Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Evelyn in Indiana

So, guess who flew in for Mike's birthday? My MOM.

Evelyn Hayes of Melbourne, Florida, managed to
s-q-u-e-e-z-e us in to her always full itinerary.

I drove down to Indianapolis to pick her up last Thursday. Our airport is brand new, really beautiful, minus any asbestos (a major reason for the new digs), and easy and quick to navigate.

Except, for us from the north of Indy, it requires about 15 minutes more driving time. That's a pain.

However, you soon let any petty aggravation drift to the back when you enter. It has nice touches: always hot water in the bathrooms and so forth

So, Mom jangled my cell phone when she arrived at the gate.

And, there she was.

We drove back to Kokomo. I was up and gone Friday morning, having left the coffee pot ready.

How did she amuse herself? Mike talked her into a quick flight over to Muncie where they enjoyed lunch.

Later that evening, we all attended The Brick, a monthly, informal gathering at our friends' house. Anywhere between 10 and 50, 60, or more descend to visit and enjoy home made pizza. I spied Mike in the kitchen, rolling out the dough. It turned into a late night so after a good rest, we loaded up and headed to Winona Lake.

Sunday was Birthday Party Day. Monday was play day for Evelyn and Lynne. Tuesday, and Mom is back in sunny Florida.

Love you, Mom. Thanks. For everything, always.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mike's Birthday Bash

8/29/10 Winona Lake, Indiana: about 40 people gathered inside our small, non-air conditioned cottage, to celebrate Mike's joining of the 59 CLUB.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow............

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Private Jenna Harper

On rare occasion, often when you least expect it, you get the opportunity to meet someone new who gives you hope for the human situation. This person might be struggling with a problem but displays courage or quiet dignity; or maybe honor and character shine through. Or perhaps he is simply trying his best to get along in his situation as best he knows how, not looking for a handout or a compliment, just quietly going about what he is supposed to do. Such people are rare these days. That is why meeting one is wonderful, particularly when the meeting is by chance.
Two weeks ago I was seated on a passenger jet trying to get from Seattle to Minneapolis. The departure was 2 hours late. The passengers were angry at the delay. The crew was frustrated at the length of time it was taking for the passengers, all 300 of us, to stow carry-on bags and be seated.
Next to me was a young lady that looked to be about 20 years old. She had short brown hair with a bit of blond in it. She was wearing Nike running shoes, nondescript black pants and a black T-shirt. On her lap was an Ipod with earphones, along with a cell phone. She wore little or no makeup and had tattoos of flowers wrapping around her right wrist. No watch or rings. No earrings.
As we waited for the boarding to finish, a passenger left her carry-on bag in the middle of the exit aisle. The flight attendant noticed it and said in a loud, irritated voice, "Whose bag is this?"
The passenger admitted that it was hers. The flight attendant then said, in that same irritated tone of voice, "Get it out of here. Put it in the overhead, under your seat or check it. Do it now!" Chastised, the passenger put it under her seat.
The young lady seated next to me said, "Who is that?"
"That is one of the flight attendants," I replied.
"She would get a lot more cooperation if she was not so rude. There is no reason to talk to people like that. She should know better."
"She is having a bad day. And the flight is overbooked. It is probably going to get worse."
I then introduced myself. The young lady told me her name was Jenna Harper. I asked Jenna where she was going. She told me she was trying to get to her hometown about 50 miles north of Minneapolis. I asked Jenna where she had come from and she told me she had been flying for almost 30 hours from Korea. She said she had two weeks leave from the U. S. Army.
I asked Jenna how long she had been in the Army. She told me she had been in for a little over a year. She had been trained to dispatch Blackhawk helicopters that were supporting an infantry regiment. She had been in Korea for seven months with five months left to go. After Korea, she was going to Ramstein, Germany for two years.
I asked Jenna why she had joined the Army. She said, "I did not want to end up like my friends at home. All they thought about was partying and finding some guy to marry, so they wouldn't have to work. That's not for me."
I commented that joining the army seemed kind of extreme, given what she had told me. Jenna then said, "There wasn't money to go on in school and I wasn't interested in school, either. School would have been a waste for me. I am not ready for that. I wanted a job and there were no jobs in my town. I had to do something. The only thing I could think of was to join the Army."
"Well, how do you like the Army?" I asked.
"I really like it! You know we get to stay in this big building with four of us in a room…it is like a dormitory, only they call it a …what's that word…oh, yeah…a barracks. All my friends live there and there is always something going on or someone is doing something. Almost all of us work 9 to 5 and we get most weekends off. It's fun."
I asked how she liked her work. "Well, for what I do, I am way overpaid. I am just a private, you know. But I really like my work and I am good at it. I try really hard to do things right and do a little extra. I think I am going to get promoted because I do a good job."
"I am sure you do," I said. "What else do you like about the Army?"
"The thing I like best about it is that I just got evaluated in my job. I got a really good report because I do my job and try to do a little bit extra. And the best part is I got evaluated on who I am and how I do my job. It doesn't make any difference if I am a girl or who I know. I got a good report based on what I did, no one else. I really like that. I think you can go about as far as you want to go in the Army. It is pretty cool."
I told her I thought that she was on the right track.
She then said, "You know another thing I like about the Army? I am supporting myself. I am making my own way. I am just a private, but I am responsible for myself and other people, too, when I send out a helicopter. I try not to make any mistakes, but once in awhile I do. I take responsibility for my mistakes. I don't try and blame someone else. What's the point? Do your job as good as you can! That's what I do."
Then she said, "I am not ever going to get in a position in my life where I am dependant on a man. I might get married someday, but I am always going to have a job. My husband will have to get used to that. I am independent now and I always am going to be independent. I like being responsible for myself."

