Archive for the 'Recreation' Category

If it’s not broke don’t fix it

And thankfully, it’s not broke. But it took several hours to confirm that.

While playing basketball last Friday morning, Scott looked down to see his right pinkie finger sticking out at a 90 degree angle from the rest of his fingers. Not a good sight, and it didn’t feel great, either, although he wasn’t aware of having bumped it or anything. Assuming it was “jammed” (I’m never sure exactly what that term means), another guy yanked it out, and it stayed that way briefly and then flopped back more or less the way it had been, at the cock-eyed angle.

He had a chiro appointment that day, and Dr. Hill advised soaking it in ice water, which Scott did, but based on his sound effects it must’ve been exquisitely painful. Dr. Hill said if it wasn’t getting better in four to five days, he should get it x-rayed.

After wearing a splint on it over the weekend,

Sunday night Scott said, “I don’t have a good feeling about this finger,” and thought he should find out whether or not it was broken. He emailed pictures of Exhibit P along with his questions about diagnosis and treatment to our wonderful family doctor, who promptly replied that he had sent orders for x-rays to the outpatient center and Scott could go there anytime to have those taken.

Scott phoned the outpatient center, trying (unsuccessfully) to find out before driving there whether or not they had received those orders – you may remember our challenges along those lines a few weeks ago concerning COVID test orders… – and then at 10:50 AM he gave up and just went. I suggested he take things to do as he might have to wait a while. “While” is a relative term. Just to get registered was a 90 minute wait, and then it was another 30 or so minutes before they called him for the x-rays. He came home at 1:15, somewhat disgusted about the time he’d spent/invested/lost in trying to obtain a bony black-and-white image. However, since he had his computer all was not wasted, but he did text me, “If I were still working at ANPAC, just think of all the money (lost income) this would’ve cost me!”

Dr. Salmon called mid-afternoon with the news that while he didn’t know if the problem was a pulled muscle, a torn tendon, and/or a bruised ligament, he did know that the finger was not broken. He advised no tennis or basketball for three weeks (O, Lord Almighty, give us grace!) and to gently strap the 5th finger to the 4th finger while it’s healing.

So far, so good. And since the 6:00 AM guys didn’t even play basketball Monday morning and the next tennis match isn’t scheduled till later this evening, he hasn’t missed anything yet.


I can hear Pastor Jess now: “Seize the day! Make your life extraordinary!”

We three (Scott, Andrew, and I) floated Bull Creek on Tuesday. After a cool, cloudy start, it turned into an absolutely lovely spring day, with highs forecast in the 80s – on April 7!!! We packed a picnic lunch and put in at Round Mountain Road at 12:04 PM. The creek was just slightly lower than what I consider ideal, but definitely floatable. I’ve been working for a couple years to overcome my fear/dread/anxiety around floating, and a great day on the creek with Scott leading the way through the rapids and Andrew following me to provide interpretation and assistance really helped forward my emotional progress.

Traveling at a leisurely pace and with a stop for lunch at 1:30 and a few minor portages around various tree hazards, we arrived at Shady Rapids at 3:20. The guys took their boats under the bridge without incident, and I was very pleased to see that not only was the walk-through on the right completely cleared of all brush, but someone had also very kindly removed that aggravating willow tree whose white fluff caused me such an intense rash a year or two ago. With Andrew (my strong and handsome escort over rocky terrain), I rather suddenly came upon [read: “I almost stepped on”] a beautiful and impressive brown snake there on the upstream side of the walk-through; then as he walked back up to get my kayak, a different snake (or could it have been the same one?) startled him on the downstream side.

[Note to Self: Watch for Snakes at Shady Rapids!]

And speaking of reptiles, the turtles were out in force that day. = ) We saw about 20 all told, almost all of which were large, fairly flat, and quite impressive. I was especially glad to see them, given that I had said at the start, “I sure hope we get to see turtles today, but it’s probably too early in the season for them to be out.”

The Gulf of Doom was a bit less intimidating than I remembered it, and with prayer (“God, help me do this!”) and firm adherence to standard Gulf of Doom rules (stay to the right, go really fast, wear the water, and whatever you do, don’t EVER get crosswise to the current), I was able to prevail!

