Welcome to my blog, or should I say to the ramblings of an old man. I doubt that my ramblings are of much value, but at least I have an opportunity to share them.  So, please be kind and humor me. If nothing else of value stands out in these thoughts, I hope that you at least sense the value I place on a daily walk with the Lord.  That walk is what has provided me with motivation and a sense of purpose throughout my lifetime.  My prayer is that you, too, are experiencing this direction and joy in daily living which is available to everyone who puts his trust in Christ.  So, thanks again for joining me.  Please don't go without leaving some comments here so I can get to know you better as our paths intersect today in this blog.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Holiday Eating Tips

     David Jeremiah's monthly publication "Turning Points" recently had an article on Healthy Eating Tips.  With all of the holiday parties I thought it might be good to share his advice with you so that you have a healthy holiday season.
1. About those carrot sticks ... Avoid them.  In fact, if you see carrots on the buffet table, leave immediately.
2. If something comes with gravy, use it.  That's the whole point of gravy.  Gravy does not stand alone.  Pour it on.
3. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they are made with skim milk or whole milk,  If it's skim, pass.  Why bother?
4. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating.  The whole point of going to a holiday party is to eat other people's food for free.
5. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year.  This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a ten-pound plate of food.
6. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them - and don't budge.  Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention.
7. What about pies?  How do you choose between delicious apple, delectable pumpkin, or delightful pecan?  Why don't you have a slice of each?  It is the only time that it is acceptable to have more than one dessert.
8. Did someone mention fruitcake?  Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all costs.  I mean, have some standards!
9. And one final tip:  If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention.  Reread tips.  Start over ... because "cookieless" January is just around the corner.
Have a great holiday season!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Twelve Days Of Christmas

Now here is the true story about this Christmas poem/song.

December 14, 2013
Dearest Dave,
I went to the door today, and the postman delivered a partridge in a pear tree. This was a delightful gift! I couldn't have been more surprised or pleased darling!
With truly the deepest love, Agnes

December 15, 2013
Dearest Dave,
Today the postman brought me yet another of your sweet gifts. The two turtle doves that arrived today are adorable, and I'm delighted by your thoughtful and generous ways.
With all of my love, Your Agnes

December 16, 2013
Dearest Dave,
You've truly been too kind! I must protest; I don't deserve such generosity. The thought of getting three French hens amazes me. Yet, I am not surprised--what more should I expect from such a nice person.
Love, Agnes

December 17, 2013
Dear Dave,
Four calling birds arrived in the mail today. They are truly nice but don't you think that enough is enough? You are being too romantic.
Affectionately, Agnes

December 18, 2013
Dearest darling Dave,
It was a surprise to get five golden rings! I now have one for every finger. You truly are impossible darling, yet oh how I love it! Quite frankly, all of those squarking birds from the previous days were starting to get on my nerves. Yet, you managed to come through with a beautiful valuable gift!
All my love, Agnes

December 19, 2013
Dear Dave,
When I opened my door, there were actually six geese a-laying on my front steps. So you're back to the birds again, huh? Those geese are dear, but where will I keep them? The neighbors are complaining, and I am unable to sleep with all the racket. Please stop dear.
Cordially, Agnes

December 20, 2013
What is with you and those stupid birds!? Seven swans a-swimming!! What kind of sick joke is this!!?? There are bird droppings everywhere! They never shut up, and I don't get any sleep!!! I'm a nervous wreck! It's not funny you weirdo, so stop with the birds.
Sincerely, Agnes

December 21, 2013
O.K. wise guy,
The birds were bad enough. Now what do you expect me to do with eight maids a-milking? If that's not bad enough, they had to bring their cows!! The front lawn was completely ruined by them, and I can't move in my own house! Just lay off me or you'll be sorry!

December 22, 2013
Hey loser,
What are you? You must be some kind of sadist!! Now there are nine pipers playing, and they certainly do play! They haven't stopped chasing those maids since they got here! The cows are getting upset, and they're stepping all over those screeching birds. The neighbors are getting up a petition to evict me, and I'm going out of my mind!
You'll get yours! Agnes

December 23, 2013
You rotten scum!!!
There are now ten ladies dancing! There is only one problem with that! They're dancing twenty-four hours a day all around me with the pipers upsetting the cows and the maids. The cows can't sleep, and they are going to the bathroom everywhere! The building commissioner has subpoenaed me to give cause as to why the house shouldn't be condemned! I can't even think of a reason! You creep! I'm sicking the police on you!
One who means it!

