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Hare–Raising Adventures
Fourteenth Publication, June 9th–July 28th, 2001

Due to my tardiness in writing my roughly monthly newsletter for June, some individuals have expressed their acute anxiety about when I was planning on writing it. As you shall soon find out in great depth, I have many good reasons, not the least of which is plain laziness. Yes, it’s true — It actually involves work to write these things. Now I set my fingers to the keyboard (it doesn’t sound as poetic as saying pen to the paper, does it?), and shall recall as much of the past two months as possible.

June, for the most part, was pretty run–of–the–mill, but was still busy, since I was making a big push to finish up my school. I almost completed it as well, but I still have some Algebra chapters to do (the bane of my existence and my Arch–nemesis), and I still have to take the final spelling and grammar tests. There was one interesting incident, though. That was a computer fair. Jim was planning on going and had extended an invitation to join him to anyone who wished to revel in his glorious presence. I, having nothing else to do, accepted. Little did I know that these exhibitions have an admittance fee, so I had to bear the ignominy of having Jim pay for me. Once inside, we discovered to our dismay that the building wasn’t air–conditioned. Other than these two annoyances, it was an interesting experience. I definitely won’t make a habit of attending these functions (especially in my impecunious state), but it was nice just to get an idea as to what a computer fair actually is. One intriguing product being sold was a wireless mouse. Jim was saying that it’s the tail (the wire) that makes it a mouse, and that inspired me to settle into a subject that I somehow finally come back to: guinea pigs. I came up with the brilliant idea of marketing wireless mice as guinea pigs, because pigs, as I’m sure you all know, have no tails.

Some of you, I’m sad to hear, have not been as studious in memorizing my newsletters as I could have hoped, and consequently have met with surprise my information saying that I was accepted as a counselor as French Creek, exclaiming that they did not even know I was planning on doing so. Since your memories seem to have lapsed, I shall refresh them. Ever since last year I have been anticipating being able to counsel at the fourth and fifth grade French Creek Bible Conference, and so have made mention (unless my memory is going, which is also quite possible) of it in a couple of my past publications.

I attended the counselor’s weekend, and while I hadn’t been nervous before going, once the sobriety of my task had been more fully impressed upon me, I realized I wouldn’t be allowed to consume alcoholic beverages. On a more serious note, I was informed that it is the counselors who make the difference to the kids. This grave thought, thankfully, was slowly lessened in that another male counselor stepped in a couple days before camp started and that relieved a camper (or, more officially, a delegate) from the rest of the male counselors, and one of my campers never showed up. To further ease my job, of the kids that I did have, two of them were staff kids and the remaining one was an acquaintance of one of them. So instead of having five potentially challenging charges, I only had three easy kids. In a way, I almost felt let down and disappointed that I didn’t have any troublesome kids after being warned about them and how to react to various crises over the weekend. Maybe I’m just strange. It was definitely worthwhile to go to the weekend, because you can then meet the other counselors and get to know each other before we get hit with parental duties. Also, for me at least, it helped get me back into the groove of French Creek. I intend to go back as a counselor next year as well, assuming that the director will let me. I came back from French Creek and literally slept about half of the day and all of the night, which is for me, who considers sleeping in a waste of time, phenomenal. Even still, with all that sleep, I don’t think I recovered fully, since I had a busy weekend and then the next Monday Steve and I launched into the Lehigh Career and Technical Institute’s summer program for middle school students.

A few of my long–suffering subscribers may have vague memories of my description of the Vo–Tech school (the same thing, but they have changed their name since then) last year, and pretty much nothing (except for the name and the price) has changed since then. This year I took Graphic Arts, Commercial Arts, Masonry, and Electronics.

Graphic Arts is a class where you design and print notebooks, notepads, address labels, bumper stickers, and basically anything else you can put on paper. It is probably the most popular class for both genders (e. g. Cosmetology is probably the most popular for the girls, and carpentry might be the most for the boys, but Graphic Arts is the most popular for both), and consequently, it is very large. Except for the first day in which I had to share a computer with a mentally deficient individual who accidentally deleted one of my pictures on my floppy, and the main printer/copier hybrid breaking another day, I had an undisturbed time in that class. I made a lot of stuff and brought back a lot of blank paper for various possibly devious uses.

Commercial Arts mainly was discussing and drawing cartoons and caricatures. I’m not all that interested in drawing cartoon and such (I would rather be able to draw accurately before drawing inaccurately), but I like the project that you make in the class. The project is creating a design to be ironed onto a shirt or bag. Some people draw something and then scan it in, others yank pictures off of the internet and print those. I followed the latter route. Once again, my irrepressible obsession surfaced, and I pulled around ten pictures of guinea pigs and arranged them to my satisfaction. If you look closely, you can also see Cinderella making a cameo appearance as a space filler.

