Monday, November 26, 2007

An up & down week

Another week has flashed by. I started on Monday seeming to be getting ahead -- I moved the summer stuff from the garage to the shed and cleaned up enough to get the car in. (We were getting tired of having to scrape the frost off all the time).

I made a Red Cross run and took a lady to the Group Health Center for adoctor's appointment --while there I caught up a little on current events by reading the various news magazines lying around. Ioften am pretty oblivious to those things when I'm focussed on a major prject (as I have been since September with the "statistics for Engineers" course.)

I also had to respond to some suggestions from the "client" on the course. It is a "work in progress" and we are attempting to find a balance between 'lecture", discussion, and hand's on problem solving. It is a "customized" course aimed at meeting the needs of the specific group and that is difficult because the participants have a wide range of prior expereince. Some need a lot of "instruction" , others just need a refresher and exposure to the software tools that comewith the course. Each week it seems we understand better what works and what doesn't and need to make adjustments . It has taken more effort to prepare for classes" this "2nd time through" than I had anticipated. But it is still significantly less work preparing and I have had time to fill in some "gaps" that we missed the first time through. It will be good tofinish this Friday and have (at least) a month off.

I also had a short discussionwith Paul & my brother Rob at the church building--dealing with outfittingPaul with a new computer (He had a nightmare experience with a "lemon" - faulty hard drive that the supplier was unable to resolve and needed a replacement while continuing the battle with the original supplier) and a discussion on some ministry issues we are dealing with.

Tuesday was devoted to making preparations for a ministry information session Tuesday night. I had been asked to review the "roles & responsibilities"of the various ministry areas--since we had a number of new people involved and had made several changes with Paul coming "on board" in July. We are also embarking on some major "construction" projects which required setting up a "project management group".

Late Tuesday afternoon our son Chris called with the news that Tammye's sister Marlene had died that morning. She had been ill with a Parkinson's like disease but her death was unexpected. She had a heart attack and died in her sleep. -- She would have been 60 to-day (November 26). We pray God's blessings for her family as they deal with this loss.

While we weren't close to Richard and Marlene, they had been a part of our "extended family" since Tammye came into Chris's life in the early 90's. ThroughTammye and the occasional get together, we followed their lives and the lives of their their children Christopher(who is now a policeman in Toronto - (inspired by a "ride along" with our Christopher about 5 years ago), Jennifer (a teacher) and Jessica (still in school).

Chris and Tammye drove up on Wednesday and left Sunday morning. It was an unexpected (and mixed emotions) visit with them and with Hunter & Camdyn. Linda & I tried to spend as much time as we could with them -especially the kids to let them talk through howtheywerefeelingabout this. Tammye's mother was killed in a car accident when she was a teenager and Marlene as the oldest sister had been a mother figure for her. We took the kids to see the Bee movie Friday night and took them to the funeral on Saturday (and brought them home after the church service rather than have them be part of the graveside service).

In the midst of all this, I came down with a cold. I hope I didn't pass it on to the kids. The cold got worse as the week went on and I didn’t go out at all yesterday. I think I'm on the mend today. We also had a couple of "panicy" days when we heard from Sarah that Will had aserious croup and she had totake him toemergfor a ventalin treatment. It tears Linda's heart to be so far away when here grandson is ill. By Friday he seemedtobeon themend--hopefully he has bounced back to his usual bubbly self.

Saturday, I made a quick trip to the place where the "BBB" is stored to disconnect the battery and do some other small things. (We hadn't done that last wek because John thought I might need to move it after he had gotten more of the vehicles in but it turned out that it wasn't going to be necessary.

Linda spent several hours on Wednesday counselling Wendy & her daughter about their situation. Friday --much to our relief - she got a clean bill ofhealth from theheart specialist fter having undergone several stress tests-- which were initiated because of an incident last spring when she had (what we now believe was) an anxiety attack while travelling in the mountains-- she reallydoesn' tlike heights!!

Well that was our week. God continues to be there for us and we seek the good he has promised we can find in all things.

One thing from my "virtual visits" this past week. You might enjoy this "You Tube" video (Thanks to Neva for pointing it out to me) "New Again"by Brad Paisley & Sara Evans


Monday, November 19, 2007

8 days in the Journey ...

