I'm afraid my silly side is showing today. On Facebook, I happened across the news that American Pharoah had won the Triple Crown, and I took time to watch the three-minute race in which he clinched that distinction by winning the Belmont Stakes horse race. Within the past five weeks, he has also won the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby. It's been 37 years since any horse has won all three of these races, and American Pharoah is only the twelfth Triple Crown winner since 1919 when it happened for the very first time.
Later I also watched the race online in which Secretariat won the Triple Crown in 1973 by twenty-some horse lengths--setting a speed record that still stands for the Belmont 1 1/2 mile track.
As a child, I loved reading book-length animal stories, and read many horse stories. I remember only Little Vic
and Black Beauty
at the moment. Somehow, through these stories, I gained an appreciation for the interplay between horse and jockey and trainer, each one's hard work essential to success on the track.
The owner of American Pharoah is Egyptian-born. The horse's name was selected in an online contest, and no one noticed the misspelling of Pharoah (suggested by a woman from Missouri) till the official papers had been filed. The final "o" and "a" are reversed in the correct spelling.
American Pharoah was bred by Ahmed Zayat and sold as a colt. Later, Zayat bought the colt back for $300,000.00. I don't know much about the money connected with horse racing (except that betting thrives in this environment), but I suspect that buying back American Pharoah was a smart business decision on Zayat's part.
I admit freely that the ethics and stewardship implications of this whole horse racing enterprise are hard to justify, and I certainly won't attempt to do so here--or anywhere.
Tonight, again, large hail has fallen in Kansas--baseball-sized in the area north of Salina. Here, we are also in an area of the state where large hail and high winds are most likely to occur during the night, as identified by the National Weather Service. The wheat is either greenish-gold or gold, and I pray that we are spared so that a harvest can commence in the next weeks. Having the major crop of the area wiped out in a hail storm would be devastating. It's happened before, even later in the crop cycle than this.
I've heard within the past few days that "Andy Esther" is not doing well. She's hospitalized in Colorado Springs in an effort to manage her pain. She's less than a year younger than I am and was diagnosed with cancer four? years ago. Andy grew up here and Esther in Iowa--at Leon, in my memory. They lived in Washington, D.C. for many years before moving to the Canon City, CO area.
Rhoda and Rachel Yutzy's sister Maggie is also quite ill with cancer. She lives in South Carolina.
Hearing about these needs makes me feel really grateful for every bit of good news I've heard concerning my health recently. My problems seem small.
Today's sermon was about the role of women according to God's Word. I especially appreciated hearing the connection made between the passage in first Peter that references Sarah's submission in a positive way--juxtaposed with the two accounts in Genesis when Abram lied about his wife's identity and put her in harm's way by it. Seeing God's deliverance for submissive Sarai in these trying circumstances was a blessing.
I daresay that no one in today's audience in church has ever been in circumstances exactly like Sarai's. Obviously, if we are to learn from Old Testament stories like hers, we need to search for principles and apply them elsewhere when the situation calls for it. Maybe this simply reflects my preference for inductive-style reasoning over deductive reasoning, but I feel a lot safer when I think of applying principles to individual situations than I do when people identify specific actions in specific situations and attempt to assert unequivocal general "truths" about what is right in all such situations. No two situations are ever exactly alike--which is partly what makes blanket-style assertions unhelpful--beyond those which are present in Scripture.
My five sisters and I were all at the same place twice this year before the end of May, but the third time (last weekend) was the first time we had not gathered for a family funeral. If I can figure out how to do so, I might post a picture of the six of us in a separate post. It was taken at the end of a busy day after a short night--less than three weeks after my surgery, and I think I look a little tired and feeble on the picture. We didn't plan ahead for this picture-taking session, but Heidi seized the moment and lined us up.
The day we all scattered would have been my mother's 87th birthday, if she had lived that long. We used the Sunday before to eat several family meals together, choosing foods that Mom especially liked. The noon meal was a fairly traditional meal, with turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn-on-the-cob, sliced tomatoes, tossed salad, and pecan pie and ice cream for dessert. The evening meal was a lot less traditional and featured some foods that Mom used to eat a lot when she was growing up, but which we sampled only occasionally while we were growing up. I'll list them here for the record:
1. Buttered bread topped with sweetened, stewed rhubarb. Some of the family remembered better eating stewed rhubarb with cream.
