June 2021: Life in the COVID-19 era

June 1, 2021

With yesterday a holiday, today seemed like Monday all day though it was Tuesday.  I started the day with tennis at Mary Baldwin.  Today was Rob Cale’s last time playing for eight months as he will undergo knee replacement on both knees starting next week.  Today Rob played as did Marc Kinder and a new player to us, Randy Simmons.  As always, we played a set with each possible partner.  I played OK for me and won two of the three sets I played.  I am definitely feeling better about playing tennis now that I’m playing twice weekly.  My arm still hurts while serving and aches for a day or so afterwards but perhaps it is a little better.  I’m playing again on Friday.

After tennis, I went to Central and did some treasurer’s work.  Sam Richardson and I counted the offering from Sunday and made the deposit at the bank.  I paid several bills and left shortly after noon.

On the way home, I called Lynn who suggested that I meet her at Walgreen’s in Verona because she was going to the Waynesboro Walmart to get the iPad Jim had asked us to pick up for Faron’s birthday this Friday.  We left my car at Walgreens and were successful in getting the iPad for Faron.  Later in the day we made plans with Jim for me to bring it to him at his school tomorrow at 3:45 when he gets out of school.

When we got home, Lynn wanted to walk so we did our usual two mile walk.  It was rather hot by the time we walked, around 80o.  I was tired from tennis but managed to do the hike with her without any new aches or pains.

We ate dinner early because her former student Ceci had a soccer game in Waynesboro tonight.  The weather was pleasant so we enjoyed watching her play one of her last games of the season.  Spotswood lost to Waynesboro 1 – 0.

This morning, before I left for tennis, I did some more picture work including backing up my most recent picture album (Memorial Day at Crabtree Falls) to a couple of places.  I also selected 27 of the 102 photos from that album to duplicate to my Favorite Pictures folder.  The Favorite Pictures folder is what my computer randomly selects photos from to display whenever my computers (laptop or desktop) go in the screen saver mode.  I’ve got nearly 55,000 pictures in all and have selected right at 9,000 of them as my Favorites Pictures.  So whenever the screen saver clicks in I enjoy watching the random photos, often five or six at a time.   They all bring back good memories.

Here are today’s coronavirus statistics:

June 1                  Infected                   Died

World             171,914,540           3,575,480

US                     34,136,738              610,432

Virginia                675,597                11,194

Augusta County       5,903                       73


            Virginia            8,205,846  (3,793,971 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.)    

            Augusta County        61,802  (30,556 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, and Henry.  Gus is halfway there.)

June 2, 2021

Lynn had several things on her agenda today but I had none so I began the day by staining the new steps Jim had built for the kids’ playground.  That didn’t take long.  Then I went to Central to do some first-of-the-month treasurer’s duties.  It took me nearly two hours to get everything done.  There were the usual monthly bank reconciliations, bills to be paid and mailed, monthly reports to be completed, and a tax form Won asked me to complete.

Afterwards I came home and ate a quick lunch.  Next I drove to Roanoke to take the iPad to Jim for Faron’s 6th birthday.  I left early and that was good because when I got just north of Roanoke traffic was stopped on I-81 due to a vehicle fire just south of Roanoke.  I ended up getting off at the Hollins exit and went a back way to Patrick Henry High School.  But I got there in plenty of time and soon Jim met me in the parking lot.  I’m glad to have gotten the iPad to him so Faron will get it on his birthday on Friday.

The trip back was uneventful.  I got home just after 5:30.  Soon Lynn was back from her Physical Therapy and we headed to Harrisonburg for dinner at Vito’s.  We hadn’t eaten indoors at the Vito’s on Port Republic for well over a year.  Lynn noticed that they had a senior special on Wednesday night; she ordered a full order of bucatini, which she had been looking forward to eating, and I got a free senior-size spaghetti and meat sauce.  I also ate a salad and we both ate their garlic knots.  It was a good and cheap meal for us.  And it felt good to be eating out again.  The restaurant was packed.

After dinner we made two quick errand stops then came home.  On the way, we called Ann and told her that the forecast of rain tomorrow makes us cancel our plans of taking some of her kids to Monticello.  We’ll do it another day.  She suggested that Betsy and Freddie might still want to come over to our house tomorrow.  Betsy could help her with a 4th of July porch sign and Freddie and I could play more Wii baseball.  I don’t mind getting beat!

We have a puzzle to solve.  Lynn fills one of our bird feeders up every morning.  She has to because it is empty when we get up.  When we go to bed at night, it is virtually full.  So something bigger than a blue jay is getting into our bird feeder but we don’t know what.  The feeder is suspended by a cable and couldn’t support a large animal crawling on it, but I’d believe that deer would knock it to the ground so we’re both unsure what is happening to this feeder overnight.  Tonight we’re going to leave the back porch light on to deter hungry visitors.  It may get to the point where we have to bring it in at night.

Over the last few months we’ve had several things at our house fixed.  We got the garage doors replaced and all the windows in the house replaced with easy-to-open vinyl ones that will never need painting.  But as nice as these two changes are, I really appreciate that Greg Lambert of Lambert Plumbing fixed the drain in our shower so that water doesn’t back up anymore.  That one worried me for months.  It’s nice to have a functional home.  I’m sure there will be other issues in the future, though.

President Biden has said that he wants 70% of American adults vaccinated by July 4.  Twelve states have already exceeded this and Virginia is at 67%.  No surprise, the states that are not even at 50% are the southern Republican states.  Why should getting vaccinated be political?  It makes no sense.

Here are today’s COVID-19 stats:

June 2                  Infected                   Died

World             172,401,053           3,705,830

US                     34,153,469              610,992

Virginia                675,783                11,206

Augusta County       5,908                       74


            Virginia            8,230,004  (3,808,074 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.)    

            Augusta County        61,977  (30,668 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, and Henry.  Gus is halfway there; he gets his second shot Friday evening.)

June 3, 2021

Our mystery is solved!  We suspected that some animal was getting into our bird feeder so we left the lights on outside last night hoping it would deter the critter.  As usual, I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.  When I did, I glanced on the back porch and could see a ringed tail sticking up in the air.  The culprit was a raccoon!  It climbed on top of our brick rail and plunged its head into the bird feeder, leaving only its tail sticking up.  I tried to take pictures of it but it was too dark.  When I attempted to open the back door to get a good picture, it ran off in front of the door so I got a good look at it.  It was a small to medium sized raccoon.

We talked last night and this morning about how to fix this issue.  I felt sure I could trap it since I knew what bait would work well.  But what would I do with it once I trapped it?  Lynn thought about greasing the pole that supports the feeder.  Then I came up with an idea of putting an extra chain on the feeder which lowers it, hopefully to a height that the raccoon can’t reach and still maintain his feet on our bricks.  We’ll see how it goes tonight.

Since our Monticello trip was canceled due to the weather forecast we decided to invite Freddie and Betsy over today.  Before we picked them up we did a few odd jobs.  First we went to Aldi’s and got a few groceries.  Then I painted a second coat of redwood stain on the steps Jim had built for the playground. 

We picked up the kids around 10:30 and kept them until 3:30.  Lynn had Betsy help her with a porch sign she’s working on for July 4, Memorial Day, and Veteran’s Day.  Freddie and I played Wii and played some iPad games involving math and language arts.  We fixed lunch for them and afterwards walked our regular two mile hike.  The rain didn’t come until 3:00.

While the kids were here I enjoyed watching the JMU softball team play in the College World Series.  They were unranked and pitted against the top team in the nation, Oklahoma.  But they pulled out a 4 – 3 win in extra innings.  It was a great win for JMU.

After dinner tonight Lynn and I went to Waynesboro.  This being Thursday night, Waynesboro had its weekly outdoor concert scheduled.  The group playing this week was called Little Walter and the Convictions.  A group with musicians similarly aged to us, we had heard them before but I thought they sounded much better tonight than in the past.  They played music from the 1960’s and early 70’s.  And as usual, Lynn bumped into some friends of hers in the crowd.  She knows so many people and never forgets names!  In addition to going to this concert, we also went to Target to get a birthday present (gift card) for Emily Aguirre Jiminez. 

Here are today’s COVID-19 figures:

June 3                  Infected                   Died

World             172,866,909           3,716,337

US                     34,173,772              611,568

Virginia                676,041                11,216

Augusta County       5,919                       74


            Virginia            8,267,995  (3,829,532 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.)    

            Augusta County        62,144  (30,751 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, and Henry.  Gus is halfway there; he gets his second shot Friday evening.)

It is good to see the US get its daily number of infections under 20,000.  That still seems like a huge number but is a fraction of what it was six months ago when we had over 120,000 new cases in one day.  Nearly all of the new infections are from unvaccinated people, of course.

June 4, 2021

The raccoon battle continues.  Last night, while we were asleep, the raccoon apparently climbed out on the lowered feeder and somehow dislodged it from the hook where it hung.  It fell to the ground and broke.  Grrrr!  So today I went to the shed and got two traps out.  Tonight we’ll attempt to capture this thief and give him a new home, miles away, tomorrow.

Today was tennis playing day.  The way I play tennis ends up affecting my mood for the entire day.  Today’s mood wasn’t so good.  I hit good backhands and decent forehands but my serve and net play were downright poor.  Won Un and I played against Marc Kinder and Lewis Moore.  We only played one set but it took nearly 90 minutes.  Won and I lost 12 – 10.  I lost my serve the last four times I served which I would never do on a good serving day.  Oh well, it’s only tennis.  The company was good and we did have some good points.  My backhand was probably the best it has been all year so I need to remember those shots and forget the many volleys I hit out.

After tennis, I came home and we awaited Jim to Facetime us since today was Faron’s 6th birthday.  We’ve ordered a present for him but found out today that it won’t be here until next Thursday.  So we settled for a Facetime call.  It was fun to chat with him, Coen, and Jim on his new iPad.  Jim had purchased a new, durable case for the iPad this morning.

After the call and lunch, Lynn and I went to Central.  While I prepared two bills to be mailed, Lynn filled a box of food for Juan Pablo.  Soon we were headed to Waynesboro where she gave him and food and made arrangements to help him with his schoolwork next Tuesday.  He is going to summer school.

When we got back here, despite the fact that it was hot we took our usual two mile walk. 

Lynn is so talented and good hearted.  Today she cut a watermelon so the one side of it says EMILY and the other 12.  Tomorrow is Emily Aguirre Jiminez’s 12th birthday and we’re going to her house for her birthday.

We’re celebrating today because Gus just got his 2nd Pfizer vaccine today.  Hooray!  Now all adults in our family and our two oldest grandchildren have been vaccinated.  Perhaps soon the CDC will give its go-ahead to vaccine younger children.  I hope so.

After our usual Friday night dinner from Old School burgers, we headed to Riverheads to watch the Fort Defiance – Riverheads soccer game.  Henry started as a forward tonight and it wasn’t long before he had a nice assist to set up a score.  Soon he scored himself.  Then he sat out for a long time as the coach got other players some action.  When he came back in he played on defense.  FDHS didn’t have too much trouble with Riverheads and won 7 – 2.

