RETIREMENT AND MORE FULL CIRCLES –
GOD IS SO GOOD!!
Uncle Doc’s Gift To Us
One of the gifts Dad Wheeler gave us was through his brother-in-law, Uncle Doc, after his wife, Dad’s sister Helen, died. Uncle Doc had money she had invested in Government Bonds amounting to $24, or $25,000 and since they had no children of their own he wanted one of Dad’s children to have the money because when they had hard times in their early marriage Dad, maybe 10 or 12 years old, had a pig his father let him raise and sell. Dad sold the pig and gave Uncle Doc and Aunt Helen all the money. Uncle Doc never forgot that. When Edgar was in Denver Uncle Doc came to visit us every time he came to Denver for Mountain Bell Phone Company’s stockholder’s meeting and he decided to give Edgar and me that money, $3,000 dollars of Government Bonds to each of us annually until we had it all if he lived long enough, he said. He was in his 90’s. He could give $3,000 dollars to any individual without paying tax on it – no more. He reminded us this was like cash in anyone’s hands at maturity so we should keep it in a bank vault which we did. We had cashed them and put cash in CD’s by the time Edgar retired so God truly fills our needs before we know we have them! We had money to pay cash for our mobile home, get a septic system, plumbing, electricity and phone in it and make some renovations to it to make it fill our needs while in West Virginia helping keep Mom and Dad on their home place as long as possible. How truly blessed we have been and still are. We want our lives to be a testimony of our thankfulness.
Uncle Doc lived near St. Louis, Missouri and we visited him often as we could while living in Nortonville. En route to LaPlace, Louisiana Robert and boys, Edgar and I were at his place overnight the first day. He lived to be over 100 years old.
With Catherine Through Medical School
The last day of travel we drove through Hammond so stopped at the Parsonage and church to let Brian and Jesse and also Robert get pictures of where we lived when Robert was born. Obviously someone was renovating the Parsonsage. No one was around but lumber outside and on the floor inside too. The back door was open so we called and no one answered so we wandered in and Rob got some video. Years later while living at Richard’s we returned for a funeral at a funeral home in Hammond and drove by the church and Parsonage again. It looked the same inside and out. A car was at the church so we went in there. A black church family, Baptists, had bought the building. The secretary was in the office. Nice visit with her. The whole community around the church is black now. They had drums etc. set up so they obviously have a band or orchestra. Much was still the same, though. Was special to go into the building again.
Catherine had just rented a nice home in LaPlace much closer to New Orleans. She had lived in Baton Rouge before. We easily found her home. It was the first side street as we came into town. Was a dead end street and Catherine’s the next to last home on the right. A nice brick home with a two-car garage attached, a porch in front and a deep cemented patio all across the back. A new one car, I think, garage had just been built beside the back patio. A nice businessman and his wife in New Orleans had just bought it for a retirement home in the country in a couple years and rented it until then. He was going to use the garage he had built for a workshop when they retired. That gave us 3 garages which was nice.
Bill and Marie Prentice had arrived earlier in the day and had unloaded and started back home. We were sorry we missed them. Our things in boxes were stored in part of the attached garages. Edgar wanted to pay Bill’s expenses but he insisted it was a gift to thank God for a gift Edgar’s Dad had given his parents when he was growing up. They had some hard years during the Depression and lost their home with no where to go and Dad let them live in his rental home rent free until they got on their feet again. They were dear, dear friends all the years they lived.
Catherine’s home was spacious with three bedrooms and two baths, a back room perhaps 6 X 10 feet, a large kitchen with a beautiful bay window looking out onto the back patio and over our deep back yard. A nice dining room extended off the kitchen to the wide front hallway on the other side. The kitchen also opened into a huge sunken living room with a fireplace. It had a glass double door opening onto the back patio. The living room was open with the hallway that wound from the front door to the bedroom hallway.
Catherine insisted that we have the master bedroom with bath and huge walk-in closet. We had a large picture window opening on to the back deck where we hung our swing just outside our window.
There was a laundry room and a bathroom backing up to the front hall and two more bedrooms at the front of the house. Baron was in his crib and a double bed was also in his room. Just inside the front door was a nice library study Catherine used. It backed up to the dining room. In the garage were steps leading to an “upper room,” Edgar’s study, which was air conditioned, so he really enjoyed it. The steps were not safe especially for Baron so Edgar asked for and was granted permission to build safe, more permanent steps. The landlord said to take expenses off our next month’s rent. There were no screen doors either so he was granted permission to make those and hang them taking the expenses off our rent. This kept our home cooler longer before we needed air conditioning thankfully. Was more “homey” also. We loved having our doors open. When we lived in the South forty years before Edgar made a window fan that pulled hot air out at night and pulled fresh air in through windows slightly open near our beds. That made the heat bearable and all could sleep. We seldom used it in the daytime.
Catherine needed a breakfast nook table and benches in the kitchen bay window so Edgar made one from some crates he shipped books in and lumber we found lying around after they built the new garage. He made a low table with attached benches that would just fit in the window area. We used it all the time for breakfast and lunch. All four of Catherine’s children used it on her patio for eating, coloring and playing games through the years. It is still on her patio today. A sturdy table for young children.
LaPlace was growing but still a small town. The first Sunday we all went to the BaptistChurch. Services were worshipful. They were starting weeklong evangelistic services that night – all were welcome. They had asked visitors to stand. We all did but not one person spoke to us after. People we talked to hardly spoke. No one visited. The next Sunday we went to the MethodistChurch which was much closer – we could walk. We got a warm welcome and became an active part of that congregation while we lived there. The pastor was Hebert, pronounced “ā bear.” He was Cajun and it took us a while to make that pronunciation sound right to us. He had a pastor’s heart and we were active in Sabbath (Sunday) School, worship and other activities. They were a serving congregation and we helped with “More than a Meal” we prepared one evening a week for homeless and other families referred to us. A balanced meal and games or an activity were planned and directed. Sometimes it was entertainment or a program. Always special. One day a week they also had “Mother’s Day Out” just for the church mothers. There was a regular “PreSchool” for one day. An Early Childhood teacher was in charge and church members signed up to help each week. We took our turn helping with both things. Edgar taught one of the Adult Bible classes before we had been there long. We felt at home here from the first Sunday. When Catherine was home she went with us which pleased us of course.
Gentry remained in Baton Rouge by choice, where his hair salon was. It was a very classy business that advertised on TV. A very classy Salon that advertised on TV and did people’s hair for Jimmy Swaggart’s TV broadcasts. He did “make overs” at gatherings throughout the South. He did come home every few days and finally pretty regularly. If he didn’t come home Catherine would become concerned and drive toward Baton Rouge in case his car broke down along the way. He might not come home at all until the next the day and sometimes two or three days later. We all quit being so concerned that he was sitting along the highway somewhere.
Baron was six months old when we arrived and we soon bonded. Whatever I did he was close by soon to help me. He even helped me bake cookies and knead bread. If he was not helping me he was sitting with a book or toy at my feet. He loved being out of doors with Grandpa and followed him around whatever he was doing. Edgar put a basket in the front of his bike so Baron could ride in it. Both of them loved that. We often took popped corn or bread crumbs to the Lake to feed the ducks. Some days we would go to the Audubon Park Zoo in New Orleans. He loved the animals. It reminded us of the many times we packed a picnic lunch and took our older children there years ago. Again we had come full circle ourselves.
It was special to be in Catherine Jeanne’s home and we were so thankful we could ease her mind so she could concentrate on finishing MedicalSchool. She had gotten too many student loans to quit now. She had one year left after finishing this year. Catherine was Secretary of the Student Body Council that first year and active in that group. Her last year she was made President, the first woman ever. She seemed to thrive on hard work and pressures. With everything else she had Trevor in February and was soon back in school long hours. Was nice she had her own office as President so she could lock the door and have some privacy she said. She graduated that summer. Ace and Annita came for Catherine’s graduation. Was so good to have them there. Ernie had come a few days during his school vacation but Esther did not come with him. Was good to have him there and take him sightseeing and we went on a “Swamp Tour” we all enjoyed. It was his Christmas vacation. So good to have him home again but how we missed Esther.
Catherine went to Salt Lake City, Utah for her Residency work in OB/Gyn. We took Catherine, Baron and Trevor to the airport to fly to SaltLake. The truck with her furniture had already gone and been delivered, so she knew it was there.
Time With Mom And Dad
And Time With Mom Wheeler
How we were going to miss the boys and Catherine but Mom and Dad needed us and we had bought a new Mobile home to go in just below the pond dam, above Mom’s garden. It would be in place with a septic system by the time we arrived.
We came home from the airport, put our car on the trailer behind the U-Haul, secured it and we were on our way. Now I was going full circle back home and to my home church at Lost Creek, West Virginia. Mae and George had come home to help us get unloaded and settled. What a big help they were.
Daddy was not well all that summer. We tried to get him to go with us when we had to travel about just to get him out of the house and he always said, “No,” it was too much work to get in and out of the car. We were busy all summer with two big gardens that Mom already had growing. There was a lot of mowing to do and hills to keep cut with a scythe. We were busy all summer and glad to be home to help keep Mom and Dad on the farm where they wanted to be. We went to church on Sabbath at Lost Creek but we felt we needed to be active in the church in community in order to get to know the community people. We went to the CommunityChurch two miles away. They had a Methodist pastor who lived in Salem and came Sunday to preach. We soon felt right at home and loved the church family. Was nice to help with community service projects also.
Neighbors came in often to visit Mom and Dad. Children who had gone to school to Dad and were home from away came often to visit. Mom and Dad loved that. Mom did Dad’s hot lunch program in his one-room school and their students loved both of them. These were really bright spots in Mom and Dad’s days. We were in and out each day to help any way we could. Mom and Dad helped me with all the canning. Dad seemed to sleep a lot that summer as if he was depressed and had given up. He did not want to even go for a drive.
