here’s the deal: Archie, to trick Father Majeski into proving he is a fake, comes up with a test to prove the Father’s legitimacy, by having Father Majeski quote a passage from the Bible.
I must paraphrase, but Archie introduces the test this way:

“Father Majeski, there, I was wondering if you could clear up a little bit of an argument we were having down at Kelsey’s Bar … we were discussing the Bible … it sometimes comes up between beers …”

Of course, Father Majeski answers the challenge, and quotes the Scripture in question …

Father Majeski has this exchange before leaving the house:
Father Majeski: “Go from the presence of the foolish man when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.”
Archie Bunker: “What does that mean?”
Father Majeski: “It means don’t waste your time arguing with an idiot!”

As part of one of the most memorable episodes in one of the most memorable series in television history, it was the “test” of Father Majeski which brings the most laughter to Carol and me. It is a favorite part of one of the favorite episodes of one of our favorite programs … I must admit that one of the reasons I can’t directly quote from this episode is that we have, literally, worn out the CD on which the episode appears. The whole program is just so funny, and it has become a personal joke between Carol and me, this “test.” We have watched this episode so many times, and it cracks us up every time. As with a lot of the comedy in this series … it’s funny because it is just so unreal, right???

Or, is it funny because it is so real?
I think we just discovered the reason for this show’s success.

Anyway, now, 45 years later …
45 years later …
45 years???

45 years later (we were so, so young when this episode first aired) … here we are, in a restaurant in Boothbay Harbor, Maine … I had ordered shrimp with my Pepsi … we were at a table over to the right of the bar … and, we could hear everything at the bar … Not that we were trying to listen, but, we couldn’t help it …then … we couldn’t help but to keep listening …

On the left side of the bar, a man, originally from North Carolina (as we came to know), was sitting. He was having a conversation with a man on the right side of the bar, who, as we listened, was a “local.” They were having a discussion … over beers … about the Bible …

Carol and I were speechless … just stared at each other … knowing that we were witnessing, in person, one of the most special, personal, and most improbable conversations we’d ever be privy to. They were actually having a discussion, between beers …

They were discussing many of the “finer points” of the book of Genesis, and, I’m not making this up … it was almost chapter-by-chapter … until they got to the part about … Sodom and Gomorrah … I’m not making this up … when they got to the part about Sodom and Gomorrah … it was decided, by both parties … that “we can’t go there” … that’s an actual quote … and the discussion ended.

As I wrote earlier, “Have things changed? Think about it.”

Yet, here we were, witnessing “history,” to us. It was an incredible moment. Once Carol and I realized what was happening at the bar, we sat mesmerized … listening to every sentence, every pint … I mean point …

There are two distinct parts of the conversation I remember. The man to our left, from North Carolina, stated that he was raised a Southern Baptist. This is as direct a quote as I remember:
Yeah, I was raised a Baptist. Then, I married a Catholic girl.”
He went on to describe, in detail, how he had gone to a sort of “weekend” with his betrothed, to a church-sponsored event.
The response from the other side of the bar:
“Yeah, I did that once.”

This man from the Carolinas also spoke at length about a tradition his home town had which involved firing black powder muskets. As a fan of black powder shooting (having experience in the art), I listened intently to this, as well. He told of how, in his hometown, on the 4th of July, they fired muskets for 24 hours straight … yes, 24 hours straight …

So, that’s how “Cling Peaches” and a Bar “Harboring” a Bible study come together …

Edith’s Accident.
Cling Peaches.
Father Majeski.
45 Years Ago.

45 years ago?
We’ll never forget how these two events came together, for us, 45 years later.
I was able to find the video of the “Cling Peaches” part of the episode.
What a great cast!
What talent!
What memories … 45 years ago, and, just 2 months ago:

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Wealth Stored for the Righteous-Part 16

Hi Friends:

It is good to be back to writing.

With job, business, and other writing responsibilities, it’s funny how “your first love” gets pushed “to the back.” Plus, the opportunity to travel has also figured into the time equation.