Here are today’s COVID-19 numbers:

June 4                  Infected                   Died

World             173,299,543           3,726,665

US                     34,191,157              612,197

Virginia                676,300                11,222

Augusta County       5,935                       74


            Virginia            8,301,436  (3,848,284 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 67.6% of the adult population.)                                  

            Augusta County        62,387  (30,907 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, and Gus.)

June 5, 2021

We have one less raccoon in our neighborhood now.  When I got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I saw that we had trapped the raccoon that has been eating our bird seed.  So before breakfast this morning I loaded the trap up in the back of my truck and took the varmit about 6 miles away.  It wasn’t easy because the raccoon was not happy about being in the trap.  It would certainly have bitten me if I hadn’t been very careful.  I had thought lots about how to release it safely and my plan worked.  If this one comes back or other raccoons empty the bird feeder again I might come up with a plan B to get rid of it, though.  This wasn’t fun.  At least it was easy to catch with a little bird seed as the bait in the trap.

Today we had multiple events with former students of Lynn’s.  First, we were invited to Cecilia’s photo shoot at Bridgewater.  Cecilia is graduating from Spotswood High School.  She has been close to Lynn since her days at Cub Run Elementary School.  Lynn and I have watched her play several soccer games this year for Spotswood.  She will be attending VCU this coming fall.  She invited Lynn to the photo shoot so they could have their picture made together.  Isn’t this quite a tribute to Lynn!

I need to reiterate how impressive this was.  Cecilia hasn’t had Lynn as a teacher for at least 7 years.  At the photo shoot today was her mother, father, sister, brother, her best friend from Spotswood High, an aunt and a couple of cousins.  All were Hispanic.  The only paleskin person in any of the photos was Lynn (it didn’t make sense for me to be in them).   What a difference Lynn must have made in her life and in many, many others at Cub Run Elementary School. 

After the photos were taken the entire group went to a Mexican restaurant in Harrisonbug, El Sol.  It was our first time there but it won’t be our last.  Cecilia’s father, who speaks very good English, told us it was by far the best Mexican restaurant in town.  I now know he was correct.  The quacamole on the homemade chips was fantastic.  Lynn and I each had tacos made on homemade tortillas.  They were great.  We’ll go back to this restaurant again.

The family insisted on paying for our lunch.  Though the father has a good job as a truck driver and the mother works also, I know they don’t have extra money especially with Cecilia’s college expenses coming up.  Plus, their son, in Pre-School, is a high needs child.  But they insisted.  What an excellent family!

We went from that fine Hispanic family to another.  Emily Aguirre Jiminez’s 12th birthday party was at her house.  We were told to come after 3:00 and got there around 3:45.  Actually, we were the second ones to arrive; over the next hour there must have been 25 more people who came.  I don’t know how they had set up everything—multiple tents with tables and chairs, two huge blow-up jump houses for the kids, one with a pool at the bottom of a slide out of it.  The kids there, around 12 – 15 of them, had a blast.  Elizabeth and Gilberto cooked hamburgers and hot dogs.  Others brought more items to eat including Lynn’s watermelon with the rine spelling out EMILY and 12. 

Once again we were the ones easy to spot in the crowd—nearly everyone else was Hispanic with a few exceptions.  And once again we were in the presence of a loving family, the second one today which had abandoned their family and way of life in Mexico in order to seek a better life for their children here in America.  I just wish all of those who complain about immigration could have been with us today with these two families.  Both of them were more than gracious to us and both exemplified a tight-knit, close family. 

We stayed at the party until around 5:30 then quickly headed to Costco before it closed.  Lynn is going to an unusual celebration at Cub Run Elementary this coming Monday morning—the current graduating seniors at Spotswood High School who attended Cub Run for their elementary school are going to visit and parade through the school on Monday.  Lynn came up with the idea of handing out a cookie to each of her former students in a sealed bag with a note inside that says “You’re a smart cookie!  Congratulations for your accomplishment.  Mrs. Hill”

At Costco tonight we bought the chocolate chip cookies for this.  Plus we got more birdseed—no surprise we need more since the raccoon ate so much of it.

We’ve made arrangements with Kay to meet their family at Thomas’ soccer game tomorrow in Arlington at noon.  We’re just going up for the game and coming right back since he has a team party afterward.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

June 5                  Infected                   Died

World             173,698,523           3,735,559

US                     34,203,497              612,194

Virginia                676,586                11,229

Augusta County       5,947                       74


            Virginia            8,339,271  (3,871,196 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 67.8% of the adult population.)                                  

            Augusta County        62,633  (31,104 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, and Gus.)

June 6, 2021

We elected to skip Sunday School and Church today so we could see Thomas play in his last soccer game of the year in Arlington.  We left home around 9:15 and the GPS originally said we’d be there by 11:35.  His game started at noon.  But as we got near to Washington we were re-routed off I-66 onto US 50 due to a wreck on the Interstate.  That really slowed us down and we got there just as the game started.

It was over 90o and humid.  We had a shady set of bleachers to sit on but the poor 10 and 11 year olds playing didn’t.  Thomas’ team looked a little lackluster probably due to the heat and they lost something like 7 – 1.  That’s OK; my grandchildren don’t have to win at anything in order for me to be proud of them.  I was impressed that he ran and played hard in such heat.  Plus, we had good conversations with the rest of the Foy family during the game so it was a worthwhile trip.

His team had a party afterwards so Lynn and I immediately came back home.  Our trip back was better with no slow-downs on the interstate.  We stopped at Aldi’s in Harrisonburg to buy a few groceries for tonight’s meal.

As soon as we got home we started cooking.  That is, Lynn started cooking and I did various other chores.  We both worked right up until 5:15 when Ann’s family came.  Actually they were one short as Henry had gone to a friend’s house.  We had a great meal.  Lynn had fixed chicken baked with parmesean cheese, a salad, rice, Spanish rice for those who wanted it, and corn cooked with green chilies.  Plus she made rolls.  We all ate well.

Lynn and Betsy worked on her patriotic porch sign for a little while afterwards.  Freddie and I played a game of baseball on the Wii.  Ann and Josh ordered an Easy Pass for our upcoming New England trip and Lynn and I updated the money on ours.  That will make traveling in New England much easier.   We also ordered tickets for Betsy’s Lion King Jr. show on Sunday, June 27.

The COVID-19 story is that infections are down but so is the vaccination rate.  Some people still are too stupid to get vaccinated.  Here are today’s statistics:

June 6                  Infected                   Died

World             174,034,257           3,743,188

US                     34,210,226              612,363

Virginia                676,741                11,236

Augusta County       5,950                       74


            Virginia            8,340,878  (3,872,260 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 67.8% of the adult population.)                                  

            Augusta County        62,633  (31,104 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, and Gus.)  These statistics have not been updated since yesterday.

June 7, 2021

Today was a hot, typical Monday for us.  In the morning, Lynn had the graduation event I wrote about on Saturday where Spotswood High School seniors who had attended Cub Run Elementary School paraded through the elementary school hallways.  She went to congratulate the ELL students she had taught in Kindergarten who were now graduating.  She and I had packaged cookies for each of them.  While she did that, I went to Central and got a lot of treasurer’s work done including paying and mailing bills, doing the deposit from yesterday, setting up the June 15 payroll, and paying the monthly taxes to the IRS.  It was a fruitful time for me.

We both got home at a similar time.  It was fairly hot out, over 80o, Connie was here cleaning the house, and we both wanted to walk, so we started out on our normal walk.  At the one mile walk, we decided to continue on Leaport Road and do the full Leaport Loop which is a hilly 3.7 mile hike.  We made it, though we were both sweaty and tired by the time we got back home.  We both got our 10,000 steps in today.

To celebrate, we went to Smiley’s for a lunch dessert.  I had my usual, salted caramel chocolate chunk, while Lynn had a milkshake of brownie batter.  She was especially happy about that.

When we got back, we did some planning for our weekend.  We’re going to be in Delaware for Saturday and Sunday nights.  We’ve been through Delaware before but never spent any time there so we thought this would be a good place to celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary.  We’ve found some ice cream creameries, restaurants, and various things to do in Lewes DE and the neighboring Rehobeth Beach.  We’re really not beach people but I think we’ll enjoy this stay.  We should be able to see the Foy family going to and/or coming back from there.

Tonight Henry had his last home soccer game of the season.  He has games on Wednesday and Friday nights, too, but they are away.  Gus would have had his last one tonight, too, but he’s still on the injured list.  There’s a chance he’ll play Friday night.  The game tonight was against Stuarts Draft, a team they handled fairly easily earlier in the season.

It turned out to be a fantastic game for Henry.  Tonight was senior night so the coach benched Henry and the FDHS top scorer, Luke Alger, so the seniors could start.  He kept them on the bench for the first 30 minutes of the 40 in the first half.  Obviously the team missed them because they fell behind 1 – 0 during this time.  Finally he put them in and in what seemed like no time, Henry banged in a hard shot from the side to even the score 1 – 1 then Luke followed with one to make it 2 – 1 at the half.

The half turned out to be nearly an hour long due to lightning in the surrounding skies.  For a while it seemed doubtful that the game would continue.  But finally the teams emerged back on the field and the second half was started. 

Henry is a sophomore and Luke is a freshman.  They were the only two to score for Fort Defiance tonight but both scored a bunch.  Luke had five goals in all; Henry had a hat trick, three.  Stuarts Draft didn’t even come close to scoring so the final score was 8 – 1.  It was a great night to be a grandfather.  After Henry’s third goal the coach pulled him out again so he really only played less than 25% of the game.

Here are today’s COVID-19 numbers:

June 7                  Infected                   Died

World             174,370,325           3,751,893

US                     34,227,237              612,701

Virginia                676,831                11,245

Augusta County       5,950                       74


            Virginia            8,402,939  (3,912,673 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 68.1% of the adult population.)                                  

            Augusta County        62,765  (31,192 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, and Gus.) 

June 8, 2021

The days are getting hotter and hotter earlier in the day.  I played tennis today with Marc Kinder, Won Un, and Pat Peason.  We started at 8:30 and played until nearly 10:30. We only got in two sets because both were close, 8 – 6 and 6 – 4.  I won one and lost one.  But I guess I played OK so that’s what matters.  It felt good at first but by the end it was very hot, perhaps in the 80’s.

After I played I met with Yi-Peng Chen at Central who showed Won and me how to live stream the services on Facebook using the Church’s iPad.  It seems simple enough.  I won’t be there to help this coming Sunday but will be there on June 20.  The only treasurer’s work I had to do while I was at CUMC was to mail a check I had written previously.  In the meantime, Lynn had her two Cheryl friends over for chatting in our back yard.

Lynn was supposed to tutor Juan Pablo this afternoon at the Waynesboro Public Library but he backed out, saying he didn’t feel well.  She’ll try again tomorrow afternoon.

We both voted today in the Democratic Primary.  The Democrats need to put forward the best anti-Trump candidates they can because there are still too many Republicans out there listening to that idiot claiming that the election was stolen from him.  Some even claim he’ll be reinstated in August!  There’s no way ever that will happen.

