Sunday, November 4, 2007

We're back!

We all arrived back in Lexington around 8pm on last night. The journey home went quickly with a beautiful sunrise and sunset over the mountains.

In Janet's email this morning to our group, she wrote:
"I woke up this morning thinking “is the coffee ready? Who else is up? What’s for breakfast’”only to have to come into an empty kitchen, no warm smells of coffee, no wood fire, or eggs cooking, but such is life in Lexington."

I think we are all feeling a little aimless without eating, working, talking, and laughing with 12 other people. But our group is looking forward to next Sunday when we can share our trip with the congregation. It will be a fun and joyful service! At the linger lunch program, we will share our slides and additional stories of the trip. You can catch a glimpse of Tim's house, it's new porch roof, a sunrise over the hills of the Folklife Center, some flat foot dancing and much more!

Thanks for keeping our group in your thoughts and prayers all week. We felt the spirit of God with us and the support of the congregation during our time together.

Thanks for all your comments too!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A Voice of My Own

I hate to out Andy and he's tired of me reading over his shoulder.

Just so everyone knows, this is who we really are:

Andy is one Dandy Dancer.
Bill is one big Ham.
Dana is a surefooted Prancer.
And this trip is one big Scam (to relax and have fun) (only joking!).

Thad is never really bad,
Sally doesn't snore,
Ruth lifts us when we're sad,
and Brian, the Brain, is never a bore.

Carol sings like a Lark,
Charlotte cooks up a Storm,
David walks barefoot through the Park
and gets Harriet to keep him Warm.

Larry is missed by Lisle,
and he carries himself with a lot of style,
And me, what can I say, about me?


We miss you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry we can't add pictures.

All of us Saint's Day

Hello Church Family,

Here we are again. Actually it is Janet and me(Andy) today. Sally and Thad are around somewhere. (We get to go for ice cream at the Pharmacy down the street after our inputs as a treato).

Today we finished work at Tim and Tina's house. Tim was away today and we had a bit too little to do. We had 14 people watching Dale as he built roof over the back porch. Janet says "No we didn't". Well perhaps we helped a little. It is nice to have an architect along. And it doesn't hurt to have a few engineers either for the math. And of course it is always good to have a native American along. Dale did what he wanted to anyway.

Ruth says, "Another fun game of Cranium last night. Testing our 'gnilleps' backwards ability. Also, this morning waking up at 6am to see the sunrise. It was a little early for me but worth it". It wasn't quite so early for the rest of us.

John Wyatt, an Appalachian storyteller (The Appalachian American Specializing in Acoustical Folk, Gospel, & Bluegrass Misic with Stories and Songs of the mountains) came to visit last night and told us many stories about West Virginia. He claimed that they were all true. He was a brakeman and conductor on the railroad for many years and continues as a Baptist Minister serving two congregations and performing a prison ministry. He told us about gettin bit by a copper head snake. He made it back to his tent but failed to get his leg inside the tent before he collapsed. In the morning, he awoke to find himself still alive. He unzipped the tent screen and found a two foot high pile of dead mosquitos. He said that he hasn't been bitten by a mosquito since. (We had some doubts as to the veracity of this claim).

I think we all ate too much candy last night. There were no trick or treaters. John Wyatt sang us a song about the Pumpkin Man who eats little children.

On the way back to the center, we had lunch at the Great Bend Tunnel, where legend has it that John Henry died racing a steam engine to lay track. (John Henry won but died of the effort). We could see through to the other side but there was something on the floor blocking some of the light, perhaps a rock fall. The Great Bend Tunnel is no longer used. The Big Bend Tunnel is quite active though. Dave took some pictures of two trains passing through it. We only saw some maintenance vehicles today however.

Well we are supposed to get back to the Folklife Center to help with some maintenance issues. We should be going. (After our trip to the soda fountain of course).


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Wednesday, Halloween

Hello Church Family,

Dana wants to take a walk this afternoon so she logged me in do make our report to you. We had a Bluegrass band come to visit last night. They were the Appalacian Countdown and they were good. They brought a flatfooting dancer to teach us the proper steps. I think we all danced. David said he had too much good supper in him and didn't want to be making a shake inside, so he might have sat it out. The rest of us "pushed our comfort zone" and attempted to dance. Ruth, our seminarian, was definitely the best flat-footer among us.

Today we got up to a wonderful scrambled egg and sausage breakfast made by Lyle and Carol. We watched the sun rise at 7:51am over the mountains, a beautiful sunrise.

We began work on the roof over the front door porch today. And we finished it today. Dale, our foreman, made a decorative rail around two sides of the porch. We also touched up the aquamarine paint and did all the white trim painting. And Tim, our home owner made a venison soup for lunch, Delicious.

Oh yeah. We had a couple of guests for dinner last night, Ruth and Frank from the Rocky Mount Church. We met them on Sunday and they brought us some firewood on Monday. We also had a friend of David and Harriet's, Fran, who helped make the supper.


