Saturday, August 5, 2017

Snapshot of Summer

"All in all, it was a never to be forgotten summer — one of those summers which come seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going — one of those summers which, in a fortunate combination of delightful weather, delightful friends and delightful doing, come as near to perfection as anything can come in this world." --L.M. Montgomery (Anne's House of Dreams)
It hardly seems possible that it is already August. I'm hoping we have several more months of summer, but the last couple days I've had to wear a sweater, with lows reaching into the 50s. Maybe summer is taking a quick vacation. But before I forget, it's time for some mid-summer reflections!  I recently went out to lunch with my friend Kathleen, whom I met while blogging on the campaign trail. She is very much a living reminder of why I love blogging, so it's about time for a new post!  This summer has been a fun one, packed with happy memories I don't want to forget.

1. I visited Chocolaterie Stam for the first time in my life with this lovely young lady on May 25!
Looking at the chocolates was an experience itself.  Who needs to eat them? Oh, and she tried to teach me how to take a selfie, and I failed. But that's what teenage sisters are for!  If you haven't checked out Sarah Faith's blog at the Journeys of Faith yet, you should. You can learn all about how she eats pecan pie and ice cream and still sets her P.R. (personal record). She did her first triathlon this summer, and recently ran 20 miles, just for training.
2. Aren't these cars beautiful? I "had to" attend a car show one weekend in Shell Rock to cover it for the paper on June 11.
3. The Glenn Miller Orchestra came to Wilder Park in Allison on June 11 (and of course, I had to cover that).
"You leave the Pennsylvania Station 'bout a quarter to four. Read a magazine and then you're in Baltimore. Dinner in the diner; Nothing could be finer Then to have your ham an' eggs in Carolina. When you hear the whistle blowin' eight to the bar, Then you know that Tennessee is not very far. Shovel all the coal in Gotta keep it rollin' Woo, woo, Chattanooga there you are." --Chattanooga Choo Choo
The Glenn Miller Orchestra dates back to the 1930s and 40s. I was happy my sister Charity was able to attend with me!

 4. Attending the Figure 8 Races at the Butler County Fair was definitely something I'd never done before.
Somehow the thought of attending Figure 8 Races had never struck a chord of longing in my heart. But covering them for the paper was a fascinating experience. The old-school racing was especially remarkable, as cars bumped each other off the track instead of just racing for speed.
5. Scrambles at the Butler County Fair: I'd never seen anything like this before either.
Children tried to catch calves and pigs. If a teenager caught a calf, the calf were his/hers. If a child caught a pig, he/she received an envelope of money.

6: I accidentally won the Clarksville Spelling Bee, adult division.
"What will people think if they find out their newspaper editor can't spell?" I asked spelling bee organizer Lola Clark. "It will be fun," she said. I was fortunate to sit at the end of the line, so by the time it was my turn, almost everyone else was already out! I just had to fight it out with Lora Wedemeier, who finished second. Here we stand with retired teacher Lorna Schwartz, who came from Colorado and officiated the spelling bee. What made it even sweeter was that Sarah Faith won the high school division!

7. My 23rd birthday was unforgettable.
Not only was my birthday cake beautiful, it contained a specially-ordered spelling error from my papa. He wanted to see if this editor was on her toes...I was not prepared to proof-read my own cake! I *need* spell check.
My family and I went rock climbing at the W in Waverly. Climbing is another first for me this year. The National Guard had a climbing wall at the Sauerkraut Days in Ackley, and my sisters, brother and I each made it to the top and collected a t-shirt; so, we wanted to try something a bit more challenging! And we had a lot of fun! 
 We went out to eat at the New Century International Buffet in Cedar Falls... 

But before the evening was over, I got a text that someone had tried to burn down the Clarksville City Hall--which happens to be attached to the police station--in broad daylight!
So, I finished the evening with some very sad breaking news coverage. The city hall was built in 1917, and old tax records dating back to the 1800s were damaged or destroyed by the blaze. The perpetrator had kicked in the back door, wrecked the food pantry, and eventually set fire to the building right in front of the beautiful desk from the old bank. This was a nice city hall, and I'm there at least twice a month for council meetings. To have someone commit arson there was shocking.

8. The Old Mill in Shell Rock was a neat place to visit.
To my surprise the interior is beautifully furnished. The 150 year-old mill has been given new life as a vacation rental. It overlooks the Shell Rock River.

