Happy 50th Anniversary!

To learn something, to master something, anything, is as sweet as first love.  ~Geoffrey Wolff

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Mr. & Mrs. Bob Arbuckle tied the knot 8/8/64

With so much tragedy and terror going on in the world, especially with the airstrikes in Syria (targeting ISIS) and the persecution of Catholics in the Middle East and around the world, it is truly a delight to write about something worth celebrating.  I know this is a bit past due, but good news never expires.

On August 8, 2014, good friends’ of mine, Lorraine and Bob Arbuckle celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.  I’ve spoke of them before True Penn State Role Model and it is an honor to speak of them again.

I should correct that by saying, they are not only friends of mine, but in deed like my second family, for they’ve ALWAYS treated me as such.  From the time I met Lorraine and Bob (and the entire family), they’ve always included Kyle and me as part of their own, and welcomed us both with open arms.  They’ve extended the same gesture to my parents and sister alike.  Keep in mind, mom, dad and Nicole have never met Lorraine and Bob, or any of the Arbuckle clan!  In fact, I don’t think they even know what each looks like!  How about that for blind love!  As a nice gesture, some people may ask about others to strike up a conversation.  Not Lorraine and Bob, they ask because they really care.

Lorraine and Bob made it 50 years as a happily married couple.  For those of you who don’t do math, they began their journey together on August 8, 1964, when pictures where still taken in black and white and marriages where promises kept.  Now, I’m sure life wasn’t always bliss, but with the help of God, which they both credit, they made it through together, hand in hand.  Due to their strong union and strong moral ethics, over the years they did a wonderful job raising their daughter and two sons, while remaining a staple in the community.

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Lorraine & Bob Arbuckle celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary! 8/10/14

In addition to being benevolent people and raising sincere and goodhearted children, this amazing couple also gave themselves to making life better for those less fortunate.  Lorraine and Bob both gave back through the Rotary Club, the church and the soup kitchen just to name a few.  Yes, over the years between being responsible Americans and having very accomplished careers, they donated their time and money for good-will.

Did I mention they are grandparents to a wonderful little man?  Their devotion runs so deep for that young fellow, take one look into his eyes and you know what his grandparents mean to him.

Lorraine and Bob’s affection extends even further to include their son-in-law, Erik.  Erik’s words have always been kind to the Arbuckle’s, but what impresses me the most are his actions, which only reinforces his words of respect and gratitude.  Like I said one big tight family!

It’s true, you can love and love and never run out.  I was a testament to this at Lorraine and Bob’s surprise 50th Anniversary Celebration.  Their daughter Lisa, who is a really good friend of mine, (heck I’m also friends with her husband, her brother’s Robby and Jeffrey, and the cousins and the aunts and the uncles etc), invited me to the party.  What an honor!  As I mingled in and out of family and long time friends, I saw and felt the same emotions radiating from everyone in the room.  What was it exactly?  I couldn’t quite pinpoint it, but it was definitely a mixture of  love and respect and appreciation.  That is what Lorraine and Bob mean to everyone they encounter.  They are no doubt rock stars to their family and friends!

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The Abuckle/Zettelmayer Clan! Front: Lisa Zettelmayer, Bob & Lorraine Arbuckle Back: Erik Zettelmayer, Jeffrey & Robby Arbuckle 8/10/14

On a side note, it was Lisa who organized the gala with the aid of recruited family and friends.  She did such a spectacular job!   I don’t mean that lightly.  Being an event planner myself, no detail was overlooked.  She put a ton of work into the day and it was truly amazing!  Lisa wanted everything to be perfect for her parents as did Robby and Erik (They both had to put up with Lisa while she was in her planning mode! Just kidding, kinda.) who both helped out like champs.  Jeffrey wrote a song, taking us all on a journey over 50 years.  He sang it and played the guitar beautifully for his parents.  If those acts were not proof enough to the love those children (including Erik) have for their parents (mother and father-in-law), I can’t for the life of me come up with a more perfect example.  When two people are innately good, good radiates to everyone around.

My theory on respect is it’s a two-way street and once someone walks down that path, the other person will follow.  Lorraine and Bob have most certainly set an example for the rest of the world to witness and to follow their lead.  Not only with respect, but for the entire package of good will, accountability, a Christian way of life.  Again, they are the poster children for walking in the way of the Lord.  I mean that.  I’m not saying they are saints or perfect people, but they try and try hard with all their heart.  Granted, I haven’t known the happy couple all my life, but from the years I’ve spent with them, their intentions were always sincere and pure.