PS - Thanks for the comments and keep them coming!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Humdingers, Birthday Wishes & Soda Fountains

Yesterday was Carol's birthday and she only let us know at 9pm last night. But according to her entry in our group journal she had an awesome birthday. Some of the unexpected presents she received throughout the day were - a backrub from David, a beautiful sunrise, a hot shower (her first one was freezing cold), and an energetic game of cranium. Our game of cranium last night was quite the experience. Let's just say that it involved Bill attempting to be a hamster on a wheel, Dana had to sculpt an umbilical cord out of clay, and Carol had to humm numerous songs as we all just stared at her, unable to even make any guesses. Prior to the game of cranium, we had put together our group covenant which focused on challenging ourselves and getting out of our comfort zone. I believe that cranium is proof that God has a sense of humor. We got so far out of our comfort zones by singing, sculpting, and spelling words backwards that we were afraid that we might not be able to get back into them!

As for work, we finished caulking and painting the house today. We also built a small backporch and a set of steps for the porch. Now the home has two safe exits. Tomorrow we will put a railing for the steps and put a roof over it. We will also build a roof for the front porch. Over the past two days, we have had a chance to get to know, Tim Smith, the owner of the home. He has been so gracious in offering his home to warm up in and his bathrooms for our use. He had four kids and they range from 15 years old to mid-twenties. Two of the kids live at home and the other two are working in the area.

Some random things you have asked about and you might be curious about...

Last night's dinner - pork with a cherry and cranberry sauce with cous-cous and broccoli on the side...absolutely delicious! This morning Lisle made ham and swiss omelets for everyone as they woke up and for lunch we've had turkey sandwiches everyday.

Nancy Schlecht had planned to join us on our trip but was not able to go. She wrote us a note and sent along a poem for our group. Here is a quote from the poem by Marge Piercy...
"The work of the world is as common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident."
Thank you Nancy for your thoughtfulness! We miss you and everyone that wanted to go but couldn't go on our trip.

Yesterday, after blogging, our group went to an old fashioned soda fountain down the road from the library in Hinton. Five of us (David and his harem of women) ordered sundaes and sodas for the grand total of $11. A small soda was $.40! Needless to say, that is the next stop after this entry is done.

This morning, David and Andy fixed the furnace in our lodge at the Folklife Center. Shelly was reluctant to call the repair man because of how expensive it is to get fixed. So we've been keeping warm by the fire and oven. David and Andy bravely went into the basement and were able to work their magic and they fixed the furnance. Shelly is happy to have saved some money for the center and we are happy to be warm again!

Tonight, a bluegrass band is coming to eat dinner and perform for us. We will probably be flat-foot dancing all night long.

The last story is that yesterday we recieved a huge bundle of wood at the Folklife Center. It was brought by a woman who had met us at church on Sunday and was worried that we would freeze with the low temperatures at night. She wouldn't accept any money for the bundles of wood but we've invited her and her husband for dinner tonight and to watch the bluegrass band with us.

We hope everyone is well back in Lexington and leave us some comments on the blog!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Down in the Holler

Last night we went to Leo's Pub to watch the Red Sox game. It was right after our delicious Jambalaya by Chef Thadeous and our co-led worship by Mr. & Mrs. Hathaway. We tripled the regular attendance at the bar and had to inform them that the World Series was happening. But luck would have it that they had a big screen tv and we were all able to gather around with our $5 pitchers of beer. The only one that was disappointed that the Red Sox won was Bill who was hoping to return to Leo's for another night.

We began our work in Hunger's Creek holler this morning. A small house that we think was once a mobile home. One crew took down the old front porch roof and another group began caulking (Trish would be proud!) and painting the house. The house is a nice tropical greenish blue - a color much more likely to be found in the Caribbean but now it's all over our clothes and hands. Since we were caulking and painting, Lisle took out the blue tape and to mark all of our mistakes to bring back memories from Shreveport.

In between painting, caulking, and digging holes for footings, a few of us did some recreational activites - cartwheels and catch with a football. We finished up early due to a lack of supplies but we plan on working hard at eating ice-cream, taking a few naps, and sitting by the fire.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

We've arrived!

We arrived yesterday (Sat) at 8:30pm at the Folklife Center in Pipestem, West Virginia. We began our journey with some terrible rain for hours but it eventually cleared in PA. On the way down, we all attempted "coffee ministry" but the Starbucks were few and far between. We are grateful to the Christian Service Committee (Carol Counihan met us with a carepackage at 6am at Hancock!) for a bag full of treats, which most of us ate on the way down. We also have some very high-tech waterbottles.
The "wedding crashers" (Thad, Harriet, and David) took two days to drive and make the journey to WV. They arrived in the early afternoon on Saturday and did our grocery shopping. Afterwards, they ate their dinner at a wedding reception in the lodge at the Folk Center. Dale, one of the carpenters, was married yesterday and there was a potluck wedding reception which David, Harriet, and Thad were part of.
The group was already hard at work this morning with a sawzall. A few people went to gather wood, others cut, and some distributed among the cabins and logde. The Folklife Center is located on the top of a hill, overlooking colorful trees and mountains. Our cabins are heated by a woodstove and we have a fireplace in the lodge to keep us warm.
Our church service at The Rocky Mount was interesting. There were 22 people in the congregation plus our group of 13. The preaching was complete with an altar call and plenty of "Amens!". We are now at the Hinton public library to do our blogging. Along with the lack of lattes, there is no wireless service in the area but we seem to be getting by. Keep us in your prayers and we hope to write again soon! Amen!