9. Running, running, running!
I've joined my family for 14 5Ks so far this year--the latest, just today. My times are definitely very slow because I don't make the time to train, but I still have fun! One of these days I'm going to have to get back into shape. My first race of the year I finished with a time of 25:29. Today my time was 28:56.
10. My first tractor pull was a loud one! 
I could hardly believe how much noise these contraptions made. I attended to take pictures, and I had the opportunity to ride behind the sled in a safe, enclosed steering cab (not like the one in this photo!). That was fascinating.

11. We visited the Little Valley Church...and met a lady with 1900 teddy bears!
I love little churches. So many teddy bears though was amazing!I had never seen so many teddy bears in my life.

12. The Living History Farms is a place I had been hoping to check off my list for a long time.
It was basically like a whole city of museums, with docents dressed in period-costume and working as citizens of the town and farm. I thought The Advocate newspaper office was the neatest. Apparently, putting a paper together years ago was a lot more work than it is now.
At the farm, I had a chance to help grind silage (I think that's what they were doing--not sure). And we got to see a litter of day-old piglets. These weren't ordinary confinement pigs by any means. There were Ossabaw Island Hogs, mixed breed sows, and a Berkshire boar--hairy and quite big.
There was a nice old church--and even a cemetery. Another couple spots I thought particularly interesting were the doctor's office and the drug store. It's amazing what they did to patients a hundred years ago, and I wonder what people in 100 years will think of our medical practices today.

13. We went to a lot of parades. 
We collected a lot of candy at parades. Why didn't my parents take me to parades when I was little? Maybe I should give them some credit for the fact I still have my teeth.

14. Canoeing
Another summer highlight was canoeing and kayaking down the Iowa River. We happened to choose the same time as a float party did, so it was quite a challenge canoeing around so many obstacles, but we made it past everyone, and finally enjoyed some peace and quiet on the river.
Some of the photos in this post are courtesy of Daniel, Charity, and Sarah Faith.
One sad thing that's happened to me this summer is I've nearly lost my Oxford Comma. In AP style, I cannot use it, so I've gotten out of the habit. I will survive, and the Oxford Comma will survive: strong, tried, and true.
I think I must be one of the happiest people in the world. No one in life is exempt from trouble (and car repair bills), but I feel most blessed. I have everything I want, and I know God's grace is everything I need.


  1. Such a lovely post Bethany! I discovered your blog a while back and I enjoy reading all your posts....very informative, especially your posts that involve historical buildings and facts. I love that picture of the tiny church! I have never seen a church quite so small!

    1. Thanks Roxanne! Nice to meet you here in the blogging world.

  2. Happy Birthday. Interesting post love from Europe

  3. Happy that you have had a great summer! It's not over yet. Great post, as usual😊

  4. Another great post!! I was honored to be mentioned!!!

    1. Thank you for the delicious lunch, Kathleen! The Wild Carrot is always such a great place to eat.

  5. You have had a great summer. Congrats on running--no matter what time you did it in--just to do it at all is wonderful. Your pictures are great but that is horrible about the old city hall being torched. That is just plain sad all the way around. And,last but not least, Happy Birthday, sweet Bethany. xo Diana

    1. Thanks Diana! Running is a lot of fun. But yes, that was just terrible to have such a nice place burned.

  6. Is a Figure 8 race when they try to crash into each other on purpose? Growing up, we would spend two weeks in Maryland each summer, and my dad always took us to the county fair to see the Demolition Derby. We don't have those in Philadelphia but we always loved to see all the cars all painted and decorated and then just crashing into each other like real life bumper cars!!

    I'm glad you've been having a nice summer! I can't believe it's already August either. The weather around here this weekend has been in the 70s, which is so unusual, but it's been nice! Not too chilly, but I spent nearly the entire weekend outdoors, which I just love! Have a great week!

    1. I think they had bumper cars (or something similar) at the fair too. Figure 8 racing is supposed to be for speed, but in the old school Figure 8 they get to bump each other off the track, so I'm pretty sure there's some intentional crashing. I've never been to a Demolition Derby, but I have heard of a few; so one of these days I'll probably make it to one.

      You have a great week as well, Laura! I always love the humor in your blog posts!

  7. Wow! You have been one, busy woman! So many things happening! Sad to read about the fire. Why do people act that way?

  8. Happy Birthday Bethany! It sounds like you have had a wonderful summer and I enjoyed all your photos. I can tell you are really enjoying being editor too!