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Lorraine & Bob still in love 50 years later! Happy 50th Anniversary! 8/10/14

Finding a single person that possess so many great qualities such as intelligence, kindness and love is very rare, let alone a pair that both freely exhibit these is almost unheard of.  Lorraine and Bob both have demonstrated what a true family is and the impact it has on EVERYONE they encounter.  If anyone ever wants to argue the idea that a solid family who puts God first, is what’s best for the family and the community, the Arbuckle’s are the perfect example.

To me they are one of the sweetest and most sincere couples I know.  I cannot speak highly enough of them and they deserve every kind word.  They are such an inspiration, not only to lasting marriages but that there is good in this world.  No one can question the presence of goodness, because I am here to tell you it still exits!  I have witnessed it first hand with my own eyes and it is addicting to be around.  They are one of the best examples I know for letting God lead their lives and keeping the faith.  When you follow in the footsteps of the Lord, true love is never far behind.

Not to short-sight my own family, for they too are a rare breed, but I have been doubly blessed.  (Actually, I can honestly say I have been blessed many times over with my longtime friends and extended family)   My parents will be married forty-five years this December.  They are close on Lorraine and Bob’s heels!  I can’t wait to write about mom and dad hitting 50 years!

I hope everyone is as blessed as I am to know and to have experienced this family, for they are a God’s sent.

Happy 50th Anniversary Lorraine & Bob!   

P.S. Thank you all again for the wonderful picture and frame (sitting on my desk looking at me now), the engraved plague for my company and the beautiful business card holder engraved with my name and title “The Light Bulb”.  Your faith in me is uplifting!  You guys are awesome!

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Look at the wonderful surprise I was presented with from Lisa & her family! Love them all!! 9/2014

 

posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,News,Observation & Imagination,Reminiscing and have No Comments

Happy Birthday Aunt Nikki! The Big 40!

Life begins at 40 – but so do fallen arches, rheumatism, faulty eyesight, and the tendency to tell a story to the same person, three or four times.  ~Helen Rowland

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Nicole’s senior picture. Greater Latrobe Class of 1992

Today marks a truly momentous day, Aunt Nikki is the big 40!  Yes, my sister is officially over the hill, even though she’s resided on that hillside for some time now.  Giggle giggle.  (Unlike me, I’ll always remain on the other side.)  Or as Kyle used to say, “Aunt Nitti is ozer (over) the hill!” as he motioned going over and down a hill with his chubby little figures.

Nicole came from a time before the internet and email, when we still used rotary phones, listened to record players and tapes (heck dad still had his 8-track player in his truck), and before cable and satellite.  Nicole has lived through eight presidents and counting including Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama.

Nicole has seen and accomplished a lot over these forty years, graduating from Penn State University in engineering, traveling the world over (sometimes with me), starting a side company (with me) and most importantly becoming Aunt Nikki, a title she does not take lightly.

So what has gone on over these last forty years from that faithful day, March 16, 1974?  A lot!  Let’s focus on 1974.

  • Blazing Saddles was the top movie of the year
  • Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s “Takin’ Care Of Business” was a top, pop music single hit
  • Sadly, the Amityville horror happened in Long Island, New York on November 8th.  Six family members were shot dead
  • Richard Nixon becomes the 1st United States president forced to resign after the Watergate Scandal & President Gerald Ford gives unconditional pardon to Richard Nixon
  • 55 mph Speed Limit is imposed to preserve gas usage, nation wide
  • Sears Tower in Chicago becomes the worlds tallest building
  • President Ford announces an amnesty program for Vietnam War deserters & draft evaders
  • Gasoline shortages and price increases (guess some things never change)
  • On June 5th – Henry Kissenger convinces Syria & Israel to agree to a ceasefire on the Golan Heights
  • Work begins on the 800 mile long Alaska Oil pipeline
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Nicole & our little man sipping on his bottle at my cousin Chad’s wedding Our little 1-year old – BYOB. 2002

Nicole shares her birthday with some famous people.  Here are a sampling:

  • James Madison – president
  • Curtis Lovell III – magician
  • Erik Estrada – actor
  • Alexandra Daddario – actress
  • Victor Garber – actor
  • Jim Bridger – explorer
  • Jerry Lewis – actor
  • Rupert Sanders – director (I had to throw that one in, because of the Kristen Stewart scandal)
  • Felisha Terrell – actress
  • Chuck Woolery (we loved watching Love Connect as kids!) – TV host
  • Tim Kang – actor
  • Walter Cunningham – astronaut
  • Sienna Guillory – actress

Please review the years of Aunt Nikki.  Moving clockwise, starting with the upper left corner, Nicole’s 15th birthday (yes that’s me to the right & my cousin Katie to the left), to the right Nicole’s 6th birthday (my cousin Casey to the left of Nicole and cousin Timmy to the right), below that is a her sophomore class picture – 1990, below is Nicole sitting with our cousin Chad for her 2nd birthday -1976 and finally to the left is Nicole’s 7th grade picture -1987. (Apparently she really, really loved those glasses!)

