Wednesday, June 30, 2010

John and Elizabeth

We are changing more than our hair color!
Since Marvin and I are eligible for Medi-care, we both need to use our proper first names. To receive benefits, the doctor's office, prescriptions and other medical records have been changed to John and Elizabeth. It is a switch in identity!
There are seven generations of Elizabeth's but none have used the "Elizabeth" name. The first generation was called "Betsy". The second and third were "Lizzie" , the next three were/are "Betty" and the seventh is our granddaughter "Betsy". My mother used the name "Elizabeth" in her school days. Her family taught her to write her name "Betty" before she went to first grade. Just before school started, she learned her real name was "Elizabeth." She was fascinated by that information. So when the teacher ask "What is your name?", she replied, "Elizabeth Burkholder". She was the smallest child in her class but she had the longest name. The other students got 1/2 of a blackboard to practise writing their name but the teacher gave her a whole blackboard. She often said she was glad she used that name in school because it felt more like her name. As long as she lived, some of her classmates continued to call her Elizabeth. Anyway, after all these years, I get to use my own real name! I don't mind my nickname at all. It is like an old familiar shoe that you don't want to throw out. I just wonder how long it will take for it to register when they call the name "Elizabeth" at the doctor's office.
And speaking of hair color...yesterday while cleaning at the History Center, I saw a light hair caught in the furniture where I had just been stooping to clean. My first thought was "Now who's light hair is that?" My second thought was " Oh, it is mine. My black hair disappeared a decade ago."
But the greatest change in identity is still ahead. I'm looking forward to changing from mortal to immortal. What a day that will be!

Friday, June 11, 2010

More Canada trip visuals

I will begin with some of the flowers in bloom around Sioux Lookout.

Lady slipper


Corrected caption: Bunch berries

The men had been on the lake fishing several times during the week. Merle and Edith offered to take Romaine & I out for a canoe ride on Sunday evening. What a northern experience! We saw two cow moose soon after we were out on the lake and sat watching them eat for awhile. There was a baby moose partially hidden in the thickets that we heard whimpering. Then we crossed the lake trying to get closer to a bull moose we saw on the other side. By the time we got there , he had disappeared. We did see two beaver and heard loons to round out our evening. But the best was just ahead for us! We rowed back to where we had seen the two cow moose. We figured they had wandered off, but as we got near, the one cow moose came crashing out of the bushes and ran into the woods. The baby followed her as far as the water and then just stood traumatized watching us. It was a rare treat to see a one to two week old baby moose so close. I regretted that I had chosen to let the camera behind rather than risk it getting wet. I cannot seem to get that picture moved from my mind's eye to the computer now. I imagine Mama moose scolded him later saying, "When you see something like that again, you run and hide." Before we left, Merle made an appointment with him for Oct 9th at that very spot. (That's when hunting season opens!)

We left Sioux Lookout on Monday, June 7th. We drove near to Pepin, WI where we went on Tuesday to see the replica of the "Little House in the Big Woods". It is at the site where Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in 1867, located seven miles out of town. We tried to imagine the land of trees that stretched further than a man could travel in a day in the 1860-70's. I took the book along so we could compare her words with the site. We visited the town and picked out the old buildings that existed in 1870. Laura felt like she could not see the town for the houses...there were more than she could count. The Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Pepin was worth our time. We bought a CD with recordings of Pa's fiddle, Laura's pump organ, her recorded voice, some singing and narration. And would you believe, Romaine and I tramped around in the Pepin cemetery where we found some Ingalls relatives graves.

I picked up a few stones by the lake but did not tear out my dress pocket like Laura did when she gathered too many. And to keep up the tradition, I dipped my feet in the waters of Lake Pepin, WI. One of these days I could make up an album of the bodies of water where my feet have been on this earth.
Where have your feet been today?

Our last sightseeing stop was the Case IH tractor factory in Racine, WI. The company merged with Ford so there is a mix of blue and red tractors on the assembly line. Marvin's Grandpa was a Case dealer and had one of the Case eagle emblems on his barnyard fence at Landis Valley, Pennyslvania.
Chuck, our guide, gave us a four hour tour of the plant. I did not understand all the language about gears, transmissions and clutch parts, but I am grateful that Marvin does things like go along to a history conference and the Pepin cemetery too. Along with several other things, I was impressed with the precision that goes into the making of tractor parts.

We arrived home about supper time on Thursday evening. Marvin suggested we stop at a restaurant for supper before we got home. That was a nice idea..then Romaine and I did not have to cook supper. Our children at home were fending for themselves for nearly two weeks, we concluded that surely they could find something to eat for one more meal.

All in all, we thank God for a safe and pleasant trip...and Leroy & Romaine's gracious invitation for us to go with them. Thanks to Merle and Edith for making our visit to their home and Sioux Lookout so enjoyable.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Canada trip visuals

We spent the weekend with my niece in Ohio. On Memorial Day we drove to Mackinaw City on the tip of the Michigan Penisula. The next day we took a ferry to Mackinaw Island. The ferry took us on each side of and under the famous five-mile-long bridge. The waters of lake Huron are in the foreground. Lake Michigan is in the background. Later we went over the bridge and drove across the Upper Penisula of Michigan toward International Falls, Minnesota.

Horseless carriages were outlawed on the Mackinaw Island in 1895. This carriage driver in the top hat is taking his passengers to the Grand Hotel. Someone told us the rooms begin at $1000 night.

This is a view of the fort we paid admissions to see. Very interesting history! The island was famous for furs, then fish and now tourism.

The waters of beautiful Lake Huron are in the background. It was a perfect-weather day!

The men worked at putting siding on a shed for Merle.

Mission almost accomplished! Three sides of the shed have siding now. Merle says Dallas can help him with the front side. It just has small sections to do around the big sliding doors.

The men bought license and went fishing every day. On Thursday and Saturday they worked at siding in the morning, then went fishing. It was threatening rain on Friday, so Merle said, "We will do the most important thing first" so they went fishing in the morning before the rain arrived. Marvin and Leroy each caught one wall eye on Thursday (shown above). Other days Leroy caught the most. We had to keep eating fish so they could go fishing the next day. We are not tired of eating fresh walleye yet.

Whether the men were working or playing, we ladies could be found quilting. The quilt is for Elaine!

The finished product!

What is more beautiful than a day in any latitude?