2. Honey bread topped with cottage cheese.
3. Peanut butter bread topped with bread-and-butter pickles.
4. Applesauce topped with crushed saltine crackers and then covered with sweetened whipped cream.
My niece, Maria, graduated this spring from an online school with a physical campus in Wickenburg, AZ. Her family traveled there from their home in North Carolina so that Maria could participate in the graduation ceremony. On their way home, the extended family gathered on Saturday evening to celebrate. We had a really nice evening at Marvin and Lois' place, beginning with a garage party and ending around a bonfire in the yard. It was chilly enough for sweaters and jackets, and cool enough for the mosquitoes to leave us mostly alone.
Maria's mother is my sister Dorcas, and her plans to be here is what inspired us to arrange for Carol and Clara to travel here as well so that all of us could be together, briefly, at least. We sisters slept at Marvin's Partridge house on Sunday and Monday nights. During the day on Monday we were out and about a good bit, with others joining us part of that time, so our alone time actually happened mostly late at night and in the wee hours of the morning on Sun. and Mon. night.
It whetted our appetite for doing this some more.
We didn't really spend time analyzing the constancies and the variations in our relationships with each other as sisters, but it occurred to me that, while the level of understanding and no-need-to-explain is really rock-solid because of our shared family experiences, we have taken on some varied identities by our diverse paths in marriage and residence and life work. These things have shaped us into a more diverse group than we were before. Marriage especially has changed us, as each of us has sought to adapt ourselves to the man we married.
There's where the diversity really shines--in those husbands. Bill and Roberto are pastors, but only Bill is a Mennonite by ethnicity and affiliation. Roberto, who is Hispanic, is the pastor-in-charge of the Nazarene denomination's 1,000 or so Hispanic churches. Marvin and Matthew were the children of Beachy preachers (as was Bill), but only Marvin stayed Beachy. Matthew moved his family to a big city and found a church home in a charismatic group. Hiromi, of course, is a Japanese American, former Buddhist, who became a Christian and married a Beachy woman.
In Clara's experience, with the recent death of her husband, Matthew, we're all realizing that things change again when the life developed over years of living in marriage suddenly is open to re-evaluation in the spouse's absence. It's obvious to all of us that things change, but how? Especially, how can they change in the best possible way in the middle of loss and grief, honoring the life of the departed one, while charting a course that might make sense now, but which never did before. Most important of all, how can God be honored in all? How can His purposes be accomplished? We really didn't get into discussions about this. Maybe another time.
On Monday, all the ladies in our extended family were invited to eat together at our cousin Eileen's restaurant--Downtown Sampler's. After that we did some leisurely shopping at the Et Cetera shop--managed by Jane, married to our cousin Eldon. Then we stopped for ice cream and cold drinks.
After that we headed to Yoder, intending to shop for fabric, but finding the store closed because of a death in the family. So we stopped at several other places instead--at a little greenhouse, and at the discount grocery.
Then we headed to Marvin's house again where the girls of the younger generation served us a delicious meal of Indian food.
Bill and Dorcas' family took my Dad along to Labette County where they visited my brother Ronald's family. Dad is staying for a week-long visit while Bill's family headed home to North Carolina the next day.
My sister Linda traveled to Virginia to the Faith Mission Home reunion, flying out on Wednesday. Linda had served there for more than 20 years. When Linda arrives in Wichita on Tuesday, someone from Ronald's family will bring Dad to meet Linda and they will drive home from Wichita together.
Marvin left on Tuesday to attend a funeral in Holmes County, OH--the father of someone who works in the Ohio travel office.
Carol and Andrea and her son Micah left on Tuesday for the KC area (home), with Clara and her daughter Victoria as passengers. Clara and Victoria flew home to Ohio from there later in the week.
My nephew Bryant was baptized today--in the pond at Richard Graber's place. Some of our family left church at Center in time to witness the event.
I proved today what Hiromi suspected--that Elmer's Glue will dissolve if exposed to water for an extended period of time. I tried to plug a hole in an unglazed clay flower pot by gluing a plastic patch over the hole. It looked great and felt solid as long as it was dry, but I needed it to hold water. I filled the pot and placed it in a bowl this morning. By this evening the pot was empty, the patch was loose, and the bowl had lots of water in it. Hiromi thinks silicone would do the trick. A cork might also work, but I don't have either a cork or silicone. I wrote silicone on the shopping list.
I had to buy a 2 1/2 inch terra cotta flower pot, and it pained me to do so. Here's why: I remembered standing in the garage at the farm with others in the family hovering nearby, eager to throw anything into the dumpster that I consented to part with. I grudgingly gave permission for someone to trash a whole stack of small clay flower pots, saying that I probably would not find a use for that size. And now that's exactly what I needed, and they were nowhere to be found.
Sigh. I don't think I'll ever get this getting-rid-of-things quite right.