Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Surprise Party--Part II

Bev here again. As I was saying a few days ago, Kanner Lake threw a surprise birthday party at Java Joint for Angie. I left off my story with the presents. The best part.

It took several minutes to calm the ruckus down. Goodness, I honestly don't know how Bailey deals with it every day, running everything so smoothly, keeping everyone happy, and always holding onto that smile and sweet disposition of hers. And without her, I don't think we ever would have gotten to the presents.

But Bailey made calm out of chaos and expertly directed Ted, Pastor Hank, and a couple of the other men to the packages stored in the back, like she threw big parties every day. Meanwhile I settled Angie at the central table, David at her side, of course.

Angie couldn't understand why Bailey needed four men to help her get a bunch of cards. Cards! As if any one of us was so cheap. No, that would never do. Everyone had brought something.

So the packages kept coming and coming, and Angie's eyes got wider and wider. Then she started dithering as she twisted a paper napkin to shreds and babbled about how we shouldn't have or some such nonsense. As I said before, she would only turn seven--oops. There I go again.

Finally, David calmed Angie down (did I mention the man is a lifesaver?), and the opening commenced.

What a huge assortment of gifts! Yet every one was perfect for Angie while still reflecting the giver. A gift certificate for Java Joint coffee from Bailey. Sparkling earrings that Angie had admired at Simple Pleasures from Paige, with the matching necklace from Sarah. A free year's subscription to the Kanner Lake Times from Jared. A plaque from Ted with an inspirational quote about growing older and wiser written in that special language of his.

Next Wilbur supplied a huge box. I am told I turned rather pale at that, but what do you expect? I half-feared he'd given Angie a stuffed fish! Thankfully, it was only one large bouquet of silk flowers. Who would have ever thought it?

So on and on the presents came, Angie gushing the whole time. Or until she reached the last present--mine.

She picked up the long thin envelope and eyed it rather suspiciously. I can't imagine why. I've never done anything except what's best for her. Then she looked at me, one penciled eyebrow raised. "What are you up to now, Beverly Trexel?"

"Why do you think I'm up to anything?"

"I saw that post about your shopping trip. You said you got two of something. This envelope"--she waved it at me--"can't contain two of anything. So what else is there?"

"I promise you. There is nothing else."

She didn't believe me, I could tell, but she opened the envelope and pulled out two reservations for a dog-training school--during the same week.

Angie glared at me. "There's absolutely no way I'm taking on another dog!"

"Goodness me. I hope not."

"Then why two?"

I glanced at David. "Let's just say I thought Cosmos should meet any future roommates."

Perhaps for only the second time in her life, Angie didn't have anything to say.

Now that's what I call a successful surprise party.

-- Bev Trexel


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Posted by ~ Bailey Truitt @ 7:00 AM 5 comments links to this post
Monday, April 23, 2007

A Surprise Party--Part I

Hello, everyone. Bev Trexel with you today. It has certainly been a trying few weeks. First the ruckus about building the hotel. Then those horrible murders here, and everyone looking over their shoulders. (See, Angie, I told you having a dog was a good idea.) Now the shooting at Virgina Tech, where one of my friends used to teach. After all that, who couldn't use some cheering up?

So Kanner Lake threw a surprise birthday party for Angie.

Barely. Wilbur tried to ruin the surprise by yapping that party or no party, the fourth stool was his. As if any of the regulars would even think about taking it. But Angie overheard the word party and everything would have been lost right then if David hadn't walked in--about the only subject that could distract Angie from thoughts of a party.

But somehow we made it, and Bailey rented Java Joint to us for a whole afternoon, no tourists. We decked up the place with balloons and streamers--even got a pink one tied into a bow around Wilber's stool--and everyone squeezed inside. All the regulars were there. Bailey and John. Jared. Ted Dawson in his corner with Leslie nearby ... hmm, I might have to look into that one. Carla. Pastor Hank and Janet. Wilbur on his stool with Jake right beside him. Sarah even closed up Simple Pleasures for a few hours so she and Paige could join us. And oh, yes, David. I delivered that invitation by hand myself.

Then I had the pleasure of half-dragging Angie from her home. She complained every step of the way, couldn't understand why I was so insistent that she had to join me for a cup of coffee. But when she walked in and everyone jumped up (well, everyone but Wilbur, him being so worried about that stool of his) and yelled "Surprise! Happy Birthday!" in two languages (thanks to Ted Dawson)--well, it was worth it.

We served up the world's best coffee and sandwiches, followed by chocolate cake and old-fashioned strawberry ice cream, just like my father used to churn when I was younger. For a long time I debated whether cake and ice cream were such a great idea with all of Angie's health fuss. But what is a birthday party without cake and ice cream? So I decided Angie would have to live with it; only once in a lifetime can you turn seven--oops. Angie would skewer me if I let that out to the whole world.