Happy Birthday Nicole!

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posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Random Fun Facts,Travels and have No Comments

Perfect Gift – The Ugly Quilt!

Do give books – religious or otherwise – for Christmas. They’re never fattening, seldom sinful, and permanently personal.  ~Lenore Hershey

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The Ugly Quilt, made from Nicole’s old quilt & my old childhood quilts originally made in 1976. Perfect Christmas idea! 12-24-13

Like many others, we go through the same list of questions every year for Christmas, ‘What do we want to get Nicole?” and “What should we get dad?”  Naturally, if we had unlimited resources, it wouldn’t be so difficult but let’s come back to reality, most people have budgets, at least I do.  Every year, generally speaking, some great idea takes shape to give the perfect gift.  Me, mom and Kyle were blessed with two great ideas.

Giving is great, I truly mean that!  However, I don’t like to give because I have to, or it’s the thing to do.  Nope, if I’m giving someone something, it’s because I mean it and I’m excited to surprise them with usually an unconventional gift.  That’s my favorite, the perfect gifts or practical ones.  I am very much a practical and simple type of gal.  Yes, I love receiving socks (the Under Armor running socks or good wool hiking socks etc) and blenders and books and running shoes and so on and so forth.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love frivolous too!  Such as jewelery or collectables, but I’m also equally happy with practical presents.

Last year, we got mom framed pictures.  Not just any pictures, but an old photo of all the cousins (close ones) and a recent shot of the same picture taken at the same location as the original, Twin Lakes Family In A Photo – Looking Back showing us all grown up.  Boy was she surprised!   Perfect!

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Close up of Nicole’s quilt courtesy of Quilts by Reese. Perfect Christmas gift! Nicole never suspected it! 12/24/13

Who got the perfect gift this year?  There was a tie.  Dad and Nicole owned it!

First, lets start with Nicole.  What to get a gal who gets herself basically what she wants, when she wants it?  That was easy, something she wants and forgot she had.  This past summer while cleaning out mom and dad’s house, we came across Nicole’s old quilt.  Nicole and I both had matching quilts of different color schemes, given to us for Christmas in 1976.  They were nice twin sized quilts that kept us warm and cozy throughout our childhood and even into our twenties.  Nicole however, LOVED her quilt and drug, literally drug it around with her EVERYWHERE!  As a kid, she would drag it to the living-room to watch TV, through the kitchen, out on the porch and into the yard.  She would eat with it, sleep with it, and I bet she even drug it into the shower a time or two.  That quilt was like her giant “blanky”.  She even took it to college with her!  That is until it really fell apart.  I mean about half of it was MIA.  Over the years pieces of it would rip off, but she kept dragging it along.

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Front & back of the Ugly quilt… combination of mine & Nicole’s old quilts from 1976. Nicole loved her quilt & now she kind of has it back! Perfect Christmas gift. Thanks Quilts by Reese! 12/24/13

What to do?  Call upon my friend Holly who makes quilts on the side Quilts by Reese to aide me in this perfect Christmas gift idea of course.  No, her thing is not to revitalize old torn up and extremely used quilts, but she agreed to help me out as a favor for a long time running friend.

Where to begin?  No clue, I delivered the pile of scrap fabric, which is what it basically was once it was washed one last time.  Holly took it from there.  Since finding fabric to match, texture and color wise, proved to be problematic, I gave Holly my old quilt, which was almost in perfect condition (you could tell I didn’t have such an affinity for my quilt like Nicole did hers) to tear up and use as needed.

Eventually, about a third of the quilt was Nicole’s original and the rest was mine.  It worked out perfectly since both quilts had the exact same fabric and patterns, just different color schemes.  The backing needed to be completely replaced as well as the trim, but it turned out nicely!  Better than expected actually!  Holly did an amazing job on such a difficult mission!  And she had it done well before Christmas!

With everything I do, it’s always an adventure.  As the quilt was being torn apart and assembled again, Holly would give me updates on the “ugly” quilt.  From what I gathered, it was a bit of a bugger with the thick seams and old seventy’s stretchy fabric.  Personally, I loved the name, ugly quilt and so it stuck!  Holly hated the quilt, that is until the end.  She said, “It’s so ugly it’s starting to look cute and wear on me.”  Yep that’s what happens when you put your heart and soul into something.  The fondness grows.  Now granted, Holly wasn’t so attached to it that she couldn’t give it back, but I could tell she sewed herself into the Piper quilt.

