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June 1, 2003
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by Donna

Our week-end didn't start very wonderfully for me on Friday. We had a flooded hallway and a good portion of our bedroom carpet and mud bath, from a combination of Beaver and my memory problems!

I'd forgotten clothing soaking in the utility sink and he forgot the hot water running. Then I rushed off to the school for the Grandparents day, which he was also rushing to get into for a short bit, in between all his daily tasks.

Poor Becky got stuck with two babies and a young girl, and finding this mess! She used up most of the towels in the house, just on the hallway and bathroom. She had five year old Aliza, helping her stomp towels.

Becky didn't realize it had gotten into our bedroom, so I got to work on that later, with the remaining few towels. After a whole weekend of fans and dehumidifiers running, it is finally dried out. I've got an appointment for having it cleaned, as there are definite water stains on it (and it needed it desperately anyway).

So, an official thanks to Becky for dealing with that mess!!

When I got to the school each of the children introduced their grandparents, and then we got the tour of the school, new and old room. They showed us how they knew how to use the computers and then we all went to the new cafeteria for a cookie, coffee and milk. After that it was on to the new auditorium and the children did a program for the grandparents. Very nicely done. Of course, I thought the first graders were the best. :-) We went back to her room and Lori and Chris showed up, so we gave them the tour, too.

That evening, Wyatt, Jolene and Rylie arrived for a visit. I made Mexican food and banana bars for dessert. Seemed to be a hit. Weston showed up later, as he'd left after a full day of work. We all visited on the deck for a while, enjoying the fresh air..but, still cool at that point. (means no mosquitoes, so not all bad!)

Saturday, Weston and Chris mowed. Ben showed up and used the weed trimmer some. So, bless their hearts and a big THANK you to them for getting the yard looking good again. Lori made a huge pan of calico beans and also a taco chip dip. I made more banana bars and cookies and Jolene brought hamburger, (Wyatt grilled them) and buns, chips and a huge bowl of fruit (which Jolene's mom helped prepare).

In the evening Jolene's parents, brothers and the one's family and a couple of Chris's friends came over to eat and we all sat out by our new fire ring. The evening was cool, but felt great by the fire. Fun evening visiting. The kids seemed to have super time playing outside and also enjoying the fire.

Sunday we went to four of the graduation parties we'd been invited to in Ashby. Lori stayed and watched Caity. Jayce went along with us. Becky worked Saturday and Sunday.

Monday, Lori, Weston, Becky, Jayce and I went to the Memorial Day program at the school. Both Caity and Beaver were part of that. Caity did a wonderful job, she knew her part well and sang along with all the songs, doing the actions that went along with them. She looked very confident and looked like she enjoyed herself. I was surprised at how many songs and things they had to learn!

Then we drove up closer to the cemetery while they marched there through town. There was another ceremony with one of the things being the first graders placing flags and a wreath on some of the graves. It was gorgeous 70 plus day, with a light wind. Lovely being outside. We went for a free barbecue meal at the Legion and then back home.

Weston painted another coat on the storage building. Thanks Weston! The rest of us enjoyed the weather and some even took a nap.

As usual, enjoyed having the "kids" home for the weekend. Hope you all had a good time, too.

The Pudding Pack

A Short Story
By Doug and Dorothy

Editor's Note: The following is a story with two narrators. When the writing is in normal prose style, it is the Mother speaking. When it is written in journal entry form, it is the Son who is speaking.

Patricia (in doorway).

Chapter Two

Across The Red River

6/14/76: The most beautiful sunrise I have ever seen! What a majestic state is Iowa. We embark on day two. I have six shots left on this roll. Dad talked to some trucker from Oregon on the CB. "You got the Superman from Minnesota, what's your 10-20, come on back?" Marlene held her hands over her ears and hummed loudly the whole time. Marlene is not a CB fan.

2nd Entry: Okay, so I was wrong about Iowa. It's Boring, boringer, boringest! Lucky thing for my new issue of Master of Kung Fu. This issue has a new artist, though; I'm not sure I like it as well... I must have been doing homework last time we went through Iowa, because I don't remember it being this unmemorable. There must be a Stuckey's coming up soon. Rest stop?