You go, girl! If I had a job to offer young Private Jenna Harper, I would offer it to her. There is hope for the future with young women like Jenna. You would always be assured that the job would get done with her working. What a delight she was, a responsible young women willing to take responsibility for herself and others.
As for the delayed flight, oh well…..
Mike out.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

2nd Annual Birthday Party at the Lake

Come one. Come all. 501 Administration Drive Winona Lake, IN.

Sunday 8/29/10 Somewhere between five and five hundred will gather to celebrate yet another birthday for Mike.

We have a BIG cake. We will light candles and Mike will blow them out at 5 PM. Before that time, there's the lake, the park, the island, and all sorts of interesting people to meet. After that, there will be cake. RED VELVET cake! And ice cream. And stuff to drink and munch on.

If for some reason you cannot make it, then join us by satellite googling and I"m betting you'll catch the glow emanating from inside out.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Happy Birthday AGAIN!

School's back in session in Indiana; the dog days are upon us; and Mom is coming to visit.

You know those news stories about the uber-active octogenarians, the ones whose activity calendars render you exhausted, just to read them?

That's my mom, Evelyn Hayes, lately of Melbourne, Florida.

She's been jetting around the country this year and has taken a few cruises and in just under two weeks, she'll fly to Indianapolis for a week-long stay.

Why? Well she loves us. But it's also time for another BIRTHDAY PARTY. Yep. Last year, I was taking down the decorations (humble) at Mike's party and tossing most of them. When I tore down the cheesy aluminum HAPPY BIRTHDAY banner, Mom suggested I put it away to use for next year. I almost cried. We certainly didn't think there'd BE a next year.

But, frugality and hope win out again. The banner is coming out.

August 29 we will celebrate Mike's birthday, here at the lake.
You are all invited. Really. The agenda is "Cake cutting and candle blowing out at 5 PM." Other than that, we will make whatever party we can.

And Mom would not miss it. My mom is like that. She's also marking another birthday in August.

Thanks be to God for His Blessings and Faithfulness.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Second Annual Spectathalon: A Gentleman's Competition

So here are the antics hinted about in previous post:

: Nephew Micah (see photo in former post) was in serious discussion with his then-roommate as to which of them was The Best. With sketchy criteria, each commenced to list personal achievements.
Micah had just completed his MA. This after his two years teaching English in Madagascar through The US Peace Corps. He’s tall, he’s adorable, he’s personable and he leaves no known scandals in the wake of his 29 years.
The roommate, who I assume is a nice guy, is also a model so I also guess he’s not too hard on the eyes. He is a professional photographer who had just published and sold his first book of his work.
Late into the night they debated. And with that flash of genius that overtakes the fatigued, they lit upon an idea: Let’s hold a competition to determine The Best. It would be a contest for Gentlemen. It would feature events unique to the needs that a Gentleman might require. It would be held near Winona Lake, the location of a great many competitions (sailboats, bikes, running, and etc.)
So the Spectathalon was birthed in the summer of 2009. There were 7 competitors.

