Sunday, August 31, 2014

Hello from Pikeville, Tennessee.  This is my kitchen here in our little blue house on Birchwood Street.  Believe me, it looks bigger than it is.  No dishwasher, and no garbage disposal. If you dirty 3 dishes, it looks full.  But it seems that I have been doing a lot of cooking in it lately.  Last week the Elders invited a family to our house for dinner.  They have four children, plus them, plus the Elders and us.  Table space is at a premium, but we did it! It was a zoo.
     The next day I prepared dinner for a couple who just had a new baby. Their other child is just 10 1/2 months old.  They are so southern.  Sometimes I have a little trouble understanding her with her southern accent.  He is young and probably has more guns than anyone should ever have (especially with 2 small children).

This is a picture of our attempts to help Roberta move.  She is standing behind the red truck.  You can't tell it in this picture, but it was pouring rain. Fortunately most of the furniture was on the trailer and we were just finishing that and putting on the tarp. The tarp pretty well covered the two mattresses, but everything else got real wet. We then followed the truck up the mountain road and unloaded it into another trailer.  I'm not sure the new one was that much of an improvement, but she was happy.  (Darryl says it was)

This is William Sapp. He is 67 years old and lives way up the mountain in a pretty remote area. He used to be a carpet layer, and has worked all over the world.  He is pretty convinced that sometime terrorists are going to attack --so he is prepared. He lives in that small trailer while he builds his little house (behind the trailer).He has two arm chairs, a kitchen chair and a small table in his cabin.  He is really doing good work on that cabin, all by himself. The walls are thick and he will be secure.  He sees the green woods (in the picture) outside his back door.

In the mornings we get up early and walk around the corner and through the cemetery.  This is one of the gravestones up there that I found unusual.  Betty Lou obviously has not died yet because there is no death date, but I guess she wanted a stylish photograph on the stone.  I love the feather boa and the white gloved hands.  Her husband is deceased, but he does look happy.  I guess he likes the white boa too.

As part of our mission, we go out and locate people whose names are on the church records, but they have not been seen for awhile.  Sometimes they have moved, so we document that.  Last week we went with the Relief Society President (the Women's organization) to visit this couple.  They are Willie and Veronica Jane Warren. He is 87 and she is 71 years old. He has been fighting breast cancer and is on morphine and another very strong drug, thus they don't get out much.  She has a flu bug right now, so she talked with us through the screen while we sat on the porch.  They are a delightful couple who carry preparedness to the hilt.  She has been bottling every type of food known to man.  She showed us the bottles of chicken and turkey she cooked then bottled in jars.  They have vegetables, fruit and beans. They were sharing recipes with the RS Pres for their  'tomato gravy' over rice, and swamp cabbage soup.  We learned of a new corn bread made with fine ground corn meal, hot water and a little flour...rolled and fried in the frying pan.  That sounds like pioneer food to me. But if there is a disaster, I know who has all the food.

This last week we were at the Cumberland County Fair (in Crossville). This is our booth. You see in front, Elder Hansen ready to hand out some of the free popcorn we had.  Sisters McDonald and Hess are behind him. Elder Stratling is in the back. We also handed out CTR balloons to the kids, cold bottled water and freezer pops. We were there from 4pm to about 9pm each night (except Fri. when Elder Dunn and I took the night off and stayed in Pikesville.)

On our way home from the fair we had
some excitement!

We had stopped at the Kroger store before leaving Crossville, so we were hurrying along to be home in time for Elders Stradling and Hansen's curfew at 9:30pm.  A car pulled in front of us on the highway and soon he was weaving back and forth across the centerline.  Elder Stradling frantically started calling 911 to report a drunken driver.....just as the call dropped, and as the driver went around a curve, he ran off the side of the road.  We stopped, the Elders ran to see if he was okay.  He was feeling no pain....but was trying to push down on the gas pedal to go.  Another guy stopped, and distracted him while the Elder's called 911 again.  Soon we had an ambulance (not needed), and 6 cop cars (Highway Patrol and Cumberland Co. Sheriff). They had been trying to track this guy for quite a while because of another call they received.  Needless to say he was on his way to jail....inasmuch as this was his 6th DUI.  The funny part was how excited the Elders were.  This made their day! I guess they don't have enough excitement. They kept thanking me for stopping at the store because if we hadn't we would have missed it.