We’re back to our series, in which, yes, we are thankful for what our Heavenly future holds, but, let’s not forget all of the benefits … all of the blessings … we can enjoy right now. I note that I use the term “can enjoy” right now, and realize why: There are just so many blessings we have, in our life right now, which, often, we take for granted. And, just like Spiritual benefits and blessings, there are many that we are not taking advantage of … even though, they are “ours” to use and enjoy … freely …

There is one great advantage we have in the United States, which, sadly, is not enjoyed by many countries around the globe. A great advantage, a great privilege, a great blessing, which we, as we do with so many “privileges” we enjoy in this country, take for granted. And, since we take this privilege for granted, it often becomes “unused.” This is such a basic privilege and, yes, freedom, we enjoy here in the United States. Ready?

The freedom to travel.
Period.
The freedom and liberty to travel.
What a blessing, a great advantage, and a great privilege we enjoy here in the United States. I’m not so sure if this isn’t near the top of the list for most “under-rated” privileges and freedoms we have here. A freedom which so many, in so many countries, can’t enjoy … because they don’t have this freedom that we, sadly, take for granted.

Especially after writing the series regarding Christian persecution around the world, to begin to understand what is happening in other countries, I have really been struck by how awesome a freedom and privilege it is, to just “get in the car and go.” Just as significant to me is thinking about how many of us, here in the United States (and other places), which have this liberty and freedom, yet don’t take advantage of it.

I think of the United States, for this example, as a continent. Like, say, Africa. Or, a block of countries in the Middle East. Instead of individual, separate countries, here we have “states.” I know, we all know this. Yet, think about it: We can “move” between states, without any problem or trouble at all. No “check-points” or other heavily guarded “militia-points” to carefully get screened-with our lives depending upon it-every time we cross into a different state. Think about it: You enter into another “state,” and after an intensive search (think of the time this would take, travelers), you are informed, by military personnel, that you have to turn back … you can’t enter … based upon … well, a variety of things, like political affiliation or religious beliefs …
Can you imaging, in the middle of your vacation … having to turn around, and go back? Just because of the political party you belong to, or because of your faith?

Let’s put it this way: “?????!!!!!?????!!!!!”
Etc.

If this would happen to you, and your family, just once … think about it …

Did I mention that, often, at stations such as these … the potential to be arrested for either of these “violations” (politics or faith) could mean that, not only could you be prevented from entering the country, but … but … you could get arrested. This also means being separated from your family. Etc.

I’m sorry, but I can’t help thinking about 2 groups of people I know:
I love to hike, and, when I hike, I like to enjoy the whole experience. I’m the type that likes to stop and identity every tree. This is called “taking my time.” I have hiked with people whose goal, it seems, is to set a new land-speed record. They hike faster than I run.
The other group are those who go on “vacation,” but rush, rush, rush. I won’t mention the “always on cellphone” issue, or try to, you guessed it … set a new land-speed record for moving from place to place. Can you imagine either of these two groups traveling throughout most of the world, in these war-torn countries?

Recently, we traveled down to Connecticut, meaning going through Massachusetts, and then we spent time over in Rhode Island. It was during this trip that I began to think about how easy it is for us to go from “place to place.” No check-points. No military. Here is what strikes me now, still thinking about our nation being divided into states, and not countries. Again, please consider the context. What if Massachusetts was war-torn? Think about how that would affect our travel. Just to get to Connecticut, or Rhode Island, not wanting to take a chance on what could happen in Massachusetts, it could add days to our travel time.

We’ve spent a lot of time in Maine recently. What if Maine was war-torn? The other part of that scenario is this, and, please consider this: If our neighboring “states” were in the midst of war … how long would it be, before the war crept into our “state?’ Just think about how that would affect every area … every decision … every move … in your life.

I feel a sadness for those who are able, but don’t, travel. Our country is so beautiful. And … And … so accessible ….You can just “get in your car and go.”

Boy, do we take a lot for granted.
OK … OK … I complained about the toll in Maine … We were on 95 for maybe 50 miles, and we had to pay 3 tolls … something like 2.75 in total … Yes, I did think that, if you pay the toll … why can’t you drive as fast as you want???
I even thought about how much money …. As I do each time (I’ll admit it) I pay a toll … I thought about how much money they must make from the toll … How could we be in debt??? How could there be bad places on the road?

