Friday, December 26, 2008

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Fall has arrived. Tonight the clocks are turned back. We had a great summer. I polished 10 year's weather off the trailer. Took most of our July vacation to get it done. It's an interesting rig because the stove had never been used and no signs of use inside! I spent most of my vacation s
scrubbing off 10 years of weather.

Fall is here

Thursday, June 19, 2008

May and June at our cottage

Just catching up a bit. I'm a "Temporary Supply" at Old First Presbyterian in Elizabeth. I'll post a Pentecost Communion picture. We're getting settled in our campsite and have been adding flowers. I'll add some early Spring pictures and then some pictures of the camp facilities - the indoor and outdoor pools, sauna, and hot tub. These are open year-round. In July we will spend most of the month at the campground, and I should have some nice flower pictures to add. Tom has been busy planting.

Friday, April 4, 2008

My Temporary Pastorate Begins at Old First Presbyterian

April 1st. I began a half-time "Temporary Supply Pastor" arrangement at Old First Presbyterian Church for 6 months, while they seek a permanent pastor. This arrangement may be extended, depending on how long their search takes. See a fascinating history of this church at:

It has been my privilege to be pastor at
Second Presbyterian for 30 months, beginning in 1989. And then in 1994 I founded The Red Ribbon Fellowship ("for those infected, affected, or concerned about HIV/AIDS") at Old First Presbyterian and served as the pastor for the first three years.

The Red Ribbon Fellowship is non-denominational, in fact the members have gradually joined First Presbyterian Church. More recently the church has become the beneficiary of a major grant from the Snyder Foundation which is providing much needed funding for a complete restoration of all the church buildings, including the cemetery, and the addition of a steeple, absent since the church burned over 60 years ago. Though given for historical preservation, the grant was also contingent upon the mission programs in place and continuing at Old First.

I will add some pictures of the church as the year progresses. This week they will have a reception as I begin my ministry, and Tom will leave his Springfield congregation to be with me for that.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Holiday Rambler History repeats

On Tuesday, February 19th we took delivery of our "new" 1998 29' Holiday Rambler - just 40 years after I bought my first Holiday Rambler (1964 20') that provided our family with 50,000 miles of "see the USA" from 1968-1975. Some things have changed, some haven't. The latest HR is still a quality outfit with high-end furnishings and equipment and it is HEAVY, even though it's called an "Alumalite" referring to the framing which is all aluminum, now. The old HR was also HEAVY but it was built with wood. My trailers have been called "Jennybell" after my mother's name and the marine ship's bell which hung outside to call the kids from their play. In 1975 we traded for "Jennybell II" - a 25' 1971 Airstream with double twin bunks. Unfortunately, we didn't do much traveling after that, and I sold it in 1986 to a young family just starting their travels. Recently they located me and sent pictures, saying their family is still using and loving Jennybell II.

Tom and I decided to try trailering in the spring of 2005. We started with a pop-up Coleman - a year-old. That became Jennybell III, and we cut our teeth on the joys of pop up campers. It served us well. but it became obvious that we couldn't travel distances in it because of the pain of setting up and tearing down each night on the road. So we started looking and found the perfect answer - a year-old 18.9' Shadow Cruiser - Jennybell IV. It had everything we needed for travel and pulled beautifully with our '97 4Runner. Last year we took it to Myrtle Beach for our Professional Innkeepers annual meeting, and then continued to Florida, and returned via the Gulf coast and up the Mississippi River. We ended at a campground in Pennsylvania, thinking that we might like to keep it there, since storage for a travel trailer is very expensive here in New Jersey. We left the trailer and returned home without it.

In April I broke my leg, so we didn't get back to the trailer until May. With good vibes from the campground, we selected a permanent site, and spent the summer planting flowers and enjoying the camaraderie of the campground. As the price of oil continued rising, and we calculated the cost of future trips, we decided that long travels with the trailer were becoming prohibitively expensive - so our trailer was going to "stay put" on our new lot - essentially becoming a "cottage". Both Tom and I love the camp and are looking forward to spending as much time as we can there.

But while an 18.9' trailer is perfect for towing and travel - it makes a very tight "cottage" living experience. So we started thinking about getting a big old travel trailer to set up as a permanent home away from home. We also developed a list of specs for the new trailer. It had to have a front window so that we can see out into the campground. We're ideally located to watch activities. And we've discovered the joy of watching the birds feed at our collection of feeders. This is the first home we have had where that has been possible. So we wanted a curb-side dinette with a window facing the feeders. Unfortunately, this floor plan hasn't been manufactured since the mid-1990's. All the companies have started putting the bed in the front, and the dinette on a slide-out opposite the curb. These plans won't work for us.

Finally, after much shopping, I stumbled on a Holiday Rambler for sale near our campground - just what we were looking for. They were glad sell it, because a heavy old Holiday Rambler that isn't designed for a family - isn't very popular. On the other hand - our lightweight traveler is much more likely to entice a buyer. So we traded, and now - 40 years after my first HR we have "Jennybell V" - presumably our last trade. We'll put it up on blocks, build a deck, and make it our retreat space.

Our campground is open year-round, though our trailer's water is shut off from November to May. Our lot is ideally situated, close to the central complex, where there is a heated indoor pool, hot tub, sauna, and social hall - open year-round. So we don't miss having running water. Year-round social events are a plus, and the cost of being there is only slightly more than "dead storage" for our trailer if we kept it in New Jersey. Next month we'll be adding cable TV and Internet connections.