Monthly Archives: January 2009

Yesterday a beloved neighbor slipped away.  She had been my neighbor for almost 20 years. 

I’m so sorry to see her go.  She was a faithful friend.

She loved homemade bread, shrimp chowder, chili soup and cheesy noodle bake.  She exclaimed over every single thing I ever took her to eat, and she encouraged and laughed and chatted, even when she could hardly breathe.

At Christmas, she told me that she expected that this was her last Christmas with her family.  Hospice was coming, and it seemed like the time was short.  When I talked to her last week, she spoke of happy things, and I told her how much I loved the candles she had given me for Christmas.  “I love candles,” I said, “And I was so pleased with the ones you gave me.”

“Oh, Mary Ann,” she said, in her breathless, raspy little voice.  “I knew you liked candles.  I remembered that you would buy them at Happy Harry’s when I worked there . . . ” 

I thought about this fragile little lady, and marveled that she would remember something like that.  She had so many burdens.  Life wasn’t kind to her.  Her only daughter was murdered,  and she and her husband adopted their granddaughter as their own.  Then her husband, Charlie became ill and ten years ago, she was left a widow in her early fifties.  Since then, it has been just her and her granddaughter and more recently, mostly just her, in the house across the road from our chicken house lane.  And for the last couple of years, she has been so ill. 

Her son called me this morning.  I had called last night to her house, and there was no answer.  I left a message on her son’s answering machine.   “Just wondering what’s up,” I said.  “I’ve been a bit preoccupied with an injured knee, and I suddenly noticed that there hasn’t been any activity over at your mom’s house.  Just wondered if everything’s okay.  There isn’t any light, and she doesn’t answer her phone.  If you could call me and give me an update, I’d appreciate it.”

When the phone rang this morning, the caller I.D. said “Mary Mariner” and my hope soared.  Mary Jane was calling me!  She must have gotten my message, or saw that I had called.  But it wasn’t Mary Jane.  It was her son.  He was calling to say that he had gotten my message late, but that his mom had slipped away around ten o’clock last night.  She hadn’t been doing very well, so they had taken her to the hospice center a few days ago.  She had rallied, and they were planning to bring her back home, but yesterday she started to steadily decline, and while they watched around her bed, she quietly went into eternity.

It’s been a melancholy day for me.  Yesterday was the second anniversary of my friend, Ethel’s death.  That’s been on my mind alot.  I’ve been missing my dad an unusual amount, aided on by a vivid dream of seeing him in a crowd and actually feeling him hug me like he used to do.   And in our present society, there are so many broken people, in need of the physical things of life like fuel oil and food and a place to live.  People in need of so much more, too.  Comfort, healing of the soul, friendship, encouragement, and HOPE.  Somehow to my ears and to my heart have come stories that are not as hard to believe as they are to assimilate.  Does that make sense?  I wish I didn’t believe the stories.  But I know them to be true.

Many of you have asked about my knee.  I am not going to pretend that it is okay.  It isn’t.  And we still don’t know what will be done.  But whatever is going on in my knee is nothing compared to what is going on in the lives of so many people. 

If only we could get people to seek The Healer of Broken Lives with the same confidence that they go to the healers of broken bodies.
 

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Certain Man’s Wife took her poor left knee to the doctor yesterday.  They X-rayed both knees “for comparison.”

“Which knee did you say was hurting?” asked the puzzled technician.

“It’s my left,” said CMW, cheerfully.  “It’s actually what I call my good knee.  Usually it’s my other knee that is giving me trouble, but whatever happened on Saturday night happened to my left knee.  And it really hurt!”

“H-m-m-m-m-m.” said the tech, “I would certainly think it would be the right one.”

CMW pondered the fact that she might not look smart enough to tell her left from her right, but she actually can remember which hand she eats with and yes, checking it out, it was the left knee that was hurting.

Back in the examination room, the PA looked over the X-rays and did a thorough examination.  “Well, he said, “I can’t really tell what is wrong here, but I am inclined to think it is a meniscus tear under the knee cap.   And,” he added kindly, “this knee is is far better shape than the other knee.  It is stable, it has range of motion and it is just a far better knee than the other one.  I know it is hurting you, but the general condition of the knee is far better.”

