Monday, July 26, 2010

HERE I AM! SEE ME?

The future has caught up with me. I discovered a composition that I had written seventy-six years ago for an assignment in English composition based upon the future inventions likely to occur.

Miss Katherine Lincoln, the teacher at East Otto District No. 6 A, instructed the four members of the 6th grade class in English: "Let your imagination build on the present technology to arrive at a new and higher level of development. What kind of world could be brought into existence if these ideas were pursued? You could be a part of this great new advance."

My thoughts were fired by the idea of a future that could be changed by new concepts. Communication took my attention. The latest advance in our community was the advent of the telephone. Granted was the fact that only a few of the homes contained the instrument. The parsonage was not one of these so privileged to join the party line. The Albert Pratt residence was one subscriber as well as the Eugene Wing, Fleckenstein and Woodard households.

When someone at our house wanted to make a call or receive one, this necessitated going to where the instrument was located, usually a central location. The receiver on the wooden box was raised to learn if the line was free and the operator was given the desired number. In due time, the party called made contact with the caller. It was a terrific advance in person to person contact
over long distances.

Given the freedom to dream about future improvements, I started with the local operator as the first person to be eliminated.

Friday, July 23, 2010

HANGING AT HERO

"Can Judy go with us? It isn't nearly so much fun without her," pleaded our Judi as we planned our New England trip.

"What does her mother say?" Betty inquired.

"Why don't you call her and ask. Then you'll both know. I think it would be a blast," our daughter urged.

Later that day Betty phoned Mrs. Barker. She enthusiastically agreed that it would be all right with them. Summer at that period of time in Houghton held little that would interest the girls. Dan was working at camp in Maryland, so our Judi wouldn't have him to pal around with.

We took off in great glee with the back seat of the Dodge looking like it was ready to entertain a party. Judy B's parents owned the Village Store in Houghton. She saw to it that there were plenty of snacks to stave off hunger.

The multiple destinations were spaced along to break up the driving. First on our list was Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts. Many old time activities were enacted as we strolled the streets of the town. Those in costume gave the scenes the authentic appearance. The two Judys were free to wander wherever their interest led.

Another memorable stop was at the Dolly Copp farm, now turned into a campground for travelers. The historical marker gave a twist to the life of the Copps on this stony mountainside. It stated that when the Copps had reached their 50th wedding anniversary, Mrs. Copp packed him off to one daughter and she to another. The rationale was that he had been a decent husband but fifty years with one man was enough. Being well on the way to that noted milestone ourselves, I began asking Betty what she was considering. (Now, after sixty-two years together, I wonder what Betty is thinking.)

Of course they wanted to visit Maine's rocky coast. Cadillac Mountain on Mt. Desert Island was a perfect spot to see the waves dash on the rocky shore. A special surprise was finding another family of a Houghton student there. To top it off, the son had stayed at Barker house while in college. This unplanned reunion made this special.

Fundy National Park in New Brunswick had the appeal of being the site of some of the world's highest tides. That was put on the "to do" list. Upon our arrival there, the girls made a stop at the rest room.

"Where did you get that shirt?" they both demanded of the girl who was standing there.

"Houghton College, of course," she responded. "My father attended there and I will be going there this fall."

Introductions were made as they became acquainted with Donna Harr. That night we had a memorable picnic at the beach where we met her family. It turned into a delightful occasion for everyone. Donna roomed at our house the next year.

After crossing into Nova Scotia, it was time we started home. We visited a number of special places along the way including Smugglers Notch in Vermont.
For Betty and me it brought back memories to see where we had first set up housekeeping. How distant the past had become. The three months there just before the war was over seemed unreal. The Free Methodist Church seemed so small. Even Battery Park from which the Ticonderoga sailed appeared cluttered.

It was late afternoon when we decided to find a place to stay for that night. The late summer afternoon spread its aura over the scene that had once been so familiar. Looking over the map, Betty suggested, "Why not go north taking the island route to New York State near Alburg. That way we can see mountains in both directions."

"Suits me," I agreed.

"We are ready to go home too," responded the girls. "Let's hit the trail."

Just beyond the town of South Hero I noted the sign for Grand Isle State Park. "This sounds like a good spot," Betty approved. "Let's camp there."

Soon we had camp set up. The warmth of the sun and the view of Mt. Mansfield gave a sense of peace to the scene. It gave us a good feeling to be returning home in such good shape after the many miles traveled. We would sleep well tonight.

