Sunday Wrap Up 4/9/2017
We learned yesterday of the accidental death of 10-year-old Jeremy Yoder, the youngest child of Sanford and Jolene. His father found him deceased, with a wheel from a small tractor resting on his back. The scenario Sanford pieced together follows. As Jeremy was dismounting the tractor to hitch a mower deck to the tractor, the wind may have caused his shirt to catch on a lever that put the tractor in motion. (The tractor was not in park.) The tractor lurched and knocked him down. The tractor moved forward only until it came to a stop when it ran into a building.
The family lives now in Miami, OK (in the extreme NE corner) of the state, close to Labette County, Kansas. Jeremy was born here, where his parents lived ever since their marriage, until their move to Oklahoma 4 or 5? years ago. They attended church at Center. I remember Jeremy as the child who sat on his mother's lap in our Sunday School class before he was old enough to attend Sunday School class with other children.
Shane rented office space from Sanford until he purchased a property of his own. Jolene's father (Ed Yoder) was one of our ministers until his death. Shawn, the oldest son in the family was one of my high school students. Everyone at church could claim many connections to this family, so the death strikes home.
Arlyn N. reminded us that others among us have faced similar grief as a result of untimely death. His own friend Marvin died when they were both seven or eight. Even today, his parents talk to Arlyn sometimes about how seeing him reminds them of Marvin. The death happened more than 30 years ago. Sarah M. told me during the short prayer time in small groups that we had for Sanford's family that her own 4 1/2-year-old bother died in a farm accident when she was about 12. I'm sure many of us remembered Andrew's death at the age of 10?, also on a beautiful spring Saturday afternoon 20 years ago. Dwight M. spoke briefly about his baby brother's death when Dwight was about 3 or 4 years old. Dwight's siblings were my students at the time.
For these reasons and because of other things not right in my smaller world, I left church feeling blue.
On the way home, however, Hiromi told me that there were ducks in the standing water in the long skinny rail-side field across the road from us. He stopped so I could see them when we got there. They were blue-winged teals. I had seen shorebirds flying up from a puddle we passed earlier.
This evening when we drove by these places again the ducks were gone, but shorebirds had taken their place in the puddle closest to our drive. I retrieved the binoculars in the house and walked out to see them again. I'm no shorebird expert and they're famously difficult to identify, but I enjoyed them even though I couldn't name them.
Other things that make my heart glad:
1. Our own Sergeant Flowering Crabapple trees, in full bloom right now, and alive with bees.
2. Monarch butterflies among the flowers.
3. Grandsons here yesterday, and seeing their delight with the grape hyacinths in the grass, the butterflies overhead, and the little shovel that I use in my flowerbeds. They tried it out and wished they had one.
4. The dwarf or miniature irises that are in bloom.
5. The tiny little wild pansies that I saw at Linda's house yesterday.
6. The sandhill plums and wild black currants in bloom, along with the ancient pear trees on our place.
7. The little blue flowers on the daintiest of vinca ground covers. I have three or four other kinds--some of them almost obnoxiously overpowering--but not this one.
8. The school children's pleasure at seeing signs of spring on our Expotitions.
9. Andrew's spying the first Western Kingbird of the season on the power lines visible from our Language Arts classroom window.
9. The exit of the woodstove from the corner of our living room. I liked that stove as long as it was in use. We've had it since 1982, but ever since Hiromi decided that he wasn't going to use it any more, I have wished to reclaim that corner of the living room for other uses. Almost three years after we moved back here, the woodstove move finally happened.
10. A new dishwasher. We have done without ever since we moved here. Yesterday we bought a new one, and Hiromi is within one fitting of having it ready to use. We decided to use a portion of our bigger-than-expected tax refund for this purpose.
On a radically different note, I've been following the saga of finding a replacement for Samuel Alito on the US Supreme Court. I was not pleased with the rank partisanship evident in Congress both when President Obama nominated Merrick Garland and when President Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch. Both men seemed well-qualified to me. Under President Obama, the Republicans were the obstructionists. Under President Trump, the Democrats were.
To try to remedy the impasse, a new policy was employed. It's complicated, but essentially, the new standard prevents the use of the filibuster to block confirmation of a supreme court justice, and only a simple majority (50 +) is needed to trigger a vote--instead of the super-majority (60) required previously. In effect, it neutralizes the opposition of the minority.
I've seen proposals for changing the methods by which Supreme Court justices are appointed, some of which I find appealing. Here's a link to an article which lays out one such proposal. This proposal calls for 18-year term limits instead of what is now effectively a lifetime appointment. Appointments would rotate every two years, which would allow each president to appoint two justices.
I see two main benefits of the above proposal. One, judges would not be tempted to hang on to their job after their mental faculties have declined in old age. Two, no single president would be able to pack the court according to his own ideology, in the event that multiple vacancies develop during his presidency.
Making this change would probably require a constitutional amendment--something on which finding agreement would be difficult with the present congressional makeup.
In two weeks, we plan to ordain a deacon at church. My brother Ronald will be the speaker for the pre-ordination meetings.
Today we got a handout in church detailing the voting procedure before the use of the lot, assuming that a lot will be needed. It's a little different than the tradition in the Old Order Amish church, the method in use earlier. It is basically the same, however, in that it provides for a congregational decision to determine who the candidates for ordination are. The size of our congregation makes some adaptations seem wise. In the Old Order church only two votes were required for a person to be included as a candidate. I remember a time when we used seven as the minimum. This time percentages are being employed instead of straight minimum numbers.
Hiromi has a new and growing interest in healthful eating. I welcome the switch in most ways. It sure beats what has usually been the case before, although he gets high marks in general for being a vegetables kind of guy, with no big appetite for sweet junk foods. He's the grocery shopper and if he brings home healthful foods, I'm happy to prepare and help eat them.
The Kansas MCC sale yesterday and Friday netted over $500,000. Our church helps with an on-site cookie-baking project. About 2800 whoopie pies sold yesterday, plus many other kinds of cookies.
William Hershberger was hospitalized last week with partial kidney failure. He seems to be doing better now and might come home tomorrow.
Gideon and Esther Yutzy's third daughter was born last night. Her name is Honor Naomi. The middle name is the name of Gideon's mother.