Extraordinary Stories

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The "My Doctor Has Lots of Good Magazines ...at least he did!" Stories

It was an ordinary day. Just got back from the insurance company that is two blocks from my house. Had to go visit them to take care of my mom's medical supplemental plan. When Carol got home she asked where I got the neat pen in my pocket. "Oh, this pen," I said taking it our of my breast pocket. "Got it at the insurance company. Had to sign some documents and I guess I forgot to give it back to them. It has advertising on it so they probably wanted me to have it," I told her. She said I'm getting like Jerry Seinfeld's parents. They go to the store and steal batteries. If Jerry's father forgets to take them, then his mother will steal them. All old people do that, they reasoned. Just forgot they had them in their pocket. Then Carol said, "And, what about the magazine laying over there?" Seems I went to the dermatologist a few days ago. Had to have my stitches removed from the latest surgery. She removed a facial tumor which required 26 stitches. My appointment was for 1:00 PM and I arrived five minutes early. Checked in and sat in the waiting room. They have tons of magazines and newspapers. Of course, sometimes you have to wait an hour to see the doctor, and there are six doctors in the practice, therefore plenty of patients, and magazines. I had just got started on an article in Web MD about making your home more elderly friendly (that would be me), when the nurse came to get me. Quick today, of course I made sure I would be one of the first after lunch. I took the magazine with me as I followed her. She took me back to an exam room, had me sit in the chair and started to remove the stitches. I heard about three or four snips of the scissors and she said that was it. I questioned her about why it took so little time if there were so many stitches. She told me that I helped her out when I shaved today. Took the rest out myself. Told me to clean my razor when I got home because it probably has plenty of thread in it. As I was leaving, I asked if I could borrow the magazine to finish the article. She looked at me kind of funny, so I told her I would bring it back the next time I came, which was in three months. "You're not supposed to remove them from the office," she said as she winked and nodded to me. Oh, I get it. It's OK to take it she meant. I read the rest of the article when I got home and quite a few more. Pretty neat magazine. Across the top of the magazine states, "The WAITING ROOM COMPANION Created for Your Doctor's Office." "Hey, I'm taking it back," I told Carol when she got home from work and saw it. "Just like all the others that you said you were returning," was her reply. Am I the only one who borrows things and forgets to return them? I don't think so. There are some things that I do take, but I'm sure they expect people to take them. One of the items are the cardboard coasters that they sit drinks on in restaurants and bars. They put the name of their place on it hoping people will take them. Good advertisement for them. I have quite a few of them from our many travels. Same goes for the little bottles of lotion and shampoo that are placed in rooms you stay in on vacation. I always take my own along, so I figure we're just getting even. I paid for them anyway. Now I have never taken a towel from any place I have stayed. At least not intentionally. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The "Shocking News! Story

It was an ordinary day. Browsing the web, looking at all the different travel forums that I enjoy reading. Opened Traveltalkonline and one of the titles of the threads shocked me! It read "Gwen's in Anguilla - Fire! Anguilla is an English island off the coast of St. Martin. Has some of the best beaches in the world on it. Shoal Bay East is considered my some as the best beach in the world. Along that stretch of sand are a few beach bars or restaurants. Uncle Ernie's is there as so is Gwen's Raggae Grill. We ate at Gwen's on two of the day trips we made to the island. Brightly painted with yellows and turquoise colors. Beautiful view as you had your lunch and after you could relax in one of the hammocks that hung from the palm trees in front of the restaurant. Well, after viewing the photos that accompanied the thread story, Gwen's is no longer there. Burned to the ground. Seems that a propane tank used for cooking exploded and burnt the structure to the ground. Luckily no one was hurt in the fire. On an island such as this I often wondered what would happen if a structure caught fire. After seeing the condition of most of the emergency vehicles, I wondered if the fire company could get to a fire quickly and have the right equipment to extinguish the fire. In Gwen's case, the structure was all wood and probably very old and no fire company could have prevented it from burning to the ground. Luckily, most buildings are now made entirely of concrete or cement block, so little to burn but the contents. We will miss the old Gwen's. I'm sure that by the time we get there again, a new Gwen's will take it's place. And the hammocks will still sway in the Caribbean breezes. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The " Black Friday of '83" Story