In the fall we stopped to visit Bond and Ruby as we came home from somewhere. Ruby complained that Edgar had not taken Dad fishing all summer. She said that before we came Dad talked a lot about “how Edgar will take me fishing when he gets here.” He was looking forward to our coming so he could go to BuffaloLake and fish. Bond was retired before we came so I do not know why he did not ask Dad to go fishing with him. Maybe he did and Dad would not go. We thanked Ruby for sharing Dad’s disappointment with us. It hurt that we had disappointed Dad so but he always said it was too hard to get in and out of the car so Edgar had not asked Dad about fishing in case it would be like rubbing salt into a wound already hurting.
Edgar began talking up a fishing trip to BuffaloLake and Mom and Dad went along. They even took Dad’s boat along sometimes and they all went out on the Lake to fish. They always brought home a good catch to prepare for freezing or eating fresh. Good eating! Dad perked up and was soon doing better and seemed to really revive. How Edgar and I could have thought Dad was not able to go fishing just because he was not able to get in and out of the car to go with us anywhere else was really stupid on our part. We should have known that Dad would gladly make the extra effort needed for a fishing trip.
We spent one winter in Florida with Aunt Pearl and Dad went fishing with us about every day. We took home many packages of frozen fish packed in dry ice. Another winter we went to a Beach in North Carolina for two weeks to fish. MaybeHoldenBeach. We rented a Condo near the fishing docks. They had wheelchair access so Dad did well.
Dad enjoyed fishing and at home would get on his riding lawn mower and sit on it by the hour fishing just above our mobile home at his farm pond. I think he had every fish in there named. When he would catch a fish I would hear him talk to it, call it by name, carefully remove his hook, pat it on the head and carefully put it back in the pond saying, “One day one of my Grandchildren or Great Grandchildren will have fun catching you. Dad had a small row boat docked at the pond and what fun the children had rowing out in it. Dad taught many children to dig worms, catch grasshoppers or seine fish to put on their hooks and cast out into the water. When they caught a fish he taught them how to set the hook without getting stabbed yourself. Dad would never put worms on hooks or take fish off hooks but was an encourager and support. “If you want to fish you must learn to do all these things for yourself,” he would say and we children did and all our children and Grand children too. Dad was a teacher in every area of life and he lived what he taught. He was loved by every child he taught – because he loved them and showed it in personal attention given. The advantage of a small one room school I am sure.
Fourth of July was always the Randolph/Bond Reunion at Mom and Dad’s home. Horse Shoe and also volleyball courts were set up and ready. We always had lively games of both. Dad would be referee and scorekeeper of one or even both before the day was over. Everyone brought food to share and we set up tables and benches under the maples in front of the house so it was shady. Usually had around a hundred and there was something for every age.
I imagine it was in 1990 Richard and Michele, Nathan, Shauna and Ben came to the reunion as they moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, where Richard would begin working for Keiser Permanente in Family Practice. Robert, Connie, Brian, Jesse, Hilah and Rachel were there from Nebraska and Ace, Annita, Kevin, Mike and Liz were there from Pennsylvania. Helen, Ken, David and Jeremy from New York State, Leon, Linda, Jon and Coral also from New YorkState. Ruth, Walt, Rebecca, Heather, Christen and Missy came from Rhode Island. The children surprised us with a “Family Home” comforter they had made for our 40th Wedding Anniversary. Each child had designed and made a block or “room” representing that family. The twelfth block was the front door with a button door knob and decoration on the front door. The top of the quilt that folded back over the pillows made the roof of our “Family” home quilt. We use it to this day on our bed during the winter months. I have a lighter quilt I had quilted and made for Mom and Dad on their 50th wedding Anniversary and I use it for my summer bedspread. It has a block with the name of every sibling of mine and their family in 1975 when I made the quilt. Both quilts have washed well through the years.
In 1992 our children came to our home in West Virginia for a reunion. We had all gone to Ruth’s in 1989. They decided every three years to have a reunion and go to different sections of the country. In 1995 it was Boulder, Colorado S.D.B. Camp Paul Hummel. Willy, Jen, Esther and Tony entertained there. In 1998 we went to Rich and Michele’s in North Carolina, where we were living at the time. In 2001 we went to Catherine and Dan Larsen’s home in Salt Lake City and in 2004, Annita and Ace entertained everyone in their home in New Hampshire. Esther missed that reunion, having given birth to April shortly before; but Tony , Lauren and Aidan were there. We will go back to Annita and Ace’s home in 2007. In 2005, the children, except for Ernie and Cathy and Rob’s wife, Dawn, came to Westerly, Rhode Island, where we were living, and really surprise us on our 60th Wedding Anniversary. Except for the two times I have mentioned, all of our children have been able to enjoy our reunions with us. As the grandchildren got to college age there always seemed to be some of them who could not come. God has been so good to us through the years. Our family has been such a plus in Edgar’s ministry. They were each respected and loved by church family. Our way of teaching was to not speak twice but to expect to be obeyed first time. We only punished for disobedience, disrespect and dishonesty. It paid off in children we could take pride in for they were hard working, honest, respectful and loving children. We continue to take pride in each one today.
As I said before, Mom raised a large garden – actually, two gardens – and the hills around us were full of raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and huckleberries (small blueberries). When company came we were well prepared always. Our garden took daily care and it paid off in good eating: lettuce, radishes, spinach, swiss chard, kale, tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, muskmelon, watermelon, parsnips, beets, carrots, corn, peas, green beans, pole beans and lima beans. Mom and Dad helped us make 2-3 gallons of sauerkraut in the fall too. Mom and Dad no longer kept a cow, pig or chickens when we went back. They had already begun spending their winter months in Florida with family there. They had a cat but no dog. The cat was an outdoor cat and kept rodents cleaned out.
At our family reunions there is constant sharing of memories, sometimes lively political or religious discussions. Never any getting upset or mad as far as we can tell. We have a “musical” family and evening or daytime music entertainment was and enjoyed and they all enjoyed singing together. We always had a Sabbath worship service and sharing time. Family members led those. There was always a children’s story time and probably some singing of fun camp songs. In West Virginia we had square dancing on the lawn with Robert at the piano on the porch and his children playing violins. The neighbors could hear all the fun and came over to join us. Every reunion has featured tournaments of volleyball and horseshoe throwing, also table games and table tennis and pool maybe. These are always full of good meals, well planned and prepared (much ahead of time and frozen). Everyone helps and takes their turn with preparation and cleanup. Our children raised children we all are proud of. Sometimes guests have been invited to entertain: a clown, a magic show and such. These were fun for every age. We look forward to this next summer at Ace and Annita’s spacious home on the shore of Lake Winnipesauke in New Hampshire. We had a cruise on the big lake last reunion there. Our reunions are Friday to Monday and people come ahead or stay after if they can. Some can only come for the weekend of visiting and activities. Today, June 2007, we have 97 family members, including 6 step family members.
The winter after our West Virginia family reunion Dad got sick and was bedfast from then on. Getting Dad in and out of bed was hard on both of our backs. Edgar got so it was difficult to keep the hillsides mowed. We got a hospital bed for Dad and that made it easier for me to give him bed baths and take care of his needs. We could also change the contour of the bed so he could sit in bed. We saw a lift advertised, looked at it and bought it. Edgar remodeled it and it worked great to turn Dad in bed and hold him in position too. Dad could not stay on his side when he turned. Mom had a single bed and we pushed it up beside Dad’s bed at night. We moved their bedroom up to the sunroom which had a bathroom attached. It was much lighter and all the windows opened so it could be almost like living out doors. Bird feeders were just outside the window and they enjoyed watching the birds. Edgar built a ramp to their outside door so we could take Dad into the yard in his wheelchair. In the summer he often sat under the shade trees a lot. Neighbors waived at him as they drove up and down the road. Dad could watch us working in the garden or mowing lawns. He was our official pea sheller, bean snapper, or whatever needed to be prepared for meals. Helped him to feel useful and needed too. Mom and Dad played games every day which kept each of them sharp and alert. Both were very competitive and they loved playing Rook with everyone who had time to play.
The hydraulic lifter was great for lifting Dad out of bed and sitting him in his recliner or wheel chair. To get him in and out of the car we put a rug in the chair and Dad sat on it. When we got Dad to the car in his wheelchair we took the left arm off the wheel chair and one of us got in the driver’s side kneeling on the seat and pulled the rug, with Dad on it, into the car seat. The other person lifted the rug enough to make it slide easily. We took Dad out the same way, but in reverse. He always sat in the front seat. It was easier to get in it. Mom and I sat in the back seat.
The summer before we moved to Richard and Michele’s, Nathan, Shauna and Ben came to stay with us for a week. We took them home on Rich’s 40th birthday to surprise him. They planned, Richard thought, to meet us halfway the next day. Was a big surprise party Michele planned. The yard was full of guests. They even had a music group to entertain. Was a fun evening and we got to see and visit in their small home. We slept in Shauna’s room and she slept in the loft with the boys. The children were so glad to be home again. It had been fun having them for a week.
Elizabeth came that summer for a week also. There were lots of adventurous things to do on Grandpa and Grandma’s farm including fishing and playing in the stream in front of the house. We played games and read always before bedtime. It has always been fun to keep grandchildren a few days. They kept us younger.
