ordinary… mostly

"We have nothing to offer each other, except a haven." — K. Nafziger



Random fun in the Casselman Valley

Ordinary Spouse is having a mini-reunion at Laurelville with her college roommates. The girls and I are spending the weekend with my parents. We had quite the day in and around Springs, Pennsylvania, yesterday…

The 55th Annual Springs Folk Festival

The Springs Folk Festival invites you to join in the celebration of the arts, skills and labors of our [Casselman Valley] forefathers [and mothers!].

This was the first stop of the day, visiting the area near where my father grew up and my grandparents lived. I spent many days in this community when I was a child.

Springs Cemetery

As we left the festival, we stopped at the Springs Cemetery, which borders the festival grounds. My paternal grandparents are buried there.

Grandma and Grandpa's gravestone
Grandma and Grandpa’s gravestone

Sam Beachy and Sons

From the festival grounds, we drove past the springs for which Springs is named, and then made a short trek to the Sam Beachy and Sons (and granddaughters and great-grandchildren and others?). On one side of the business, there was a whole array of snow blowers waiting for their tune-up in preparation for winter. Our destination was on the other side – apple cider and apple butter making. After Dad purchased two gallons of cider, we got to watch cider production in progress.

Apple cider production
Apple cider production

I’ve sampled lots of cider and apple butter. I still haven’t found any better than they sell in Niverton.

The Casselman

The Casselman Inn is a historic hotel on the National Road in Grantsville, Maryland. I’ve never slept there, but I’ve eaten their food! I bought a mincemeat pie. (Given more time, I probably would have eaten the buckwheat pancakes.)

Penn Alps and the Spruce Forest Artisan Village

We didn’t actually stop here, since many of the artisans were at the festival. But I have to recommend it anyway, since it’s such a cool place.

Hill Top Fruit Market

Visit Candyland! (It’s just a store, but they have lots of bulk candy.)

Page’s Ice Cream

By the end of the day, we had left the Casselman Valley and were back to my parents’ house. And when you’re at my parents’ house you go to Page’s for ice cream, even if it’s a cool night in the middle of October.

That’s the story from yesterday. I apologize to the grandmothers for not having more pictures of their grandchildren.


Matters of conscience: The Civilian Public Service story

Mennonites have always resisted serving within the military. Willingness to wield the “sword” is inconsistent with a life of discipleship to the Prince of Peace. During World War II, Mennonites and other conscientious objectors in the United States were able to serve their country in a civilian role, rather than in a military one:

Civilian Public Service (CPS) was a program developed at the onset of WWII which provided those whose conscience forbade them to kill, the opportunity to do work of national importance under civilian direction rather than go to war. Nearly 12,000 men made this choice, and many women voluntarily joined the cause. They fought forest fires, worked in mental institutions, planted trees, did dairy testing and served as subjects for medical experiments in more than 150 camps scattered throughout the United States.

Mennonite Central Committee has just launched a website, The Civilian Public Service Story, to pass along the stories of these men and women. Among the names in the database are those of two brothers from southwestern Pennsylvania – one a “laborer” and the other a “dairy farm hand”. The laborer was my grandfather. According to the site, he served first in Virginia, doing land conservation work. I was unaware of this part of his life.

Later in the war, he was transferred to do work in a mental hospital in Rhode Island. My grandmother also worked at the hospital. My mother was born in Providence shortly after the war came to an end. The information on this CPS unit even includes a mention of the vocal quartet in which my grandfather sang.

These people are part of my cloud of witnesses…

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12.1,2

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