It was an ordinary day. Getting up early to head to Service Merchandise to help Santa buy a Christmas present for our daughter Brynn. She has her heart set on a Cabbage Patch doll. We searched and searched and couldn't find one. Then we saw the ad for Service Merchandise. We also read that the store will have a limited quantity and you can get one if you get there when the store opens at 7:00 AM on Black Friday. 7:00 AM seemed like an outrageous time since the store generally didn't open until 10:00 AM. Well, I got out of bed at 6:00 AM and headed directly to the store. It was still dark. Shopping for a Christmas gift in the early morning hours is crazy. Can't imagine many people doing that. Was the 10th or 11th person in line and knew I was going to get a doll. At 6:45 AM they opened the door and told everyone they were sorry, but they only had a dozen or so dolls available. The moaning began in the back of the line which I couldn't see by now. At 7:00 the doors opened and I hustled in with the rest of the crowd. I had no idea where the dolls were located in the store, but I figured I better follow the rest of the crowd. There they were! A big stack of them. I grabbed two of them and headed to the checkout. Others saw that I had two and weren't happy with me, but hey, I was in line before they were. Headed home and snuck them in the door. Carol was surprised to see me back so early. Shortly after she got up she called her friend Margaret to tell her that we had a doll for her. Her daughter was the same age as our daughter and also wanted a Cabbage Patch doll. We picked out the one that we like the best and gave Marg the other one. That Christmas "Lauren" became the newest member of LDub's family and I had my first and only story to share with you about shopping on Black Friday. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The "Artists of the World" Story

It was an ordinary day. The "ding" of my computer caught my attention. Another incoming email. This one telling me that Henderson Reece just left me a message on my Facebook page. Checked my Facebook account and sure enough, there was a greeting from Henderson. Henderson is listed under my "Likes" category on my Facebook page. Carol and I met Henderson in 2008 when we traveled to Barbados in the Caribbean. His business is called Batik Art, Barbados. To Henderson, his art is his delight in what he sees and feels, and he attempts to portray his feelings through his art. This last sentence was taken right off his Batik Art Barbados Facebook page. While on the island Carol and I bought one of his beautiful batik art pieces. Batik is made using this procedure:
Melted wax (Javanese: malam) is applied to clot
h before being dipped in dye. It is common for people to use a mixture of beeswax and paraffin wax. The bees wax will hold to the fabric and the paraffin wax will allow cracking, which is a characteristic of batik. Where ever the wax has seeped through the fabric, the
dye will not penetrate. Sometimes, several colors are used, with a series of dyeing, drying and waxing steps. Thin wax lines are made with a canting, a wooden handled tool with atiny metal cup with a tiny spout, out of which the wax seeps. After the last dyeing, the fabric is hung up to dry. Then it is dipped in a solventto dissolve the wax, or ironed between paper towels or newspapers to absorb the wax and reveal the deep rich colors and thefine crinkle lines that give batik its character. This traditional method of batik making is called batik tulis.
Henderson's artwork depicts his life in Barbados. BeautifulCaribbean scenes in bright colors. His Facebook page lists one customer after another who love his work. There is a photo of Carol and I holding our artwork in his shop. I recently emailed him telling him that we may visit beautiful Barbados in another year. I told he we will be sure to stop to say "Hi" to
him when we arrive. Carol and I have pur
chased artwork from many artists on our trips we take. We have a 3'x5' fabric painting of fish and shells from Hawaii painted by Hettie hanging in our living room. We saw her work and told h
er what we would like and she mailed it to us after we returned home. We have a large acrylic on fabric by Lisa that she
painted for us of a beach scene in St. Martin. We have a seaside watercolor by Antoine Chapon and two watercolor prints by Minguet. But, my favorite is a giclee print of a house in Grand Case, St. Martin painted by Paul Elliott. Truly soft pastel Caribbean colors. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - photosfrom the top are: sample of Henderson Reece's batiks, next photo is from his Facebook page showing a customers' work, Carol and I with Henderson at his studio in Barbados and Carol and I with Paul Elliott in St. Martin.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The "It's Gallery Time" Story