After that, sometime during the chaos, we decided that since all the bloggers were gathered in the same place at the same time for once, we would try to create a joint blog for Scenes and Beans, like our first day. But things got a bit, shall we say, out-of-control? So I think Bailey might have wisely locked it away someplace where it'll never be published. Unfortunately, I've heard rumors that Wilbur and Jake have started a petition for its publication. Don't be surprised if they try to get all of cyberspace clammoring for it.

Then Ted Dawson (S-Man) was persuaded to do his first public reading of the novel he's always working on. Outside those parts you can't understand, the writing wasn't bad. No Shakespeare or Hemingway, of course. But I highly doubt that was his intention anyway.

Unfortunately, Jake slapped his thigh and he said he could tell a story as good, promptly launching into his latest tale about his pup, Duke. Next, Wilbur decided he had to out-do him with one of his fish tales. That spurred Jake into one of his.

Thank goodness for David, or the party would have been a disaster for sure. But he stepped in and proposed a coffee toast for Angie. I always knew I liked him. Angie, on the other hand, turned bright red. She tried to tell me it was because Java Joint had become so warm, but although it was warm (what do you expect with all that hot air?), I knew better.

Finally we got to the presents--but that deserves a post all its own.

-- Bev Trexel


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Posted by ~ Bailey Truitt @ 7:00 AM 4 comments links to this post
Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Prayers for Virginia Tech

Greetings, it's Jared with you today. I am writing this post on Monday the 15th, my heart laden with sadness, as I watch the news.

I've been a newspaperman all my working life. In fact, even in school. I've posted before about my childhood foray into printing a newspaper. As a reporter and owner of a paper, I have covered crime and tragedy for many years. Indeed, it's a sad truth that trauma--not good news--is what people have come to expect in watching or reading the media. But I have never seen such senselessness as these school shootings. Each new such crisis leaves us to weep and volley why? questions at heaven.

In Matthew 24 Jesus is telling his disciples about the approach of the end times. Verse 12 records these words of the Master: Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold. I'm no theologian, and I don't begin to claim knowledge about when Christ will return. The Bible says no one knows but God. But right now, at this time on earth, I do look around and see Matthew 12:24 at work. There has always been in evil in this world. But seems to me it hasn't always been this chaotic. Historically, even the worst of human evil lived according to its own warped purpose--revenge, eradication of a religion or peoples, greed, desired power. Now evil seems purely random. Senseless killings of strangers. Parents don't know if a child sent to school will come home. If a lunch eaten at a fast food restaurant will end in death. If a walk down the street might be the final action in a life.

As you know, we've seen tragedy here in Kanner Lake. Our hearts have been weighted with grief, our heads full of those why? questions. We have come face to face with the "increase of wickedness" in this world. I have no answers, other than to cling to God, who will one day judge with righteousness.

My sympathy, my heart-felt and tearful prayers go out to the families of the victims at Virginia Tech.

Posted by ~ Bailey Truitt @ 7:00 AM 4 comments links to this post
Monday, April 09, 2007

A Doggy Tale

Hi, Jake here. Thought I'd tell you what's up with our pup, Duke. He don't look like a little puppy anymore, that’s for sure. He's over seven months now, with paws about as big as a house. Maybe one day he'll grow into 'em.

Remember, Duke is part Lab and part who-knows-what. So Mable got the bright to teach him how to fetch, since that's what Labs do. Only she thought he might as well fetch something significant. Like the newspaper off the front yard. Little did we guess what trouble it would bring us.

Since we have a doggy door in the garage, where Duke sleeps at night, Mable figured she'd teach him a way to do it that's easiest on us. In other words, without any prompting. So she started in the mornings, telling him, "Paper." Then she'd shove him out his doggy door, lead him around to the front, pick up the paper and put it in his mouth, lead him back through the doggy door, and get him to let the paper go right at door that opens into our kitchen.

I'm tellin' you that dog is smart. Took four times, that's it. On the fifth time, he went out the doggy door and his own and brought back the paper.

Day one after that--in the morning Mable opened the garage door, said, "Paper," and Duke ran and fetched it. Day two the same. On day three she opened the garage door to give the command--and found the newspaper already lying at her feet. She was so excited. "Hank, look, he did it!"

Duke got a lot of extra dog biscuits with his breakfast.

Day four went fine. Another newspaper, lying at the garage door.

Day six we ran into a little problem. Mable opened the garage door to find eight newspapers lying at her feet. Eight copies of the same paper.

We called the newspaper boy. Had he given us eight copies of the paper? Nope, he said. But he'd been gettin' calls from all our neighbors that morning, asking where their papers were.

