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HareRaising Adventures
th Publication, October 16th–December 4, 2001

Astoundingly, I already had an inquiry about when the next letter would be coming out, so I felt it my duty to appease the masses before they got out of hand (it may seem that I’m making a huge thing out of one request, but everyone knows I’m willing to write a newsletter at the drop of a hat). While this has been a fairly eventful period, I neglected to collect my information from the calendar before Mom swiped and updated it, so bear with me if I’ve forgotten something important.

I shall start with MAFIA, since it’s been somewhat in the background in my recent letters and several noteworthy occurrences involve it. I had contemplated changing the acronym because I feared the wrath of Mom and also because it isn’t a very good one. It turns out that Mom has mellowed someone to the name, and so I shall continue with MAFIA.

This year we moved to a new building with different pros and cons: it isn’t being rented, since about half the staff are members, it is better laid out, and more comfortable, while we aren’t allowed to eat food at all on the second floor (no more snacks in History), and the Drama room has a foul stench and is hot. Over all, it is still a better deal.

MAFIA has a new music teacher this year (these music teachers seem to have a high turn–over rate, since in the past three years we’ve had three different ones). This teacher is better than the former, and the former was better than the first, so music, at least, is looking up. He cooked up a plan to teach all the students how to play the harmonica, which from the start got at least tentative support from me since my philosophy has been “if we going to have a music class, then let’s teach music.” It turned out better than I expected, and so far he’s planning on having all the kids get up and play “Jesus Loves Me” on their harmonicas at the “end of the semester party” (whatever they call it). He also has been trying to teach us to sing “Abide with Me,” (which, by the way, did not receive support from me) and so far I’ve advanced greatly — in the art of mouthing words. We are actually doing adequately in that as well, and will sing that also at the ending party (if any of you are entertaining thoughts of viewing this spectacle, which is this Thursday, remember to bring ear plugs).

The classes otherwise are very similar to previous years. Paul MacDonald, my comrade in arms, this year is taking the art elective, so we are in all our classes together, which is nice, since last year the MacDonalds had dropped out and I was bereft of friends.

MAFIA has been trying to erect a respectable front to lure more unsuspecting innocents into its vortex, and Mrs. Ugi’s latest plot has been to instigate a plan called ‘Teen Projects.’ This nefarious plan’s premise is this: teenagers will, if left to their own devices, do no end of trouble and waste their lives. Therefore, it is the duty of MAFIA to make sure that they are kept one step behind in all their work so they never have free time to enjoy themselves while burning down barns and such. The way to create more work for them is to have an ‘optional’ teen project which all the parents will leap upon with glee and force their kids to do, since it’s such a nice idea. There are four routes to this torment. A project can be history–, music–, art–, or drama–based. They all involve blood, sweat, tears, and public humiliation. The poor souls who chose history have to deal with Mom, and presumably write some paper dealing with the Classical period (this is route to the least public humiliation). Those who chose music must perform some musical piece in front of everyone at the ending party and give a short summary of the author’s impact on life (this is the path that Paul chose, but since he wrote his piece, he obviously doesn’t need to say much). Those who jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire found themselves in art, and, truth to tell, I’m not sure of their fate. The same goes for those who fled in fear to drama and found themselves in the worst position; I haven’t ventured into the dark depths of drama for fear of being sucked in and never released, and thus know little of the demise of those who have.

I, pressed on all sides, chose the option with the least public humiliation and my own (presumably merciful) mother as the one I must report to. I decided to shoot two fowl with one bang and bump off my teen project paper and my Pennsylvania Homeschoolers’ paper (they require a paper each year in high school to complete that grade — and a speech, which I’m very timorous about, but I’m not thinking about it much yet) with one swift stroke. At the suggestion of Mom, I started gathering information on Mahogany in preparation for a paper on it, and found, to my great and continuing astonishment, that there is practically nothing out there on this most fascinating of subjects. Here was an opportunity to make a name for myself in a curiously neglected field! It required a number of inter–library loans, but I gathered enough books for a passable bibliography, and am now going to start taking notes.

There is a MAFIA sponsored field trip every month, and one of them was to see a George Washington exhibit a couple hours away. The MacDonalds took Steve and me down with them. I was disappointed at the exhibit; most of the information there I already knew (Mom attributed this to her excellent teaching abilities), and it didn’t seem worth the long ride and wasted school time. Old George also, in a number of pictures, suffered from Jean’s Disease, a rare strain of Denimitis (this is in no way related to qwertytis, commonly known as keyboard face). In short, it looked like he’d been sleeping on a pillowcase made out of old jeans. On the way back we spotted a sign promoting litter prevention (we assumed) on a canister saying “Toss it for Ted.” We speculated on who Ted could be, amused ourselves by changing the preposition for to at. This quickly lead to finding rhyming words with Ted, and the following sentence is the end product: “‘Throw a hunk of lead at Ted’s red head while he’s being fed in bed so he’ll be dead before he’s wed,’ said Ed and Ned.” You may make your own conclusions.