It was an ordinary day. Sunday, 6:00 PM. Park City, the local huge shopping mall, has just closed for the day. Time to set up Grebinger Gallery. Since I started working part-time for Keith at the Gallery in 1999, he has always had a Christmas holiday kiosk at Park City except for last year. Keith was a former student and yearbook photographer at MTHS. For a few years it was a rented kiosk and then the two of us built a large display unit. On each corner of the display we had an 8 foot tall, 4 foot square, hollow unit on rollers that was covered with indoor/outdoor carpet. It was hollow so we could store the extra photos in it. Between the units were carpeted display panels that held more photos. Pretty neat display, but took forever to assemble in an evening. After assembly I would have to put spotlights all around the display. Last year for the first time Keith and his wife Cindy decided not to participate at Park City. The cost of renting the space was growing so high that you needed to sell a tremendous amount of photos just to pay for the rent. Just kept the Gallery in Neffsville open over the Christmas holidays. Well, this year Keith and Cindy decided that they had so much stock from previous years in storage that they would open a much smaller space and try to sell off the stock they had on hand. Keith and about 10 of his friends loaded the carpeted display panels in a rented truck along with the hundreds of photos he has and headed to Park City. I met him there at 6:00 and we began setting up the display. In three hours it was complete except for hanging about one half of the photos. That could wait until early Monday morning. Display looks great, but much smaller. Hoping with reduced prices to sell the majority of the framed prints we have been accumulating for quite a few years. Time will tell. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - Photos from the top are: LDub fastening photos to the carpeted display panels at about 11:00 PM, display when just about finished at 9:00 AM the next morning, and early morning before the customers have arrived.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The "Pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving" Story

It was an ordinary day. Thanksgiving in real time. Was up at 6:00 AM. Not to get the turkey in the oven, but to head to school to print the program for the high school football banquet which is next week. It seems it's tough to get in the school and find an open copier to do the job. The program is run on 11"x17" paper and has 20 pages. Very few photos so I just run it on the copier. Have to fold, assemble and trim it. Back home by 10:00 AM with the program finished. Dinner today will be at ourdaughter-in-law's (Barb) mother's house. They have been gracious enough to invite us for the lastfew years. Our daughter lives in Maryland and is having dinner at her house for her in-laws and family. They will arrive Friday evening and we will celebrate Thanksgiving at our house on Saturday with 17 people. We were supposed to pick up my mom at theretirement home where she resides, but got a call shortly after I got home from school telling us she didn't think she wanted to go out in the rain today. I've learned over the past few years that it is better to say OK than to try to convince her that she will have fun if she goes. Years ago Carol's grandmother, Mom-Mom, came to our house for Thanksgiving. She didn't want to, but Carol's dad insisted that his mother come. Fine with us, since he had to convince her and pick her up from her apartment in Lancaster. She was fine until our plates were full of turkey and stuffing, and then sheTHREW UP all over her plate! Reallygross!! Had to clean up the mess, Carol's dad had to take her home, and we had to try to get back to eating with the smell of throw-up in the dining room. Fun Thanksgiving! That's why I don't push my mom to attend if she doesn't want to. Left for our daughter-in-law's mom's (Etta and Bill) house at 12:30 PM for the 1:30 PM dinner. They live in Elizabethtown which is a half hour away. Taking along small loaves of Carol's famous pumpkin bread and a few large loaves for dinner. Barb had told us that we had a pre-dinner show which would include her mom playing the bells, gathering for a song, a reading, and sharing what we are thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day. There were 15 in attendance. We arrived shortly after 1:00 PM and found we had just missed the bell songs. Didn't miss the other pre-dinner activities, though. Everyone was thankful for familyand friends with a few travel thank-you's thrown in. Time to eat. The traditional dishes were on the table along with somewhat nontraditional fare of deviled eggs, sausage stuffing, pickled beets and pretzel fluff. Dessert was your usual pumpkin and apple pie along with small individual cheesecakes in honor of Bill who was celebrating his birthday. I wasn't the oldest one there I found out. Not even the second oldest. A little bit of conversation and TV followed before we headed home. When we got home Carol found she had a text message from our daughter Brynn in Maryland. Seems our granddaughter Courtney, who has Juvenile Diabetes, had been ill in the morning and became dehydrated so Brynn and our son-in-law Dave took her to the Frederick Hospital's emergency room where they tested her and immediately placed an IV in her arm to give her fluids. This happened while she was preparing for over 20 people today for her 1st Thanksgiving dinner ever. The guests pitched in to help while mom and dad took Courtney to the hospital. Brynn was now home to take over the dinner and Dave is staying with Courtney, who hopefully will be home by dinner so she won't miss the turkey. As I'm finishing my story for the day at 7:00 PM, Carol is baking 2 cherry pies for our Saturday Thanksgiving at our house and we are awaiting a call from Maryland with hopefully some good news. We need one more thing today to be thankful for today. It was an extraordinary day in the life ofan ordinary guy. PS - pixs from top are: Carols pumpkin bread, Etta's bells, Etta playing our sing along song, the dinner table (with the hats it almost looks like Christmas), Bill celebrating by blowing out the candles on the cheesecake and Carol's all-time great cherry pies.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The "I Knew I Shouldn't Have Thrown That Out" Story