With our afternoon plans void, we invited Betsy and Freddie over.  Lynn and Betsy have been working on the Americana porch sign.  I believe they finished it today.  Freddie and I had our usual games of Wii baseball with me coming out the loser in every game.  Plus, Lynn worked with Freddie a little on reading.  I took them home after a couple of hours.

We decided to use a $10 off coupon we had tonight and went to Byers Street Bistro for dinner.  It was the first time we had been there since the pandemic, I believe.  We were surprised that their menu was substantially reduced from what we remembered.  We also ran into Jim and Vicki Printy there.  Jim said he was told by his waiter that the reason the menu had been reduced wasn’t because of availability of items, it was because they can’t hire enough people to work there including cooks.  It is an unusual time now where anyone who wants to work can find a job but, apparently, plenty of people are opting to not work.

Our meal was OK there but we saved room for dessert.  Where else?  First we grabbed some food items from Central for Juan Pablo since Lynn hopes to see him tomorrow.  Then we drove to Mt. Crawford for our Smiley’s fix.

Tomorrow we’ve made arrangements to pick Betsy and Freddie up at 9:00 AM and go to Monticello.  It has been decades since I’ve been there.  We’re going in the morning because there’s a good chance of afternoon thunderstorms.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

June 8                  Infected                   Died

World             174,720,620           3,761,763

US                     34,241,561              613,122

Virginia                677,013                11,253

Augusta County       5,953                       74


            Virginia            8,426,995  (3,927,866 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 68.2% of the adult population.)                                  

            Augusta County        62,886  (31,235 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, and Gus.) 

June 9, 2021

Today Lynn and I played our grandparent cards again.  This time we took Betsy and Freddie to Monticello.  It’s only a 55 minute drive from here and we were there by 10:00 AM.  We were able to get two adults for the price of one because we live in Augusta County so it wasn’t an expensive visit at all.  We got our tickets at the Welcome Center then looked at the museum before boarding the shuttle bus up the hill to the house.

I took over 60 pictures which did a good job of summarizing our trip.  The kids were very well behaved.  We walked through the house and grounds and stopped at all of the important places I can recall from my previous visits.  Then we walked back down the hill, by Jefferson’s grave, and returned to the gift shop where we bought the kids each a shirt and got change with $2 bills.  It was a very nice trip there.

I couldn’t help but think during our visit that Thomas Jefferson was the epitome of hypocrisy.  In the Declaration of Independence Jefferson wrote that “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  Yet at any given time he owned at least 130 slaves, over 600 slaves in his lifetime, and freed only ten of them.  He fathered several children with a slave girl who lived in the slave quarters.  I think what Jefferson meant is that all white men who owned property were created equal…  His example is what many current Republicans now believe, I think.

Afterwards, we went to Chick Fil-A in Charlottesville for lunch then came home, getting back just before 2:30.  The kids played Wii for a few minutes before I took them back home while Lynn headed for her tutor session with Juan Pablo at his house in Waynesboro.

When I got back from taking them home, I did my usual picture work, copying my pictures a couple of different places and selecting some for my Favorite Pictures folder.  Lynn got back in time for dinner.

Then we headed for Fishersville for Henry’s soccer game with Wilson Memorial High School.  Wilson has the best team in the district so we didn’t go there with high expectations.  But FDHS did play as well tonight as they have all season.  They fell behind 1 – 0 midway through the first half then, after a corner kick, Henry fired the ball in to tie it.  Wilson pulled ahead 2 – 1 in the second half and scored again as time expired to win 3 – 1.  Fort had nothing to be ashamed of; Wilson was undefeated and Fort stayed right with them.  In fact, I think FDHS had many more shots on goal than Wilson.

This was a really good day for us.  We enjoyed the company of each other, our grandchildren, and the fellow Fort Defiance supporters at the soccer game tonight.  I know that things won’t always be this good but I can certainly appreciate a good day like this one now.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

June 9                  Infected                   Died

World             175,156,823           3,776,244

US                     34,264,727              613,507

Virginia                677,210                11,260

Augusta County       5,957                       74


            Virginia            8,465,527  (3,954,678 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 68.3% of the adult population.)                                  

            Augusta County        63,204  (31,484 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, and Gus.) 

June 10, 2021

It rained over night and was still drizzling this morning when I got up but the tennis guys were still anxious to play.  So we delayed starting until 9:00 which worked out well.  The courts were fairly dry then and soon they were as dry as ever.  We played for an hour and a half.  The temperature was bearable, in the 70’s, but the humidity was awful.  I didn’t play as well as I have in the past.  Won and I beat Marc and Pat 6 – 4, then turned around and beat us 6 – 2.  Marc and I played together then and we only got a half set in, 3 – 3, when we decided to quit.  It was nice to be able to play on a day which started out so dreary.

The package Lynn ordered for Faron arrived today so we quickly made plans to take it to him in Roanoke.  She had a 1:00 meeting at Central so when it was over she and I headed to Roanoke.  Jim said he wouldn’t be home until 5:00 so we weren’t in a hurry.  Originally, Lynn had another Zoom meeting today at 5:30 but it was canceled so our afternoon was free to go to Roanoke.

It was a very good trip.  We actually met up with Jim at the Kroger parking lot where we both took advantage of a 90¢ off deal with gasoline thanks to points we had accumulated.  We filled both Lynn’s car and Jim’s.  Then Lynn and I went in to Kroger and bought a few items including cupcakes for the boys.

Meanwhile, Jim ordered dinner from Dominos which is very near his house.  We picked it up and took it to their house to eat.

Faron and Coen were lots of fun, as usual.  We gave Faron three science kits for his birthday and he immediately got into the first one, a robot style one.  He built a series of little routes for a robot (aka a bunny) to follow.  He did really well with it.  We ate our dinner, watched and Faron and Jim worked on the science kit, watched Coen hit tennis balls (he is REALLY good at that), then came back home.

I wish we could see those two little boys more often.  I really wish they could spend more time here.  We have so many things they would like to play with.  And we’d love watching them.

Here are today’s COVID-19 numbers:

June 10                Infected                   Died

World             175,603,577           3,788,195

US                     34,275,783              613,920

Virginia                677,425                11,270

Augusta County       5,957                       74


            Virginia 8,513,126  (3,984,789 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 68.5% of the adult population who have at least one shot.)         

            Augusta County        63,518  (31,725 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, and Gus.) 

Augusta County had no new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.  Yes!  CNN reports that 42.5% of the US population (53% of adults) are fully vaccinated and 52% (64% of adults) have had at least one dose.  Eight states have over 50% of their population fully vaccinated.  They are Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont.

June 11, 2021

This morning Lynn and I discussed taking a fall trip.  We first looked at all the possibilities of buying a USA Rail Pass since they are on sale now at a substantial reduction.  But the problem is that the schedules for the trains we would like to go on, including one called the Empire Builder which goes from Chicago through upper Minnesota, North Dakota, and Montana to Spokane, is such that the train arrives at many of the locations we’d want to stop at in the middle of the night.  The entire ride takes over 35 hours so we decided to punt on this idea. 

We may elect to take a train to White Sulphur Springs sometime, stay at the Greenbrier, then ride the train back to Staunton.  But we didn’t pick any dates for that yet.

Next I made a list of all the major cities in the United States that Lynn and I have been to.  The list is extensive!  We then looked to see what cities we have NOT been to.  The short list includes Portland, Spokane, Los Angeles, Houston, and Salt Lake City.  So we decided to schedule a trip to Salt Lake City.  We had a little money leftover in the refund from our canceled Puerto Rico trip so we contacted the AAA travel agent who helped us make plans for a Tuesday, October 12, through Saturday, October 15, trip.  The plans have us flying out of Charlottesville and staying at a hotel near the airport.  I called the hotel and found out that Salt Lake’s public transportation Tram has a station less than five minutes from this hotel so we won’t need to rent a car.  We’ll also schedule a trip with some tour group to see the Great Salt Lake and other tourist destinations there including the Mormon Tabernacle.

Since we won’t be here tomorrow, I made my weekly trash run today.  For my purposes, the old Ford Ranger does fine for trips like this.

After our lunch, Lynn and I headed to Waynesboro.  The student she tutors, Juan Pablo, is in summer school now and had told her he needed help with his computer math course.  So I went along to help.  We got to the Waynesboro Public Library at the appointed time, 1:00, but he wasn’t there.  So she texted him and he responded that he was in Charlottesville and thought she was meeting him at 3:00.  He confessed that he probably wouldn’t be back home by 3:00 so it turned out to be a wasted trip for us.  We came back home.

We had a little time to kill so we made a quick run to Smiley’s for ice cream.  I don’t typically weigh myself anymore but I did this morning and was very surprised that I weighed less than five pounds over my lowest weight of 170 last year.  As much ice cream and other things that I’ve eaten lately I was afraid I had gained ten or more pounds.  Thus I had no guilt in our afternoon treat today!

Gus and Henry both had soccer games scheduled tonight at Allegheny High School which is in Covington, about a 75 minute drive from here.  I had made arrangements to bum a ride with Ann and Josh.  Betsy and Freddie stayed with Josh’s parents.  We had to leave early, 4:00, because the JV game started at 5:30.  Because of his injury, Gus only played in one game prior to tonight and tonight was the final game of the season.  Lynn couldn’t go because she was going to Cecilia’s graduation. 

It hadn’t rained much all day here but as we got south of Staunton the rain started.  By the time we got on I-64 it was coming down in buckets.  The forecast was for it to improve so we drove on.  We got there right at 5:30, the starting time for the JV’s.  But since it was raining hard, we just stayed in the car until halftime.  That proved to be a bad decision because it turns out we missed Gus’ goal which he scored in the first half.  Furthermore, his leg started hurting again so he decided to not play any in the second half.  He was happy with his goal, the only score of the half, and that’s what was really important.

The varsity game was a mixture of emotions.  In the first half, the rain let up a little though it still kept coming down.  We had our umbrellas and Ann had brought towels to sit on.  So it was bearable.  At least it wasn’t cold; temperatures were in the 70’s.  Allegheny High had beat FDHS the first time they played.  They did so by scoring first then pulling most of the team back on defense for the rest of the game.  So it was important for Fort to score first.  Henry had one shot to score but the ball bounced off the top rail of the goal.  But soon he fed Luke Alger with a nice pass and Luke gave FDHS the 1 – 0 lead.  Fort really dominated with 95% of the action occurring on their side of the field.  Strangely, Allegheny got only one shot on goal the entire half but it went in so the score was 1 – 1.  With 10 minutes to go in the half, the coach substituted for Henry.  We thought that was just to give him a rest.

He sat out the rest of the entire game.  I was furious by the end.  He had played well when he was in and other players played the entire 80 minutes.   Fort went on to win 5 – 3 but I was still miffed by the fact that Henry didn’t play more.  I have no idea what, if anything, went through the coach’s head.  To add insult to injury, it rained hard in the second half and by the time the game was over I was thoroughly soaked.

Josh drove me home and I arrived shortly after 10:00.  I was hungry so I fixed myself a bowl of chicken noodle soup.  The hot shower felt great!

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

June 11                Infected                   Died

World             176,031,891           3,800,283

US                     34,306,446              614,738

Virginia                677,530                11,283

Augusta County       5,959                       74


            Virginia 8,551,365  (4,008,768 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 68.7% of the adult population who have at least one shot.)         