This is Elder Shiner.  He is one cool guy.  I so admire him because he is a great missionary and to top it off he has a great sense of humor.  But most of all, he has a stutter. Can you imagine the courage it takes to go out on a mission to talk with people about the Gospel when you have a stutter.  He manages it very well, and it only gets troublesome when he is nervous. One day we drove him around while he tried to find some long-lost relatives his mother had searched out while doing her genealogy. He met one couple that I think really enjoyed him, although they were not the relatives he sought.  Elder are one great example!

Well, I will end with my personal achievement this week.  I gave myself a pedicure!  Well, you can see that I am no competition to my toe bleeds.  But I did it.  AND... I got up my courage and went to Cost Cutters and got a $9.00 hair cut.  I kept asking everyone where they got their hair cut, and they all told me they cut it themselves.  Well, I wasn't going to do that.  It was getting long and way too curly so I took a deep breath and went to Cost Cutters in Crossville.  It came out okay and I lived through it.

One more thing.  Elder Dunn found another tractor.  A 1936 Restored John Deere - model G.  It was in the truck pulling contest at the fair.

We are enjoying our mission here in Pikeville.  It has been raining alot, so it is really green.  We don't have that southern accent yet, but we are beginning to understand others who do have it.
We think of you all often.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

August 11th-18th, 2014 - Pikeville State of Mind

Well, here we are again! Another week of wild adventures (wild in Pikeville terms).  Mondays are Pdays (Preparation days).  It usually comprises of the Elder.s coming over to do their laundry and to use the wifi to write letters home.

Tuesday we headed out to Dayton Mountain to visit the Earls.  Dave Earl is back from Nashville where he went for tests to see if he would qualify for a heart transplant.  They still don't know the decision yet.  On the way to their home we stopped at the Oren Wooden's Apple House.  It is only open from August through October.  We checked out all their preserves (the Pickled Jalapenos, Watermelon Rind pickles, Horseradish pickles, and Pickled Okra.  We settled for a fabulous apple pie which we took up to the Earl's.  We found them sitting on their porch relaxing, so we stayed a bit and then headed toward home.

On Wednesdays we always have a District Meeting.  This is the missionaries of our District.  This meeting was in Crossville, but next week it is in Sparta.  I will tell you who these people are (from left to right).  Sister Kollar from Utah; Sister McDonald (better known as Happy Meal) from Idaho; Sister Clark from Tokyo Japan; Elder Stradling from Idaho; below him is Elder Hansen from Eastern Oregon; in back is Elder
Randall from Bountiful Utah; Sister Hochstrasser from Olympia Washington; and you know us from Tucson Arizona. Elder Fenwick didn't quite make it back to get into the picture before the camera flashed.  But here he is.  He is from Bountiful Utah.  These missionaries are extraordinary people and we love them all very much.  Sisters McDonald and Clark serve in Crossville.  Sisters Kollar and Hochstrasser serve in Sparta.
Elders Randall and Fenwick serve in Spencer (which is actually part of the Sparta Branch). Elders Strandling and Hansen have the questionable pleasure of serving in Pikeville with us. We have a 1 1/2 hour meeting each Wednesday.  Elder Strandling is the District leader so he makes assignments as to who gives the prayers, talks etc.  This week Elder Hansen was assigned to come up with a good role-play.  Role-plays are used to train missionaries how to answer questions, give lessons etc.  Well, Elder Hansen came up with a doozy! It was so hard for me that I pouted about it for the whole next day.  But I will do better because of it.

Wednesday we roamed around in the southern rural part of Crossville in order to locate new or inactive members of the ward.  Once again it was difficult because we lose data coverage on our phones, thus no GPS signal.  We located 3 of the 4 we looked for....unfortunately no one was home.  But we left notes and .  I hope they know we tried.
   After we finished that we hurried to a meeting with he Elder's Quorum President (in the hat) and the Bishop (no hat, no hair).  This was the second time we met to go through the ward list to identify who needs visits and help.  There are about 500 members in the Crossville ward....and about 130 who attend regularly.  The Bishop says that his ward covers 1000 square miles, so you can see that he needs some help.  So many members of this ward are elderly or have medical problems that keep them from fully participating.