It was an ordinary day. I just picked up the paper in my drive and was walking into the house to sit and read it. I noticed through the orange plastic wrapper covering the paper the headline, "New owners will reopen Log Cabin". The Log Cabin Restaurant was a Lancaster County landmark and a favorite restaurant of many people in the area for over 50 years. In 2008 Charles DiSantis, the owner, closed the doors of the popular place. It was reported in the local paper that it closed because the main road to the Log Cabin passed over a small creek and to cross the creek you had to traverse a wooden bridge. The bridge was in bad repair and it was going to be removed and replaced with a permanent structure. A time consuming job and the restaurant would suffer for quite some time. So, the owner decided instead to close the restaurant. It was eventually put up for sale, but with little success. It was purchased recently at public auction by two couples for $610,000. One of the couples, Linda and David Eshelman met while employees at the Log Cabin. After marriage they opened another restaurant, but when The Log Cabin became available at public auction, they knew they had to buy it. I'm anxiously awaiting the opening in April. New Year's Eve, 2007, was the last time Carol and I ate there. We went with our friends Pat and Dale for a meal at 9:00 PM New Year's Eve. The place was packed and they were not prepared for the amount of people. The order took for ever to arrive and when it did, the food was cold. A very forgettable evening at one of Lancaster County's finest restaurants. I was so upset with my experience that I emailed them and told them how disappointed I was with my visit. I promptly got a very nice letter in the mail telling me how sorry they were for what I experienced. They gave their reasons, but did say that it didn't excuse how I felt. They were nice enough to include a gift card for another meal. I put the gift card aside to be used for a special occasion. And then I found the perfect occasion to use it. Our 41st wedding anniversary was arriving in early summer and Carol and I would celebrate at the Log Cabin. And wouldn't you know it, just before our anniversary arrived they closed. We were very disappointed, to say the least. I never dug the card out to throw it away until ..... last week. Yep!! Can you believe it? I threw out 3 old gift cards because the places had closed. I sure hope I don't read that the other 2 places are re-opening soon. I'd really be upset then. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The "School Daze: Part 1" Story