Another field trip — this one more recent — was to J. J. Audubon’s house. We saw a number of his paintings and stuffed animals, and were given a synopsis of his life. They even had one of his Birds of America books open in a glass case. Afterwards we were encouraged to perambulate about the trails, which Paul and I did with celerity. Along the way we probably killed three or four saplings while we attempted to make two Stephen Whackers TM (long and flexible sticks for administering justice), since we both have bothersome younger brothers with a forename of Stephen.

Mom has fallen under the spell of historic gift shops and has to be dragged away from them when she sees them. We weren’t fast enough this time, and she came away with an extortionary receipt (she only bought trinkets like wooden tops and the like, though I was trying to get her to purchase a reasonably priced print — this was out of character, since I’m usually the one dragging everyone else away and discouraging them from wasting their money at such shops). She claims they’re for her History class, but I have my doubts.

For quite a while now our church sanctuary has been undergoing renovations of the most extreme kind. If any of you have been there before, it will look very different. I had attempted to weasel my way into the sanctuary renovation committee (mainly because I wanted to push for deep blue carpeting, but also for the experience) under the guise of representing the youth of the church — of which there is a large percentage — but my plans were seen through, and my generous offer was rejected. True to my second worse fears (the first being my fear that they would choose hot pink for the carpeting) they chose teal. This particular hue has never held much attraction for me, because it can never seem to choose whether to be blue or green. It also refuses to have either an adequate portion of dark or light shading.

All of this is to say that we obviously can’t be worshiping very well amidst the rubble and scaffolding that is currently the sanctuary, so an alternate place had to be decided. After much scouring of the county, the basement was found. It has since proven, while not perfect, acceptable. I took advantage of the turn of events to retreat to the back of the aisles to a convenient nook right in front of the organ which no one else wanted (including the rest of my family). So it’s interesting to look at the back of people’s heads as a break from having the back of my head looked at, as it has been for the past fourteen years of my life. I am further left to my own devices by the Georges, whose four young children block the only way in and out of my little alcove. While there is not documented scientific evident for this, I believe that it may also increase my attentiveness to the sermon since I’m not being aggravated by my siblings. It does have its occasional humorous moments, such as the time during the passing of the peace when I was mistaken for a George.

Halloween seems very long ago. I did not participate insofar as I didn’t collect sugary confections, though I still had to traverse the same amount of distance because I was Ben’s escort. In what is now becoming an annual tradition, we trick-or-treated in our neighborhood on Friday and went to the Plowman’s on Saturday. At the farthest point possible from the Plowman’s house Ben said he was too tired to walk and wanted me to carry him home. I had asked him previously if he wanted to return (before we headed down a long dead end) and we could hit the houses on the other side of the street on the way back, but he solemnly assured me that he wanted to go on. The end result was I had to carry Ben about halfway back (I revolted after a while and we negotiated a deal).

I have found documentation that indicates that as far back as the fourth grade — if not before — I aspired to be a veterinarian. Two years ago we had caught wind of a 4–H veterinary science club, and I attended that first meeting. Sadly, I was found too young in years. Last year we missed it because we saw no ad. This year I was determined to attend (I had a list of four or five clubs that I desired to attend, but all of them except this fell through for various reasons that greatly irritate me), so I nagged Mom until she tracked the information down. I have since visited the first meeting and my original impression is that the group as a whole is leaning more towards a “save the animals and hug the trees” approach than a serious study of the field of veterinary science, which is what I would have preferred. I suppose I’ll just take what I can get. One interesting phenomenon that I observed was that out of the twelve clubbers (for lack of a more refined term), ten were girls. Both the leaders were also female, so I felt somewhat outnumbered.

Nana and Poppa’s kitchen is, I finally feel safe to say (though my feeling could be erroneous), completed, inasmuch as it can or ever will be. The new linoleum floor, new washer and dryer, drywall, lights, window, and everything else is finally installed and working, as of this point in time. Their container carrying all the material possessions that they didn’t leave behind in Hawaii and didn’t bring in their suitcases arrived as well, so along with their numerous boxes of books, they will be arranging things for quite a while.

