Dear family:

What a lovely day of rest we have enjoyed Ė and we needed a day of rest! This past week has been one of the most demanding, schedule-wise, and the entire family was tired out. But I should begin where my last letter left off.

I think that was on the eve of Musikfest Ė what began the hottest week of the summer. We had a family of six staying with us on the weekend, the Webers, former students at the University of Pennsylvania who now live in Texas. They were very gracious about putting up with our accommodations (minus air conditioning) and it was good to see them in spite of the heat. We have had a lot of company this summer and I have found a useful and popular menu: turkey London broil and a frozen cake from BJís.. Iíve lost count of how many Iíve bought this summer. Aside from tasting yummy and being somewhat novel so appropriate for company, its main benefit is that David cooks the main dish outside on the grill!

Patty Lynn and I took a memorable and miserable forced march down to Musikfest with all of the kids, serenaded by one who didnít want to go and wailed the entire time. This rather killed any enthusiasm on my part to go again. It was so hot and humid all week that I only went down one more time. I really missed having the crab soup in sourdough bread that we enjoyed two or three times last year!

The event that got me down there was accompanying my brother David to an open-air concert of Chicago, one of our favorite bands from the seventies. With great foresight I bought him two tickets as a birthday present, and he got the hint and invited me to join him. In the mental stupor caused by the temperature, I forgot to take a blanket or lawn chairs, so we roughed it sitting on the ground, but it was a lot of fun listening to the sound of music from The Golden Age. The only disappointment was that they didnít play Davidís favorite number, "Wishing You Were Here". I was intrigued by a senior lady volunteer who sat on a folding chair facing the long row of Porta-Potties and whose job was to shine a flashlight on the unoccupied ones for the concert-goers who needed them. She appeared completely oblivious to the singing and clapping going on behind her. It occurred to me that if Nana has time on her hands next August, she could volunteer at Musikfest for such a position!

Peter finished his week at French Creek the same day Christopher began his week as a camper there. Meanwhile, Stephen was attending a Good News club here in town. We were carpooling with another family to this club, and I had one memorable trip in which one boy was kept home because he was too smelly and needed a shower, and Stephen announced he wasnít feeling well and shortly thereafter became carsick. He ended up staying home and being given the royal treatment: watching movies in the air conditioned living room while I waited on him hand and foot. He recovered immediately under this regimen, and that confirmed our suspicions that the excessive heat and relentless activity were the sole cause of his malaise. I had a similar experience picking up Chris and another camper the following week. The week at camp had been particularly rough for them, because French Creek becomes a tropical rain forest, and the week ended with torrential rains. Anyway, the other boy said he wasnít feeling well and promptly got sick, and then announced he was quite hungry and had a hearty lunch at Pizza Hut Ė definitely against my better judgement but it turned out fine.

Several days after arriving home from camp Peter was scheduled for a physical to be approved for sports. He tried to convince me that this was unnecessary since he was obviously healthy, but of course he had to go and David took him while I was at the Bible Study. I find out when I return home that Dr. Mathur has discovered a fractured left ankle! The ankle was significantly swollen, and I was abashed that I had not even noticed it in the craziness of our lives. At French Creek, Peter had fallen and twisted it while running through the woods. He says that he told me this, but I think he must have done so when I was fast asleep, and he was trying to hide it from us. Anyway, I had to take him over to the orthopedist for a cast. When we got there, further study indicated that the ankle was not fractured, but a class III sprain. He was to wear an ankle brace and go for daily physical therapy. The doctor said no soccer for a month, which was very disappointing news for Peter since try-outs/practice were to begin in a few days

Daniel came home for the weekend, and though Chris was still at camp, we celebrated Danielís twentieth birthday. This birthday came at the right moment for Daniel, as his bank account was down to 12 cents, and Ben was very eager to celebrate it, too, because he knew that his would follow not much after. Daniel and I did a lot of errands on Saturday, picking up groceries and clothing items to sustain him till the next visit. Then we went out for dinner to Jack Creek Steakhouse, one of the boysí favorite places to eat.

On Sunday we got a call asking if we would be willing to host a British soccer coach for a week. The family where he was supposed to stay had a family emergency and they had to go to Boston. I came very close to saying no Ė the awful weather had drained my resources, and our week already looked crazy enough with Peter needing to be commuted to twice daily soccer try-outs as well as daily physical therapy (being injured not excusing him from attending try-outs), and Stephen commuting to the soccer camp (of which this coach was director) and his soccer practices in the evening. But David bolstered my courage and said we would manage Ė and we did! It was completely crazy, and just to add to the mayhem, our contractor came back and we needed to rearrange furniture and debris in several places so he could do electrical work in the house. Oh yes, we had another boarder, too Ė the Stonesiferís rabbit. We operated the classic revolving door and I donít think we all ate together even once, until Natís last breakfast on Saturday morning (for which David made his famous ham and cheese omelets)..