That year, Edgar’s mother was in the hospital very ill. When she could leave the hospital the doctor wanted to put her in the Nursing Home but she refused. He said she could no longer live in her home alone. Mae and George came to be with Mom and Dad while Edgar and I went to Kansas to bring Mom home with us. She was not able to travel yet so I staid on and Edgar went back home. He was interim pastor in Lost Creek or maybe Salemville, Pennsylvania. When Mom could travel Merlin and Juanita took Mom and me to Ohio to Aunt Marcella and Uncle Frank’s home where Edgar picked us up. Annita and their children were there to surprise us. They lived in Detroit, Michigan. What a precious surprise. Mom was tired but did well traveling. We went on home with Mom. She was happy there until she was feeling more like herself then she missed home and all her friends. We felt sorry for her. One day she rode to town with Edgar and as they traveled she said, “Edgar, thank you for giving me such a good home but I would rather be home in a Nursing Home than here. I want to see the open spaces again. I feel like I will smother between these hills!” We let Charles know to sign up for a room in a Nursing Home for Mom. He did and when she was accepted we drove her home. We had enjoyed having Mom but we knew it was best for her to be back in Kansas near family and friends there.
Edgar served twice as interim pastor in Lost Creek and once in Salemville, Pennsylvania during our years in West Virginia. He was happy to be in ministry again. We had a small group Bible study in our home or at the neighbor’s home across from Mom and Dad. Edgar did an entire Bible Survey course with them. Three couples attended regularly. All were members of the CommunityChurch. Special friends and neighbors.
The day came when the Doctor told us our backs would not get better as long as we were taking care of Mom and Dad. Richard wanted us to come live with them in the country. We would have our own home as soon as they could get their home built on the property. It had a small “sharecropper” house on it that they were living in at present.
We began talking with Mom and Dad and my siblings about what we should do. Mae and George were building a large sunroom on their home and would be glad to have Mom and Dad live with them if we could hold out another year or so. Rex and Phyllis were glad to move in with Mom and Dad and take care of them. Their son, Ian, and his family would move into Rex and Phyl’s home so it all worked out. Until Mae’s got their sunroom ready, Mae’s, Alois’s and Edgar and I took turns coming for a week at a time each month so Rex and Phyl could get away somewhere if they wanted to do that.
Finally the time came we knew we must move. Dad got a lawyer and divided his land and home place. Rex got three acres including the home place. Edgar got the land across the creek, the drive way, garden, pond and a little beyond. We appreciated Mom and Dad’s generosity but we knew we would never live there so why keep the land when Rex really needed it to complete his three acres? When we were given the deeds to have recorded we sold it over “for a dollar” to Rex Main. We signed them and recorded them. Now we could leave West Virginia with easy minds. We told Rex and Phyl that we did not want Mom and Dad to ever know what we had done and they assured us they would not tell them. We all were happy and relieved.
I helped Mom and Dad pack for their move to Mae’s the weekend before we left. We put their things in a small U-Haul and Bond and Ruby drove it to New York. Leon was an EMT and he brought a van that Dad’s bed could be anchored in.
It was really sad moving them out of their home. Before we went out the door to load up, we all gathered in the kitchen and Edgar had a prayer of thanksgiving with Mom and Dad and family gathered around them for the many happy years that they had in their home. He also prayed for protection and God’s blessing in travels and in their new home. Dad was then 91. Mom was 93. Mom sat beside Dad in the van and Edgar and I followed in our car. Dad did well on the trip. Mae had a hospital bed for Dad and one for Mom beside his. Dad only lived six weeks after they moved to Mae’s. Edgar and I and Alois and Mary Ann took turns staying with Mom a week or so at a time when Mae and George wanted to get away. Beth was still teaching. Rex and Phyl came when they were needed to help. Beth and Joe came in the summer.
One winter at least Mom lived with us at Richard’s so she could be outside more all winter. It was very special having Mom in our home again. We did some traveling with her to visit Ernie and also my cousins in Tennessee. Mom really enjoyed those trips but was always glad to be “home” wherever home was at the time. When spring came Mom went back to Mae and George’s.
Mom lived into her 100th year. We had sent out birthday invitations we’d celebrate her life. We rented Camp Harley Sutton in New York for two or three days. Mom died of a stroke before her birthday. She was 99 years old. Mom had her stroke while playing Rook with Mae and George night after Sabbath and she died around noon the next day. God gave her a long happy life. We were blessed to have her for our Mother. Again, God is good. We give Him thanks.
Several of our children offered us homes with them. Richard wanted us to come live with them in the country in North Carolina near Wake Forrest. The house they were living in was a small sharecropper house, but we would have our own home as soon as they could get their home built on the property. A big plus was that the weather was better year around. Edgar got hot in summer but we had air conditioning after the first summer. We accepted Richard’s offer and planned to move our mobile home there. Before we moved some of Rich’s neighbors complained about having a mobile home brought in even temporarily so we sold our home before we left and it was moved away. We drove a U-Haul to Rich’s pulling our car again. We had been in West Virginia six years.
Time With Richard And Michelle’s
Our things were stored in the barn behind Richard’s house and they gave us Shauna’s room. Again she slept on a cot in the loft with the boys. Within three to four months we had built an extension beside Shauna’s room. Her window became a door opening into our room. We built a front porch across from Richard’s front porch and screened it in. We used that porch a lot. Shauna was back in her room happily.
The summer of 1993 Richard’s broke ground and they started building their house in July. It was attached to the side of the cottage, along the kitchen and dining area of where we all lived. Brian and Jesse were with us all summer. Brian and Nathan were very helpful. They stuck right with Richard. He took one month vacation time from his practice and when he went back to work the framing was done, logs up and roof on ready for indoor finishing work. Richard showed Dad and me what needed to be done daily and we worked hard to do all we could before the family returned each day. Edgar and I laid lots of tongue-in-groove flooring upstairs and down. New flooring was put down in the kitchen and living room part of the share cropper home also. We did finishing work on all the kitchen counters. They took many coats of finish. Richard did the electrical wiring but hired a plumber and air conditioner to put in the central air and hook things up. We used pipe scaffolding and pulled it apart and moved it when sealing and staining the logs outside. As we put it back together once I caught the lining between my left thumb and fore finger and stood there attached for ten minutes unable to get the scaffolding apart to remove my hand. Finally I just yanked it and tore away the flesh that was caught then went to the Doctor to have it cleansed and stitched and get a tetanus shot. We were thankful to not have any worse injuries.
Within two years, Richard’s had built their log home. They moved into the log home Christmas Eve. What a special Christmas we all celebrated together. We shared the kitchen and dining room with them, and what had been their living room became Richard’s office at home. The room we had been living and sleeping in for over a year, maybe two, became our huge living room. We also had Shauna’s bedroom for a spare bedroom and Rich and Michele’s bedroom for ours, with an adjoining bathroom. We had our own separate quarters in Rich and Michele’s home. It could not have been a better arrangement. When the log home was finished, Edgar and I little by little removed broken down fencing and cleaned the pine grove and area around our home so we could mow and trim the lawn.
Richard’s were going to church at NorthWakeBaptistChurch in WakeForest so we went there and were soon right at home. Edgar taught a Sunday School class and enjoyed that. Young families were like part of our family and have visited us after we moved. I also became part of the local “Women’s Outreach” group and that helped me get to know the neighborhood women around me and serve needs of them. We had a monthly devotional and business meeting.
Later, Rich’s began going to WakeForestBaptistChurch which had a worship service more like what we were used to with organ, piano and a large choir. Seemed so much more reverant and worshipful. Again we were soon “at home” and it was a big plus to again be worshiping with Richard’church had a Deaf ministry and several deap people attended church regularly. All of the worship service was signed and we sat in that section with Shauna. The Interpreters taught sign language classes that Edgar and I attended to be better able to communicate with Shauna too. They also had an active Senior Class in Sunday School taught by a seminary professor. A Southern Baptist Seminary was next to the Church. Many students worshiped here and many went to North Wake. North Wake was a “seeker” church and a more “modern” worship style with a Praise Band and visuals on the wall.
While at Rich’s they hosted the family Reunion in 1998. Richard had an in the ground swimming pool fenced in and also a large side yard seeded down and mowed. They built a sunroom onto the living room with a stairway leading to the big room over the double garage. Rich air conditioned that room and all the single boys had a “boys’ dorm” in that room. The “girls’ dorm” was in Rich’s study and the loft above it. There was lots of space really. Some slept in the screened-in gazebo overlooking the lake at the back of Richard’s property which Nathan and Ben designed and built with Richard’s oversight.
The family played games in the side yard. An awning was attached to the side of the barn behind the house and it covered six large tables and chairs. A popular spot was the table tennis, pool and hockey tables that were set up in the large screened-in back patio room. Our Sabbath worship was on the front and side porches and front yard. We rolled our piano onto the screened-in porch and Annita played it. Some had their instruments. One family could not be able to afford the trip that year so the children went together and paid for their trip. Richard’s had their first of many catered “pig pickin’” feasts for Sabbath day dinner.
While at Richard’s we celebrated our 50th Wedding Anniversary and all the children gave us a 3-week Globus Tour of the British Isles. We flew direct from Raleigh to London and a Globus Tour Guide met us. We toured England, Scotland, Wales and southern Ireland. Never had we even dreamed about making such a trip. We gave at least two slide shows of our adventures. A trip of a lifetime. Memories are precious yet today. God blessed us with our family and they never cease to amaze us with their love, sensitivity and generosity. God is so good indeed. We were in Boulder, Colorado to celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary. Esther had made a beautiful anniversary cake and invited the Denver and Boulder church family to join us Sabbath afternoon celebrating. Many of them did just that. So good to visit with dear friends again and catch up on their families.
A typical day for us at Richard’s started at 5:00 a.m. for each of us. Edgar went to his study/studio out under the trees and I sat at my desk, reading God’s Word, meditating on it and praying for at least 30 minutes then Edgar and I took our “three mile” morning walk before the sun was too hot. We took 2 grocery plastic bags and usually filled them as we cleaned up along the roadside daily as we walked. Those were special times sharing insights or experiences as we walked hand in hand. In summer when we got home we put our bathing suits on and cooled off, swam or walked in the pool out back. By then Richard’s had all left for their day at school or work and the kitchen was ours. This worked so nice for each of us. Michele and I wrote notes and left them on the counter often. We were right at home with them and there was enough work we could do to keep us busy and happy being able to help.
