This past Sunday was big doings for our twin grandsons as they were officially baptised.
Both sets of grandparents and all four of the godparents were there for the big event. Don even wore a tie!
The kids wore baptismal gowns that have been handed down through Jeremy's family, including one that Jeremy wore at his baptism.
Below is a small gallery of photos from the big event. Remember to click on one of the photos to see all of them full size.
The Zephyr was a totally new concept in rail travel - the result of three companies all looking to do something different and special at the same time. The Burlington Railroad wanted a special passenger train to rejuvenate business. General Motors was perfecting a diesel locomotive engine to replace steam. And the Budd Company was looking to do things with stainless-steel as well as expand past building auto bodies. They came together, and the result was a marvelous machine.
In April of 1934 the Zephyr was introduced - an all stainless-steel train with a GM diesel engine. A month later it set a speed record for travel between Denver and Chicago when it made a 1,015-mile non-stop run in 13 hours 5 minutes for an average speed of 77 mph. There was one section of the run where the train reached a speed of 112.5 mph.
To look at a Zephyr and then reflect that it was designed and built 80 years ago, gives you a great appreciation of the elegance of it. Of course being diesel it was completely different looking from everything else. Many railroads started putting sheetmetal bodywork over their passenger steam engines to try and look as good. I really believe they are the most beautiful trains ever built. I think Dad did too.
We finish our trip back to the pre-Interstate era with a special jingle. According to the Burma-Shave historians (yes, there are such people), this final sample of the famous roadside signs was created but never published.
Burma-Shave began their roadside jingles in 1926 and stopped them in 1963. We began our short series of this trip down memory lane on June 15 and finishing it 12 weeks later.
For all of you who remember these roadside icons, I hope you have enjoyed this peek back to when you were a bit younger.
It seems as though I never have a chance to take any photos of our new grandchildren as I am always holding a kid and a bottle or just a kid wanting a bottle. Sometimes I'm changing a diaper or roughhousing on the activity mat with one boy or the other. But mostly, I am holding a kid and a bottle. When I am not feeding one of the kiddos it is because I am at the campground on hosting duty.
Linda, on the other hand is doing all this - and more! She is helping just about every week day - she doesn't cop out with the "hosting" ploy. But along with baby duties, Linda is also the washerwoman, constantly up and down the basement stairs with laundry.
Anyway, we do want to share with you how great the twins are doing. Keep in mind that they were each less than 4 pounds when born. Now they are a strapping 12 pounds and growing! I know they must growing because I keep giving them bottles.
Enough of my excuses. I am just unreliable. But Jeremy can be counted on to "get 'er done." He has come to the rescue with a great photo set of each boy. I hope you enjoy these precious pictures. Remember to click on a photo to see the pictures in the set at full size.
You've heard of Paul Blart: Mall Cop?
Now there is Don Simmons: Campground Host.
With April's twins due at the end of June, Linda made plans to stay the summer nearby to their home in the St. Louis suburbs so she could be on call if needed. Of course she would be needed - twins require a minimum of four hands (and sometimes more).
She found a commercial campground for us to put the RV that was only about 12 miles away from the house. Meanwhile I started thinking that perhaps a state park would be nicer. It would be quieter with more shade and more privacy between the sites. The problem is that most public campgrounds have a two week limit on your stay.
Aha! I think I'll apply to become a campground host (there is just no off-switch on genius).
My application to host was a real shot in the dark. There are about 80 parks in Missouri and only two of them were close enough to April for us. Add in our very specific time frame and the probability of success was low. But then came a telephone call, and I was a campground host.
What Is a Campground Host?
A host is the on-site face of the campground with some light duties around the campground. In return a host receives a campsite for the length of their hosting term. In other words, no two week limit! In most state and national campgrounds the campsite is also upgraded - in Missouri this means 50 amp electrical service (necessary with 2 air-conditioning units), water, and on-site sewer.
There are two hosts in our small park, so we share the time. Half the time I check in campers, empty trash cans in the park, check the toilet paper, and police the campsites after the campers have left. When the other host is on duty, my time is free - not really as Linda has me helping with the twins on those days.
So here I am, goodwill ambassador for a small Missouri State Park, having a ball, and seeing my new grandsons often. Life is good.
If a man travels with a map,
but no woman to read it,
is he still lost?
You and I have memories
Longer than the road that stretches out ahead
McCartney & Lennon
one state at a time
"On the road again,
Goin' places that we've never been,
Seein' things that we may never see again,
And we can't wait to get on the road again."
Written & Performed by