Thoughts and assorted philosophical musing about: Family, Friends, Fun, Hobbies, & other everyday things.
My continuing efforts to serve as a First Sergeant (Top) in the Army of God.
My latest interest is in Letterboxing.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Seasonal Friends.

This summer season (as well the seasons of my life),seems to be moving by much more quickly than I would like. Recently I have had several reminders that God has given us only a short time to spend here on this earth. I now really regret and even dread it each time that I am separated from my loved ones and find myself wondering if I will see them again.

Last week we were blessed to be able to spend several days with friends from long, long ago. Forty plus years back we developed a close relationship with another Army family at Ft. Carson Colorado. Then Captain Bill Akins was the commanding officer of an ASA company there and I was his First Sergeant.

His wife Ruth worked alongside my wife Donna at the base education center where they developed citizenship studies and an English as a second language (ESL) program primarily for the benefit of Foreign born spouses of military personnel. At that time this was entirely wives as there were few military women marring men overseas.

Despite military anti-fraternization policies which dictated no off duty social contact between officers and enlisted members we soon spent many evenings together enjoying dinner, games, and just having fun. We were at their home the evening that Donna announced that it was time for us to travel two block to the base hospital for the birth of our first child.

Friendships in the military are strong and sincere. You are committed to working together and being part of the team at all costs. To use a cliche, you must be prepared to give your lives for each other. New arrivals and their families are quickly assimilated and assisted in getting settled. Your home support network of family and friends is not available so everyone helps everyone, there are no strangers. People are frequently reassigned, you move on and very quickly develop new relationships. Unless you make an extraordinary effort, you soon loose track of old friends as events and circumstances change. If you are luck you will find yourself assigned to the same location with some of the same individuals in the future. Military friendships are very real, deep, and committed, yet they also tend to be enjoyed briefly and then, like the seasons of the year, only remembered. Friendships are usually not permanent, but you know that going in and must be satisfied to enjoy them while they last.

Of the many friendships which we developed on active duty this is the only one that has been maintained, and that is probably more from their effort than ours. I now very much regret that this is true. We have lost track of many fine friends and their families.

While Ruth and Bill were here we went to a baseball game. We picked one of the few games that the Indians have won recently. As we were walking back to our car and chatting about the game my Implanted Automatic Defibrillator (IAD) suddenly discharged. That was an entirely new experience. I am reminded of how transatory the things here are. I believe the only thing that will outlast us here is our relationships with God, family and friends.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Just a company town

Last week we enjoyed a family vacation in Ohio's hocking hills area. This is an area that Donna and I have visited a number of times in prior years, but not recently. On three occasions we enjoyed an anniversary romance get away at Glen Laurel, and had also attended the Nazarene Central Ohio Camp meeting at what is now known as the Logan Conference Center several times. I have also used the Church camp grounds as a base for hunting in the area.

I could recall that Donna and I had once found a nearby town with a church made of tiles but could not find any reference to it while reading literature about area sights. We were without Internet access during our five days at a cabin near Nelsonville so I was unable to do online research. Yes I really did spend most of Monday until late Friday with no web, no email, no google, no facebook, etc. I swear its true.

As we were starting home on Friday Donna could no longer resist her shopping compulsion so we stopped at the Rocky outlet to look for shoes. Of course she then had to explore the rest of the store. While sitting I found that there was an area information booth inside where I asked some not to intelligent questions about what I could recall of the town we had seen. Finally someone came up with Haydenville, a brick and tile company town located only a few miles away and along our pathway home.

We stopped and took pictures. I was amazed! It was even more unusual than I had remembered it. Haydenville, was the last of Ohio's "Company Towns". In the days prior to labor reform the mining, lumbering, and similar industries maintained these towns where they employed workers at minimum wage, housing them in company owned homes, and provided for their needs at company owned stores. The system was designed to keep the workers and their families in debt to the company trying to pay for food and housing.

In Haydenville the homes, offices, store, post office, church, train station, and etc. were made from company produced tile and brick, even plumbing tiles and pipes. These structures, especially the church (both inside and out), were in fact a display of the company's wares. Many of these buildings still stand giving the town a strange, surrealistic, nature.

I am glad we rediscovered Haydenville, but do not understand why it is not being promoted as a tourist attraction.

The Church An inside wall of the Church

An outside wall of the church.


Front corner of the church - Notice the drain tile corner

An inside wall of the church - four different tiles plus a pipe

Building which is now used as a museum

And I had to take one shot of the round building

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Fireworks, Caves, and Family

The summer is flying by. In recent years we have gone to N Carolina for a family vacation during the first week of July. This year the owner of the place that we had reserved took it off of the market. That combined with the current economic pinch caused us to opt for a shorter time nearer to home this year. Donna's sister Carol has a family gathering at her home on Buckeye Lake each year on the Friday before the 4th of July. We had missed it for several years but with the new plans we were able to attend. Friday, as usual, she threw a wonderful party which culminated with viewing of Buckeye lake's "BLASST" fireworks display from a pontoon boat. This was a truly outstanding display. I have seldom had kind words about the events coordinator, Tory Wolfe, due to many ideological differences. However, the consensus is that this was the best "BLASST" show ever and I must give her credit for a fantastic job of putting it together. The following morning we watched the Parade of Boats from Carol's porch, then we just hung out for the rest of the weekend. It was a grand time visiting with family.
Late Monday morning we drove 30 miles further south, picked up groceries, and joined up with my daughter and her family (think Grandsons) at a cabin near Nelsonville where we stayed until Friday. While there we visited, played miniature golf at a great place in Logan, ate good food, checked out the local sights, and just generally hung out. Carol, her husband Jim, and 2 grand-nieces spent one day with us at Ash Cave, Cedar Falls, and Lake Logan. While the rest of the crew walked down to Cedar Falls I jumped on my little scooter and collected one of the many letterboxes in the area. The cabins hot tub was appreciated each night. Most of the time I forget to grab my camera or to take pictures. However, Ellisa is a much better photographer than I so I can depend on her to get some good shots. Check out her vacation photos.

I had printed clues and downloaded the locations to my GPS for about 35 letterboxes within a 10 mile radius of the cabin. In addition when I checked my email on Monday morning I found that 3 more had been planted in the area. One of these was less than two miles from the cabin. On Thursday Ellisa and her family hiked back to Rock Bridge while Donna and I found two letterboxes. Later in the day Ellisa's gang (The Kobystars) along with Donna and I located, "Who is hidin' in the woods", the new box near our cabin. Elllisa's husband Matt was a great help in getting things done. He loaded and unloaded my scooter, did most of the cooking on a wood fire (Eagle Scout skills) built in the grill, and loaded and unloaded the cars. I would have had great difficulty without his unending assistance. So all and all we had a fantastic week. We capped the week off with a steak dinner (T-bones and bacon wrapped filet mignons) that Matt had brought from home and prepared on the grill Thursday night.

I can't get too much family time.