A Summer Pastime

I have no idea how to play cricket. I’ve never even seen it played. We (Dayton, cousins, D’s uncle, and me) played something that resembles cricket…as far as I know. It was fun. I wish we had known about this in my childhood. I’m sure I would have been good at it, except for hitting the ball, of course.

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Nostalgic Wheels

Our hosts in Ohio showed me their somewhat secretive antique collection…mostly cars and some bikes…some rather rare…all really neat. What a treat to see them. Didn’t have much time and the sun was setting there in the wooded wonderland (and I really should have changed my lens out for a shorter reach), but despite the pics being snapped rather quickly and in tight quarters, I think you can get an idea of the scenery.

BTW, the 1950 convertible was the actual one used on the Happy Days TV show by “the Fonz.” How cool is that? Enjoy!

 

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Mansfield, Ohio

Took a brief ride around town this evening with our gregarious host (who is also an elder from the church we’re visiting with this Sunday). Most of these pics I simply leaned out of the car window a little and took a quick snap. They’re not the best and I really saw some really interesting scenes that I would have loved to snap in b&w. To be honest, the downtown area of this city has a few pockets of upgrades and improvements, but most of it is slummy, Detroit-ish, and hard to look at. But, there were exceptions, and to be honest, the depressing images were fascinating to me. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time and it wasn’t a good time of day to be wandering through some rather scary-looking places. Maybe another time.

If you don’t know it, the movie, Shawshank Redemption was filmed here. Unfortunately, it was late in the evening and the gates were closed and there just wasn’t a good spot from which to take good pics (I managed to poke my camera through a small gap in the gate front gate). There is also a race track nearby. Have you ever noticed how many wires hang all over the townscapes in the USA? I guess it isn’t just third-world countries that have that problem.

Anyway…a few images around these parts:

 

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Oh…Hi! Oh.

Looks like I’ve been away from the blog for a month. I’m surprised. I could have sworn I’d posted many times. I guess I just thought about it but never actually did it. There’s probably a sermon in that thought if you think about it. I’ll let you come up with it.

So, in case you’re wondering. We’re not in Dallas any more. After leaving there around June 2 (as I faintly recall now), we stayed a night in Baton Rouge with our relatively new friends (Pastor Steve and Liz Foster) who came and shared in our annual family conference down in Mexico last fall. We moved on and covered ground all the way to Tallahassee and then continued on to Avon Park, FL to visit my mother and sister (and her husband) and also a couple of nieces. Then we headed up to Eustis, FL to visit my other sister and her family before heading to Edgewater, FL to visit a day with Beth’s cousin and his wife. From there we hit the road to Lawrenceville, GA to spend a couple of nights with another of Beth’s cousins and also to meet the parents and sisters of her cousin’s wife.

Leaving Georgia, we made our way to Dayton, TN and we met with more people than I care to try to name here. We shared a ministry update at Westminster Presbyterian Church and were pleased to see so many of our long-time friends there as Dayton was once a place we called home for a number of years. As you probably know or surmised, we even named one of our kids after this town where we met.

However one person stands out as especially worth mentioning. Beth’s cousin Mary who has been battling cancer was still hanging in there despite the fact that her battle was clearly over. What a blessing for Beth to be able to see her and to see Mary light up and say something we couldn’t make out. Her husband, Daniel, said she was probably remembering Beth from some context when they were kids. A good memory, no doubt. The cancer which was throughout her body and was affecting her brain and her ability to think in any particular time and place through her bank of memories. Wednesday morning, June 21, surrounded by her husband and 5 kids, Mary breathed her last breath on this earth and breathed her next breath in the presence of her Lord Jesus. What a relief for her to be released from her difficult journey. We sorrow with her family who miss her loving presence. They are hanging onto the loving presence of the Lord they cannot see knowing Mary, wife and mother, is there with him.

We departed TN and passed through KY to spend a night with one of my best and oldest friends, Tim Combs in Xenia, OH. I hope we’ll get to spend another night with him and his family in August on our way back to Dallas and Mexico.

Our visit with the Combs was much too brief but with Sunday coming, we passed through Ostrander, OH and enjoyed lunch with a good friend before winding up in Mansfield, OH where we’ve been this week. We shared an update at Mohicanville Community Church.

We’ve been visiting with members of Little Flock Fellowship Church all week. On Wednesday we spent the afternoon preparing a large Mexican meal for nearly 30 people and then shared with the youth, most of whom are heading to the mountains of Kentucky for a mission trip in just a couple weeks. I will be sharing in both a combined SS and giving the message in the main service this at this church on the coming Sunday.

So, there you have it. That’s where we’ve been, where we are, and only scratching the surface of all that we’ve done. I think we’ve somehow managed to keep our weight at about the same as when we left Dallas. Not sure we’ll manage to lose any while traveling, but maintaining is acceptable…and the waistline of my pants so it is a bit more important than merely acceptable!

Here are a few pics from our pozole meal this past evening.

Dayton’s new t-shirt is another hum-dinger. If you can’t read it all, it says: “National Sarcastic Society: Like we need your support.” That about sums it up for him!

 

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A Special Tree-t

Since we’re back in Dallas with a few days to rest, see doctors, visit with friends, we’re also able to borrow the mission’s pass to the Dallas Arboretum. It’s a world-class facility, a great place to walk and take pics, and on Wednesdays for much of the year, the place is open 3 hours longer than the rest of the week (til 8 p.m.). So, we remembered this today and enjoyed an early evening stroll.