December 24, 2013
Listen you evil, sadistic, maniac!
What's with the eleven lords-a-leaping?!? They are leaping across the rooms breaking everything and even injuring some of the maids! The place smells, is an absolute mad house, and is about to be condemned! At least the birds are quiet; they were trampled to death by the cows. I hope you are satisfied--you rotten vicious worthless piece of garbage!
Your sworn enemy,

December 25, 2013
The Law Offices of
Badger, Rees, and Yorker
20 Knave Street
Chicago, Illinois
Dear sir,
This is to acknowledge your latest gift of twelve fiddlers-fiddling which you have seen fit to inflict on our client, one Agnes Mcholstein. The destruction of course was total. If you attempt to reach Ms. Mcholstein at Happy Daze Sanatarium, the attendants have instructions to shoot you on site.  Please direct all correspondence to this office in the future. With this letter, please find attached a warrant for your arrest.
Badger, Rees, and Yorker

This document was written by Agnes Mcholstein.

P.S. - Poor Dave.  According to the latest estimates it must have cost him $14,561 for these gifts.  What a bill for a busted romance.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Technology Fun!

If I were 50 years younger I think I would train for and seek a career in something involving technology.  The new technology intrigues me, but I am just a rookie and know so little about it.  Don't be misled with the facts that I have a website and two blogs or that I established the first high school computer lab in Lancaster County or that I introduced scientific and graphing calculators to math classrooms or that I was once named a National Computer Educator of the year.  I really am just an amateur feeling his way along through this exploding field.  One of the things I miss most about teaching is the fact that our district was one of the leaders in technology and regularly held great inservice programs.  Then I felt almost up to date with what was happening, but now that seems like another lifetime.
          I have recently been bothered by my lack of knowledge in several situations.  I received an advertisement from Mackiev Software about the release of Print Shop 3 for Mac.  It had many new and improved features over the version I have been using.  And they offered a special introductory deal, for two days, of $29.99 for the package or $49.99 for the software for three computers.  So to be honest, I ordered the three pack so we could use it on two of our computers.  I paid the bill and then downloaded the software.  But when I went to use it I realized that I needed a new operating system.  It wouldn't work with my system and I couldn't upgrade because then my website software wouldn't then work.  So I sent four e-mails (no phone number or address was available) to the software company asking for a refund.   They failed to answer any of the four.  I went to my credit card company to stop payment.  They wouldn't do it because the bill had to be at least $50.  Mine was $49.99!  So I lost $49.99.  Lesson learned, hopefully.
Now I have had some experience with changing operating systems.  In fact we have four computers because of that.  The two oldest use an early operating system because the newer systems won't handle the church software that I am using.  The two newer ones can handle the website program that I use.  To move to a newer versions would cost me over $600 to replace that software.  There must be an easier way.
I also have been having problems with one of my blogs.  The first minor problem was that it always opened at the middle of the blog, not the beginning.  I had no idea how to solve that, so I put up with it.  Then I began to get messages that my blog - actually it was that of another blogger - had been discontinued.  Nobody could help me eliminate this misleading message.  But people could still read my blog and I could still get in and make changes and additions.  So I put up with it.  Then it got worse.  Suddenly when I tried to get into my blog or even leave it I was sent to some buddyhost proxy page and I could no longer get into my blog.  At least some readers were having the same problem and my readership began to drop.

First I thought that I must have picked up a virus so I went to the Apple store at Park City.  This is a free service that is one of the major reasons I keep using Apple products.  I talked to a man who could speak English.  He assured me that Macs can't get viruses - another reason I am an Apple man.  He tested my entire system and removed some files that were making it run slower.  While he couldn't fix my problem he did recommend that I contact Google about it.  I tried doing that but they never responded.  Thank you Google!
I decided to ask my youngest son about it.  The younger you are the more you understand technology.  He had no idea but suggested that I search the internet to see if others had a similar problem.  I did and I reached a site that had only seven comments, most of which were from people having the very same frustration as I was.  One person did say that they had removed some of his plug-ins and the problem was resolved.  I had no idea what a plug-in was, let alone how to get rid of them.  But I did access my blog and removed some of the automatic features that I had added, including a calendar.  And guess what?  The problem was resolved.  Thank you Lord!
Oh yes, I also have had problems with my mail software.  When I contact AOL about it, it eventually gets fixed.  But it requires me to try and communicate with folks who speak English as a third or fourth language.  What fun that is!  And I don't want to change companies because we have used our e-mail address for years and so much is tied into that address.
But when technology is working well, it can be so much fun and such a time saver. If only I had somebody to patiently teach me more about the technology.  But while my spirit might be willing, I'm not sure if my old traditional mind could absorb and retain it.  It helps when you are only about 16.
        P.S. - After getting my credit card company to agree and then placing a hold on my payment, the software company then spent about a week rewriting their software so that it would work with my operating system.  So, once again, I've learned that it does pay to complain - even if you aren't a "techie"!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Falling Snow