However, Nat was such an easy houseguest that we were truly sorry that we hadnít been able to spend more time with him. He is only 21 years old, but has coached these camps for four summers, and did a wonderful job. Half of the time he had the use of a rental car, and I asked if he was nervous about driving on the right side of the road. He said that he has done more driving in America than in England, because as a university student in London, he only uses the public transportation system. The kids loved these British coaches who have a lot of humor and who emphasize character as much as skill. I was especially grateful that Nat liked all kinds of food, with one notable exception. I wanted to impress him with how British we could be, and brought out my jar of Marmite. I forget his exact comment, but it wasnít complimentary.

One night Nat and the other coaches were offering a free coachesí clinic. David was busy, and I thought we should support his endeavor, so I went. It was very well done, and interesting, but I was worn out! My calling is not athletics. It made me reflect on how my children have led me into experiences I would never have imagined. Another night found us trying to make a replica of the Brazilian flag for Stephenís world cup team.

Early on we made a strategic decision to ignore Benís birthday until a more convenient time. However, we didnít count on the number of people who would remember on their own, so we explained that while he really was five now, we would have his celebration later. Somewhat to my surprise, he didnít have any objection to this plan. Funnily enough, at our Bible study one of the mothers sprang a surprise lunch party for her daughter, whose birthday was back in May. They sang for Ben, too, so he had a partial celebration and I was comforted to not be the only mom who does these things.Daniel did give him one birthday present Ė a computer game about a little dog Ė which has kept him happy for hours.

By the end of the week it would be hard to say who was the most tired! Daniel came up again from Baltimore because we were supposed to go to a picnic with the Fletchers and Carters in New Jersey and move some furniture to his new apartment afterwards. Both of those families cancelled, though, so with some relief we changed our plans. We saw Nat off and just did things like laundry and putting down a carpet in the dining room. Daniel and his roommate Patrick (with Patrickís friend from Lafayette) went to Lost River Canyons, and then they came here for dinner. You guessed it Ė turkey London broil! It was my persistence that led to our going as a family to Memorial Pool this afternoon. It was very special for me Ė just our family, relaxing in the (at long last!) comfortable weather, talking and playing a Uno game until it was time for Daniel to return to Baltimore, and not facing anything more than a normal week. (Well, at the end of the week the Lehigh freshmen arrive.)

We are at the time when the summer activities wind down (all camps are over now) and we prepare for the fall activities. That means lots and lots of soccer practices and games, and I have to get into gear for my MAFA classes especially, not to mention the regular schooling of Christopher and Stephen. Ben is eager to begin schoolwork, too, and has been practicing writing numbers. Our fall schedule is at least as demanding as the summer, but the big difference is that I donít have to deal with the heat and humidity which make me crabby. I must say, though, this has been a very interesting summer. God is good to us!

For those who are wondering: Peterís follow-up visit with the orthopedist was encouraging. He was discharged from physical therapy (although he is supposed to be keeping up with it at home) and the doctor reluctantly gave him permission to ease into soccer playing as long as he wears a laced brace and ices it afterwards. Since Peterís team is short players this year, Peter is very happy to be back on the team. Hopefully he will have enough common sense to know when to stop, but donít count on it.

David here. Ruth noticed that I was not mentioned so far, and suggested that if I were to be included I would need to do it myself. As she said, it has been a busy summer, even by our standards. It included all the regular activities, plus the foreign visitors. We all enjoyed the French and English students, but they did add to the demands on our time, especially for Ruth. I have been dividing my time between house projects and office work. We hired Denny Edgar, husband of someone in our church, to repair the garage. I think he will finish tomorrow, and it looks very nice. I am always amazed at how much work it requires to hire someone to work for you! Peter and I dug the trench for the electrical service to the garage -- the only big part we did, but the rest still consumes a surprising amount of my time. I also have been working with Peter on an azalea bed in front of our porch. The soil was too basic and dense for them to grow properly, so we are improving it. Then there is just the endless list of small projects which never get accomplished during the school year.

After the computer fiasco this spring, I realized we needed to get another computer so we are not enslaved to one. I have spent much of the summer obtaining the equipment and installing the programs so that we are ready to go without delay when campus work gears up. (DV!) We also gave up on the constantly unreliable phone line network and installed a true ethernet network. The advantage is that it is much more reliable. The disadvantage is that we had to run wires through the house. Peter and I spent three days just on this part. He crimped all the connectors just as the man at Home Depot instructed us, but the initial test was very spotty. Jim Femister was going to a computer show with a friend who installs networks for a living, and I asked him to ask this guy to check our cables. All of them failed the test! It turns out that the Home Depot guy entirely misled us. His day job also is installing network cables. Pity his customers! Jimís friend generously recrimped all the cables, so now the network is performing very well. And after a few problems we are almost finished setting up the computers. On Jimís advice I installed Windows 2000 instead of Windows 98, and it works much better.

We fit in a very nice visit to the farm a few weeks ago. It was good to see everyone there, even if only briefly. Freshmen arrive on Friday, so we have a lot to accomplish before then -- and thatís the end of our summer.

 

 

E-mail David Green: david@cdgreen.org

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