It was an ordinary day. Checking out my high school yearbook. My graduating class recently held a meeting to discuss our upcoming 50th year reunion. 50 YEARS!! Holy cow, how old am I? Started to look through the book at the photos of the senior class. I remember most of them, but probably wouldn't recognize quite a few of them if I was standing next to them. I'm sure many would not recognize me. I grew a few inches taller, put on a few pounds and lost all my hair from the photo in the yearbook. Then I hit the faculty section of the yearbook and wondered how many of these people are still alive. I know my history teacher, Mr. Hoover is still alive and looks pretty close to his photo in the book. He was in his first year of teaching when I was a senior. He comes to breakfast every so often when the retired teachers eat together. You see, I went back to my Alma mater to teach after graduating from college. I got to teach with many of the same people who taught me. It was awkward at first, but I became good friends with most of them. And now I am part of the retired group who have breakfast once a month. As I start looking again, there is yet another member of my breakfast club, Mr. Hower. He was a math teacher who became principal after I graduated and was my boss for almost 30 years. Still do printing jobs for him. He is secretary of the PIAA (PA Athletic Asso.) and has me do the printing for him. Back to the yearbook. There is "Sheena", my homeroom and French teacher. Miss Nolan looked like Shenna, queen of the jungle. Tall, gorgeous, and blond. And, a photo of Miss Hauck who was my 9th grade math teacher. Used to hit me across the hands with a ruler if I made mistakes. Lucky for me she retired before I came back to teach. Ah, there's a pix of "Warpy" , my gym teacher for 4 years. Never quite sure how he got that name, but he was hated by many. After teaching with Mr. Lewars for a few years, I got to know the other side of him. There's Mr. Miller, one of my favorite teachers. He was my art teacher and occupied the room next to me when I started teaching. Mr. Ehemann was my shop teacher and the reason I got my job at MT after graduating from college. He coached my brother Steve in basketball and really like him. My brother convinced him that I should have a job in the Industrial Arts shop with him. Mrs. Gehman was the high school secretary and after I started teaching I realized how important she was to the school. I printed the graduation programs for years and one year had to redo it 3 times because she kept making mistakes in proofreading. As I was printing it for the third time at 6:00 AM the day of graduation, she brought me breakfast for helping her so many times. Things you remember!! Mr. Robinson, who is another breakfast member and has to be close to 90 years olds, liked to paddle kids. Kept a tally on the corner of the chalkboard. I was never a member of his list, luckily! Mr. Lewis was my favorite math teacher. Limped, walked with a cane and made me love math. I wanted to be a math teacher, but got talked into Industrial Arts, because they would instantly admit me to Millersville State Teachers College. IA teachers were in demand at the time. And finally, Dean who was a shop teacher when I was a student and became close friends when I returned to work with him. He was my department chairman. Dean still has a Christmas Tree stand. Raises all of them himself and still throws the trees on top of cars even though he has to be more than 10 years older than me. Don't know how he does it! Well, time to check out my friends in the underclass section. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - Pixs from the top are left: Mr. Hoover and Mr. Hower, Miss Nolan, Miss Hauck, Left: Mr. Lewars and Mr. Miller, Mr. Ehemann, Mrs. Gehman, Mr. Robinson, and left: Mr. Lemon and Mr. Lewis.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The "Making Photography Come Alive" Story

It was an ordinary day. I had just received the fall copy of "Instructor Newsletter", a publication from Ilford Photo. Ilford is a primarily black and white photography company based in Knutsford, Cheshire, England which sells film, paper and chemicals for developing black and white. The Ilford Photo Instructor Newsletter is published twice a year by IlfordPhoto, Paramus, NJ. I found out about it in the early 1990s and asked for a free subscription for Manheim Township High School where I taught. Called a few times with questions about their products and talked with Wendy Erickson who is the Executive Editor of the newsletter. She asked if I would be interested in contributing to the newsletter. Every time I have an article published the school would receive a complimentary box of Ilford supplies. In the fall issue of 1993 I had an article published titled "Using Your Community Resources." The article was a full page with a large title at the top and a small description of the author at the bottom. The article was meant to help other high school photography teachers with ideas for their classroom. I always took a few weeks from my classroom teaching to invite photography professionals into my classroom. Maybe a portraiture photographer, a newspaper photographer, a Doctor who specializes in radiation photography, or a camera store owner. If it was at all possible, we would travel "on location" to see the speaker in their own environment. I regularly had Smokey Roberts speak to my class. Smokey is an underwater photographer and cinematographer who worked with Jacques Cousteau on a few assignments. The students benefited tremendously from hearing the stories of these professionals. Made photography come alive. My article described the types of speakers a teacher could invite to their room, how to approach the school administration, types of calls and letters to make to the professionals, and a variety of ways to introduce them to the class. After being published, I was sent an assortment of photographic papers and film to use in my class. Very nice contribution from Ilford. In the fall of 1994 I had another article published titled "Have You Tried These Assignments Yet?" I described a few assignments that the students really enjoyed and were assignments that were meant to bring out their creative ideas as much as teach the mechanics of photography. Again a nice box of supplies from the company. By now I am telling the students that they may want to choose Ilford as well as Kodak as their choice of film and paper for the class. I suppose that was Ilford's idea behind the newsletter in the first place. The newsletter continued until 1997, but I never submitted other articles. Not sure why, but I just didn't. I found sharing my classroom stories with others to be exciting. Much the same as I do with sharing my life's stories with the readers of my blog. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The "Do You Really Know What You Are Eating, Breathing, and Touching?" Story