     One of the nice things about being retired is that you don't have to worry about driving when it snows, unless you have doctor appointments.  Now, as far as I'm concerned, we've already had enough snow for this season.  But, unfortunately, I imagine we will get much more. Is this the result of global warming?  I have enjoyed sitting on our enclosed porch, with the fire burning, watching the snow fall. And the resulting scenes have been spectacular.  Now if there was only a way to keep the snow on the grass for a few months, but not on the roads and sidewalks.
         Now when I was working, quite often I didn't have to go to work when it snowed because we had snow days.  But generally I didn't really appreciate them because we would have to make them all up.  There was nothing like them actually being a free day.  I would spend much of that day shoveling snow or using my snow blower and I would realize that snow day was now really my long weekend, or my Easter vacation, or my summer vacation.  And I would have rather had those days to enjoy when the weather was nice.  Now I did like late starts or early dismissals because those days did not need to be made up.
           There are a few snowstorms in my lifetime that I still recall.  Back in 1957 we had a 20 inch surprise storm late in March.  A friend and I were with our music teacher attending a District Chorus concert in Harrisburg.  When the concert was over we found the snow had started and the drive back to Lititz was memorable.  Several times we had to get out to push other cars, as well as to push the one we were riding in. They didn't have the large snowplows then. Somehow the Lord got us safely home, even though many places you could no longer even see where the road was.  The storm was so bad that they couldn't even get food supplies into Lititz for several days.  I took pictures of snow drifts that reached almost to the top of the telephone poles on Lititz Pike.
          Eighteen years ago we had a series of major snow storms.  The snow along our driveway was piled up so high that I could barely see over it.  It was especially memorable because my daughter-in-law was pregnant and we were concerned about how she would get to the hospital.  But once again, the Lord took care of that and she was able to get there safely.  We had the new baby's brother staying with us and we decided to try to get to the hospital so he could see his new sister.  The ride was very difficult and when we arrived the nurses were all surprised that we were there because Lancaster had been closed to all traffic because conditions were so bad.  I guess we broke the law and didn't know it.  So we made a quick visit and made our way home.  I always thought that because of that snow they should have named her "Storm".
        Another storm, sometime in the 60's, began on Christmas Eve.  I had been in the hospital and they released me that night for Christmas.  We had planned to go to Sunbury for Christmas but I wasn't able to drive.  So Dianne drove with the kids in the back seat and with me terribly sick in the front seat. It was a memorable ride. When, a few days later, it was time to return home, Dianne still had to drive for me. But my brother-in-law and Dianne's sister followed us back to Millersville just in case she encountered trouble.  When we got to our street we found that my brother and my father had dug a path up the street to our house so that we could get home.  And thanks to their help we were able to get home safely.  One thing that has changed in a half century is that the township is now much better at removing the snow and keeping the roads open - at least most of the time.
         In another storm our boys had their pictures on the front page of the Lancaster Newspapers with the tunnels they had built in the deep snow.  Then there was the time that I drove a van of cheerleaders home from a competition in an ice storm.  And I can't forget the Christmas that we were snowed in only to get a call from my father-in-law telling us that he and his new bride were having a fight.  Then there were the nights of family sledding on the hill in the field behind us. That field is now all filled with homes.  I guess snow does provide many memories, some good and some bad. 
          But now that I am much older I don't need snow memories anymore.  Despite having a snow blower, it has become much more difficult now to deal with the snow.  It's hard to admit that, but it is the result of getting much older with increasing physical limitations. Somehow it seems like our driveway has gotten bigger and our sidewalks longer.  I guess we all feel that we will never reach that point, but when we do, you just do the best that you can with a problem that you can't avoid. Of course, I guess one can always avoid it by moving to Florida and then all you have to worry about are the hurricanes.  And they really aren't as spectacular to watch as the newly fallen snow. And who wants a hot, green Christmas.  Actually, I'm dreaming of a white Christmas ... with the snow just on the grass ...  hanging on the trees ... reflecting the Christmas lights ... and a cup of hot chocolate ... sitting in front of a blazing fire ... listening to Christmas music ... watching the snow quietly fall.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Day To Remember

