Thursday, July 16, 2009


I suppose I should have had lots of time to write another blog post during the week that Camp Bubbie and Saba was suspended and the girls were enjoying the week with their other grandparents, but that week turned out to be hectic. Knowing that we only had a week to catch up with everything before the girls returned, I had planned to get a million errands done, but each day, we found ourselves buried in computer work for a number of hours and only able to rest and play for short periods of time. Wednesday evening we had dinner out with our friend, Faith, at a tiny Indian restaurant in Blue Bell with only four tables for four and one table for two that we found through In our usual karmic fashion, we started a rush and every empty table filled between 8 and 9 p.m. Haley and Erik came earlier that evening to visit Mom on their way to a family garden wedding in Harleysville.

Thursday, Adele, Saul and I met Roxy for a late lunch in New Hope where we spent a pleasant few hours at Havana, on another coupon purchased from Each day last week presented the possibility of rain, and some days, we had some thundershowers with torrential downpours as thick as I have ever seen. With so much rain, everything planted outdoors has been thriving with very little effort, while at the same time, there has been enough hours of warm sunshine to prevent waterlogging and rotting of roots.

Friday, Saul and I took the Prius to be serviced, had breakfast out while we waited for the car, and spent the afternoon preparing dinner for 10. Jamie and Andy with Presley, Beth and Paul, Larry, Faith and Stacey joined us. We had homemade challah; black bean soup; guacamole made with herbs from the garden and chips; grilled barbecued hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, and Moroccan sausage; homemade potato salad; wilted spinach salad with eggs, avocado, mushrooms, cucumber, tomato and onion with hot dressing; and for dessert, strawberry-rhubarb pie and jumbo oatmeal, peanut butter and raisin cookies. We had been expecting to have dinner late to give Jamie and Andy a chance to get here from Delaware, but they arrived on time and dinner took longer than expected to grill, so we did not sit down to eat until almost 7:45 p.m. Presley, beautiful and full of smiles, has become quite mobile by rolling around on the floor and was beginning to get into the crawling position, so Jamie will be very busy in the near future keeping up with her. Mom joined us for dinner for only a few minutes, but seemed to enjoy the company very much.

Saturday, we went to services. Rabbi Addison was away and the excellent sermon was presented by our Baal Koreh, David Reif. This particular part of the Torah is troublesome to interpret and makes many people uncomfortable because it deals with God’s approval and rewarding of Pinchas’ vigilante act of violence, his murder of an Israelite man and Midianite woman who were embracing in the Temple. David related the broken Hebrew letter “vav,” which the scribes used to diminish the name of Pinchas for this act, to the breaking of a rod, as in “spare the rod and spoil the child.” The broken rod represents our desire to pass the knowledge of Torah on to the next generation in love and without violence. Sometimes peace can only be achieved through violent actions, but peace achieved by violence is always broken and imperfect. The cantor, Josh Gordon, had us reading the last verse of the National Anthem, which I don’t believe I have ever read before, but which is in our prayerbooks, and relates to this theme as well.

After services, we met a Jamaican woman named Angela, who had advertised as an aide in The Jewish Exponent, and brought her home to meet Mom. We all liked her immediately and her references were excellent. She doesn’t drive, however, so we would need to arrange for transportation for her were we to hire her to fill in the gaps for Stacey and Debbie. Mom has become even weaker and fell this week trying to get out of bed herself while Debbie was in the bathroom. Luckily, she did not break anything and was only somewhat bruised.

Sunday was a gorgeous day and more gorgeous days were promised for the beginning of the week because the rainy weather pattern had finally moved on. On the spur of the moment, Saul and I decided to plan an overnight trip to Hersheypark because Izzy had asked about the origins of chocolate a few weeks ago. After researching hotels for hours on the Net, we called Jessica, who was due to arrive here in the afternoon with the girls from a family party in Scranton, to make sure the girls were up to such a trip before we booked the hotel. By coincidence, the cousins with whom they had been partying were going to be in Hershey also on Monday and Tuesday before going home. We booked ourselves into the same hotel, which turned out to be much cheaper and better than the Sheraton we had been about to book. It was a MainStay Suites about seven miles from Hersheypark that had rooms with kitchenettes and double queen beds that were quite comfortable. The room was very clean and secure. The hotel had an indoor pool with a two story water slide that the girls adored as well as small indoor miniature golf course and basketball area. Continental breakfast was included in a small dining area near the lobby.

Sunday afternoon and evening, I washed all our clothes and tucked the girls into bed early. Monday morning, we rushed around to clean up the house in case it needed to be shown while we were away and pack for our trip. We left around 10:30 a.m. and drove to the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Factory in Lititz for a short tour. Last summer, when we arrived there, the facility was closed for renovations. The girls learned to roll pretzels made from Play-Doh and we bought them pretzel jibbetz for their Crocs. Then we drove to an Amish family restaurant in Bird-in-Hand for a buffet lunch. The separate kids buffet was built to look like Noah’s Ark. We drove behind some farm families out in horse and buggy and surrey-type horse-drawn carriages.