8/7/10: The Second Annual Spectathalon, commencing at 12 noon at the “LeMaterster Estate.” The promotional brochure, created by Caleb LeMasters (see photo in former post), boasts that this competition of ‘Honor and Wit” will earn the winner “An Engraved Knife.”
This year, more gentlemen showed up. (And no free T shirts, even)

What follows is a list of events, with explanation.

One event was omitted, requiring the gentleman to ‘escort a lady through an obstacle course while making polite conversation.’ They said they feared for the safety of the lady. What gentlemen!

1. FIRE STARTING – Each aspirant will be provided with exactly two matches and will be permitted the use of a single knife in this event. The aspirant will have 2 minutes to gather materials from the forest with which to build and ignite a fire. The winner shall be the person who builds the most robust and handsome fire. This does not presupposed that the biggest fire will automatically be the winner. The winning fire should be orderly, contained, and promise longevity. The winning fire will be transported to the cooking pit and used to cook the stew.
2. TRUE NORTH – An event created to test the inherent ability of the aspirant’s ability to tread true without the use of sight. Each aspirant will walk a course of 100 paces and place a flag or marker of his choosing. The aspirant will then return to his original point of departure and will try to retrace his original course while blindfolded. The aspirant closest to his original banner will be the victor.
3. HOLE DIGGING – The aspirant will be permitted 10 minutes, using a shovel of his choosing, to dig the best hole. The victor shall be decided by his fellow aspirants by a simple majority vote.
4. BAREFOOT RACE – The aspirant will run one lap around the island without the aid of footwear. The race is against the clock and each runner shall run only against himself.
5. 22 CALIBER TIN CAN SHOOT – Each aspirant will be permitted 10 bullets with which to shoot ten tin cans from a distance of 100 paces. Each aspirant shall use the same rifle. A tie will be decided by a shoot out.
6. RECITATION WHILE TREADING WATER – Each aspirant will bring with him a pre-selected piece of literature (prose or poetry) and will recite his chosen work while treading water. To quality for competition, the aspirant must tread water for no fewer than three minutes. The qualified aspirants will then be collectedly judged based upon their choice of work and the quality of the recitation. If no aspirant makes the three-minute requirement, the event will be a wash. Nephew Isaac took this prize. (see photo in previous post.)
(This is Aunt Lynne's favorite event)
7. WILD FLOWER ARRANGING – Each aspirant will be permitted 15 minutes to gather and subsequently arrange a collection of wildflowers. The arrangements will be judged by the eldest woman willing to make a decision. (And that would be my sister-in-law who is never at a loss)
8. WOOD CHOPPING – Each aspirant will select five pieces of wood from a pre-determined lot of fire wood. After choosing his pieces, he will be required to spit each piece of wood. This contest will be timed and the aspirant able to spit the five pieces in the last among of time will be the winner. Each aspirant will use the same axe.
9. WHEELBARROW RACE – The aspirants will be required to load a wheelbarrow with a pre-selected pile of field stones and then run the wheelbarrow through the woods from the small cabin to the forest entrance. The person completed the course in the least amount of time will be the winner.
10. STEW COOKING – The final event (running throughout the day) will be a cook off. Each aspirant will be asked to bring two ingredients to add to a pot of stew meat that will be slow cooking over an open fire. The aspirant who bring the two best ingredients (the decision will be collectively made) shall by the winner.

*GENERAL RULES OF CONTACT – Being as many of the events are judged by the competitors, it should be understood that voting for oneself in any event is simply bad form. Once a person begins competing, he is expected to complete all events; sitting out an event because one is not interested in it or feels that he is not capable of winning, is simply bad form. A general atmosphere of gentlemanly competition and comradely is to be expected. Jeopardizing said atmosphere is simply bad form.

Although LeMaster men dominated, there were 10 other aspirants.
You missed it this year. Tune in in 2011.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Grandsons of L.O. Bolinger

By the summer of 1990, Mike's dad, L. Owen Bolinger, had four grandsons. They were also lake buddies who spent much of their summers together. This is one of my all-time favorite photos. I'm not sure who purchased the hats, but I know that the boys were young enough that they posed without a peep.

