Dear Bob, here are some photos of my life here on the campus of Concordia Seminary. I love kids, working with the grounds crew, swimming, playing with my dog friends, and especially my own family people.
Katie, Charlie, Drew and Jake are in upstate New York for the funeral of Charlie's grandmother. His twin brother has two sons and the 4 boys got their picture taken. All but Jake is wearing some sort of super hero shirt.
Jake and Drew are on the ends, Elliot and Vaughn are in the middle.
While we were involved in many things having nothing to do with family this weekend, we did gets pictures of what the grandsons were doing. At least some of the things they were doing.
Christian and Connor went from a cross country meet to each having a soccer game.
Connor is in first grade and played goalie for the first time. Looks like a good fit for him.
On Christian's 3rd grade team, he got to take a penalty kick and...GOAL
Meanwhile out in the suburbs of Washington DC, Katie and Charlie took their boys out to our niece Stephanie's house to meet their newest cousin born this past week, Eliza Mary. Ellie for short. It appears that Jake was very smitten with this baby and that Zach just may have liked having some boys around living as he does with big sister Sam and now new baby sister Ellie.
All cars now come equiped with a computer system which sends alerts via the dashboard when something needs attention. It's amazing how many different light up icons there are behind that seemingly benign dashboard. A year ago I was driving along 55/70 when all of a sudden up comes "check tire pressure now!" it scared the heck out of me and all I could think of was a tire blowing out on the interstate. I got off at 203 thinking I could find a service station to check the tires but no. I ended up crawling to Collinsville along the back roads til I got to our mechanic who has worked on our cars since the mid 80's, Larry at Collinsville Automotive (Collinsville Tire and Auto). Great people there.
All it was that time was a Fall cold snap which lowered the air pressure in the tires. A few bursts of air and things were fine. Sometimes the message will be "Change oil now!" It's always a message which seems to scream an order.
Yesterday while driving over to Collinsville for the Italian Fest the check engine light came on. This showed up on the dash as a line drawing of an engine. Now that scared me too. I had no idea what it could be. I googled 'check engine' and found it could have been anything from a loose gas cap (nope) to anything in the air circulation system. I didn't want to be driving between St. Louis and Collinsville all weekend not knowing if I would break down so back to Larry's this morning. One of his really nice mechanics plugged in a hand held computer thing into a slot under the left corner of the dash and determined I need a new thermostat because the computer showed things were running cooler than it should. It should be fixed by 9:30.
This is going to be the craziest day! I have to be at the seminary guild's opening luncheon meeting of the school year, then leave before it's over to get to Collinsville to work at the Italian Fest and then leave there, change clothes and rush over to the Missouri Athletic Club for a dinner honoring church workers at 6.
Everything overlaps and each requires different clothes. Oh Saturday I can barely see you from here.
The seminary planned a surprise event for Dale yesterday in order to recognize his 40 years in the ministry. His mother and aunt came down for this and their excuse for being here was the previous night's performance of the Gospel of Mark. This day was some time in the planning and the past week was the hardest to keep secret. I left at a quarter to 6 yesterday morning to pick up two large sheet cakes from Kruta's in Collinsville. Explaining why I had to head out so early was quite the convoluted story...which he actually believed.
But it went well, he was totally shocked and the morning was lots of fun.
It began at the end of morning chapel with Dr. Kloha calling him to the front to explain what was going on.
Members of his first congregation from the duel parishes of Venedy and New Memphis Illinois came and had their picture taken. Holy Cross in Collinsville had people there as well.
Over to Koburg Hall for cake and other refreshments.
Each of the cakes had the names of places he has been in his 40 years.
Phil Herr from Collinsville spoke
At some point Dale got pretty teary-eyed.
Got me up there for a couple of nice remarks and jokes
A funny fun gift from Paul and Jeanette from Venedy. A box which when you pulled up on the ribbon, one two dollar bill after another came out. She told him she wanted him to see what 40 years looked like, thus...40 two dollar bills all taped together in a roll.
Tomorrow morning, very very early, as early as we can wake up, we're heading back to St. Louis. That means today is the last day with Drew and Jake for who knows how long. But their energy will linger with us for quite a while.
It's just 10 a.m. and already they've done a ton of thing.
Ridden their vehicles at top speed down the driveway and had the most fun crashing into each other.
Turned the car seats we removed from our car into rocket ships.
Done bubbles, played ball, watched Opa finish the fence, watched a bit of children's tv. Gulped down several glasses of apple juice. And there is still an entire day ahead of us.
Riley photo bombed Jake
Tomorrow at this time we should be around Columbus Ohio.
For the past couple of years, when we've gone out to Katie and Charlie's, Dale built a section of fence. The first two times it consisted of fencing and gates, one gate on each side of the front of the house. This time the fencing is going up around the first gate and pickets. This is rather hard work, what with digging holes in the dense Maryland clay and rock, the putting up the framing and finally the pickets.
The original work has been stained, the current section will have to cure before it can be stained. Maybe we can put the boys to work finger painting it.