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Combination of my old quilt & Nicole’s originally made in 1976. Perfect Christmas gift – Quilts by Reese 12-24-13

On a side note, one text message I received from Holly include a very close-up shot of the quilt fabric.  The text message asked me if Nicole had a bird?  Why yes she did!  How did Holly know?  Apparently, there was bird seed embedded in some of the fabric.  Only my sister!  That sounds about right.  Not to mentioned all the food stains all over her fabric.

It’s funny when I look at the quilt, I don’t see an ugly old seventy’s patchwork quilt.  Nope, I see our childhood!  And I know Nicole feels the same way.

Now the most important questions.  Was Nicole surprised?  And did she like the quilt?  Yes and yes.  She had no idea, none, not an ounce with respect to her Christmas gift.  Of course, it’s easy to keep things a secret from her when she lives two hundred miles away.  Kyle couldn’t wait to give her the blanket, although I could tell he didn’t see the importance and feel the true excitement like me, mom and dad, (well maybe me and mom) but it was still fun.

Quilts by Reese Facebook Post Ugly Quilt Aunt Heather PiperHolly wanted to see tears in Nicole’s eyes and urine on the floor from the surprise and happiness.  Well, neither happened and I’m personally more grateful for the later not occurring, but Nicole was presently surprised.  (Avery peed on the floor and that counts!)  I would love to show a picture of the original quilt, however I couldn’t find any pictures.  Actually, that’s not entirely true, I did find one, but since then I misplaced it.  I’ll look for the darn thing.

Now dad’s perfect gift.  Mom came up with the idea and me, Nicole and Kyle were totally on board.  Great idea!  So what was this perfect gift?  Easy it was …to be continued.

posted by auntheather in Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments

What It Takes to Move a Tree Stand

To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
An eternity in an hour.  ~William Blake

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We found this feather in the woods in Cortland, New York. It became the focus of our attention for a while. Kyle was cracking me up! 8/31/13

Dad gets his hunting license not only for Westmoreland County, but also for the surrounding counties and his New York license.  In certain areas, dad has his tree stands set up, keeping them there year-over-year.  Yes, that wasn’t a typo.  Tree stands!  As in plural, meaning more than one.

So what does all this have to do with me?  Let me tell you were I was this past weekend.  In Cortland, New York moving a tree stand.  Why?  Simply, because last year, someone hit a big buck up the hill from where dad was sitting.  Ever since then, dad has been talking about moving his tree stand up the hill.  He believes it would have been his buck if he was positioned at a higher elevation.  Is that a fact?  Not necessarily, but I do trust dad’s hunting sense and his observation.  Previous to that, Dad’s was actually talking about moving the tree stand for a while now, but since the buck incidence, that made up his mind for him.

Now don’t get me wrong.  Dad’s not bitter in any way shape or form, for the lucky hunter, not at all.  He’s happy for anyone who gets a deer, especially if it’s a prize.  But he’s had it in his head for a while now to move the stand, pretty much where Larry, a good friend of the family and my mom’s boss at Gutchess Hardwoods, suggested in the first place.  Dad said, “I should have listened to Larry, but I was being so stubborn and had my mind made up.”  Can’t imagine!

Moving a tree stand seems simple enough, not really.  First we had to drive six hours to Cortland, New York to get to the woods where the tree stand was situated.  Then, we had to drive back into the woods, only so far, before all piling on the quad and riding it another couple of miles, before getting out and hiking to the hunting spot.  Yes, somewhere in the 500 acres, was this big metal tree stand attached to a tree.  Did I mention I was the one who had to assemble the beast a few summers back?

Let’s start off with Saturday morning.   I mean morning.  We got up around 3:00 am, and we didn’t leave until 4:30 am.  There used to be a day when dad was up early and started on his day right away.  No sitting around, none of this taking his time, watching the news, finishing his coffee blah blah blah.  Nope!   Dad used to get up, make sure everyone else was up, get dressed and out the door like lightening.  Boy have times changed.  Usually Kyle does pretty good in the am, but this time was a bit different, not that I can blame him, even for me this was a bit early.

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Kyle shooting pap’s .22 rifle at the shooting range. Not a bad shot! 8/31/13

Once we were off, Kyle slept in the backseat of the truck.  He really wasn’t ready to get up and get moving, that is until we made a pit stop at Sheetz.  Naturally, he had donuts on his mind and with his pappy there, he pretty much gets what he wants.  Although as in keeping with tradition, I raced him in and out of the gas station, to and from the truck.  At one point, we both tried to wedge ourselves out of the door and practically got stuck.  Dad saw us and just shook his head and chuckled.