I’m trying to get back into posting more frequently but it hasn’t seemed to happen. Probably because I keep wanting to say more – However, to get myself started I’ve been doing a daily journal entry and – good, bad or indifferent that what this post is - a daily log of the past 8 days (November 11 to 18) . Mostly mundane – with a few significant events (for me at least).

Sunday (18th) was a full day. We had our monthly potluck following services. Roger and Sandra (Regular readers may recall that Roger was our minister here up until September 2006- there are some entries about his family in my postings in July/August 2006). Their son Kyle and his wife Anna came by with their kids – Bayleigh and the just born (Wednesday 14th) new daughter Madison. Their daughter Jessica was there as well – it was good to see them all. Kyle is a medical student and had just finished a placement at Thessalon – which he had chosen because it meant Anna could stay with her parents here in the Sault and he would be close by when the baby came. He actually had the privilege of doing his first delivery for his own child.

After potluck we had a ground breaking ceremony. (even though we actually won't be "digging a hole" until spring we had planned this event when we thought we would be starting thisfall so we decided to go ahead -- it is symbolic of the fact that we are proceeding over the winter with some major interior enovations as well). I had to fill in for Lloyd who had been the one who along with Richarsd Mcnaughton had spearheaded the planning work over the past year -- he was ill and unable to attend. (L to R - Paul Hillier, Pauli Valli,myself and my Dad) .

We finished out the day with an area wide singing with about 75 people present- with visitors from Eastside and Thessalon.
I enjoy singing (even though I'm pretty tone challenged) and it was a moving experience to have so many voices lifted in song -- especially since several of the visitors are excellent singers and we had lost a lot of our musical talent over the past 2 years.

Saturday – Spent several hours preparing the “BBB” for storage (batteries removals) and similar things and in the afternoon took it out to John & Megan’s new storage barn. It’s not heated but it is at least under cover. (As I mentioned above) Roger & Sandra were in town -- and he came by for a visit. We caught up on family and discussed a number of “theological” issues -- this was something I had missed -- the “iron sharpening iron” conversations that Roger and I had over breakfast many times while he was here.

Friday – the day was taken up teaching - special course on Statistical Quality control for engineers from Algoma Steel.

Thursday – Morning was taken up in a meeting at the church building to review our plans for a building expansion and renovation. We had intended to put in the foundations this fall for a new entrance. The addition will provide accessibility (elevator) and other features. However, the group that was to do the framing in the spring had withdrawn from the project – so we decided to hold off on that part until spring to give us time to line up other sources to do the framing work. We are continuing to proceed with a number of interior renovations. Most of the rest of the day was spent preparing for my class

Wednesday - Spent the early morning preparing for my Friday class. I had dental cleaning just before noon and then took the “BBB” (motor home) to the Truck Service Center for Oil & Lube prior to storing for winter. When I went to pick it up the battery was dead –not sure why – the service guy said they had to use the Auxilliary start to get it going when they moved it – it may have been the brake lights because the pedal sometimes sticks down a bit and they stay on— when it has been sitting and isn’t being used – which has been the case. (I charged it on Thursday and it was fine so I guess it likely was the brakelights))

The previous Sunday (11th) we found thatmy Dad had a “strange” coat. Linda had gotten him a very nice fleece lined fall jacket and somehow it had gotten exchanged for a larger unlined coat. We had asked around with people where he had been but nothing showed up. Thursday a.m. we got an apologetic call from Cora – who had been at a Bible study with Dad the previous Thursday and had accidentally taken his coat – she had just discovered that she had his so that mystery was solved. We had Dad over for dinner as we have been doing most Wednesday’s. I had meeting at University and so didn’t get out to Wednesday services. Rob started a new class and apparently there was a good turnout.

Tuesday – I met with Paul & Rob in the morning to discuss some administrative things related to Paul’s “contract” and to work out plans for a visit by Joel Osborne- a young man we have supported (small amount) with a mission work in Sendai Japan.

