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Hare–Raising Adventures
13th Publication, June 9th, 2001

Some might consider it bad luck to have a thirteenth of something, but I consider that to be an old wives’ tale (I apologize if I have insulted any old wives — it’s just an expression), so I won’t try to pass off that I’ve actually done one more newsletter than I have, since that would be dishonest and I would receive many (I would hope) Emails asking where the missing 13 was. Now, much has happened since my last letter — as if that would be a surprise by now. I shall attempt to curtail my distressing (to some) trend towards having each letter longer than the last. Maybe it’s just the fact that I have an audience that can’t cut me off or change the subject or any such thing that is making me go on such long tangents. Regardless of what it is, I shall not keep you all in suspense any longer.

On the second day of May Dad had his last Wednesday night meeting at Lehigh for the semester, so I decided to go along. I had gone a couple of times before, and I had been planning to go more frequently, but for heterogeneous (I found that in the WordPerfect thesaurus, and it looked nice and complex, so I take only half responsibility if it isn’t the word that should be there — the same goes for other odd words you might see) reasons I was restrained from participating, so I was feeling guilty that I had been unfaithful in my attendance, even though it wasn’t necessarily requested. I was also influenced by Mom declaring that she was going to take chocolate fondue that night.

This was not to be the last gathering of the year, though, since Dad had planned a barbeque for the eighth, which I again joined in whole–heartedly. The party was livened up by the appearance of Cinderella, Sage, and Nutmeg. Dr. James Femister made his appearance as well, and spent nearly the whole duration lost in conversation with Peter; in a world filled with code, mathematics, programming, and other arcane subjects — in short, something I never will or wish to descend into. I leave it to the great keepers of the programming languages and stick to my own feeble pretensions.

On the fifth day of May Mom took Stephen, Ben, and me to a play entitled Biblio–Bedlam, which was a history of the library. Almost all the plays that I have encountered in this building have been (to varying degrees), unfortunately, below the high standards that I set for entertainment of this nature. This was not an exception. While it did have its more humorous moments, all in all, I felt vaguely dissatisfied. This was offset by highly amusing event on our return home from the play. Dad had some engagement shortly after the play was scheduled to end, so we departed post–haste for home, since we were a little late as it was. When we were only one street away from our house, we saw Dad driving the van in the opposite direction. Mom honked the horn and we all yelled to him, but he apparently didn’t notice us, for he merrily continued on his way, only stopping once he was at the end of the block, and then backing up. We all quickly barreled out of our vehicle and into the van, excepting Steve, who went and happily stood on the sidewalk. We convinced him to get into the van before we held up any traffic, and then continued home. As Mom said, this all happened like some Chinese fire drill in the middle of a (fortunately less traveled) street, with Dad driving our car, and Mom driving the van. This was the subject of much hilarity during the operation, which may have decreased the speed and efficiency of the switch.

On May sixth Rebecca (if that is the correct spelling — there are too many variants) J. Plowman turned fourteen. I may actually be wrong — maybe that that when the party was, or maybe that was her birthday, but that party was on a different date... Regardless, I’m not sure that it makes all that much difference in the grand scheme of things. Peter and I, along with two other kids from church (Gabe West and Hannah Stone) were invited to celebrate at the Plowman’s house. Since we have a lack of female siblings, it was difficult to decide what should be donated to commemorate this great occasion. After much deliberation it was agreed that we would get a chocolate cookbook for her. I was dubious about this up until the end, but since time was short and ideas were few I had to defer to Mom, who I thought would know better. It appears that Mom came through, or that Becky is a better actor than I anticipated. In other words, it looked like she enjoyed the gift.

Although I was tempted and cajoled in all manner of ways, I steadfastly remained adamant that I would refrain from participating in the optional festivities; namely, dancing to modern music. I may endure great sacrifices for those whom I call comrades, but that is going too far. Peter and Gabe, for the most part, were in complete agreement with me. Other than that, the occasion was an enjoyable time, and I think I can safely say the same for all parties involved.

From the thirteenth of May to the fourteenth Gabe resided in our domicile. He arrived on Sunday, slept over, spent the day in school with Peter, and departed for his house after school on Monday. They spent a portion of their time devising novel nefarious plans for the destruction of their villainous arch–nemesis, AOL. The specific division of AOL that they are targeting are the free CDs that nearly everyone with an address, and some without, receive in some way.

