Cousins’ Cabin Camp ©

Sorry I’ve been AWOL for a couple weeks but I’ve been at Cousins’ Cabin Camp, a much higher calling in more than one way. The first way is that the cabin is literally high in the Western Pennsylvania mountains. The second way is that my wife and I were reconnecting our granddaughters from GA and CT, who rarely get to see each other, and that indeed is a “Higher calling”!

Long time readers of this column may recall that several years ago my wife and her brother bought an old cabin in the PA mountains that had been in their cousins’ family for over sixty years. As a child, my wife spent the happiest days of her life there and she is passionate about sharing those memories with our grandchildren in such a way that they’ll feel the same about the place as she does.

The cabin itself is not exceptional in any way other than a beautiful and rustic old stone fireplace in the center of the living room. Other than that, quite modest. In fact, the only running water is the creek next door, the hand pump at the kitchen sink and the mile-away running mountain spring from which we collect and haul our drinking water. But these “Inconveniences” are part of the mystique of the place, especially to our grandkids.

So we packed up two granddaughters from Georgia and drove tag-team all night to Hershey, PA where we collected another three granddaughters from CT, and checked into a hotel. Next morning we were up bright and early ready to visit “Chocolate Town USA”. It’s a fascinating town and company with a rich, history of reaching out to underprivileged kids and helping employees through tough times as well. It was a day well spent, and spent we were after touring the “Factory”, which is really a tourist’s version of a real chocolate factory. The whole place reminded me of a chocolate-centric Cracker Barrel ® restaurant/store.

Then off to the cabin for a week. You talk about an exercise in patience, I think I deserve a “Gold Star” waiting on five granddaughters for a week, especially with three of them being teenagers!

But was it worth it? That’s the “$64,000 dollar question” (remember that show starring Hal March from 1955 to ’58 that got cancelled amongst a raft of quiz show scandals?). Only time will tell in the long term if our “Cousin knitting” will hold, but at the end of the week they all said they wanted to do a repeat next year so we took that as a good sign.

What did we do for a whole week? We hiked and swam under a mountain waterfall; swam in a stream under a covered bridge and picnicked IN the bridge when a thunderstorm broke on us; visited our favorite Amish store and bought lots of local maple syrup; sat around the fireplace every night reading aloud to each other The Long Winter, which kept everyone on the edge of their seats. I started the reading the first night while several of the girls were actually knitting, but thereafter the girls wanted to take turns reading which they did. I’d say that was a novel way to get teenage girls involved in this age of smart phones that everyone wants to talk to instead of real people.

5 Granddaughters

Bottom line: Was it worth it? Yes, we’re already talking about making it an annual excursion and we have no shortage of grandchildren coming behind these to keep it going. As long as we have the health to do it and willing cousins, I’d say it’s a “Go”.

Why put forth such an effort for a Cousins’ Cabin Camp? These days, families need all the help they can get to stay together. Do you have some grandchildren that need to be “knit together” too?

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Thanks for reading All About Seniors…..see you next week!

Bill Milby is a Director of Visiting Angels® of Central Georgia, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at william.mercylink@gmail.com

A Few of My Favorite Things ©

“A Few of My Favorite Things” as in:

…. whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things” from the iconic Julie Anderson song in The Sound of Music. But since my grade school teacher taught us that a “Few” had to be more than two, I have to cheat a bit because I only want to talk about two: a cabin and a book.

First, the cabin. That’s where we were last week and hence no All About Seniors column last week. It’s about a hundred years old and has been in my wife’s family for over 60 years. It’s just a mile, as the crow flies, from where Flight 93 went down on 911 in Pennsylvania coal country.

The cabin is my wife’s favorite place on the face of the earth so I try to take her there a couple times a year even though it’s an 800 mile trek; not exactly a weekend outing! Not that it has wonderful amenities as most people define them. No, exactly the opposite…..the only running water is the stream outside the kitchen window! But she does have a hand pump in the kitchen to pump some of that stream water into the sink. It’s full of wonderful childhood memories, not amenities. But since we’ve been going the last seven years that we’ve owned it, we have built some wonderful adult memories as well; enough said about that!

Second, the book: The Persian Gamble, another geo-political novel from our favorite author, Joel Rosenberg. We read the whole thing together while at the cabin; stayed up past midnight to finish it Saturday even though we had to get up early Sunday to catch a plane home. These are real “Page turners” that are hard to put down , especially as you get toward the ending crescendo.

This is the author’s latest of fourteen fiction novels and six non-fiction books. What makes the books so good is not only the author’s exceptional gift for writing but the breadth of experience he brings to the table and the resources he uses for his research.

Joel’s grandparents barely escaped from Russia by the skin of their teeth. Hs parents settled in NY, He attended Georgetown University, worked in Steve Forbes’ 2000 presidential bid and then Netanyahu’s 2000 Prime Minister bid in Israel. He’s a world traveler and speaker who now lives in Israel. But perhaps the thing that makes his work most unique is that he always incorporates his understanding of biblical eschatology to the political events he’s writing about. The results are so eerily accurate that he’s been summoned to address leaders at the highest levels of our government.

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Well, that’s where we were last week, enjoying “A few of our favorite things”. If you are so fortunate to still have a spouse to share life with, getting away somewhere with a book you can share together more than doubles the pleasure of reading!

But if you want to read The Persian Gable, you should read The Kremlin Connection first. Enjoy!

Thanks for reading All About Seniors…..see you next week!

Bill Milby is a Director of Visiting Angels® of Central Georgia, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at william.mercylink@gmail.com

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