Linda & I were at Lorraine’s to get our hair cut. Lorraine’s parent- Gordon & Dorothy Denis and her aunt Carol were there and we had a good visit with them. They were in town for a gathering of the Bailey family.
In the afternoon we went for a walk and I managed to get an hour to finish clearing the backyard of leaves. I also squeezed in a few hours of work for the course I am teaching.

In the evening, we were at a pot luck followed by a Sunday school (children’s) meeting. We are challenged with providing a quality program with very few teachers and a small number of children. It is easy to become discouraged – and even to ask is it worth continuing?—However, our confidence is in God not ourselves and our teachers are committed to giving what they can as long as there is 1 child to be taught.

Monday –
We took some time to drive to Thessalon, picked up Linda’s mom and drove out the see the “cabin” that Linda’s brothers Erin and Dan (and their construction partner Brent) are building on Cummings lake – off Highway 129 about 20 miles northeast of Thessalon .

Some “cabin” – It is at least 1500 sq. feet on the ground floor with a “loft” – It has cedar beams and a high cathedral ceiling—and a view out over the lake that could take your breath away.

Way out of my league to be able to invest in the area of a half million dollars for a place to come a few weeks out of a year. It is far from finished -- the frame is up and they are putting the steel on the roof.

The interior is still completely unfinished. We were left to imagine what it would look like with a floor to ceiling stone.

We dropped by at her sister Arliss’ and had supper there (takeout because Arliss had just come in from a long day’s work) before coming home.
The trip is “strange”, because after 45 years of making that trip, there is a new piece (15 miles) of 4-lane, which by-passes the congestion of Echo Bay and the Garden River reserve.

Sunday November 11 is Remembrance Day in Canada – a day set aside to honor the veterans of various wars -- We have one member at Pinehill who is a veteran of WWII and several others with connections to those conflicts. Linda’s father was injured as a young man fighting in France – so it was a day with real meaning to many of those attending our services yesterday. And we took a moment t the traditional 11o’clock hour to silently remember and perhaps many as I did prayed that nations could stop waging war – but I suppose that as long a there are humans who fail to honor their make these for.

One thing I think is important is that we see that honoring those who have been willing to put their lives on the line in these conflicts is NOT the same as honoring or endorsing the leaders and individuals who are the ultimate sources of these conflicts. War is abhorrent and those who see war and terrorizing other people as a means of achieving their personal goals are callous uncaring individuals who put their own glory above the value of other people’s lives. However, it is also a reality that refusing to do anything to protect the innocent and weak from death and terror is equally abhorrent. How Christians respond to a call to war is a matter of much debate and, perhaps it is my “ostrich” gene (head in the sand) nature but I am thankful that this has not been something that has been up close and personal issue with me. What I mean is that it is easy to say you should or shouldn’t take up arms in defense of your country -- but if you (or your children) are not personally faced with this choice it seems a bit hypothetical and to impose those views on others seems hypocritical.

Sunday was also a busy day for me. Our preaching minister Paul called me on Saturday and said he had lost his voice due to a cold. Since the other person who might have stepped in was away that meant I ended up being on the hook for the Sunday a.m. class and the sermon in addition to the Sunday evening class that I was already doing.

The class was relatively easy so I have a large collection of previous lessons that can easily be “dusted off” in this type of situation. The sermon could be more of a challenge. I do have a file of prior lessons but they usually require updating because I often build them around illustrations tied to specific “current events”. So I used another strategy – I went on the INTERNET and found a recent lesson (Click HERE) posted by my friend JD—Of course I adapted it a little and digressed from the “script” as the “Spirit moved” but it allowed me to provide (what a least 2 or 3 people said was) a meaningful lesson on fairly short notice – Thanks JD

Speaking of JD- I had an email from him telling of the death of one of the people we had met when we were in Pascagoula when we were there. Steve had lived a troubled life but he had come to Mississippi after Katrina because he felt God’s call to do so. Steve wrote an electronic book “Out of Chaos (Click HERE - this may not be available for long following Steve’s death) ) He had been working in Pascagoula and had moved intoan apartment – Sadly he died alone and was not found for several days.

I made a few quick stops in “blogland” this morning. (Monday Nov. 12)

One visit that I especially liked was Neva’s post – she compares the way we approach our Christian lives as a choice to “eke” out a living when a much more profitable “job” is there for the asking. – Are you choosing a “Meager existence”?