Masonry was the most physically demanding of the classes and in all likelihood the one I would be least inclined to enter as an occupation, but it added some variety to my other classes. We mainly laid bricks, but we also worked with some ceramic tiles. The project in this class was a little pattern made of out of tiles to be used for putting hot pots and pans and stuff on.

Electronics was the most changed from previous years, in that one day we went over to LCCC to shoot off model rockets, with great success (although I was told that some of the other groups had a more difficult time of it). We also had a crash course in basic circuitry and electronics, and practiced soldering. Our project was a kit of pieces that you solder to a circuit board (correctly). I really like the set–up for the class because there are different kits for each year that you come to the class. Since this was my fourth year, I got to make a complex kit. I finished it up literally right before the class ended, and we found out that the kit was digital dice— you push a button, and it lights up a number from two to twelve (it uses LEDs, and looks similar to the faces of a two dice). Somehow, it isn’t as fun as feeling the dice in your hand, but it is still interesting.

All of the teachers were nice, but the Graphic Arts and Masonry teachers were especially humorous. The Electronics teacher seemed really knowledgeable and was more focused on actually teaching us something. Imagine that. The main downside of the week was the other students. At least 90 per cent of them were public schoolers, and so the obscenity, profanity, and vulgarity was omnipresent. The only other annoyance was the long bus ride to and from the institute, but I seem to have survived both unscathed.

One extremely mournful and grievous event that happened while I was away at French Creek was that Cinderella, our enormous rabbit, stopped eating. There was some confusion as to whether Stephen was feeding her on the sly, thus explaining why the food in the bowl wasn’t going down, but it was finally cleared up that she wasn’t, in fact, eating. Dad took her in to the Vet, and they took various blood tests, urine tests, and so on, and the future looked bleak for our bunny (to top it all, she had a tick). They called and asked Dad to sign the death warrant (so they could inject a overdose of some medicine, I imagine), but when he arrived, she had gotten up and was drinking, both of which she had previously stopped. It was decided not to be hasty, and wait to see if she would recover on her own, but she then died in the night. The one amusing thing that was found out in this dismal matter was that Cinderella, contrary to the prediction of Mr. Oiler (the proprietor of Quiet Valley, as historical farm), was male. The fact that most of our pets seem to give up the ghost while I’m away at a camp or a family reunion is quite unnerving. It almost seems like they are getting revenge for my departing without them, and makes me wonder what will happen next year…

On the last day of the Vo–Tech school Andrew MacDonald, a friend of ours, was having his graduation party (he graduated from high school), which we attended. We had a pleasant time, and eventually only Peter, Mom, Steve, a girl who refused to leave, and I were left. It was then decided that Michael MacDonald (c. 1985–present), Andrew, Pete, and the aforementioned girl would go to see Final Fantasy. Paul MacDonald, who is thirteen, and I conspired to let me spend the night at his house, so Mom, Steve, and I returned home to get my stuff, dropping the others off at the theater along the way. Aside from a repressed omelet incident the next morning, the sleep over went fine, despite the fact that the three elder MacDonalds (Andrew, Mike, and Paul) and I stayed up until two or so.

The next day, our church had its annual summer picnic, and I, in keeping with a tradition set the last year, took my guinea pigs along. I’m surprised they let me live through that night. A lot of the kids wanted to hold them, and it was the typical thing; as soon as they picked up the pig they wanted to put it back, and they did this about ten times each, with each of my two guinea pigs (Sage and Nutmeg). Oh well. I guess I can consider it a community service. For me, the picnic went fine, but it seemed very short for some reason…Maybe I was just having too much fun.

All during June and July Steve took up semi–permanent residence at the Plowman’s house, and it looks like this state of affairs with continue at least until the school years starts up. I’m not sure what is so alluring about him (to be honest, I don’t find him alluring in the slightest — quite the opposite), but the Plowmans seem to be infatuated with him. This setup has no complaints from me, despite not seeing why they would want him. If it were up to me, I would let them keep him permanently.

It has been decided and the signatures are on the dotted line: the house next door is being sold to my grandparents. I believe they are planning on moving back for ever in October, so there are many things that they have to do, many goodbyes to be said, things packed or sold, and so on.

Through June and most of July Peter was playing summer soccer for his high school team, and they managed to get first in their division, but were eliminated in the quarter–finals, to use his words. I’m not sure what that means, but I think they did well. My theory is that since they had Pete playing goalie instead of midfield, they scored many more goals. The theory is flawed in that it doesn’t explain how Pete managed to block all the shots on goal, though. Maybe they had an exceptional defense.