---------------------

About midnight we were jolted awake. An electrical storm had crossed Lake Champlain from the Adirondacks and now seemed bent on our flimsy abode. As thunder rolled and the lightning flashed it revealed our desperate predicament. The canvass portion of the trailer raised from the bows and then slammed down on the sleeping trays. The wind had come streaking across the lake, unimpeded by trees and other natural windbreaks. The trailer rocked from side to side. It was as if the blast of air got under the rig and was attempting to roll it over. The trailer lacked the stability of a tent that was pegged to the earth. Attached to the car by a hitch, there was nothing but the weight of the trailer plus the people inside to hold it down. If the bows bent with the gusts, giving the tent portion freedom, the entire structure could just fly away.

Betty and the girls were helpless. To go outside under these conditions would risk being blown away. Added to our concern were the metal bows that would act as conductors of electricity.

"Daddy, do something," wailed our daughter. "Can't you do something."

"Stay put," I urged them. *Betty, lie down on the bed and just stay there and pray."

By raising my arms, I could just reach the bows that were secured to the tent by webbing. Grabbing hold of them, I put all of my weight to hold down on the bows. The tugging on the supports tired my arms as I feared to loosen my grip. The gusts seemed to never give up. It made me feel like a yoyo as the wind jerked me around. Finally the wind began to ease. At last I could loosen my grip. The worst was passed.

The rain continued during the night, but sleep came to the exhausted campers. My shoulders and arms ached but that was the only ill effect of hanging on at Hero.

Monday, July 12, 2010

BENT and UNBENT

As I was driving from Elba to Batavia on that late November day in 1950, I noticed a neat layout on the east side of the highway. The relatively modern house was well-placed to take advantage of its setting. Upon my return to the office, I asked Wesley Warner, my boss, who the occupants were.

"The Greenfields. He is a chiropractor of some repute in the area," was his comment. "But I've never had need for his services," Wes was quick to reply.

"Nor have I," was my response. At that, a grower came by to sell his onions.

The following Monday morning I was hurrying out the door, bent on making it to the office on time. I was quite unaware that a light drizzle of freezing rain had fallen during the night, coating the porch and steps with a clear sheen. The impetus unchecked, I rose in the air and fell back landing with the middle of my back across the top step.

Stunned, I attempted to rise, but that didn't happen. All I could muster was a feeble groan. As I became aware of my helplessness, I tried calling for help, but Betty was getting the children up. It took much effort to get her attention. When she became aware of my predicament, she was eager to help. Crawling painfully up the steps and into the kitchen was a beginning. But the excruciating pain at the point of my back where it was still bent needed attention.

The first thought was to call the local doctor Naturally he wanted to see me before making a diagnosis. He agreed that it had been a nasty fall to bring so much pain. His prescription was for pain relief medication to make me more comfortable while it was healing. Following his instructions explicitly, I went home, expectantly optimistic about the outcome.

As evening came on, there was no relief from the pain. If anything, it continued to increase. Usually I can accept and live with a moderate amount of discomfort. This was different. I couldn't find a position to ease the pain. About the time evening office hours were to close, I insisted that Betty phone the doctor with this report. All he could offer was to increase the medication. I didn't get much rest, but tossed and turned all night long.

Day two was a repeat of day one with the pain becoming keener. The fortitude to bear it became thinner and my ability to accept it was wearing thin. Additional calls to the doctor were greeted with more painkilling aids. The coming of night brought a succession misery with no hope of change. Betty had her hands full with the care of the family plus my complaints. She couldn't drive to aid in getting more care from any source. Another night of misery was the prospect.

As the third day began, I couldn't see any hope in sight. The pain didn't ease but seemed to grow stronger. As my feelings of desperation increased, so did my desire to try anything. Was there any other means of relief available? I was now willing to try anything. Then the chiropractor, Mr. Greenfield came to my mind.

"Betty, please call the chiropractor to see if he would have an opening," I begged.

"He would see you at two o'clock," was the message.

Putting all of my misconceptions behind me, I was making my way to his office by the appointed time. When I reached the building where the office was located, I was faced with a new problem: I had to make my way up a steep wooden stairway to reach the second floor where he held forth. I gritted my teeth and started up, pausing after each step to recover strength to continue. At last I reached the top step and headed down a long hallway to the door bearing his name.

Here there was no delay with identification or prior treatment. He asked me what had happened. Then, directing me to the table, he gave me two or three quick pulls and twists.

"How does that feel now?" he asked.

"It doesn't hurt at all now," I responded.

"If you have further trouble, come see me," was his advice.

After paying his five-dollar fee, I headed for the stairway, lately so laboriously climbed. In fact, I found myself taking two steps at a time. Arriving home, my joy was really contagious. I called in to the office to tell them I'd be there in the morning.