Well – that’s our journey for the past 8 days – Likely the next week will be similar.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Fall in the North

I‘m finishing this post on a brisk November morning –frost on the ground – with the proverbial” red sky in the morning” signaling more inclement weather later to-day.

I’m going to go ahead and post this regardless of whether it is “complete” or not.

Since the “re-wedding” I have been very busy with 2 teaching assignments at the university along with teaching an adult class Sunday evenings (on the “structure” and purpose of our assemblies). On top of that there is the usual fall activity of preparing the “BBB” for the winter, and a lot of yard work – we have lots of trees and the colors are beautiful but we pay the price when they all congregate on the lawn and in the backyard.

This is a completion of a post I started 3 weeks ago. (I took a time out to finish up my “re-wedding” posts and to-day I WILL finish this one.)

*** written on October 21 ***
I woke up this morning with a compelling urge to do a post. Linda would likely say I’m addicted to blogging and the urge was driven from addiction. I maybe would think it was guilt – but I become more convinced each day that the still small voice urging me to act on something is the Spirit working—

It is almost a month since my last post –over a month since the “big event” and I’ll post some pictures of my lovely daughter’s wedding. (** I decided to do this a (two) separate posts **)

This post is a hodge podge . I started out with the idea that I would do a “look back” to a year ago and talk about the changes over a year.

Well, my first post in October last year was a “look back” asking the question “Why do I blog? (Click HERE) I was making “excuses” for infrequent blog posts – even though I did 7 fairly long posts in September 2006 and only one in September 2007. And I did 5 fairly long posts in October 2006 and NONE in October 2007 (I think it is the first time since I started in March 2006 that I have gone a whole month without posting – I can only hope that for the wonderful friends who keep coming back that the saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder” holds true in “blogland”

Last year in September, in one post I talked about the SIDS death of Linda’s niece and a visit by Bob & Roeann Ekman. Sadly a year later Roseann too has passed from this world. I also reported on a collection of 40th anniversaries (including ours) so looking back brings a mixture of sadness and joy—which I guess is what life is about –

In October I reported on our big family event (reunion) in anticipation of my Dad’s 90th (which was January 13 2007) and the challenges I was facing in trying to keep up my blogging because I had become “addicted” to a new form of virtual “reality” – participation in a Christian discussion group.

Well my lack of blogging and my getting behind in following my discussion group and my lack of visiting my friends in “blogland” have been worse over the past 2 months than they were a year ago but I’m not nearly as “stressed out” over that.

The other thing I wanted (actually before I went back to look at my blog) was to make a quick visit to some of my favorite blogs.

I only made it tone but it seemed to be a God given push that lead me first to Neva’s world because I found her post saying it was her 1st anniversary of blogging and then looking down a little I found she is in the process of moving from Texas to Nebraska – It will be interesting to experience that move with her –from a distance
**8 end of October 21 "Draft"***

November 10 - More random thoughts from a quick tour of ”blogworld”

John Dobbs laments the frenetic pace of “doing holidays” and the lack of thanksgiving (CLICK here) as our US neighbors approach that holiday. He gives some excellent encouragement to stop and be thankful.

My friend Dee also is on the Thanksgiving theme – working through the alphabet –one a day – with a word starting with the letter of the day (Click HERE) that describes something to be thankful for

Well, I do want to finish this and get it posted so I’ll defer talking about what’s been happening in in the Whitfield’s “real world” journey during October-November 2007 to another time.

God Bless

Monday, November 05, 2007

The "re-wedding" Part 2 - (The ceremony)

The wedding ceremony:

Alexander and Melissa - September 15 2007

The ceremony was wonderful - I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

The guests assembled

The piper piped

The wedding ceremony was performed by Alexander’s father who is a minister in Sweden.

