Wild, Wonderful West Virginia

View out Balis' Bay Window

View out Balis’ Bay Window

The State Motto for West Virginia is “Mountaineers Are Always Free.” From 1975 to 1991, the official slogan of West Virginia was “Wild, Wonderful West Virginia”; that sentiment still persists on sundry official sites as well among the residency in general. Wednesday afternoon, June 1st, Rebecca and I arrived at the home of brother John and sister Sue Balis outside of Sandyville, WV.

As we entered the grounds of the Balis family farm, I spied sister Sue mowing the lawn astraddle a riding mower. It was then that I recalled from having lived in West Virginia that mowing grass in that state is “women’s work”!

Brother and sister Balis have hosted me before, along with Bonnie, of course, and at least once my daughter, too. Once more, Rebecca and I were graciously received, lodged and amply fed. Besides this, the Balis’ are an ever encouragement and participants with me in my missionary efforts.

That evening, it was my good pleasure to speak to the Sandyville Church of Christ. I made my PowerPoint presentation about my “2015-2016 Mission Trips” to four countries in Asia and one country in South America.

96 dpi 4x6 WartherThursday morning, after breakfast, Rebecca and I once more mounted the Town & Country and traveled onward. We stopped en route to northwestern Pennsylvania in Dover, OH to have our paring knives sharpened at Warther’s Museum, Gift Shop and Knife Factory. The company will sharpen our knives, which we bought from them, for life.

Finally, we arrived in Hadley, PA at the trailer home of my 86-year-old father for a short visit, which included being bitten on the leg by his little housedog. For a moment I had passing thoughts of playing football with that toothy fur ball and punting him toward some unseen goal post! He broke the skin, which eventually drew blood to the surface, right through my jeans.

After leaving my dad’s home, we dropped by my brother Mike’s (and Donna his wife) home between Greenville and Jamestown, PA. He is confined to a bed or a chair; he only gets out for doctor’s appointments usually. We happened to stop by on a day between appointments. Recently, he had another stroke. He is my youngest brother, four years my junior.

Next, we dropped by the home of my brother Martin (and his wife Mary and his daughter Sammy) in Jamestown. The five of us enjoyed dinner in a local eatery. Afterward, Rebecca and I resorted to our lodging in Meadville, PA.

Friday morning, we slept too late to sample the hotel breakfast. Hence, we “forced” ourselves at Cracker Barrel to share pecan pancakes, crisp bacon and cheesy hash brown casserole, accented for me with orange juice and with chocolate milk for Rebecca. With time on our hands, we headed to the first oil well, which birthed the oil industry, in Titusville, PA. It was a pleasant day (the snow melted about two weeks earlier), and the visit to the museum and grounds was equally pleasant.

For about an hour we rested back at the hotel, once we returned, before visiting some of Bonnie’s family at the home of James and Kay Reed in Cochraton, PA. Bonnie’s brother Larry Reed and his wife Donna also stopped by, and all of us had a home cooked meal together.

Saturday morning, we checked out of our hotel and moved toward the next venue. We reserved a room in Elyria, OH and headed that direction. Sunday morning, I am scheduled to speak for the Vermilion, OH Church of Christ; that evening if our Lord wills, I will speak for the Norval Park Church of Christ in Zanesville, OH. Monday and Tuesday, we will visit my son Raymond in Newark, OH, and Wednesday, I will speak for the Hanoverton, OH Church of Christ. Thursday evening, we will have supper with the Rodney Nulph family; he is the Associate Editor of Gospel Gazette Online, an Internet Gospel magazine now in its 18th year of publication. Friday and Saturday, Rebecca and I will return to Winona, MS. All day Sunday, I will speak for the Indianola, MS Church of Christ.

Life in general can be wild and wonderful. West Virginia proudly embraces that slogan.

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