At Christmas time, there was always a tractor pulled farm wagon with hay bales for seats to carry carolers to elderly and shut-in close neighbors. The wagon was full.
The day came when the children were all gone and Rich’s were talking of downsizing. About this time Ruth and Walt had an apartment in their duplex they rent going to be vacant so offered that to us if we wanted to come back to Rhode Island. We decided to move so Edgar and I packed then went on to Rhode Island. We flew to Rhode Island for Thanksgiving with family there. After we left, Richard’s loaded our things in a U-Haul and drove them to Westerly for us then he flew back home. They did all the hard work this move.
Time Near Ruth and Walt’s And Our New England Children
We were of course so happy to be back in Rhode Island and going to church in Ashaway again. People welcomed us “home.” Our older children all graduated from High School in Ashaway at CharihoHigh School. The towns of Charleston, Richmond and Hopkinton (Chariho) joined to build a Junior-SeniorHigh School and TechnicalSchool. All but Esther and Ernie graduated here.
Our New England children, Leon and Linda, Esther and Tony and Lauren, Annita and Michael and Liz came to welcome us and help us settle in. What a big help along with Ruth and Walt, Becky and Chuck, Heather and John, Christen and Missy. In jig time we were settled in our new home. Esther, our Occupational Therapist, saw ways our apartment needed to be improved to meet our needs. The children bought safety holds and mounted them around the bath tub and toilet. We had dark paneling on the lower part of the wall all around our large living room and dining room. Esther said that needed a couple coats of off white paint. We lived in the basement duplex. Esther and Lauren came and remained a few days to help us paint. It gave the rooms a whole new face lift – so much brighter. A large mirror hung on the wall with no windows made the room look much more spacious as the sun reflected from it. We had had our own quarters and were so happy at ‘Richard’s in their country home but it felt so good to know we could manage well and take care of our own needs, mostly, in our home again. We were happy in our basement apartment.
After a year or so Chris, Matt and Schawn moved in over us. That was so special having them there and soon Schawn came to visit nearly every day. We loved that and occasionally got to baby sit. The time came when Ryan joined their family and then we had double pleasure having two little girls come and visit us. Was a sad day when Chris and Matt bought their country home and moved out. We were happy for them. When they left children and Grandchildren moved us upstairs where we had larger rooms and much more light, also an upper and a lower deck and fenced in yard. We loved it upstairs also. Those were such special years with Ruth’s family and close enough Esther’s and Leon’s from Vermont and Annita’s from Massachusetts and New Hampshire could visit often. We could also visit them oftener.
Scott and Jeanie Smith and their family were in the Ashaway parsonage and we became members there again. Edgar and I had again come full circle back to Ashaway where Edgar served our Lord many years in ministry. Our desire was to support, love and encourage Pastor Scott which we did openly. We love their family, two boys and two girls too. We felt it personally when church family there, who professed to be “Christians” refused to support and work with our pastor in God’s vineyard. Gossipers turned everyone they could against our committed, sincere, Godly Pastor. Those who supported the Pastor were driven away because of divisions in the church body. So un-Christ-like. Edgar was asked to be interim pastor and he he was for a while but he was unable to really unite the people into one Body in Christ. One or two at a time people left our fellowship or were driven away.
Ruth and her family felt they had to leave – people did not want them there. Since we all lived in Westerly it made more sense for us to worship in the WesterlySeventhDayBaptistChurch, in our own community. Only God through Christ could ease our conscience and give us courage and a forgiving heart so we could leave with love and peace only God could give as we moved our membership to Westerly. Ruth was able with God’s help to do the same thing. We were happy in the Westerly church and are still members there. Our pastor is a deeply committed Bible-based man of God who preaches and teaches God’s Word clearly. God speaks through him and changes lives. Our church is growing spiritually with him.
When we went to Westerly Cousin Elizabeth Markolf was in the hospital very ill. We visited her weekly and she was not improving. We visited her church in Rockville one Sabbath and while visiting with a neighbor of Betty’s who had the keys to her home and watched out for her I asked, “What is wrong with Betty?” She said, “I do not know, but she keeps getting worse instead of better. They cannot tell me anything because I am not related.” I answered, “Well, I am related and will ask when we go to the hospital tomorrow.” I did and was told she had a staff infection that cannot be cleared up. I got the name of the infection and e-mailed Rich and Catherine, who are doctors. Both said that it could be cleared up with the right medication. I called her doctor, told him who I was and that I have two children who are doctors and they say she should begin to improve with the right medication. Within a week Betty was improving.
The day came when her insurance would no longer cover Hospital care so she was put in a Nursing Home. Soon it would not cover her care there so Edgar and I took her home with Home Health Care. We lived with her. We had to wear rubber gloves and be careful because her infection was very contagious and she had diarrhea so often even messing her bed in spite of the Depends we used. She had not been able to keep up her home up as she once did so Edgar and I spent all our time cleaning, cooking and taking care of Betty’s needs including bed baths and laundry. We took her into her living room to sit and she liked to watch some TV programs.
Home Health Care came to check Betty while also encouraging me and tell me tings to watch for. Betty had been against going to a Nursing Home but one day she said to me she thought she should go to a Nursing Home for she was never going to be able to live alone again.
Not too long after that Betty had quite a bit of blood in her bowel movement so I called the doctor and he said to get an ambulance and take her to the Hospital. Betty was a member of the local Volunteer Ambulance Association so had free ambulance service enough miles I never got a bill.
Betty had me do all her bill paying and balancing her checkbook. She put my name on
her account. I wrote checks but never signed any. I took them to Betty to sign them. The neighbor had been doing all that since her husband died. A nephew in South Carolina had Power of Attorney for her but that was about to run out and needed to be renewed. Betty wanted to know if I would be her Power of Attorney. I knew nothing about doing that but after much hesitation said I would. I talked with Betty’s nephew (actually her husband’s nephew) a couple times on the phone. He had asked a lawyer in Providence to write up a new POA and he and his wife were coming up that weekend and the lawyer would come to Betty’s room at the Hospital and meet them there at a certain hour. Betty insisted that Edgar and I were to be there before that time and we were. He sent all of us out of the room so he could talk to Betty privately. She told him what she wanted and I became Health and also Financial Power of Attorney. Her nephew signed as a witness.
It was not an easy job locating all her investments. As statements came in I filed them and made note in her ledger. Betty’s husband had been doing all financial business and she knew nothing about it so was no help. I kept being surprised with a new investment. Somewhere. Slowly I learned and was not to be traumatized with money matters. I was thankful for all my business courses and bookkeeping.
Betty had me check out Nursing Homes and in our judgment the best and also the cheapest one – an Eden home – was close the hospital. Edgar and I could walk there which was really nice. Betty decided she wanted to go there and they accepted her and put her on their list when they had a “room and bed” they would call me. By the time she had to leave the hospital this time they had a room so she moved there. We went down daily then three times a week and finally every Sabbath afternoon. We enjoyed the visits as did Betty. She was full of memories to share of summers she spent in Berea, West Virginia, or Clarksburg after her Grandparents moved there as well as Rockville and Westerly memories. Betty was happy in the nursing home and the last 2 or 3 years had a private room in the new wing. She loved it and loved all the employees there. A very caring atmosphere
Within two years her finances were close to gone paying $5,000 + every month for Betty’s comfort and care. She asked me to check on State Aid which I did. I thought I would have to sell her beach-access home and all her belongings. I did get three bids on the furnishings and a local one was thousands above the other two. Betty had many valuable antiques. Some I would have loved to have – a rocker Betty had when young – but knew Betty needed all the cash from the sale I could get so did not ask her if I could have the chair. Was a sad day for Edgar and me when we watched them clean out Betty’s home. So many memories through the years.
As I went over records I came across the deed to Betty’s home and after her husband’s death Betty had the lawyers draw up a new deed with her neighbors’ names, the man and his wife both, so actually Betty owned only 1/3 of her home. I could not sell it without their consent. I spoke to them and they were unwilling. I could not believe my ears. They were “Christians” and leaders in the church Betty went to. I had to fill out papers to put Betty in the State care. They said she can keep her Life Insurance polity and her home but when she died 1/3 of the vale of the home would be theirs. I let this family know and they soon came up with 1/3 of what the Tax Office said her home was worth, $99,000. They got a lawyer and I had to sign papers letting them own Betty’s home for $33,000 cash. That money allowed me to wait another year before I had to put Betty on State Aid.
Yearly I had to fill out papers again to retain State Aid. Not more than a year later Betty told me she saw in the paper her home had been sold for $250,000. Again I was more than shocked as well as disappointed in them doing that while Betty was still living. There was nothing I could do. Again I wrestled with God knowing I must forgive them, but how? Finally I was able to say with Jesus, “What is that to thee; follow thou me.” God helped me forgive from my heart and I had peace and joy in helping Betty as much as I could.
Betty died suddenly. She had a little over $1,000 in the bank at that time. The State took all her Social Security except $50 each month. That was to be used for anything that Betty needed. We kept Betty in Depends and Tic Tacs she loved besides other personal needs and occasionally clothing. The State had let her keep $3,000 when they began her care. That slowly dwindled but I had plenty as long as she lived. I had a funeral contract and paid for that before I put Betty on the State. When I notified her insurance agent there in Westerly of her death they sent me a little over $10,000. Edgar and my names were on her Insurance contract so each got over $5,000. Edgar needed new hearing aids badly and I insisted he get them now. That was $6,000. A tithe went to the Missionary Board in her memory, flower bouquets went to the Social Worker, Manager of the Nursing Home and Nurse’s station on her wing. I was so happy with the loving care Betty had received. We sent a bouquet to the Social Worker, the Manager of the Nursing Home, and the Nurses’ station on her wing. I was so thankful and happy with their loving care of Betty. I was really shocked the State did not take Betty’s Life Insurance money.