CMW looked at the X-rays of the two knees, side by side on the lighted window and felt her heart sink down somewhere near to where the knees were located on her body.  The right one really does look pretty bad.  It is bone on bone, off set by a half an inch, has a spur sticking out the side, and a white collar of something or other that is tracing its way through the joint.  The strange thing is, that though it is sometimes stiff, and sometimes doesn’t want to work quite right, it really doesn’t hurt.  There have been a few times when she has had a cortisone shot in it when it was hurting, and it seemed to do better, and so, even though she realizes since the left knee has begun to give her trouble, that she favors the right a great deal, it hasn’t been a defining condition of her life.

Last night, after the left knee did another painful turn, and didn’t want to settle down, CMW lay wakeful in the dark and thought about all the stuff that this could mean.  If this left knee doesn’t settle down with the shot it got yesterday — If the MRI shows something serious —  if the right knee doesn’t hold up under the added strain of the good knee being out of sorts — IF  — IF — IF —  It was a good time to pray, she decided.  And so, until the Vicodin did its work, the prayers stayed to the anxious thoughts and calmed her uncertainties.

And then she read in God’s word this morning that He cares for her.  That He has the storm and the waves and the unknowns in His hands.  That He uses the things that seem like such a mistake or such a misfortune for good, and it is not up to the humans to decide what that good is going to be.

And so, today she is hobbling around — carefully.  If she had been more careful last night, the knee probably wouldn’t have twisted again.  Blind Linda is home with a stomach virus.  Certain Man is home, working on remodling Youngest Daughter’s bedroom, and there are many things to take the attention of Certain Man’s wife.  Which is what she is going to go do now — dishes, putting away manger scenes, and hopefully doing some sitting down to the paperwork that has stacked up.

Which is another thing.  Do any of you ladies find that when you really have a reason to sit and do things like paperwork, or correspondance or such that you always see the things that NEED to be done that prevent you from doing the very things that would be best for you to do and need to be done anyhow?   My kids think I am crazy, but it is very hard to do sit down work when there is housework that needs to be done.  And today is no exception.  I need to get some things done so I can sit down in peace and CONCENTRATE!

Blessings, dear friends.  Could you say a prayer for this bum knee?   THANKS.

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Certain Man’s Wife, the
Traffic Cop and a Winter Day  

 

                Now it
came to pass that January 13th, the year of our Lord, 2009, was a most
scrambling and bustling and busy day for Certain Man’s Wife.  There were many things to be accomplished and
much was joyfully anticipated, but the day was fraught with unexpected events,
as well.

                It all
started well enough.  There was a young
friend, Dinah, who had begotten a beautiful, healthy, fat baby son, and Friend
Tammy, with her usual benevolence, had discussed with CMW about a baby
shower.  Of course, there is nothing more
pleasant than a baby shower, and it was with delight that CMW planned to
attend.  In talking with Tammy, CMW
discovered that it would be nice to have some help with meals, so she told
Friend Tammy that she would be glad to bring a casserole or something for the
family for supper.  All of these things
were discussed on the Saturday before the Tuesday when the shower was to occur.

As the plans were being finalized,
actually the afternoon before the shower, she said to Friend Tammy, “By the
way, is there anything you need yet for the refreshments?  I’d be glad to he – – “  She actually stopped, mid-sentence, because
she suddenly remembered that she had, in fact, already promised to help with
the refreshments.  Something
specific.  Chicken Salad Sandwiches.  On homemade bread. 

“Oh, that’s right,” she said, trying to sound
confident.  “I am bringing something, am
I not?”

“That’s right,” said Friend Tammy,
brightly.  “I am counting on you for the
chicken salad sandwiches.  Does it still
suit?”

“Yes, it does.  I had actually forgotten about it, so I am
glad you reminded me.  I have some
chicken in the fridge that I can cook up, there’s bread in the freezer, and it
won’t take long to make the chicken salad. 
I will bring it.”  And CMW flew
off the phone, got her two chickens into the pot and got them started cooking
rather speedily.  There were various
activities that evening, and CMW even spent a happy time at the home of Eldest
Son and his Sweet Wife.  When she came
home, there was some laundry to finish and kitchen to straighten and the
chicken to take off the bones.  Certain
Man, still feeling lousy after having two wisdom teeth taken out, went to bed
early.  And CMW, with no one to bother
her, sped through the rest of the laundry and then looked at the two chickens
waiting to be deboned. 