It was an ordinary day. Reading in the newspaper that Halliburton has finally disclosed the chemicals that are being used to extract natural gas from the Marcellus Shale area which runs through Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York. Some of the chemicals found in hydraulic fracturing fluid used by the company include: formaldehyde, ammonium chloride, acetic anhydride, methanol, hydrochloric acid and propargyl alcohol. Fracking is the process of pumping sand, water and chemicals into a wellbore under extreme pressure to help fracture the shale and allow the underground gas to escape. It is the chemicals that have proven to be hazardous to the health of those near the areas that are being exploited. Formaldehyde is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen. And the companies that are doing the fracking could be contaminating the ground water of thousands of people. Some residents of the states mentioned have already reported brown, ill-tasting water. In April 2010 the state of Pennsylvania banned Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. from further drilling in the entire state until it plugs wells believed to be the source of contamination of the drinking water of 14 homes in Dimock Township PA. A well blowout in Clearfield County, PA on June 3, 2010 sent more than 35,000 gallons of hydraulic fracturing fluids into the air and onto the surrounding landscape in a forested area. Campers were evacuated and the company EOG Resources and the well completion company C.C. Forbes have been ordered to cease all operations in the state of Pennsylvania pending investigation. I know we need more natural resources, but not at the cost of ruining the environment. Years ago, asbestos was considered a cure for many problems until it was found to also be a health hazard. Inhaling the asbestos fibers may increase the risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma (a relatively rare cancer of the thin membranes that line the chest and abdomen). In the mid-70s Carol and I decided to redo our basement on Janet Ave. and put in a TV room. There was no heat in the basement except for the hot water pipes that carried hot water to our radiators in the rest of the house. I got the bright idea to take off the thick white covering from the pipes to help make the basement warmer. About an hour after I started I realized it was asbestos I was removing and I had inhaled the fibers. Mesothelioma doesn't show symptoms until years after the initial exposure. Every time I have a lingering cough after a cold I worry about what I inhaled years before. I recently had a chest X-ray and eventually a CAT scan because of a constant cough, but the CAT scan showed nothing on it. I often wonder if everyone really knows what they are eating, breathing and touching every day of their lives. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The "Might as well do it while you still can" Story

It was an ordinary day. I was in my workroom in the basement working on framing a few photos when Carol came to the top of the steps and yelled down, "There's an ad in the newspaper about a time share in St. Martin!" Got my attention real quick. Up the steps I went and she read the small ad to me. "What do you think?" I said. "Are we interested?" She thought for a while and said, "I'm not sure. We're going there in six months for a couple weeks already. This is in January. Would be neat to do, though." Now, St. Martin is our favorite vacation destination and as you age you have to take advantage of every opportunity you get to have fun. So, I was all for it. "We'll count the trip as our Christmas present to each other," I said. I wasn't too sure she liked that idea, since she likes to share lots of presents. The next day I called the number in the paper and talked to Leah who told me about the place. The Dutch side of the island is where her time share, The Pelican Resort, is located. We usually travel to the French side of the island, but no reason we can't try something new. The island isn't that big. Carol and I talked about the price and decided since the place as two bedrooms we would ask our traveling companions Jerry and Just Sue if they wanted to go along with us. Called right away and told them about the chance we had found. They said it wouldn't suit this time, so I started to search for a replacement couple. Found one at my retirement breakfast the next morning. Barry W., who taught in the same room with me for years, and his wife Karen would love to go. They had bought passports a few years before, but had never used them. Now was the chance. The planning is now taking place and the excitement will build as the time gets closer. We will be able to share our knowledge and love of St. Martin with some different friends. Has to be a few new stories to share with you, also. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The "Go Team Go Championships" Story