      52 years ago today one of the most memorable events in history occurred - the surprise attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor.  It was an event which changed not only this country, but the entire world.  I wish I had thought to ask my parents what they were doing when they first heard the stunning report of the attack.  I was probably rolling over in my crib because I was eight months and one day old at that time.  All that I remember in the years that followed were the blackouts and going downtown in Wilmington, Delaware, with my father, to watch the celebration when the peace treaty was signed.  
        When war was declared my father was hired to teach math and physics to the air force cadets at Susquehanna University.  Then, with his physics background, he was hired to work on the Manhattan Project, a research and development project that produced the first atomic bombs.  That is what took us to Delaware.
        The generation that served our country during that time must have been one of the most exceptional generations in history.  Unfortunately, most of them have now passed away, and I often wonder what would happen today if we faced a similar attack.  Four of my uncles served, all in the European theater.  Three of them have now passed away.  
          My Uncle John who will be 95 in two weeks has an amazing handwritten, 20 page story of his experiences during those years.  I am astonished as I read of the sacrifices that he made, including his part in D Day, to protect our country and preserve the freedom of others.  I can't even imagine what it must have been like to endure those hardships and dangers that they went through.  Some of his experiences were much like those shared in the excellent video series, Band of Brothers.  If you haven't watched that, you should.  Twice we were with him on the anniversary of D Day and he was very distracted as he vividly remembered and shared, hour by hour, what happened on that unbelievable day. He actually quoted "The Charge of the Light Brigade" before they left for the shore. What powerful memories.
       An interesting story from the Pearl Harbor attack concerns Mitsuo Fuchida, a Japanese captain in the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service and a bomber aviator in the Japanese navy. He is known for leading the first air wave attacks on Pearl Harbor.  Fuchida was responsible for the coordination of the entire aerial attack. After the war ended, Fuchida became a Christian evangelist and traveled through the United States and Europe to tell his story. I actually heard him speak at a Lancaster CBMC banquet and actually have his autograph. He settled permanently in the United States but never became a U.S. citizen.
         And while others have gone through, and are even today going through, similar dangers and wars, this particular generation stands out in my mind.  It wasn't only the men who served on the front lines, but all of the citizens who sacrificed for the war effort.  Never, in my lifetime, have we had a similar experience which required the mobilization and sacrifice of all of our citizens.  Hopefully that may never be required again because I don't think the same response could ever happen today, especially with a society which is used to lives of luxury without serious demands and sacrifices.  Thankfully, today some, especially our young men and women, still volunteer and put their lives on the line to serve and protect us.  May God keep them safe.
          So today I just want to express my thanks to all of those who gave so much so that I could live with the freedoms that I enjoy.  I just pray that the liberal left, the atheists, the media, the "politically correct", and especially our courts, don't take away those precious freedoms from us.  Together they could create a more crushing blow than a Pearl Harbor attack could ever have done.  And if you know somebody who is still alive and served in World War II, sit down with them and listen to what they endured.  Better yet, record it.  It will be a special time for you and chances to do that will not last much longer.  And please thank them for putting their lives on the line for our generations.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Very Sad News

Those of you who know me personally know that one of my pet peeves are those folks who walk by me and say "how are you doing?"  Then they keep on walking.  They don't want an answer.  They really don't care how I am doing and don't want to take the time to find out.  It  is just a greeting.  I'd much prefer that they just say "hi".  Sometimes if they pause I'll  answer something like "hanging in there", but generally they don't even wait to hear that.  Now a few of my friends answer "better than I deserve" which is probably a good answer, but even that becomes meaningless to those who ask the question.  I've often wondered what a person would do if I responded, "Just wait a moment and let me tell you how I am really doing."   Maybe that would cure them.
Today we live in a world where we pass people all the time who are living with fears and worries and nobody really seems to care.  We pass them and ignore them, or nod our heads at them, or greet them with the "how are you doing?" meaningless question.  And we probably don't want to be held up to hear what is going on in their lives.  We are too busy or are hung up on our own problems to really care about them.  When I think about this I often think of the words written by Steve Green, "Everyday they pass me by, I can see it in their eye, Empty people filled with care, Headed who knows where? On they go through private pain, Living fear to fear. Laughter hides their silent cries, Only Jesus hears. People need the Lord, people need the Lord. At the end of broken dreams, He's the open door."

