OK, it's been a really long time since I actually wrote what was going on.
In the weeks leading up to our vacation I had numerous hospital and family calls. I put together worship services for the four congregations during our two weeks of vacation.
And I want to thank Pr. Stafford, and Deacons Wayne W., Jim S., Jared H., and Randy M. for handling services and calls while we were on vacation.
Our vacation started Aug 12 at 5am when we left for Ron and Val F.'s home in Billings, Montana.
I had explained to our parish members that we were a family of 12 driving 4,800 miles in 1 van for two weeks. And the kids were really good the whole trip.
We arrived at Ron and Val's place. They and their step-son, Ken, treated us like royalty. What a wonderful family, great Gluten-free food, wonderful accommodations, great company.
Next morning off to Ontario, Oregon. We stopped at a motel for the night. The next day we visited Mary's aunt Beth and her son Frankie. Back to the motel. And we're grateful to the family that runs that motel for putting our large family up for so inexpensively.
The next morning we had breakfast at Aunt Beth's with Frankie and were off to Pastor Jacobsen's place in The Dalles, Oregon. Pastor Jacobsen's wife was at a Chemistry conference in D.C. And we're sad that we missed her. But we had a great time with Jesse and the kids, spending two nights there. We were there over the weekend and were able to attend worship there and visit with Vicar Gullixson and his wife. On one of the days we went for a hike at a park down to the Columbia river where the kids played in the river for a while.
After saying good bye to Pr. Jacobsen and his children we were off to our campground North-west of Granite Falls, Washington.
The campground was Gold Basin campground, where we spent the next few days during the preparation and wedding of Mary's sister Rachel. I did a lot of campfire cooking during our stay at that campground and inhaled a lot of Pacific NW smoke (Western Hemlock and moss).
There were giant slugs. The prune colored and shaped variety were the most common, but there were a couple of green slugs and one banana slug. The kids waited at the side of the campground drive until a car drove over one slug and popped it. They were giddy to report the popping sound it made. Sadists! They kept asking me for salt to put on the slugs, which I refused.
I refused because we only had a limited supply of salt. Actually, I was kind of thrilled that they thought of doing this kind of experiment. If you don't understand, just ask.
We went out to eat the next evening, and Mary's brother, Mike, invited us to eat at a Chinese restaurant in Everet. Great meal, better that we could visit with Mike and Shawna and the kids. Thank you, Mike for feeding us. I really wish I could have gone fishing with you. And thanks for dropping of that King Salmon you caught for us to grill in the campground. It was great.
During our stay there Mary's sister, Kathy, and her family camped in the next tent area and visited with us for a couple days. Mary and Kathy went to the Bridal party for their sister while Joel and I took care of some of the kids. Louisa went to babysit some of the other sister's kids with her cousins.
Then was rehearsal day. We left our campground and went to the home of the parents of Rachel's future husband. It was a long day, but the homestead was nice, the food great, and we were able to visit with most of the aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Back to the campground, some swimming, a bit of clay discovered and baked into a shape, then sleep.
Wedding day (And Matthew's birthday--August 22nd) we stopped at a gun shop in Granite Falls. Matt and I went in. Matt found a Schrad skinning knife that he really liked. "What, do you really want that?" Said I. "Well, yes. I have enough money." To the man behind the counter I said: "Can a minor buy a knife in Washington." "No." he said. "Well, then I think I could use that Schrad skinning knife."
"Where are you from?" said the man.
"Minnesota," I said.
"Ha! I should have guessed from the accent!" he said.
Purchase complete. Back in the van. Matt says, "How much do I owe you?"
"Happy birthday, Matthew!" says I.
Hopefully he will be able to use the knife a few times this fall.
Darrow, if Matt hunts with your family, make him skin some pelts.
Off to the wedding. We got there very early. Mary and the kids got something to eat. I couldn't.
The wedding was very nice. Mary's brother-in-law, Joel, conducted the service. Our niece, Christa, wrote a beautiful song for the service. We helped out in various ways as we were able.
Then the dinner. Then the dance.
Someone mentioned to the karaoke/DJ that it was Matt's birthday so Matt ended up having to try to sing a song. He settled on a Johnny Cash song, I helped him out (poorly).
And after a lot of visiting we went back to the campground.
The next morning we were off to Wenatchee where Mary's folks live. On the way we took a stretch of the old Cascade Highway just for fun. We'd been able to eat lots of blackberries at the side of the path from The Dalles to the Cascade Highway. And then we came to Wenatchee in the evening.
We spent two nights at Mary's folks' place. They invited several relatives to come for us to visit. And we were able to see MaryAnn, Elva, Ramon, Paul, and Lois. Mary's sister, Sarah, and her kids spent some time with us also. It was a good visit.
And then we were off to Jessica and Brent K's place at Belgrade.
There was so much construction. We took a bit of a break at the 50,000 Silver Dollar Bar bathrooms and tourist trap. More construction. It was so late by the time we got to Butte that we felt we couldn't spend the time with Jessica's family and still get to our son's school conference on Thursday evening.
We called Jessica and apologized for not being able to get there.
Jessica, I am really sorry. We were really looking forward to the visit. I hope you all are well and that we can see you soon.
We stopped in Livingston at a motel (twice as much as the motel in Ontario). Then after breakfast off to Rapid City, SD. Again there was some time pressure, so we continued to Wall and stayed at a motel where we had stayed previously (a very good price).
No touring around Wall, just the big dinosaur and fuel.
Thursday morning off to MN, we stopped at the rest stop just across the boarder from Sioux Falls and then went up 23 to my parent's home.
We got there in time for supper, then went to Jeremy's school conference.
Friday morning we went to Morton, MN to visit with my grandparents. Then we drove home.
Home late. Memorize sermon.
Saturday, church at Mt. Olive. Shut-in visits.
Sunday three services, and some sleep.
In the next few days I got ready for two Sunday School teacher meetings, a Wed. School curriculum for the year.
Juell had another back surgery, and seemed to be recovering well. Mavis had bleeding in a retina. She is getting a special reading tool for the visually impaired. And a few other pastoral issues during the week.
Well, I'll have to continue this in another post.
It was a nice vacation. Thank you all. Thank you, Mary, for planning it so well.