Betty took out a $1,000 life insurance policy when she got her first job and bought her home, while at that job for $3,000 in the 1930’s. Her parents, my father’s cousin, Stella Bee and her husband, a Seventh Day Baptist minister, retired and moved to that home. They lived there when we moved to Ashaway so we spent many evenings in their home eating popcorn and visiting and playing games – often dominoes. These were good years and I was thankful to be able to get to know and help Betty in her later years. She was 93 when she died.
The last year that we lived in Westerly Edgar said many times, “I don’t know how much longer I can continue to: take care of the lawn, have this large a garden, live in our own place.” Melissa and her husband, Scott, took over care of our yard. What a blessing that was. They made a hard job look easy as we watched them manicure our lawn in less than an hour. Scott mowed while Melissa trimmed.
Ernie and others of our children offered us a home with them when we felt we could no longer live alone. We could not consider it as long as Betty lived but after she died and all her legal things were taken care of we did begin to consider what we should do. We had gotten our funeral contracts and paid for our funerals and made arrangements for burial at the ministerial circle in the HopkintonCemetery where the church in Ashaway first stood. We could leave that area with peace of mind when we decided it was time.
During the summer Ernie and Cathy asked us if we would like to come back to North Carolina where winters are easier and live with them. We talked to Ruth and the other children. They all thought that perhaps we should move to where we were not fully responsible for home and lawn care and even more important we could walk daily all winter. Our health depended on regular walking.
We decided to make the move. Ernie and Cathy’s lease on their rental home was up the middle of October and they would rent a larger place two families could be comfortable living in. Ernie flew up to Rhode Island in time to get our U-Haul truck and load it with the help of all of Ruth’s family plus Ruth and Walt. All was loaded easily by mid afternoon. We all spent that night in Ruth and Walt’s home. It was special being at Ruth’s overnight again. Many days and nights we had enjoyed being in their home. These last 6 years we were there often for meals and also holidays but never over night. My sister, Beth, and husband, Joe, came that evening so they could drive us to Durham, North Carolina. They were sure that the constant jarring in the truck would cause us more back problems. Joe had been a professional truck driver so we did not say, “No,” when they offered to drive us down South. Ernie left the next morning early pulling our car on a trailer behind the U-Haul. We were sure it would take all of us two days.
Time with Ernie and Cathy’s, Again Near Richard and Michelle
We enjoyed our trip to Durham as we visited and enjoyed the scenery while Joe drove. Was a special memory building trip. So good to leisurely visit with Beth and Joe two days. Actually we arrived by mid morning and Ernie had arrived not long before us. We were at our new “home” and so glad to be “home.” Cathy’s parents were here and they prepared chicken gumbo for everyone mid afternoon or before. Some of Richard’s, Beth and Joe, Ernie, Cathy and her father unloaded so fast we could hardly keep telling them where to put things. We got our bed set up and made up ready for a good night’s rest. It was amazing how settled we were by nightfall. Beth and Joe went home with Richard and Michele. He brought them back the next morning for breakfast. Cathy’s parents were at a motel so returned the next morning too.
Ernie and Cathy were still unpacking from their move so each arranged things and unpacked boxes or stored them in the attic until our next move if we could. That much less to pack then. By July they wanted to have a place in the country. Their lease on this house would be up the end of June.
We soon were settled and enjoying North Carolina sunshine again as we got acquainted with Tretan and he became comfortable with us. Edgar was so “turned around” every time he went out the front door that I usually went with him for a walk. He had our address and phone number in his pocket. Once he did go alone and had to stop and ask directions he was so mixed up.
We have a bath adjoining our bedroom in the back of the house here and the Library/study is beside it. The living room, laundry room and kitchen are in the front of the house and in the middle of the rotunda are their two bedrooms and a bathroom. Our couch in the living room makes into a double bed and we have a double air mattress with electric air pump that we can put on the floor in Tretan’s room when we have company. There is a nice patio at the side of the house and nice big fenced in yard behind the house. Really nice space and wonderful neighbors.
Within a week of arriving we went to their “block party” (meal to share and visiting in the street). That block was closed off. Was nice to meet and visit with so many neighbors. Any direction we walk here we can go through or around a nice Park. West of the house is a Golf Course. A really friendly neighborhood and any time of day we greet many others walking, many with dogs or young children. We have no side walks so walk in the streets. We also can walk to the BaptistChurch we attend which is really nice. We attend a Senior Bible study on Wednesday a.m. which is special – the fellowship and the study.
Our car sat along the side of the road for three weeks or so. Edgar said several times, “I should just sell the car for I know I will not drive it here. This place is too confusing.” I knew I was not able to drive here and I did not want to try. I finally said, “If you really want to sell the car let us sell it instead of talk.” Rich heard our conversation and bought the car for Shauna. She needed a car. Edgar felt good with someone in the family having it. It was bothering him having it sitting along the road too. We gave Ernie the money we got; they sold their small car and they bought a van we could all ride in comfortably. Everything worked out well and we drove the car to Savannah to Ace and Annita’s the week he bought it for Thanksgiving. A wonderful trip. We look forward to more trips.
Edgar and I worked together on our Christmas letter and cards so dear friends and family far and near would know our new address. When we got all those out it was time to prepare for Christmas and get our family gifts out. This year it seemed easier to send each family some money for a family game or something else. I did not have the energy to make candy and cookies this year. Christmas Eve we went to Rich and Michele’s for a meal and gift exchange. We all drew names. Edgar made bird houses and I made dish rags. We both enjoyed making the gifts.
A tent-like storage building/shop was set up in the back yard and Edgar enjoys it almost daily. He goes with Ernie to the Shop mornings three days a week and loves doing that. I keep busy and happy every day here at home. Tretan is a big joy. We try to walk two, maybe three times each day and sometimes pull Tretan in the wagon to a Park to play. He loves going outside wherever you go. The boys put up two clothes lines and Tretan loved sitting in the wagon before he began walking. Now he runs all over the yard. What a happy, on-the-go boy he is! We love watching him grow and learn new things day by day.
Medical Challenges, And God Is So Good!!
Two days after Christmas Edgar came home from the Shop for lunch and I had lunch ready as usual. We have our main meal at noon and of course Ernie’s have theirs at evening when Ernie gets home. We had just finished eating and Dad and I started to clear the table. Cathy was next to the kitchen in their bathroom putting Tretan on the pot so he could be put in his bed. I put applesauce leftover away, went back to the table and got ketchup and the butter dish to put away. My left hand would not open the door so I put the butter dish on the counter and used my right hand over my left and aloud said, “Open the door.” The next thing I remember Edgar and Cathy were there on the floor beside me and Cathy was saying to Dad, “The ambulance is on its way. They want me to stay on the line. Yes, she is conscious now.” Then Cathy said, “You stay with Mom. I’m going into the yard. I hear them coming.” They were soon in the kitchen. I remember telling them I was alright. I know they got the IV going. I know when they put the neck brace on me and slipped the backboard under me. That hurt. Within fifteen minutes after I fell I was in the DukeHospitalTraumaCenter I heard them say. I remember painful X-Rays and tests and Edgar, Cathy and Tretan, then Ernie and Richard were there. I was told I had a stroke and my head was cut but did not need stitches, also my left shoulder was fractured. I was taken to the Stroke unit. Tretan could not come onto that wing, so they came in one at a time.
December 27 was Wednesday and by Thursday mid-afternoon Ruth had arrived by air from Rhode Island. Helen and Kenny were at Catherine Jeanne’s for Christmas vacation so Helen and Catherine flew together from there. They arrived Friday afternoon and came to the hospital with Richard, who picked them up at the airport. I think all the girls stayed at Richard’s Friday night. Ace and Annita arrived at Richard’s en route back to Savannah from their New Hampshire home. It was so special to have four of our girls there together and two of the boys. Dad slept in a chair in my room the first night, Ruth stayed there the second and third nights, and then Annita took a turn.
By Friday I had regained use and feeling in my left arm, hand and leg so the doctors released me to move me to the Cardiac Unit. Tretan could come in to see me there. The cardiac doctors had been seeing me while I was in the Stroke Unit. They were sure my fall was from my heart problem not the stroke. I needed a new pace maker. In 2003 doctors in Westerly had tried to remove my old pacemaker so they could implant a new one. The wires of the old one were grown in and totally clogged the vein they were inserted in so they were cut off and left. The old pacemaker was removed but they could not insert a new one. There were no veins they could insert the wires through. With meds they regulated my heart. These doctors said I needed a new pacemaker immediately so Friday I went to surgery and they found no veins around the heart they could use so they rescheduled cardio-thorasic surgery for Tuesday, January 2. The children all staid until surgery was over and I was out of ICU on Wednesday back on the cardiac floor.
In ICU I had IV’s inside my right elbow so I could not bend my arm to help myself eat or drink. My left arm I could not use because of the fractured scapula. I was totally helpless to care for my own needs. Dad and the children were there through the day and someone was with me nights. I was able to get out of bed and to the bathroom with aid by that Thursday and walk a little pushing the IV pole. Ruth went home on Wednesday and Helen and Catherine Thursday. Annita staid until I was home. I got home Friday afternoon finally. Annita slept on the couch. Went on home to Savannah by AmTrak train. Was so special for me and also for Edgar having the girls here. Sunday afternoon Alois and Diana came to visit. They staid at Rich’s over night and came back for breakfast Monday. They left not long after breakfast. Was so special having them here and seeing Alois feeling better.