                “Oh,
well,” she thought wearily.  “What gets
done tonight won’t have to be done tomorrow morning.”   So the midnight hour found her carefully
deboning the chicken and getting it into the fridge.  There would be time in the morning to mix up
the casserole and make the chicken salad and sandwiches.  It was a short night, but CMW felt pretty
good, in spite of it all when she got up on Tuesday morning.  And she flew around, getting Our Girl Audrey
and Blind Linda ready for Center and out the door.  Eldest Daughter showed up with the two little
boys she babysits for who had come for hot chocolate at “Aunt Mary’s house,”  and she cheerfully pitched in and
helped.  She wasn’t planning on attending
the shower, but as the time passed, she decided that it was something that she
could, after all, accomplish, so she made arrangements to go along, taking
Carson and Nevin with her.  CMW’s Sweet
Mama was also going, and she showed up at the house about a half hour early,
and lent her ready hand to making sandwiches, helping with the casserole and it
was with a great flurry that everything got done and loaded into the trusty minivan
for transport.

And so they all set forth.  Eldest Daughter and her two sweet little
fellows in the one car, and CMW and her Sweet Mama, following.  And the way to Sandy Bend Road is very long,
and very twisted and hard to remember sometimes.  The little caravan did much conversing with
each other over the cell phones, and one of the vehicles missed a turn, but
eventually they arrived at the place where they were to hide the cars.  There was a bitter wind blowing, and there
was a large yellow dog that frightened the two little boys, but eventually,
everyone got themselves across the frozen garden and into the warm house and
there waited for Dinah and her little family to return from a doctor’s
appointment.

Eventually, Dinah and her happy, bib-overalled
husband, their precocious three year old, and their precious 4-day old, put in
their appearance.  Dinah was properly
surprised and there was a sweet, sweet little baby shower for her and her baby,
with many thoughtful and useful gifts and a nice array of refreshments and
wonderful punch.  CMW and her Sweet Mama
didn’t tarry around too long, as they didn’t want to overly tire the new
mother, and they had hoped to make a trip into Sam’s Club for some much needed
supplies since they were almost to Dover anyhow.

So off to Sam’s Club they
went.  It was so painfully cold that they
sat in the warmth of the car for a while, building up the courage to sally
forth.  Eventually, they hustled in,
rounded up their groceries and paper products and such, checked out, went back
out into the bitter cold, loaded the car and headed for home.  The heater was bravely putting out heat, and
CMW was feeling pretty pleased with the way things had gone.  That morning, she had requested Youngest
Daughter to be home for Our Girl Audrey’s bus, because she was pretty certain
that they would not be home for Audrey’s 
2:45 arrival from Center.  This
suited Youngest Daughter’s schedule just fine, and she was quite willing to do
it.  However, as CMW made her way down
through the traffic of Dover, she realized that she should easily be home before
Audrey needed to get off the bus.  As
soon as she was out on the freeway, she decided to call Youngest Daughter and
tell her that she needn’t worry about being available for the bus.

And while she was talking on her
cell phone, she was blithely going down the road (it isn’t against the law in
Delaware) and approaching a construction area near the airbase.  So wrapped up was she in the conversation
that she never noticed any speed limit signs, though she knew she was
approaching the place where the speed limit was lowered.  She suddenly became aware of a Dover city
police car, parked in plain view, directly across from the gravel pit that is
along this well traveled highway.  She
thought momentarily that maybe she was going too fast, but looked down and did
not necessarily think so.  Certain Man
repeatedly tells her that there is a “cushion” and it seemed to her that she
was within the “cushion”.

Now let it be known that Certain
Man’s Wife is not a fast driver, as a rule. 
She has been driving almost 39 years and in that entire time, she has
gotten one (1!!!) speeding ticket. 
This is not to say that she hasn’t deserved them, but she usually tries
to keep her speed down, as she does not like to pay fines, and she doesn’t like
points on her license, with the accompanying high insurance bills.   But there is another compelling reason.  She really doesn’t think it is a good
testimony for Christians to be breaking the law.  It seems especially incongruous for a
Mennonite woman (who is dressed like a traditional Mennonite) to be sitting
beside the road in the company of the traffic cop.  (She
has even secretly applauded her sister in law who has been known to reach over
and forcibly remove her husband’s black hat from his head when he is barreling
down the road at an excessive speed.)
So, it really isn’t her intent to get
herself into situations where she warrants the attention of the enforcer of the
speed limit.