3rd Entry: Oklahoma smells funny. Like moldy beef jerky, or something. As states go, it's almost as boring as Iowa. We saw kind of a cool little Cattle ranch, though. Not as good as my cousin's dairy farm in Almosa, but it was okay. Rest Stop!?

6/15/76: We crossed that rolling Rio Grande, and boy, it's good to be somewhere. Couldn't really talk to Patricia, went to Wednesday night Bible Study at someone's house across town in Waco.

6/16/76: Patricia and I discussed how great it is being grown up and laughed about the Superhero games we played the last time we saw each other. It seems like we are much more serious now. We read comics for a couple of hours and ate lots of snacks with names I've never heard of. Snacks are different in Texas. I thought about the pudding packs, but those are off limits when we are not on the road. More later.

It has been so nice these last two days. We arrived all worn out, cranky, and hungry -- and sat down to a good southern cooked meal, then after some showers, and a good visit we decided that being it was Wednesday we would go with Lois and Patricia to Bible study. It sounded interesting as they are just starting Esther and were studying the first two chapters. It was fun to meet the Krupickas -- Robert and Alleyne. They had us stay for melon afterwards.

Today we went to Valley Mills. It was a poignant trip, as we went to visit Bill's grave, then to see the Mill there in town that they owned and operated, and last we went out to the ranch that they owned -- and where they lived and worked until his death. It made us sad -- but we are glad that Lois and her children, with the aid of her parents and friends, have been able to pick up the pieces and move on.

Tonight we had another nice family meal and what fun to meet Lois's grandchildren Dawn and Andrea, who are Stanley and Janice's girls. Their family came in time to eat with us. The girls made me think of our grandchildren. (Don had to make a long call to George and Donna after everyone went home to see how everything was at home.) The kids had fun together. Patricia and Doug are especially good friends.

We had so much fun visiting, watching the kids, and then looking through lots of photos of our shared family history! So much to reminisce about -- I guess a stranger would wonder how we were making any sense of anything with all of us talking at once -- but we get along just great in all the commotion!

It is rather late but I am now getting the laundry done, the lunch packed, and I am trying to check that everyone is ready for a nice early start tomorrow. This has been a nice oasis -- but the desert, literally, must now be faced.

We did get a nice early start from Lois's. This fits our way of travel. As we like to start early, then have our breakfast a couple hours out, then just a lunch from the ice-chest or some fast food at one of the places available, and that way we travel to cover distance until we can stop early enough for the kids and Don to enjoy the pool. I usually just watch their antics and then Dad and I go out to a nice dinner. The kids may come along if they want to spend their dinner allotment that way -- otherwise they hit some cheaper place nearby. (Usually, they take the second choice, but not always.)

Texas is surely a long state! We covered it a little more quickly than I thought wise. We started out traveling our regular 65-70 miles an hour. Every one of those Texas cowboys in their new pickups were passing us like we were standing still. It didn't take long until we were breezing along and were no longer guilty of impeding the traffic quite as badly. We came into Austin about noon and then took a little highway across from there to Highway 10, which we will be taking across Arizona tomorrow .

When we were approaching Deming, New Mexico, we found the nice motel that we are staying at tonight. It has a beautiful outdoor pool, very pretty scenery-as we are on a plateau desert and can see some foothills to the north. What grandeur! I guess I will go out and get a photo then get an answer to the usual question, "Would you like to go with Dad and me -- or walk a half block to one of the fast foods -- or stay and eat from the lunch that is left in the chest?" And then see what they pick, and get on with the evening agenda.

6/17/76: We are off again, into the desert! Marlene cut her foot at a rest stop, maybe now she'll learn to wear her shoes! I am starting on my third roll, but this heat is hard on my old Polaroid. Some of the pictures come out faded, I think it is the effect of direct sunlight. Oh well, the ones that turned out are cool! Got to go now, there is too much to see for writing!