Sorry, but I always think the same thought, after thinking about gross mismanagement … I mean … after thinking about all the money collected … I thought about how having a lottery would provide so much money for … yes, our schools and such …. How could we be in debt???

It’s been years … and, I still haven’t figured out the New Jersey Turnpike …

Other subjects for another time, perhaps.

Anyway, what a great, beautiful country we have! And, it is there for the visiting!

I think about a speech which President John F. Kennedy made in the early ’60’s. How he promised that we would land a man on the moon before the end of the decade. But, that was only part of the goal. Not just to land a man on the moon … but, bring them back safely … I think about how, in today’s world, the way it is right now … the possibility of just traveling to another “state” and returning safely … is an impossibility …

Yes, there are costs associated with travel. But, in the context of this writing, what a privilege and blessing it is, to be allowed to freely go “anywhere we want,” without having to worry about what so much of the world has to worry about, as a part of their daily lives.

So, OK, let’s talk about “costs” associated with travel. Our freedom, as a nation, was paid for … at a dear, dear cost. Our continued freedom … the privilege and liberty to travel from state to state, continues to be paid for, by the sacrifices of our men and women actively serving around the world …Our freedom, as Christians, the liberty we have, was paid for, at the highest cost imaginable, God’s only Son. What great benefits and blessing we enjoy as we travel along life’s highway … Sadly, I think of those who don’t take advantage …

Blessings to you, and you family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

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Winter Clearance and “Tulips in the Snow”

It’s hard to believe the difference less than a month makes in the landscape. I’m going to share some pictures I took less than a month ago …

Today is May 4th, the birds are all singing, the grass is visible, the temperature is in the low 80’s, and I just felt a warm breeze … a warm breeze …

It’s hard not to get “giddy” this time of year. After a long, hard Winter, which fell on much of the country, we can finally, finally say that Spring has arrived. The groundhog was, of course, right again: He came out of his den on February 2nd … did not see his shadow (it was cloudy that day-not unusual for early February) … and, there would be 6 weeks elapse before Spring … a quick check of the calendar proves that Spring does come 6 weeks later …

Which begs the question, “How many of us would be so glad to have only 6 more weeks of Winter after the first week of February?” This year seemed to be especially brutal for so much of the United States. But, Spring has arrived.

I wanted to write something about Winter finally being gone, but needed to wait until all of the snow was gone from the yard. We had our last snow about 2 weeks ago, and the temperatures have slowly, slowly been going up-at night! As I look at the 10-day forecast, only tomorrow night is predicted to be in the 30’s. You have to understand how big that is. Today is Monday, and we finally shut the pellet stove down this past Saturday. When that happens, Winter is officially over. I wait to shut the heat down until we don’t have any night coming up in the 30’s. Tomorrow night is a surprise, but on Saturday, for the first time in several months, there wasn’t an overnight low in the 30’s predicted, and we would see 70’s on some days in the near future. That’s the signal we wait for … and, so, after about 8 tons of pellets (that’s 16,000 pounds of pellets), we “shut ‘er down.” Spring has officially arrived.

It is still hard to not stop on the way upstairs from the garage, upon arriving home, to not reach for a bag of pellets. After all, since November, every time I’ve climbed those stairs, I’ve grabbed a bag of pellets to carry with me. It seems odd to not have to stop, drop everything, and tend to the stove before I do anything else in the house … Which brings to mind this:

“Even good takes time to get used to.”
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

I have, for some time now, wanted to have a “final Winter post,’ and put my “left-over” Snow poems in to share. Looks like that will wait until next year. No pellet stove … no heat at all going … that takes some getting used to.

Today is May 4th, and the last of the snow has now melted. I mean, literally, today, as we still had a small amount of snow/ice in the yard yesterday. I worked out in the yard on Friday night, the first time in months, and, as I walked around the yard, I felt like a prisoner which had just been released. I’m serious. That’s how I felt. In a way, we are “kept prisoner” by the snow and cold and snow and cold of our Winters, just like many of you. Being able to walk around, outside, without tall boots and layers and layers and layers of clothing … it was, like, being released out into the world … a world you haven’t been able to “walk around in” for several months … At least I don’t make it dramatic …

We are able to park the vehicles outside. This makes it official. No more nights with frost.
Today … we used our clothesline … we actually have clothes outside … and, they will dry. Not just that … but, we dried towels on the line!!! You just have “to be here” to understand how big that is.

