Monday, August 14, 2017

It was a Black and White Weekend.

There were the vibrant colors of music (the Black jazz quartet, the White bluegrass band), friendship, and lovely weather.)  And there was the sadness of sorrowful news (the hatred expressed in Charlottesville, Virginia).

Friday evening: It's good to be early for a movie showing, just to be sure you get good seats.  The Yard Man and I agree on this, but never feel quite the same degree of compulsion to arrive early (and then, too, the definition of "early" can vary). Since I had bought the six tickets for The Yard Man and myself and four of our friends to attend the Friday night movie, I wanted to make sure that "early" was, in fact,  early!.

Aha.  (We arrived to the option of absolutely any and every seat in the theater as a seat for our party!) Reader Dear, (I have to tell you), I laughed loudly with delight!

Saturday night:
Ice cream with toppings, topped by a super-charming evening of jazz!*

Listener Dear, I'll share the music.  You know (please say you do) that I would also make you a Taster Dear if ice cream could be shared across the miraculous internet waves!


And then:
Sunday lunch under a lovely sky, beside a fountain.

Plus our regular Sunday-evening concert at the park:  this clip featuring First Son-in-law, Small Actor, Tiny Actor and...
The Steel Wheels!**


video video

Reader Dear, if not for the very sad news of hatred's triumph over love**,  the weekend would have been a multi-colored rainbow of black-and-white excellence!

*Featuring Delfeayo Marsalis on the trombone (son of Ellis, nephew of Winton) at Mount Gretna, PA!

**[From the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia***]

*** Virginia [my home state]: Capitol city: Richmond.  Also well-known: Charlottesville. 
State slogan: "Virginia is for Lovers".

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


Is there anyone of Baby Boomer age who is scratching his or her head and saying, "Arlo?"

I think not!     For sure and certain, I'm talking here about Arlo Guthrie! He performed at the park this past Sunday!  These free outdoor concerts at the park take place every Sunday evening, and The Yard Man and I always like to attend.  They've booked some really fine musicians over the summers, but seldom was there anyone with the stature and fame of Arlo!  (His daughter was there as well, and opened for him).  The crowd was massive!

videoNow, Listener Dear, if you've ever been to an Arlo concert, you know that this man is very fond of telling stories! I believe very nearly half of his total performance time was spent talking.  He talked about Woodstock (I'm calling all Baby Boomers to explain "Woodstock" to their offspring (who may have not a clue regarding this massive festival of "peace and music" held on a farm in Woodstock, New York, back in the late sixties.Arlo was one of the folk musicians who performed there.  Here's a clip describing his first day at Woodstock (This followed his description of being taken to the stage in a helicopter and viewing the 400,000-person crowd below!)

Keep in mind, in your description of the event (Dear Fellow Baby Boomer) the rampant use of marajuana-aka-weed in the late sixties [and, without a doubt, at Woodstock!])
videoSunday night Arlo did play lots of his old songs, to be sure (and one of Bob Dylan's, too).
And here's one that his father, Woody Guthrie, wrote and sang way back in the 1940's. (One of my favorites of the evening).


Alas, non-Listener dear, my camera lost battery power before Arlo sang, "This Land is Your  Land....This land is my land, from California to the New York Island.  From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters, this land was made for you and me."

Well, it's a tiny handful of highlights I've brought you.  I'm not even including the half-hour long, winding, detailed account of Alice's Restaurant (in which Arlo gets a fine for littering, because, out of the largeness of his heart, he and a friend want to help Alice get rid of her trash [turns out, the dump is closed on Thanksgiving Day!])  It's a fine story, Reader Dear, told as only Arlo can tell it.  You will have to make sure to see him next time he's in town!

