Monday, October 30, 2017


A Canadian high came through Brandermill last night and swept away the muggy summer air of 60 F. and replaced it with cystal clear chilly  middle 40’s F. Very invigorating and just calling out to be walked through. I call it a “Landour” morning and if you brows through my earlier blogs you’ll understand.

The leaves are beginning to peak now. Right after breakfast I donned a pullover jacket, grabbed my cane and was out the front door at a brisk pace for an oldster of 80. The sky was deep blue, there was a little breeze, and the sun shining through translucent leaves of yellow, orange, and red created the feeling of being in an outdoor cathedral where the leaves were the stained glass windows. The first third of the walk was nearly effortless as I rounded the upper loop of our neighborhood. 

The second third I began to walk a less ambitious  gait  as half of it was a slight climb. Still I was enjoying the brisk air and scenery. All that lacked  was the scent of oak smoke from a myriad fireplaces around the Landour chukkar. This evening I expect to inhale that as some of our neighbors light up theirs. Yes, even though “gas” logs are the clean heat, nothing quite replaces the aroma and feel of real wood burning and it is the preferred choice of many.

The final third was another loop. My legs were beginning to tell me to slow down, that I wasn’t 40 or 50 years old. That can be disheartening, but I was grateful for the memories of many Landour strolls around the chukkar; to Sister’s bazaar and Kellog’s church, while ancient deodars whispered mysterious secrets among themselves. And then if it was a morning like this, a break in the forest would reveal the snow covered peaks of the high Himalayas, breath takingly beautiful and forever beyond reach for the young school boy I was then.  Now a click on YouTube and I may vicariously touch their hems. 

How wonderful to be alive this morning, to experience a super morning enhanced by memories

that make it even more joyfuy. Thank you Lord!!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017


On Saturday morning Oct 21st, 2017  Lib and I started our morning about 6:30  in preparation for our trip to Roanoke.  It was a beautiful day for a long three hour drive and after breakfast we were on the road from Midlothian to Salem, Virginia.  Somewhere near Lynchburg a deer ran in front of us from the median. I braked hard and the deer swerved! Glad there was no one directly behind us. We made our usual pit stop at the Welcome Center at the Bedford War Memorial. 

About an hour later we were pulling up in front of the Roanoker Restaurant on Colonial Ave. near Towers Shopping Center. It is a venerable Roanoke eatery that serves food as it would  be prepared at home. We both had salads to stay on our successful diet. b Next we visited the  Steiger shop to pick up a few Christmas items.

We thought we might see some friends at Oak Grove Church of the Brethren and found a number of cars in the parking lot. Turns out it was their Fall Bazaar so we were able to see and visit with many  we had known for the five years we were there.

I was supposed to meet my accompanist at Green Hill at 4:00 pm  and arrived at the church around 3:40 to find thr parking lot full of cars! Looked like a wedding or a funeral! There was no hearse  so sort of guessed a wedding.  Sure enough the bridal party soon emerged. My accompanist Steven Wills, church organist, drove in around 3:55. We went in a side door and had a good rehearsal in the choir room for about half an hour. 

Dan and Eleanor Brogan good friends for many years had invited us to stay with them overnight so there wouldn’t be the long drive from Roanoke on the day of the celebration. She served us a nice homey supper and we spent the evening revisiting memories and renewing our knowledge of our families and friends. It never ends as each time there is a new layer.

Next morning brefore breakfast I went out on a porch that overlooks their backyard. Ellie was busy filling her bird feeders and 
we were making small chat about deer when suddenly a trio of them ran in a diagonal trail behind her. Such lovely animals! 

The church building has had additions and remodeling done and it is very different from what it
was when I was there as  a young boy and later as a teen ager for a couple of years. My grandfather Kinzie donated the land, was a preacher during the " free preacher "time of that era and I discovered that my grandfather Garst was also associated with Green Hill.  Our District Executive, David Schumate preached the morning sermon. I played a version of “Simple Gifts” accompanied by Stephen Wills the church’s keyboard musician. Jean Garst asked if I would also play on the hymns and kindly set up my hymnal with clips  to indicate easily where in the book they were. 

Afterwards those  who stayed were treated to a carry in lunch. In my humble opinion this feature is one of the aspects of the church that has kept it from fading away altogether.  I had an opportunity to share  hospital experiences with our  District Executive 
who had a long and dangerous illness from which he finally recovered. 

The afternoon service was devoted to music and memories from those who had been asked 
or who volunteered. I played the last movement of the 3rd Handel sonata for violin and piano 
in F major. A past organist played several works and a professional singer who had attended Green Hill also provided a lovely song. 