Editor's Comments: Reaction to Chapter one of The Pudding Pack Chronicles

Good evening Mom,

Wow, it's like we are right back there in 1976 with the green sky, the "eery quietness" and the ability to hear your own breathing as you are scrunched on the floor in the back seat. That was a very frightening experience!

Do you remember though, the rainbow that we saw from our motel after we stopped for the night... and I can remember standing outside looking at the sky with Dad and the cool, clean breeze. I can still see that big old piece of tin floating down from the sky like a feather ... or so it seemed.

Did Doug really keep a journal? I was oblivious to the fact if he did. Guess I was too busy thinking about the next swimming pool! What a wonderful idea. Seeing the journey through the eyes of a boy and a mother. I can certainly appreciate the planning that had to go on before embarking on such a journey. One month in the car with 3 kids, and leaving another at home to "go it alone." That's pure bravery!!!

I can't wait for the next chapter. I'm hoping it jars a few of the cobwebs loose, so I can enjoy the trip all over again!!!

Thanks for putting so much time into remembering for us! Hats off to Mom and Doug!!!
Patty (1/2 of the beeps).

by Donna

Hi Everyone,

Thought sharing some answers to various questions would help us ALL get to know one another better. This is the one I'm sending out first.

Describe the most wonderful vacation you've ever taken. Why was it so great?

Answer to the Question
By Patty H.

We're back online again. I'm not sure what has been happening, but this e-mail has been "right fussy." I got a bunch of e-mails and finally caught up on the Bulletins. I hope I'm not too late to describe my most relaxing vacation (hard to figure out which one is best, cuz I think it's always the latest one!!)

Curt and I snuck off on May 9th for our second honeymoon! We had a condo in West Palm Beach, Florida. It was grand. When we got there it was a "balmy" 96, but once we were to the Atlantic, it was perfect. The toughest decision of the trip.... Do we lounge at the pool or at the beach ... or "do you feel like a dip in the ocean?"

We saw some of our friends, Blaine and Doncella Ellingson. They've moved there and he has a practice there. I think what made it best was that it was a last minute decision. We had a coupon to use and used frequent flyer miles, so not only was the weather perfect, but the price tag, too! I would highly recommend it.

A Report on a Trip in the Planning
by Ary Ommert
from The Netherlands

Good to hear from you again, At this moment busy preparing everything for the trip to Norway.

I Will leave on Sunday morning 4 AM to be in time for the boat in Kiel, Germany.

I Look forward seeing all my friends there and of course, Timian. His birthday is June 4 he will become 4 that day. Cor will come to Oslo by train to meet me when the boat arrives on Monday morning 9.30 AM. We will drive back to his house together.

It will take about 8 hours. Have bought a trunkload full of groceries for them. Products that are not in the shops there and now I go by car I can bring it with me. So I have the back seat left for my luggage and a box that Cor's parents have made for them. Also a box of presents for Timian's birthday and gifts for Cor and Kine. So my car is full. Will also take a coolbox with food and drinks with me so I don't have to stop for eating. Only for gas. On the ship I have reserved a 4 star outside cabin on the deck below the topdeck. You won't hear or feel the engines there and it's a two persons hut but I paid extra so no other person comes in it.

Also bought a digital camera so you can expect pictures very soon; have read how it works and do some testing but it will not be long before I will be able to send you all sorts of pictures. Also bought a cell phone; when you are traveling it's easy when you can say where you are or send an SMS.

We had a national holiday today and went to the beach; great weather here, sunny and warm.

I have to work tomorrow and Saturday morning. Will go to bed early on Saturday and in the afternoon I will load the car and pack my luggage so I can drive off Sunday without too many things to pack.

Everything is fine here, Will be glad to write an article for the magazine, Dorothy, but give me an idea about what I can write.

Greetings to you all from sunny and warm Holland,



3. PIN
11. LEAD
17. COLT
19. LARK
20. PIE
22. RAG
24. WINK
26. FOX
27. ICE
31. NEW
33. BAT
34. PIG
35. RAIL
36. BEAR
39. LAMB
42. SIN
43. MULE
46. DOG
49. BEE
52. TACK


Hi there everybody-- feel free to contribute your favorite smile maker!