The Yard Man and I enjoyed the after-show, as well.  Our lawn chairs faced a view of hundreds of cars exiting the parking lot.  It was a long show, made special by the glorious full moon in the sky
smiling directly down on us!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Here is a Riddle

for you, Reader Dear.  It's a product of my sludgy, simmering, insomniac brain:

"Horses, Houses, Hoises" (that last word is an archaic variation of hoists)
Take me, Dear Puzzler, in four steps,  to
"The Philippines"*

*Apologies to anyone under the age of fifty (or not a Filipino)

Did you find this too easy?  Too difficult?  Too lame?**

**Now, now, Puzzler Dear, I never claimed to be Will Shortz (sic)!

Here is a night (last Friday, to be exact) when there were two loud episodes of noise and light to wake me: 
 I was surprised and pleased by both.  (It was pretty clear that the guy producing the second show has  a lot more resources and a much larger system with which to work!)


Viewer Dear, everything's peachy!  The Yard Man is crazy about fresh peaches.  He shows up with a bag or a box of the fuzzy fruit every few days during peach season.  We've got them ripening all over the kitchen!  He wants to eat  them with every meal and as a bedtime snack!

 Like I said, it's all peachy-keen until the season is ended and it's apple-picking time.

(The Yard Man's not nearly as fond of fresh apples.)

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Crowd

formed a circle, and the organizer who had earlier instructed us to give him our full attention gave a short presentation speech.  This was prior to handing out chiming clocks to two of the persons who had donated their time and expertise to the Horse Progress Days event.

It was a nice gesture, but it didn't seem to warrant the strict injunction he'd given the group to be certain to pay attention!  After the clocks were presented, he had a few more words to say.  But nothing he said sounded all that significant.  He sounded, in fact, as though he were stalling for time.  He then asked if any of the other organizers wanted to say a few words.  The Yard Man usually has no trouble with this sort of thing, so he kept the crowd's attention for a while. As he was about to wrap up, there was the sound of a small plane overhead.

Everyone craned necks to watch as it approached the group below, and flew over.

Now, Viewer Dear, had you been there you may have been one to immediately guess what was ensuing, but I was a slow to catch on.  This plane flying over was The Big Surprise!  


Because, you see, this plane flying over was full of surprises!
The pilot made three more passes, spilling candy on the crowd below each time.
The crowd shrieked and whooped and scrambled with every pass!

It was joyous to behold the joyous crowd!


We clapped and waved as the pilot flew off into the moonlit evening!

Later on there was a bonfire.

But the highlight of the evening for me, Viewer Dear, was the high-flying (well, low-flying)
 event (and I didn't even eat any candy)!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Here's a List:

1.  My Little Actor is an artist!  Not long ago he had a show at the Pennsylvania School of Art and Design in Lancaster, PA.  I dashed into the city at midday to take in the exhibit.  (And I've got a view of it for you,Viewer Dear!)

The Dung Beetle 

The Artist with his Flamingo painting

When I arrived at the PSAD, the doors had just opened. The place filled up fast with eager patrons! As it turned out, there were other artists also showing their work, but I didn't have much time, so concentrated my attention only on the Little Actor's art.
Papier Mache Dung Beetle

Another small semi-famous artist with fans

Undersea Composition

I was very impressed!  I would advise you, Viewer Dear, to get yourself some of his work while it's relatively unknown and accessible.

(As I was leaving the show, I assisted The Little Actor and several other artists who were eagerly searching for the cookie display [refreshments!])

2.  Cardio Fitness Re-hab:  It's still crowding my Mondays, my Wednesdays and my Fridays.  It's crowding my weeks!

I've made friends with the staff, however, and grown quite comfortable with the machines.

 It's going to be a real exercise in self-discipline for me when it comes time to put myself into action sans assistants and the apparatus!


3. I believe no comment is needed for this photo below.  If you believe otherwise, Viewer Dear, there would be no shame in telling me.


4.  A few days ago, The Yard Man told me that we were invited to a  post-Horse Progress Days celebratory picnic (the planners and all those who helped with the event were invited).  We went to the picnic yesterday with some friends of ours, Carl and Janet. (Carl helped at HPD on Day Two by transporting handicapped persons via a golf cart.  He kept at it  the whole entire day, not abandoning his job in spite of rain [in torrents] and high wind!)

Yesterday evening, when we got to the spot (the same location where HPD happened), there was a big tent in place, and a large crowd of Amish.  There were two long tables loaded with food.  Once again, I found it difficult to keep my camera stashed!