I am wearing shorts (this may be TMI, but, remember, this is an “event” up here). For the last 3 days, I’ve been able to wear a t-shirt outside-without layers and layers and layers … Today, for the first time in so many months … I am barefoot, and walking outside … Again, you just have to “be here” to understand how big that is …

It was one month ago, yes, it was Easter weekend, and we traveled through the snow … to visit the Tropics … I mean, leave “the ‘notches” and travel South … to Connecticut … As predicted, it was a snowstorm here (remember, it was only early, early April), and, as we drove out of Franconia Notch … the sky opened up … the sun was out … and, each mile we traveled diminished the amount of snow on the roadsides … We still had between 1-2 feet of snow in the yard at this time, and the snow was piled up, still, close to the roof of the garage … but, as we traveled south, visions of sunshine danced in our heads, and, with each stop along the way, more and more layers came off …

Connecticut, as a whole, got more snow than we did this Winter. This doesn’t mean we didn’t get any, just that they got a lot, lot of snow. It was one of the coldest, most severe Winters on record there, and in a lot of other places. The whole Spring growing season was thrown off, even in Connecticut. At Easter, we usually see flowers up, many blooming, etc. But, this year, this was not the case. While the snow was gone, the effects of the long, long Winter were evident in the lack of new growth.

We were given, as a gift (and an encouragement), a pot of tulips … in bloom … Good ‘ol grocery store! We returned home from the Tropics of Connecticut with a tank full of anti-freeze, and a flower pot full of tulips! So, in early April, as we arrived home to even more snow, and more snow and cold to come … at least we had flowers in bloom …Granted, this is the only way you get flowers in bloom up here in early April … but, we’ll take them! I could not resist the temptation to take pictures, and they turned out pretty good … almost have a surreal look to them.

I placed the flower pot out on the railing of our front deck, and snapped a couple of pictures. This was less than a month ago, and you can see the snow-covered spruce trees behind, and the road covered with snow. And, it was cold! But, up here, in early April, we’ll take flowers any way we can get them … even imported from the Tropics!!!

I am reminded of the verse in Genesis (one of my Mom’s favorite verses) where God promises that as long as the earth remains, there will be seasons …

I am reminded how symbolic this “Winter into Spring” transformation is … how, because of the “new birth,” old things “are passed away, and all things become new.”

I also think of this: How just a couple of days, even a few precious moments, wipes away several months, even years, of frustration.

So, maybe our Spring arrives late … but, boy! Do we appreciate its arrival!
I’m thinking … Which do we anticipate more … appreciate more?
The end of Winter? Or, the arrival of Spring?
I’d say both.
Thank God for the promise of Springtime.
It’s here!
So are His promises.

Here’s the photos:

“While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease” ( Genesis 8:22).

“While the earth remaineth … cold and heat, and summer and winter … shall not cease”
( Genesis 8:22).

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

“old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Blessings,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.
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62 Degrees and Sunny: What Does This Mean?

I have written often of how “different” the weather is up here in the Great North Woods of New Hampshire. I still get that “I just can’t believe it” insinuations when I am trying to describe our weather to friends across the ‘states (especially Southern) and the Globe.

Mark Twain said about the weather in New England, “If you don’t like the weather, give it ten minutes. It’ll change.” Mark Twain was right, you know. Of course, I try to use a Mark Twain quote whenever I can, especially after visiting his home in Hartford (I actually hosted a series of meetings there), and saw his beautiful billiard table … in the room where he did so much of his writing, scattering the pages across the table … Proving that to be a great American writer … you need a billiard table … Carol is close to accepting this, and I don’t miss an opportunity to use this example …

Anyway, Mark Twain was as right about his thoughts on the weather in New England, as he was about his choice of furnishings…

On Thursday morning (and Wednesday), it was 12 degrees up here. This morning … Friday morning … this Good Friday before Easter Sunday … it was 50 degrees … I’m sorry, but, when I saw the temperature this morning, the first thought I had was, “You know what that means. A snow storm is coming.”