I only dragged just a bit in that rocky section just above Big Rock, and by then I was ready to be done, so I paddled steadily through the home stretch. We took out at the highway bridge at 4:25, and by the time we – well, mostly the guys – hauled the canoes home, we were all pretty worn out.

So that was Tuesday, a super-fun, Stay-at-Home(?) day outside. = )

Wednesday’s high was 91, and Thursday night’s low was 33. I’m glad we seized the day on Tuesday.

Scavenger hunt results

When we last left Team Roberts, our four Walnut Shade-based team members were heading out for a Christmas Day scavenger hunt. Having collected ourselves and with a copy of the The List on each of our phones, we departed home at 10:51 AM. Here, in the order obtained, are the pictures that document our finds.

20. A living mammal


27. A outhouse (yes, there really is one back there)


23. A church bell


24. Lichen on rock (it’s orange)


2. Something triangular


10. A mile marker sign that ends with .8


3. Something orange and yellow


1. Something that has at least three stars


15. A hot Starbucks drink


4. Something with military significance


7. The words “Thank You”


19. The number 29


17. A “For Sale” sign with red letters


11. A Christmas tree painted on a window


18. A gumball from a sweet gum tree


21. A steering wheel with a colorful cover


22. A non-Branson school bus


26. A geocache


29. A person in a boat on the water


13. A coil spring (in the underbelly of a four-wheeler)


9. An Iowa license plate (finally and with much effort, after two got away)


12. Baby Jesus in a manger (surprisingly hard to find at Christmas time!)


5. Something that has six to eight legs


28. A fire tower (top-down: Andrew, Scott, Katie)


14. A woodpecker tree hole


6. Something squishy (it’s a slug!)


30. A picture of all of us (Scott, Patty, Katie, Andrew) with none of our feet on the ground


25. A “Slippery When Wet” sign


16. Hot French fries


I don’t think we ever found a reptile or amphibian, but we got all 29 other items! We started at 10:51 and finished at 2:02. Very hungry and eagerly anticipating our “breakfast” feast, we arrived at IHOP at 2:05 PM, only to be told that they had closed at 2:00. MAJOR BUMMER!!! But we went to McFarlain’s in the IMAX complex and had a good meal including “hot French fries.”

We covered a lot of miles, had loads of fun together, are especially proud of #30, and expect to long remember our Christmas Day Scavenger Hunt of 2019!



A new tradition?

This year, well, actually 2019, we celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve, in order to better accommodate our whole far-flung family, specifically Ezekiel, who was likely to be in a more festive mood at 8:00 AM than at 10:00 PM. For the past, oh, six or seven years – minus maybe one year when Jessica was stateside? – we have celebrated Christmas by opening gifts together over Skype at about 8:00 AM December 25th in Walnut Shade, which is 10:00 PM December 25th in Hong Kong. This has worked out pretty well because Jessica and Matthias had other activities during the day on Christmas, and being young and childless, they were willing to stay up till the wee hours. But now, with six-month-old Ezekiel participating, they asked for a schedule change to which we gladly agreed.

This was also our first-ever Christmas without Josiah on site. And yes, I did cry, but I am okay now. Jo lives in California and, having spent nearly nine (wonderful!) days here with us at Thanksgiving, he opted to visit friends in Santa Cruz for Christmas. For our traditional opening-of-the-gifts, the eight of us ended up meeting for about three hours, beginning at 6:30 PM December 24th MO time (Scott, Patty, Katie, and Andrew eating breakfast casserole and fresh pineapple for supper), 4:30 PM December 24th CA time (Josiah sitting with a pile of packages in his friends’ unfinished basement!), and 8:30 AM December 25th HK time (Jessica and Matthias doing most of the gift opening, with Ezekiel helping, guiding every present to his mouth, and occasionally napping, nursing, and pooping as needed during the festivities).

