Grandkids are our reward

John's thumbnail(Published in the Gettysburg Times, 4/11/2014)

There’s something about the excited cry of a three-year-old calling “Papa John !” across the yard – or the living room. I am still warmed by the memory Granddaughter Kass running from behind the house as I pulled up, singing my name over and over as she approached my vehicle.

Lately, the warm feeling has been instilled by Grandson Peter demanding similar attention. He wants help with something, or wants to show me something, or sometimes is just happy to see me appear.

Continue reading Grandkids are our reward

Kids need (outer) space for dreams

Somewhere, below the water and above the trees, other worlds await young explorersI went for a walk in the woods one day with the granddaughters, in search of the source of a creek which flows from the county where I live in south-central Pennsylvania, across the state line into Maryland, and joins the Monocacy River east of Thurmont.

A paper company once owned the particular piece of forest, 2,500 acres of the first tree farm in the state that gave birth to the nation’s forest conservation movement. There was a time when men with axes and horses took to the woods to cut trees and drag them to a nearby road, from whence they could be carted to the mill. Axes gave way to chainsaws, and horses to huge, powerful tractors called “skidders,” but even then, logging was a slow process. I know; I was raised where logging and paper making was the primary industry.

Chainsaws have been replaced by machines with air conditioned cabs from which one operator can virtually denude a mountainside in a matter days, instead of the months or years once required, leaving the owner to pay taxes for several decades while waiting patiently for trees to grow to usable girth. Glatfelter, owner of that 2,500 acres, had decided to sell the land, to let someone else pay the taxes and “call us when you’ve got wood to sell.” … Continue reading …