My respect for chiropractic had bloomed. From that time on when passing his home, I reflected on how my back had been bent and unbent.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

65 Year Celebration



It was a wonderful weekend of celebration. On Friday, all three of our children and their spouses joined us in remembering this special day. On Sunday over 100 of our friends came by to rejoice with us in commemorating this milestone in our marriage. As a part of our celebration, we wrote tributes to each other which we read Sunday afternoon. We would like to share these thoughts with you.

MY TRIBUTE TO BETTY

DEAREST BETTY, THERE ARE FEW PERSONS OR THINGS ON WHICH I CAN TOTALLY RELY. FROM THE VERY FIRST TIME I SAW AND HEARD YOU SPEAK AT CHURCH, YOU IMPRESSED ME AS THE KIND OF GIRL I COULD REALLY TRUST. FOUR YEARS LATER ON OUR VERY FIRST DATE THIS WAS RECONFIRMED. OUR WEDDING VOWS THAT FOLLOWED IN DUE TIME FORMALIZED THE AGREEMENT OF TRUST. NOW, AFTER SIXTY-FIVE YEARS OF MARRIAGE, I CAN LOOK BACK ON AN UNBROKEN WEB OF TESTED AND ENDURING CONFIDENCE IN YOU.

YOUR COMMITMENT TO CHRIST AND THE WORK OF THE KINGDOM HAS ALWAYS FORMED A SOLID BASE UPON WHICH TO BUILD OUR LASTING MARRIAGE AND FAMILY. YOUR ACCEPTANCE OF GOD'S LEADING IN OUR CROSS-COUNTRY MOVES SPOKE TO ME OF THE DEPTH OF YOUR AGREEMENT TO FOLLOW WITHOUT RESERVATION.

AT AGE 28, FOLLOWING UP ON FULL-TIME PARENTING FOR OUR THREE CHILDREN, YOU WERE WILLING TO START COLLEGE WITH THE LONG TERM VISION OF A BROADER UNDERSTANDING OF THE ENVIRONMENT. THIS LED TO PURSUING THE TALENTS OF WRITING AND PHOTOGRAPHY AS GOD'S CHOSEN INSTRUMENT OF EXPRESSION. THE CLARITY AND MODULATION OF YOUR SPEAKING VOICE ADDED TO THE EFFECTIVENESS OF MY SLIDE PRESENTATIONS LONG BEFORE YOU BEGAN GIVING YOUR OWN. YOUR READING OF MY ARTICLES FOR WRITING CLASS CONTINUES TO PLEASE THE LISTENERS.

YOUR PART TO PLAY IN THIS PLAN TURNED OUT TO BE ONE OF TEACHING TO A HOST OF STUDENTS WHO EMULATED YOUR EXAMPLE IN THE CLASSROOM AS WELL AS IN THE FIELD. YOUR TEACHING OF SPIRITUAL VALUES AS WELL AS SCIENTIFIC FACTS CAPTURED THE MINDS OF YOUR STUDENTS. MUCH OF THIS RUBBED OFF ON ME.

IT BECAME APPROPRIATE TO PLAN EXCURSIONS ACROSS OUR GREAT LAND TO STUDY ALPINE, DESERT, PRAIRIE, AND MOUNTAIN ENVIRONMENTS. ACROSS CANADA FROM NEWFOUNDLAND TO ALASKA BROADENED MY HORIZONS. OUR TWO SABBATICAL CAMPING EXPERIENCES TO NEW ZEALAND PERMITTED US SEPARATE AREAS OF STUDY WITHOUT FRICTION. THE EXTENDED TIME IN NEW ZEALAND FORMED THE CAPSTONE OF YOUR BOTANICAL STUDIES.

BETTY, IN THIS ACADEMIC WORLD YOU HAVE BEEN A GUIDE TO ME WHEN MAKING DIFFICULT DECISIONS. WHEN PRESSURES WERE GREAT, YOU HELPED ME TO STAY FIRM, OFFERING ME COUNSEL WHEN I NEEDED IT. YOU HAVE BEEN AN ENCOURAGEMENT IN ALL OF LIFE'S CHANGING SCENES.

FOR THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS YOU HAVE FELT THE MAKING OF GREETING CARDS AND ENVELOPES TO BE A SPECIAL MINISTRY. THAT HAS PROVIDED AN OUTLET FOR YOUR PHOTOGRAPY AS WELL AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE AN ENCOURAGMENT TO MEMBERS OF THIS COMMUNITY AND BEYOND. THAT CONTINUES TO PROVIDE YOU A FURTHER OUTREACH TO TOUCH OTHERS.

THE LAST FOUR YEARS FOLLOWING MY STROKE, YOU HAVE SHOWN SPECIAL LOVE IN THE WAY YOU HAVE TREATED MY LIMITATIONS, OVERLOOKING MY FLAWS. AND STILL LOVING ME.