Poppa was set right to work at the Herculean task of teaching me Latin. He started at a rigorous pace at three chapters a week until the oppressed petitioned for an opportunity to get some other school work done as well, so I’m currently only doing two chapters a week. Just from studying their language for so short a time I have discovered two pivotal points about the ancient Romans. The rich alleviated their boredom by created a plethora of noun forms, and because of this it became so difficult to communicate that the Germanic hordes, whose language was so refreshingly simple and barbaric (ask Dr. Femister if I am not correct), were an enormous relief when they swept through and sent the rich scurrying away. My arguments are further proven correct by the fact that all the languages derived from Latin have slowly, over the centuries, been dropping the noun forms (English, I’m told, only has two, as opposed to the Latin six).

My other school work was finally ironed out and I had figured approximately how little work I could do and still finish on time, when I realized that I had to start working on my paper. I have since discovered that note-taking is long, painful, and very unpleasant. Consequently my other subjects have been suffering (better they than I, I say), but there isn’t much to do about that.

Our van’s running board broke quite a while back and we all eventually got used to skipping it when we clambered into the vehicle, but whenever we had guests in it whom we would forget to warn (or who would forget our warning), the condition worsened. The effect of the damage done by each person was directly proportional to their excess food reserves, and so eventually it was in pretty poor shape and Dad got it fixed. It’s been hard adjusting back to being able to use it again, and I still don’t think I’ve fully re-adjusted. It’s funny how easily you get used to doing something such as skipping a step or dealing with a peculiar tool.

As a ‘surprise’ Christmas present for Nana and Poppa all their children pooled their resources and bought them a desktop computer. Dad and Pete spent a good amount of time installing all the programs. Because Compuserve, who had been giving them their E-mail and internet services, has been undergoing some majors changes in setup, a lot of things had to be cleared. Dad also got a new printer for his office which can print faster, on both sides, and twice as fine. It is also ten years or so younger than the previous one, so it will hopefully last us for some time.

In a recent home letter from Mom she unabashedly stole a quote from me and paraphrased (to those of you who get it, it was the bit about an archeological find underneath all the papers on Dad’s desk) without even citing me. I have since concluded that I should copyright everything I say.

Uncle John and his family came down for Thanksgiving, and Uncle David was around for most of the weekend, so it was a very nice holiday, despite the fact that a lot of it was taken up by projects on Nana and Poppa’s house, and we shifted all the junk that has been sitting on our patio since July back into the garage. Many a game of Boggle was played by Katelyn, Megan, Stephen, and I, and it was embarrassing how easily Katelyn beat the rest of us. As Nana would say, “It’s a lesson in humility.”

As you know, Paul MacDonald and I have been writing a couple stories and I’ve been planning on posting them up on my web site for all to lambaste and ridicule. As it turns out, I found a web site where you can post your fictional tales for all to lambaste and ridicule. I speedily posted three of the stories which can now be viewed, along with a strange story about writer’s block that needs revision (I thought it up late at night after reading several very good stories by others. It was a bad combination). The web site URL is, and you only need to search for Snowshoe Hare under ‘authors,’ if you want to see them. An interesting side point to all this is my wide ranging (from genetics to the beginning of the universe, to life after death, to free will, to changeable or otherwise gods) debate with an atheist. Since the only people with whom I’ve ever really had any meaningful conversations are Christians, and most of them believed what I was brought up to believe, it certainly has been an interesting experience interacting with someone whose basic premises are opposite of mine.

The social events of the Lehigh RUF group have usually been graced with my presence, and a number of them were quite interesting. One such occasion was our trip to New York to assist in a soup kitchen. (Mom kept protesting that she didn’t want both her husband and her child killed in some terrorist attack, but I pointed out that not many people are going to be killing the poor of New York City.) We started off at Dr. Femister’s house and had a highly filling and very delectable breakfast and then headed off for New York. We got stuck in traffic going into the city and made it to the kitchen in time to clean up, which we did. After cleaning up, we fought over where we should go — Dr. Femister, also known as Jim, and I were of one mind. We should hit the most prominent bookstores in the city. The others outnumbered us, though, and we eventually went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Since we were in the van none of the parking garages would let us in, so Dad dropped us off and went to find a parking spot. He actually found one on the street. We then wandered around town for a while and stopped into a little pizza place which served surprisingly good food for its unostentatious location and appearance (though I don’t doubt that the price was quite high).