We arrived at our hotel in Hershey about 5 p.m. and, after depositing our bags and checking out the facilities, went to the Giant Supermarket near the park to purchase greatly discounted tickets. In the end, they cost $28.00 each. The park has a deal where you can use the tickets to visit the park three hours before closing time on the previous evening. They don’t even charge twice for parking, but validate your stub so that you can return the next day free of charge. We took the girls to take the chocolate factory tour, which is an amusement-type ride. They liked it so much, and the lines were so short, that we did it twice.

As we entered Hersheypark at 7:30 p.m., we encountered the cousins who were just leaving. We spent two wonderful hours riding the amusements near the entry to the park and having dinner at a kosher stand there that has chicken fingers and curly fries, a rare treat for girls who can never eat fast food out. We tucked two tired girls into bed by 10 p.m.

They awakened us at 7 a.m. by opening the curtains. We had breakfast in the hotel and went to the swimming pool for two hours where the girls must have climbed up and gone down the slide about four dozen times. The cousins came to say hello at the pool and were on their way early to the new water park feature at the park called “The Boardwalk.” We showered, checked out, and went to the park. This time, we walked all the way to the far end of the park checking out all the different areas. The park has expanded and is huge compared to the park I remember from many years ago. After a few hours of “dry” rides, we bought the girls some pizza for lunch and I helped them change into bathing suits in a changing and locker area for “The Boardwalk.” A few hours of wet fun later, they changed back to street clothes for a few more rides as we walked back to the entry. We had chicken fingers again for dinner and left the park for home about 5 p.m. We took a meandering ride home through a number of tiny Pennsylvania towns arriving back shortly before 8 p.m. On the long rides, the girls were entertained by a new DVD player we had purchased at Costco on Sunday.

This morning, we arrived at Costco as it opened, returning home just in time to prepare lunch for Ken and Randi’s sister-in-law’s sister, Diane. Then, we left for Beachcombers. The weather was beautiful again today and Sami found a number of friends with whom to play in the pool. I went with Izzy to clay and helped her make a whimsical smiling fish. Unfortunately, Izzy was developing a cough and kept complaining she was cold. I made a bed for her on the beach blanket and covered her with a towel, but she did not sleep and was very restless. After dinner, we took her temperature and she was 100.4. Jess advised children’s Motrin, and Saul went out to purchase some. Both girls were asleep by 8:30 p.m., but we have been spoiled by years of not having to worry about a sick child. I was up at 1:30 a.m. to check on Izzy and have been blogging ever since. I feel guilty, now, that we have probably overtaxed the girls in an effort to have fun and take advantage of all the good weather.

Water has been the thread running throughout this week, motivating us to get out and enjoy the sunshine. The fields throughout the farmlands in Lancaster and Hershey are lush from the abundant rain in ways I have never before witnessed and are reminiscent of the words in America The Beautiful, “amber waves of grain.” The corn, planted as far as the eye can see, is as green and dewy as one could ever imagine. The pools and water parks we have enjoyed were inventive and engaging. I think we are so detached from nature sometimes that we forget how much having a natural and abundant supply of water (but not too much) adds to our well-being.


Larry782 said...

Those of us that had chorus with Mr. Nitsche, at Olney High School, learned the last verse of the Star Spangled Banner. I always felt that verse was special and was glad Josh focused on it at services.

Anonymous said...

Is that the verse about pilgrim's feet? I always enjoyed that metaphor as a kid in elementary school.

Ari said...

I don't think there's anything in there about Pilgrim's feet...

"O! say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
'Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: 'In God is our trust.'
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!"

Marilyn said...

Here is the rare fifth verse with the history that goes with it. There is still nothing in there about pilgrim’s feet. :o)

During the Civil War, "The Star-Spangled Banner" was claimed by both the North and the South. At Fort Sumter, where the opening shot of the war was fired, this song was played when the American flag was lowered in token of surrender by the Federal forces. In indignation over this episode, Oliver Wendell Holmes added a fifth stanza to the song that appeared in northern editions of songbooks of the period.It was again played at the raising of the American flag following the reoccupation of Fort Sumter with the conclusion of this war.

Probably the best known additional stanza was written by Oliver-Wendell Holmes during the Civil War, and was intended to decry treasonable acts against the US flag.

When our land is illumined with liberty's smile,
If a foe from within strikes a blow at her glory,
Down, down with the traitor that tries to defile
The flag of the stars, and the page of her story!
By the millions unchained,
Who their birthright have gained
We will keep her bright blazon forever unstained;
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave,
While the land of the free is the home of the brave.

Larry782 said...

Okay, it took typing two words into a Google search to find 'pilgrim feet.'
From America the Beautiful...
"O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!"
Case closed.