It was an ordinary day. A lllooonnnngggg, ordinary day. We went to the Mid-Maryland Youth Football and Cheerleading Championships held at the University of Maryland at their Cole Field House. Our six year old granddaughter Camille is cheering for the Urbana Hawks team. She and five other cute little girls comprise the entire cheerleading squad that are entered in the exhibition category. Friday, Carol and I went to visit our daughter Brynn, son-in-law Dave and granddaughters Courtney and Camille. Friday night we got to watch Dave's high school football team win their first round in the State Championships. Saturday was a day of learning new recipes for Thanksgiving dinner for the girls while I painted the ceiling in the dining room. Sunday morning we rose early so we could leave by 8:00 AM for the University of Maryland. We hopped on Rt. 270 and after about 5 minutes Brynn realized she didn't have Courtney's purse with her diabetic supplies and insulin. Quick U-turn at the emergency turn-around and head back towards their house. Dave, who is holding meetings with the football coaches at home, meets us halfway with the purse. Insulin and needles are a constant companion when you have a child with Type 1 diabetes. YOU CAN'T FORGET THEM!! Back on the road again and we arrive in time for the 9:00 registration meeting. While Camille holds a final practice for her routine, the rest of us go for breakfast. We arrive back at 10:30 AM, find parking and make our way into the field house. Great seats at the top of the field house directly behind the scorers table. At 11:45 Camille and her friends are announced. You can see their excitement as they enter in their blue and white uniforms and walk onto the mats. And then the music and cheering begins. The girls are all in a line behind one another with their poms. Then Camille and her friend Madison do cartwheels to either side ending in splits on the mat. WOW, really neat!! These are six year olds. After a few more minutes the routine is over and the crowd erupts in cheers. After a hug for the coach, they have their photo taken at the edge of the mat and the next group in introduced. This has been going on for two hours already and doesn't end until 12:30 PM. At that time all teams are led back onto the mats to receive their awards. And .... every girl gets an award, which is really neat. Must be at least 500 or more girls on the floor with their coaches. By 1:30 we meet Camille and grab a few pixs outside before heading home. These are the types of activities that will create memories for the future. Camille will have photos and good memories forever and I certainly will remember my day! It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - photos from the top are: the Urbana Hawks cheerleaders, with Camille on the far right, anxiously awaiting their turn on the floor, the beginning of the routine with Camille on the right in her split position, one of the positions they have achieved during the routine, the poms, the floor of the field house covered with the girls waiting for their awards, Camille's team (she is in the right front) and coaches after they have received their medals, and Camille and her best friend Madison.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The "At Least She Missed the Mailbox" Story

It was an ordinary day. The big event was almost over. The author of "The Shack", William Paul Young was signing autographs. Paul has sold over 25 million copies of his book and draws large crowds to his talks about his life. Tonight there was over 750people in attendance at the Lancaster Bible College. The autograph line stretched around the auditorium. Everyone wanted to share their story with him as well asgetting their book, or in some cases books, autographed. He obliged with a smile and kind words and always a hug. He must have hugged almost everyone in the room, except me. I was the one with the camera taking pixs of all the hugging. All this hugging takes time and I was getting tired. Already 10:00 PM. I had planned to take Carol home with me, but she saw that I was tired and told me she would get a ride home with Debbie after everyone had left. OK. Debbie is a co-worker who helped organize the event with Carol and their boss at the Parish Resource Center, Dave. I headed home and was relaxing in front of the TV when I saw the lights coming in the driveway. A few minutes later the door from the garage opened and Carol said, "Come quick, Debbie is in trouble." Not knowing what kind of trouble I jumped up and ran for the door. Seems Debbie was leaving and misjudged the direction of our driveway and went too far to the right and ended up in our ground cover. Now, I should tell you that the ground cover drops off from our driveway on the right side at a 45 degree angle. It drops down about four feet to the grass by the street. And ..... Debbie's caris now hanging there with it's back wheels in the air and the two front wheels in the ground cover. Hung up with the center of the car caught on the ground cover. I approach and tell her I will try to push her car forward. Her seat belt is holding her in place on the front seat. No luck! Now what? Carol says, "Why don't you go get your big rope and hook it to the Mountaineer and pull her back up?" "Good idea," I say. I find the 1/2" thick rope, back the 4-wheel drive Merc out of the garage and fasten Debbie's car toour towing hitch. Put the car in the lowest gear and slowly draw the rope tight. Then I pulled her car right back up the bank she had gone over. Luckily her Toyota Pruis is a fairly light weight car. Yelled to Carol to tell Debbie not to accelerate in reverse and run into the back of my car. When I was satisfied that she was back far enough from the bank, I eased up on the rope and got out and untied the rope from both cars. We were all relieved that everyone was OK. Remarkably there was no damage done to the car or the ground cover. One more hug was in order for the evening. That being the one Debbie gave me for my help. Itwas another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - Funny, but the whole time this is occurring, I am thinking this has to be a story for my blog, but I just don't feel I should take the time to go get my camera and take a photo. The stress level was high enough without taking photos to emphasize it. The photo that appears here shows the area to the right of my mail box where the car fell off. PPS - Top pix shows Carol on the left with friend Debbie, middle is our driveway with mailbox to the right and bottom is the ground cover to the right of the mailbox.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The "Meeting of a Celebrity" Story