What I did not expect was to discover that their current special display is rock sculptures with an African appeal to them. In fact, they’re not just reminiscent of Africa, they’re from Africa and are accompanied by several Africans. The best part of that surprise is that they’re from Zimbabwe! That means a lot to me since I spent a summer in that lovely country way back in 1988. I struck up a conversation with one of the two sculptors and re-discovered some memories and words and places and a lot of neat things to talk about. It really was a special treat. I’m hoping to connect with these two guys and take them out to dinner this weekend if they have time. Aron and Passmore are their names.

And I took a few pics…

Not to embarrass anyone in particular, but one of us whose name starts with the initial BETH thought that this small sign was informing us of the name of the large-leafed plants that surrounded it…while…I was looking just a couple feet behind the sign at the large sculpture (see pic below) thinking…I don’t think that sign is telling us something about these plants…

Passmore (on left) and Aron (on right)

 

For the benefit of any of my college friends who might remember my trip to Zimbabwe, I believe these birds above are “African owls.” ūüėČ

 

The psalmist referred to the trees of the field clapping their hands. If he could only have looked into the future to see what trees are seeing these days.

 

Love observing all the photo shoots going on at the arboretum…there were several quince√Īeras (like the one above), a couple of family shoots, and a few brides (a.k.a. snow beasts) getting their pics taken.

 

The¬†woman’s name is “Roma,” and the man’s name is “Greco,” and ¬†and this is what is known as “wrasslin'”…Greco-Roma wrasslin’. ¬†HA!

 

¬†I didn’t notice the sign for this sculpture. Beth called her “Medusa.” My first thought was “Funyuns.”

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Choosing a Travel Route

In recent days, I’ve been working more on some details of our summer trip. One of the very first and significant details is simply driving to the USA. It’s “only” 600 miles to the border and we typically drive this in one long day, especially this time of year when there is plenty of sunlight later in the day and we can even leave here relatively safely in the dark of morning if need be (and if I’m feeling up to it).

Since we have accepted an invitation to stay in McAllen, TX for about a week with missionary friends/co-workers there whom we haven’t seen in 5 years, naturally, we would ideally drive to Reynosa and cross into McAllen. If we were simply going up to Dallas as we usually do, we would cross at Nuevo Laredo and into Laredo. The distance is identical, but to get from Laredo to McAllen requires over 2.5 hours of driving on the USA side.

Unfortunately, we’ll have to do just that as in recent weeks the drug war has heated up once again in Reynosa resulting in at least 23 deaths in the past week, including shootouts right on the main roads/highways. Last Friday the government issued a “red light” for traveling in the area. Today, an “orange light” was issued. I’m not sure why they don’t call that a “yellow light” but then again…if my observations over the past decade are accurate, the significance of the colors of traffic lights in Mexico has never been completely set in concrete, and apparently never really understood by all the drivers out there.

Of course, as is almost always the case, the victims were almost certainly targeted or were involved in an active shoot-out with police/military, but obviously, flying bullets don’t really make that distinction and there’s not much sense in driving into an area where this is possible at any time. We’ll pass. We’ll have to spend a night in Laredo, but small price to pay for exercising a bit of caution and wisdom.

Here’s a video clip of one of the incidents today that has added to my earlier decision to take the long way to McAllen:

 

I couldn’t help but notice that it was in the news today that Mexico was considered the 2nd most dangerous country in the world by violent deaths. From the sounds of the news so far this year, Mexico could be in the running for a high place on this list again in 2017.

Mexico was second deadliest country in 2016

As always we travel in prayer and asking for prayer for safety and a trouble-free trip, especially through Mexico. God is always in control and protects us at all times as He does all of His children at all times. We would appreciate your prayers for our home assignment/representation trip not just for our Saturday drive to the border, but throughout the summer. We plan to return home from the USA around August 21 after driving from here to Texas, then to Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Indiana again, Michigan, Indiana yet again!, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and back to Texas before the final stretch home to Mexico.

Whew! I suspect this will take us about 10,000 miles to cover it all. We’re anxious to get started and anxious to get finished too!

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Amealco

I had to go up to Amealco for the 2nd time this week. The first time was so I could get shocks and struts and springs replaced on the van. And the second time was so I could get shocks and struts and springs replaced on the van! They usually have the parts on-hand or can get them pretty quickly, but earlier in the week after hanging around for awhile, the shop realized they couldn’t get all the parts on that day nor on the next day, so after a 2 day wait, they were ready for me to come back to get job done. (Wow…the van rides so much better now! Unfortunately, we’ll have to get new tires this summer for between the bad roads and bad suspension, they have taken a complete beating.)

What that extra day in Amealco meant mostly to me was that I got to eat at a favorite restaurant that is just a few minutes walk from the repair shop…twice! And afterward (today), I took a stroll a couple of blocks into the small “centro” or center of downtown. It’s a small town so there isn’t much to see.

Unfortunately, I find just about everything there fascinating and worthy of exploring with the camera, but I don’t want to get too many dirty looks or get beat up by someone sensitive for me taking pictures of whatever or whoever. The people have great features and I’d love to just be able to take people pictures! It’s like airport people-watching, except it’s not in an airport, and it’s probably not considered “kosher.” So, I look for just regular stuff to take pictures of, and if I can get some people shots, that’s a plus.

I’d forgotten that this is “fair week” (“feria”) in Amealco. As it turned out, there was a dancing demonstration going on, and it had a lot of color. Who can resist taking pics of frilly ballet dancers? Loved their hair and overly done makeup! Enchanting. Gotta love the guy on the horse strolling by. Uniquely and plainly Mexico.¬†That’s Amealco!

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