On Saturday evening we went to Dunlap, Tn., which is about 25 miles south of Pikeville.  They were having their county fair in which the Church has a booth.  We passed out 'CTR' balloons to the children and asked adults to fill out a short 4 question survey.  It was a very small fair, if you asked me.  It was mainly carnival rides.  Inside the 1 building they had a band playing.  I would have like to hear them more but I was needed outside.
There were 4 other missionaries there with us--2 Elders from Jasper and 2 Sisters from Dunlap.  Elder Dunn even got to speak a little spanish to one family.  Next week (week of 26th of Aug) the fair is in Crossville and we will be spending more time there.  Then starting about the 6th of Sept. it will be in Pikeville.

This is the band.

And of course, Elder Dunn found another tractor.

Sunday was our big important church meeting here in Pikeville to see if we have enough people to start a Branch of the church right here!
Sorry, this is a picture from the back.  I was trying not be conspicuous.  There were 85 people there!  Yeah!  Way up in front sitting down is the Bishop of Crossville, and our Mission President, President Andersen.  Standing to the right, the taller man is the Stake President, President Crawford.  We held this meeting in the Sequatchie Valley Electic Co-Op building.  We had more people than chairs, so some had to stand.  It was a success, and we celebrated after the talks etc. with Peanut Blossom cookies & Rice Krispie Treats that I made the day before.
This is Elder Stradling and the Mission Pres., President Andersen in deep discussion.  I think the Pres. is
breaking it to him that he is indispensable and will have to stay in Pikeville forever.

After the meeting the Stake President left and forgot to take his scriptures with him.  Elder Stradling is sure that it was a blessing from the Lord because it gave us the opportunity to drive to McMinville (better known as the birth place of Chuck Smith) on Monday to return the scriptures and do some heavy convincing that we really do need a branch in Pikeville.  I think that the Stake President is so fond of Elder Stradling that he will do his best to get that done.  Hopefully soon.
Elder Dunn and I did some grocery shopping at Walmart while Elders Stradling and Hansen did their convincing with the Stake Pres.  After we picked them up we had the opportunity of going to the local Ace Hardware and found a long lost relative of Chuck Smith.  Actually it was the grandson of his cousin.  It was fun to meet him and to witness him talking to Chuck on my cell phone.

The drive to McMinville is not a very pleasant drive.  It is and lush on both sides of the road; but it winds and winds much like the road up the Salt River Canyon.  It took us about 1 1/4 hours to get there.  When we finally got there we could get no GPS coverage so we had to go by inspiration to where the church was.  I even went into a verizon store to see if my phone needed updating.  The lady said no, it was just bad coverage.  It was also very cloudy and raining.

Well, that is the end of another busy week.  One thing is for sure, I never have any trouble sleeping at night.  I hope all is well with each one of you.  We love what we are doing and wish each one of you had the opportunity to feel the joy of serving your fellowmen and to help bring joy into their lives.

Monday, August 11, 2014


We are thinking of adopting "On The Road Again" by Willie Nelson, as our theme song.  This is Cookeville, Tn, population about 31,000.  If you live in Pikeville (population ~1800) you think this is the big city.  Look!!!!! real restaurants!  We came to this big city 2 times this week (Monday to get our car serviced, and Friday for a Zone Conference).  It is 66 miles from Pikeville to Cookeville, and it takes about 1 hour and 10 minutes to drive it.  But....there are real restaurants....did I mention that?  Plus, they have a really nice Walmart. 

On Wednesday we went to Crossville (about 30 miles) to meet with the Bishop who gave us names and instructions on the people who need help there.  We did meet one woman that day.  We had the wrong address originally, but another girl recognized us and helped us.  This woman lived way out in the country in a house that I was so happy I didn't have to go into to.  She is about 50 years old and I think her boyfriend is about 80 years old.  It was rather spooky when I imagined snuggling up to him.  But he had a sweet spirit.