            Augusta County        63,714  (31,853 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, and Gus.) 

June 12, 2021

Forty five years ago today I said the two most important words I’ve said in my life, “I do.”  Lynn and I have been side by side for a long time!  As I told her this morning, I love the route we’ve taken in the past 45 years, all the stops and highlights, but I also love our current location.  And I love that we’ve got plans to continue this journey.  I write this tonight as the luckiest man I know, one who has been gifted with a much better companion than he deserves.  Lynn is an exceptional mate.  As a person she is smart, talented, beautiful, thoughtful, and is a magnificent mother and grandmother.  As a wife she is caring, hard working, and just plain fun to be with. 

She gave me a cute card this morning which said something like “It is so nice to be married to the best spouse ever…”  When I opened the card, it read “So how does it feel?”   Funny!  Usually I’m the goofy one but today she got me.  My two cards emphasized what a good team we are and how wonderful it is to be married to her.

We left home around 8:00 headed for Delaware.  Believe it or not, our first stop was right at noon at Vandewende’s ice cream shop in Bridgeville DE.  This was a creamery right on the farm where the cows are that produce the cream.  The ice cream was a strong rival to Smiley’s.  It was great!  I had one huge scoop of salted caramel and another of apple pie.  That was lunch. 

We then drove to Lewes ME where we had reservations at The Inn at Canal Square.  This was a very nice (expensive) hotel in a charming little town about twenty minutes from Rehoboth Beach.  Lewes has its own beach on the Delaware Bay which we walked to as our room was getting prepared.  After checking in, we headed to do some shopping at the nearby Tanger Outlets.

Lynn wanted to get some new bras at the Maidenform outlet.  She also found a Pandora outlet and bought a charm.  We had just enough time to do this shopping before going to our 5:00 dinner reservation at a place called Fork and Flask.  There we each had a great hamburger along with some sangria. 

Our waitress gave us some great advice for the next part of our plans—to go to the boardwalk at Rehoboth Beach.  She told us where to park so we wouldn’t have to pay and was close to the boardwalk.  We had a nice stroll along the boardwalk and got our 10,000 steps in.  Of course, I took lots of pictures.

This is a mini vacation so we’re allowed to indulge.  So we did with ice cream.  This time we had an ice cream dessert at a place Vicki and Jim Printy had told us about called A Royal Treat.  To be honest, their ice cream wasn’t in the same league as Smiley’s and Vanderwende’s.   

We then came back to Lewes and walked around the town a little before turning in for the night.  It was a good day for us and a nice way to celebrate 45 years together.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

June 12                Infected                   Died

World             176,385,420           3,810,065

US                     34,315,867              615,037

Virginia                677,671                11,293

Augusta County       5,959                       75


            Virginia 8,591,028  (4,033,614 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 68.9% of the adult population who have at least one shot.)         

            Augusta County        63,879  (31,946 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, and Gus.) 

June 13, 2021

We had another good day in Delaware today.  Actually we spent half of the day in New Jersey.  After a very good breakfast here at the Inn at Canal Square in Lewes, we secured tickets for both the ferry and the shuttle in Cape May which takes pedestrians to the center of the city.   Then we took a walk around the cute little town of Lewes and ended up Lewes Bake Shop so good there was a long line outside it.  We couldn’t pass it up despite our great breakfast.  We bought and split their specialty, an “Ooey Gooey” whose name well described the pastry. 

Then we drove the three miles to the Lewes Ferry Terminal.  The ferry runs from Lewes 17 miles across the Delaware Bay to Cape May, NJ.  It took around 1 ½ hours each way.  We left on the 11:15 ferry and returned to Delaware on the 4:30 ferry.  The ferry was completely loaded with vehicles but sparsely full of pedestrians.  It was a nice ride both ways with the temperature in the low 70’s and the sun brightly shining. 

In Cape May, we immediately went to the Welcome Center and asked two questions:  1) how can we get to the Cape May lighthouse and back in two hours since the shuttle loaded at 3:30 and 2) where’s a good place to get ice cream?  The man who helped us was very nice and told us we could actually walk and make it.  He gave us a map and marked our way on it.  Our route would take us through the Cape May mall which is where there was good ice cream at the Fudge Kitchen. 

His suggestion worked but the trip was actually much longer than he said it would be.  We walked through the town to the “promenade” which is another name for a paved boardwalk beside the beach.  When we got to the end of the promenade we walked on the beach to the lighthouse.  The biggest problem is that the map he had given us was no where near the correct scale.  For example, it indicated that the beach part of our walk would be only about ¼ as long as the promenade part.  In actuality it was something like 5 times as long.  It was nice to walk along the beach in such lovely weather, though, and we didn’t mind.  That is, until one particularly strong wave came in and covered our feet with water.  I had on tennis shoes and socks and they got soaked.

It took us over an hour to get to the lighthouse.  This lighthouse had been refurbished and you could actually walk to the top—199 steps on a spiral staircase!  At the last minute, Lynn got worried that it was too claustrophobic for her so she backed out.  I did the climb myself and took several pictures to prove it.

We knew we wouldn’t have time to make it back to the shuttle but we had plan B with us.  The guide at the Welcome Center, anticipating that we might need it, gave us a business card with a cab’s phone number on it.  We called the cab from the lighthouse.  He got there at 3:10 and we told him we needed to be at the Welcome Center by 3:30.   The problem is he didn’t know where the Welcome Center was.  We finally just got out in downtown Cape May, asked a trolley driver how to get to the Welcome Center, and walked there just in time to catch the shuttle.  Whew!

We were back in Lewes shortly after 6:00.  We changed shoes and socks and walked to the Mexican restaurant, Agave.  There we had another good meal.  I had enchiladas and Lynn had chips and guacamole which she split with me plus an order of queso fundido which she ended up bringing back to the hotel.

No surprise, we ended our day with ice cream.  This time we got it from the local shop in Lewes, Kings Homemade Ice Cream, which was very good.  Neither of us got much, though, as we were still full from our Mexican food.

This trip has been very good for us.  We’ve enjoyed each other’s company, seen a part of America that we’ve not seen before, eaten well, and gotten good walking in.  Each day we’ve walked at least 12,500 steps.  Today my total was over 15,000 steps.

I’ve taken and posted to Flickr and my website over 150 photos thus far.  We don’t have much planned for tomorrow since we’ve got a five hour drive ahead of us and want to be home in plenty of time to get to Cecilia’s 7:00 soccer game.

Here are today’s COVID-19 numbers:

June 13                Infected                   Died

World             176,701,361           3,818,937

US                     34,321,093              615,053

Virginia                677,744                11,307

Augusta County       5,963                       75


            Virginia 8,606,021  (4,044,815 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 69.0% of the adult population who have at least one shot.)         

            Augusta County        63,928  (31,985 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, and Gus.) 

June 14, 2021

Our Delaware trip came to an end today.  It was a very good trip for us.  Our plan was to eat breakfast at the Inn at Canal Square, then go to the state park Cape Henlopen to walk.  The park was close by, about a ten minute drive.  I had read about it on the web several time and saw that they had free bikes to ride around its many bike paths.  It seemed like a great place to start the day.

It was a big disappointment.  Thanks to COVID-19, the free bike program had been abandoned.  Still, we thought, we could find a good trail to walk on.  It cost us $10 to get into the park.  We were given a map which turned out to be very poorly made.  The park was in bad need of maintenance.  We wanted to go to the bathroom once we got there so the map directed us to a place which turned out to just have a couple of very nasty portapotties.   When we finally got to the beachhouse at the Cape Henlopen beach, the bathrooms were locked.  Fortunately, there were employees inside cleaning the bathrooms and they felt sorry for us so they let us get in. 

Most of the park was closed; we were there before 9:00.  We finally found a trail to walk on but as we walked, we discovered that much of it was in the sand.  We didn’t want to get sand in our shoes so we packed it in and went back to the hotel.  We got ourselves packed up, checked out, and headed for home a little earlier than we had planned.

We got to the best ice cream store we found on this trip, Vanderwende’s, about an hour from Lewes.  We had stopped there on the way to Lewes and vowed to return.  It didn’t disappoint.  Lynn also got some cheese there.

On the way home we made arrangements to stop by and visit with Kay, Georgia, and Andy.  Thomas was at a friend’s house.  We got there around 1:15 and stayed for about a half hour.  It was a good, albeit short, visit with them.

We elected to stop by Costco on our way home.  We had gotten a text that Central needed coffee for the Food Pantry.  Plus, Lynn had a few things in mind to get.  We had to hustle because we didn’t get to Costco until 4:15 and needed to be at Cecilia’s soccer game by 6:00. 

We got home shortly after 5:00, fixed a very quick dinner, and were back in Keezletown at the soccer game at 6:00.  Unfortunately, it was Cecilia’s last game of her career as Spotswood fell to Charlottesville, 6 – 2.  After the game, we made a couple more grocery store stops then came home.  Our day had started in Delaware and ended up quite busy.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

June 14                Infected                   Died

World             177,020,386           3,827,430

US                     34,335,192              615,225

Virginia                677,812                11,318

Augusta County       5,966                       75


            Virginia 8,629,238  (4,062,990 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 69.0% of the adult population who have at least one shot.)         

            Augusta County        63,962  (32,008 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, and Gus.) 

June 15, 2021

It was back to normal today which ended up being a day of mixed work and play.  For me, it started with tennis this morning at 8:30.  We had the same foursome that played last week, Won Un, Marc Kinder, Pat Peason and me.  I played pretty well for me though I did drop one of three sets.  We traded partners in each set.  It seems to me that I can never get all of the strokes doing well on the same day.  Today I hit decent ground strokes, better-than-normal volleys, much better than usual overheads, but served only so-so.  Oh well, I’m just glad we got to play.  After two hours I was pretty exhausted.

I went directly to Central and spent two hours doing Treasurer’s work.  I reconciled three credit card accounts, paid a half dozen bills, and recorded the deposit the counters made yesterday.  But I still left behind a bunch of other chores I’ll need to do later this week.

I was supposed to go with Lynn this afternoon to help Juan Pablo with some math issues he was having in summer school, but he begged out.  He’s great at coming up with excuses as to why he doesn’t need help with his schoolwork though he clearly does need the help.

Instead, I spent a good bit of time on the lawnmower.  Our grass was higher than it has been in a long time so my time was well spent.  I did both the riding and the push mowing that needed to be done and our lawn looks much, much better.

Betsy and Freddie came over this afternoon.  Betsy had a craft kit that Lynn helped her with.  I played some Wii with Freddie (got annihilated as usual).  When Ann picked them up, I got her to take me to T & B Simmons so I could pick up Jim’s car.  They had done a bunch of maintenance items on it today getting it ready for him to drive to Maine in two weeks.

After dinner, Lynn and I went to Gypsy Hill park and walked two laps around it.  Counting the three sets of tennis I played today, I walked over 15,000 steps today.  That’s a lot for me.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

June 15                Infected                   Died

World             177,364,366           3,836,857

US                     34,350,203              615,680

Virginia                677,949                11,328

Augusta County       5,972                       75


            Virginia 8,661,242  (4,083,891 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 69.2% of the adult population who have at least one shot.)         