On the eighteenth Dan returned home for eleven days, and managed temporarily to fix the network, but since then it has shut down again, although I’m now told that it is precariously working again. I say wait for two months, and then declare it working. Our troubles with the DSL company have, to all appearances, been ironed out. We now have our fast internet connection, and we don’t have any Email problems, except for the normal old ones. I am also told that we should finally get our new motherboard back from the reticent and slothful company. It appears that, for the moment, the sun of technological peace has deigned to shed its rays upon the cold and bleak winter of our computer difficulties. I am in no way deceived into believing that the sun could not at any moment be clouded over again, though.

On May nineteenth Mom invited the Plowmans over for supper, in retaliation for inviting us to their house for Easter. We had a pleasant time, and watched The Emperor’s New Groove. That is now the Plowmans’ favorite movie, despite being animated. I can’t say the same for myself, but there were several humorous scenes.

On the 23rd Mom signed us up for another play — this one was Peter Pan. Daniel took Stephen, Ben, and me to see it, and it went for an astounding one hour and forty–five minutes, without an intermission. This was very similar to the movie we have, except that they actually have a boy (of all things) playing Peter Pan. The role was split (some days the first cast played, others, a second), though, and the other person playing Peter Pan was a girl, so it wasn’t a total atrocity.

I had noticed for a while that Sage appeared to be scratching abnormally often, with the painful effect of sores breaking out. I had finally convinced Mom and Dad that we should take him to a vet. It was set up that we would take him on the 22nd, but due to circumstances not preventable by my means (I think Dad or Dan was late returning or something), it was postponed until the 23rd. We took him in, and they said that it wasn’t mites, which I had expected, but most likely just some dirt or excessive scratching made a way for an infection, which escalated into what we had then, and she prescribed some medicine to be taken orally twice a day for ten days. This overlapped our family reunion, and since the camp did not take well to people bringing animals, we had a dilemma. We solved it by convincing Mr. Kricks into taking him for the weekend and giving him his medicine. (I spent the whole weekend with the vaguely nervous thought that we would return to hear wild tales of refusal, escape, hostage–taking, and who knows what else). When we came back from the reunion I retrieved Sage, and I’m not sure what Mr. Kricks did, but Sage would stand stock still when I would give him his medicine, instead of jerking his head right when I squirted the syringe, like he was doing before the reunion. It has since turned out that the medicine, while definitely helping while it was being taken, didn’t clear up the problem, since Sage is still scratching. I guess we’ll have to take him back to the vet.

On the evening of the 23rd (we’re still there — but don’t worry — this is the last event) Nana and Poppa, Mom’s parents, arrived for what is turning out to be almost a month’s stay. We had a false alarm, in that we were told their plane was going to come in early, but found out later that they were coming in a half hour later (it actually was more like an hour and a half or two hours, in the end).

From the 25th to the 28th our extended family had our annual reunion. It was truly a refreshing event, and much too short. It was just a shot not worth missing. Several months ago I mentioned to my cousin Katelyn (who prefers to be referred to as Kaytlyn) that some company was going to make a movie of The Lord of the Rings. This set her off into an obsession with Tolkien’s books which still has not worn off, and so she spent the weekend quizzing me on various aspects of the novels ( if they may be called such). Since it has been a year since I last read the book (I try it read it each year), I was at a disadvantage, but I managed to hold my own in the more obscure books (mainly because she hasn’t read some of them). The whole weekend was fraught with amusing events and tales, but I shall focus, for brevity’s sake, on the more major happenings.

One night a Christian comedian stood up and, amazingly enough, told jokes. He was quite humorous. Two other events were wall climbing and the zip line. Katelyn, Amy (two of my cousins) and I took our turn attempting to reach the upper corner and ring the bell placed there for that purpose. The hecklers, Daniel, Peter, and Aaron (Amy’s brother), refrained from climbing but still managed to give inaccurate advice to those who were, preferably during a difficult stretch. It’s a good thing that I am not planning to go into rock climbing as a career, since I died” twice before giving up. In the end, I was fairly close to the bell, but there were no good footholds to give me the extra boost I needed to give a wild jump and swing to the bell and smack it, and then happily be lowered to the ground. So much for looking cool. The other event, the zip line, was more popular. Uncle David, Uncle Peter, Uncle John, Aaron, Daniel, Peter, Katelyn, Megan, Amy, and I went on it. When I went I didn’t want to be wussy and hold onto the rope, but I didn’t want to do anything more daring, either, so I ended up looking, by general consensus, like a corpse in some factory, hooked on a line to be shipped off somewhere. I still enjoyed it, though.