Well, when I got home from School this afternoon … I was late because I had to pick up some wood heat pellets for our pellet shove … After using 7 (seven) tons of pellets so far … we ran out of our supply, so we are doing the annual “12 bags at a time until June thing” … it was 62 degrees on the front porch. And … And … And … It was sunny!!!
Guess what that means?
I bet Mark Twain was a great pool player…

That’s right … let’s look at the forecast for this, what is considered to be the first real weekend of Spring:
This is a real “copy and paste” from the Weather Channel’s Online Forecast:

TONIGHT
37°
Rain/Snow Late
100%
Partly cloudy skies this evening will give way to cloudy skies with a mixture of rain and
snow developing overnight. Low 37F. Winds E at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precip 100%.

How about tomorrow, Saturday, April 4 … I mean … after the sun comes up:

SATURDAY
38°
Rain/Snow
100% 1-3 in
SATURDAY
Cloudy with rain and snow in the morning. Snow showers in the afternoon. Morning high of
38F with temps falling to near freezing. Winds NW at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of precip 100%.
1 to 3 inches of snow expected.

OK … just one more peek ahead … How about Saturday night: I mean, the NCAAs are on… I mean … the Masters start the practice rounds on Monday … I think baseball season (remember that?) starts on Sunday….

SAT NIGHT
18°
A few clouds. Flurries or snow showers possible late. Low 18F. Winds W at 10 to 20 mph.

Hey-Great! I was wondering when the high winds would start!

Anyway … just to get that “so, we don’t have it as bad as a lot of other people” feeling, I decided to check on the weather in Minneapolis, MN … that should get me to feeling better …
“Mostly sunny and 56 degrees” tomorrow …

OK … one more … Guess what? We will be traveling to Connecticut and then Rhode Island tomorrow, so we won’t be here!!! Yes … this is always dependent upon if we can actually
make it out of here …

Allow me to mention an Easter Sunday a few years ago, when we went the same route, down to Connecticut… When we left on Saturday morning … it was snowing here … but, not too bad … as we got through one of the “notches” enroute to the Interstate, we ran into a full-scale blizzard … the visibility was near zero … the roads weren’t plowed, and, this is for real … we didn’t know if we’d be able to make it through the snow … it was a terrible situation to be caught in …
As we left Franconia Notch, heading South, the sun seemed to just “come out.” To appear.
The farther South, the less snow … By the time we reached Massachusetts, there was hardly any snow on the sides of the road at all.

That Sunday, Easter Sunday, we were at a family gathering … a cookout … around the backyard pool. It was in the Mid-70’s, and everyone was wearing shorts, or something similar to go into the pool swimming. I swear I remember someone starting up the lawn mower and, taking their shirt off because of the heat, to finish mowing the lawn. Keep in mind, this was only 245 miles south of here … We came through a blizzard just hours before … it really was like being in the tropics! Except all we had to wear was
flannel and heavy coats…

So, when I joke around about how “different” the weather is up here in the North Country, I guess I’m really not joking … nor am I complaining … that’s just the way it is…

And, I can tell you this for certain: There may be spots with better weather … But, I don’t think they enjoy days like today as much as we did. We really do appreciate the good weather.

I’ll close with this: I was loading the bags of pellets in the truck, when I, very jokingly, said, “It’s too hot!” The man helping me told me that, believe it or not … a customer, today, already complained about how warm it was…

So, I’ll close for me, believe it or not, our pellet stove (our heat) has been off since about 12:45 today, and it’s still off … I need to clean the pellet stove before the next Storm … in a few hours…

Not to worry … We are leaving for Connecticut in the morning. I just checked, and in Hartford, CT, where Mark Twain’s billiard table is located (I bet he loved that billiard table!), the weather is supposed to be 50 degrees and sunny … even better on Sunday in
Rhode Island…

… If we can make it out of here…
Blessings,
R.V.R.
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