While on the road, once we finally got Kyle up, Kyle and I started to play a game of War.  You know the card game that goes on forever and requires little to no thought.  That game seemed like it was the longest ever played!  Seriously.  Me and Kyle were in amazement because it was never ending.  We kept joking around that we were going to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records.

The drive was pretty uneventful.  It’s actually kind of nice to be up before dawn and watching the day unfold before my eyes.  We passed Beaver Stadium, my sister’s Alma Mater.  We joked around a little and called my mom and my sister to check in.  I was even fine with the Willy Nelson Serious XM radio station on, that is until it stayed on the entire time to and from New York.

Dad cracks me up.  When he had to pee, he just pulled the truck, which was hooked to the trailer containing the quad, onto the side of the road, peed and left.  Back in the day, when I was little, dad NEVER stopped for no one.  Not himself, not my mom and certainly not for his kids.  We had to go before we left and we learned to hold it until we got to our destination.  Granted, we never really traveled for than four or five hours, but regardless that’s how dad traveled.  Come to think of it, that’s probably why I am, the way I am, when traveling.  I never stop, I keep going till I reach my journey’s end.  Now-a-days things are different, very different.  I swear we pulled over every hour!  Every roadside pause gave me and Kyle the giggles.  Then it would start the teasing towards dad.

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Dad was checking the shots with the spotting scope. Kyle was reloading, ready to go again. 8/31/13

At one point, Kyle had to use the restroom, as did I but I can hold it because I knew dad would expect me to go along side of the road.  Fat chance!  Dad pulled over for Kyle, but not just on the side of the road.  He pulled over were they were doing construction.  To reach the side of the road, dad had to weave the truck and the trailer between the cones.  Me and Kyle were dying!  For some reason we thought that was the funniest thing ever!  Keep in mind this is around ten o’clock or so in the morning, along a major highway.  I knew Kyle wouldn’t use natures facility, and I was right.  But what made the situation even funnier, dad drove down the road that was coned off, and as we progressed the cones got closer together.  We were taking bets if dad was going to knock down a row of cones.  Nope!  Didn’t even graze them!

After we checked into our motel room in no-man’s-land we headed to the woods.  The minute we got out, I was attacked by mosquitoes!  Anyone that knows me, knows I am always the first person to take fire from the blood suckers and I usually get it the worst.  My bites always swell and linger for twice as long as most.  Would you believe no one thought to bring bug spray?  Nope!  We were screwed!

After we unloaded the quad, dad had me plant my buttocks on the front rack, while Kyle was seated right behind dad, beside the chainsaw, tools, salt block and extra chainsaw gasoline.  Yes, that was my first reaction too!  What are we cutting down?  The layout of us all situated on the quad was nothing new, we rode like that before for hunting season and I suspected it was going to be that way.  But what I didn’t know is that we had to chuck wood too?  Yes, apparently we had to clear out the roadway back to the tree stand.  This just keeps getting better!

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The Piper outing at the shooting range. Nicole got back into the swing, not a bad shot. Kyle was shooting pretty good & mom shot a couple, but just observed. 8/31/13

The ride to and fro was quite an adventure!  We hit a few pond size mud puddles, which at one point I thought was going to sink us all whole.  Then, let’s talk about the cliff of death.  The trail was pretty wide, wide enough for a full size vehicle.  So naturally one would think we had enough room for a quad.  Well, we did, but dad kept driving along side the brim of the edge, while looking down!  Me and Kyle were hanging on.  I stated, “Dad, they had a ton of rain this week.  You have the entire road, use it!”  Meaning, dad get away from the edge, the ground is soft and could collapse at any minute driving us down over the edge into the heart of the woods.  Even Kyle laughed about that one and was feeling the same way.  When we later recapped the story to mom, Kyle commented on that very scenario.

We did need to hack up a few logs laying across our path, to get through and I had to get off a few times to walk.  I must say it was quite the journey.  The one part of the road seemed like it was a complete vertical shot straight down and the road looked like a miniature Grand Canyon from being washed out.  I was hanging on, trying not to be projected off from the front end.  It was hard!  The road wasn’t exactly smooth sailing.

Once dad had me and Kyle on foot, he instructed us to walk up the hill and he followed on the quad.  He even tried to go up a side of a bank and I swear I saw the front end of the quad lift, like it was going to flip.  Me and Kyle just gave each other the look, you know the kind that says, ‘Wow that was a close one.’ or ‘Something bad is going to happen today.’  Then I said, “And you wondered why I brought my phone?”

