Tag Archives: Walnut Grove Minnesota

At camp this year, I’ll be taking lots of pictures

Greetings, readers. This year might be one of the last seasons that I go to Bear Spring Camps. When I was a kid, I imagined that I would go to Bear Spring Camps every year until either they sold the place, or I died. As an adult, more realistic choices have to be made. Money is an issue, though I might have enough for five more years of vacations. As most of us know, we can’t have two big vacations in one year, and there are a couple of other things I would like to do with that money. One thing I would like to do is take a three-to-five day cruise, perhaps to the Bahamas. Another thing would be to perhaps take a few days and travel to a destination that I’ve always wanted to see, such as taking in an Orioles baseball game in Baltimore, or going to visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove, Minnesota. Okay, the cat’s out of the bag, I loved Little House on the Prairie when I was younger.

For this summer, I’m going to purchase several one-time throw-away cameras and click, click, click all over the camp ground. I want every shot from every angle. Also, if my friends agree, I would love to have pictures of them. I do understand though that some people are camera-shy, I know I am. I think the best thing to do is stick with taking photographs of the camp ground and surrounding area. I will miss Bear Spring Camps so much when I am not able to go back.

As I blogged about a week or two ago, I also have an idea for a small side business. With the camp owners’ permission of course, I would find all my VHS tapes that I filmed over the years, see if they can be put on a DVD or Blu-ray disc, and recreate a virtual Bear Spring Camps day. I would like to thank all the readers who read that blog entry; that one really seemed to pop, with people thinking it is a good idea.

What else am I going to do with myself in August when I am no longer able to go to camp? There are many local sites and activities here in central Pennsylvania of which I have never partaken. One is the Grange Fair at the end of August. Others are local amusement parks and camping grounds which have small cabins, where I could get that hint of relaxation and nature. Would it be as good as Bear Spring Camps? No. But it would be something close.

Yes, yes, pictures, pictures. Just in case my time is limited, I’m going to bring Bear Spring Camps to me. Later on today, Rebecca and I are going to check out GoFundMe and see if there is a way for me to get the Virtual Bear Spring Camps project off the ground. I will definitely keep you up to date on my progress. A lot of my regular readers showed interest in that idea. ūüôā

So there you have it folks, that’s the news for today. I’ll have a top ten list ready for next Wednesday. I hope you enjoy the coming days, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

If I had a time machine

Greetings, readers. I know that I have spoken before about things I might change in my life if I could. Well, today, let’s take that old time machine and see what you or I would do. For instance, if you could, would you go back to Dallas in 1963 and prevent the assassination of President Kennedy? I would like to, but it would be a tough task. First I would have to get into the Texas Book Depository, find Lee Harvey Oswald, and stop him without getting shot myself. An almost impossible task.

One thing I would love to do is go back in time and visit the Ingalls family. Yes, they really did exist, living in many places including Walnut Grove. I always loved the TV program and its depicted simple way of life, with love of family and moral values.

Another thing I’d love to do is go back to any certain Tuesday evening when I was a child and have my mom take me to the Bellefonte, PA. YMCA for my swimming lessons. As I recall, I hated that experience at the time¬†but, as it often seems to happen, I look back on that event with much fonder memories. I would like to walk around and watch myself as I got a plastic football helmet from a vending machine after the lesson. I would like to experience¬†the evening¬†through¬†someone else’s eyes.

One of my biggest regrets, and I’ve said this before, is my lack of readiness for life. I would definitely apply for that¬†job at McDonald’s or Burger King as a teenager¬†and put half my paycheck aside each week. If I had learned the value of saving my money rather than being a spendthrift I would be in a much better monetary situation now.

A second thing I would do back in my schooling years would be a little more risky, but possibly worth it. I would be much more of a romantic person with my 11th grade girlfriend Marilee, and see if any kind of passion would have budded in that relationship. In real life we went through that whole year basically as good buddies. I was so shy back then. The risk would be that she would reject me and I would have lost that whole year of friendship with her. The reward would have been a chance to have a longer relationship with Marilee and the possibility of a long-lasting romance.

Now let’s turn the dial forward. Where to go and what to do in the future? I think I would set the dial for the year 2217 just to take a look at what technological advances the world will make. Would there be anything close to the Starship Enterprise? Or, heaven forbid, would there be a nuclear disaster and would I find myself alone? I know Rebecca likes time travel stories and I’m hoping that this entry is intriguing to her.

On a side note, I’ve been reading Four’s a Crowd, Darren’s book, and I’m finding it quite good. Oddly enough I started¬†with chapter 9. That is a chapter that Darren wrote with all new material, none of which was in my play Kimberly. I’m enjoying it immensely. I am reading the novel for pleasure the first time through, then I will go back and read it again with a fine tooth comb and make notes. After that, I’ll set up another meeting with Darren and we shall be very close to finishing the book. I think it will be a winner.

That’s today’s news. We will be working out of the office tomorrow and¬†we¬†will write blog entry #600. So until then, have a great day, get out of the snow if you are buried in it – we got eight inches – do take care, and happy reading.

My life without a car

Greetings, readers. I have been without a car since 2008. I enjoyed the years I drove very much, but an accident totaled my vehicle. With the money situation the way it is, I’ve been told by my accountant that even a used car is not in the current spending plans. For now the occasional Zipcar will have to suffice.

In the early years of my driving career, I would drive past our local airport and head for the back country roads. They would twist and turn and that drive really kept my skills and reflexes up. The only time I really drive distances now is in August when I go to Maine in a rental car.

