Dear family:

We are at the tail end of a very pleasant weekend Ė one with few outside commitments so it was genuinely relaxing. The snow and ice canceled various events and meant we could enjoy a quieter time at home. Actually, David and I did go out to dinner Friday night so he could report on his RUM staff meeting that had taken place that day in New York City. Otherwise, we have done a routine housecleaning and watched a few videos.

Last weekend was quite different. David was away in Philadelphia participating in a church missions conference (I ended up joining him on Sunday). Peter had arranged to have two friends stay over Saturday night, so naturally the brothers felt that they should be allowed overnight guests on Friday. With David gone I did the Awana and logic class commuting, and somewhere in there we fit a library trip and grocery shopping. Saturday night I took Christopher and Ben with me to a country western dance at First Pres. This event deserves a paragraph to itself.

The dance was First Pres.ís contribution to an international student outreach program. My family will well remember the international student conferences which make up such a large part of our family movies. Well, in recent years the same core group of individuals has taken a different approach, and arranged for a monthly event which rotates among several area churches. I would love to connect more with Lehigh international students, but it wasnít until last monthís ice skating party that we were able to participate in any of the scheduled events. The ice skating was enjoyed by all except the novice skater that I handed over to Peter for help and assistance. Next thing I knew, she was in the first aid station Ėalthough Peter denies completely that he was responsible. Anyway, we had a great conversation about God and evolution with two women from mainland China over dinner, and I was hoping to see them again at this dance. I was all decked out in a bona fide cowgirl outfit that a friend from Texas gave me. Ben was very impressed with my fringed blouse and said in an awestruck tone, "Mommy, you look BEAUTIFUL!" Christopherís reaction, on the other hand, was one of complete embarrassment that he would be accompanying such a spectacle.

The evening had excellent elements, but was rather poorly executed. I felt sorry for the Kricks, who were obviously chagrined and kept trying to hustle things along. The dance instructor spoke atrocious English, and I suspect that most of the internationals barely understood her. However, in spite of all the clumsiness, everyone had a great time Ė especially Ben. He stood in the exact center of the circle and WINKED at me every time I passed him. I have never seen him do this before, and it was so funny and charming that he stole the show. Of course he stands out anyway with his blonde hair, especially in a crowd of black haired people. My Japanese dance partner must be a direct descendant of a kamikaze pilot. I have never seen anyone dance with so much energy and movement; my limbs were in constant danger. It was most unlike the dignified manner which I associate with Japanese. Christopher was delighted that a little Chinese boy that he had met the month before was there, and Chris kept him entertained as well as a horde of Korean children that he knows from the Kricksís Bible study.

One of the activities was making a valentine. Ben lapped up the project and constructed an elaborate valentine of lace, glue, glitter, glue, construction paper, and more glue. I thought it was for me, but he told me in no uncertain terms it was for Sarah. Sarah is a lovely high school girl at our church who is the object of Benís devotion (and maybe someone elseís in this family, too). She sits with him in church which is a nice break for me. Ben spent most of the service admiring this valentine which he had given to Sarah, and by the end of the service he decided that he liked it so much he was going to keep it for himself, after all!

Meanwhile, Stephen has developed a crush on another Sarah Ė Sarah Brightman, the soprano. I brought home from the library a CD called "Time to Say Goodbye" in which she sings some amazing duets with Andrea Bocelli and Jose Cura. Even though they are in foreign languages, Stephen has gotten hooked on them, and is driving his brothers crazy by playing them several times each day. Christopher prefers Amy Grant, and Peter listens to Weird Al Yankovich. For Valentineís Day I gave David a CD of Charlotte Church Ė the Welsh teenager with a voice from heaven. When he can, Ben listens to Davidís old record "Tweety Bird and Sylvester". I have been playing Elizabethan music to supplement my Renaissance class preparations.You can see that we have quite a variety of music here.