It was an ordinary day. "The Shack" Day. It was held at Lancaster Bible College and was sponsored by the Parish Resource Center. My wife, Carol, works at the Parish Resource Center in Lancaster, PA. The PRC is a subscription-based, non-sectarian, not-for-profit educational institution that provides trained consultants who provide professional guidance and support at the center, online, or by phone. They also feature professionally led seminars and workshops by national church leaders and have a comprehensive library of cutting edge resource materials. Building is really neat with a very modern design to it. For 18 months she has been working for this day. William Paul Young, the author of the best seller "The Shack" is talking about his book and his life. And the PRC is sponsoring the event as a means to raise money to help it continue their mission. And, to keep Carol working. Carol designed the tri-fold color program for the evening's program, sold tickets, sent out emails, etc. to help with the event. Over 780 people showed up for the program this evening. Carol's boss, Dave L., asked if I would take photos of the evening. I was pleased to have the opportunity to take photos of the gathering before the program as well as the program itself. I got to meet and talk to Paul and have my photo taken with him. During his presentation I shot more than 100 photos of him and the audience. The audience sat for an hour listening to Paul's life journey and his adventures of faith lived one day at a time. After his story came an hour long question and answer session and then a book signing. I think that about a third of the people in the audience got in line to have their book signed and share a hug and storywith Paul. "The Shack" was a storywritten for his six children, with no thought or intention to publish it. How he had it published and how it became a best seller is indeed a very interesting and humorous story. Which makes me believe that there may still be hope for "Extraordinary Stories From An Ordinary Guy." It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. PS - Photos from top are: Copy of "The Shack" at the gathering at supper, Paul enjoying the meal, Paul and me, audience at the Lancaster Bible College, Paul making a point during his talk, and the line during the book signing at the end of the evening. PPS - Make sure you read tomorrow's story to see how the evening really ended!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The "Sure Glad I Have Health Insurance" Story

It was an ordinary day. Back in the doctor's office for Mohs: Round #2 (check out Feb. 14: MOHS Surgery story). I had the first round in January of 2010. Dr. Jeanette Hebel removed the top 1/4" of myleft ear because of basal cell carcinoma. She reconstructed it so that you would never know I had surgery on it. Had 18 stitches on the inside of the top of my ear to reshape it. She did an unbelievable job. A few months later I was back for a routine check-up at my dermatologist, Dr. Brod. He found a few spots which he froze and two spots that were questionable. He took a sample of both spots for a pathology test. One was fine while the other, at the bottom of the same ear I had surgery on, was also basal cell carcinoma. If it had been below my neck he would have had me come back and performed the removal himself. Instead he had me see his associate, Dr. Hebel for the Mohs surgery. Dr. Hebel is not only a dermatologist, but a plastic surgeon. Mohs surgery, named after Dr. Frederic Mohs, is the mapping of the piece of suspected tissue, cutting the tissue, staining it, the interpretation of the tissue in a microscope, and the reconstruction of the surgical defect (plastic surgery). If after the first sample is removed and tested and proves to still test positive, more samples can be taken immediately and tested until all of the cancer is removed. I arrived at 10:00 AM for the procedure. Brought my lunch, a drink, and a book to read. After my surgery in January, I knew I would be in for a full day of fun. I had to have surgical removal of tissue four times before the doctor was satisfied the cancer cells were all removed. Each time she would take her scalpel and cut the tissue and place it in a Petri dish. Even though I had Novocaine in the area she was performing the surgery on, I could still HEAR the cutting of the tissue. The cancer cells were not real deep, but the roots from the tumor had traveled quite a distance. 26 stitches worth of distance. Didn't feel them, but again, HEARD everyone of them. She had to pull the skin from my neck up to reach the area where she did the surgery. The cure rate for this type of surgery is 97-99.8% so I'm positive she got it all. I left the office at 2:30 PM with the side of my face covered in bandages. In 24 hours I could remove the bandages and wash the area. I then would need to put Vaseline on the incision to keep it moist until I return next week to have the stitches removed. No bandage is necessary after the first 24 hours. Can hardly wait to see what it looks like. I questioned her about doing the other side of my face so all the wrinkles would be removed from this side also. Her response was negative so I guess whenever I have a photo taken in the future, I'll make sure it is of the left side of my face. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.