Just before a line formed for the meal there was an announcement that following the meal, around 8:00 p.m., everyone was to gather in the meadow.  The man in charge told us that it was very important that we all give him our full attention at that time!

The organizers had provided pulled pork and everyone else brought  sides or dessert for the meal.

But the line was long and the appetites hearty, and at the end of that line, the choice of sides was slim.   Reader Dear, it looked pretty certain, however, we would all get dessert!  

Well, then, as everyone finished eating, the young people started up volleyball games.  The rest of the crowd sat at the tables visiting.  The children played on the one piece of playground equipment that still remained from HPD.

(In tiny letters: To Be Continued)
Later, as the time neared 8:00 p.m., most everyone made their way to the open meadow where a circle was forming around the organizer who'd made his announcement earlier.

What important thing did he have to convey to us?! 

Reader Dear,  you know how sorry I am to keep you guessing......

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Main Event

of the 120-year celebration of the Warwick River community and Warwick River Mennonite Church took place on Sunday.  The Yard Man and I started our day with a fantastic hotel breakfast, the likes of which we've seldom seen (and the details with which I'd love to bore you, Reader Dear, but I'll refrain).   However, I'll give a plug right here for the Hampton Inn at Oyster Point.  Please tell them it was I* who sent you.
 *(One who can recall when Mennonite cows grazed the very spot!*)

Since I'm starting with food: 
At lunch I ate some of those heritage pecans that are soon to be extinct (It was only after I had eaten the Chicken BBQ Meal, served outdoors on this day of most glorious weather!*)

But why, Dear Reader,  am I talking about  food when there were so many more-special features of this 120-year celebration ?! (No need to answer.  I'll move on).

First and foremost of the delights was the greeting of old friends and family!

It was the best by far!
There was an abundance of visiting going on, all day long!  We visited at lunch around the tables that were under the tent!  We visited while perusing the pies, and we visited while perusing the historical displays*!

 *A model of the community as it existed in 1947, constructed by an uncle of mine for a previous reunion (showing a small fraction of the blue Warwick River)
*Viewer Dear, here's a photo of my very own mother, Circa 1933. (There were, oh, so many  historical photos [neatly organized and displayed!])

But, yes, there was so much catching-up to do that the only time the visiting stopped was during the "Old-fashioned Hymn Sing."*

*Except, uh,  due to my close proximity to my LTF, and another friend, I'll have to admit that a bit of visiting did not completely cease.

I told you it was a musical weekend, did I not, Reader Dear?!
Here are just a few clips:

Listener Dear, this is a hymn, the unofficial theme song of this church and this community.

It's been the song we most love to sing throughout this entire 120-year span of time we're celebrating  (Now, I will readily admit that I've not been there for the whole one-hundred and twenty years, but ask anyone who has, Dear One! They will confirm it's true!)
video video

Eventually The Yard Man and I had to say goodbye to the Warwick River and the Warwick River Church and the Warwick River community and the Warwick River 120-year celebration (It means, Reader Dear, that you must bid farewell as well).

It was late afternoon, and we had to head north.
(We had to cross the Potomac River, the Mason-Dixon Line, the bridge of which nightmares are made*!)
video*Notice, Viewer Dear, how this is an old,  narrow, two-lane bridge with no shoulders, extending way high into the sky (perhaps half-way to heaven).  Imagine, if you will, being stopped for road work on this bridge while driving (nearing the crest, but not quite far enough to see over), escorting three of one's own small children southward.  Now, picture large tractor-trailers and other vehicular traffic speeding by in the lane that was allowed to move. Think about the bridge rocking and swaying with each passing vehicle.  (Think of being stopped for a hideously long period of time).  Imagine feeling as though you may soon be more than half-way to that heavenly home!  (Er. Uh. Now, Reader Dear, imagine the phobia!)