  9. Wow what a fun summer! So many new adventures! You truly are blessed!

  10. Great to catch up with you, Bethany & wish you a happy 23 birthday! You certainly have packed in lots of great memories this summer!
    Wishing you lots more!

  11. Aw Bethany, it's so good to hear that you are doing well! Hope you keep enjoying the rest of your summer!

  12. This was a nice summary of your summer experiences. Yes, the cars are really beautiful and so your birthday's cake as well. I found interesting the visit to the newspaper's office, and you may be right that in the past it would have needed more work to put a paper together, but technology goes fast ahead. By the way 25 or 28 minutes for a 5K race is really good time, you are in shape.

    1. Thanks Enrique. At least I can run the whole way instead of having to take breaks to walk, but I would like to beat my records again!

      I am very glad for the progress we've seen in technology. It makes work so much easier.

    2. I think technology will bring uncredible surprises for the future. Happy belated Birthday! :)

  13. What a blessing it was to visit and catch up with you today! You have had quite an eventful summer, and it is so nice to read of the wonderful opportunities your new job is opening up to you. Thank you ever so much for sharing. :) God bless you!

    1. God bless you too, Cheryl! Thanks for stopping by.

  14. Great photos! And, Happy Birthday! :) ~Lisa

  15. Well, it looks like you've had a fabulous summer! :D I enjoyed seeing what you've been up to; I was recently thinking that we haven't heard from you in a while, which is understandable considering how busy you are! Congratulations on your birthday and winning a spelling bee! That really is too bad about the city hall though. :(
    I hope the rest of your summer is lovely!

    1. Thanks Paige! I've been enjoying looking through your blog and catching up with you as well!

  16. I'm finally here to catch up and I'm glad I came! What a fun summer you've had so far. I bet it's been quite an adventure. There is still plenty of time to squeeze in many more things and I bet the autumn season will bring its own joy. Happy (belated) birthday, Bethany. I hope the year ahead is filled with joy, opportunities, good health and many more adventures!

    1. Thank you, Martha! I am looking forward to the rest of this summer--and hope it lasts for a very long time!

  17. Wow, that is seriously quite the summer!! Classic car shows and tractor pulls bring back a lot of nostalgia for me--if we were in Michigan, we would certainly be going to some of those with my relatives over the summer! I've done rock climbing a couple times and it's always been a lot of fun--supposedly there's a climbing gym supposed to be opening up here in the next year so we'll have to go check it out. Glad your job brings you so many adventures, that's a good kind of job to have!

  18. Oh my you have had quite the summer. not sure about riding behind that tractor. I'm so sorry about your city hall. how sad that someone is that unhappy.

  19. What a great summer and it's not over yet, oh to be 23 again!

  20. Happy Belated Birthday, Bethany! And yes, oh to be 23 again! I will be 61 in October! Time does fly. Your photos are beautiful, and you are so photogenic! I absolutely love the cards with your grandmother's art, that I won quite a while back. She is a very talented lady!

  21. What a fun and productive summer! Happy Belated 23rd Birthday and congrats on winning the spelling bee!

  22. Great summer time post, looks like you had a very interesting summer so far, it is always fun to see and do things never done before! Happy Belated Birthday, that is too funny your Dad had the cake with a misspelling :) So sorry to hear about the arson at the city hall and all the records lost, that is so sad! I think you did very well with your run, especially with not training for it.
    I agree, there are many problems that arise in life, but if you concentrate on what you are thankful for and all the blessings God provides it makes life so much easier to live :)

  23. You certainly had a busy summer! Love all of the pictures Bethany. I wish I could say that I have had to wear a sweater lately, but sadly it is still way too hot here in north Florida. I'm ready for fall!

  24. Looks like a full fun summer!
    That's terrible someone tried to burn down the City Hall. Have the authorities figured out who the arsonist was?

  25. A song: Thanks Lord Thanks Lord ( chorus )
    because you are my friend
    because with me you always talking
    in the perfume of flowers
    in the harmony of colors
    and the sea that murmurs
    your name to pray
    hidden Lord are
    in the green of the forest
    in the party birds
    in the sun to shine
    in the shade that shelters
    in the friendly breeze
    In the fountain that runs lightly to sing
    i still thank Lord
    because in the joy
    or pain of each day
    can i find it
    when the pain consumes me
    i whisper your name
    and even suffering i can sing
    Thanks Lord, Thanks Lord...
    Congratulations Bethany Grace!!!

    Marcos André