This next picture is Pikeville's answer for a restaurant if you don't want to go to McDonalds or Subway.  It is called "Los Panchos".  If you can't read the sign it says that if it is your birthday you get a free meal.  Well, Wednesday was Elder (Darryl) Dunn's birthday so we took them up on it.  On their menu they had chimichangas....which we both thought looked good.  If you deep fry something, how many germs could it have?  We explained to the waitress that we were from Tucson where the chimi was invented, so it had better be good.  I think that made her nervous.  She came back half way through the meal to check on what we thought.  I told it was good, except that it had no resemblance to a chimi.  If it went into the deep fryer, it was for under 2 seconds.  The inside was more like a fajita.  Well, Darryl got a really great birthday gift this year......he didn't get sick.....but I did. 

 Thursday was the official beginning of the Hwy 127 Yard Sale, although most were set up days earlier.  These are several general pics of the event.  All along Highway 127 (from Ohio to Alabama) people set up these tents, awnings, or just laid their goods on the ground.  They were usually at least 3 rows deep, and sometimes blocks long.  People just pulled their cars to the side of the road, or found a close field to park in and went and shopped.  It was unbelievable how many of these places there were.  Also, so unbelievable how much junk some people hauled out.  The pic of the fruit & vegs was very common.  They had apples, tomatoes (red and green for frying), corn, cucumbers, boiled peanuts etc.  The picture on the bottom is of metal flamingos and chickens.  Those chickens were unbelievably tall.  On the bottom right is a pic of the porta-potties.....I didn't use one.

There was so much glassware.....I couldn't believe how many people were willing to save all of this junk, pack it up and put it on display.  You would think it would be dirt wasn't.  Walmart has a better deal on new glassware. 
Have you ever wondered where your silverware goes when it disappears?

I had to remind Elder Dunn how long it would take him to drive this back to Tucson. 

Okay, I did buy something.  This is a Jewelry Case.  It stands 38" tall.  It was $40.  I'm not sure how we are going to get it home (maybe on one of those tractors.)

The Hwy 127 yard sale was fun until it started to rain.  There was some fast movement going on.  It sure made traffic along Highway 127 a nightmare because these people really get wacky when they see a bargain. 

This is Parker Holland.  We met him at the Yard Sale.  He is 80 years old and was born here in Pikeville, Tn, as was his father.  He is a delightful gentleman who has such a southern accent that he was pretty hard to understand.  He told us that he used to be a clogger, but had to give it up due to his age.  He even danced on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry.   

Tennessee is full of colorful people.  They are all very friendly and boy do they love to talk, almost as much as they love to fry.  There were several booths that were selling fried pies, but unfortunately we never got close to one. 

One thing I want to mention is that people not only set up their displays along the highway, they also hauled things out of the homes and displayed them in their front yards in he city of Pikeville.  I guess it was just a general understanding that this was the time for yard sales wherever you are. 

Well, that was about the most exciting event of this week.  We did manage to get lost on the mountain again.  It has been raining quite a bit, and there is a lot of cloud cover.....that doesn't help the GPS situation.  We were on our way to help the Earl's do some weed wacking on their property.  He is the man who is hoping for a heart transplant soon.  We finally got there, but by that time they had run out of gas and it was raining.  But we had a great visit with them.  Part of the problem of finding places is caused by the fact that people have removed so may of the road signs.  If the GPS is working we can see the name of the street on our phones, but otherwise it is always a guess. It is very perplexing to this city girl.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

One of Those Days

Do you ever have one of those days when you wonder why you even got out of bed? Well, that is almost my day today.  We were supposed to be contacting potential members of the  Pikeville Branch to remind them of a meeting this next Tuesday evening.  I started calling everyone.....and no one was home (or not answering the phone).  It is times like this that I always suspect that the whole city has been evacuated and someone forgot to tell us. 

So, being the crafty person I am, I threw together this little flyer and then Elder Dunn and I (you may notice I forgot to refer to us as that on the flyer) went about to tape these reminders on their doors.  I know that sounds simple, but it does require some distance....and in the rain.  

