Summer Jam

It’s been 36 years now since Chuck, Albert and I decided to go to Watkins Glen for the rock festival that was billed as “Summer Jam” in 1973. The promoters had expected 100,000 people at the most, but as the week drew down it was obvious that something was happening and we just “had to be there”. Chuck had been to Woodstock, and I was fascinated with his experience there, so there was no way I was going to miss this! By the time the actual concert started on Saturday, there were 600,000 rock & roll fans there, a record for attendance at a single event.

We got there on Friday and got closer with the car than I expected we would. Roads were clogged and in some cases blocked. There were cars parked alongside the road up to 30 miles away. We ditched the car somewhere near the raceway, I remember thinking “I have to remember where the car is”, and walked in. The fences were down and everyone was getting in for free by that time. State cops were around, but being friendly and there was no trouble. We worked our way to a place that was actually pretty good, relatively close to the stage, on a slight slope and planted ourselves. Except for a few trips to find water, we pretty much stayed there. A trip to the line of 1000 porta potties could take you an hour or two. I had packed in my backpack a blanket, space blanket and a jug of wine. I guess that’s all I needed, what more could you want? That night when it rained, I just covered up with the space blanket.

As a music event, it wasn’t all that memorable. The experience was the thing for me. The Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers Band, and The Band were all great bands, but being a part of what to me was an important event in my life was better than the music. The sound check on Friday night turned into a 5 hour long concert in itself with all three bands playing. It was a less politically charged and more laid back party atmosphere than other previous events. The war had ended, Watergate was in full swing, we just wanted to have fun and party and listen to music. It was the last of the rock festivals of it’s kind. The only regret I have is that we left early, I guess we wanted to beat the crowds getting out, I don’t remember.

Not conclusive proof that I was there, but it sure looks a lot like me at that time.

That's the way it is, Cuz.

First cousin, second cousin, twice removed? What's it all mean, Grandpa?
Sometimes if it gets too far down the family tree it becomes way too complicated. has a good article here that explains some of it and has a chart to figure some of your relationships. Basically, my first cousin's kids are second cousins to my kids, and are first cousins once removed from me. OK, I guess it would be easier to just claim us all as "cousins".


Take a look at these two, isn't it great how much they look alike?
Lindsay (Mom) and Bridgett (daughter)

Genes, Maybe??

Tumbling Down

The big Silver Maple tree closest to the house met it's demise yesterday. It has been slowly rotting away in the heart of it for several years, becoming a threat to one corner of the house if we get another ice storm. A few years ago when a severe ice storm came through, many large branches came down with a crash during the night. So, as much as I hate to see it go, down it came.

It reminded me of one of grandma's poems written because we kids had to play in a lawn with no trees, shrubs and shade when we were little.


The little farmhouse sits alone
There in the glaring sun;
No shrub or tree to offer shade–
No place for having fun.
Those children in the summer heat,
Where shall their haven be?
No hideout to climb into here–
A fellow needs a tree!

A tree from which to hang a swing;
Bushes for "hide and seek,"
With nesting birds for wonderment;
Lilacs a'smelling sweet.
And what's to tempt the butterfly
Or lure the wandering bee?
And where can all the pirates lurk?
A kiddie needs a tree!

©1973 HB Stevens

Grandpa S.

This is in response to my sister's excellent caricature about our Grandmother on her blog and her not having many memories of Grandpa.

Grandpa was an auto mechanic by trade and a Jack-Of-All-Trades beyond that. He had his own business at the family home, and I can still remember the sights, smells and sounds when we would visit the Garage. The floor with years of grease and oil forming almost a hard shell over the concrete in the auto bay. The smells of the tools on the bench along the wall. I have some of his hand tools, which I still use and cherish. He had an office and counter area in a separate room that always fascinated me. The office was cordoned off with a rail and swinging rail gate (I wish we had a picture) The glass case counter held CANDY among other items for sale. I always requested a roll of Necco candy as often as I was allowed.

Grandpa would walk up to the house from the garage, wearing the bib overalls and what I would call an engineer's cap, and remove his shoes and hang up his jacket. The back sink was where he would clean up, I do remember his hands, mechanics hands with the traces of grease under the fingernails. As much as I can remember, I never heard him call Grandma anything but "hey!". I'm sure he meant no disrespect, just the way he called her.

He built several things over the years that I remember so well. The rowboat that he built was special when he would get it down from where it hung from the rafters in the car garage, and we got to row around the small pond in the back yard. We also fished for bass in that pond, always threw them back in when we caught any. And the little red motorized car that he built, what fun! I can see him stepping on the outside lever that started the engine, then reaching down under the dash area to put it in gear for us. Off we'd go to ride around the lawn!

He would bring out the movie camera at Christmas and family occasions, plug in the strip of flood lights to illuminate us and film us opening packages. Then on other visits we got to see the movies and slides. As I got older the word became "endure" the slides. Now, what would we give to recapture those times! Grandpa was hard working, enjoyed his other interests and I think he enjoyed having us come to visit.

This is Funny...

Here's a funny clip of a barbershop quartet.


One of my favorite praise songs is "I Can Only Imagine"

Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine

Just trying to think of what life will be like in Heaven can be overwhelming and comforting at the same time. As humans we want to know everything ahead of time, so we can plan what to pack, I guess. I'm comforted just to know I'll be there at the feet of Jesus. I can wait for the awe and wonder to reveal itself in God's time.

Imagination & creativity are unique gifts from God to us, proof to me that we are created in His image. They say that the church should be the most creative place on earth. Our imagination sparks our entertainment, education, why not our service?

I've always enjoyed radio dramas. I remember listening to them as a kid at the kitchen radio. I'll admit I still listen to them today, even kids shows. One of the best is "Adventures in Odyssey". It's a place where kid's imagination can take them to places and events in the bible or learn life lessons along with their favorite characters.

Imagination - Don't leave home without it!

Back again

Back again to try to keep up with a blog. It seems everyone is blogging, twittering, on some kind of social network. Not being an exceptionally social person, it's more difficult to share, but I'll try. It will be more of a fluid site now, I'm building it with RapidWeaver, a Mac only program, and will be experimenting with all the various options over time. So, keep returning, there will be changes occasionally.