However, it became obvious that the
(negative) attention of this particular traffic cop had been obtained, and as
she passed him, he pulled out behind her with an expert, fluid motion.  There was nowhere for him to pull her off
because of traffic barriers that began just as she passed him, so he followed
her for quite a distance before turning on his lights.  The entire way, CMW was making helpless
comments to her Sweet Mama.

“Oh, no!  I believe he is after me!”

“You weren’t really going that
fast, were you?”   Asked the ever
supportive Sweet Mama.

“Well, I didn’t think I was into
the lower speed zone yet, but maybe I was . . . He hasn’t turned on his lights
yet . . .maybe he is just going down here to turn around or something . . .I
probably was going too fast . . . course I couldn’t pull off here, anyhow. . .I
hope he isn’t going to pull me off. . .oh, dear!  He is! 
There go the lights!”

“Oh, Mary Ann!  He isn’t!”

“Well, it certainly looks like he
is!”

Certain Man’s Wife obediently
pulled off the road and stopped.  She flipped
the power switch that put down her window and waited.  Suddenly, someone knocked on the window of
the passenger’s side.  Surprised, CMW looked
up to see that the policeman was on the passenger side of the car.  There have been some unfortunate accidents
lately on Delaware roads involving people along the road helping people, and
apparently, he wasn’t going to take any chances.  Certain Man’s Wife flipped the button to
lower the window where he was standing.

“Ma’am, I’m Trooper B from City of
Dover police force.  You were speeding in
a construction area.  I clocked you going
61 in a 45 mile zone.  I need your
license, registration and insurance cards, please.”

CMW fumbled in her purse and
retrieved her license, she opened the glove compartment and found the necessary
papers.  “I’m sorry, sir.  I didn’t realize that I was into the reduced
speed zone yet.”

“It was clearly marked a mile north
of where I clocked you.”

This was hard for CMW to believe,
but she decided that she would say no more. 
The policeman took her license, and insurance cards.  “You don’t need to give me your registration,”
he said, “I don’t need it.”  (Apparently
he had already verified that)  “I will be
back.  This won’t take long.”  His breath made white clouds in the cold,
cold air.  His manner was professional,
and he wasn’t surly.  He headed back to
his car.  CMW wondered grimly why those
big blue and red lights had to be so bright and noticeable.  Cars were going by in great numbers.  She was mortified beyond words.

“You should probably put up your
window” said Sweet Mama, sympathetically. 

CMW had neglected to close it when
the policeman had appeared at the opposite side.  Funny, she hadn’t even noticed how cold she
was.  She put the window up, and waited
pensively for the return of the policeman. 
Suddenly she thought, “I really ought to pray about this.”

And so, she bowed her head and
silently entreated the Lord for a small miracle.  “Lord Jesus, I know that I deserve to have
been caught.  I really wasn’t paying
attention, and I know that I’ve been getting careless.  Would you please grant me favor in the eyes
of this policeman?  Could you cause him
to have mercy on me?  I know that I don’t
deserve it, and I have no excuse, so all I can pray for is mercy.”

And then they waited.  And waited. 
And waited.  Sweet Mama was quietly
sympathetic.  CMW kept an eye on the
activity in the car behind her, and there didn’t seem to be much.

“He said it wouldn’t be long,” she
said to Sweet Mama, hopefully, “but it does seem to be taking a long time.”  Aha!  Suddenly
the door of the police car opened and the officer came up to the passenger side
window of the minivan.

“Mrs. Yutzy,” he said kindly, “I’ve
done some checking and it seems that you haven’t had a traffic ticket for a
very long time.  I think your last one
was 1998 or ’88.” 

“I’ve only ever had one in my whole
life,” said CMW quietly.

“Well, I’m going to do some things
here to help you out.  For one thing, I’m
going to completely ignore the fact that you were in a construction zone.  Fines are double in construction zone, so we
are going to not even mention that. 
Secondly, you were 16 miles over, but I’m going to write you down for
the very lowest amount that I can — 5 miles over the speed limit.  And since you haven’t had a ticket in such a
long time, you can go into court, and receive Probation Before Judgment
which means that you pay your fine, but if you don’t get any more citations in
the next six months, the whole thing comes off and there are no points, no
record of the incident at all.”