About 10 years later, some on both sides of high school, we talked them into another shot.
And just last week, in some of the hottest days of the year, Mike gathered the troops to the picnic table for another entry.

In an upcoming post, I will entertain you with some exploits; you will have faces to match with names.
BTW: full disclosure. Another grandson appeared, sometime between
picture 2 and 3.
He is Alex Bolinger, the darling of all of us and a 3rd grade star.

Try to stay cool, ya'all.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hoosier Hammerheads 8/7/2010

Our doctor dropped the diagnosis on us, way back in April 2009. When the dust settled, our landscape had changed.

The hub had been studying with local doctor, Mike Wild, honing his skills in aerobatic aviation: that means flipping upside down, turning over and over, nosing the plane to the earth and moving like a corkscrew.

And pulling out before you crash.

Full disclosure: long ago, my father-in-law 'let' me go with him when he put his plane through these maneuvers. Strawberry jello taste best the first time.

Anyway, way back then, way off in the future was the first local competition. Mike hoped to compete. Then, well, things changed. Aerobatics was one sport that crashed.

Until recently. Mike went back to his lessons and then signed up and then showed up and flew.

Check out the promo:

And, from the not-too-hot tarmack of the
Kokomo Municiple Airport, some ground action.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bad Government, Taxes and a Red Lotus Super Seven

In the years following the Allied victory in World War II, the British government was eager to convert its war production to domestic production. Quite simply, the government needed revenue. Victory freed the citizens from the rationing that had controlled their lives during the war years. They wanted new cars and all of those labor saving devices the Americans had in their households.

Noting the desire of its citizens for new cars, the British government announced a tax on the purchase of new cars. The tax was to be temporary. It was to last until the government got on its feet. Of course the British still have the tax on new cars. The government did not lie, either, in declaring that the tax was temporary. It was temporary. It lasted until the tax rate could be raised. There is a lesson to be learned here.

About the same time as the new tax went into effect, there was a young aeronautical engineer named Colin Chapman. Chapman wanted to manufacture cars. Really, he wanted to go formula car racing, but he did not have money to finance a team. He needed to raise money to support his racing ambitions. How could he do this? By manufacturing a car!

What Chapman had going for him was a great deal of practical engineering talent, the easy availability of war surplus steel and aluminum, and a sharp business mind. Chapman discovered that if he built a car which was essentially a rolling chassis with no engine or transmission installed, the government did not consider it to be a new car and, therefore, it was not taxed. These were the circumstances under which Lotus Car came into existence.

The Lotus Seven was Chapman's first car. He advertised it as a car you could drive to work on the weekdays and race on the weekends. All the owner had to do was find a suitable engine and transmission and install them.

The first Lotus Sevens were constructed in a converted horse stable in the English countryside. The car had a frame made of triangulated, steel tubing over which was riveted sheet aluminum, which made up the body. Chapman sent a mechanic to the wrecking yard a couple of time a week to buy any front steering unit and rear end that was available. He designed the Seven so that any number of current British cars could supply the suspension pieces. It is a fair statement to say that no two Lotus Seven's are a like.

About thirty years ago I was having dinner with a friend. We were talking about the various cars and motorcycles we had each owned. My friend casually mentioned that he had a 1964 Lotus Super Seven. I remarked that I knew what that was and had always admired the car, although I had never seen a real one. He told me that his was stored in the back room of a car dealership in Logansport and that it was a rare right-hand drive model.
I thought about the Lotus from time to time for the next 30 years. Three years ago I was having dinner with the same friend and I asked what had become of the Lotus. He told me that so far as he knew it was still in the back of the dealership as it had been at least twenty years since he had looked in on it. I asked him if he minded if I took a look at it. He said he did not care.

The next day I walked into the back room of the car dealership to check out the Lotus. It was sitting in the far corner of the storage area. It was half covered with a dirty tarp. All four tires were flat. One its two carburetors was disassembled on the driver's seat. It was covered in thirty years worth of dirt and grime. But it had not rusted. There was no body damage. It looked like all the bits a pieces were there. I had seen worse. Much worse. There was hope for the car.

The car crouched there and whispered to me. She said, "I was a good car once. I could be a good car again. Somebody just needs to love me. If you leave me here, I will die. Take me home with you."

I responded by saying, "I will be back for you. I will not forget you."
(editor: My husband talks to cars.)