Another event was a tailgate party before the big Lehigh– Lafayette football game. I had always thought of tailgate parties as a bunch of bibulous college students with a dog huddled around the back of a car at two in the morning hoping the police don’t come. I was apparently wrong. While the event went very well, there were a number of things that could have made it better. For one, the sheer amount of traffic on the roads drastically picks up within a twenty minute window (so Jim, who came late because he had to make the chili, didn’t arrive until everyone else — except Dad, Mom and myself — had gone). Also it was difficult to find our location, so Jim suggested getting a weather balloon with Reformed University Fellowship printed on it and filling it up with helium at our spot. This would probably be the best dollars–per–person (who sees a RUF ad) deal possible.

Dad has been desiring an assistant in his office for some time. He finally found a college student who would be willing to put up with him three days a week to clean out all the rodents’ nests and fossilized paperweights that clutter up the third floor. Since his employment the office has shown a marked improvement, but all the stuff that the rest of us have lying around up there is swiftly being forced into less conspicuous places. I suppose there can be no gain without some pain.

On the way to MAFIA recently we had an accident. We were at a stop light which had just turned green, and Mom was slowing advancing when she looked down for some reason; thus, our big van tapped the rear bumper of the car in front of us. The rather unpleasant lady — even I, who stayed in the car the whole time could tell that if someone tried to give her a big hug, she would probably bite them — got out and carefully pulled out a magnifying lens and inspected her bumper for a full five minutes (we were still in the middle of the lane). Actually, she didn’t, but only because she didn’t happen to have a magnifying lens with her, though the five minutes were all too real. It turned out that there was a minuscule dent that may or may not have been from our brief connection, but Mom decided not to get into a fistfight. We found out later from Mom that she had only had the vehicle for two days, but that is still hardly excuse for her behavior.

The MacDonalds are very interested in dramatic and histrionic endeavors. They were in a production just last week (“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” which Pete says is the most produced play ever, and I am inclined to agree with the sentiment, if not the facts) which we attended. It was better than I anticipated, possibly because I knew a large portion of the cast, the director, and the stage manager. Miraculously, Stephen didn’t complain the whole time there and back about how much of a waste of time this was and how he could be doing better things.

This past Sunday the old Moravian church downtown had its annual Advent Love Feast service. It usually commences at four in the afternoon and consists of singing, basically. In the middle of it raisin buns and coffee are served, and thus my annual coffee-testing ritual began. Every year I drink a half cup of coffee at this service and then swear off coffee for another year. Now, some may say this is a foolhardy thing, for what if they serve poor coffee? In response, I can only say that a half cup is about all the coffee I can take for a year, and I might as well drink it there, where it’s free. Unfortunately, they bumped the service back a half hour for some reason or another, so we missed the first half of it, but the important thing is we still arrived in time for the raisin buns and the coffee ritual. (Parenthetically, the coffee didn’t taste as bad this time, but still not worth drinking more than once a year if at all possible.)

With the excess Creative Cubes from my great cage building project of a couple months ago, I created an outdoor pen by connecting them with cable ties. The advantage to this is the ability to accordion fold it up when not in use; in which state , as you can imagine, it will stay for most of the winter. I’m also planning on making a small tunnel for them out of scrap wood that’s been lying around the basement for an unidentifiable number of years. The cardboard containers that have been used up to the present are within a month demolished by the guinea pig’s enjoyment of chewing on objects susceptible to destruction, such as food, hay, book covers, and so on.

With great lacrimation I must inform you that the economic situation in South Korea seems to be quite well and they still have a surplus of workers with Ph. D.s. Consequently, my baby sitting employment has been severed in half, thus necessitating some hard scrutiny at my financial status and expenditures. Basically, it means I’m going to have to cut down on the spoiling of my guinea pigs (since my only other expense, really, is birthday presents, I don’t think any of you would want me to cut back on that). The connection between highly educated Koreans in Korea and my babysitting career in Bethlehem is quite direct. Since no — or at least few — Koreans are coming to the United States for education and those who already here are slowly trickling back and their kids are growing up and going to school, my occupation has been shrinking for a while, and I’ve been anticipating this turn of events for a while.

A new Wegmans opened open near us recently and Mom and Nana arranged a special expedition just to explore the interior. While they were duly impressed, it doesn’t appear to be the end–all and be–all of grocery stores. They do seem to have a nice dessert section though, because Mom was too busy drooling over (don’t worry — I’m sure they have some plastic covering or other over them) the scrumptious but expensive confections to notice that a man from the most wanted list was arrested there for stealing a Band–Aid. He was found to have five hundred dollars in his pocket and is a multi-millionaire, so it’s insane that he would not bother to spend a couple dollars for a box of Band–Aids, but parsimonious he was, I suppose.

I shall now depart to work and my paper and Latin homework. I fare you all a pleasant — if not joyful — Christmas.

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

*Here Endeth the Newsletter*