Turns out Duke was havin' so much fun fetching the paper, one just wouldn't do. He'd visited every house on our street and brought back the newspaper. Mable and I had to go up and down the street, returning them all. Pretty red-faced, we were.

"Mable," I said, "how are we goin' to unlearn our dog from his life of crime?"

The next two days cost us some sleep. We had to be up before the paper boy came, ready to stop Duke in his thievin' tracks. When he brought in our own newspaper, we praised him and gave him a biscuit. When he headed out to grab one off a neighbor's lawn, we waited until he got it in his mouth, then went over and gave him what for until he dropped the paper. He slunk home with his tail between his legs. Poor thing looked awful confused. It wasn't until the second day that the nickel dropped in his doggy head. Since then--no more neighbors' papers.

I'm thinkin' it'll be awhile before we teach him another trick. Never know how far he's gonna take it.

Posted by ~ Bailey Truitt @ 7:00 AM 7 comments links to this post
Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Light

Pastor Hank here with you folks. I know we've been pretty quiet since the recent tragic events. I'm sorry we've not kept up, but I imagine you all can understand why. Thanks for all those who've said prayers and sent notes of condolences. It does mean a lot to us. The kindness of strangers in this terrible time reminds us of the good in the world.

I still shake my head and wonder how such darkness could have here in Kanner Lake, much less anywhere else. We've all had our share of introspection. I've also noted people giving sidelong glances to others passing on the street, as if they don't trust anyone anymore. It saddens me to think we are living like this.

People have been talking to me constantly, and I wish I had all the answers. I'm afraid that I'm just one simple country preacher. I can't explain everything that has been happening here. Only in heaven will we know all the answers, I suppose.

However, there are things that I do know, and have great confidence in. The fact that it is Easter week gives me great comfort, because it is there that darkness had its greatest defeat. The glory of Easter morning is that Jesus Christ rose from the dead to give new life to all who trust in Him, and to bring victory over the powers of darkness. As it says in Isaiah, "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned."

I haven't really preached hard before on this blog, since it is for Kanner Lake and not "Pastor Hank's Pulpit." However, this town needs some healing right now, and if I think I've got a remedy, I would be amiss in holding it back.

So yes, I am sad, but I am not defeated. Neither is Kanner Lake. These are good folks here, and we'll pull together. We'll keep praying, and you all out there in cyberspace do the same if you're so inclined, all right? And if you're in the neighborhood this Easter Sunday, the doors to New Community Church are open. We'd love to have you celebrate with us.


Pastor Hank


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Posted by ~ Bailey Truitt @ 7:00 AM 4 comments links to this post
Monday, April 02, 2007

An Announcement from David Clanton (Angie's Friend)

(Note from Bailey: David wrote this post before everything that happened week before last, so it's been sitting awhile. It's time to get back to running our regular posts. We in Kanner Lake are struggling back to our normal lives, and that struggle will continue for awhile, but our lives do go on. And God is watching over us. I thank you all so much for the personal cards we've received at Java Joint. I've kept them on the counter so all the Scenes and Beans posters could read them. They've lifted our hearts.)

Now, David's post:

I asked Bailey if she would help me with this post, and she kindly consented. I'm just not used to public writing, especially when it involves personal topics. Angie was not comfortable posting this, so you get to hear directly from me. Rumors have been flying locally, and I wanted to set the record straight for Angie and myself.

Last week, after renewing our friendship over six months ago, Angie consented to move our relationship from just friends to dating. As some of you know, both Angie and I were widowed a couple of years ago after long marriages. You may also know that Angie and her husband Frank, and my wife Capi and I were close friends, a friendship that continued after Capi and I moved away from Kanner Lake. That friendship made it hard for Angie and me to admit that we were becoming attracted to one another in a deeper way. It almost felt as if we were being unfaithful to Capi and Frank.

We don't know if we will get married, but I want everyone to know that my intentions are honorable and that I think Angie is a wonderful person. She has added so much to my life. Of course, we've already told our kids, and Angie is telling Bev today, hopefully before she reads this post. You may have noticed Bev dropping some heavy hints.

I don't know if any of you have found yourself in a similar situation, dating again after a long, wonderful marriage, but it sure is tough. Although I know Capi is in heaven, I sometimes feel as if I'm being unfaithful by seeing Angie. It doesn't help that Frank was one of my best friends. Logically, I know that Capi and Frank are smiling in heaven at this turn of events, but there are some days when I struggle with some guilt. I know that Angie has gone through some of this too. I'm sure that God will help us resolve this if His plan is for us to marry, but I guess we'll have to wait for that. Don't misunderstand me, Angie and I are having a wonderful time and we don't spend a lot of time dwelling on this, but I would love to hear how some other widows and widowers handle this.

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Posted by ~ Bailey Truitt @ 7:00 AM 7 comments links to this post