            Augusta County        64,285  (32,251 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, and Gus.) 

June 16, 2021

Because I left numerous tasks undone when I was at Central yesterday, my first stop of the day was there to complete the Treasurer’s tasks.  I was able to do so in less than two hours.  In general, it takes me about 2 – 3 hours a week to do this work.  I’ve got the time, have learned the software, so I don’t mind making this one of my contributions to the work of the Church.

As usual, I ate lunch at home with Lynn.  Then I decided to do some weed-whacking around the house.  My reason for trying to get the yard looking good is that we learned last night that Jim is going to bring the boys here Sunday for Father’s Day.  There’s even a chance Kay and family will come.  I certainly want the yard to look nice for my family.  It didn’t take me long to do the weed-whacking. 

In our spare time we’ve both been busy anchoring down our plans for future trips.  For example, we’ve change our flight times for the Oregon trip, investigated car rentals in Salt Lake City, and double checked with cousin Joseph DeLeo that their Kennebunkport VRBO rental has laundry facilities they’re willing to share with us. 

We had a leisurely afternoon before heading to Bridgewater to walk.  Bridgewater has a couple of nice parks along the river.  These parks have shaded walkways and trails that we enjoyed hiking on.  I managed to get in over 8,500 steps today. 

We finished hiking around 4:30 and headed to Harrisonburg for dinner.  We had invited Ann’s family to join us at El Sol where we ate with Cecilia’s family.  Cecilia’s dad is a truck driver who has driven in almost every state.  He told us that El Sol was his favorite restaurant anywhere.  We certainly enjoyed our dinner with his family a few weeks ago.

On the way there, we decided to doublecheck to make sure the restaurant would be open.  Closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays!  We had to quickly make a change of plans especially since Ann’s family was already headed to Harrisonburg to meet us.  We called them for a suggestion of a place to eat and they came up with Cracker Barrel.  It turned out to be a good suggestion.  Everyone got plenty to eat; no one was displeased with what they got.  Further, Lynn had some Cracker Barrel gift cards she had purchased at Kroger because Kroger was giving away extra points for gift card purchases so the meal, although it was expensive for eight, didn’t cost us that much out of pocket tonight. 

After dinner we came on home then decided to go back to Fort Defiance High School to watch the girls soccer team play Lynchburg Christian Academy in the regional tournament.  We hadn’t seen the girls play all year.  It was a great, great match.  Fort went out to a 1 – 0 lead in the first half and almost held it to the end.  But with three minutes to go, their opponents scored to tie the score.  It looked like it would end that way but the Fort Defiance forward, Allie Cook, got a breakaway with two minutes to go and scored her second goal of the night to make it 2 – 1.  Fort was able to hold on for the win.  The FDHS goalie made a handful of great saves. 

On our calendar, this day had absolutely nothing on it.  But it ended up being a pretty busy day.  Furthermore, our calendar is filling up again as Gus and Henry start summer basketball tournament play this weekend.  Gus had two games on Friday night and Henry has two on Monday.  Tomorrow night I’m going to Roanoke to swap cars back with Jim.

For today’s COVID-19 statistics:

June 16                Infected                   Died

World             177,787,192           3,848,158

US                     34,366,073              616,144

Virginia                678,226                11,330

Augusta County       5,977                       75


            Virginia 8,717,435  (4,122,956 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 69.4% of the adult population who have at least one shot.)         

            Augusta County        64,434  (32,331 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, and Gus.) 

Virginia had only two death from COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.  I’ll be satisfied when Virginia has no new cases nor deaths in a full day.  Things are certainly better but COVID hasn’t disappeared yet.  I saw a Facebook post which said “Know what’s common about all those hospitalized with COVID?  None has been vaccinated!”

June 17, 2021

I had played tennis pretty well on Tuesday so I looked forward to playing again this morning.  The weather was perfect so I entered the Mary Baldwin tennis courts with high expectations.  I wish I could report that they were fulfilled.  I played very inconsistently and ended up losing two of the three sets we played.  Today my serve was fine but my ground strokes were poor.  One of these days I’ll get it all together.

I can’t complain, especially after the phone call Pat Peason made to Rob Cale while we were on the courts.  Rob had knee replacement surgery a week ago and will be out of tennis for eight months or so.  But he told us that his recovery is not going well.  He was told he would be driving in a week and right now he can’t even stand on his own.  He said he is in tremendous pain and thinks perhaps the surgeons broke his tibia during the operation.  So I can’t complain about spraying a few forehands and backhands off the court.

After we played, I tried to visit Bob Hanson at Brightview/Baldwin Park where he is in assisted living.  Unfortunately, he was involved with some sort of physical therapy when I stopped by so I didn’t get to see him.   I should have visited him long before now.  What prompted me to see him is that I opened an envelope addressed to Central United Methodist Church two days ago when I was doing my treasurer’s work and inside was a check from the bank that oversees his money.  It was a very large check and I need to ask him where he’d like for this money to go.  Maybe I’ll try again tomorrow or Saturday to see him.  Pastor Won is scheduled to visit with him on Sunday.

Lynn had a meeting at lunchtime with the ELL teachers in Rockingham County.  After she returned, we went to Harrisonburg for an open house at Lakeside Publishing in Harrisonburg, formerly R. R. Donnelly Inc.  We took Betsy and Freddie with us.  The open house included a tour of the facility with a guide who explained how books are printed and bound.  It was an interesting visit.  However, it was long—90 minutes in all.  Betsy and Freddie were very patient.

We made arrangements to swap cars with Jim tonight.  I’ve been driving his car since T & B  Simmons did some work on it Tuesday.  Jim suggested we meet after dinner.  Lynn found an ice cream store in Lexington where we could meet, Sweet Things Ice Cream Shoppe.  We got to Lexington 45 minutes before he was scheduled to arrive.  It was a very nice night for walking so we strolled about the campuses of Washington & Lee University and Virginia Military Institute.  The two institutions are side by side in Lexington.  I had never been on the W & L campus before.  With it being summertime, we seemed to have the entire campus to ourselves.  The nice walk we had plus my tennis this morning gave me over 10,000 steps for the day.

And the ice cream was good, too!  Jim had a waffle cone, I had a cup, and Lynn had a milkshake.  We swapped a few things we had brought to each other then headed back home in our own vehicles.

Here are today’s COVID-19 figures:

June 17                Infected                   Died

World             178,183,638           3,857,474

US                     34,377,281              616,430

Virginia                678,392                11,336

Augusta County       5,978                       75


            Virginia 8,751,641  (4,146,440 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 69.5% of the adult population who have at least one shot.)         

            Augusta County        64,633  (32,479 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, and Gus.) 

June 18, 2021

Yesterday I discovered a website that has taken over my free time today.  JeopardyLabs is a site where people can either use Jeopardy boards that others have created or create their own.  The site is very easy to use and works great in the “play mode.”  Most every year at our family vacations Lynn and I try to come up with some family activities.  She finds neat craft activities for them and I find or make games for us to play.  JeopardyLabs played right into my hand for our upcoming Maine trip.

I spent a couple of hours today creating and saving Jeopardy games on this site.  I’ve found a few other games that other people have created that will likely work well, too.  Betsy told me yesterday that her 5th grade teachers used this site a lot.  I hope they work well with the family.

I also came up with another idea for the trip but I’m going to keep that under my hat for a while.  Lynn and I debated today whether we should plan anything.  I say that it is important to have some kind of group activity so kids won’t just be wandering around staring into their phones.

Today I went with Lynn to help Juan Pablo with some math he is taking in summer school.  However, when we met at a table outside the Waynesboro Public Library, he couldn’t access his math sheets so I had no way to even know what he was struggling with.  He did find his social studies assignments so Lynn spent the time working with him on that.

When we came home, I went to Brightview/Baldwin Park and met with Bob Hanson for a short while.  Bob wasn’t doing very well.  He was in bed and though he was mostly alert, I’m not sure he understand everything I told him.  He had made a substantial donation to Central and I wanted to find out if there was any particular project or fund he had in mind.  He said he didn’t but I still left the visit with some doubts about his large check.

One good thing that came about with that visit was that the person at the receptionist’s desk was a former, and favorite, student of mine, Teresa Shuler.  I had an excellent visit with her.  Lynn also taught her Spanish.

After our usual Friday night hamburger dinner, Lynn and I went to Harrisonburg to watch Gus play two summer JV basketball games.  He had been hurt during soccer season and only had one week or so to practice with the basketball team so we didn’t know what we’d see.  It turned out that he and his team both played very well.  They won both games they played tonight.  First they beat a team from Spotswood 43 – 14.  Gus played fine with numerous rebounds and six points.  In the second game they played a team from Turner Ashby High School and won that one 34 – 22.  Again he played well.  He only scored two points but still played as good as can be expected given his previous two months. 

Tomorrow morning he has games at 9:00, 11:00, and 12:00.   I’m going to try to make them all.  Lynn is going to garage sales with Cheryl Wright.

I am so lucky to be able to watch my grandchildren play sports, eat well, live comfortably, and be surrounded with love.  I feel very, very blessed tonight.

Here are today’s coronavirus numbers:

June 18                Infected                   Died

World             178,596,745           3,866,862

US                     34,393,269              616,920

Virginia                678,506                11,342

Augusta County       5,977                       75


            Virginia 8,782,457  (4,167,519 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 69.6% of the adult population who have at least one shot.)         

            Augusta County        64,840  (32,623 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, and Gus.) 

June 19, 2021

Gus and his FDHS JV team had a successful tournament again today.  They played three games and won them all, giving them a 5 – 0 record in the tourney.  Gus played well again today.  He had nine points in one game, seven in another, and two in the third.  He had numerous rebounds and blocks.  And he didn’t throw the ball away ever.  Today they beat the team from Turner Ashby twice plus the team from Central – Woodstock.  Today’s games took all morning; I rode with Josh, Henry, and Gus to and from the games.

It was quite hot today so Lynn and I didn’t do anything outside in the morning or afternoon.  I did make my weekly run to the trash dump with ours and the Gutshall’s trash.  But besides that I spent lots of time making up more Jeopardy games on the site JeopardyLabs.  I want to have some games just for the Gutshall family for the times on our Maine trip we’ll just be with them.  I want to have more games for them and the Foys who will join us in Maine.  And I want to have some for the Gutshalls, Foys, Danglers, and DeLeos who will join us at times in Maine.  I have two purposes with these games:  1) create an activity that will involve multiple family members and 2) teach the younger members of the family various facts about their family.

I really feel like it is my responsibility to share family facts, histories, genealogies, etc. with my children and grandchildren.  I also feel like it is my responsibility to pass along my faith to them.  I don’t know if I do a decent job at either. 

For a change, I was the one who fixed dinner tonight.  I grilled rib eye steaks and baked potatoes.  Both were quite good.  After dinner Lynn and I went to the Dairy Queen in Verona for an ice cream dessert, then came home and walked our two mile hike.

