Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Lezah Einnaf Snilloc

What a neat lady she was! Many of you never knew her. She died in about 1977 or 1978. I called her Lezah Snilloc, but her name was really Hazel Collins. She was Grandma Lavy's cousin, and I think she was a big reason why Grandma and Grandpa are Christians today. When you think about it, that is pretty important as you look at their family and the fact that most are followers of Christ.
Hazel lived in Pleasant Hill, Ohio. We lived in her house a few years after she died. But, it wasn't the first time I had been in that house. I stayed with her different times when Grandma and Grandpa were away. She was a short little lady, and as kind as anyone could be. I wrestled with her when I was a kid, and once she fell off the couch. She laughed as only she could, and warned me that the neighbors would hear.
She had a one-of-a-kind testimony in church. She was the kind of person that any pastor would want in their pew. I doubt if she had an unkind word for anyone.
She went to Michigan to go mushroom hunting with us. She would get tickled and laugh with us. She went with us to New Mexico to see Geneva when she was out at a mission hospital. She was a big part of our family, though she had no immediate family of her own.
Uncle Cyrl found her in her room when he went to pick her up for church one Sunday morning in May, if I remember correctly. I got my first speeding ticket coming home from Cincinnati for her funeral. I think she is buried north of Pleasant Hill at Sugar Grove. I'll never forget her.
I woke up this morning thinking of dear old Hazel Fannie Collins. Thanks, Hazel, for inviting Victor and Doris to church many years ago.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Playhouse Theater

Mom, Ally, Dudley and I headed for the hallway. It sounded like a train was headed for the house. Limbs were pelting the siding, and we heard some unidentified thumps. After a few minutes the winds calmed and we were safe. We didn't know it until the next morning, but an old friend had left us during the storm.
Behind our garage sat the Playhouse Theater. It has been there longer than we have lived here. It was just an old outbuilding, used for storage. But, it was much more than that. I understand that our cautious kids used to jump from its roof when we were at work. We found out long afterwards that BJ nearly killed himself while jumping off. The girls assured him that he was fine (certain that they would be in big trouble if he wasn't).
My long-time enemy/friend, Chester Beatty came up one evening, and we treated the kids to a one-of-a-kind production of Laurel and Hardy. You can only guess who was Laurel and who was Hardy. I will only tell you this much - Chester was the one who got stuck halfway out one of the windows! And, so the Playhouse Theater was christened.
You would have to ask the LavyKids about what other things transpired inside those hallowed walls. Once, Remax found that a nest of bees had been built in one of the chairs. Fortunately, this was after Chester and I had performed there. That would certainly have livened up the show!
When I walked out the door the other morning, I could see the roof upside down at the back of the garage. The powerful storm had literally picked the playhouse up and turned it over, smashing it beyond repair. In an ironic twist, Regi had e-mailed me that very day, submitting some memories about the playhouse, and even asking for photos. Imagine her surprise when she found out that their very cherished friend had been destroyed.
Now that I think about it, I believe Chester was Laurel because he could cry just like Stanley. Anyhow, I think Ashley, Becky, Regi, BJ, Dani, Ally and even Esther and Rena thought we were absolutely, positively NUTS!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Cousins, Brothers and Enemies

Cousins first. I was about fourteen. I rode home from our country church with Cousin Dean. We had a lot of snow and over on Red River West Grove Road there was a drift that was too high to go through. So, we backed up and went around the other way to Byrely Road. The drifts were nearly as bad there. But, Dean was driving "Heber". Heber was Dean's first car, inherited from his grandpa, Heber. Seems like it was a '61 Ford Fairlane or some such powerful animal. With some fine driving we plowed through the drifts and since we were young and intellectual giants, we decided if Heber could make it through those drifts, he could surely make it through the drifts on RRWG Road. We went around to that road, now driving north (meaning away from home), and putting the pedal to the metal we plunged through the drifts like a snow plow. Shoot, even snow plows get stuck sometimes! The thing with snow plows is, they don't have to call Uncle Cyrl late at night when it is 15 degrees and blowing snow. He had to get on his tractor and drive about 4 miles in the bitter cold to rescue Dean, Lowell and Heber. If you knew Uncle Cyrl, you know I can't repeat everything he said that night. He never let us forget it. And, true to his style, he finally got his revenge. The day we buried him was bitterly cold, and the wind cut through us like a knife as we stood around the tent and sang "Shall We Gather At The River". And Dean and I recalled a night many years ago...
Brother! Oh, Merrill is nice enough, I guess, but years ago when I was small and helpless, I was invited up to his room. There he was on his bed on all fours acting like an ape. I think Don was the zookeeper, and I was to be the poor person who had to feed the ape popcorn! The ape nearly took my arm off when I reached through the bars to feed him! He hasn't changed all that much, but I just keep my distance now.
Lastly, enemies. When I first met Chuck, a.k.a. Charles, a.k.a. Chester, it was a frightening day for me. We were in Covington, Ohio, at Rick Beatty's wedding reception. I was attempting to decorate Rick's car when I was attacked by his little brother, Chester. "Leave my brother's car alone!" was the command. And so a new friendship was formed between Chester and me. Now, I consider him a very close friend. And, the story might be a little exaggerated as things tend to be over time. With enemies like Chester, who needs friends?