The 28th we returned from the family reunion, and ten minutes or so after arriving, we received a message from Jim Femister asking if we wanted to participate in a Memorial Day picnic at his house. Since that would mean we wouldn’t have make anything for our evening meal, we gladly accepted, and had a pleasant time.

Uncle Peter stayed with us for a couple days longer, but we finally had to bid a mournful farewell to him. Aunt Karen, and their two adopted Thai kids, Samuel and Ellie on the 30th. At this point the only relatives left residing in our house were Nana and Poppa.

From the 31st of May to the second of June Mom was in Atlanta, Georgia, for a RYFES (Master’s Academy of Fine Arts — I decided that while MAFiA is a good name, it is a bad acronym, so I used the last letter of each word) conference. While she was away, we were treated wonderfully — pierogies, Taco Bell and The Bethlehem Brew Works. I would venture to say that Mom should go away more often, except that we had to take care of Ben all day. Mom, not satisfied with going to Georgia, then took Nana and Poppa up to Canada from the fourth to the eighth. This time, maybe because our grandparents weren’t there to spoil us, or because Dad was running out of ideas for supper, the rate of eating out and eating pierogies dropped considerably.

Sometime last month (May), Mom had asked me to spruce up a church bulletin insert advertising her summer study on The Pilgrim’s Progress. I utilized my recently acquired designing skills to the best of my ability, and came out with something that looked reasonably decent, but it was all for naught. My work was balanced off by the color Mom picked out — some kind of hybrid between pink and orange. At least I got some experience out of the whole business.

I continued my excursions to Philadelphia, going to the Franklin Institute one week, and taking Paul MacDonald, a friend of mine, with me to the Philadelphia Zoological Institute. Here are the tales.

The Franklin Institute was pleasant, but I was surprised by the level of noise. Having spent the last three weeks at the Philadelphia Museum of Fine Art, I was used to the quiet, libraryish feel to it, and the loud kids running around and yelling to each other was a shock. I managed to get through the Institute in one visit, but I didn’t go to the IMAX theater because the title of the movie was called The Journey of Man,” and without any other information to go on I decided I would skip it. I didn’t want to waste my money on some show about evolution or something. I also didn’t bother with the planetarium because I think the times for it were conflicting with when I had to be waiting for Dad. One thing that I would have gone to, if I had known about it, was something called Liquid Air: Explore the World of Liquid Nitrogen,” to the best of my knowledge. That would not have conflicted with anything, but I didn’t notice it until it was already over. Oh well.

Since Paul’s birthday had come and gone without my even realizing it, I felt slightly sheepish, and so I invited him to come with me to the Zoo. I was going to surprise him with a buy–one–get–one–free coupon, but it turned out that he had one as well. I still paid my share so that was sort of my present. It must have been Amish day at the Zoo, because about a third of the people there were either Amish or disguised as Amish, and Paul and I had the nagging feeling that they were following us around. Despite that disconcerting atmosphere, we had a great time. I had from the beginning expected the Zoo to be the best of the three, and I was correct in that assumption. The only disappointing aspects were that the buildings with animals inside were very loud, because of all the immature kids shouting and yelling and talking and calling for their moms, and that it was very hilly. One thing that I hadn’t noticed before was that the Zoo is shaped pretty much in a semicircle. Sort of like this |). I had read a book a couple months ago about the Zoo, and while the book was published sometime in the ’60s or ’70s, it was still amusing to think of the constant war between the head gardener and the peacocks that roamed the grounds, and still do.

Dad’s school in New Jersey finally was finished and was having a graduation, and the question was put to us: do we want to go on the two and a half hour trip there and back for a gradation of someone who I don’t really know all that well? I decided that it would be a better use of my time to stay home and do school (even though it was a Saturday, I still did some). I, as I have found out later, made the wrong choice. Along with Sarah Fletcher (the Fletchers are friends of ours), there were two other people whom I knew — both had been in Paul’s and my clan last year at French Creek. One of them was graduating, and the other was the history teacher, and had a part in the ceremony. It would have been nice to see them again, but at least Joy Muhlbaier (the one who was graduating) said she was going to be at French Creek the same week that Paul and I are going this year. I hope Tim Cummings (also know by Paul and me as Timmy the Tooth) will come as well.