They said "I do" (again)
They exchanged rings (this was new)

And they kissed

Mr. & Mrs. Whitfield Aslund - It's (doubly) official

Back down the "aisle" to a new life together

A happy bride and groom

And happy parents

And happy grandparents - Grandma Martha (Linda's Mom) and Grandpa Mervyn (Charlie's Dad)

The wedding party posed for pictures

In 1966 we were two; in in 2006 there were 11 -- now for the first time in one picture the expanded Whitfield family
I had some technical difficulaties uploading the pictures --so that's why this is a day later than the "story of the "re-wedding".
A happy time and a chance to know God's blessings which I pray for each day for Melissa & Alexander and for our entire family.
Now that I've gotten the "big event" recorded maybe I can get back to blogging about "regular" stuff a little more often.
God Bless

The Re-wedding (September 15 2007)

It has been over 5 weeks since I last posted. I think that is the longest gap since I started this back in March of 2006.

I have been working on this post for over 2 week. (I’ll post something more general hopefully within a few days to help explain my absence from “blogland”. Suffice it to say that life in the “real world” has been demanding for the past 2 months.

In my post from September 10 2006 I talked (among other things) about the marriage of our youngest child and only daughter Melissa on September 7 2007. (click HERE and scroll down)

For several reasons (one of which was that Alexander is from Sweden and his parents were unable to come at that time) she & Alexander were married with only their friends Brent & Eleanor as witnesses. However, Melissa wanted to celebrate her marriage with family and friends and we spent the weeks and months following planning (what Melissa came to call) the “re-wedding”. (and if you have been following my postings you have heard about this many times)

The “big event” took place on September 15 2007 – 8 days after their 1st anniversary. (I don’t envy Alexander having 2 “anniversaries” to remember—but then maybe it isn’t so bad –they can celebrate twice –or if they miss the “real” anniversary they have a second chance to make up for it )

The bride & groom: The wedding (September 7 2006) and the “re-wedding” (September 15 2007)

The venue: Camp Wakonda is located on McCarroll’s Lake about 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of Sault Ste.Marie. Melissa was familiar with it from several family and church events that she had attended there growing up and she wanted to have the wedding celebration there.

(The pictures are from last year when we were making arrangements to rent it of the weekend)

It had the advantage of having “rustic” sleeping accommodations for family and friends providing the more informal atmosphere of a family and friends getting together for a weekend family gathering rather than the more common situation of many people being in hotels and there being limited opportunities for “visiting”.

The week before: Christer & IngBritt Aslundh - Alexander’s parents flew into Kingston on September 6.(the eve of the “real” anniversary). On Wednesday (September 12) Melissa & Alexander, his parent’s and Magnus – Alexander’s friend and best man from Sweden -- arrived in the Sault. (They had picked up Magnus at the Toronto airport enroute).

Kevin Sarah and Will had flown in from Vancouver earlier that day. Wednesday night we had a family dinner to welcome our Swedish visitor’s to the Sault.

Thursday: Chris, Tammye, Hunter & Camdyn arrived and we had a pleasant afternoon and evening of having our entire family in our home (first time for Will to be here & first time we had all been together since Alexander joined our tribe).

Although there were some last minute things to do Linda’s extensive preparations allowed us to spend most of our time enjoying their company).

Wednesday & Thursday, Melissa was fighting a migraine and Alexander’s mother was ill (Christer & IngBritt had gone to a hotel Wednesday night and were unable to join us for dinner on Thursday) so that was a little concerning. Late Thursday, I drove Melissa to pick up Kate – Melissa’s friend and maid of honor – at Kincheloe (CIU) from her flight in from Syracuse where she is attending law school. Melissa and Kate met as roommates at Queen’s their 1st year. They became best friends and roomed to-gether for all 4 years and have continued their friendship since they graduated.

Friday morning was a bit chaotic picking up rental items, packing the motorhome with food and all the other stuff we needed, loading the arbor on our friend’s pickup and then around noon making the trek to Camp Wakonda.

Friday afternoon was even more chaotic – trying to set up in the rain – do the rehearsal – “check-in” Melissa’s friends who were arriving for the night and serve the rehearsal meal – but it went off without any major hitches and by 9 we had everyone fed, the kitchen cleaned up, the arbor (more or less) in place by the lake, the motorhome (re)set up for Kevin , Sarah & Will,(They had been using it as their home away from home since they arrived – we had done that because Will was familiar with the motor home from our visits west and we thought it would make it easier for him to be somewhere familiar. It seemed to work. He was great – when they arrived he settled in quickly and acted as if he had been here all his life.).