I had a friend who was going through some difficult times and I hadn't seen him for awhile.  Several times I had good intentions and had planned to really ask his wife how things were going.  But I didn't, she passed by me, and I just greeted her with a "hi".  Then I received a telephone call that he had committed suicide.  I was stunned, but I guess not surprised.  When I look back I guess I saw many of the signs, but didn't really think it would come to this.  But it did and it is so sad.

Now this isn't the first time that suicide has affected friends of ours and unfortunately, in this day and age, it probably won't be the last.  Not too long ago a son of a friend of ours ended his life.  And there have been others.  Suicide has become very common in today's society.  And it has a terrible impact upon those who are left behind.  But, in a sense, while I can't condone it, I can understand why it happens.  If you don't have the Lord as your companion, it can be very hard to deal with loneliness and uselessness and hopelessness and illness.  It is hard to know what there is to live for in such circumstances.
According to experts there are numerous warning signs. •  Appearing depressed or sad most of the time.(Untreated depression is the number one cause for suicide.)  •  Talking or writing about death or suicide.  •  Withdrawing from family and friends. •  Feeling hopeless. •  Feeling helpless. •  Feeling strong anger or rage. •  Feeling trapped -- like there is no way out of a situation. •  Experiencing dramatic mood changes. • Abusing drugs or alcohol.  •  Exhibiting a change in personality  •  Acting impulsively.  •  Losing interest in most activities.  •  Experiencing a change in sleeping habits. •  Experiencing a change in eating habits. •  Losing interest in most activities. •  Performing poorly at work or in school. •  Giving away prized possessions. •  Writing a will. •  Feeling excessive guilt or shame. •  Acting recklessly.   It should be noted that some people who die by suicide do not show any suicide warning signs.  But about 75 percent of those who die by suicide do exhibit some suicide warning signs.
So with this recent experience I guess I have been challenged to be more concerned about how people are doing and if I can't do anything to help them, I certainly can pray for them faithfully.  And, by the way, please don't greet me with "How are you doing?", unless you really want to know.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

1, 2, 3, ...

Here's another math test for you - a very practical one this time.  This Thanksgiving season try to begin counting the many blessings that God has given you since your birth.  If you realize that his mercies alone are new everyday, you will soon realize that this is one math challenge that you'll never be able to complete.  But this season at least take some time to meditate on this and think about the challenge presented in this old hymn.

(1)     When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

(2)     Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

(3)     When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings. Wealth can never buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

(4)     So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be disheartened, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey's end.
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Text: Johnson Oatman, Jr., 1856-1922
Music: Edwin O. Excell, 1851-1921

Have a blessed Thanksgiving season.  God is so good ... all the time.

