Thursday, December 26, 2002

12/7/02--St. Nicholas Day, the tree cutting party

This is a day of many meanings. Pearl harbor, of course. Also the day that my dad passed on kind of abruptly, having a heart attack in our basement some twenty years ago. It is also St. Nicholas day, the German holiday that precedes chistmas by a few weeks. I don't know what the significance is. Growing up we would always get a little gift on the 7th. The last few years we have been going and cutting down a christmas tree this weekend, and so we had a small get together. Mike and Loretta were supposed to come down for the weekend but could not because of Flip's mom dying. A bunch of people from work were suposed to show up, but nobody made it. So it was a small crowd, but sometimes that works out for the best.

Rob and Tina showed up more or less on time to cut down a tree, but since they were the only ones we didn't mind so much. We went out to this gorgeous farm out near Lovettsville. Unfortunately, gorgeous in this case also means huge, and once we actually found a tree hauling it back involved me pulling a red cart with the tree on it, with anna sitting on the end dragging her feet, and carrying PJ on my shoulders, slugging the whole mess through the snow some half mile or so back to the car. Tina helped varry PJ, which was much appreciated by my back.

My freind Dave showed up later and literally stood in the kitchen eating ham for avout 15 minutes, just as everyone else was leaving. DAVE! We ended up staying up till 11 playing pente and drinking wine (note to self- beer + red wine _+ arbor mist sangria = one helluva hangover).

The next morning I had a wopper of a headache, and of course I had to help out in the nursery. (Second note to self, don't volunteer to spend time with a room full of 25 four year olds who are resolutely incapable of doing anythiing that is not loud, harsh, or grating, when there is any chance of being hungover or headachen.)

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Highacre Stories Part Two: this was 11/23/02

The house we stayed at sits on a hill, steeply pitched down towards the bottom of Harper's Ferry. Immediately below us is the ruins of an old church. Evidently built in the 18 somethings (1859?), it burnt down 40 years later. The methodists decided it was cheaper and easier to just build another church farther up the hill onlevel ground rather than to try and rebuild from the ruins. So there it lay. The ruins also lay alongside of the appalachian trail that winds through town, and it is also clearly in view from the dining room at the house we stayed at, Highacre (see links below). You can't look anywhere else, you just sit at the dining room table and gaze down at the ruins of the church, and the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers below it merging, and watch the occasional trains go by. Its very beautiful.

This Saturday morning though, there were three couples sitting around the dining room table, drinking coffee and eating breakfast. children were running around and genreally being underfoot, but no more than usual. So while we were gnoshing, the happy couple walks down into the ruins.

The happy loving couple were both teenagers, or early twenties at most. They were on there first, or maybe second date, and obviously very much in love, or at least in like, with each other. They had taken a scenic drive up to Harper's Ferry to no doubt take in a day of hiking and spending time together. All very romantic. And they noticed these neat ruins of an ancient church, and decided to start making out in these ruins, because it was such a scenic place, and because they wre in love, and, well, just because.

So we three couples got an unintentional display of some minor petting. It was kind of touching. We sat around going, "awww" and "do you remember ..." Then the happy loving couple left, each ones hand in the appropriate back pocket of the other's jeans, off to have a snack no doubt, blissfully unaware of their brief audience of guys and gals not too much older, but so far away from that place. It was was cool just to be distracted for a moment from the many mischievous little feet running around the house.

Thursday, December 12, 2002

I need to add a few stories here, to try and catch up with what I have been doing. First of all, back on November 22, 23rd we rented a house in Harper's Ferry, called Highacre. See links Highacre1 and Highacre2 for photos. This house is incredible. 120 years old, right in the middle of this historic town, and relatively inexpensive. 3 couples went up for the weekend.

There is a a pretty old, and large cemetary immediately uphill of the house. Anna and PJ and I were wandering around, playing. Anna asked me read one of the tombstones. I read it,it was this woman who was born in 1840 and diesd in 1870, Laurua was her name, I think.

"Aww, that's sad." She said, and then paused for a moment. Then, with glee, "Can we read another?" Then we were off looking at tombstones. The funniest part was when she looked at one short, squarish one and said to me, "Dad! This one looks like Sponge Bob!"

The next day we went hiking, (Anna, PJ, and I-- Kath gets a by because she is pregnant). I had PJ in the backpack. No problem. About halfway out, Anna gets tired too. So I am carrying Anna under my arm, PJ on the backpack, for about the last mile. Now that's tiring!