Similar to last year, our church had a summer institute with a different topic each Wednesday night, for four weeks. The topics so far have been: Genetics, Ethics, and the Christian; Recreational Mathematics and the Mind of God; and A Civil Civil War Debate. The perpetrators of these topics were, respectively, David Green, Jim Femister, and Royce Seifert and Doug Schaffer. The one remaining one is about sports (I’ve forgotten the title) by Donald Stone. I missed the Genetics one because I was away at French Creek, but I attended the other two, and they were both very good. The Civil War one was a hotly contested topic because we have many rebel South sympathizers in our midst. We almost had to hire a guard to check weapons at the entrance (as it was, I found two hidden pistols. I find that revealing, despite the fact that they were cap guns, and one was broken).

Mom had gotten it into her head that she might die in a freak accident and I would have to go to a public high school, were community service is mandatory (it sounds like a prison sentence — three years in prison and 58 hours of community services. Also, making it mandatory nullifies the “voluntary part of it), so she decided to get ahead of things by having me volunteer at the library, helping with the computers. I didn’t really mind, so I spend two mornings a week helping at the library for a couple hours. All Mom’s fears were for nought, because by going as a counselor, for which I received no monetary reimbursement, of course, I put in roughly 164 hours. So in one fell swoop I did almost three times the requirement. In addition, it was greatly more enjoyable and edifying than sitting around at the library, pleasant as that may be.

Regarding my website, I hope to keep the weekly page up to date, but some outside forces, such as camp or computer troubles, could hamper that. For the Bible verse, I’m planning on taking a verse from each book each week. I started in Hebrews, for no apparent reason. I may possibly add some stories that Paul MacDonald and I combined forces to write. They are kind of strange, so it is not advisable for those with weak hearts, young children, those over the age of 110, pregnant women, et cetera to read them. Just be forewarned. They are weird.

As I mentioned in my last letter, we agreed to host a French exchange student for three weeks. He arrived shortly after I had departed for French Creek, so I didn’t see him for the first week, and the second week I was at LCTI (Vo–Tech) for the day, and the third week he was a soccer camp, so I really didn’t see as much of him as the others, but by general consensus we decided that he was bearable. Actually, Mom spent the whole day yesterday, after we bade farewell, talking about how much she missed him. I confessed that for as little as I had seen of him, I missed him too. I guess we weren’t so bad either, since he told Mom that he spent two of the last three nights just sitting on the swing of the porch around midnight because he was sad he had to leave (Mom was talking with him the third, preventing him from continuing the routine), which was kind of touching.

I think it was largely because of having a French student, but this past month we seem to have watched more movies and DVDs than all the preceding months this year. It was weird watching a movie in English but seeing the subtitles in French.

The work on our garage is finally coming to something resembling a close, and it’s almost shocking to look at the back yard and see this bright white structure there with clean vinyl siding instead of dilapidated wooden boards with pealing paint. We now have a new garage door, and once the electrical wires have been laid in the trench that Dad and Pete are working on as I type, we will have a garage door opener that works. I was telling Mom that it’s almost sad, seeing the old structure being covered over, and parts of it being replaced — no more the giant doors that swing open, the windows that can’t be opened… Instead, we have the same as everyone else. Maybe I’m just being sentimental. I need to start playing some hardening computer games.

Our whole summer has been punctuated by trips or planned trips to and from French Creek. Steve just returned yesterday from a week there, and Peter is going down on Monday. The Monday after that, I’m going down again, this time as a camper. I was thinking about next summer, and I realized that I could go for a whole month at French Creek — two weeks as a counselor, and two as a camper. My hopes were dashed, though, when Becky Plowman told me that there isn’t a 1011 camp. I guess I could go for just three weeks. But before all these other things, this weekend we are going to the farm (the abode of Dad’s family, down in Maryland), and I believe we are going to go straight from there to French Creek, to drop Peter off.

This school year is in turmoil in regards to what I’m going to do. Originally, I was going to go to RYFES (MAFIA) again, but then It was decided that I would go with Dad down to this Westminster School, a weekly high school for homes schoolers (so Mom says). Unfortunately, that fell through because not enough students signed up for Dad’s class, so now we’re back to square one. Mom is contemplating sending me to RYFES, but I am opposed to that idea, because I had gotten used to the idea of going to Westminster, and I don’t want to go back (mentally) to the rules, and the other undesirable aspects of it. There is a possibility that I might participate in an on–line internet course called AP English Language & Comp, which sounds interesting. As to other extra–curricular activities, I would like to join the 4H Veterinary club, since that sounds like it has potential for being interesting. Two other things that sound promising are the Bethlehem Steel and Lucent’s (I guess Agere, now) engineering clubs, even though I have no plans for becoming an engineer, I see no point in not broadening my horizons. Mom warned me that they might not be having the clubs this year due to lay offs and lack of interest, which would stink, because I wanted to do it last year and year before, but was too young. I hate to end on a sad note, but I can’t think of anything else to say right now… I just hope that the rest of you are having a pleasant summer.

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

*Here Endeth the Newsletter*