We also had Melissa and Alexander settled into their rented trailer (Thanks to our friend from church – Alvin who had towed it out from the Sault that evening) and everyone else settled into their “bunks”. When I went out to bed around 10 I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow. The younger crowd stayed up and had a “pre-wedding” party playing games and singing karaoke (or so I am told)

The weather: Planning a outdoor ceremony and a “family encampment” in mid-September has its risks. The weather can be great or it can be not-so-great.
In 2006, when we were making the arrangements to rent the camp Linda and I visited the camp in late September and then went back with Melissa and Alexander in early October. Both time were beautiful sunny “Indian summer” type days and we thought if we could have that weather we would be blessed.

Well, this year after a record dry hot summer, September was acting more like a “monsoon season” than “Indian summer”—the entire 14 day period from when September 15 first showed on the long term forecast, it was showing cold and rain that day. And many of the days in that period were rainy – although we also had some great warm sunny days. We wondered about tents or other ways to be outside in “inclement” weather – but the costs and the logistics were too complex – so our fallback was to have everything in the lodge – which would require some logistical “sleights of hand” converting from auditorium style seating to table set-ups with maybe 100 people standing around. In a room that had table seating for about 90 people at a time.

As we counted down into the last week– it was showing rain all weekend. Finally on Wednesday what had been showing as “partially sunny” Friday (which we wanted because we would be setting up and a rainy Saturday (ugh!!) and Sunday (tearing down and packing up - double ugh!! –) finally changed.
The forecast started calling for a rainy Friday (not nice), a strong chance of showers on Saturday (dicey) and cloudy with chance of showers Sunday (sigh). So we said (again & again) “it isn’t about the weather – it’s about people sharing this celebration with Melissa & Alexander and we’ll deal with whatever comes. It was in God’s hands and we kept praying for some small miracle.

Friday – the forecast held – it was clear in the morning while we where loading up – which was nice and it stayed that way until we got to the camp and had unloaded most of the stuff. But then we got rain showers and they continued off and on into the evening. We did as much as we dared preparing outside – between (and sometimes during showers) but we were also giving serious thought to how we would handle doing it all inside. It was raining as I prepared for bed and my prayer for a “miracle” was on my lips as I went to sleep.

At 6 a.m. I woke up and went over to the lodge to make some coffee—I was overjoyed when I stepped out the door and saw a clear sky. It was frosty and cool but as I sat on the porch drinking a coffee I watched the SUN come up over the lake on a beautiful fall morning my heart was full of thanksgiving. It remained sunny (although a little cool with some wind) until after the ceremony and there was no rain all day even when it clouded up a bit in the afternoon. Sunday morning was also clear and sunny. God is good – and we praise him for small blessings.

Getting Ready:

Saturday morning was full of activity- decorations, putting the arbor in place, running power and placing the sound system.

Cleaning and setting up chairs, setting up and decorating tables for the luncheon and setting out Linda's flower arrangements

– and of course getting dressed—which actually didn’t happen until after some of the guests arrived!!! (as shown in these pictures taken by our friend Sharon Valli less than an hour before the ceremony).

Sharon showed up with a surprise gift -- an offer to act as the "official" photographer -- which prior to then was going to be done by Brent - who was also in the wedding party so it was going to be a little difficult. Brent also took many pictures so Melissa has a good selection to choose from.

The wedding ceremony : The ceremony was performed by Alexander’s father who is a minister in Sweden. I'll do a separatepost with pictures of the and let them speak for themselves.

The afternoon:
Following the luncheon we had a fairly relaxing afternoon visiting and playing games. I got in a few games of horseshoes with my brother-in-law Coe and I teaming up against Linda’s nephew(-in-law) Travis and Chris. There was some work setting up the tables for dinner but lots of help so it was “light work”
The reception:
The dinner was catered by Ruiniti Banquet’ from the Sault. They put on a superb spread centered around a roast of lamb and barbequed short ribs— both of which (as the saying goes) were to “die for”. We had a number of last minute “no shows” so ur concerns regarding having sufficient seating vanished and we had food enough left over to feed a proverbial army.