I was telling them about a story about Doug and they said I should put it in the bulletin.
So here it is from his loving oldest sister!

As Patty and Marlene got older they learned to blame most anything and everything on Donnie. This was something they could usually pull off, as many times he might just have done whatever it was in question. (Of course, there were many times it was just a "cover.") So, one day we noticed Doug's pants were wet. When questioned, his answer was ... of course, "Donnie did it!"

From Linda Zitzman

One afternoon a man came home from work to find total mayhem in his house. His three children were outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn all around the front yard. The door of his wife's car was open, as was the front door to the house.

Proceeding into the entry, he found an even bigger mess. A lamp had been knocked over, and the throw rug was wadded against one wall.

In the front room the TV was loudly blaring a cartoon channel, and the family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing.

In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the counter, dog food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table, and a small pile of sand was spread by the back door.

He quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes, looking for his wife. He was worried she may be ill, or that something serious had happened.

He found her lounging in the bedroom, still curled in the bed in her pajamas, reading a novel. She looked up at him, smiled, and asked how his day went.

He looked at her bewildered and asked, "What happened here today?"

She again smiled and answered, "You know every day when you come home from work and you ask me what in the world did I do today?"

"Yes," was his incredulous reply.

She answered, "Well, today I didn't do it.

*Editor's Comments: I received this very pertinent message from Elaine and I feel we would do well to heed it.

We must Stop this Immediately!

Have you ever noticed that when you're of a certain age, everything seems uphill from where you are? Stairs are steeper. Groceries are heavier, and, everything is farther away. Yesterday I walked to the corner and I was dumbfounded to discover how long our street had become!

And, you know, people are less considerate now, especially, the young ones. They speak in whispers all the time! If you ask them to speak up they just keep repeating themselves, endlessly mouthing the same silent message until they're red in the face! What do they think I am, a lip reader?

I also think they are much younger than I was at the same age. On the other hand, people my own age are so much older than I am. I ran into an old friend the other day and she has aged so much that she didn't even recognize me.

I got to thinking about the poor dear while I was combing my hair this morning, and in doing so, I glanced at my own reflection ... Well, really, now! Even mirrors are not made the way they used to be!

Another thing, everyone drives so fast today! You're risking life and limb if you just happen to pull onto the freeway in front of them. All I can say is, their brakes must wear out awfully fast, the way I see them screech and swerve in my rear view mirror.

Clothing manufacturers are less civilized these days. Why else would they suddenly start labeling a size 10 or 12 dress as 18 or 20? Do they think no one notices that these things no longer fit around the waist, hips, thighs, and bosom?

The people who make bathroom scales are pulling the same prank, but in reverse. Do they think I actually "believe" the number I see on that dial? HA! I would never let myself weigh that much! Just who so these people think they're fooling?

I'd like to call up someone in authority to report what's going on -- but the telephone company in on the conspiracy too: they've printed the phone books in such small type that no one could ever find a number in there!

All I can do is pass along this warning: Maturity is under attack! Unless something drastic happens, pretty soon "everyone" will have to suffer these awful indignities.

Please pass this on to everyone you know as soon as possible so we can get this conspiracy stopped!

PS: I am sending this to you in a larger font size, because something has caused fonts to be smaller than they once were, too!

It's a mother's job to mind our business while we're growing up. Cut her some slack if she's still learning how to mind her own.

Big Deal
Classifieds (

I'd like to pay a compliment to my wonderful husband. Beaver I appreciate all you do for our family and the kindnesses you extend to others and the love you have given me, the work you are willing to do to maintain a great relationship. I thank you.. You are a gem.

"An easygoing husband is the one indispensable comfort of life." --Ouida, English writer


Born to Brenda and Nathan Hill: Jazmine Jane arrived at 10:50 A.M. on May 28. She weighed 8 lbs.9 oz. She is a beautiful baby (Janie sent me her picture) with lots of dark hair. We all want to say a fond hello to her -- and to her parents we send our congratulations.

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY: One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important. --Bertrand Russell