So, okay.  Believe me, Reader Dear, when I tell you that I was glad The Yard Man was driving.  We sped along toward home, and I mourned for all good things that are ending*

*Pecan trees. Etcetera.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

As we ate

our mouthwatering Mediterranean meal, The Yard Man and I kept hearing small snippets of conversation from a group of four who were seated a few tables away from us.  It sounded as though they might be discussing the very celebration for which we were in town to attend.  There was nothing definitive, however,  until I distinctly heard the words "Warwick River."

Reader Dear, I scurried right over to their table and  asked them if I'd heard correctly.  "Are you in town for the 120-year celebration?" I asked, as I studied their faces and hoped I was not making too big a fool of myself.

Turns out, my hunch was correct!  They were, indeed, a part of the Warwick River community ("The Colony" it was called for many years. [ Officially, the place was Denbigh]).  They were, indeed, descendants of the handful of ancestors who founded the community and its church! They were, indeed,  relatives of mine!  (Everyone, you must understand, Dear Reader, who grew up in this place a century or half-century ago was related to me).

However, since age can work its strange magic on people, these four had to give me their names.
I crowed with delight!
We visited!

And then they told me, "We're going to hear Jay Shenk (another one of those connected to all of us by DNA, and living locally) perform with his band at the bar down the road.  It's really close by.  Are you coming?"

Oh, yes.  The Yard Man and I, we were in!
video(We had already heard about the performance and discussed this opportunity to hear Jay Shenk on the fiddle, but weren't sure how to find the venue.  How serendipitous, we just followed the other members of our tribe to the spot!)


Reader Dear, my body sat sedately on the bar stool and sipped my Smirnoff seltzer, but some part of me was decidedly and delightedly dancing to the tunes!


Listener Dear, tomorrow The Yard Man and I, ourselves, will be helping to make melodies*!
*Different genre, of course.

I.e. to be continued

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

When I Left you

Reader Dear, The Yard Man and I were looking for a restaurant in Newport News, Virginia.  We had already booked a hotel room for the night and it was a wet and chilly evening.  We drove down Warwick Boulevard (a street that carried us past several landmarks of my youth.  There was the building that housed my father's various businesses  "Aha!  It's still here!" I exclaimed.

(It's now a [car] body shop in the rear, and a nail salon up front*)
*Up front--it's where I spent my time as a teenager at my first job.  That's where I sat my transistor radio atop a filing cabinet I rarely used, and sat myself behind a desk to answer the phones for my father's two business partners: Mr. H, a Frenchman who paced the floor,  smoking nervously, and slammed down the phone when upset (though he was a sweetheart most of the time). And Mr. M, a middle-aged Jewish man with a lot of daughters. **
** (At lunchtime I'd take Mr. M's big boat of a car and bring him back two schnitzels with kraut in a paper bag, perched on the seat beside me.)

At the other side of  this building was the carpenter shop that my father also helped to establish.
(It's now "The Total Grace and Love World Center"  [])

Further down the road was the high school I attended.  I believe it's now owned by a college.  I don't know.  It didn't look the same.

We came to Hilton Village.  The theater is still there, as are the row of peaked-roof houses built about a hundred years ago.  Since, Reader Dear, I'm giving you so much history already, I'll just add this, too:
"Hilton Village is a planned, English-village-style neighborhood in Newport News, Virginia. Recognized as a pioneering development in urban planning, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The neighborhood was built between 1918 and 1921 in response to the need for housing during World War I for employees of Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Company. It is recognized as the United States' first Federal war-housing project."

Okay, okay, back to the story at hand! The Yard Man and I found a very delightful restaurant (the choices were few).  This one serves a Mediterranean menu.  The owner was dressed in a suit and tie and personally delivered each meal to his patrons.  "What is your country of origin?" I asked him.
"Afghanistan," he told me.
He seemed so pleased by our visit, served us a complimentary appetizer.  And we, likewise, were so pleased by the fabulous food.  "Oh, too bad, we can't bring our friends here," I rued to The Yard Man.  "You know they would love this place.  Especially Elias!"

Once again, Dear Reader, I'll have to interrupt this tale and continue later.  The Yard Man and I had a surprise awaiting (we kept getting clues as we ate our meal [but I'm going to stop right now and leave you filled with suspense (or possibly yawning)])