“That’s very kind of you, sir.  I really am sorry.  I do try to be careful, and I appreciate your
efforts on my behalf.”

“You’re quite welcome,” he said
cheerfully.  He went on to give CMW a few
more instructions concerning the contacting of the court, reminded her to be
careful and bid her adieu.

CMW’s Sweet Mama closed the window
while CMW perused the ticket.  It looked
harmless enough, but CMW was quite saddened by it.  Soberly, she pulled the minivan out into the
line of traffic and headed for Milford.

“I’m so sorry that happened to you,”
said Sweet Mama as they started down the road.

“Yes, well –“ Said CMW,  “I’m kinda’ sorry myself!”

“You didn’t deserve that!” said
Sweet Mama heatedly.  “You worked so hard
this morning, and took all that food.  It
doesn’t seem fair!”

CMW looked at this beautiful lady
that she calls “Mama” and felt that familiar rush of love for her.  She can always be counted on to take CMW’s
part in a fracas.  She is intensely
loyal, fiercely protective and always wants what’s best for her children.  “Ah, Mama,” she said, and had to laugh.  “I did deserve it!  When you think about it, I was given a great
mercy today.  I really did deserve that
ticket.  I was going too fast.  And he could have thrown the book at me.  The fine for being five miles over the speed
limit is $60.00.  If you think in terms
of $60.00 for each five mile increment, and realize that I was actually into
the fourth increment, I could have had a basic fine of $240.00 and if he hadn’t
taken off the construction zone business, my fine could have been close to
$500.00.  Plus, I shudder to think how
many points that would have been.  But to
be given Probation Before Judgment on top of everything else – all I can
say is that I have been given a GREAT MERCY today.”

“You’re right,” said Sweet Mama,
ruefully.  “But I sure wish he had
decided not to give a ticket at all. 
That’s the way I would have liked it.”

“Yes, well.  Me, too.” Sighed CMW.

And the trusty old minivan brought
them safely home, through another speed trap and on to the inviting shelter of
the big old farmhouse at Shady Acres.  How
comforting and wonderful it was to be home to the fire and the welcoming warmth
and light. 

 CMW has had herself quite an interesting few days
since then.  It’s funny how fast everyone
else out there is driving.  It would be
easy to glare and mutter at the disappearing taillights as people go roaring
around her, but a saying of her Grandma’s keeps her heart in check.

“Others may.  You cannot.” She would say when her children
wanted to do something that she felt was not in their best interest.  CMW doesn’t know what God is saying to all
those other people out there who are speeding and getting away with it.  But it does seem that His words to her heart
are just that:   “Others may.  You cannot!”  

And that is the news from Shady
Acres, where Certain Man’s gentle love and good humor were not rocked in the
least bit by this ripple on the sea of life, where Certain Man’s Wife’s eye on
the speedometer is a bit more steady, and where all the children are unduly
amused by their Momma’s misfortune.

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It’s been a busy week at Shady Acres.  I have this new computer, and it is really pretty sweet.  However, I haven’t had much time to be on it, and Beloved Son in Law is doing some exacting and mysterious work with the two computers to get things transferred.

Something happened last night that just might make it that I have more time on here than I want!  I was going up my steps with a wash basket when something slid in my knee.  Now I injured both knees while in high school playing basketball, and sadly, they are not my strongest point.  Even with the 30+ pounds that I have lost, they have been giving me fits of late.  Yesterday the left one hurt all day.  Seriously.  And it is usually my good one.  It felt tight and there was just lots of sciatic pain.  Usually I just walk through stuff, and it eventually gets better, but whatever happened last night is not good.  And after this happened, I couldn’t put any weight on it unless my knee was locked into a straight position.  It wasn’t just pain, (though there was lots of that!) but an actual weakness that seemed to want to toss me down upon the floor. 

Whew!  it was no fun making the bed and finishing up last night.  There was much holding onto furniture as I motored myself about.  Couldn’t sleep when I got to bed for the pain, even with prescription strength pain meds.  I put a big pain patch on it this morning, and also put on a substantial knee brace.  There are showers to give and lunch to get into the oven and church.

