Sunday, March 4, 2012


Yesterday was sort of busy. At 9:00 a.m. I met with two other members of the collections committee of the Historical Society of Dauphin County at the John Harris-Simon Cameron Mansion in Harrisburg. We're planning an exhibit about an early Harrisburg family who were quite distinguished in civic life.

First, we checked the inventory of artifacts to see which ones had been donated by family descendants, and once we found out their location, we went on a treasure hunt to find them.

Here, Jesse and Erik are searching the database.

Next we went into the mansion to locate the artifacts that will help to tell the story of this family. The silhouette below, displayed in the hallway opposite a clock owned by John Harris, Jr., depicts one of the original family members and will no doubt end up in the exhibit. All in all, we spent about three hours in the house looking at possible items to use and places where the exhibit might take place.

The mansion is much larger than most people know because there are rooms and areas not on the public tour. One day, perhaps, all of the rooms will be accessible, and everyone will be able to tour the whole house.

Soon the other guys, who have wives and children at home who needed them, started looking at their watches, so we broke up around noon. I went home to await the arrival of some special visitors.

These special people were our son Matt and grandson Ian, who spent the late afternoon with us and then stayed overnight. Ian had been invited to the birthday party of his friend Luca at Luca's grandparents' house here in Harrisburg. His mom was hard at work on a monster project in her office in Baltimore, so Matt brought Ian. After the party, they came to see us. Matt went out to dinner with Luca's parents and other friends while Ian entertained us with his kiddie charm. His grandmother helped him practice writing his name, watched some television with him, and then read him a bedtime story.

Matt and Ian got up early this morning to return to Baltimore. I'm not sure if they had breakfast here or not, but I am pretty sure I heard Matt say, "I'll take you for a donut if you hold still while I put your shoe on." I was sorry that it was not my shoe he was trying to put on.

Soon the Box and I were headed to church at Market Square. Our adult choir sang three pieces from various historical eras, the culmination of a month or so of learning about how choral music was sung by choirs in the years between 1600 and the early 20th century. Here is one of the anthems, "Call to Remembrance."

Also "on the bill" was the Alleluia Choir, our children's choir, who sang a lovely Lenten piece accompanied by piano and hand bells.

By the time I arrived, my sister Rachel had already been at the church for a while to prepare for the service of Holy Communion. She bakes a Scottish short bread at home and fills the cups with grape juice at the church. This is all done in the kitchen. Then she and a helper lug it all upstairs into the nave of the church. Afterwards, it is all lugged back downstairs for cleaning and storage.

When I first saw her, she was standing in the kitchen putting cherry pie filling on the top of little tarts she had made for the coffee hour. Later she helped to prepare lunch for the youth group that was preparing for some sort of reading marathon to raise money for a mission trip. I wish churches were filled with people like Rachel -- no task would ever go undone!

After church, Rachel and I went out for lunch (after she dropped off the church childcare giver at her home opposite our old elementary school). Rachel showed me her new phone, and the photos below were made using the "cartoon" setting. They really a pretty amazing. I thought you might be amused by them. You have to click on one to see it full size and get the full effect.

Of course, we had to see the Box first.

Staring down the Box.

Then with me -- twice!

How weird is that? Your face might look awful, but it's not your fault. I can buy into that!

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