Ramblings from the Cove...

January 2007

By Lars Gren

Dear Friends,

Rain with a mild howling wind—if a howling wind can be mild—on this the first day of 2007. December passed through so easily that some of the lilies decided it was time to break through the never frosted soil and yellow showed on a few forsythia branches. They may be in for a shock in the next few weeks or do they know more of the future than we do? Since we know nothing of what is in store for the coming year I’ll stick to a few memories that are still with me from ’06 or highlights of the year if you please.

There may be some who know the future for during the year we—well mainly Elisabeth—received a number of letters from dear ones who wanted to send an encouraging letter to her having had the desire to do so they did it now, “For the time is short” or as one said, “before it is too late.” This may also account for the number of visitors that we have been pleased to have come by, some for a cup of tea, others for a day or more wanting to meet Elisabeth. Depending on the time I have several sightseeing tours we offer. The mini is on Cape Ann, where we live, while the major takes a day and includes picnic at an old fort in Portsmouth Maine and then on to Kennebunkport to view the home of President Bush Sr --only from the road sorry, no access. There is a motel of sorts in town and the managers have gotten to know us from booking folks in there. It is good to know them for a number of corresponders have expressed a desire to come “if something happens,” as it was put. I suggested to one that she just come and visit for a few days while we all are in the "here and now." The visit was enjoyable and to cook for three is as easy as for two.

Mentioning cooking, we escaped that for eleven days including Christmas by going on a boat ride out of Lauderdale. We say a boat ride for out of five ports we put our feet to the soil in two of them and that for a total time of less than four hours. Most of that time was riding in a small bus around the island of Aruba at the end of which we knew that we would not want to have a second or a first home there. Some of you may have been in the Limon, Costa Rica where sloth’s may “amble” along in the upper tree branches in the city park. The ship’s publicity editor in describing Puerto Limon put it this way, “There is a charm to this city that boasts a 24 hour street life. The wooden houses are brightly painted but also gives a worn out appearance with drooping balconies and rotting wood. Deterioration attributed to the ’91 earthquake.'” Sure wish I could ask the writer to describe old age. Whoever it was I wonder if they worked for the Department of Clear Thinking? Costa Rica or Rich Coast was named by Columbus but this editor had something else in mind when he stated that, “many of the 170,000 inhabitants are direct descendants of Costa Rica. That should come under the, “How is that again” department which reminds me of a note from Colleen our #3 granddaughter who is attending Erskine College. She is all excited for the January course which she said would be a bit costly. It is for credit and called, “The Social Psychology of Eating” can you believe it? The reason for its high cost is that there will be field trips to several large cities to dine at The Ritz in Atlanta, along with eating at an Ethiopian restaurant as well as a sushi bar. From what we have seen in College cafeterias there is a need for teaching how to hold a fork and other such basics. Perhaps at the Ritz, half the class will wear tattered jeans or shorts while others will “dress to the nines” and then hold a discussion whether or not dress entered into the enjoyment of the filet mignon or if it should be duck would they choose the Sauce Au Sang or opt for ketchup and then end with crème brulee or charlotte russe. Pray tell how will they ever eat a Big Mac again? I think some joker in the faculty figured out how to enjoy some variety in diet at no cost by coming up with an odd-ball course. Back to the ship and food, I savored smoked salmon as part of my breakfast for ten mornings plus one evening and never thought of the social psychology of it. What more could a Norwegian ask for?

Over the Labor Day weekend there was to have been a family gathering in Bozeman Mt where a nephew and niece of Elisabeth’s run a Christian camp and do a fine job of it along with rearing their five or is it six children. No they are not cousins. Since for once I had arranged a flight early on we decided to go and have a ride through the Tetons and Yellowstone which we had not done before. Yes, we did see Old Faithful blow with 4000 or so others, of which half were Japanese. Perhaps it is their US version of climbing Mt. Fuji, a sort of pilgrimage. It was cameras at the ready and then click,click and click. Our drive was one punctuated by, “Look at that, have you ever seen anything like this?” All was grandeur and beauty except that the view of the boiling sulfur pits were straight out of the inferno. It seemed evil personified. Then of course there was the wife who stalked them for a close up photo while her husband hung back saying, “Come back. That’s near enough.” Makes on wonder and anticipate what might happen next. A plus to it all was that Dave Howard, Elisabeth’s brother, was the speaker at the camp for the weekend and that added much to our being there. On another note if you get to Bozeman drive 10 miles west to Manhattan and eat at The Oasis for on the premises hand cut and cured steaks with a taste which all other steaks will be measured against. Should you care to have some camp time Jim and Andrea Hawthorne do an excellent job at Yellowstone Alliance Adventure and they would welcome you.

To round out the year there was the book fair in Frankfurt. A stopover in London to see old missionary friends from Ecuador with the usual time of—do you remember—whatever happened to—well you may know what that is like. Now that boredom has set in I’ll skip over the balance of the year which took in a few other trips except that I should mention that we had the enjoyment of seeing Jim, Valerie’s fourth graduate from Clemson in SC and get his 2nd Lt. bars pinned on. He has now soloed and on his way to further training as a pilot in the Air force. He is very happy and pleased and we think that he may one day give the graduation address to another class of ROTC graduates.

You have blessed and encouraged us with your letters and prayers and hope that you too recall the past with fondness and then as a portion in the Daily Light for January 1, puts it, “I know that the way of a man is not in himself: it is not in man that walkedth to direct his steps.” That should alleviate our apprehension for future doom and gloom. With that happy note we say, “May God bless your’07.”

God bless y'all,

L and E

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