Although some things are becoming somewhat routine for us, we continue to have adventures and learning experiences. A little over a week ago, Elder Ashton went on a bike ride by himself and took a new route. He had not taken time to eat breakfast so needed to stop and get some fuel in his body before he finished the ride. When I asked him what route he took, he said, "A different one, and when I stopped at a convenience store to get me something to eat and saw that the clerk was behind a bullet proof glass, I knew I was in the wrong area." YIKES!!! There are some really nice areas here in Portsmouth, but also some that are really NOT NICE! I keep threatening to take away his riding privileges when he crashes or gets in unsafe conditions, but he doesn't pay any attention to my threats ;-)
Tuesday morning when we got to the office, Elder Ashton said, "I guess I better see if I can find that car." When I questioned him about the statement he said that he was missing one of the spare cars that have been sitting in the parking lot for about a month. I immediately started offering suggestions, like, "Did you check with the assistants?", "Do you know when it disappeared?", etc., etc. He patiently answered me that he had checked with the assistants and they had checked with several other Elders but no one seemed to know where it was and he didn't know where else to look. I then reminded him that 3 elders brought a car in one day about a week prior and took a different car. He couldn't remember who it was but decided to call all the Elders that are serving in a trio to see who had it. He had called most of them and we were beginning to think he was not going to find the car and all of a sudden I thought maybe it was in the repair shop. I said, "Is it in for repairs? At Dodd's or Mack's body shop?" He immediately responded, "No, I don't think so"......but then he remembered that we had delivered the car to the local Pep Boys store for an oil change late one afternoon and both of us forgot it was there. I was glad to see the "lost" car....and shake my head at our follies - when you get old people working with details and their lack of memory kicks in, you never know what will happen :)
I was glad to see this car that went astray back in it's proper parking place-waiting to be assigned to new missionaries arriving in 2 weeks.
The temperature is getting lower and so is the humidity so that makes it a little more pleasant on most days. We have been without much rain for the past 2 weeks so not much moisture in the air now and I am really starting to see signs that fall is around the corner. I'm enjoying the change to the plants and watching that, but certainly not looking forward to freezing weather!
While I was sitting in the parking lot at the dentist the other day waiting for Elder Ashton, I noticed this tree with the edges of the leaves turning brown. A closer look made me realize that there was some kind of fruit on the tree. I was just getting ready to get out of the truck and take some pictures when Elder Ashton came our so I handed him the camera to take the pictures.
I originally thought the fruit was pears, but this closer look makes me wonder if it is the outer shell of some kind of nut. Anybody know what this is?
I've been noticing trees along the route to and from the office that appeared to have strawberries or something similar growing at the base of the leaves. I finally came upon one of the trees in an area where there was room to pull off the road and examine the leaves/fruit a little closer - Not strawberries but clusters of 3 small berries. Pretty.
The crepe myrtle trees are almost at the end of their blooms and the trees are covered with clusters of seeds. It has been a beautiful, colorful summer of blooms.
I thought this cluster of seed pods displayed against the unique bark of the crepe myrtle tree made an interesting picture.
Here's the $100 tomato - almost ripe and ready for eating.
I think I'm going to have to change the name from the $100 tomato to the $33 tomato because there are two more tomatoes growing on the same plant in various stages of maturity. Elder Ashton finally picked the ripest one on Saturday and ate it. He said it tasted just as good as he had imagined it would while he watched it finally mature :)
The little spikes with purple flowers on them continue to increase in number and in size just outside the office. I finally got a couple of pics that were closer. The individual purple flowers are so tiny, it brings a smile to my face every time I think of it.
Pretty little flowers and even a purple stalk. The creations we enjoy on earth are so varied, beautiful, and interesting!
On Friday, the other office workers including President and Sister Baker went on an outing for the couple missionaries. They visited New Bern on Friday afternoon/evening and then went out to Harker's Island on Saturday where they were given a personalized tour by Brother Hancock who is a counselor in the Mission Presidency. Member of his family living on that island were first contacted by missionaries and converted in the 1880's. We stayed and kept the office open and enjoyed a visit from our son Curtis. It was GREAT to see him and get to spend some time with him!
We went to Yorktown and saw different sites than we saw the first time we were there. I thought this Yorktown trolley was charming and was arriving just as we were so I just had to take a picture :)
We started with a 15 minute movie that gave an overview of the battle at Yorktown during the Revolutionary war when the Colonists were trying to gain independence from Britain. In 1781 (5 years after the war began) Yorktown was held by General Cornwallis and 9000 British troops and George Washington decided the Colonists could not let Britain retain control of this important area along the eastern waterways. Aided by the French, the Colonists were able to prevail and take back Yorktown - General Cornwallis' troops surrendered on October 19. Some historians call this the most important battle of the revolutionary war, even though the war continued to some degree for another 2 years.
Curtis and Denis took the walking tour guided by a ranger and I stayed inside in the air conditioning for part of the time. (Here they are resting against one of the cannon) I went out to join them as the ranger was explaining the wind-up of the battle. The ranger explained that the Colonists were able to take redoubt 10 (a group of soldiers behind an embankment) on the 10th day of the 10th month in just 10 minutes (pretty interesting bit of trivia). When Cornwallis realized he was losing the battle, he attempted to retreat across the river to Gloucester, but while attempting that retreat a storm and fog came up and many of the boats they were using to cross the river were lost. Cornwallis realized he had no choice but to surrender. While listening to the ranger, I felt goosebumps and was reminded once again that the Colonists had divine help in gaining their independence!
From Yorktown, we went on over to Jamestown and this time we went to Jamestown settlement and saw some different things. Jamestown village is set up with re-enactors for both colonists and Powhatan tribe members.
Carved poles set in a circle as they would have been in a Powhatan village.
Elder Ashton and Curtis stopped to talk and watch the tool maker make arrow heads, axes, etc.....all from stone.
A pelt stretched for drying
A tree with yellow bunches - look like another kind of seed to me.
Close-up of the yellow bunch.....delicate and pretty.
Interesting brick monument to those who have impacted Jamestown
Close-up of plaque on monument outlining important impacts from 1607 to 1957
I was drawn to this plaque explaining the importance of Jamestown. I have heard the stories of this first settlement, John Smith, Pocahantas (who married John Rolfe) most of my life. But I never stopped to consider that this first settlement, their interaction with the natives, the marriage of John and Pocahantas and their subsequent trip to England where she was received as an Indian Princess, set in motion things that helped shape the young nation and even the world. Each time I visit these historic places I am stuck with how many very important, life-changing events for our nation took place within about 150 miles of where I am. I am so glad we have this opportunity!
Elder Ashton and Curtis in front of the "ships" at Jamestown.
Another great week has passed topped off by two wonderful things - a visit from one of our children and the opportunity to use technology to "hangout" on google with many of our family members on Saturday night. It was so GREAT to see and talk with them.....I'm still grinning with happiness about that!