The neighborhood pig, Winnie, was out tonight.  We hadn’t seen her for weeks.  But there she was, waddling beside then in the middle of Leaport Road near the house where she lives.  It was fairly hot, around 80o, when we walked.  We both were tired because we got up very early today.  Lynn met her friend Cheryl Wright to go to garage sales at 7:15 AM at Walgreen’s in Verona and I took her so she wouldn’t have to leave her new car in the parking lot.

Here are today’s coronavirus statistics:

June 19                Infected                   Died

World             178,936,789           3,874,803

US                     34,401,206              617.079

Virginia                678,595                11,343

Augusta County       5,975                       75


            Virginia 8,810,782  (4,186,501 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 69.8% of the adult population who have at least one shot.)         

            Augusta County        64,927  (32,672 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, and Gus.) 

These appear to be the best statistics in a long, long while.  Virginia had only 89 new cases and 1 new death in the past 24 hours.  Augusta County strangely showed a decrease in the number of cases.  A year ago today, for example, Virginia had over 500 new cases and 16 new deaths.

June 20, 2021

This was absolutely the best Fathers Day I can remember.  All three children and eight grandchildren were here plus Josh and Andy.  I got some great presents including a cool framed poster of all the National Parks with a checkbox for us to mark the ones we’ve already been to and continue to mark as we get to others.  Lynn ordered the poster and Jim made the frame.  I also got a really cool pair of sports sunglasses from all three kids plus a tennis shirt that Lynn vinyled the shirt with the words “If you wanted a soft serve you should have gone for ice cream” on the back.  My tennis buddies will love it!  Jim got me another case of good tennis balls.  Kay brought an ice cream cake from Smiley’s.  Of course, it was salted caramel chocolate chunk.  Ann sent a box of pastries.  I also got a great collection of Father’s Day cards.

But the greatest present I got today was giggles, laughter, hugs, and over two hundred pictures.  Because of the pandemic, it has literally been years since all eight grandchildren have been together in the backyard.  They had a water balloon fight, played on the swingset and seesaw, climbed the big maple tree,  rode bikes, and played tennis.  Kay, Andy, Jim, and I all hit some tennis balls.  It was heavenly. 

I had ordered and picked up seven pizzas from Vito’s Pizza Pie in Keezletown.  We got two Soprano, one Godfather (meat), one pepperoni, and three cheese.  There was lots of pizza left over.  We ate outside in the shade.  By mid-afternoon, the entire Pergola was in the shade.  We drank Ginger Ale and Lemonade.  And, of course, we had ice cream cake for dessert. 

So we ate well, laughed a lot, posed for hundreds of pictures, and got to see and visit with the entire family.  Coen and Faron were especially fun to watch and interact with.  Today was only the second time they have been here since the pandemic began 15 months ago.

I feel so blessed tonight.  I know not everyone has the opportunity I got today.  I am so thankful that I did. 

I began the day with Zoom Sunday School then Lynn and I went to church at Central.  At church, Millie Brown was giving away lots of plants.  Lynn grabbed several zinnias because the zinnia seeds we planted didn’t amount to anything.  We like to put them around our light post and mail box.  So tonight the two of us, with Freddie’s help, planted the zinnias from Millie both places. 

I had to hustle after church because our family had agreed on an early afternoon pizza picnic.  I was able to pick up our pizzas and get back here just before Ann and Jim came with their families.  Jim had stopped at her house to do some lawnmower work for her.  He is such a talented young man.  They have a working lawnmower now and I have memories of a terrific Father’s Day.  Today is Jim’s 38th birthday.

I know the kids think I’m crazy because I take so many pictures.  As I mentioned above, I took well over 200 today.  But those pictures enable me to enjoy today’s great day over and over in the future as I look back through the smiling kids’ and grandkids’ faces.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

June 20                Infected                   Died

World             179,239,830           3,881,538

US                     34,406,001              617,166

Virginia                678,649                11,351

Augusta County       5,975                       75


            Virginia 8,833,655  (4,201,439 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 69.9% of the adult population who have at least one shot.)         

            Augusta County        65,007  (32,728 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, and Gus.) 

Augusta County had no new cases today.  Virginia is only 0.1% away from meeting Biden’s goal of having 70% of the adult population vaccinated with at least one shot by July 1.

June 21, 2021

I’d have to say our lives are 99% back to normal now.  We rarely wear masks in public since we’re both fully vaccinated.  The events we go to no longer have limited attendance.  We’re both healthy and have survived this pandemic surprisingly well.  This being the case, I am seriously considering no longer maintaining this blog.  It has helped me through the stressful times as COVID-19 got closer and closer to us.  Then, thankfully, the vaccines came and rescued us.  So I think I’ll soon close this chapter of my life.

Today was my day to get caught up on Central’s treasurers work.  I prepared the payroll for June 30, paid the health and retirement benefits for Pastor Won, and paid another bill.  Then I counted Sunday’s offering, made the bank deposit, then made the QuickBooks deposit.  I need to return to pay more bills on Wednesday since I’ll be gone pretty much the next two weeks.

Coming back home, I planted some more zinnias for Lynn and continued my work on the activities for our Maine trip.  Then I returned to Central to help unload and shelve this week’s Blue Ridge Area Food Bank order.  Lynn went to work with her student, Juan Pablo, only to find out he had been dropped from summer school for failure to maintain his work.  Bummer!

Nonetheless, we put together a food basket for him and one for the Aguirre family from Central’s Food Lion donations.  Lynn took the box to Elizabeth and family tonight and will take Juan Pablo’s to him tomorrow.

Tonight I got to go to Henry’s varsity basketball games.  They were against Buffalo Gap and Riverheads at the ACTS Center south of Staunton.  There are eight teams playing in a league there:  Fort Defiance, Buffalo Gap, Riverheads, Stuarts Draft, Staunton, Spotswood, Turner Ashby, and Parry McClure.  FDHS won two games tonight but is certainly not the strongest team in the league.  Next Sunday they play both Spotswood and Parry McClure which are much more formidable than the teams they played tonight.  They beat Buffalo Gap 48 – 31 and dominated Riverheads 49 – 22.  Henry played well—he scored ten points in all, had numerous rebounds, and no turnovers.  It was fun watching him and his teammates.

It is supposed to rain tomorrow morning so my usual tennis doubles matches will likely not be played.  We may play on Wednesday AM.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

June 21                Infected                   Died

World             179,534,750           3,888,357

US                     34,419,838              617,463

Virginia                678,765                11,360

Augusta County       5,975                       75


            Virginia 8,846,776  (4,210,152 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 69.9% of the adult population who have at least one shot.)         

            Augusta County        65,046  (32,754 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, and Gus.) 

For the second day in a row, Augusta County had no new cases.  Hallelujah! 

Thinking back over the past 15 months, I can recall many emotions:  fear of catching COVID-19, anger over the turtle-like speed that the vaccines were distributed at first, elation over getting my appointment for the Pfizer vaccine, and double elation when I got my second shot.  As I said in my initial paragraph today, things are pretty much back to normal, including my emotions.

June 22, 2021

The forecast this morning was for rain but when I got up things were still dry.  We were scheduled to play tennis at 8:30 so there was some texting among the four of us as to what to do.  Since it hadn’t rained, we agreed to come on to the courts and give it a try.  Well, three of the four of us came:  Marc, Pat, and me.  Won somehow lost the message so we began playing Canadian doubles. I texted Won and he finally came at 9:15.  Unfortunately, the forecast was pretty accurate and by 9:30 the rain was coming down pretty well so we postponed until tomorrow morning.  It was too bad for me because I was playing pretty well.  At least I got a good hour of tennis in.

I immediately called Lynn who had made arrangements to take food to Juan Pablo in Waynesboro this morning.  I caught her just as she was leaving home so we met in Verona and I rode with her to deliver the food box.  Then we went to a couple of grocery stores in Staunton and came on home.  On my way home I stopped by the Mount Sidney post office and made arrangements for our mail to be held Thursday – Saturday then again Sunday – July 6.

I had a CUMC Finance Meeting at 2:00 in the afternoon so I spent some time beforehand getting my documents ready for the meeting.  The biggest thing we had to do was to decide how to handle the check we’d received from a member for a substantial amount (over $15,000).  We elected to put the money in Central’s money market fund at City National Bank which I hope to take care of tomorrow.

After that meeting Lynn and I made a Costco run on behalf of Central.  I had been asked to buy some items for the custodian, Janet.  We were able to pick them up and get back in plenty of time to eat dinner then take our neighborhood walk before my Central Council meeting tonight at 7:00.  The weather had changed substantially from the morning’s rain.  By this afternoon it was dry and much cooler with highs only in the low 70’s.

I’m the secretary of Central’s Council so I took minutes during the Zoom meeting.  It isn’t hard to do because I Zoom on my laptop and do the minutes on the desktop.  My goal is to get the minutes e-mailed to Pastor Won and the Council Chair, Tom Davis, less than one minute after the meeting ends.  Tonight I did it well within the one minute goal.

I am not a UVA fan in any sport.  I have my reasons:  1) In 1981 WVU played UVA in football at Charlottesville.  They played on my birthday.  It was the first year I had moved to Virginia from Morgantown.  I went to the football game a little homesick to cheer on my Mountaineers.  Well, WVU got its butt kicked that night.  But what was really upsetting was that the UVA pep band at halftime did a very demeaning skit depicting West Virginians as uneducated hillbillies.  The President of UVA later apologized to the WVU president for this.  He may have forgiven them but I have not.  2)  Kay applied to UVA, was accepted, and also applied for the Jefferson Scholarship, a full ride to UVA.  She did not get it despite having every qualification in the world for it.  Of course, she got the same scholarship at Georgia Tech which actually turned out great for her.  But why she was not given the Jefferson Scholarship is a mystery to me.  I have not forgiven them for this oversight.   3)  When Kay was a senior at Georgia Tech, she applied for law schools in various places, including UVA.  Again they did not pick her.  They did make a good choice in picking Andy.  I have never forgiven UVA for slighting my daughter TWICE.

That being said, UVA made it to the College World Series and was on ESPN tonight against Mississippi State.  As I wrote this post I watched the game.  For baseball, it was an interesting game.  The UVA pitcher threw a no-hitter for the first seven innings and Virginia scored 4 runs early to take a 4 – 0 lead. But in the 8th, a Mississippi State player hit a two run home run cutting UVA’s lead to 4  – 2.  Then they got two more on base and another player hit a home run making it 5 – 4 Mississippi State.  A couple of hits later they scored again. What a comeback! Then in the bottom of the 8th UVA had a home run to cut the lead to 6 – 5. Virginia couldn’t manage anything in the last two innings and fell.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

June 22                Infected                   Died

World             179,910,559           3,897,368

US                     34,434,081              617,864

Virginia                678,909                11,367

Augusta County       5,976                       76


            Virginia          8,865,628  (4,222,209 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 70.0% of the adult population who have at least one shot. With these figures, Virginia became the 16th state achieving Biden’s goal of 70% of adults having at least one shot.)

            Augusta County        65,157  (32,824 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, and Gus.)

After two straight days of excellent numbers, Augusta County had its 76th death due to COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.  Of course, I have no idea who this was but I’d bet my savings this person was unvaccinated.