A few days before Christmas, the Walnut Shade contingent discussed the fact that, for the first time ever, we would have basically nothing to do on Christmas morning. It seemed like after opening the gifts on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day itself would be a big let-down and kind of depressing. Bummer. Of course, those who were so inclined could sleep in, but then what? So we talked about doing something new and different as a marker of this “new and different” Christmas season in our lives, but frankly ideas were few. There’s just not a ton of fun outdoorsy stuff to do here in December, and most of the indoor “activity” places would be – as well they should be on Christmas – closed. We considered going to see the newly released Star Wars movie, but although we were both willing, that was not a huge draw for Scott and me. We talked about going on a hike, but that would have been a major negative for Andrew.

Then two days before Christmas, I had an idea. Maybe we could do a photo scavenger hunt by car. We could make a list of interesting things to find, pile into the Durango with our list and cell phones, and see how long it would take to drive around and photograph each item. Before mentioning this crazy thought to the rest of the gang, I started making a list, coming up with 25 random goals.

It turns out that Scott, Andrew, and Katie were all game for it, and in order to enjoy the luxury of sleeping in on Christmas Day we agreed on a 10:30 start time. Scott even said that if we finished by 2:00 PM, he would buy us all lunch at IHOP, a special treat for the breakfast food lovers among us! We all reviewed my proposed list, Scott suggested some additions, we dropped a couple that seemed confusing or too challenging, and on Christmas Eve afternoon, we refined our list to the following 30 items.

Something that…

  1. Has at least three stars
  2. Is triangular
  3. Is yellow and orange
  4. Has military significance
  5. Has six to eight legs
  6. Is squishy
  7. Has the words “Thank You”


  1. A reptile or amphibian
  2. An Iowa license plate
  3. A mile marker sign that ends with .8
  4. A Christmas tree painted on glass
  5. Baby Jesus in a manger
  6. A coil spring
  7. A woodpecker tree hole
  8. A hot Starbucks drink
  9. Hot French fries
  10. A For Sale sign with red letters
  11. A gumball from a sweet gum tree
  12. The number “29”
  13. A living mammal
  14. A steering wheel with a colorful cover
  15. A non-Branson school bus
  16. A church bell
  17. Lichen on a rock
  18. A slippery when wet road sign
  19. A geocache
  20. An outhouse
  21. A fire tower
  22. Someone in a boat on the water
  23. A picture of Dad, Mom, Katie, and Andrew with none of our feet on the ground

I’ll share the results in my next post.  = )

2017 Christmas Games

I’m decluttering my life, and that includes all the sticky notes and index cards stuck on the wall above my desk. I can’t remember if I already posted these, but this particular index card has been hanging in front of me for 17 months. I’ve kept it because it was so impressive, and I wanted to type it up so I’d have a digital record of… ALL the games our family played over the 2017 Christmas break. Here they are:



Dominion (7 times)

Code Names


Minus Five


Pandemic (3 times)

3-Handed Bridge

Hail to the Chief

7 Wonders

Settlers of Catan



Ping-Pong (regular and hand/air)

Bookworm Adventures

Worms World Party

Roller Coaster Tycoon


I have now thrown one index card into the trash!

Before me and behind me

Andrew came home today (!) to go floating with us.

Scott’s been bummed because the last two times he’s been overseas, hes been in places that are hot and dry, it’s rained at home while he’s been away, and then when he’s arrived home it’s been very dry here (read: nowhere near enough water in the creek to float) with no rain on the horizon. So I can’t tell you how many times in the past ten days Scott has said something about rain and water and creek level and floating. And then a couple days ago, glory to God, we had a major rain event. Scott was SO happy! Yesterday (Friday) the creek was up and at a great floating level, but we both had commitments, and anyway Scott really wanted to float with Andrew, but he was in class.

Then this morning (Saturday of Labor Day weekend) I checked the creek and it was on the very low end of floatable, a foot down from yesterday. But Andrew had said he’d come, so we made preparations. (What that actually means is that Scott played tennis, I did RVR payroll, and Scott mowed the yard.) Anyway, Andrew got here a little before noon, and while Scott did some other deskwork, he and I watched Episode 1 of the 5th season of The Great British Baking Show on Netflix, something we both very much enjoy doing together. And then finally, after losing and later finding things (trailer lock, contacts, shades), forgetting things (sunscreen), playing musical cars (even after all these years I never can fully understand who needs to drive what where when and with which keys on this shuttle deal, so now I ask them to please just tell me what I need to do), and finding that we only had two and-a-half paddles instead of three (one set had two male ends – UGH), we finally put in at Round Mountain Road at 3:48 PM CDT.

