Monday, June 13, 2011


This particular entry recounts a number of events that took place since May 31. I just know that you don't want to miss a single day of my action-filled life, so I will give you a capsule summary of what's been going on, mostly with the help of the Box.

On May 31, I delivered a bed frame and mattress to an older member of Market Square Church who had acquired an apartment in the Presbyterian Apartments building at Second and South streets, Harrisburg. Her view from the 19th floor is spectacular! Here are just two examples of what she overlooks.

St. Patrick's R.C. Cathedral, left, and Grace United Methodist Church, right. In the background is the round William Penn Memorial Museum Building, which houses the State Museum of Pennsylvania, and just behind that, the Pennsylvania State Archives Building.

Looking north, you could see all the way to the first of the Susquehanna Water Gaps. The “Water Gaps” are actually a series of five gaps through the ridges from Liverpool in northern Perry County, south to I-81 just north of Harrisburg. These gaps, as a group, have been designated a “National Natural Landmark” by the National Park Service for the outstanding views of the geological process resulting in water gaps.

On June 3, I stopped by Market Square Church to gawk at the newly-restored and adapted Communion table, which had just been delivered from the carpenter who did the work. The table was made six inches taller to give it more importance in the large and high worship space, and it was refinished, presumably for the first time since it was made in the 1930s.

The table was covered with a temporary cloth, awaiting the new paraments that had been ordered in each of the correct liturgical colors.

Undoubtedly the best work by the carpenter, David Lunin of Lancaster, was the addition of the bottom skirt and moldings at the foot of the columns.

On June 5, Market Square's pastor, Jim Brown, became the Rev. Dr. James D. Brown, having received an honorary doctorate degree from Wilson College in Chambersburg. Jim has been a shining light in the Presbytery (Synod, for you Lutheran readers, Diocese for our Catholic friends and relatives) during the 14 years he has been at MSPC. He was a trustee at Wilson. He retires on June 30 of this year after a distinguished career in the ministry.

The Rev. Dr. James D. Brown shows the red hood he was given to mark his honorary doctorate -- just in time for Pentecost Sunday the next week!

Susanne's mother had fallen and hurt herself the week before June 6, when her daughters gathered at Messiah Village to visit her and talk to doctors. Afterwards, I joined them to have dinner at the Pizza Grille on Old Gettysburg Road near Shiremanstown. There was a lot of talking going on during that meal, believe you me! 
I am happy to report that their mother is improving each day and expects to return after physical therapy to her own apartment.

The Pizza Grille by the light of the silvery moon. We sat on the covered porch and enjoyed a pleasant evening.

Afterward, the ladies gathered under a stately sycamore tree, and illuminated by a handsome street light, posed for this picture. Right to left are sisters Joanne and Robin, Robin's partner Ellen (of Winston-Salem, NC), and, of course, Susanne.

As part of my work in placing French teens with area host families for a three-week stay in the summer, I visit the homes of prospective hosts. On June 8, I drove to Maytown, Lancaster County, to visit with a lovely young couple and their kids, cat, and turtle, to talk about what it means to be a host family. The wife in the family had been a French major in college and longed to try out her French again, while making sure her student will learn plenty of English.

Maytown is a delightful little jewel of a town. The streets are lined with 18th- and 19th century homes. I struck up a conversation while taking a picture of the church and discovered that the pastor lived in a house on the site of the birthplace of Simon Cameron, 19th-century politician, Lincoln's Secretary of War and minister to Russia, and owner of the John Harris Mansion, built in the 18th century and now the headquarters of the Historical Society of Dauphin County, where I serve on the Board of Directors.

Here's the Maytown Historical Society's museum, open only one day a week, but a wonderful example of historic preservation and civic pride. It was beautifully restored, and the gardens in the rear are luscious.
 I really liked this stone house on Center Square.

Here is the state historical marker for Simon Cameron's birthplace. While he was generally regarded as a scoundrel (it is said the only thing he would not steal was a red hot stove), the man who lives on this site had some positive things to say about him.

On the way home, I drove north on Pa. 441 and passed this famous landmark.

On June 9, the Box roared into Lebanon County, just a few miles east of Linglestown, and headed south toward Palmyra. This was another family visit for LEC, the French student homestay program. (How many do you want?) We passed Bindnaugle's Lutheran Church, located out in the country a few miles from Palmyra. I vowed to come home the same way so that I could take some pictures of this wonderful old building. And so I did!

 The Box sits patiently as I explore the campus of this lovely old church.

Most of the shutters were removed, presumably for painting, but this Palladian window, to the right of the pulpit inside, was in full dress.

Having worked at historic Cornwall Iron Furnace, I have long admired the handiwork of the blacksmith, who created this long-functioning and beautiful piece of decorative art.

Later that evening, Mr. Box (or is it Mr. Bachs?) and I followed I-81 and I-83 to the Second Street exit and up the street to Market Square Church for the last choir rehearsal of the season. Following a tear-jerking rendition of a work by Brahms, we continued the weep-fest with a tribute to Nina Brown, wife of the aforementioned Dr. Brown, because she has decided to leave us and go with Jim wherever retirement leads them, although she could, if she really wanted to, stay with us. Choir members organized a little surprise, presented Nina with a lovely blue agate necklace, and enjoyed wonderful refreshments (sorry, no whoopie pies) and fellowship. Nina (and Jim) will be sorely missed.

 Lana wrings tears (but no sobs) from Nina with a touching tribute.

Choristers Richard and Wilmer enjoy some coffee and a chat during the farewell festivities.

These cream-cheese laden carrot cake muffins were out of this world.

This pear tart with custard filling (I am sure it has a fancy name) was a real treat.

The event I attended on June 11 was sixty years in the making. My cousin Elaine (our mothers were sisters) and her best beau Bernie are now the matriarch and patriarch of their extended family. They were married 60 years ago at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, just 20 years before Susanne and I tied the knot there. Just think, I was only four when they married and yet I remember the affair. My sister Rachel was the flower girl. At any rate, Elaine and Bernie's family and friends gathered to pay tribute to them as examples of marriage and parenthood. They now are retired in Florida, basking in the sun there and in the glow of affection from their four children and countless (to me, anyway) grandchildren and great grandchildren.
I stuck the program from the anniversary party on the windshield of the Box for this commemorative photo outside the Holiday Inn in Swatara Township, east of Harrisburg.

 Bernie and Elaine, looking lovely and contented at their table.

As always, we'll end with food! On each table at the anniversary luncheon was a beautifully-decorated cake, white and chocolate, for guests to share.  Wait! What is that crusty circle to the left of the cake? Ah, Bernie does not like cake -- he likes blueberry pie! And so he got one.

Wow, now I am tired just thinking of all that's happened recently. I'll need a week in the islands to recuperate. Like that would ever happen.

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