Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Family is everything

The weekend was wonderful!
Mom and I started out around 9:00 AM on Friday when we headed to Denny's for breakfast. I had mentioned to her earlier in the week how I had been craving pancakes, and that got her thinking about them. So we decided to start the weekend off by satisfying that craving.
Our server, whose name was Daniel, was one of the friendliest servers we'd ever met. As we talked to him I felt compelled to ask him what it was that motivated him to be so upbeat, outgoing and pleasant. He began to explain that it just doesn't make sense to him to not have a positive attitude while you're working. It makes the day go faster and it makes the people you wait on seem nicer, too. At this point mom flat-out asked if he knew the Lord, to which Daniel replied, Yes. Somehow, mom and I both knew that about him already. It was something we could sense in our spirit. And that made the conversation that much more enjoyable for all of us. And I couldn't help thinking that if every Christian approached their job with Daniel's attitude how much of a difference would it make for the people we work with?
We managed to get on the road before 10:00 AM. It was a really nice ride. The sun was shining and the weather was nice and warm. Warm enough that I had to put the AC on. We tried letting the windows down, but once you hit 60 mph it's too much wind and noise. And mom and I always enjoy our conversations on these trips.
As usual, mom and I talked about a great many things. The one that kinda took me by surprise was finding out that she watches The Girls Next Door...
Yes, that's right. My mom, who can't make it through saying grace without weeping for joy at God's blessings - or sorrow for those less fotunate than us (and sometimes both) - watches a show that focuses on the hedonistic lives of Hugh Hefner and his live-in girlfriends. I had to laugh at this since she explained it so innocently:
"Those girls are so cute, and they're so ditzy. I just get the biggest kick out of them." Mom continued. "I think he keeps those girls around because they make him feel young. (Uuuuuuh, ya think so?!?) And I always pray for them. I don't think they're bad girls or people, I just think they don't know any better."
Ya know what I think? If the rest of the Church would adopt this view of non-believers, we'd have a much better and effective impact in this world. Maybe a little less naive, but still one without a hint of judgment - just genuine concern.
We conversed some more about other things before mom decided to take some time to read her Bible for a little while. It was at this point I decided to put on some music. I had a few CDs with me, some of them worship music, and the others, not so much. I started out with Kutless. They have a CD called Strong Tower. It's one of the worship CDs, but it's acually pretty solid as a rock CD. And sure enough, mom was really enjoying it. Later, I tossed in Children 18:3, and mom was tapping her fingers to that too. I never suspected my mo would be into punk. I even played some hardcore stuff by Project 86, and mom was cool with that too. I gotta tell ya, that's not bad for a 70-something great-grandma...
Since breakfast was so filling, we had no need to stop for lunch on our way. So we made it to my aunt Kathleen's house by 3:15. That's great timing!
We got ourselves unloaded and I took my obligatory nap. It's not that I have to take a nap every time we make the trip, but after the ride I really need to just sit back and relax for a little while. And when you wake up at 4:30 AM, out of habit, then 3:15 - 3:30 in the afternoon is pretty much nap-time. So I just kinda drift off into la-la-land.
I didn't sleep for long, though. We had to have dinner early since mom and Kathleen wanted to go to the high school to see my cousin Dan's son, Brent, in the Promenade. He was nominated for King of the Prom, but he didn't win. I didn't go. I stayed at the house to read. I figured, since I didn't go to my own prom, and Brent really wouldn't care - one way or the other - if I showed up, I'd be just as well staying at the house. I was right. Even Dan said so.
So once everyone returned, we had dessert and talked and got caught up with everyone. Dan, and his wife Deb stayed til about 9:30. At which point I decided that I really wanted to take a walk to enjoy the nice, warm weather. Besides, it's always so relaxing to take a little walk around the town when nobody else is out. When I got back we all called it a night.

Saturday morning rolled around and we had no real plans for the day. We had breakfast and then I took another walk. And I took my camera with me because I'm such a sucker for getting some good pics of Ft. Recovery.
This time I started out aith the park, rather than the fort.
The Park

I see the plackard on the left and I get kinda geeked about the fact that nobody (meaning the ACLU) has tried to sue the town to have it removed from public view. But then again, I suspect that the people of this town would burn any ACLU lawyers at the stake - as witches - if they were to ever try.
I'll bring the marshmallows...
Besides, if I'm not mistaken, the money for this park was donated by families within the community, and not community tax dollars. So there!