Unfortunately, I have been dealing with floating fear. We have kayaked Bull Creek many, many times, Bear Creek several times, the Buffalo River quite a few times, and Lake Taneycomo one time, and through all that, I’ve personally only had four bad flips (three of which were quite scary and unnerving, but not actually dangerous). I’ve also had one flip that could have been life-threatening, and although I no longer dwell on it, I will never, ever forget Jessica’s horrific floating accident. It’s kind of sad to me that those experiences seem to be burned more deeply into my consciousness than the many fun and beautiful times we’ve had floating, but they are, and although I hate it and wish it weren’t so, the fact is that my anticipation of a float is now often tinged with dread. That, combined with some issues with my right knee that make it challenging to get up and down quickly, makes me tend to think, “Maybe I should just stay home.”

But Scott really wanted the three of us to go, so we went. And here’s what I want to say about the whole thing. We had a good time, and I relied HEAVILY on my amazing menfolk.

Every little riffle tried to undo me. I prayed. I cried. I paddled. I remembered to never get crossways to the current. I wished the water were deeper so the rocks wouldn’t be so prominent, but they were. I wobbled. I scraped. I panicked. But every time I cried out in fear or yelped, “Help me!” Andrew was right there. At each and every challenge point – and I know that those points were only challenging to me; they were absolutely nothing to Scott or Andrew – Scott went ahead of me (with his pathetic little half-paddle), scouted out the best way to go, talked me through it, and on many occasions beached his own boat, hopped out, ran back, and grabbed my boat to walk me through the tough stretch. And Andrew followed behind, always watching me and ready on no notice to jump out, steady my boat, confidently calm me down, tell me he had me, and get me through whatever was scaring me. I never flipped, and I hardly even got wet.

For 31 years, Scott has been taking excellent care of me, and honestly, I’m so used to it that I guess I take it for granted. Today reminded me that I shouldn’t, and I’m determined that I won’t going forward. But I really don’t know how to express how terribly impressed I was with Andrew. In dealing with a woman who was not in good shape physically and who was high-strung and scared emotionally, he was kind, respectful, calm, strong, and capable. He didn’t laugh at my fears or belittle me. He knew just what to do in each situation, and he was strong enough to make it happen. The current, the footing, the roots, the rocks, and the panicky mom didn’t faze him. At one point, when he was preparing to pull me through rushing water in a very, very tight space between what amounted to a rock and a hard place, and I asked him, “Can you do this?” he said, “We’ll see. I’ve got you. I’m a lifeguard.” And he did it!

Yes, he is a lifeguard, and for three summers he’s come home from work and told me stories about what happened at White Water (the good, the bad, the stupid, the rescues). Now, from the other side, as a fearful person on the water instead of just as his mom, I can see why he is a very good lifeguard. Today I experienced – although I already knew it – the fact that he really can handle a water-related situation in a way that inspires confidence and gets the people through whatever real or imagined crisis they are facing.

We took out at Gaar’s at 6:15 PM, and all was well, but I can tell you that there’s nothing quite like having not one but TWO very strong, very handsome, very experienced men taking good care of you when you’re flustered. I am very, very blessed!


Still tracking

After running the 200, 100, and 400 in the first meet (Branson) and long jumping in the second meet (also at Branson), Andrew wasn’t entered in the third meet (Rogers) because it was an all-relay meet, and he hasn’t trained for relays. Not for lack of desire, mind you; he says the track thing he’d like to do more than anything else is to run in the 4 by 400.  = )  But although he’s a senior, this is Andrew’s first time ever to be involved in track, so I think his lack of experience and expertise has limited his opportunities. At each of the next three meets (Harrison, Ozark, and Joplin), he was entered in the long jump.

