Epistle Number One

Well then, here I am! And guess what I have out here. A SKY! A lovely, massive, midwestern sky full of interesting clouds and wind and warm sunshine. The weather has been simply lovely since I arrived. Warm and sunny, although not hot, with a rainstorm last night which cooled it down even further.


The other thing I love about here is my house. It simply delights my antique-loving soul. The steep stairs are creaky, and there is a loose board in the floor in my bedroom doorway, and the wallpaper is ancient, with faded carpets to match, and there is an attic. A real, dusty, slanty attic with old stuff stored in it that makes me wish I were ten again.


Rosie and I arrived Saturday evening at about 6:30 or 7, after a fairly uneventful trip. The most exciting things that happened were watching two cops pull people over, and seeing a massive bespectacled yellow duck on top of a building in Cincinnati. We also stopped at Starbucks and drank a venti free birthday coffee that I had in an effort to be too late to accept the Kennells’ kind invitation for dinner. Like I said, it was very kind, but we were so shy. Alas, we weren’t quite successful, but we still didn’t go, since we were travel worn and weary and had my mountain of stuff to unpack besides.


Sunday Rosie got to experience my Mennonite church of the next nine months, complete with Sunday school and a warm welcome to the teachers from the pulpit. I’m still not sure how the pastor knew my name. We then lunched at the Kennells since they were not to be deterred from their hospitable intentions. Taco salad and a very funny conversations about how soybeans and corn are like women and men. Apparently soybeans are very unpredictable, and you never know what kind of crop you’ll have until you actually harvest, whereas corn you can tell once it has ears. I’ll let you decide which crop is like which gender, supposedly. 🙂

After Sunday afternoon naps, Stacie, Rosie and I went to Steve Ulrichs for a youth meeting. We admired their black faced sheep, and their very LARGE dog who thinks she is a lap dog, then sat on their lovely northern grass by the campfire. They fried their special “campfire donuts” for the occasion, and Rosie and I were properly interrogated about our family by Steve. Steve is one of the pastors here, and also Rhoda Wenger’s first cousin. The Ulrichs are a very warm and funny family, full of jokes and teasing. Our best quote of the evening was as follows.

Rosie: “Where do you guys go camping anyhow? In a cornfield?!”

Grant (Ulrich): “That’s low.”

So now if one of us says something particularly derogatory about Illinois, we can just follow it up with, “That’s low.”


Monday we got up bright and early, like 8:00, and headed to school after our slippery coffee. Here’s the thing: the water out here is dreadful. Awful. Horrid. Especially from some of the pipes in my house, where it actually sometimes comes out complete with little rust flakes. But from the newer bathroom downstairs, it’s tolerable, although it tastes, weirdly enough, like grass. However, it still has that slippery, softened taste, which makes for slippery coffee. Anyhow. Off that rabbit trail. We went to school and dove into decorating. Have I mentioned that I’m glad I brought Rosie? Her help has been quite invaluable. She dug out a projector from the depths of the office, and made a darling set of Dr. Seuss children, and a crooked house for my bulletin boards. The Dr. Seuss theme is complete with quotes, truffula trees, and hot air balloons. I’ll show you pictures once it’s all finished. We worked hard, and got quite a lot done!

Last night was supposed to be a softball game, part of a tournament, but it got rained out, so that was postponed till tonight. I can’t wait to go, because I love watching softball, and these guys are pretty good at it, which makes it more fun. So since it was postponed, we took a walk instead in the bright evening sunshine. We were being all touristy, and taking pictures of the sky and the cornfields, and acting all innocent whenever a truck went by. On our way back, we stopped at our next door neighbor’s house, since Stacie knew her previously. Her name is Norma, and she is in her fifties, unmarried. She lives alone right beside our house, and keeps her yard and her garden and our yard immaculate. She told us about her work of making orthopedic casts and inserts for shoes, and about their trip out west when she was twenty, which was about the last time she has traveled, and about driving the combine in the fields, and about her bout with cancer last year. I think she was glad for our company, and I was glad to meet her. She’s an adorable rolly polly little thing.


This morning at 12:30 Tricia flew in from Ecuador, and Stacie and her boyfriend Bradley picked her up in Chicago. So Rosie got to meet her at last over our slippery coffee this morning. After that, we went to school and worked some MORE on our decorating, and now we are in town in search of curtains for my fake window in my classroom, and onions so we can actually cook.


I will post pictures in a separate post so you can see my lovely sky here.


P.S. If you comment lots on my posts, you may feel slightly less guilty about not writing. Amen.


4 thoughts on “Epistle Number One

  1. In my defense, the question about camping was serious. I haven’t seen any trees yet besides the handful planted around each house. The only place I could think of that’s not beside a house is the vast, never ending cornfields. However, I discovered that just five miles from Rachel’s house is an area that has hills!


  2. This is me creeping on your old posts. Don’t ask how long I’ve been reading your blog today. You don’t want to know. But this entry cracks me up. Probably because it’s so weird that I didn’t really know you at this point and partly because you give such a complete picture of things I’ve never thought about before. Anyway, I need to stop being creepy…


    1. Oh, please creep on! Creeping means that at least you haven’t dropped dead of boredom, although it is slightly, um, nerve-wracking to try to remember what I wrote this far back. 🙂


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