I went back to the cardiologist, Dr. Lowe, who did the surgery to have the staples removed and the Nurse Practitioner and Physician’s Assistant actually removed the staples for me after a two hour or more wait because the doctor had emergency surgery. They had talked to him and learning I was not having Physical or Occupational Therapy at home he wanted the orthopedic doctor to see me before I left. The women had me take off my sweater to get my blood pressure and commented that my left arm was at least twice, maybe more, the size of my right arm. Even with bathing daily (no showers because of the incisions) and taking my blood pressure to record it daily I had not noticed. After removing the staples the women were taking me to another floor to see the bone doctor. The elevator door opened and my doctor stepped out and recognized us so went with us to the other doctor and we had no signing in or waiting there. He escorted me to an examining room the nurse led him to and he examined me while I waited on the other doctor. He said I must return to the hospital until they get to the cause of my swollen arm. Maybe a blood clot from the fractured shoulder. The orthopedic doctor said I should begin therapy immediately so my shoulder did not “freeze” and cause serious problems with recovering use of my arm. It seems it was not a clear fracture but it shattered in splinters so they put my arm against my body in a sling. No wonder it was so painful and me so allergic to some pain killers I do not like to take pain killers at all.
Back in the hospital they began IV diuretics and with tests that very day found a blood clot under my arm. They needed to dissolve that. I was also building up a lot of fluid in my lungs and having trouble breathing. I walked some in the hallway each day “panting” my way along a couple days. Edgar walked with me always. The first day the Therapist walked with us and then a nurse. After a couple days I was able to walk to the cafeteria with Edgar and Cathy, Ernie and Tretan to get lunch. Richard and Ernie’s were there off and on through the day. Ernie brought Edgar early each morning and he wanted to stay at night but I insisted he go home. Nurses were very attentive and came quickly to answer a bell. I got along fine through the night. I was in the hospital five days and still lots of fluid in the left lung where the surgery was done. Finally they tapped off two quarts of fluid and let me go home again thankfully. I remained on Lasix but doubled what I took daily. Hopefully that would prevent further build up. It was so good to be home. Ernie put a recliner in our bedroom and I slept in it two nights. The third night we elevated my side of the bed more and I slept in bed. I was very protective of my left shoulder but did sleep some. Part of my problem was I thought I had to have my eyes open and stay awake in order to keep breathing so I was awake a lot while in the hospital and then at home the first week or so. I never got so it was easy to breathe. I was always conscious of breathing.
The therapist showed Ernie the size of table that I needed for dangling my left arm over and letting it hang and just move up and down and in circles with the movement of my whole body along the table. Ernie made me a table and brought it home. I was ready for home therapy. Faithfulness paid off and I regained full use of my left arm in time. Dangling it as my body moved kept it from freezing and after six weeks I began therapy and though painful at first was soon moving my arm freely and able to dress myself without aid. So many things we take for granted and forget to live thankfully praising God for His blessings of health and strength daily then living in the awareness of His presence as we seek to honor Him in every area of our lives in our home and wherever we go.
Edgar and I got so we could walk several blocks together again. All was going well. Then I began to “pant” again walking but we kept walking because I knew I must to keep up my strength. It got bad enough that I told the doctor. He checked me and found fluid in both lungs now. He changed my diuretic from Lasix to Bumex and in three days I had lost ten pounds of fluid. I lost eight pounds the first day and night. The doctor had me return in one week and asked me to call if I got worse. I was to weigh myself daily before I dressed and if my weight went up two pounds in one day call him. In a week returned to see Dr. Crawford. His staff said he had an emergency and I waited an hour and forty-five minutes to see him. When I was finally able to see him he kept saying, “Amazing,” as he examined both lungs. He said he found no fluid. He hugged me and said I had just made a very difficult day worth it all. That has been a week ago now and my next appointment with him is early April.
We are again walking maybe 10 blocks at a time and walking to church twice a week, enjoying each new day God gives us. Edgar is again going to the Shop with Ernie three mornings a week and enjoying every moment there.
So many times in my life I have grown spiritually because I experienced traumas where I had to fully trust in our loving, ever present God to be where I could not be and fill the needs of loved ones I could not fill. My father’s illness when the doctors said they had done all they could. The toilet down the path at home gave me privacy and became my sanctuary of prayer and tears. My mother trusted God to heal if it was His will. I had a child’s faith in a loving Father and I believed God would heal. He did. My father lost his right leg in the hip joint and I learned my father was the same man without a leg. The leg was not “my father.” I might never have learned these things if I had not experienced them. Now I can better love and support and encourage others who have similar traumas to work through while trusting our loving, all-powerful, ever-present God to walk with us and fill their needs and the needs of our loved ones according to His will. Our God is able to do exceeding above anything we ask or think.
Illnesses of our children have taught me so much I might never have learned otherwise: Annita and Robert’s polio; Willy’s Hodgkin’s Disease; Richard’s many broken noses; Leon’s bicycle accident when we were told he might never talk again, then later his soccer accident and surgery; Ruth’s arthritis in her legs while in Grade School (our doctor feared bone cancer and sent us to a specialist in Boston); Catherine Jeanne’s heart murmur as a baby; Helen’s fistula on her wrist that had a “sharp” scratchy spot (The doctor drew a whole very rusty sewing needle. He was sure it had worked its way through her body since she had been crawling and came to the surface safely years later; Esther’s years of learning how to live with Bulimia; Ernie’s eye problems from birth and years on a submarine in the Navy. Each experience taught me God is trustworthy and loving and wants me to reflect His character as I care about those who suffer in this life.
The lease on the Durham rental home will be up the end of June. In April Ernie and Cathy began watching Real Estate ads in the paper and on the computer for property in the mountains or country in North Carolina that they might like and could afford. Richard and Michele have bought 80 or so acres within sight of PilotMountain near Mount Airy, North Carolina for their retirement home one day. The “Flying Eagle” woodworking business is not growing fast enough to cover costs and pay Ernie’s full time employment right along. They gave it a good try with full page ads, etc., trying to build up the orders but they did not come in steadily so Ernie knew they need to get full time work, one of them anyway. Cathy got on full time with her work writing college science courses – biochemistry, etc. Ernie worked at the Shop until near time to move. In late May or June Richard moved all the business equipment to the Work Shop on his farm. He also cleaned out the shop and took lumber that was left up to the farm.
Ernie and Cathy found nothing they could afford in North Carolina so decided to look just over the line in Virginia, northwest of us. Ernie rented a car and late in April went toward Wytheville, VA to check out homes they saw for sale by Real Estates on the computer. He was gone three days looking at several places. The next weekend he took all of us up to check out homes he liked, at least two but maybe more homes and make a final decision – yes or no, keep searching. We were each impressed with the home in the edge of Cripple Creek. It backed up to the National Forest – a big plus! It was kept up and just beautiful inside and out. The lawn was beautiful, kitchen was large and modern with a bay window over the sink. The back entry room had a washer and dryer behind folding doors. Rooms were large and ceilings high. It had a full front porch with a swing on it and a screened in porch just off the dining room through French doors. There was a large patio outside the kitchen door. We all agreed that this place could be “home” if all worked out well.
In May we all came back again for the “walk through” inspection. It was thorough – attic to basement. All went well and “the price was right” so they took the leap. The “closing” was in June. We loaded the truck and Ernie drove the truck while Cathy and family followed with the van loaded to the Real Estate Office in Wytheville. After signing papers and receiving keys we all drove to our new home and parked in the driveway to unload. The neighbor boys were soon in our yard offering to help and they are strong kids and were a lot of help unloading and carrying inside. Each box was labeled according to the room it went in so that helped so much. We set up beds as they were brought in and furniture was put in place where we wanted it. The kitchen was a priority so I began unpacking boxes so we had cooking and eating items ready for our first meal at home by evening. We were all ready for bed that night! The swing was still on the front porch, compliments of the former owners and a big “Welcome” bouquet of fresh flowers in the bay window in the kitchen. We had a wide and long hallway in the center of the house with seven doorways leading to other rooms so Tretan had the perfect large oval to push or pull toys around and around in the house.
Our bedroom is beside the bathroom on one side and Ernie and Cathy’s on the other side of the bathroom. So handy for each of us. We have two long lace curtained windows looking out on to the porch in front and two matching windows on the other outside wall looking down at our next door neighbor on that side.
Very soon we bought a beautiful, large – 10 by 20 inside measurement and 14 by 20 with the full front porch – Amish cottage they placed on the flat just under the wooded area of our back yard. The cottage has a long window on each side of the front door with a nice big window in it. Later Ernie insulated the inside of the cottage and placed a long window in the one end toward the garage and now chicken yard and house. The other end is two big wood doors fastened together. In winter I keep the 40th anniversary quilt the children made us hanging up over those doors. Inside the doors Edgar has chicken yard fencing attached to the corners to keep the chickens who run loose in the yard from jumping into his cottage. In summer those double doors are fastened open with wire hooks at the front and back of the cottage. Swings are attached to that side of the cottage for the boys so it is really “homey” up there.
I kept looking down on a big and long carpet rolled up on the next door neighbor’s porch. One night a few weeks later I lay awake wondering how we could buy carpet for the cottage when suddenly I thought of that rolled up carpet so next day I asked our neighbors if it was laying on the porch waiting to be hauled to the dump? She said she had thought about using it in a remodeled room upstairs but decided not to do so and if we wanted it she would gladly load it in her pick up truck and bring it and the padding for it up to the cottage. What a blessing! The rug fit perfectly wall to wall and I had a piece just large enough to cover the inside of the wagon when pulling the boys in it. With the padding it is well cushioned and really looks nice in the cottage. A red carpet. We bought a futon so we can make a double bed up there for a guest room when needed. Really it is Edgar’s study and art studio. We all enjoy going up there to visit him and enjoy the porch breezes.