The thing to understand is that doing a long jump takes maybe 15 seconds total, so being a track mom is a little different from being, say, a choir mom (who watches her kid’s ensemble sing for 20 glorious minutes out of a 100-minute concert), or a drama mom (who watches an amazing two-hour musical in which her kid is acting and/or singing in several scenes). And then there are baseball or basketball or football moms (who watch their kid’s team play an entire game). A mom of a long jumper, on the other hand, arrives when the meet starts, sits and waits until the time comes for her kid to run very fast and jump incredibly far for a total of less than a minute, and then waits patiently for another unknown amount of time to see the results.

But oh, the joy of watching those 45 seconds!

I went to Harrison to watch Andrew long jump, arriving – after only a few wrong turns – at 3:25. The field events were scheduled to begin at 3:30, and I innocently thought that the long jumping would be done by 4:30 and I’d be back home by 5:30. That’s not exactly how things worked out. When I got to the stadium and realized that the field events had actually started around 3:15, I initially panicked, fearing that I had missed my son’s moment(s) of glory, but I need not have worried. One four letter word that can never be mentioned in conjunction with a track meet is S-O-O-N.

Andrew’s first jump was at 5:12, and since Scott couldn’t be there, I wanted to get some pictures. I’ve learned that my phone actually does better than my camera at catching the action, so I practiced on some previous jumpers and endeavored to get at least one shot during each of Andrew’s jumps.

I will say that for the spectators, there’s a lot – really, quite an excessive amount – of sitting around and waiting. The athletes also do a lot of sitting around and waiting, followed by a bit of warming up and then another hefty dose of standing around and waiting.

See, there he is in his red and black, standing around and waiting. And if we wait around long enough and keep watching closely, and if our cell phone battery doesn’t die first, Andrew’s eventually going to run toward us and jump into a sandy pit that’s out of view just beyond the bottom left corner of the picture.


I told you so! He’s finally gotten the go-ahead to run, and here he comes.


If he steps over that second-from-the-pit line, his jump will be  a “scratch” and it’ll be disqualified. (I believe it’s permissible to step on the line, but not over it.)


No scratch! And look at him fly!


Wow. The eagle has landed.


This particular day was horrifically windy. When the meet started, it was about 75 degrees and sunny, and throughout the whole thing, the wind was 15-20 mph and gusting to nearly 30. After his jumps, Andrew came and sat with me. He was pretty excited, telling me he had jumped a PR (personal record) of 18 feet, zero inches. He told me all about the mechanics of it; what you do and how and when and why, and we both got some education watching the people who were marking and measuring the jumps. We also watched a number of races, which we enjoyed.

The reason we kept sitting there for so long was that the stadium has a big electronic scoreboard, and from time to time, they would post the results of the various events. The board could only fit eight listings at a time, so in races or field events where there were multiple heats, or when there were lots of competing athletes or teams, the results would appear in sets of eight, along with the four-letter abbreviation of each of the schools.

Waiting for Andrew to jump, I’d had plenty of time (a gross understatement!) to study that sign, so here, in no special order, I will provide the names of the schools that were at that track meet.









Green forest

Valley Springs








Eureka Springs


Oark (not a typo)


There’s a song that says, “I don’t need my name in lights; I’m famous in my Father’s eyes…” but I am not the least bit ashamed to say that I wanted to see Andrew’s name up on that board. And take a picture of it.  = )  So we sat and waited and sat and waited and sat and waited and watched the board. I was wearing jeans and a polo shirt and had brought a hoodie, but Andrew was just in his jersey and shorts, and with the wind still whipping, he was getting pretty cold. But gentleman that he is, he didn’t want to go back to his friends and leave me alone to watch the sign, and, well, I’m stubborn. I wasn’t about to move out of my seat till I got a picture of that sign!

The sun went down, the stadium lights came on, Andrew shivered, and still we sat and waited, and finally, at 7:23…


So now we have proof that Andrew long-jumped 18 feet, finishing 12th out of about 24 men. We gave each other high fives, he ran back to join his teammates, and I was so proud and happy that I treated myself to Wendy’s on the way home.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race…”

As a high school senior, Andrew has joined the track team this semester, and he’s really liking it. I like it too, especially the part where I get to watch him run. Reminds me of “Chariots of Fire.”  = ) There is, however, a parental learning curve when it comes to track. Here are a few things I learned from attending my first high school (dual) track meet last week.