Green Hill Church of the Brethren near Salem, Virginia
My association with Green Hill though slight has been a meaningful part of my life. It was during my adolescent two years there that I became a member of the Roanoke Symphony which much later opened the door for my lifetime work as Strings teacher in the Roanoke City Schools primarily at Patrick Henry High School.

 When we returned to the Church of the Brethren it would be after our families were grown. Oak Grove was near our home and the first Sunday we visited there we were warmly greeted by a boyhood friend, Dan Brogan. His family were staunch Green Hill members but like many.  moving out of the community and marriage brought his family to Oak Grove. 

Here is a link to the 100th anniversary celebration
Sanctuary on Sunday of Celebration

Sunday, September 10, 2017

NOAC 2017

Here it is another Fall season and every other year we have been going to Lake Junaluska for the Church of the Brethren National Older Adults Conference. It is for adults 50 years and older and is designed to challenge us to be active for good, to reflect the values seen in the life of Jesus to the generations that follow.  Lake Junaluska Conference Center in the mountains of North Carolina is a  Methodist enclave that can handle large meetings. We had roughly 850 there this time.

It's a pleasant place especially for older adults who have problems with mobility. The scenery is gorgeous, the meals are nourishing and tasty, and the topics are timely. 

Inspiration 2017, National Older Adult Conference - Church of the Brethren...

Boat ride that informs of the history of Lake Junaluska

Terrace Hotel where we stayed

Squadron of geese one afternoon as the sun was low...

Lake Junaluska from our room...

One of the hundreds of roses on the Rose Walk beside the lake...

Lake Junaluska with fog wisps at breakfast....

Friday, April 28, 2017


Thursday, December 27, 2012


I posted this a number of years ago and then found a photographer friend's comment 
about her recently. Tried to find it in my list of blogs but it didn't show, so Googled it...
and there it was. So, I copied and pasted it for anyone interested. 
Retook the picture as that had been deleted also. 

I found her in an Indian shop at Estes Park a number of years ago on the way home from a Woodstock Old Students Association conference. Hand carved wood statues have always attracted me, and she was sort of in a back corner when I spotted her.

Several things drew my attention. Looking closely at the work showed some skill had gone into her creation. There were exquisitely carved details. She was a musician playing an Indian instrument resembling a guitar. She stood about 8 inches tall and would work well with the few others in my collection. Her name was Saraswati, according to the paper that came with her,and was the Hindu goddess of music, science, and knowledge to name a few of her attributes. In the Hindu mythology she  was present and necessary at the Creation.

Wikipedia has a large and interesting article about her. As an American musician who lived his childhood in India reading about Saraswati was fascinating. In articles about the mind and intelligence the inference is often that musical study and performance enhance mental abilities.In Genesis a musician is named early on with others who had important skills. Recently a newspaper article related the finding of a bone flute that appeared to be 30,000 years old.So music has apparently been associated with our humanity prominently for quite some time.

During this season of merriment and music she reminds me of the mystical emergence of music in the human mind and its importance for our health and happiness.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

January 2017 First Snow

a neighboring home across from ours
some snow laden pine branches
about 6 " on the mailbox
Our home in the afternoon light Saturday.....
After the visit to the Lewis Ginter Gardens we had routine Thursday ....and then came the big snow all day Saturday the 7th of January followed by a deep freeze cold...The snow and cold cancelled church services and provided extra time to take down the Christmas tree and pack most of the decorations away until next year.
Sunday afternoon Cathy, Jeff and Devin came over and finished the digging out process and we had time for a nice long visit. We have another night of brutal cold and then Tuesday it is supposed to thaw.

Friday, January 6, 2017

2017 "We see through a glass..."

Lib and I began 2017 quietly in our own home by watching  all the festivities going on in Times Square on TV.  2016  will be a year many will not remember fondly, yet it was kind to us!! 
We look forward to events in 2017 that we may participate in. Our oldest grandson, Dan White graduates from Temple University to what should be a bright future in business.  We may attend Lib’s class reunion in Dayton, Virginia. In the Fall we look forward to a week at Lake Junaluska where CoB “golden agers” go for inspiration and rejuvenation. 

On this past 4th of January we had a very pleasant visit with Judy Schiller Landry who  briefly taught me violin at Woodstock School. After almost 50 years we have reconnected  as musicians and friends. Her daughter Adena brought her and we learned more of her family and life experiences also. Both Adena AND her daughter have visited India recently. Two more generations get to share  some of Judy's experience

After their departure Lib and I went to Lewis Ginter Gardens which are lavishly lit up during the Christmas Season. We are members there and enjoythe beautiful settings and flowers/plants. Turns out Judy had visited there the night before.

balloon like lights that change color

avenue of green light s

Pool of blue fountains
The weather was mild albeit a little chilly, but Lib and i had a fine time enjoying the tastefully lit environs.