Friday, November 22, 2013


       If you are over 50 you most likely remember exactly where you were during the afternoon 50 years ago.  It was one of those moments in history that you just don't forget - the killing of President Kennedy.  On a Penn State football board that I read regularly somebody recently asked where we were when the announcement was made.  Here are a sampling of some of the replies....  I was walking across campus  on the campus side of the Hammond Building.  I became aware that many of my fellow students were carrying transistor radios, (younger posters do a google on transistor radios)    My first thought, and I remember it vividly was " What is everyone listening to, it can't be baseball. because the World Series was last month.   I stopped a nondescript guy I knew from my freshman dorm and asked why are you listening to the radio .  You know the answer, the President has been shot.   And that is my November 22,1963 moment .... I was in the HUB . You could have heard a pin drop. Nothing but the radio. Will never forget that moment .... I was returning from class to my fraternity on E. Fairmount Ave. and when I entered the foyer area I saw a fraternity brother crying and very emotional and that is when I heard the terrible news .... I was in seventh grade when the principal called the entire 1000 strong middle school student body to the auditorium.  I had gone to a small rural elementary school so being in the auditorium for the first time was overwhelming by itself.  Most students were in shock and just stared ahead in silence.  A few of the girls cried inconsolably.  Kennedy and his photogenic family made a very favorable impression on young teenagers especially the girls. I remember someone speculating that it had to be either the "Mob" or the country of Italy because the sniper's rifle was an Italian version of a Mauser rifle .... Beginning of ninth grade biology class. Ironically, daily school announcements were always made at that time -  by students for speech class credit. Sometimes the kids were good, sometimes they were nervous.  So the announcements come on and it sounds like the student body president says, "There's a black dog in American History." He actually said "black day." Then he says, "no, I can't do this." By now everyone is cracking up. Then the school principal comes on and tells everyone what happened .... The biology teacher says, "Just like that, huh?" and goes on with the regularly scheduled lesson. What a jerk .... I was jumping off a buddies porch into a pile of leaves.  My mom came running out of the house screaming hysterically.  I also remember sitting in front of the black and white tv Sunday morning and watched Oswald get shot .... I was a sr. in high school when our teacher had left for a few minutes. When he came back we got the horrendous news. Shortly the announcement was made over the pa system. Leaving school many were crying. We had three days off school. I saw Ruby shoot Oswald on live tv at my neighbor's house. Trying times .... I came home from morning kindergarten and parked myself on the floor in front of the TV, playing with my favorite toys. I remember the news break, and on comes Walter Cronkite. When he said the president had been shot I got up, went to the backdoor and shouted it out to my mom. It was uncharacteristically warm that day and she was out hanging laundry. She didn't believe me until she came in and saw it for herself. That day is as vivid as if it happened yesterday .... It was announced over the loud speaker. The teachers started crying hysterically .... I was in 1st grade.  I still remember our teacher telling us what happened and that we were going to be dismissed immediately.  It was a quiet ride on the bus and at home all weekend ....  I was in an Algebra 2 class, taking an exam. The witch would not stop the test.  Kids were in tears any I don't think anyone did too well on the mid-term .... Heard the news when I walked out of our school's library.  I remember staying after school that day and talking about the events of the day with my friends.  We were lost and didn't know exactly what to do .... I was in kindergarten as well, got sent home immediately.  Everybody everywhere crying.  Didn't know what happened until i got home.  Extremely vivid in my memory .... I was walking to a Music Appreciation TV class on the Mall and saw a girl sitting on one of the benches, crying.  I couldn't understand why - until I got to my class and found the news on instead of the class .... And those were some of the memories that were posted. 
       My moment was teaching an Algebra II class when the announcement was made. We were all stunned, there was silence, and then there were tears.  Fortunately it was near the end of the day and we were soon sent home.  And the events of the next few days are also etched permanently in my memory.  Now we tend to remember the important events in our lives - births, marriages, deaths, etc. - but there are a few national events that we never forget.  For me those include Kennedy's death, the shooting of Oswald (watching it on TV), the launching of Sputnik by the Russians (driving on route 283), killing of Martin Luther King (driving to a church meeting), shooting of President Reagan (driving to a school meeting) and of course 9-11 (preparing for class), as well as several others.  I wish that I could ask my parents what they were doing when the attack on Pearl Harbor was announced.  I guess we never know what a day may bring so it reminds us to walk daily close to the Lord and trust Him fully for not only today, but also for tomorrow.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


I'm not sure when my interest in football really began.  It might have been in first grade when I used to watch my dad coach at New Cumberland High School.  It probably grew when I played midget football in fifth and sixth grade.  However, while I enjoyed that, the experience made me realize that I would never be a football player.  In seventh grade I joined the high school band and for seven years we marched at all the Lititz High and Warwick High football games.  
          But my real interest began to grow when for four years I served as statistician for the Susquehanna University football team and I was able to travel, by bus and plane, to all of their games.  And during that time we had one of the strongest small college football teams in the nation.  We even beat Temple University at Temple.  Then for 25 years I covered football games every Saturday afternoon for the Lancaster Sunday News Sports Department and I loved doing that.  Then we got turned on to going to Penn State football games and we thoroughly enjoyed doing that during the years when we could get good seats that we could afford.  And the Penn State experience could be another blog sometime in the future.