Ernie and Cathy quickly fenced the back yard to keep the dogs and Tretan safe out of doors. The first summer Edgar spaded and tilled a small garden of the flat behind the house. It produced well and kept us in fresh vegetables. The concord grapes gave us some juice for jelly as well as good eating along. The second summer Ernie and Cathy did the gardening and added another garden area on the other side of the driveway. They added more variety in herbs and vegetables. They also planted two apple trees along the driveway. They bought 10 little chicks and two hives of bees which are all in the fenced in area behind the house. The end of the double garage toward the cottage was turned into a chicken house and a chicken yard fenced in between the garage and cottage. The fence opens so the chickens can be in the larger fenced yard during the day. We now get 5-7 eggs most days!
From our front porch which sit high off the ground, we can see Cripple Creek itself and the bridge over the creek with our community Crockett’s Chapel just beyond. We live on a hill and our drive is rather steep. At the end of the drive is a double garage – utility sheds really. We have a car port on the flat just beyond the house beside the yard gate. The second winter Ernie and Cathy cleared the woods behind the cottage of underbrush and vines clinging to trees so they can extend the chicken yard up the hill through part of the wooded area.
Ernie built a porch rail around the front porch to match the one on the screened in porch. It has part rail and a gate across the wide front steps. There is a native rock walkway up to the porch from the road below and nine steps up to the porch which is now “child safe” when sitting on our swing or glider and enjoying our front porch. We look down on four homes from here. Once we get down our driveway we have pretty level walking for a mile all through town passing our Country Store lovingly called “The Mall” which was also the Post Office when we moved here to Cripple Creek road on the other end and back home on Cripple Creek Road. Frances Mill Road goes through town branches off of Cripple Creek right in front of our home. Our Post Office was closed in January of 2008 but we can still get stamps at the store. The store is old and weather worn but entering the front door you marvel at how anyone could get so much into that space and still know where to find whatever people ask for. Things hang from the ceiling everywhere and boxes are piled up in the aisles. Two people cannot pass in the aisles no matter how small. People have been known to find things they could not find at Lowes in town. One is amazed at all he carries there. You ask for it and he probably has it – somewhere. Hardware, garden produce, groceries, wedding gifts etc.
We knew that the best way to really get to know your neighbors is to begin to worship with them. We went to Crockett’s Chapel the first Sunday we lived here and have gone every Sunday since if we were home and well. These are sincere Christians who live their faith and really want to grow in love and Christ likeness. We love them and can work closely with them supporting their witness. Edgar and I have taught Senior Sunday School classes and we taught the Adult Bible class at VacationBibleSchool last summer. We have a Methodist pastor who was raised Baptist and is a strong “one Body in Christ” man. He preaches God’s Word clearly and is a good pastor. Many denominations but “one Church”. We love him and his family and also the church family. We can grow spiritually and serve needs with them.
In early summer each year we have “Cripple Creek Day” with a big parade through town to the old Grist Mill in the edge of the village along Cripple Creek. Ernie and Cathy attended the Cripple Creek Day Planning Committee last winter each month at the church fellowship hall. It is like a summer Fair with many “Food” and “Craft” booths as well as many “church” booths. They sell souvenirs and have live Groups, cloggers, and other entertainment on stage all day long. They come from this area and neighboring states. They always have a “Duck Race” on Cripple Creek in the afternoon. You buy a “numbered” duck or several ducks – $1.00 each and keep the ticket for there are prizes for winners. One section of the grounds is all children’s safe equipment, games and entertainment for a price. It is a gala affair and well attended from near and far. Lots of fun and lots of work for planners. Richard’s family came up to enjoy the day with us. Gary, who lives in a home attached to the Mill, gave tours of the Mill all day long. Richard, Dad and I went on a tour. What an immense open area right now. They are renovating it planning to open a restaurant and Bed and Breakfast as soon as they can. How nice that will be.
A big event the summer of 2007 was our Family Reunion at Annita and Ace’s home in Center Harbor, New Hampshire. The Reunion was July 25-30. Over a week before the Reunion we flew to Manchester, NH to help what we could to get ready as well as be there and rested when people began to arrive. We did what we could daily to prepare food for freezing and be sure all was ready on time. Those with young children all stayed at Elizabeth and Josh’s farm home about a mile from Annita and Ace’s home. It was child proof already. All were at Annita’s for all meals and through the day. They have a Lake front home with beach, swimming and dock area that kept little ones entertained. Counting Edgar and I we were a family of 97 members and 28 were not able to be there but we enjoyed each one who came and missed ones who could not be there but knew they were with us in spirit and we were thinking of them.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007, Helen’s, Robert’s, Willy’s, Leon’s, David’s, Kevin’s, Elizabeth’s, were all gathered with bells on ready to celebrate as we ate and visited together. Thursday Ruth, Chris’, Heather, Melissa’s, Richard’s, Ernie’s, Noelle, Catherine’s, Baron and Amber, Trevor and Shauna’s arrived. Coral’s family came when they returned from a week’s vacation with Kevin’s folks. What a wonderful few days with all the children and many of their families together and enjoying each other. Worship in music, God’s Word, and song is always a special Sabbath for each of us as part of our being together again as a family. We were thankful to be at Annita’s a week before people started coming and three days after most had left to help what we could and also rest up before and after the big gathering.
Friday, August 10, that summer Ernie and Cathy, Tretan, Edgar and I drove to West Virginia for our Randolph/Bond Reunion in Berea, the mountain village where my father was born. We gathered at the Seventh Day Baptist Camp Joy (Jesus, Others, then You). On the way we stopped at my friend, Freda Swiger’s home to visit her and catch up on High School class member news. Then we stopped at the cemetery where Grandpa and Grandma Randolph are buried on our way to Uncle Rex and Aunt Phyl’s home which is where I grew up. They have kept the home and grounds up so beautifully but were not at home. They already left for the Reunion. We just walked around “remembering” for a while then drove on to Berea.
Greg and Julie were in charge and did a great job planning and preparing. It was a big gathering again. Don Richards and Edgar had the morning worship service in the Church on the camp grounds. The church was full. Some cousins I had not seen in many, many years so that was special. It is always good to visit ones who are always present too. Family is special and we always enjoy competition in volley ball games as well as table games and table tennis, pool and hockey. We staid in a Bed and Breakfast near Berea with Mae and George and also Beth and Joe. What a great experience and good food served family style.
That was a busy summer and fall. November 8 Annita drove up from Savannah, Georgia, and took us the next day to Columbus, Ohio, for my brother, Alois, and Becky’s wedding. We had all met Becky at the family reunion in August. Her husband died a year or so before Mary Ann died. They were special friends of Alois and Mary Ann through the years. The wedding was Sabbath, November 10. My brothers and wives and sister, Beth, and Joe were there. Mae and George were unable to come so we missed them. Was so good to be with Alois and his family on this special occasion and had a Motel within walking distance of Alois’ home where Becky and Alois will live. Sunday Annita took us to Raleigh and we spent the night with Ben and Jen then Annita dropped us off at the airport Monday morning as she drove on South to her home. We flew to Burlington, Vermont, to Esther’s for a week of fun and visiting in her home before going on north to Leon and Susan’s for Thanksgiving week. It was so good to have relaxed time again with Esther, Tony, and the girls. How the girls have grown and changed and yet they are each the same loving, playful, creative girls. Sabbath day Leon and Susan picked us up and we went on South first to Leon’s school maybe 12 miles away for a tour and then a school play production for the public. This was a great experience and held many memories of plays I have been in and also attended through the years. After the play we drove almost to the Canadian border to Leon and Susan’s beautiful farm and home overlooking Lake Champlain. Was so good to meet and begin to love Susan’s teenage daughters, Leah and Lindsey. Lindsey is just starting her teens and Leah graduates from High School next year, 2009.
Esther and Tony and girls came up for Thanksgiving Day along with Susan’s Mother and other members of her family. It was a beautiful day of feasting and thankfulness and visiting. We even got some table games in as we visited. Sabbath day Leon and Susan took us back to Esther’s and we went to their new church with them Sunday. It is a large church and special activities for every age group so they are at home there and all being fed spiritually and challenged to grow in Christ. Monday a.m. Esther and the girls took us to the airport to return home before they went to school.
Cathy’s parents came the day we left and used our bedroom while we were gone. November 13, on David Brannon’s birthday, Gabriel Berend, 8 pounds 4 ounces and 21 inches long, was born in the front seat of the van as they arrived at the Emergency Room entrance door of the Hospital. Trauma for them AND the Hospital staff but all was well finally and Gabriel was a healthy normal baby in every way and Mommy was ready for some good rest when she got over all the excitement. Daddy also. It was good to get home again and meet, hold and love our new grandson, Gabriel, and also big brother, Tretan, for we had really missed him.
Tuesday, December 18, we went to Ruth and Walt’s for 10 days of celebration and visiting. We were so happy to get there in time to attend the Christmas Cantata with choir and full orchestra. Mr. Bob Spargo, Chariho Jr.Sr.High School music teacher and band director when our children were there, played trumpet and it was so nice to visit with him after and we were each full of memories to share. He had good memories of our children in band and Glee Club. Robert had been student band director under him also.
How special it was to have Christmas once more with all of Ruth and Walt’s family in their home. A very special time together and relaxed. Steve and Cindy Rudolph, Annita, Liz and Owen came for Sabbath and the Cantata that evening. It was so good to visit with all of them and enjoy little Owen that day.
December 27 we returned home as we recounted our year and all the blessings we had experienced together. God is so good. Was an easy return trip and so very good to settle in to “home” routines once more. Visiting is always great but “there is no place like home”.