June 23, 2021

Today our foursome played tennis again after getting rained out yesterday.  I wrote yesterday about how I thought I was playing well at the time so I looked forward to playing today.  I think I played the worst I’ve played in months!  It just doesn’t make sense to me.  I lost my serve five out of six times.  My partner and I lost the first set 7 – 5 and after we switched partners I lost again, this time 7 – 6.  And it just wasn’t losing that got to me, it was hitting the ball poorly.  None of my strokes were decent today.  Oh well, at least I got some exercise.

After tennis, I went to Central and got some Treasurer’s duties behind me.  I think I’m leaving everything in pretty decent shape until we get back from Maine though I will have a chance on Sunday to pay a bill or two.

I had an appointment after lunch today to get my fuel pump replaced on my Honda.  This was a factory recall from Honda because apparently there was a problem with the original fuel pump which would cause the car to stall.  I never experienced this but the recall was free and a safety factor.  The only issue is that it took a couple of hours.  I just sat in the waiting room and took advantage of the dealership’s WiFi.

Today was also grass cutting day since I’ll be gone to Abingdon tomorrow, Bramwell on Friday and Saturday, then back here only for Sunday before leaving for Maine and New York for eight days.  After cutting the grass, Lynn cut my hair.  She does a fine job.

Lynn came up with a really neat craft activity for the kids on the Maine trip.  We needed to buy some materials for this (I’m keeping that secret) and we both went to various Dollar General stores in order to find them.  Tonight after dinner we finally got all we needed.  We also went to a Dollar Tree and Walmart in Dayton then came home via Smiley’s.

Here are today’s COVID-19 numbers:

June 23                Infected                   Died

World             180,341,403           3,906,629

US                     34,448,137              618,278

Virginia                679,137                11,368

Augusta County       5,982                       76


            Virginia 8,888,674  (4,235,822 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 70.1% of the adult population who have at least one shot.)         

            Augusta County        65,250  (32,892 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, and Gus.) 

Tomorrow we leave for Abingdon, then two days in Bramwell, then back here on Saturday.  On Monday we head for Kennebunkport.  Should be fun!

June 24, 2021

We had a leisurely drive to Abingdon today.  Lynn had a haircut scheduled at 7:30 this morning and by 8:30 we were on our way to Roanoke.  That was our first stop where we picked up some pictures frames and a scooter from Jim and left him with some ice cream he had bought for Faron and Coen last Sunday but left at our house.  He was very busy today cutting grass.  He’s trying to get all 25 of his lawn customers taken care of so he can leave on Sunday for Maine.

Our next stop was at Draper Mercantile where we had a wonderful lunch.  Lynn had a hamburger with pimento cheese and I had two ham and cheese sliders.  We both had fries.  I had a couple of cups of their coffee—I’ve had it every time I’ve been there and love it.

Next we drove on to Abingdon but got to the hotel before our room was ready.  So we went to the Creeper Trail and walked a couple of miles.  The weather was perfect for walking and so was the trail.  It was actually quite busy with bikers and walkers.

From there we made a stop at the Abingdon Kroger then came on to the Comfort Suites where we always stay.  We had made this reservation with points and when we checked in we were told that we had been given a complimentary upgrade to a room with a jacuzzi in it.  We didn’t use the jacuzzi but just the thought of being upgraded because we stay here so much was rewarding.  We have been staying here for around ten years usually 6 – 8 times each year since we come to the Barter Theatre so often.  The hotel is always clean.

After checking in to our room we hopped back in the car and drove to another favorite spot of ours in this part of the world, the Blackbird Bakery in Bristol.  There we got ice cream cones plus we bought some pastries for tomorrow morning’s breakfast.  This bakery is so busy it is open 24 hours a day.  After eating our ice cream we walked a couple of blocks to downtown Bristol which is an interesting city because one side of Main Street is in Virginia and the other is in Tennessee.  We both got in our 10,000+ steps today which was good for a day in which we spent nearly four hours riding in our car.

While waiting on the show, I texted cousin Becky Allen to see if the town was having its annual weenie roast tomorrow night.  She quickly wrote back that it had been postponed until September this year.  Bummer—our September is already quite full so I doubt that we’ll be able to make it.  Nonetheless, our plan is to meet Butch around noon and possibly have lunch at the new Mexican restaurant.  Can you imagine that—a Mexican restaurant in Bramwell?  When I was growing up there I never even heard of a taco or burrito.

The Barter show we went to tonight was an old familiar one for us, Always…Patsy Cline.  We’ve seen it at least twice in the past.  But the setting was very different thanks to COVID.  The Barter has moved its shows to a local drive-in theatre, the Moonlite.  Our tickets were in Row B, Parking Spot 9.  We could see the stage clearly from there and the sound was piped in over our radio on FM 100.5.  Plus, cameras projected the image on the large theatre screen above the stage.  Quite unusual!  They cleverly used a green screen background for part of the stage and would, at times, change the background using the green screen as foreground. 

The best part of the show was the voice of the actress who portrayed Patsy Cline.  Her voice was wonderful and mimicked Patsy’s very, very well.  All in all it was a fantastic show.  We were so glad we came! 

Here are today’s COVID-19 numbers:

June 24                Infected                   Died

World             180,739,556           3,915,122

US                     34,463,714              618,616

Virginia                679,330                11,378

Augusta County       5,984                       77


            Virginia 8,915,179  (4,252,807 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 70.1% of the adult population who have at least one shot.)         

            Augusta County        65,397  (32,985 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, and Gus.) 

As much as we’ve had dramatic recovery from the pandemic, in the last three days Augusta County has lost two people to COVID-19.  Only 77 people have been lost in a year and a half so this week’s numbers are disturbing.  I suppose these are people who have been battling it for a long time and lost their battle.  But I’m only guessing.

June 25, 2021

We left Abingdon fairly early today, and since Bluefield was only an hour, 45 minutes away, we got to West Virginia well before lunchtime.  We had texted Butch who suggested that we stop by the B & B where he was staying, the Bluefield Inn, because he really liked it.  So we did.  It was on Jefferson Street just ½ block from the house Mom Cook lived in for the last 15 or so years of her life.  Indeed, one of the things we did was to walk up the steep street to her house where I took a couple of photos.

After visiting at the bed and breakfast, we then drove to Bramwell, arriving just before noon.  We decided to eat at the new Mexican restaurant, Casa Familia.  It was a good decision.  Lynn and I split a burrito and we all enjoyed chips and guacamole.  While we were there eating outside, we saw several Bramwell residents including cousins Becky and Judie. 

Then we walked down to the Corner Shop and visited briefly with more old acquaintances including Greg and Debbie Murphy.  From there we decided to take a hike around Bramwell.  We walked from downtown toward the house Butch and I grew up in and then kept going to both of the two reservoirs in the hollow above the house.  They were very picturesque though the path, especially to the older reservoir, was a little muddy.  I took lots of pictures.

Walking back, we made a loop and ended up at the Presbyterian Church.  Bramwell is still a pretty town despite the deteriorating condition of some of its houses.  My pictures show this.  The weather was nice for walking and Becky had joined the three of us for the entire hike.

After we returned to town, we headed to Princeton to check in at our hotel, Fairfield Inn.  On the way we stopped to get Lynn some tea and me some Coke from McDonalds.  We also did a little shopping at Walmart which is very near to the hotel. 

We checked in, rested a bit, and I uploaded my first set of pictures to Flickr.  Soon it was time to change clothes as Butch had invited to treat us for dinner at a new restaurant in Bluefield, the Vault, at which he had eaten last evening.  It was only a 30 minutes drive from our hotel to the restaurant.  The restaurant was in an old bank building, hence its name.  It was a four star restaurant.  Becky joined us there, too, and Butch paid for everything.  We had drinks beforehand, an exquisite dinner, and even dessert.  Lynn had a tenderloin meal and I had ziti and meatballs.  It was the finest eating I’ve ever had in a restaurant in Mercer County, for sure.

Returning to the hotel, I uploaded my second set of pictures then we called it quits for the day.  It was a really nice day in southern West Virginia. 

Lynn and I are doing research.  She would like for us to get a new mattress for our bed at home.  So on this short trip and on our longer trip to New England we are recording how she slept on each hotel bed.  If, indeed, one of them gives her the most comfort and least amount of discomfort to her bad back, we’ll find out what the brand is and buy one for our home.  I’ve got a spreadsheet going to record each night’s mattress data.

I’ve noticed something different about the houses in southwestern Virginia and southern West Virginia compared to what we see in our neighborhood—there are no Trump signs here.  Many houses in Augusta County still have the Trump 2020 and Trump/Pence signs in their yards.  I have yet to see the first one of these since we’ve left Augusta County.  I’m surprised and can’t really explain it.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

June 25                Infected                   Died

World             181,162,689           3,924,553

US                     34,482,142              619,147

Virginia                679,472                11,389

Augusta County       5,984                       77


            Virginia 8,937,705  (4,265,194 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 70.4% of the adult population who have at least one shot.)         

            Augusta County        65,540  (33,081 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, and Gus.) 

June 26, 2021

This day began in Princeton WV and ended up back home.  We were invited to eat breakfast with Butch at the B & B he was staying at in Bluefield so we took him up on the offer.  We had some delicious juice, fruit, waffles, and bacon.  Then we went to the Bluefield City Park and found a really nice trail to walk on.  It was shady, graveled, and level.  We dropped Butch back off and headed for Princeton to get ready for the Hill Reunion.

To do so, we had to first make arrangements to get some fried chicken.  We tried Kroger first but were told it had to be ordered 24 hours in advance.  Then we tried Chick Fil-A online but the first available pickup time there was 1:30 and the picnic began at 1:00.  So we went to the Chick Fil-A in person where they were most accommodating, telling us we could pick up our chicken at 12:30.

We went back to the hotel, packed, and checked out.  Then we got our chicken and drove to Pinnacle Rock State Park where the reunion was being held.

There were 31 people there—less than in some years but still a good turnout.  The food was plentiful and good, as usual.  Becky had ordered some really neat cookies decorated with Bramwell insignia.  We stayed until 4:00 then headed home.

The trip home took us just over three hours.  It took a while to get everything unpacked.  Of course, I had to work on uploading the pictures I took during the day but I got it all done.  All in all I took and posted 170 photos from this weekend.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

June 26                Infected                   Died

World             181,533,020           3,932,451

US                     34,489,649              619,343

Virginia                679,680                11,392

Augusta County       5,982                       77


            Virginia 8,962,502  (4,279,531 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 70.5% of the adult population who have at least one shot.)         

            Augusta County        65,715  (33,194 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, and Gus.) 

June 27, 2021

This was quite a busy day with things to catch up on from our three days away and many things to get ready for our upcoming nine day trip.  Plus we had church, a musical with Betsy performing in it, and a ball game with Henry and Gus playing.  Whew!

After Zoom Sunday School, we went to church.  Afterwards, I stayed to do a few Treasurer’s jobs plus a task our custodian Janet asked me to do.  By the time we got home from church, I had to rush because I needed to make a Costco run.  I got everything there I was supposed to get but several things slowed me down so I got home later than I wanted.