In 1963 I was offered teaching jobs at four different high schools.  I really believe that the Lord led me to Penn Manor where I eventually worked for 39 years.  But the one drawback in going there was the fact that this large school did not have a football team.  That was so unbelievable.  Now when I was in high school, at Warwick, we used to look down on Penn Manor because they didn't play football.  We used to think of them as a bunch of farmers who weren't athletes, even though they had great baseball, basketball and soccer teams.  And they even had a state wrestling champ.  When I began to teach there I realized that they weren't just a bunch of farmers.  They also had many gifted students.  They just didn't have a football team.
Well, it was hard to work for a school that didn't have football. I missed the games and the traditions. We hired a teacher in our department who had played football at Hempfield.  He and I knew what football could do for a school and we felt that we should try and change the situation.  He was advisor to the school's spirit club so we met with the club members and decided to start a petition drive.  Our drive was very successful.  Although I no longer remember how many signatures we obtained, it was enough to impress the School Board, and it wasn't long until football was approved.  And the rest is history.
Unfortunately, most of Penn Manor's football history hasn't been too great.  Early in the program they did win one league championship, beating Manheim Central for the Conference of Roses title.  A few decades ago a new coach produced outstanding teams the two years that he was head coach.  But until about five years ago, Penn Manor usually finished with just a couple of wins and generally was near the bottom of the league.  We just weren't very competitive and were often outclassed.  However, things have now turned around with a new coach and Penn Manor has had excellent teams the past few years, qualifying for the district tournament regularly.  Now they have an excellent program and all that they need is for the cheerleaders, fans and band to learn what football games and traditions are all about.
Now there is a sad aspect to this history.  Many years ago my brother served as a football coach and later athletic director at Warwick.  They had great teams during those years and we were terrible.  One Christmas he started what he hoped would be a family tradition when he gave me a crying towel.  His idea was that each year it would go to the one whose team lost that year.  But, after many years of keeping it, I finally "retired" it and eventually destroyed it.  Penn Manor was so outclassed by Warwick in those days that I never did have the chance to give it back to him.  Unfortunately, he passed away before things were reversed. Today Penn Manor regularly beats Warwick in football.  If Terry were alive today he would have now received and kept the towel for several years.  I sure wish that I could now give it to him.  So much changes over a lifetime.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Turning Another Page

          Last Tuesday I completed another phase of my life.  It was my 17th and final time serving as Judge of Elections for our Manor New East voting precinct.  My wife and I have officially retired by not running for another four year term.  It has been an interesting experience and I admit that part of me will miss it, especially the part of working with a good team.  But times have changed and I have gotten older. 

          I would like to think that our precinct was one of the best run during our years of leadership.  We were able to process the folks very quickly and seldom did anyone have to wait very long to vote.  However, never in 17 years of service did any of my bosses ever tell me that we did a good job or thank me personally for my work.  I guess that is par for the course.  I was told one time that I had packed some unused materials in the wrong container.  But that was the extent of any personal feedback that I ever received.  
          Generally the folks that we served were very patient and kind.  However, I did take some abuse from those who were upset about photo ID's (even though they weren't required) and having Spanish on the ballots (required by federal law).  I did have a run-in with a poll watcher who said I was picking on him when I was just enforcing the law.  But otherwise it was a pleasure to serve our voters.
          Our precinct was unique in the way that I handled things.  Our workers rotated jobs every 30 minutes to keep them fresh and I even gave them breaks to eat and go to the restroom four times a day.  The day was officially 14 hours long plus several hours for setup, cleanup, and writing reports.  That was too long a period for one person to sit and do the same job.  Believe it or not, we even opened our morning with prayer - I probably could have gotten fired for doing that, but my staff all excepted that.  And I did have a great and faithful staff.  Finding good people to serve is the toughest part of the job.
          I served through the period of transitions with two moves of our polling place to new locations and the change from lever machines to the scantron and e-slate.  We sat through hours of training sessions over the years.  I did get some pay - I figure about $4.50 an hour with no reimbursement for the 30-40 miles I would put on my car each election cycle.  But one doesn't serve for money.  It was a pleasure to serve my country.
          Now why am I retiring?  Well it is a very stressful process which I don't need anymore.  It is a commitment in one's personal calendar without any sick or personal days.  One of my best friends was buried on a voting day and we had to work.  Without any positive feedback from the bosses, there was no encouragement to continue. Maybe I'll finally get some positive feedback next Spring when they discover that they must replace me and my entire team.  But even if they do, it's too late and I'm done.  Also, some rules are being changed and this will limit the number of staff members that I can hire and will also take the choice of staff members out of my hand.  I'm not sure that I could deal with that.  And to continue would have meant canvassing to get signatures of voters on my petition, then running for office, and then making a four year, eight election, commitment.  So I've made the decision to just meet my obligation in the future as a voter and let somebody else deal with all the paper work and stress
          But it has been a good run and a joy to have served my country in this way.