Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"Dad is Sooo Annoying"

That’s what Clark informed me this morning as I sat at the computer. Annoying?? That’s an interesting word for him to use. I don’t think I have ever heard him say it. Usually it is “Dad is jumping up and down mad” which interpreted means “He is telling me to walk on the treadmill and I don’t want to. It makes me dizzy.” He didn’t come to the right person to tell me dad was annoying. He was hoping to get out of exercising. “Okay, Clark, you have a choice. You can either go out with us when we go for our walk/run or you can go on the treadmill.” I can now hear him on the treadmill.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Birthday in December

“I’m so excited for my birthday!” Clark reminded us repeatedly in the days leading up to his big day. Family was invited to the party (nine were not able to attend) as well as four other long-time family friends. He requested hamburgers, chips, pop and mud pie (the long-standing favorite clown cake has been replaced—at least for now). Part way through the party Clark’s speech became slightly slurred and he felt dizzy. He periodically has these spells—like he has overdosed on medication. Notice his eyes in some of the pictures. Despite not feeling well he was still able to enjoy being the center of attention for a day.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Magical Day

A trip to the Alpine Bavarian village of Leavenworth on The Snow Train earlier this month was scripted perfectly. The five of us (Clark in particular was happy to be included in this excursion) arose very early for a Saturday to be downtown at the train station by 7:30. We boarded, found our seats and waited for departure time at 8:30. Before our world started changing color we made two stops, picking up more passengers, ate a box breakfast and were entertained by a magician and a variety of singers and musicians who passed through our car. Then began the slow climb to over 4,000 feet with increasing snow flurries coloring the landscape white. By the time we disembarked at Leavenworth it was a winter wonderland with carolers caroling and chestnuts roasting and snow quickly piling up on our heads. There was a festive mood as we wandered through shops, sampled chestnuts, listened to music, ate Wiener schnitzel and red cabbage at Café Christa (except Clark and Phil who wanted hamburgers and fries) and watched the snowflakes fall all afternoon. At 4:45 we gathered with thousands in the town square to listen to Christmas songs (not Santa songs), to unite in prayer and to watch Christmas lights come on along store fronts and in the trees. It was like a Currier and Ives Christmas card day and we enjoyed it as a family in a peaceful, white world.
Back at the train station.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Bowling Christmas Party

Yesterday was the annual Christmas party at the bowling alley after they had bowled three games. Paul and I took Clark and Phil so I went inside to watch them bowl. Phil is exuberant (joyously unrestrained and enthusiastic according to Webster—a perfect description) in his approach and then in releasing the ball with speed and power. Clark, on the other hand, walks to the line, plants his feet, and throws the ball, also with power. As I watched them I thought about the importance of exercise for them with the added bonus of participating with peers. I looked around and realized they are not the youngest nor the oldest. They are not the best bowlers nor are they the worse. They are inconsistent (bowling 60 one game and 126 the next) but so are most of the others. And they are as happy with the 60 game as they are with the 126 game. They don’t know what perfection in bowling is nor do they care. They have learned about taking turns, cheering others on, taking care of their possessions (their own bowling balls and shoes which were gifts at Christmas a few years ago), and paying $5 each week with their own money. What a great place for them to be each Saturday morning from August to February.

What party with pizza, salad and cake would not be a success? Add a visit from Santa and a gift and it can’t be beat.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Special Musical Number

A men’s chorus sang a special musical number in church last week. And the conductor was none other than Phil. I watched the men as they walked up to the choir seats, many with smiles on their faces, with Phil leading the way. As soon as they all assembled in front of the congregation, Phil turned his head, checking to see if anyone else was coming, and then he signaled for them to sit down. And they did. Then he paused. On signal he had them stand up. And they did. Then he threw his arms open wide and on the down beat they began “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet” a cappella. Phil had been talking about this day all week—the day the men would sing and he would conduct. I noticed before they went up to sing that Phil had turned to the right page in the hymnal and had his baton out. Phil is famous for the unexpected but he didn’t turn and bow at the conclusion. Paul thought he might. If Paul were a nail biter he would not have had any fingernails. Compliments came as I left to go to Sunday School. I smiled as I thought of this community who has helped to give Phil his confidence, opportunities to participate and a sense of belonging.