We were trying to find a member's home up on one of the mountains as the GPS was leading us (so we thought).  All of a sudden there was no more road.  We knew we were in trouble because the road was very small and not real drive-able.  We kept losing the signal so I know we were way off the correct path.  You just can't trust a GPS in the mountains!  So, we just went back until we found a road that was familiar and then we went home.  I hope William Sapp makes it to the meeting.  
On August 7th (Thursday) there will be the longest yard sale in the nation (so so they say.)  It starts on Highway 127 in Ohio and goes all the way to Alabama.  It is a big deal every year and everyone around here is getting prepared for it.  Hwy 127 runs right through Pikeville.  People set up awnings and tables etc. on the side of the Highway and load them with things they have saved all year.  Actually, they started setting up last week. There is a big demand for spaces along the Hwy.  The sale runs from Thursday through Sunday. 

Yesterday we stopped at an antique shop which sits on the Hwy, but is very near our house.  These pictures are some of the things they have displayed there.  This first one are buggies and of course Elder Dunn found some old farm equipment he would love to haul back to Tucson if he could.

This old gentleman finds old tools and restores them.  They are collection of unique and well preserved tools.  
Of course, this was my favorite.  Inside the antique store she had every design of china and regular tableware you could imagine.  If you needed one plate of something, this was the place to go.  Personally, I wanted that cute arm chair to the left.  

I know you can't see this very well, but it is something that just really awes me. Almost every grave, in every cemetery has a flower arrangement on it.  They are silk flowers, but they are never faded, so they must change them out pretty frequently.  They really honor their dead in these small towns.

To close with.....As you drive up and down these mountains, this is the type of greenery that is along the sides of the roads.  It is lush, and it is beautiful.  This is not the most spectacular of the sights, but that person driving has a problem with suddenly stopping on a curved road so I could take a picture. I wish I could send some of this lush greenery to you all in Tucson.

Well, next week I will be busy, so I took the chance to send this to you now.  I hope you are enjoying your monsoon rain storms, and that they are making the grass green and the washes run.  We love the work we are doing, and we know that it is important.  There are good people in this valley and we sure hope to get to know them all.  

Friday, August 1, 2014

Yesterday we had another service filled day.  Above is a picture of the Cadds. You have met them before. This is them in their Sunday go-to-meetin clothes.  In the winter their trailer is heated with wood.  He is unable to cut wood because of his stroke, and many other problems.  I wish you could see inside of their trailer, it would give you extreme appreciation for the home you live in.  It is small enough without their son (who disappears on a regular basis), their daughter-in-law (who has a job) and their 9 noisy, noisy little dogs. We have a service project planned there next week and we were surveying it to see what we need to bring.  We are going to cut down that tall leaning tree and chop it up for firewood.  It is surrounded by heavy brush and alot of trees, so it will be exciting.  We have Br. Bergeron to help us who built his house doing this type of thing and he has the equipment.
The other picture is of Elder Hansen admiring that black truck, that doesn't run.  Actually he was admiring the decal on the window that says: "Zombie Patrol".
After we left the Cadds we went to help the Curtis's.  That means down one mountain, and up another mountain.  For someone who gets carsick I did pretty well.  We picked blackberries (you see one of the bushes) and tomatoes (some green for frying, some red). I spotted this watermelon growing.  I am hoping it is ripe next time we return.  The last picture is of lunch.  The Curtis's are such fabulous people......who really like whip cream.  That is a chocolate cake (I think). It tasted good.  We also had orange jello......topped with a lot of whip cream and flan (no whip cream on it).  I didn't get to hear the rest of her life story today, but she is still so entertaining that it is a joy to do service there.  The Elders also got to dig up garlic from their yard.  We now have enough garlic to last us through this mission and several more.  Our car may never smell the same.

Tonight we will have our first interviews with the Mission President, Pres. Andersen.  We have to go to Cookeville for that.  It is about 45 minutes away, and our interview time is 5:30 pm......slow time (central time, as opposed to fast time which is Eastern time).

I hope you can see the pictures....they are a little higher dpi.

Miss you all.