INDEED, YOU CONTINUE TO BE MY LOVER, MY BEST FRIEND AND SUPER PARTNER IN MARRIAGE.


TRIBUTE TO ARNOLD

"DOES MARRIED LOVE ENDURE? WILL OUR LOVE BE STEADY AND GOOD?" NOW IT IS 65 YEARS LATER. AFTER BIRTHING OUR THREE BABIES, THREE TRANSCONTINENTAL MOVES, SHARING BOTH JOYS AND SORROWS, I FIND MARRIAGE TO YOU TO BE VERY GOOD. OUR LOVE HAS INDEED ENDURED.

YOU HAVE CONTRIBUTED MUCH TO OUR LIFE TOGETHER. YOU CONTINUE TO BE BOTH LOVER AND TRUE FRIEND - ONE WHO HAS UNDERSTOOD ME. YOU LOOKED BEYOND MY FLAWS, LOVED AND ACCEPTED ME FOR WHAT I WAS. YOU ENCOURAGED ME TO PURSUE MY EDUCATION; YOU RECOGNIZED MY DESIRE TO BE PRODUCTIVE IN WRITING AND PHOTOGRAPHY. YOU ENCOURAGED ME TO BECOME THE PRODUCTIVE INSTRUMENT GOD HAD DESIGNED.

THANK YOU FOR OUR TRAVELS TOGETHER. BACKPACKING TREKS ON MOUNT RAINIER ; CAMPING EXPEDITIONS ALL OVER THIS GREAT LAND MAKING PRAIRIE, DESERT AND ALPINE STUDIES POSSIBLE; OUR TWO SABBATICAL CAMPING EXPERIENCES THRUOUT NEW ZEALAND, ALLOWING OUR TWO STUDIES TO BE DONE WITHOUT FRICTION; ALASKA, ACROSS CANADA TO NEWFOUNFDLAND AND LABRADOR; AND OUR VERY SPECIAL TIME IN IRELAND.

IN TIMES OF DISCOURAGEMENT YOU HAVE ENCOURAGED AND BOLSTERED MY SPIRIT, INSPIRING ME TO A DEEPER FAITH.

THANK GOD FOR THE SPIRITUAL HERITAGE YOU PROVIDED FOR OUR CHILDREN , SHARING WITH THEM YOUR STANDARDS OF HONESTY AND FAIRNESS; YOUR STEADFASTNESS IN DEVOTIONS AND WORSHIP IN GOD'S HOUSE.

PSALM 37;23 DECLARES THAT "THE STEPS OF A GOOD MAN ARE ORDERED BY THE LORD." LOOKING BACK OVER THE TAPESTRY OF OUR LIVES, I SEE THAT THIS DECLARATION IS TRUE.

YOUR MOTHER SAID THAT YOU SHOULD BE A TEACHER. YOU DECLARED THAT YOU WOULD NEVER BE A TEACHER. GOD SMILED AND PROCEDED TO DIRECT YOUR STEPS AND TO CHANGE YOUR THINKING. THROUGH CIRCUMSTANCES AND HAPPENINGS BEYOND YOUR PLANNING, YOU BECAME A PROFESSOR AT HOUGHTON COLLEGE IN 1960.

FROM THAT POINT YOU BECAME INVOLVED WITH YOUR STUDENTS, GIVING OF YOURSELF TO THEM IN COUNSELING, PRAYING AND TEACHING. OUR FAMILY LIFE ENLARGED TO ENTWINE WITH THE STUDENTS, MAKING IT A DELICATE BALANCE.

IN DUE TIME OUR CHILDREN MATURED AND LEFT THE HOME NEST. YET YOU REMAINED CONCERNED FOR THEM AND THE MULTIPLIED STUDENTS WHO HAD KEPT COMING ALONG.

FOUR YEARS AGO YOU ENDURED A SERIOUS STROKE. THIS BROUGHT A TIME FOR RELEARNING MANY SKILLS. IN THIS, YOU WERE DISCIPLINED AND DETERMINED. I LEARNED PATIENCE. GOD'S GRACE HAS OILED MANY ROUGH SPOTS, BRINGING HEALING TO BODY, MIND AND SOUL.

YES, ARNOLD, MARRIED LOVE ENDURES. I LOVE YOU MORE THAN CAN BE EXPRESSED. LIFE WOULD BE INCOMPLETE WITHOUT YOU. YOU ARE A GENUINE FRIEND AND A TRUE MARRIAGE PARTNER.

THANK YOU. I LOVE YOU VERY MUCH.