Instant Vacations

“Let’s take a new way home from church,” I usually say to my husband in the summertime. I definitely don’t say this in the winter, when the New York roads are a glare of ice and hard-packed snow and I sometimes wonder if we can stay on the road. We have to drive down a five-mile-long winding hill to get to our house. At the top of this hill we once missed a frozen beaver, and another time we missed a carload of people standing in our lane. They were trying to figure out what to do about their car in the ditch. That time we drove into a field on purpose. The choice was inconvenient, but necessary.

It’s so much different in the summer. The deep blue sky and puffy white clouds beckon us to leave Christian Hollow Road and Route 417 and wander around, looking at the gorgeous Allegany and Steuben County scenery. Sometimes we come upon a view of a deep valley with misty hills and mountains beyond. Once we were able to see into Pennsylvania. These roads are often only dirt and have signs noting that they are seasonal. They will not be plowed in the winter.

One Sunday we drove slowly along a road new to us and suddenly came upon a grove of small trees or large bushes, all beautifully dressed in deep pink blossoms. “What are they?” I asked my husband. I had never seen anything like them. Don didn’t know, either.  He broke off a branch and we carried the blossoms home. On Bible study night, we took the branch to church to see if anyone could identify it, but our friends had never seen anything like it before.  Eventually a late-comer arrived and said, “Oh, you have a branch from a Sweet Pea Tree!”

Another Sunday we drove down a deep gully, arriving at the village of Whitesville, where we turned left and headed toward home. Not long after that, we passed a large swamp with thousands of white water lilies. There was no place to pull off, so I pushed the sight into my memory, while Don kept his eyes on the narrow road. I wanted so much to smell them, but it was too dangerous to stop.

Today we found another new road to travel and eventually drove through rain. When we got home it was raining too hard to get out of the car, so we sat and listened to Prairie Home Companion until the rain eased. Then we hurried into the house, filled large glasses with vanilla ice cream, poured diet root beer over the top and slowly sipped the treats.

I like looking at flowers along the road. I like rain. I like root beer floats.  I love Sundays!



The Amishman Comes Back

I sat down for a while on an Adirondack chair under the century-old Norway spruce trees behind our house. I watched my husband come out the front door of the shop, apparently talking to someone who was standing just inside the door. Don’s hand gestures were large and generous, sometimes waving my direction and sometimes swinging this way and that. I found it interesting, but not interesting enough to get up and see what the discussion was all about.

The guest finally left and I discovered it was an Amish man. I called to Don and he came over and joined me under the trees.

“What was that all about?” I asked.

“Remember the young Amish man who said he was getting married in three weeks and he wanted our farm?” Of course I remembered!

“That was two years ago,” I said.

“Well, it must have been longer ago than that because he now has three children.”

“Okay, then, it was three years ago,” I agreed. “But what was that all about?”

“He still wants our farm. He’ll buy it now and let us have life use of the house.” I nearly laughed. Don’s one grandfather lived to be 96 years old and the other one, 99 years old. This young man will himself be a grandfather before he gets the use of our house, if Don lives as long as his grandfathers.

My parents never owned a house. When I got married, Don and I moved from one rental place to another with the owners always keeping close tabs on us. At one point we moved in with his parents! Finally we had the chance to buy this farm, complete with woods, rich garden soil and an artisan well. We have raspberries, apples, pears, rhubarb, black raspberries and the promise of other kinds of fruits from newly planted trees. We have all the vegetables we have the energy to raise and freeze.

Of course the young man wants our farm. So do I! He says he’s wanted it ever since he first saw it. So did I. He thinks he and his wife can be happy here. So can I!

Interesting Article in Ladies Home Journal


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thought this article was interesting:

Want to be happier? Try making your life a little harder. Use a push mower. Bake your own bread. Knit a new scarf. Do things by hand and your brain will thank you.” Dr. Kelly Lambert, a neuroscientist is quoted in the article as saying “When you do meaninfgul work with your hands, a kind of neurochemical feedback floods your brain with dopamine and seratonin. These happy brain chemicals are natural antidepressants.

Why Do I Dream These Things?


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wonder why my mind concocts such strange and intricate dreams:

Dr. Mark and his wife Kathy bought a house in a run-down section of Corning and one day while we were there visiting, there was a horrible explosion. The sky over Corning became very black and we jumped in the car to see where this had happened. We found about five buildings destroyed and turned around to go back to the Shelly house.

We met two young pigs happily trotting up the road.
They had been released from their pen by the explosion.

25 Random Thoughts + Etc.


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1. I was born in New Holland PA

2. My father was a schoolteacher in New Holland and sold apples during the summer on the street because it was The Great Depression.

3. My mother was alone when I was born and she saved my life by unwinding the cord from my neck.

4. I nearly died from pneumonia at age 1.

5. My parents moved to Tampa Florida where we lived until I was about 8.

6. A very strange couple lived on the other side of our hibiscus hedge.

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