I immediately called my friend and told him I had a proposition for him. If he would deliver the car to my garage and pay for the parts, I would do the restoration for free. The Lotus arrived the next day on a wrecker.

I will not bore you with the details of the restoration, but let me say just three things: first, John Heydick did a masterful job of rebuilding the engine, which runs like a small tornado; second, Tim Donato did a wonderful job rewiring the car: third, I took apart everything down to each rivet, bolt, nut and screw and rebuilt the car.

Here are some pictures of " Lynney Lotus." All the fiberglass is original and has not been repainted. The car is unusual in that it has not been raced or modified since it was originally made.

I love this car. She is a joy to drive. She isn't fast, but then, who cares? She is a piece of British history. She is a good car. She just needed someone to love her. We all need that.

A famous British automotive journalist once described a Lotus Super Seven as a "saucy lass who likes to hike up her skirt and go dancing." Perfectly put.

(editor: and speaking of a saucy lass, who's your co pilot?)

Mike out.

Sisters' 2010

Here's to sisters: short and tall, young and less young. I am blessed to be a part of this group of girlies who met, this year, for fun in sunny southern California.

We are Janelle, Janis, Lynne and Kris. We hail (currently) from Charlotte, NC., Kansas City, MO, Kokomo, IN, and LA. Our annual....we need a new name for Sisters' Weekend...rotated us to California this year. Sister Kris' daughter will attend Westmont University this fall so we drove up (the coast! surfers! sailboats!) to Santa Barbara, about 2 hours north of LA.

Santa Barbara and its neighbor, Montecito, boast perfect weather. Well, actually, they would not boast as THAT would be gauche, and not fitting for this little gem of the settlement.

Sister Jan now pastors a church (!) so we chose mid week for our get-together. I'm just going to call it SISTERS or maybe SISTERS'; wanna vote?

By now (8 times) we have a system. Janis serves as chief financial planner and treasurer (she can have president, vice president and secretary, too. I'm just sayin.....)

We pool a set amount of cash and then plan our lodging, outings and, of course, our meals which turn out to be a treat, no matter where we go. Saying that, in Montecito, we supped, drank, dined, snacked, desserted, on fashion food: each and everything, down to humble oatmeal, sported garnishes of fresh fruit, chocolate straws, squiggled sauces, and, (often MY favorite) etc.

"What is that???" "Oh, look what they did with the...."

Personally, I LOVE fashion food. The delight starts as the waiter (always very cute, where do they get them?) swoops a plate or cup or bowl in front of each of us. Many ooohs and ahhhs as we eyeball each offering. Then, eventually we grow weary of just looking at the food and onto the sampling: each to her selection and then, the eyeballs travel along with a spoon or fork and before you know it, voila! All is consumed. We dab our mouths with napkins, smile at each other and on to the next adventure.

We stayed one night at the Montecito Inn and, to balance to account, the other night at Kris' house. We dined mightily in Montecito and, to balance the account, grabbed some In and Our Burgers in LA.

We all have our talents: Janelle has a eye for framing photos so all of these are hers. If I have only wetted your whistle for our fun, you can see more by scrolling through several blog entries at her site: http://www.showandtellblog.typepad.com/

We enjoyed breakfast at Juliana's, a quaint sidewalk cafe that boasted a full French pastry case.

(Photo taken by very cute waiter, so not framed as well but then, he was very cute)

There is much to do in Montecito. You can eat. We did. You can ride bicycles. We did. You can shop. Of course.

And rising to the north are several foot hills with well-marked paths so we took a short hike that became a 3 hour hike. All good: we carried water and, as I mentioned, we were well-nourished.

Janelle shot us from the rear.

So, distance shot.

We also grabbed this shot sitting on "Kevin's Bench," meant to be a
landmark in case one gets lost.

While technically, we did not get lost, we DID take a bit longer to find our way back to the car.

Later, in LA, we toured the Getty Museum on a beautifully clear day so the panorama of Los Angeles was part of the show.

Soon it was time to mount our various steeds (metal, pressurized) and move on. Next year? We are planning........

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sisters in Santa Barbara

This week, I'm with my sisters for the 8th time, at our annual get away. We decided years ago, we would not become a cliche, seeing each other only at big family events: we plan and execute our OWN big event.

We rotate around the country: Salt Lake, Kansas City, Winona Lake, Charlotte, Los Angeles, and this year, Santa Barbara.

