Dear family:

We have had a very unusual week, weather-wise. There were some record-breaking warm and sunny days, which reminded us how eager we are for Spring. It gave all of us a great boost of energy to go for walks and to the park. Then this weekend it became cold and rainy again. David was away most of the time at a brutal presbytery meeting Ė so brutal, in fact, that the moderator passed out! The boys and I were not enjoying ourselves much more-- we were supposed to be doing a thorough housecleaning, but the dreary weather depressed us too much until we decided to have a proper English tea party instead. (My Auntie Doris would deny that it was proper enough, as we didnít put milk in our tea.)

It has been several weeks since Iíve written because my usual Sunday afternoon writing time has been filled with other things. Two weeks ago I took Stephen to the Bach Choir Family Concert at Zoellner Arts Center. This was billed as a concert for students in grades 3 - 6 and their parents. Weíll be taking the older boys to the 100th anniversary concert of the B minor Mass later this month, but I thought this family concert sounded more appropriate for Stephen. I think it was pretty much what the choir does in their Bach to School programs. Greg Funfgeld did an excellent job making it interesting to the kids, and everyone was even given Bach Choir birthday cake at the end. I wrote to him that my favorite part was the very first number. The choir stood around the perimeter of the auditorium; we were sitting almost in the last row. They sang "Jesu, Joy" and we were literally surrounded by the voices in harmony before they proceeded to the stage. Stephen has never heard music like that up close in "surround sound". He had been reluctant to go to the concert, but at the end said, "That was pretty interesting!" High praise, indeed! The only sour note to the affair was my discovery Ė post concert -- that Judy had found a way to get tickets half-price!

Then last Sunday I was again at Zoellner for the Lehigh Choir concert. Since several of our RSF students are in the choir, we always go to hear them perform, which they appreciate since several do not have parents able to attend. This time, both Joel and Jeff had solos (Jeff had two), and we have had fun teasing Joel all week because his solo was "Zinga, zinga, zinga, zinga..." We took the Plowman sisters with us, who are Joelís high school fan club, and met up with George King (Davidís intern) and met his wife at long last. It was a great concert, and made up for the previous week by being free (these concerts are usually $10 each) and we got to sit in the first-class section.

Along the same vein of watching friends perform, the boys and I went to see a homeschool production of Little Women. Peterís partner in crime, Gabe West, was Laurie, and Andrew MacDonald was Professor Baehr, among others we knew in the cast. It was preceeded by an (supposedly) abridged production of The Three Musketeers done by elementary students. Unfortunately, they were on floor level, and so invisible to all but the front rows. Little Women itself went on for two and a half hours, and it was an endurance test for me because I had Ben along. He recognized the actors, and escaped my clutches during Andrewís declaration of love speech and ran to him on the stage, asking if heíd like to play with silly putty.

The reason I had Ben was that David needed to leave early to get to Baltimore for the Spring student conference. About six or seven Lehigh students went (double last semester), as well as a friend of Danielís who just lost his place in the Naval Academy (a victim of pneumonia and calculus). This young man is also coming to our campus Bible study. I confess I was jealous that David was getting to see Daniel, while I stayed home to keep the home fires burning Ė or more accurately, to keep putting the fires out! We had a houseful of children (siblings of the actors, who had Saturday performances) so things were lively here. All reports about the conference from the students and staff were positive, although I believe that only a few hours sleep was had by all. The college girls got up early to make a breakfast banquet for the guys, which was probably the only reason they could be pried out of bed after staying up all night playing computer games.

Danielís phone calls home have been litanies of misery over the difficulties of this semesterís calculus. David is not that sympathetic, because further inquiries reveal that Danielís weekends are filled with lacrosse games, indoor soccer, Barnum & Bailey circus, mountain climbing, and the Inner Harbor. I canít be too hard on Daniel because my own claim to fame is that I got a big fat zero on my first calculus exam (then again, I wasnít planning to be an engineer). When I marveled with Daniel at the mind of Sir Isaac Newton, who could invent calculus, when the rest of us struggle to understand what is taught to us, Daniel merely muttered something about wanting to meet him in a dark alley.

Since my last letter we have celebrated Davidís birthday. As is our tradition, the birthday boy gets to pick the dinner menu. His choice was cheese fondue and, instead of birthday cake, Momís Christmas pudding (she had brought some on her last visit which I froze). The Christmas pudding is a rich and heavy fruitcake served with hardsauce. The combination of cheese fondue and Christmas pudding almost did us in; we sat around the rest of the evening with glazed eyes, barely able to move. I made a more traditional chocolate birthday cake served with strawberries and cream that we took to the Lehigh Bible study. While carrying the cake with lit candles over to David, I stumbled, and a few candles flew off at him, causing enough excitement that I forgot to read the poem my dad wrote for the occasion.

Speaking of food makes me think of an amusing scene this morning. As some of you know, our church has weekly communion, and David makes the bread (in a bread machine). This morning the phone rang, and it was a man from our church wanting to talk to David. It turns out he was asking if he could have Davidís recipe! As I listened to David saying 3cups of flour, 3 tablespoons honey, etc., I couldnít help but imagine what his mother would think of the scene!

A less amusing scene took place one evening as I was preparing for my Masterís Academy class. I wanted to draw a giant Nine Menís Morris board on a sheet so I could teach my students this classic game. David offered to help me, and it was obviously late at night because we both had the bright idea of using the square design of my kitchen linoleum to trace over. It didnít occur to us that if the sheet was thin enough to see through, the permanent marker would bleed through. So now I have the markings of a Nine Menís Morris board on my kitchen floorĖ and proof that permanent market is truly permanent. I take small comfort in reading that Westminster Abbey and Canterbury Cathedral have ones carved in their choirs, too.

Iím afraid that the boys have been largely neglected in this letter. They are all healthy, if not wealthy or wise. Perhaps I can get Chris to write another of his own newsletters for you. Iím attaching some comic strips that various family members identified as being very descriptive of our family life.



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