While on foot, in the hot, humid mosquitoes infested deep woods, we seemed to keep walking on forever.  Like our path was never going to end.  Kyle turned to me and said, “I don’t think pappy knows where he’s going.”  I laughed so hard, I was thinking the same thing!    We kept trucking and following dad on foot.  Did I mention I had a long-sleeved thick hoodie type of top on, zipped up to my neck to protect some of my skin from the pests, and jeans on while I dripped with sweat in the eighty degree weather?  Awesome!

As we zigzagged through the tall brush, dad would stop every now-and-again to cut a few fallen trees.  That is until we came upon vertically intimidating, reaching the top of dad’s head, “jagger” bushes, briars and thick brush.  He actually used the chainsaw to mow down the obstruction!  Me and Kyle watched in amazement.  Then, when he was done, I yelled over, “You didn’t tell me we needed the weed whacker!”  Dad gave me an already tired grin and nod, while me and Kyle found that comment to be pretty darn funny.

Dad even used the quad to knock down small trees and mow down tall brush.  Then, we started to have a field day with that saying, “Does pappy think he’s a bulldozer?” and “We know what to get him for Christmas.”  Kyle said, “Ya, he could use a steam press to flatten our path.”  Very true buddy!  Very true!

Almost there…

To be continued…

 

posted by auntheather in Church,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Hiking & Outdoors,Hunting & Fishing,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Travels and have No Comments

Look…The Blue Angels!

The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine, bracing and delicious.  And why shouldn’t it be? – it is the same the angels breathe.  ~Mark Twain

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Kyle with a Blue Angel Pilot, LCDR Toddy Royles, USN 6/23/12

This past weekend was the Westmoreland County Airshow at the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport, in Latrobe.  Much like last year, Flying Back to Kyle’s Ninth Birthday, it was a beautiful day.  A little hot, nearly in the 90’s and very sunny, but it was the airshow, perfect weather to be watching the skies.  I took Kyle on Saturday, both of us really wanting to go this year because the Blue Angels were performing.  When I was younger they had the airshow every year, keep in mind it was always in September, usually over Ryan’s birthday, and the Blue Angels always made their appearance.  I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the Blue Angels, but they were always something to watch.  As an adult, I’m still equally as impressed and mesmerized as I was as a kid.

Sometimes mom and dad took us into the airport for the airshow and sometimes we would just watch it from mom and dad’s front porch.  You see, their house sits up on the ridge with an amazing view overlooking Saint Vincent Church and College and the airport.  When the planes did their stunts they executed them right in front of us in the open sky overlooking the airport.  It was a sight to see!  Since the airshow was over Ryan’s birthday weekend, all my cousins were up at the house anyway for the party.  That gave us show to look forward to, too.

Aunt-Heather-Piper-&-Kyle-at-2012-Latrobe-Airshow

Me & Kyle under our umbrella at the airshow 6/23/12

The 2012 airshow was very organized with respect to getting people into the airport, although I’m not commenting on their system for getting the crowds out all at once.  They changed the layout this year from last, which made it more open and easier to get from one end of the lot to the opposite. As Kyle and I walked around to check out the booths, he naturally eyed up those containing toys, the typical toy planes of various sizes.  Kyle asked if he could have a “souvenir”, one of his famous lines.  I have don’t have an issue with purchasing the kid a T-shirt, hat or something neat to use as a keep sake, but in my opinion Kyle is getting too old to keep purchasing these toys, which have his attention for the day before being lost to the bottom of his closet forever.  Every time we took him to the Air and Space Museums in Virginia and Washington, D.C. he would get another toy plane, never to be seen again.  Using this as my opportunity to prove a point, I said to Kyle, “You can get whatever you want.” as he looked at me in complete shock.  Then I continued, “It’s your money.”  He said, “What money?” and I followed up with, “Your money from your report card.”  Kyle looked over some items and then said, “No I’m good.  I don’t really want anything.”  I knew he had other plans for that money, but that was his choice.

2012-Latrobe-Airshow-Smiley-Face-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Smiley Face in the sky at the 2012 Latrobe Airshow

Continuing on our way, we saw the Navy had a simulator to ride.  Kyle really wanted to participate before the airshow began, so we stood in line.  It was an enclosed area with a screen and a simulated mission playing on the monitor.  The capsule was on hydraulics and bounced you around simultaneously with the visual being played, kind of like a Universal Studio ride.  Before we boarded, Kyle and I both commented that it was like the simulator they have at the Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., only that one flipped you upside down. The ride required one driver, which was me and one co-pilot to shoot missiles, which was Kyle.  Well, needless to say, I managed to keep us upside down the entire ride because I couldn’t get us turned right side up.  That was years ago and it must have made an impression on Kyle because the first think he said was, “Ya Aunt Heather this is just like that ride at the Air and Space Museum, except it doesn’t go upside down.”