Isn’t it wonderful how God allowed this to happen on Saturday night when I had a whole Sunday when I can sit in church and then in my chair?  I am so thankful for this day of rest.  I am so grateful that my Daddy and Mama insisted that we keep it a day of rest.  I know that there are still things that get done on this day that wouldn’t have to, but, for the most part, we keep it as a day of rest.

Certain Man, who also has terrible knees — needs to have them replaced, refuses to do it — is very sympathetic.  But he makes me feel like a wimp.  He has walked and worked and just kept going through all sorts of things like this.  I want to sit down and cry and say  “I think I’ll just go on into the emergency room now, and see what’s really the trouble” but his fortitude makes me say, “I think I can wait and just see what the doctor says come Monday morning . . .”

So that is the Sunday morning news from Shady Acres!  A Blessed and Holy day to all of you.  If you at all can, please go to church.  I don’t know how I would make it without the help of my brothers and sisters at our church.  They are an integral part of the many warm circles around my heart!



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Since several inquiring minds want to know how Certain Man is doing:

He is doing splendidly!!!  There’ve been some tough moments, but no dry socket, no terrible pain, but lots of aching, some headache, a surprising small amount of vicodin, and long moments on the La-Z-boy recliner. 

However, we got baby chicks yesterday, so he felt compelled to stir about.

First, he had to do morning chores — feed the beef cattle, feed the cats, make sure everything is okay in the barn.

Then he worked in the chicken houses with stoves that didn’t want to light and other last minute things that always go wrong when you are a chicken farmer expecting chickens.

Then he decided that his precious truck needed some exercise.  So —

He headed out to Peninsula Poultry to procure supplies.  That didn’t take too long.

Then, he went to the lumber yard to get lumber for Youngest Daughter’s bedroom remodel project.

He came home and hoisted all that lumber into the second story window so that when Oldest Son decides to help, it will be ready.  I offered to help, but he didn’t need me until the very last piece and that was just for leverage.

He went to Greenwood and got an air compressor and supplies from a friend.  And went to the bank.  And paid a bill at M.A. Willey Steel that needed paying.

And then he came home and collapsed on the chair and stayed there for a very long time.  (I wonder why?!?!?!?)

He consumed much liquid nourishment, but was hungry for supper, so he had a baked potato that had been made quite mushy  (Thanks, FMM for the suggestion of mashed potatoes!)  and had some eggs fried over easy with the potato.  This revived his spirit to the point where he could watch some football before he went to bed.

And he slept good, got up late this morning, and is now doing morning chores outside.  His beard hides evidence, I’m sure, but it appears that he isn’t bruised, isn’t swollen, and is his usual cheerful self for the most part.

What a Man!  I’m so blessed to be his wife!

And the bread is almost gone, the weather is perfect for baking bread, so I will go and bake some bread for that good man.  I have a friend who often complains that I spoil this Certain Man.  I tell him that it has an awful lot to do with how he treats me.  (It wouldn’t hurt him to take some lessons from CM.)   I also tell him that good men are really hard to find these days, and I kinda like the one I have, so I am trying to do all I can to keep him. 


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Youngest Daughter has a thing with shoes and boots and footwear of all kinds —
Yesterday morning, when some friends were visiting,
Gracegiven’s little girlie decided to try on Rachel’s bright red heels.  It was quite a struggle, and she wasn’t going anywhere fast, but she got along with some help from her friends, and she surely was pleased. . .

H-M Shoes 1
You go, Hannah!!!!
(A girl after Rachel’s own heart —  Heels and a sunbonnet!)

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Poor, Poor Certain Man!!!  They took out two wisdom teeth today.   This was maybe the fourth trip to the dentist that he has made in his LIFE.  And he is doing pretty well, but it makes me shiver.  I went along to drive him, prayed mightily whilst he was in there, and was relieved when he came smiling out.  However, the bleeding isn’t stopping as soon as I think it should, so I’ve been staying pretty close to home today, keeping an eye on him, changing the gauze, and trying to think of things that he can eat.  I think he is feeling better tonight. 

The point of all of this is this:  His village is still up!  He is pretty much going to be home the next few days.  If you would like to see the village, it would be a good time to come.

CP 1

He plans to take it down by the end of January. 

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