Now that the computers are working fairly reliably, I have been going full steam on my website and computer games. I had hoped to finish my work on the site before this letter, but that is unfortunately not to be. The main and sole computer game that has been played by Peter, Stephen, and me is called NetHack. Although it is classified as an RPG (role playing game), it is much more complex and amusing than the usual fare. It is also extremely difficult, and I am just now, after a long and arduous journey, reaching the end. I do plan to complete my site before the next letter, Lord willing. I will send out an Email to that effect once it has been completed and spell checked and so on.

I am still participating in my education advancement courses (namely, Calvert home schooling). My prodical ways have finally caught up with me, and I am paying the price for my numerous trips to the Outer Banks, Philadelphia, my involvement (willing or no) in RYFES and French, and babysitting on Friday mornings, among other things. So far, I am not regretting my ways, since I knew from the beginning that basically each day I didn’t do school meant one more day that I did school in the summer. I only hope that others know that as well.

A couple days ago Dad, Nana, Poppa and Peter were away, leaving Mom, Steve (also commonly called Sven), Ben and me at home. I was on my way up the stairs when I noticed that there was something flying fairly quickly for its smallish size. I soon realized that it was a bat, and I made this fact known to Mom, much to her disconcertment, to say the very least. It finally flew into Mom’s bedroom, and so I was delegated to go in and open up all the windows, in the hopes that it would vacate the premises. When I came back later, it appeared that it had departed. In the morning, Mom woke up to find it hanging upside down from a curtain, supposedly watching her. She hastily awoke Dad, who only told her that it was asleep, and would not bother her. When recounting the tale to Nana and Poppa the next morning, Nana emmited many cries of Eeek!” That was not all though — the poor bat, after flying into our house and being forced to deal with terrified (in some cases) responses, regardless of the fact that it wouldn’t harm us, was then grabbed by Stephen in the middle of its repose, and thrown out the window. When I later asked Stephen if he wished to be woken in the middle of the night and thrown out the window, he replied in the negative. Just so with the bat. Being still lethargic, I was told (I was not there, or I would have stopped the foolhardy gesture), it bonked on the roof several times before clinging onto an asphalt shingle, and eventually flying away. He hasn’t come back.

There are many things planned for the summer, and I shall attempt to only touch briefly upon each. I am planning to go again this year the Vo–Tech school (some of my older recipients may remember my description of my last visit there), and I hope to counsel for one week at French Creek. I also anticipate going as a camper with Paul for another week at French Creek (that week would be the one with all the people from last year). Those three are the only scheduled things for me, but I have learned the hard way that the summer is really roughly only about two weeks long, once you add everything in. I think it has something to do with the speed of light, Einstein, a theory of relativity, and time flies when your having fun.” Whatever it is, it’s beyond me.

French class is finally over, but it is looking like the chances of me having an unpolluted French–free summer are dwindling. First, I was told a relative of my French teacher was going to come for the summer, but than that fall through, so then Hannah Stone, the daughter of our pastor and another classmate (comprising of a third of the class) was informed that a relative traveling under the name of Emily would be coming for part (if not all) of the summer, and was asked if she would entertain her for a number of weeks (if my knowledge is correct — I get this all indirectly, and in French...). She is planning to take Emily to French Creek the same week I’m hoping to counsel, so there is the first blemish. Mom and Dad then agreed to house a French exchange student for three weeks in July, without any recompense. So now I have one week at French Creek and three weeks at home with French exposure. I have tried to inform Mom and Dad that I couldn’t plead for my life in French, much less converse reasonably, but I still have a foreboding feeling...

Dan has already departed for his summer abode. It was finalized that he would abandon us for the terrors of Baltimore for the months of freedom, and so he gathered up his stuff (and much stuff that wasn’t his, but managed to coerce Mom and Dad to let him take) and left us. Nana and Poppa, however, are not nearly so ungrateful. They have been spending a large portion of their time investigating various domiciles, and it appears that they may purchase the next door neighbors’ house, and eventually move in. It has been decided (I think — I have not been personally consulted, for some reason, so I’ve had to be satisfied with blackmail [tell me or I’ll ask someone else] and eavesdropping to get my information) that they shall return here within a year or so, and thus the house hunting. It would be wonderful if they did reside so near to us, because we might then be able to store some of our possessions in an empty room of theirs, and they could just walk over any time they wanted to, and we might be able to expand our yard, so Cinder and the pigs could have more space to run around in... One of the main disadvantages, though, is that the house has several series of raised platforms advancing or descending to the next floor, and they are disagreeable to Poppa. It is hoped that with the installation of railings, this could be overcome. I have now completed my letter

–~Snowshoe Hare~–
   –~Christopher Green~–

*Here Endeth the Newsletter*