Saturday, August 30, 2014


How Could We Comprehend the Pain that Was about to Strick

 As we struck camp that Friday morning and loaded to leave our first wonderful family vacation in the friendly country of Canada, it was with joy and gladness that we drove away hoping for another such outing in another year or two.  Not far from our campsite we merged into the long line of travelers going over the border from beautiful Canada into the Good Ole United States of America.

After we left the last gate giving us the freedom of home, we settled back to enjoy the scenery and ride through the Michigan landscape.  We were in Carlene's van.  She rode behind the front seat passenger.  I rode shotgun.  Joanna had the wheel.   The Kids were settling into their favorite spots.  After an hour outside Canada, Joanna's phone rang.  She answered, spoke a word or two then want silent for a few seconds, then pulling onto the shoulder of the road she looked at me and said with a terribly broken voice, Dad I don't know how to tell you this; but, Jeremy's no longer here.  Jeremy died this morning.  I was uncomprehending.  We all wept sourly at the awful, unbelievable report that Jeremy, our believed 46 year old son had suddenly died of a heart attack.

We were on an interstate with plenty of traffic and no proper place to pull over or get out.  In a short way along the road we came to a parking area.  There we pulled off and climbed out.  The six of us hugged and cried individually and in a circle, just what ever seemed to met our needs at the moment.  Joanna told the story as she had heard it from the police man, a boy who had been in her graduation class from High School.  Jeremy, our second son, the middle of our five children, lived in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.  He had been Minister of Music at the First United Methodist Church  of Hopkinsville for several years. 

Jeremy had a degree in Forestry, but loved music just a little bit better.  He was an avid bicycle rider.  He connected well with the city bike shop and the men and women who gathered there often to ride the roads and by-ways of Christian County.  Friday was his day off and those days he and others often took longer rides.  Early every day available, before work, he / they got in a few miles.  After several years of riding, he was working his way up to 100 to 150 mile per week.  Over the years he had gained weight and saw biking as a way toward health as well an excise and good fellowship with many friends.  Gladly, over time, he had lost many pounds of weight.

Some bikers ride racing bikes and some mountain bikes.  Jeremy's were racers.  Some friends liked mountain biking.  He had fixed up a mountain bike and was excited to have his first experience on the big tires that day.  Only one friend was available that Friday.  They were prepared and ready.  Bikes were secured in the back of his pickup.  They drove west from Christian County to the Land between the Lakes, parked the pickup, unloaded and started up the trail.

After a while they saw a Welcome Center ahead.  Jeremy said to his friend, "My chest is hurting a little, I think I'll stay and rest a while.  You go on, I'll catch up."  But the friend waited around a bit, then said he'd go back and bring up the pickup.  By the time he returned, Jeremy had collapsed.  Someone immediately began CPR,  911 had been called.  By the time Pickup and Friend arrived an ambulance was on the seine.  The ambulance crew did their best and the Paducah, Kentucky hospital did their best for two hours to no avail. 

It was Jeremy's day to move from Hopkinsville to Heaven and live with God forever.  We can't tell you our pain.  We can tell you we know where he is and we can go there, too.  Not every body goes there.  But any body can go there.  The requirement is to believe Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord.  Ask His forgiveness of all your sin and let Him become King of your heart and life.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


We Gathered from Italy, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Iowa

Sometime early this year our girls had the great idea to visit the Canadian Niagara Falls this summer.  The farther the ideas progressed the more exciting the plans became.  Finally all was in order.  I left with Lydia's family for a visit with Keith's family in eastern Pennsylvania.   They had great fun touring Brandon's place and I stayed about three nights with Keith and Annette.  I spoke briefly at Keith's Church that Sunday. Following the service they had the Christening of a sweet little boy.  Several family members of each side of his family were present.

We had lunch with Brandon's family.  That afternoon we visited some of the beautiful Cottages in the wooded hills of the Leigh High Valley where a very old Methodist Tabernacle had conducted and still conducts Camp Meetings and religious services for many years.  It seemed that in a matter of moments we pasted from the hubbub and rush of modern American life to the peace and calm of  Pioneer peoples in centuries long past.

Monday morning we loaded into the three vehicles bound northwest to meet with the van filled with luggage and wiggling, squirming life, two Mamma's and three kids filled with lots of vinegar from the corn fields of Illinois.  All aimed for a marvelous camp ground near the Niagara River.  Before nightfall, all family groups had made it over the border and found the next door camp sites where we pitched three tents and made use of one nicely supplied motel room.  Breakfasts and suppers were prepared around the campfire.  Wonderful fellowship was shared from memories long past:  stories, games, fun and laughter filled the night air.  The seven young cousins with Mamma's, Papas, Grand Mamma's, Grand Papas, and a Great Grand Papa, all from three continents, three states of the United States of America and two nations of the world were all camping in the beautiful Canadian countryside for a great four days of joy near the great unbelievably spectacular  Niagara Falls.

We walked along the cliffs of the gorge in awe and amazed wonder as tons of water fell over the two sets of falls ever second.   As night came on vary colored lights shown onto the cascading river falling into the great abyss.  Boats in the river below sold rides for the bold and the courageous.  We were each furnished with thin, sturdy rain wear with head covering.  The strong blowing mist from the mighty river drove us to cower in the shelter of our over coats.  The long exhausting walk from the boat up the great incline to the elevators was near more than I could handle.  The girls helped me to some chairs under a canopy.  Niagara attendants brought cold water and energy drinks.  With the careful care of family and strangers I soon recovered and made it to the upper street where we waited for the strong among us to bring the cars.  We saw many of the same sights over and over each day but were  also amazed at all the new views we had overlooked before.

One of the great breakfasts were the skillets full of scrambled eggs that Brandon turned out on the bon fires each morning.  "O what great flavor and taste!"   An old mother coon and one of her young made their way under our table every night to scrounge up some food we had dropped.   But their main goal seemed to be our trash bag.  We very quickly learned to dispose of all trash as soon as we could carry it away.  After a night or two I took courage in hand and started chasing them away.  It was lots of fun to keep chasing until they stayed up the tree for longer than five minutes.   Not all of us found the midnight trip to the shower house to be of any great fun.  We all had good flash lights for that purpose, but some times the light had vanished at the time of greatest need.

The last morning was a bit slow at the start.  We had to get the coals left in the ashes of last nights fire dug out and new wood lighted so breakfast could start.  But it wasn't long until motion began to pick up.  Dressing, packing, rolling bedding, folding cots, emptying the tents, dropping and folding the tents were all in process while breakfast was finishing.  Last trips to the wash house, loading the vans and storing the kids in their niche brought us out to the departure point.  All was excitement.  Kids calling out 
good byes to cousins, aunts, uncles, grams and gramps.  It might be a long time till we meet again.

Little could we know what sorrow and sadness awaited us an hour over the  border.  But all in all we'd had a remarkably wonderful and joyful four days with faraway living family here together in the gorgeous Canadian  country side.