Zaehrings!

We had another great visit with our friends Jamie and Michelle, and their sweet boys Judah and Samuel. It was fun to cuddle a baby again — six months is such a perfect age. Our kids love their kids, too, so they entertained each other well and we grown-ups got to sit around a fair bit and sip hot coffee.

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We went to a fun country fair out in Republic while they were here! A vintage merry-go-round, handmade taffy, friends performing bluegrass music, lots of farm animals, Smokey Bear, various wares and food booths, and real horse races… The horse races were my favorite, because there was something exciting about watching normal farm kids race by on big horses as fast as they could go. Something very old-fashioned, something out of a storybook. Something that pulls at your gut because you can almost feel yourself on the back of a horse with wind whipping past your ears and dirt pounding out behind you. And it was a scary and neat thought to imagine the kids getting to do that someday. We’ll see…

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After the fair, we drove into the historic little town of Republic to see if we could find the old iron safe in the back of the hardware store that has our friend Steve’s last name on it. His grandfather (or great-grandfather?) helped settle that town. Kerry and Jamie had to ask the gentleman working there, and he let them go into the back office where, lo and behold, the safe is still there!

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The last night they were here we stayed up late talking, and had all just gone to bed when some creature started up a racket outside somewhere in our little mountain bowl. It sounded like a dog barking, but also not quite like a dog because it had a high-pitched yelp after each few barks. Maybe a creature caught in a trap? Or being eaten? We didn’t think it was being eaten because it kept up the racket for a long time, and got all the dogs within earshot excited and upset. Finally Kerry and Jamie decided to go out into the big, dark woods and investigate. They armed themselves with Jamie’s crazy awesome flashlights and a couple of guns and drove away into the night looking for the creature. Turns out it was closer to the house than we first thought (must have been echoing), but when they got close to where they thought it was, it suddenly stopped making noise. So they sat there in the dark quiet getting creeped out, and pretending over the phone that something was getting them, and then drove back. We never heard it again.

After that adventure, they may have been a little happier to leave for home and the city again in the morning, but we’ll talk them into coming back again! Men need a good excuse to play with blinding flashlights and pack heat once in awhile, don’t they?

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