Kyle-with-Blue-Angels-Aunt-Heather-Piper

Kyle at the 2012 Latrobe Airshow in front of the Blue Angels plane

Before boarding our ride the airshow started with a plane making a smiley face in the sky.  That got every clapping and cheering.  Once we exited the simulator, which was very cool, Kyle decided he was hungry.  After making our way through the line to get his BBQ Pulled Pork sandwich, courtesy of DeNunzio’s Restaurant, we made our way to sit and watch the show.

Eventually we found our way to the grassy area on the hill where we could see the entire runway.  Kyle and I sat under my golf umbrella to get some relief from the scorching sun.  In fact, we stayed under the umbrella the entire day, even while walking around.  It was cooler and neither one of us got a sunburn.  While resting under our little piece of shade, planes were flying around doing stunts and fly bys, taking off and landing.  They even had a car with a jet engine racing a plane.  The agenda was well planned out and executed very smoothly.

It’s really exciting and a rush to hear the roar of the engines and see of the aeronautics overhead.  Well, maybe it wasn’t enough for Kyle because I kept catching him playing on his Nintendo DS.  Yikes!  What?  He got a new game, and holding true to his fashion he was obsessed with beating it.  I didn’t mind him playing it between acts and I had him bring it in anticipation of the traffic, but during the show, heck NO!

Then at 3:00, came the much anticipated highlight of the day, The Blue Angels!  I was too excited to see  this, although Kyle didn’t seem to share in my enthusiasm.  I understand the super sonic sounds being projected from the engines made his ears hurt, but I could tell he would much rather sit there and play his video games than appreciate true skill and the hard work it takes to be a U.S. Navy Blue Angel.  To me that was kind of a shame.  I’m sure there are other kids who follow Kyle’s suit.

While watching and video taping the show, my phone stopped me from taking the remainder of the shots.  It was full!  What?  Bad timing!  Then I remembered Mr. Kyle Piper had his new 64GB ipod Touch with him.  I said, “Kyle quick, give me your ipod.”  That smart little bugger said, “Did you fill up your phone?”  What?  How did he know that?

After the show, Kyle and I managed to sneak in line and get an autograph of Blue Angel Pilot, #8 LCDR Todd Ryles, USN.  Later I found out that is a native to Pennsylvania and went to Penn State.  After he singed our brochure, I grabbed a picture with the pilot and Kyle.  I understand it was a long hot day and we had to head out to go Jimmy Singer’s graduation party at the Planinsek Pavilion, but could have been a little more thrilled.  If I know Kyle, we was probably looking forward to sitting in the car and playing that game!  Although, I’ll give him credit, he didn’t complain.

Recently, it was brought to my attention that a friend of mine has always wanted to see the Blue Angels.  To me this was silly, I’ve seen them many times. Then it dawned on me that I have taken advantage of this fact.  I tried to explain to Kyle that this was a privilege to see them and we had great seats in the grass, not missing a thing.  That little lecture didn’t seem to effect him.  Ahh, one day I hope he reflects back and appreciates this opportunity because they were AMAZING!

 

To see more videos on the Blue Angels go to Aunt Heather Piper Youtube Channel

posted by auntheather in Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,News,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing,Travels and have No Comments

True Penn State Role Model

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. ~John F. Kennedy

Lisa with her dad, Dr. Arbuckle - Aunt Heather Piper

Lisa with her dad, Dr. Robert Arbuckle

Unfortunately the world is not perfect, but I believe there is more good than the opposite. Good deeds and hard work are done by many without the desire for recognition and public attention.

To those of you who have made a positive impact on those around you, it’s the small deeds that sometimes mean the most and have the greatest impact.  Those of you who stood a few extra minutes to hold the door open, those of you who gave change to the person who was short at the checkout line, and those of you who simply walked past and gave a heart warming smile. It’s those actions that mean the world to the recipient.  To me, those people are the real leaders, they make the changes in the world, however slight, are for the betterment of mankind.

My sister is a Penn State Alumni, as well as many of my family members and friends.  I am not trying to under play the severity of the recent acts of some Penn State authority figures, not in the slightest. But I do want to recognize greatness that have come from Penn State.