Won't be long, they'll be having weekly concerts here at the amphitheater. This is such a cool little set-up. Every town should have one of these!

And now for a little history lesson.
I know I've shared pics of this before, but I wanted to share the new ones this year since I have a few new angles of other subjects in this set. So, come, take a little stroll through history with me.

Well, you can see the amphitheater in the background of this shot.
This little bit of landscaping is something special. See the plaque on the rock?

This is what it reads.

I remeber when my cousin Dan first told me about this.
Years ago, before anyone knew any better, the museum had a skeleton on display inside. They were the remains of one of the indian warriors killed in the battle at Ft Recovery.
It just so happened that a family of native americans was travelling through the area one year and they stopped at the museum to see what it was about. When they saw the bones, they immediately contacted the the attendant to express their indignation at the fact that their brother's bones were not at rest in the earth where they belonged. And that started a ball rolling to have an actual ceremony to return the bones to the earth, so the warrior could find his rest and join his people in the after-life.
There was a huge ceremony that lasted over a week and people of various tribes and nations came from all across the country to be a part of it. Dan said that most of them camped out in teepees and they had buffalo roaming about on the park grounds as a part of the whole celebration. I would've loved to have seen it.
But, in any event, since I've known about this for awhile. And since I'm aware that tobacco is sacred to the native americans. And I know that smoking is something that expresses honor - as well as represents prayers - I decided to walk up to the gas station/convinience store and grab a cigar. Then I sat down on the bench beside the stone and smoked the cigar to honor the fallen warrior, and to pray for him and his descendants, and when I had finished the cigar I took the unsmoked tobacco and sprinkled it over the site as a gift to him.
I don't know why I felt that this was so important for me to do. But I really felt impressed by the Holy Spirit to do this. And I have learned not to allow such impressions slip by unheeded. I did this once each day while I was there.

Reading the above plaque makes me think "They must've worked for the government, or a union."

And now for the rest of the history lesson...

Yeah, I guess it does look like there used to be a river here.

I liked this shot of the fort.

And this one of the water tower.

I don't know why I never saw the tower from this angle before.

The row of cannonn balls with a few missing.

I guess it's not really too hard to believe that somebody would steal one of these things...
But I would've liked to see them trying to run away with it if they had been caught!

Now, this was something different.
In a town where nothing ever seems to change, there's a new addition to the fort site.

This is all the story we have about the woman in carving.

Makes me wonder about how things turned out for her afterwards. Did she survive? Where was her husband? Was he one of the soldiers? Did he survive? What became of her life after this? Hmmmmm...

A few random shots.

I'm still curious how the state of Indiana got this one past the ACLU...

I returned to Kathleen's shortly after this walk and took a nap. I had no choice this time.
You see, my aunt Kathleen has neithe cable TV, nor a computer - let alone internet access. So I had brought my DVD player with me in the hopes of at least being able to watch a few movies, which I also brought along. But for some odd reason, we couldn't get the DVD player to work with Kathleen's set-up. I don't know if it was her TV, the analog-digital converter box she has to have, or something else that we weren't seeing. But Dan had stopped over and neither of us could get it to work. So when we exhausted all of our options, I opted for the nap.
That evening we went out for dinner. There's a little ice cream place around the corner from Kathleen's, called Miller's Drive-In. This place has been there forever, and they have some really good food. So we enjoyed a few burgers and fries and then decided that we should do a little exploring - just to make sure I would know where I'm going for the Anniversary celebration tomorrow.
When we got back to the house, we relaxed some more. I took another walk in the cool of the evening, and just enjopyed the peace and quiet. When I got back, we called it a night.

Sunday morning. The big day. My aunt Ginny and uncle Denny's 50th Wedding Anniversary. We had to be out the door by 8:00 AM.
The service was nice. I liked the priest. He had a good message and really emphasized the need for a personal relationship with Christ. Not something you hear very often from the Catholic church. Maybe there's hope, yet...

So, allow me to bore you with pics of my family.
Uncle Denny and Aunt Ginny.

The entire Schwieterman clan. Don't even think about asking me to name them all!

