Family time in the States – halfway

We’re halfway through some great times with members of Dale’s family in Ohio and Pennsylvania, USA. The leadup to Easter was enriching but full-on (hard to avoid in Christian congregational ministry) and once back – it’s a case of ending up my synod Schools Commission Chair role, preparing for worship and music at the late-May Queensland UC synod and at home base, getting ready for my local church’s children’s Holiday Club weeklong program. So,it’s lovely having this time-out!

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Maybe the -4 degrees start to the day here in Pittsburgh was in some small way, prep for the Polar Explorers theme- an inch of snow as a Sunday wake up bonus! We’ve had six nights here in the States now, plus one on the plane (never fun for long-legged types like me). First four nights at Dale’s Dad’s near Garrettsville in NE Ohio.

imageI always love being there, joining with Dale as she spends precious time with her Dad, doing odd jobs around the place – this time helping prune the delicious apple tree and with her brother Dan (up for a few days from North Carolina) doing some reinforcing work on the barn door – all my handyman skills (not!) on ample display.

It’s also been nice catching up on sleep (Dale’s been less fortunate) and reading some more of Nikki Savva’s The Road to Ruin. A good read, though her journalistic integrity was surely compromised by not interviewing Tony Abbott and Peta Credlin!

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It’s been quite memorable being here in early Spring, most deciduous trees still stripped of foliage from autumn and winter. First time in the States at this time of year.

This is not really a tourist jaunt; we’re here for family. Dale’s oldest sister Diana and husband Tom live in Pittsburgh PA, so we’ve enjoyed their hospitality and conversation these past two days. Tom is Pittsburgh born and bred and does wonderfully well when it comes to sharing the sights of this city famous for its steel mill heritage.

imagePittsburgh is known as both “the Steel City” for its more than 300 steel-related businesses, as well as “the City of Bridges” for its 446 bridges. They’ve done well at reclaiming derelict steel mill sites for retail, educational and parkland usage.

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Tom is a keen reader and thinker on the political climate in his own country and beyond, I think I am too, so it’s been enlightening hearing his thoughts on the “state of the Union” especially when it comes to the health insurance question, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton et al. He understandably has deep concerns for his country.

imageWe’ve enjoyed some nice meals out, including dinner last night at Claddagh’s, an Irish restaurant on Pittsburgh’s Southside.

Diana and Tom are spending over a month in Australia and New Zealand in September and October. We’ll join them for some of this, so this has been a golden opportunity to do some planning. We look forward to travelling imagearound together a bit. It was also good to attend their local Catholic Church this morning for Mass. I enjoyed the sermon!

In a few hours we head back to Dad’s. We’ll meet up at Perkins Family Restaurant not far from his place. THe States is the place of the buffet/family restaurant – ridiculously cheap by comparison with Oz prices; eg half the price of Sizzler.

I’m looking forward to the final five days here, before we head homewards around 4 pm Friday, eastern US time.

cheers,

David

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