Nonetheless, we had time to make it to Betsy’s performance in The Lion King Jr. at the Waynesboro theatre.  It was very well done.  Lynn and I had seen the Broadway in Richmond performance of The Lion King a few years ago and this was a neat adaptation made for younger performers.  Indeed, Betsy was one of the youngest on the stage.  She had several non-speaking roles including that of a hyena.  No surprise, I think she did a marvelous job.  I wasn’t allowed to take pictures during the show but I did take lots afterwards.

We came back home, ate dinner, and did some preliminary packing. We’re going to leave at 9:00 tomorrow morning, taking two cars, and should be at an ice cream creamery for lunch near Chambersburg PA.

Jim drove all the way from his house in Roanoke to Maine today.  This was a 12 hour drive.  He wanted to have a few days to spend with his good friend Bradley before meeting us on Wednesday in Kennebunkport.  I know it was a long day of driving for him and I’m delighted he got there without any issues.

After we got some items packed tonight, we had time to catch the second summer league basketball game for Fort Defiance High School tonight.  They had lost the first game to a powerhouse team from Parry McClure which featured a 6’ 9” Division I player.  Their second game was against Spotswood, the premier team in our area.  But Spotswood didn’t have their star player tonight, another Division I prospect, so we thought Fort had a chance.  Indeed, they built up at 13 point lead at the half and held on to win it 55 – 48.  Henry had a good solid game though he was exhausted by the end because Spotswood has a good inside game and he had to work hard.  When he came out, Gus substituted for him.  The varsity had asked three boys from the JV team to play with them tonight since Fort was missing some of its players so Gus had on the same uniform as Henry for the first time in many years.  And Gus did a decent job including one bucket and no turnovers.  It was fun to watch and winning games like this should give them some confidence.  One of Fort’s players, Tyreek Veney, was superb tonight.  He must have had 30 of Fort’s points.

I’ll try to keep writing while we’re on the road but I may not have as much free time to keep up.  We’ll see…

Here are today’s COVID-19 numbers:

June 27                Infected                   Died

World             181,861,268           3,938,817

US                     34,494,677              619,424

Virginia                679,829                11,397

Augusta County       5,985                       77


            Virginia 9,004,641  (4,300,206 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 70.8% of the adult population who have at least one shot.)         

            Augusta County        65,867  (33,264 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, and Gus.) 

June 28, 2021

Our first day of our New England vacation!  Before we left, I made a trash run with garbage from our house and the Gutshall’s.  When I returned home, Lynn and I loaded the Venza.  I mean we LOADED it!  It was packed with barely enough room for Freddie and Betsy to fit in the back seat.  My goal was to leave at 9:00.  We were at the Gutshall’s by 8:45 and actually left shortly after 9:00 which was good.

We (Lynn) did more driving today than we’ll do on most days.  Our first stop was at a Walmart in Martinsburg WV where Lynn wanted to look for a shirt and the rest of us needed a bathroom break.  Then we headed on to the Tricking Springs Creamery in Chambersburg PA for lunch.

Our entire ride today was on I-81.  The traffic around Harrisonburg was awful, as usual, but it did get a little better by the time we entered West Virginia, then Maryland, then Pennsylvania.  We traveled in tandem with Lynn leading the way in our Venza and Ann, Josh, Henry, and Gus following in their Rav 4.  One fear I had all along was that we’d run into some interstate accident with traffic completely stopped on the way.  We see these all the time around Staunton and Harrisonburg.

Our stop at Trickling Springs Market and Creamery was a superb one.  They advertised ice cream from Smith Mountain Creamery which Lynn and I went to on our ice cream trip earlier this year.  Lynn had a milkshake she loved with chocolate peanut butter ice cream and made with chocolate milk.  I had something I’d never had before—a pretzel hot dog—which was a hot dog cooked in a pretzel bun.  It came with cheese for dipping.  Super!  For dessert I had a two scoops of delicious caramel pretzel ice cream.  The Gutshalls all had bountiful lunches, too, with roast beef sandwiches, pretzel hot dogs, and ice cream for dessert.  Another reason this was a good stop was the timing—we got there right at noon. 

We weren’t in a big hurry because our reservation was at the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Best Western Hotel which was 2 ½ hours from Trickling Springs.  Today was very hot with temperatures in the 90’s so the outdoor pool there was something everyone looked forward to.

We got to the hotel around 3:45.  We were given adjoining rooms, each with two queen beds.  It was too hot outside to go swimming then, so I hooked up my laptop to the tv in our room and we played a couple of games of Jeopardy.  Then we decided to head out for dinner.

We wanted Ann’s family to pick the restaurant and they chose Ale Mary’s, a pub in downtown Scranton.  We drove there, arriving around 5:45 and were told it would be a 30 minute wait.  It turned out to be longer than that.  Their menu, available online only, was extensive and they had some specials, one of which was a burger with macaroni and cheese in gouda cheese.  Henry, Freddie, and I all ordered this.  Lynn got a salad, and Gus got a shrimp dish.  Betsy ordered a cauliflower dish.  It took forever for our food to arrive and, when it did, they neglected to bring Betsy’s and Freddie’s.  Once again we waited and waited until finally the waitress apologized that their orders had been lost and would be reordered.  They ended up not charging us for Freddie and Betsy’s meal though they tacked on a 20% gratituity because there were eight of us.  Our food was good but there was way too much of it.  We all left gobs of mac and cheese on our plates.

We were in the restaurant for over two hours.  I was anxious that the kids weren’t going to get to swim.  I chose this hotel specifically because it had an outdoor pool and wanted them to get to spend time in it.  We got back and they got changed.  Though the pool said it closed at 8:00, actually they got to stay in it until 9:00.  It wasn’t a great pool, but it was a pool, it was outside, and it gave them a way to cool off and play.  I loved hearing them giggle.

It was a long day, so we settled back in at the hotel and made plans for tomorrow’s trip to Springfield MA.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

June 28                Infected                   Died

World             181,179,904           3,945,087

US                     34,511,363              619,592

Virginia                679,917                11,402

Augusta County       5,984                       77


            Virginia 9,015,280  (4,306,417 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 70.9% of the adult population who have at least one shot.)         

            Augusta County        65,895  (33,281 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, and Gus.) 

June 29, 2021

Today was another day of long riding/driving.  We left the hotel between Scranton and Wilkes Barre around 8:30 and headed to a Sheetz in Scranton because the breakfast at the Best Western was awful.  Fortunately, Ann had the Sheetz app on her phone so we were able to get our entire breakfast ordered and it was ready when we got there.

From there, it was a 3 ½ hour drive to Wethersfield CT where I had found an ice creamery that I thought Lynn would like.  The others agreed to go along with it.  We ran into some slowdowns on I-84 East so we had to hustle in order to make it to the Naismith Hall of Fame in plenty of time to get our moneys worth there.  So we grabbed our ice cream then went straight to the Hall of Fame.

I can’t praise Betsy and Freddie enough for their behavior in our cramped back seat.  They have both been superb travelers.  Betsy has had her phone and Freddie my iPad (with Disney Plus) to occupy themselves.  But neither has whined or complained about anything despite spending the last two days strapped into a confined space in our Venza.

Here’s a real interesting irony:  twelve years ago, Lynn and I made a New England drive of our own.  On that trip, we loaded into her van a large model of a colonial house that Lynn had won in a fund raising raffle years before.  The model house was at least four feet long by two feet wide.  It was constructed by a Waynesboro resident and was very detailed. It must have been worth some money but we got to the point in our house where it just took up space.  We called the house it was modeled after, the Buttolph – Williams home, which now is a museum which charges admission.  They didn’t express any interest in it so we called the nearby elementary school who said they’d be glad to have it.  So in 2009 Lynn and I and the school principal carried it into the school in Wethersfield CT.  They seemed very appreciative of our donation.

Guess where the ice cream shop we stopped at today was?  Wethersfield CT, just one mile from the Buttolph – Williams home!  We drove by it to show the kids.

We were able to make it to Springfield MA in time for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.  It was a very good visit.  There were three floors of exhibits, some interactive, which kept all of our attentions.  The bottom floor was a basketball court with various height baskets and even a peach basket as one.  The exhibits featured such things as how small Bugsy Bogues was (5’ 3”) to how tall Yao Ming was (7’ 5”).  Shaquille O’Neal’s size 22 shoes were on display.  The history of basketball was highlighted.  It was a fine place to visit and we had plenty of time to explore it.

I took lots of pictures inside the Hall of Fame.  We were there around two hours.  From there, we found out hotel and checked in.

The Best Western Hotel last night was not a welcoming place at all.  The desk staff were downright snarly and there were plenty of signs saying things like “No public bathrooms.”   They had a sign in the bathrooms that said if you forgot anything, ask at the front desk and you’d be given it.  Well, two of Ann’s kids forgot their toothbrushes yet when they asked they were told they didn’t have any to hand out but she could buy them for $3.00 each.  I mentioned that the breakfast was awful.  Well, the Hampton Inn we stayed at tonight was a pleasant change.  The staff were all extremely welcoming and accommodating.  Ann was given two toothbrushes for her boys.  The outdoor pool was much nicer. 

After our bad experience with dinner last night, I decided to pick the restaurant for tonight.  I found one online and e-mailed it to Ann and family and they all agreed to give it a try.  Then I called them and made sure they could seat the eight of us. 

The restaurant was named Liberty’s Mediterranean Giant Grinders.  With 74 reviews on Trip Advisor it was rated a 5.0 out of 5.  Yet when we pulled up there we were the only ones dining in.  There was no air conditioning and it was very, very hot!  But all of us agreed that it was a great restaurant.  It was run by four Palestinians who worked hard to prepare our meal.  Lynn and I split a steak and cheese grinder.  Gus had friend chicken.  Henry and Josh split a large grinder.  Betsy had something meatless.  It was a wonderful meal.

After the meal, we returned to the hotel.  We then took turns doing some nearby shopping since there was a Costco, Aldi’s, and a donut store nearby we’re going to tap into for breakfast tomorrow.

Lynn and I had a funny experience.  She needed her ice tea so we went to a McDonald’s a mile away from the hotel.  We went to the drive thru to order.  First, we were told they were out of large cups.  Then we were told they could sell us a medium tea but it would cost more than the large tea.  Then they said they were out of tea.  I asked them “What DO you have?”  She response came back, “Not much.”  So we went to another McDonalds a mile further on.  It had the tea but when we paid $2,00 for the $1.49 tea, the lady gave me 26¢ back then told me she was out of quarters.  I told her I’d take two dimes and a nickel.  She said she didn’t have any of those, either.  So Lynn told her we’d take 25 pennies and we did.

Tonight the kids played in the pool for a while then they showered and came to our room for a few more games of Jeopardy.  That Jeopardy site has worked out well.  I’ve created lots more games for the rest of our time in Maine.

Here are today’s COVID-19 statistics:

June 28                Infected                   Died

World             182,580,354           3,953,846

US                     34,527,493              619,980

Virginia                680,065                11,412

Augusta County       5,986                       78


            Virginia 9,028,951  (4,314,592 residents are fully vaccinated including Kay, Andy, Jim, and Morgan.  That’s 70.9% of the adult population who have at least one shot.)         

            Augusta County        65,985  (33,337 residents are fully vaccinated including us, Josh, Ann, Henry, and Gus.)