With mom and Ginny's brothers and sisters.

With Denny's brothers and sisters.

Ginny's wedding dress and some of the gifts the kids and grandkids gave them for the event.

It was great to see my mom's family again.
There are times when I feel awkward referring to them as "mom's family". They're my family, too. But I gues it's just because i do't see them very often. And when I do, it's more about everybody getting to visit with mom and mom getting to visit with everyone else. I just stay in the background and eat.
Oh, and the food was really good too. The luncheon began at 12:30, and ended around 1:30. But by the time everyone had gone and it was only Ginny and Denny's kids and grandkids left, it was close to 5:00. So they broke out the leftovers and we all ate some more.
There was plenty of drinking going on too. Captain Morgan seemed to have a lot of friends here! And Judy, my cousin Jeff's wife, had a little more than a little of the captin in her. She had brought out her ipod and it's dock so they could play some music while they cleaned up, and she just couldn't resist dancing.
I just kinda stood around and chuckled at everything. Then one of my cousins sked me if I knew any of the songs that were playing and I said "Ya know, I live in a totally different world than everyone else. If I can't mosh to it, it doesn't exist."
"Mosh?" she asked. So I explained it as a type of "dancing" that allows kids to let out a little bit of there aggression by bumping, bouncng and slamming into one another. She just smiled and said "Oh", then walked away after that.
Oh, well, like I said, a totally different world.
We wrapped things up around 6:30 and headed back to Kathleen's. After I changed, I took another walk through town. My last one for this visit, but mom is rethinking her position on us coming back for Thanksgiving. Her original plan was to not make the trip, but now that she's been here, and she sees that two of her brothers aren't doing as well as they had been doing for so long, she's thinking it might be a good idea to make the effort to see them again before it's too late - I think you all know what I'm talking about here, and it's not the most pleasant thought, but we do have to be realistic.
Called it a night early since we had the long ride ahead of us in the morning.
Woke up and had breakfast and left by 9:00 AM. Made it home by 3:15 and that included a stop for lunch.

I spent a sleepless night at home last night, knowing I had work in the morning, but just couldn't get to sleep. There are times when home doesn't feel like home to me. Coming back from Ft Recovery is always one of those time. I've even talked to mom about the fact that when we leave for Ft Recovery, it always feels more like going home than when we leave to come back.
It's not that I don't like living here. Pittsburgh is a great place to live. But I don't always feel like I belong here. It's like the pictures I always take of the fort. There's something about it that draws me to it. Not like it did when I was a kid and it held that fascination of being something new and different. I've seen it every year, sometimes a few times each year, for nearly a decade now. Yet I'm still drawn to it everytime I go there. Maybe God is trying to tell me something...
Or, maybe, it's something else. My friend Merry would say "It's tribal", meaning, because I have family there (my tribe) I feel connected to it. That could be it. I don't really know for sure. All I know is I wish I could be there more often.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's the "cool of the evening", the calm, the quiet, and leaving a little of life's daily BS behind. Its the same coming back from most vacations.

9:43 AM  
Blogger One Wink at a Time said...

You put a lot of work into this post and I enjoyed it. I especially liked the plaque under the tree about a third of the way into the post.
Sorry, can't help but snicker at the naps you take. lol When I go back home to visit, I never get enough sleep b/c I'm afraid of missing something.
Can't get over the family resemblance between your Mom's siblings. Pretty amazing.
So cool that she likes your music.
Glad you had a good trip.
And I understand completely the feeling of "being home..." There's nothing like it. Maybe God instilled those feelings in us for a reason, to keep family close. So few of us actually succeed in doing that.

7:37 AM  
Blogger M+ said...

I'd say you're right, but there's something more to this than that. Maybe it's just the fact that I feel like reconnecting with mom's side of the family is something I should be doing. I know that feeling you're talking about with coming home from vacations, but that's not the same kind of feeling I get.

I do try to put a good bit of effort into these posts.
I like that plaque too. But I think that's obvious from my post.
I take naps because if I don't, I'll just get in someone's way. Besides, nobody's going anywhere without me. So I won't miss anything.
The family resemblance is visible in many of my cousins too. You can just tell they're Fallers.
You're probably right about those feelings being about family.

2:50 PM  

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