Even though I have Meals on Wheels, a lot of times I like to have an evening snack when I watch TV. Luckily there is a store nearby, but it is a drug store with a small selection of food in it and their prices are not cheap. For me to go to an actual supermarket I would have to either rent a Zipcar or take the bus. The bus poses two problems. First, I’m going by someone else’s time schedule. And second, depending where I get dropped off, I would have to lug my bags back home. It is not the worst thing in the world, but when you have a convenience store right in walking distance, that choice is more expensive but quicker.

The only doctors in walking distance are my psychologist and the dentist. My general practitioner and, most importantly, my neurologist, have to be reached either by bus, cab, or Zipcar. This can get a bit expensive and inconvenient. For my next doctor’s appointment, I will need to get a bus an hour and fifteen minutes early, because the next scheduled bus would make me late to my doctor’s appointment. And as much as an hour could be between the end of an appointment and the next bus.

I don’t mind taking alternate transportation when it is needed, but I’ve cut my Zipcar usage way down. Basic insurance is covered by the company, but yearly dues and full insurance are two yearly major expenses for me.

If I had my own car, I could hop in it tomorrow and go visit Walnut Grove, Minnesota, if I wanted to. To accomplish this in my current situation, would require a check of the Amtrak train schedule, one of the many long distance bus charter companies, or an airplane. With money tight, I think I’ll just stay home. My point is, that if I just want to get up and go, I can’t. About 75% of my life must be planned out.

Zipcars do help. But that sense of freedom, of hopping in my vehicle and going anywhere anytime is gone for good. From now on, I will have to walk, take a bus or a cab, or some other means of transportation, to get where I’m going. This coming Sunday for Easter, as happened this past Christmas, my girlfriend’s friends have invited us to have dinner, but they have to come pick us up in their car. Although this is not the most terrible thing in the world, I do feel a little bit like a burden to them. Perhaps next holiday, we’ll rent a Zipcar and pick them up.

If I have to take my girlfriend somewhere, like to her doctor or to the hospital, the Zipcars are $9 an hour, and we would book it for at least 3 hours to be sure we have enough time. My lowest tally with her has been $27. That is not exactly the same as her chipping in $5 for gas if I took her in my car. Plus, if all the Zipcars are rented and she needs to get there in a hurry, we are calling a taxi cab. And once again, we wait for them. If we want to take a drive to see the scenery, or go for a special lunch someplace that is a few towns over, I would want to rent that Zipcar for at least 3 to 4 hours, and we are talking about $36. Sometimes we just don’t have that to pay, so we don’t go.

Do I miss my car? Absolutely. With all the expenses, such as gas, upkeep and insurance, I’m probably lucky that I don’t have one. Knowing my luck, I would crack a cylinder head and it would be a $3,000 repair. Do I miss my freedom? Absolutely. But in 8 years I’ve learned to adjust. Things are more difficult without a car, but I am making it work.

Until Friday, when we will have another interesting blog post for you, take care, have a great couple of days, and happy reading.

Top ten list of places I want to visit or revisit

Greetings, readers. Something this morning made me think about all the places I’ve been and all the places I still wish to see before I die. I thought to myself, wow, there is a top ten list to work on today. Probably only the top three will be in order. So, without further ado, here we go.

#10. Walnut Grove, Minnesota. I would love to see the town made famous on Little House on the Prairie and visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum.

#9. Take a trip to Holland to visit the relatives.

#8. Catalina Island, California. I was there with my ex-wife Georgia once and it was beautiful.

#7. Los Angeles, California. Georgia and I did the tourist attraction bus tours. That was such fun. I would love to do it again.

#6. Wilmington, North Carolina. My friend David’s daughter is going to college there and she just loves it. It is about ten minutes away from the beach. If all goes well, I will see Wilmington at Emily’s graduation.

#5. Gottlieben, Switzerland and the Drakensberg castle, which I remember as a hotel. Gottlieben is a little town, and I do mean little, on the Rhine river. Back in the day, you could take boat rides to various points along the river.

#4. London, England. I would love to hop aboard a British Airways 747, fly to Heathrow airport, get on a double-decker tour bus and see the sights of London, including Big Ben and 65 Eaton Place.

#3. I would dearly love to cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas. Georgia and I had a wonderful ten-day cruise and it was one of the highlights of my life.

#2. While we are on the topic of cruising, two more ships come to mind. Cunard’s Queen Mary 2¬†(my parents and I traveled on Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth 2¬†when I was a child. I was too young to realize what a wonderful experience it was.) Also I would love to go aboard the Princess cruise line’s Pacific Princess, aka the Love Boat.

#1. To continue to go to Bear Spring Camps in Maine for as many years as I can. It is my favorite place in the world.

There you have it; an easy peasey top ten list for a Friday. Take care, have a great weekend, and happy reading.

The top 10 things I would do if I won the Powerball jackpot

Greetings, readers. As this title implies, this shall be a straightforward entry. The top ten things that I would do if I won or shared a huge lottery jackpot, in no particular order (although #1 and #2 are my top two).

#10. Pay off my debt.

#9. Treat all my friends to one big dinner party.

#8. On a more serious note … I would give a substantial amount to local charities. Specifically, money to help people who need low-income housing, to feed the hungry, and to help give less fortunate kids things like Christmas presents.

#7. Buy a house. A big house. (With a maid, butler, and chauffeur.)

#6. Buy a car.

#5. Again, on a more serious note. I would use some of the money to pay for my completed education. I would finally get my degree at Penn State University.

#4. Speaking of Penn State, I would donate some money to the University.

#3. I would travel to a couple of places that I always wanted see. One is Walnut Grove, Minnesota, and the other would be a return trip to the Caribbean.

#2. I would buy another boat and call it the Galileo II and pay for Bear Spring Camps for, oh, at least the next ten or fifteen years.

#1. Take a world cruise on one of the Cunard ships. Yes, I want to be treated like royalty for a change.

Until Friday, take care, stay warm, and happy reading.