You don’t have to pay to get in; at least we didn’t that time.

Nobody much comes to track meets; no need to save seats.

For the uninitiated, it can be hard to tell what’s going on.

“Field” means shot put, discus, javelin, pole vault, and jump (high, long, and/or triple). “Track” means running, either with or without hurdles, and hurdles can be of three different heights and a variety of distances. The permutations on hurdles seem endless.

Race lengths are in meters, with 400 being once around the track, 800 twice, and 1600 four times. A 100-meter dash is done only on the straightaway, and a 200-meter dash covers a curve plus a straightaway. In any race that involves a curve (over 200 meters or more), the runners have staggered starting points. For 200 and 400 meters, they have to stay in their assigned lanes, but for 800 and 1600 meters, they only have to stay in their lanes for the first lap. Although different races start in different places around the track, the finish line is always in the same place. There’s no actual physical “tape” across the finish line, just the stripe painted across the track.

Pole vaulting and high jumping occur at one end of the field, with long jumping occurring simultaneously at the other end. Some field events can also be going on during some of the races.

Our track team members are required to be there for the whole meet. This means that they have a lot of down time, during which they sit on the field, walk up and down the field doing specific stretches and exercises, help hold starting blocks in place for other runners, maneuver hurdles (set them up, raise them, lower them, re-position them, and/or take them down), eat (so they’ll have enough energy for their various races), and just generally hang out. Since Andrew enjoys both running and spending time with friends, track seems to be a good fit for him.

Political correctness aside, there are men’s and women’s versions of most of the events, so a meet takes a long time. The one I attended on March 23 was a dual meet between only Hollister and Branson, and it lasted about three hours, but the meet I skipped last night (March 30) was a regular “invitational meet,” in which some six area schools competed; it lasted six hours! I was pleased to hear that Branson won that one by 14 points. I don’t know the details of how the scoring work, but Andrew said winning by 14 was pretty good.

On March 23, Andrew ran in the 200 meter, 100 meter, and 400 meter races. I later learned that the runners are required to have certain amounts of rest time between races, so Andrew ran in one of the earliest races and one of the last, as well as one in the middle. For the spectating parent of a kid who has more than one race, this means you are there for the long haul. As in, dress in layers, bring food and drink, bring a book, and make yourself comfortable. Thankfully, Branson has very comfortable stadium seats. I don’t know how things will be at away meets.

For each race, depending on the number of competitors, there are multiple heats. Andrew ran in the first heat of the 200, and he did quite well, finishing second. The winning runner just barely edged him out at the end. An hour or so later, he ran the 100-meter dash, in which and he confirmed his suspicion that sprinting is not his natural strength. Then, near the end of the meet, he ran the 400, and I must say that was a delight to watch. He ran very well and was in the lead coming around the curve into the home stretch.

We were up and screaming for him! He was running hard, and I was hoping he had enough calories in his system to keep up his pace and form to the end. He passed us giving it his all, and, as Scott later said, “He ran a GREAT 380!”

380 because then, just a few strides before the finish line, he FELL DOWN. What?!? Unbelievable! Yes, he fell down, but he got back up and kept going. If he hadn’t fallen, I’m pretty sure he could have won. It was such a hard thing to watch, but I was so proud of him for getting right back up. He wasn’t really hurt, although he did spend a long time afterward – first lying down and then sitting up – out on the grass doing a number of stretches. He later told me that he was doing well till he looked over and saw the other runner gaining on him. He got distracted, lost his concentration, had trouble with his hamstrings, and tripped and fell.