Our first winter in Cripple Creek was mild and we thought that was great for we could walk and enjoy it almost daily all winter. Annita and Ace stopped as they returned to Savannah after Christmas. It is always special to have them stop overnight and once we met them in Wytheville for breakfast as they were driving through. That was fun and we had a good visit as we ate. 2008 was off to a good start. In early spring we got gardens going again. This year Ernie and Cathy are doing most of the gardening. We did plant glads and they were beautiful when they bloomed.
In early summer Meredith Wheeler’s wife, Naomi, and daughter, Rebecah, just out of college in Texas, stopped to visit a couple days or so while Rebecah was getting into a summer Music Theatre Program in a nearby College. Was so good to have them here. Naomi and Meredith have since moved to New Zealand where Meredith has in a position in a College.
Our daughter, Ruth, taught Second Grade in AshawaySchool these last several years. The 2008 Spring semester was very stressful and she considered quitting but finished the year and was ready for vacation. When school was out Ruth drove down here for a few days to visit and get so she could think about us in our new home setting. She drove Edgar and I on south for one and one half hours to Richard and Michele’s 80 acre retirement home and farm Sabbath day while Ernie, Cathy and the boys were away. We had lunch with Richard’s family and spent the afternoon visiting before returning home. It is always nice to go there. Our first visit Richard drove us in his four wheel drive farm Jeep (I think!) all over his acreage. We forded the farm creek several times and once drove in the creek bed a little way then up the bank and around the hill to the hill meadow that we drove through to another meadow which will become their vineyard and indeed is terraced now ready for the first plantings of grape vines. Then we came full circle to the large well stocked farm pond where we have enjoyed fishing or watching others catch fish when we visited them, right to the kitchen door again. Ruth, Richard and Michele walked the farm grounds that afternoon while Edgar and I visited with Michele’s mother, Neva Hunt, as we walked in the yard area.
Ruth had visited Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Amish country as she came South which made it a more restful trip traveling alone. We had a few days of visiting and touring this area. It was so good to have her join us in worship and Sunday School and meet so many good friends here. On her way home Ruth drove to Williamsburg, Virginia, and toured that historic town a while. It was so special having her here and she plans to be in Kansas with us in August.
Another big event of 2008 was our Kansas Wheeler Reunion in Nortonville, Edgar’s home town. We flew to Kansas City on July 30 arriving in the late afternoon. Sam, brother Charles’ son and wife, Nancy, picked us up at the airport took us grocery shopping en-route to Nortonville. We spent $80.00 or maybe a little more. They have no grocery store in Nortonville now and there were two when we moved there in 1981. I had a list of groceries I would need during our stay there. Turned out we pretty much used them all. We gave Charles and Reba the left overs so was glad they could be used.
We staid in the Parish House beside the SeventhDayBaptistChurch. It used to be the Parsonage when Edgar grew up there. They have four large bedrooms upstairs and one down stairs besides the couch double bed in the living room. Down stairs is the large living room, dining room and kitchen and two bathrooms. Our family had the entire house and we filled it full. Worked perfect for our big gathering. We had Charles and Reba come across the highway each evening for supper with us so we had more time visiting with them.
Thursday I baked dinner rolls enough for the weekend. I fried chicken and had it ready to put in the oven to bake. I snapped and cooked fresh green beans and also carrots and cooked and mashed potatoes, had the huge dining room table set and ready to eat by 5:30 when I had asked Charles’ to come over. We were on the side porch welcoming Charles and Reba when William, Jen, Matt and Kacie drove in. Before they got into the house Helen, Kenny and Stephanie arrived. Perfect timing. We enjoyed our hot meal while we visited.
Friday we girls made cinnamon rolls for Sabbath, made a huge meat loaf and scalloped potatoes for supper with fresh sliced tomatoes and also cucumber and onions in vinegar. Ruth flew out to Kansas City and rented a car arriving just as we were all outside welcoming Charles and Reba. Again perfect timing. We were ready to sit down and enjoy a good meal together as we visited.
Sabbath Day we all went to church and Sabbath School then took our cottage cheese and fruit salad and the cake (local people brought a covered dish and dessert) with us to Winchester, three miles or so south, to the Community Building in the City Park where Wheelers were swarming like bees everywhere. It was not overly hot while we were in Kansas so outside was pleasant thankfully. The building was air conditioned and expect it was needed with so many people inside at tables visiting. Some we had never met and some we had not seen in many years so we were so very thankful we were able to be there and have so many of our family with us. Robert, Dawn and Christopher came to Winchester. They had been teaching and attending VacationBibleSchool all week and their program was Friday evening so they could not leave home until Sabbath a.m. We were so thankful they got there for the shorter visit at least.
Dale Wheeler, Darlene and Norris’ youngest son, was host along with others in his family. They grilled hot dogs and hamburgers along with corn on the cob so we really feasted as we visited all afternoon. It was a very special time for we Wheeler cousins and families. Hope we can do that again before too long. Winston’s son, Jerry, has volunteered to host the next Reunion at his home.
Robert’s were in the Parish House with us over night. Yes, we found plenty of room and Uncle Charles’ children came over in the evening which was great to visit with them some more. Louise and Roy’s son, Melvin, wife, Beulah, and daughter, Sherry, and four daughters were in church and at the Reunion. Sherry, husband and family live in St. Joe, Missouri. We had not seen her since she grew up. Was nice to get acquainted with her family also. Charles’ family and Merlin’s family were there but none of Uncle Bob’s could come. We missed them. Was so good to visit with and catch up on people we had not seen in years.
At noon Sunday only Helen’s family and Ruth were left. Willy’s and Robert’s had to drive home by night so they left by mid morning. It was so very good to have that many of our family there even for a short time. Helen’s left right after our lunch of “left overs”. Those left overs kept tasting good to us each day until we left on Wednesday.
Each day Ruth took Dad wherever he wanted to go. We visited the cemetery in the edge of Nortonville where all our area relatives are buried, visited people still living locally and Ruth took us to visit Winston at his home. Only Edgar went in to see him for he does not even know his own children now part of the time. He still has his jolly laugh Edgar said.
Ruth took her Dad out Tuesday and they just drove around remembering and talking about the home place, the country school near home, the nearby towns and had a good time together while I got packed up ready to depart on Wednesday. I got all the laundry from the bedrooms and bathrooms done and put away. We tried to leave things like we found them – really clean! Tuesday evening we met Charles and Reba, Kent and Lois, Sam and Nancy in Atchison at a Restaurant for supper and then we all went to Kent and Lois’ to visit a while. This was a special week at home in Nortonville again for Dad and for me.
Wednesday Ruth took us to the airport as she went to her plane. She dropped us off at our airline and she turned in her rental car then went to her airline. Our departure was an hour before she left so it worked out really well. We were home before dark. We ate supper at our favorite – Wendy’s – before leaving Roanoke as we came home. Home looked so good and our own bed “felt” so very good. We have an air mattress bed, “Select Comfort” queen sized bed belonging to Esther and Tony. They were not using it so gave it to us while we lived in Westerly, Rhode Island, until they need it again. What a blessing it has been. We know we are spoiled. Each side can be kept automatically at the firmness we need individually for comfort.
Gardens produced well this year and kept us in vegetables all summer. We even froze or canned some for winter. Ernie did not get his deer he hoped for but neighbors gave him one and half of another one they could not use. We are enjoying all the venison we want right now. Ernie’s new bee hives did not produce honey for us yet but had all they needed for their very cold winter so far. Another year we look forward to all the honey we can use also. The Chapel family make apple butter each Fall (outside fire with a big iron kettle over it). We hope we can help do that next Fall. We bought a dozen pints of apple butter and are enjoying them.
Thanksgiving Ernie took Edgar and I to Richard’s for a few days of celebrating there on the farm. Cathy’s parents came here for a week or so from Louisiana. Neva, Edgar and I tried to put a puzzle together while we were there. She finished it the day we left she said. Was fun “trying”! Nathan brought us home and was here over night. Dad’s cottage has a nice futon we made into a bed and blew up an air mattress we put on top of the mattress on it to make a higher bed easier for me to get into and out of. We slept up there until James and Carolyn Potts left. Was good to have a day or so to visit with them also. The cottage has a radio, record player, CD and tape player combined. We also have a TV and VCR up there so what more could one desire when camping out. I forgot to mention the bedside pot we kept after Mom quit coming to our home for winters.
Finally we enjoyed a Christmas in Cripple Creek. Ernie and Cathy really did the home decorating this year and we were so glad to watch them enjoy that. The Christmas program at church was special with every class participating and we were thankful Ernie, Cathy and the boys were able to enjoy that also. It was a good year. Santa was good to each of us.
Now 2009 has begun and this has been a COLD winter so far. It began in October with snow and low temperatures. November was cold also and January had its very cold days getting to zero at night. Ernie installed a wood stove during the fall and it heats the house cozy warm on the coldest days. How thankful we all are. We enjoy sitting in the dining room and relaxing in the warmth here. The stove has been well “tested” this winter and passed the test with high numbers.
I have been in therapy three days a week all this year, 2009. Next week, February 19, I expect to stop therapy and continue exercises she gives me to do at home. My breathing has improved 100% and I can turn my head easily from side to side and up and down again. I am walking without my cane and feeling so much more steady on my feet. I am thankful for these last two weeks of milder weather so we can do our mile walk daily and hope that continues now. I do not want to lose what I have gained.
Now we are looking forward to a Spring visit for several days with Esther, Tony, Lauren, Aidan and April. EstherHomeSchool’s the girls. Their trip will be “dotted” with Field Trips along the way visiting Historic sites and maybe museums. They may plan some Field trips in this area while here and we do plan a trip to Richard’s farm and also nearby MountAiry in North Carolina. It is Andy Griffith’s home town and a tourist area. We are also looking forward to having Catherine Jeanne, Patricia and Sydne here for a few days during their summer vacation.
“This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24. God is indeed good. I have had a good life. God has given me the most supportive and loving husband and family one could ever have. Praise God.
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