In the middle of this afternoon I went for a bike ride. I knew before I started out that the thermometer says 92 degree and the feel was 109, but I needed a bike ride. So I went biking on Bimini and Hines Street. This "Dead End" pole caught my eye for the weeds are growing up inside the pole. Plus out of these holes crawled the cutest Geckos while at the same time wasps were going in and out the holes. I guess Geckos and wasps live in harmony.
I had never seen these ugly red signs as a thing of beauty until today among dark green shrubbery.
The Spanish Moss joined hands to make a circle.
Beauty and the dead end of Bimini.
The table is spread for the Geckos.
After the rain the ground is soft and the bugs are plentiful.
This flower is big enough to fill the whole side of the shed. Maybe it is just my perspective. Everything looks bigger than it actually is.
Six of us sisters had an afternoon of visitation with relatives. Our first stop was to visit cousin Carol, who is only 50+ years old and has been battling cancer for two and a half years. Her grand daughter Jolene is waiting at the door.
Back on the sofa is Sister Dena. Up front is Carol and Dennis' daughter Rachel and their children, Jolene, Regina and Lamar. It seems we can't hide our genes, for a few generations later they show up again. Jolene eye balling me has the same eyes her great-grandmother did, which was our Aunt Anna married to Pep Paul.
Another one of these beautiful Holmes County flower beds.
Three generations: Rachel, Carol and Regina.
Time to crawl back into our vehicles. Left to right: Dena, Edna, Barbara, Clara and Anna are my sisters.
Our next stop was visiting Uncle Noah and Nancy Sommers Troyer. Noah's first wife was Mom's Sister Clara. Uncle Noah is well known in the area, known as Gas Noah. Noah & Sister Dena.
Their barn as I remember it from ages gone by. I don't know if Noah & Clara moved onto this farm as soon as they were married, but it is the only place I ever remember visiting them as a child.
The life of their dogs is resting under the trampoline and licking my face. While we were visiting Noah & Nancy, their youngest son Paul came home with his wife Michelle and a new son.
After leaving Noah and Nancy we had an early dinner at Mrs Yoder's in Mt Hope. And then went to visit Uncle Levi northeast of Mt Hope. Uncle Levi is the last one of Mom's siblings and he also lives the longest, making it past the age of 80.
I didn't dare bring out my camera while visiting with Uncle Levi or Freeman & Cousin Mattie. Levi used to, or tried to be a strict Amish Bishop. In his heart he never was strict but he was obliged to appear strict. Anyway I will leave that as it is. He is my uncle and I love him for who he is.
So I took a picture of the dog's big healthy mouth and the oil tank.
Jensen is my great-nephew. I probably post more pictures about him than any of the other great-nieces or nephews. But I come in contact with him more than any of the others. This is just the way it is because I stay with his grandparents whenever I am in Ohio.
Looking for something to magnify with the magnifying glass.
He has a baby brother Braxton John who is about four weeks old.
Must be asking Mom for a slice of watermelon.
He loves to read. I know it is funny reading the Gemeinde Register upside down, but on the other hand it is very much possible. In my third year of teaching school at Stone Hill in Wayne County Ohio, Hivel Eli's John could read just as fast and fluently upside-down as right-side up. I kept telling him to read right-side up in vain, but my talking helped until I asked him why he reads upside-down? He looked at me with his big glassy blue eyes and finally said, "Because I don't look when I open my book." So I told him very soberly he must always look whenever he gets his reading book out of his desk. That was the end of the upside reading problem. Jensen is only four years old, so he has a few more years to read right side up.
In his serious moments he says, "There is a message in here for Grandpa." I am sure there is but the message is for all of us. The Christenpflicht is a German prayerbook used by most of the Amish.
I don't know if this is a serious moment or not...
but this is a serious moment. He is trying to get something from his Aunt MaryAnna.
Fixing his shorts.
And he is growing horns.
Somehow this is the hardest blog I have ever posted, because it is family. It is emotional and it hurts. I know I don't have to blog this post yet I want to.
This is one of Amanda's old pictures. I don't know when this was taken nor how old she was, but Amanda is on the right.
This is Henry while he was dating Amanda. The two were married almost 49 years ago. Theirs was the first marriage in our family. Henry was the first sibling to marry and I still remember how utterly excited I was. I was in 5th grade at that time and the only previous family wedding I remember attending was Aunt Anna, Mom's youngest sister. She married Pep Paul from Alpine. I missed her because she no longer lived with Grandma. She was our special aunt and went by the name of "Becky" because my oldest sister also goes by the name of Anna and there was always that confusion of which Anna...
But when Henry married Amanda, I could hardly contain myself. Amanda & I bonded and she held that special spot in my heart for the 48+ years of their marriage. Our relationship is only temporarily broken until we meet again in eternity.
Thursday evening's calling hours, Bishop Ray Mast and Henry are talking or making more plans. Ray and I were classmates at Pleasant Hill Public School 45 years ago. He stayed on their home farm, got married, has two sons and is Brother Henry's Bishop. I wandered around from Ohio to Aylmer Ontario, to Cookeville TN, to Bainbridge NY, to Pinecraft/Sarasota FL. Every few years for the last ten years we occasionally meet up and we are still friends, mature friends.
This shot was taken Thursday evening after/during calling hours. It is simply a time when family meets distant family. The three on this end of the bench are Larry Miller and two of their children. Larry is the husband of niece Sarah, so I am a great aunt to their children.
Saturday - going to the cemetery. The burial ground was on the highest hill in that neighborhood on Benji Nelson's farm. Although it might not be Nelson's farm. It took everything the horses and vehicles had to get up that long winding hill to the burial place. Depending on the amount of rain, snow or mud it is impossible to get up that hill. Thankfully there was no rain, snow or mud. It wasn't even sticky hot. The weather was just perfect for a funeral.
After the burial - I couldn't miss the opportunity and so I took a shot between two men. On the right is one of the "Grave Makers" resting on his shovel with family members in the background. I think the English word for "Grave Maker" is Pallbearer.
Horses and buggies at the cemetery.
Getting off the hill...
The five in this row are all nieces and nephews to Henry & Amanda: my niece Rachel Schrock Keim, Roman's Esther, and three of Sonny's boys.
Niece Katie Wengerd Troyer and their baby.
Niece Amanda and Marlin's son. My great nephew.
I am thinking this is a great-niece to Henry & Amanda.
Cleaning up while people were leaving. The "Bench Wagon" leaves to where ever church will be the following day.
This past Sunday evening some of us siblings went visiting Henry and his children and children's children. Henry has always been a great story teller and here he is telling about something that happened year ago.
Left to right: Sister Anna, Henry's daughter Erma and three of his granddaughters listening in to the stories being told.
Fixing to get married in September are Callie Holmes and Kevin Schrock. Years ago I taught at Stone Hill School in Wayne County with Callie's mom Lisa Smith Holmes. Kevin is Henry's grandson. Daniel & Betty Troyer Schrock are his parents.
And then we moved out on the back porch to continue our visiting. Left to right are Marvin,Clara's husband, Mary Ann Ickes, Barbara and Leon Wengerd.
Opposite are Henry's daughters Mae & Betty, Sister Anna and Clara.
After our evening of visiting I asked a favor from Willis who was at the wheel if he would take us up the hill to Amanda's old home place. This was Amanda's home, the Dan N place until 30 years ago when they build a new home a short distance down the road.