In last night’s six-hour meet, the coach only entered him in the long jump. Each athlete gets three jumps, and I assume they count the best of the three. Andrew scratched (fouled, foot over the line) his first two jumps, and his third was not very good. He hasn’t had much experience at all in jumping, although his natural athletic ability and his gymnastics training surely help. The track team has practice from 2:30 to 5:00 after school every day that they don’t have a meet. I don’t know how much – if any – choice he has in what specific events he trains for, but I told him I think he could also be a good high jumper. = )  The parents of one of our cross-country runners were sitting with us at that first meet last week, and their son has run cross-country for several years. That sport occurs in the fall, and their races are just for 30 minutes or so. They said, “We should could have used Andrew the past couple years in cross-country. He’s got the natural abilities of a cross-country runner!” Their son said, “And he’s in choir; he knows how to breathe.” That made me smile.

Track’s been a good experience so far, even with that fall. Andrew said he really likes running, especially the 400 meter distance, and he hopes he can do it in a race again soon.

Depend-ing on slippers and a noodle

Today our church threw a surprise party for our pastor’s 50th birthday. It was a riot.

The planners decreed it would have an 80s theme, and we were all supposed to “dress 80s.” Well, as I told someone last week, “For one thing, I don’t know what 80s clothing looks like, and for another thing, I probably wear it every day!” So I did not dress up, but many folks did. We had all kinds of costumes:

Leotard-type outfits with off-the-shoulder T-shirts over

Big sunglasses

Big hair

A guy in gold foil pants

Foofy hair with skinny headbands

A woman in a tutu

The Blues Brothers(!)

Leg warmers

And a Richard Simmons look-alike who loved everybody

The first order of business was the “50 Year-Old Olympics,” which turned out to be a relay race. We were all asked to line up behind one of the two team captains, Pastor Barb and Kris, so I hoofed my compliant self right over behind Kris and waited for “Richard” to give us instructions. When he did, I realized I was in trouble.

The first person on each team had to put on a pair of Depends and a pair of slippers, run down a short course, pick up a pool noodle, throw it through a hula hoop being held aloft some 18 feet away, run back to the starting point, extricate himself from the Depends and slippers,and hand them off to. . .

the second person, who would put on the Depends and slippers, run down the course, put on a pair of goofy glasses, read an eye chart, return to the starting point, extricate himself from the Depends and slippers, and hand them off to. . .

the third person, who would put tn the Depends and slippers, run down the course, toss Kit-Kat bars into a bedpan positioned some ten feet away, run back to the starting point, extricate himself from the Depends and slippers, and hand them off to. . .

the fourth person, who would put on the Depends and slippers, pick up a set of crutches, crutch down the course to an inverted stack of five Solo cups, three of which he was required to stack pyramid style (two cups inverted on the bottom with one inverted atop the two) using only his crutches(!!!), crutch back to the starting point, extricate himself from the Depends and slippers, and hand them off to. . .

the final person, who would put on the Depends and slippers, get into a wheelchair and wheel himself down the course and back, weaving in and out among an array of strategically positioned traffic cones.


Kris asked me to go first for our team (thanks, a lot, Kris), and let me just say that had I taken my tennis shoes off, it would have been much easier to get the slippers on and the Depends off.

Pastor Barb’s team won, but only by a nose.

There were all kinds of decorations, Rubic’s Cube cupcakes, and a survey about the prices of various items in 1966. Our Guest of Honor opened a nice selection of gifts (many with 80s themes) and cards (most of which were funny; one evidently so extremely funny(?) risque(?) that she wouldn’t read it aloud and hid it from view).

Pastor Barb was truly surprised, and that was amazing, given the fact that (A) nearly everyone in the church knew about it yet said nothing, and (B) most of the planning and legwork was done by people who live in her house!

Way to go, Pete, Jessica, Taylor, and Pastor Guy!!!

Walking cross-country

Katie and I are doing a virtual “Walk Across (the Eastern Half of) America.” We both walk nearly every day, and we’re both quite fond of planning, organizing, and details, so together we created a nifty online spreadsheet to keep up with our mileage and keep us motivated. She’s walking west from her workplace at Monticello, and I’m walking east from our home in Walnut Shade, and we’ll see where we meet. I’m figuring it’ll be well east of the halfway point because my walk’s basically flat, which she has to cross the Appalachians.  = )

As of today, I’m 45.73 miles east of Strafford, I’ve covered 8.11 % of the total distance between our starting points, and I’m exactly 911.4 miles away from Katie.

I’m going to keep walking!

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