Young sis Janelle has photo and writing talent: I can not improve, so if you'd like to join us (you wish!!), check out her blog.

Alas, I am still not able to link so we'll try it the old way:


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lake Views

Mike’s latest project was to replace the dining room table at the lake. This time, he designed it himself, chose carefully quarter-sawn oak planks for the top, carved and filled inlays at both ends, and then finished it off with many coats of antique oil.

It’s 6 ft x 3 ½ ft, with a utility shelf underneath. You may be able to make out our SCRABBLE game on that shelf.

Who knew? We’ve been married for 36 years and until recently, had never played Scrabble together. At least some of that is due to the fact that Mike prefers more active sports.

He beats me, usually, but I’m getting better. His strategy is to look for all of those bonus squares, use them or at least block me from using them.
My strategy seems to be ‘use up all these letters and get new ones.’ So far, his plan works better, but I’m dazzling us with my word acumen.

“What is a roan??”

“Color of a horse.”
(“War” by Stephen Crane)

My photos really don’t do the table justice.

And, as luck would have it, I captured the hub who had been captured by the sleeping couch. Anyone who lies down there, no matter what time of day, no matter if he is sleepy or not, within 10 minutes has traveled to Napville. Yes, I know it's sideways.
You are getting veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeery sleeeeeeepy.

The Captain and her Crew

At the risk of offending everyone who has dropped by and/or done something special for us, I must say that the biggest treat of the summer was the visit by daughter Allyson and her boys. Those would be OUR grandsons.

We knew that the Army was giving her a week of leave sometime during these months; discussions back and forth about logistics, time, patience, and etc. culminated in their arrival to spend a week at the lake.

In recent months, Allyson had said that she wished she could just ‘sit on the pier and look at the lake.’ It does for her what it does for her dad. And, the boys are now getting to the age when lake play is great play.

We charted a course that missed a few details. We assumed that Fort Wayne was a regional airport so Allyson flew into Indianapolis. That’s a three hour drive to the lake. And as she said, she planned the flights exactly backward of what would have been better: she arrived after midnight and left at 7 AM, so that was a 6 hour trek for Mike, who volunteered, by the way.

And, as it turns out, there are many non- stops every day from Fort Wayne to Dallas. Fort Wayne is 40 miles from the lake.
No matter: something to refine for the next trip.

I was up when they arrived and helped get the boys to bed, although they would be up again by 7. On Allyson’s bed, I placed the token of a trip to the lake: a trashy magazine about celebrities we don’t know, open to a ‘fashion page.’

It’s an inside joke; she got it.

They spent the week with us during the hottest week of the summer, but as Allyson says often, it’s nothing like San Antonio. Except that day when the heat index rose over 100, she conceded that Indiana was coming close.

The adults groused and dripped but not the boys. From breakfast to bedtime, they ran, climbed, swam, biked, rode in the boat, rode on the tube, ran some more, until they dropped. We did, too.

Allyson took each boy on a moped tour of the city.

Gramma took the boys to the Warsaw Public Library (air conditioned) for some reading time.

Then, Allyson joined us; we got coffee and sat while she read to them.
Then, back to the lake.

Big milestones: neither had swum much in a lake. They are accustomed to the clear blue of a pool. They decided that the lake is good.

Drew, who lives in a subdivision with steep hills, took the training wheels off and took off on our flat streets.

Noah, who is a bit timid but wants to do what big brother does, climbed up next to Drew on the inflatable tube and held on.

We tubed until the grown ups were exhausted; the boys were still giving ‘thumbs up’ for more.

Mike and I shopped at an After the Fourth sale, stocking up on really cool fireworks. Allyson reminded us that fireworks are illegal in Texas so this was a chance for the boys to see some real stuff.

One night, we set up on the cement ledge by sister Lisa’s house, ourselves seated a safe distance, and the big boys lit fuses.

Much fun was had by all although if we charted delight, the big boys would be off the grid.

And every night, Grampa took us to the Ice Cream Shop for cones and cups. And many many drips on chins, hands, shirts, and knees.

Saturday 3 AM (yawn) came too soon and they were off to catch a plane.
Their trip home was eventful: delays, delays, delays: they arrived home after a very long day.

Allyson reports that the boys did ‘just fine.’
They will be back.