I have been blessed throughout my life to meet many great people, including a true role model, Dr. Arbuckle.  I’ve know Dr. Arbuckle and his family for years now.  From the time I met the family, they have always welcomed me as a part of their own.

Every year the Arbuckle family gets together to rent a house in the Appalachian Mountains.  It’s a fun time of snowmobile riding, skiing, snowboarding, and snow shoeing.  A few years ago, I was invited to spend the weekend with my adopted family.  During an uneventful afternoon, I had the privilege of sitting with Dr. Arbuckle to shoot the breeze.  At the time, I was reading Winston Churchhill’s History of the English Speaking People.  Starting out his career as a history professor, Dr. Arbuckle was probably the only person who didn’t roll his eyes or look at me with the look of ‘Why’ when he saw my reading selection.  You see, I too have always loved history, particularly art history.

Penn State Logo - Aunt Heather Piper As I sat there and talked with Dr. Arbuckle, I realize that he was a real humanitarian and a truly inspirational person.  I always knew he was very intelligent and successful, that goes without saying, but my eyes were really opened to the virtually unknown man sitting before me.  Without an audience, no one taking notes, no one recording the conversation (I wish I did) we talked casually.  First about history, specifically Churchill, until the conversation grew to cover many more topics.

When he told me about his efforts to rid the world of polio through the Rotary Club, I couldn’t help but be drawn into his  passion for the topic.  His passion to help these children, nationally and abroad.  Yep, he told me that there are still outbreaks of polio in the United States.  I had no idea!  Speaking to him on the subject really reinforced my admiration for him on many different levels.  I’ve always had a respect for Dr. Arbuckle for what he’s accomplished in life, but at that point I saw so much more to the quiet gentleman sitting across from me.  There is so much I got out of our conversation.  I could go on and on about what a great father and grandfather he is and a true leader in the community, but my words would never do him justice.

Please take a moment to review this news release on Dr. Arbuckle.  It barely touches on the impact he has made to many, including being an inspiration to his family and his adopted family… me.

 

Naming of Arbuckle Building honors former New Kensington CEO

Friday, November 11, 2011

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State’s Board of Trustees today (Nov. 11) approved the naming of the Robert D. Arbuckle Technology Building at Penn State New Kensington, in recognition of former campus executive officer.

“Dr. Arbuckle has been a vital part of Penn State New Kensington’s growth for more than 40 years,” said Kevin Snider, campus chancellor. “His unending energy, humor and devotion to his profession, served not only the campus, but the community as well.”

Arbuckle, who holds a master’s and a doctoral degrees from Penn State, began his career in 1968 as a professor of history at the University Park campus. Six years later, he was appointed chief academic officer at the New Kensington campus. In 1977, he was named campus executive officer and remained at Penn State New Kensington for 15 years. Arbuckle assumed the presidency of Lake Superior State University in Michigan in 1992. He retired in 2002.

Under Arbuckle’s leadership, the New Kensington campus expanded both academically and physically. Three degree programs — a bachelor’s degree in electro-mechanical engineering technology, associate degree in radiology sciences and an associate degree in biomedical engineering technology — were added in the 1980s. Arbuckle also envisioned a new building complex that would serve the needs of students and businesses in the region. He wanted the campus to become more interactive with business and industry in the area and he wanted local companies “to use our computers.”

Coalescing community leaders, he spearheaded a capital campaign for the construction of the two-building Science and Technology Center, which opened in 1990. That building, now being named for Arbuckle, is home to many specialized engineering laboratories that enable students to pursue innovative programs in technology.

Although phase two took another 10 years to complete, Arbuckle’s campus/business collaboration became a reality in 2000 with the dedication of the multi-purpose Conference Center and Classroom Building. By partnering with industry in the region, the University increased its presence in the Alle-Kiski Valley. Last year, more than 60 regional organizations used the facilities for meetings, training classes, seminars and workshops.

After moving on to Lake Superior, Arbuckle continued his role as a visionary. He was instrumental in expanding that college’s student center; in renovating several facilities and in breaking ground for a fine arts center. He was awarded the title of president emeritus and the school’s student activities building has been named in his honor.

In retirement, Arbuckle returned to Washington Township in western Pennsylvania and resumed his bond with the New Kensington campus. In 2004, he was named an Alumni Fellow.

Arbuckle has served as president and chair of several local community boards including Rotary, YMCA, United Way, chambers of commerce, and hospitals. He has received numerous awards including the University’s John E. Wilkerson Award for Administrative Excellence and Rotary International’s Legacy to Children award for his work in polio eradication.

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posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,News,Snowboarding and have No Comments
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