One nuisance that is practically a daily occurrence in our house is the "lost item crisis". David lost his Visa card but was pretty sure that he had lost it in the house, so we neednít panic about unauthorized charges showing up on our bill. Then he quietly borrowed mine and I had a moment of panic when I went to pay for a purchase and my card was missing. I eventually found his, so peace was restored. My patience was wearing thin, though, when Christopher revealed that he had left his vest behind at the First Pres. dance. We drove back to the church later in the week and Ben and Stephen played in the snow there while Christopher tracked down his vest through the lost-and-found system. After we got home I was told that Ben had left behind one of his gloves in the snow! A companion vice seems to be that we acquire things that donít belong to us. Three times this past week someone said to me, "I think you have ..." and, sure enough, we did!

David and I exchanged favors last week. I helped out at Lehighís club fair, and he came to my Masterís Academy classes as Martin Luther. He was a big hit. He wore his academic gown and we had borrowed Peter Feaverís floppy academic hat, so he looked the part. As I was giving an introduction to the lesson, we suddenly heard someone nailing 95 theses on the door and in came Martin Luther, fuming about Tetzel and indulgences. The week had been exceptionally busy for David, so we had only practiced

our routine in the sketchiest form at about midnight the night before but it worked. Several students asked me this week if he was coming back Ė one little girl asked if he really was Martin Luther!

One reason the week was busy for David was because he conducted two biology dissection labs in addition to the usual classes. We had stacks of boxes containing specimens in the hallway. I didnít really see the point of all the excitement. I mean, how much can there be to see inside an earthworm, anyway? But David was nervous about the whole thing because he hadnít done a dissection himself since high school. At Hopkins he was using electron microscopes and separating DNA strands! I guess itís similar to people assuming I know all the rules of grammar because I was an English major, when I didnít have a single grammar course in all my college years. Anyway, it all went smoothly. The girls eeeked and the boys swaggered. [This reminds me of a malaprop our pastor made today. He meant to talk about people who saunter in to Godís presence, but instead he said "people who psalter in".]

It was a funny coincidence to read in Momís letter that she had baked Chinese almond cookies. I also baked them that very same week, though I hadnít made them for years. The children complain loud and long that I bake every Wednesday to take goodies to the Lehigh students, and they only get the leftovers. This week the wailing reached new heights because, for the first time, the students ate all of the cookies. One of our new students this semester brought two more of his fraternity brothers, so the group is growing by student word of mouth.

One night I was just about to serve dinner when I noticed that a bowl of chicken noodle soup had spilled in the refrigerator. As I frantically emptied everything out to clean the fridge, Christopher commented, "You could start a busy motherís club Ė but then no one would join!"

A gem from Ben: "I kissed Big Mama (the guinea pig) on the face and now he loves me."

The boys and I have been thoroughly enjoying reading aloud from the missionary books that Nana and Poppa sent. They are engagingly written. We put Ben down for an afternoon nap and then read a chapter or two together before continuing with the school day. Stephen sighed, "Wouldnít it be great if school was just reading on the couch all day?"

I know you are wondering how Daniel is doing. He says things are going well. Apparently Calculus is his only super difficult class. He is playing some indoor soccer and even is the goalie Ė a position he has never played. David hopes to see him next weekend at the RUM conference, which is being held near Baltimore.

Peter is sad that his winter ski sessions have concluded. One of the mothers told David that Peter has developed into a great skier. I am just so happy he is all in one piece. While at the missions conference last weekend, someone was called out of the meeting. We were later told that his son had just been in a skiing accident receiving critical head trauma. I worried about Peter all Tuesday because Iím sure he is a daredevil on the slopes. His best friend said that Peter is the type who would rather die than submit when they are wrestling, so he has to be careful that he doesnít hurt Peter because Peter would never tell him to stop.

Speaking of which, I think itís about time for me to stop. We love hearing from you all.

ruth@cdgreen.org

 

 

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