The speeches “roasting & toasting” the bride & groom were I suppose typical but hearing Melissa’s brothers Melissa’s friends Lee(as MC) and Kate speak of Melissa and Alexander’s father and his friend Magnus speak of Alexander was touching and joyful(and filled with laughter and tears) . I brought tears to Melissa’s eyes (and to Linda’s & mine as well) with a reading of a poem called “When you were little” – It was in a book of stories that we had read tour kids as bed time stories—and this poem was one I had often read to Melissa and had for along time planned to read it at her wedding.

Another highlight of the reception was the square dancing. Again this was Melissa’s idea – so we arranged for Freddie Kent & the Northernaires—a band that is centered around Fred’s ”fiddling” skills and for a square dance caller Ellis MacDonald who was willing to work with novices and teach the moves.
Now anyone who knows Linda & I knows we don’t dance. However, much to the surprise of our boys, we had decided to give it a "whirl" (which if you have ever observed or participated in square dancing is a pretty literal description of that activity). The first set (3 different “squares” was pretty slow and a little “brutal” and many of the people dropped out and didn’t finish. Melissa was a little discouraged and disappointed that such a small number stuck with it and she was going to give upon it. But after a while we persuaded enough people for 2 squares to try again and completed 2 more sets (with a break in between – if nothing else it is great aerobic exercise so we old folks needed a rest before starting again) Each square got easier as we got down the basics – “allemande left and dosie doe” and by the 3rd set it went really well. Linda & I enjoyed it (in her words it was a ”hoot”) – by the time we struggled through the first square I was laughing so hard my stomach hurt

The aftermath:
Sunday morning was busy as we had to tear down and stack all the tables and chairs in the lodge, scrub floors, clean the cabins and kitchen, get the motor home and trailer ready to go and load all the stuff up to take it home.

Linda's niece Tracy and her husband Travis have a camp on the lake and Sunday morning they brought their pontoon boat over and took Chris & Tammy, Kevin & Sarah, Melissa & Alexander and Hunter, Camdyn & Willout for a ride around the lake.

Our young friend Lennie Roetman who had used his truck on Friday to bring out the arbor (and ferry chairs for outside that we had rented from the Elks in Echo Bay to the camp on Friday and back again after the wedding on Saturday) was on hand and helped with the clean-up as well as getting the stuff loaded. My sister Ruby and her husband Art had stayed over night and were a big help as was Linda’s sister Arliss and her family (Arliss had come Friday night to help with the rehearsal supper as well) .
Our frien Maxine from Red Rock had come out Friday and helped a lot all weekend. She was going to stay elsewhere Saturday night but had decided she wanted to stay longer at the “party” so she was there pitching in Sunday as well. Of course our family – including Melissa & Alexander were busy helping out. Our lovely daughters(-in-law) Tammye & Sarah both dived in -- and helped a lot.
So it was a “family affair”—both in the celebrating and in the work needed to make it happen.
There were 2 glitches in an otherwise “perfect event” -- For the rehearsal dinner Friday night Linda had prepared and frozen 3 large pans of meatballs for a spaghetti and meat ball dinner. All three were heated up in the ovens but only one was used and in the hustle of cleaning up and dealing with later arrivals somehow the 2 unused pans were left in the(turned off) gas ovens overnight. With the extra warmth of the pilot lights Linda decided that they had to be thrown out. The more serious glitch was my error. One of our neighbors whose children had been Melissa’ playmates had offered us the use of six sleeping bags. Sunday morning Linda had packed them up in black garbage bags. You probably see were this is going. Well, I saw my sister lugging this garbage bag along the sidewalk and said “here let me do that—and promptly took it and threw it in the dumpster—I still can’t figure out why I didn’t check to be sure it was garbage because I had earlier been doing that for other “real garbage) – bottom-line 3 sleeping bags gone—We felt terrible but in the end it was only “things” and money not anything important -- and we refused to let those things be our memories of what was and always will be a wonderful weekend with family & friends.
Melissa’s smile as she looked at Alexander after the ceremony was worth more than any amount of money could buy— and that’s the memory I will treasure and remember -- forever.
I'll end this report with a prayer for God's blessings on this marriage and on Melissa & Alexander as theylive their lives together.
God Bless