"A Last Will"

I am here to tell you that this "Last Will" is not MY last will.
I really had you there, didn't I?

It's something that I stumbled upon some weeks ago.
It's really wonderful.
This man, no matter HOW rich and successful he was,
truly knew what the important things in life are.
He didn't let his wealth take over his life; he knew what to value, and what was, eventually, worth nothing.
I'm not sure exactly what the back-story is, but the will basically makes up for that.

When you read it, you have to close your eyes and imagine it.
I realize that it may be hard for you to read and close your eyes at the same time.
Maybe switch off, no matter how silly you'll look to the people around you.
Here goes.

Williston Fish. "A Last Will." Harper's Weekly, New York, September 3, 1898.

"He was stronger and cleverer, no doubt, than other men, and in many broad lines of business he had grown rich, until his wealth exceeded exaggeration. One morning, in his office, he directed a request to his confidential lawyer to come to him in the afternoon. 
He intended to have his will drawn.
A will is a solemn matter, even with men whose life is given up to business, and who are by habit mindful of the future.
After giving this direction, he took up no other matter, but sat at his desk alone and in silence.
It was a day when summer was first new.
The pale leaves upon the trees were starting forth upon the still unbending branches.
The grass in the parks had a freshness in its green like the freshness of the blue in the sky and of the yellow of the sun -  
a freshness to make one wish that life might renew its youth.
The clear breezes from the south wantoned about, and then were still, as if loath to finally go away.
Half idly, half thoughtfully the rich man wrote upon the white paper before him, beginning what he wrote in capital letters, such as he had not made since, as a boy in school, he had taken pride in his skill with the pen.

"I, CHARLES LOUNSBURY, being of a sound and disposing mind and memory, do now make and publish this, my last will and testament in order, as justly as may be, to distribute my interests in the world among succeeding men.
And first, that part of my interest, which is known in law and recognized in the sheep-bound volumes of the law as my property, being inconsiderable and none account, I make no disposition in this, my will.
My right to live, being but a life estate, is not at my disposal, but these things excepted,
 all else in the world I now proceed to devise and bequeath.

ITEM: I give to fathers and mothers, but in trust to their children, nevertheless, all good little words of praise and all quaint pet names, and I charge said parents to use them justly, 
but generously, as the deeds of their children shall require.

ITEM: I leave to children exclusively, but only for the life of their childhood, all and every dandelions of the fields and the daisies thereof, with the right to play among them freely, according to the custom of children, warning them at the same time against the thistles.
And I devise to children the yellow shores of creeks and the golden sands beneath the water thereof, with the dragon flies that skim the surface of said waters, and the odors of the willows that dip into said waters, and the white clouds that float on high above the above the giant trees.
And I leaves to children the long, long days to be merry in a thousand ways, and the Night, and the trail of the Milky Way to wonder at; but subject, nevertheless, to the rights given to lovers; and I give to each child the right to choose a start to be his, and I direct the father shall tell him the name of it, in order that the child shall remember the name of that star after he has learned and forgotten astronomy.

ITEM: I devise to boys jointly all the idle fields and commons where ball may be played, all snow-clad hills where one may coast, and all streams and ponds where one may skate, to have and to hold the same for the period of their boyhood.
And all meadows, with the clover-blooms and butterflies thereof; and all woods, with their appurtenances of squirrels and whirring birds and echoes and strange noises, and all distant places, which may be visited, together with the adventures there to be found.
And I give to said boys, each his own place at the fireside at night, with all pictures that may be seen in the burning wood or coal, to enjoy without hindrance and without any incumbrance of cares.

ITEM: To lovers, I devise their imaginary world, with whatever they may need, as the stars of the sky, the red, red roses by the wall, the snow of the hawthorn, the sweet strains of music, and aught else they may desire to figure to each other the lastingness and beauty of their love.

ITEM: To young men jointly, being joined in a brave, mad crowd, I devise and bequeath all boisterous inspiring sports of rivalry, and I give to them the disdain of weakness and undaunted confidence in their own strength . . . 
I leave them alone the power to make lasting friendships and of possessing companions, and to them exclusively I give them all merry songs and brave choruses to sing, with smooth voices to troll them forth.

ITEM: And to those who are no longer children, or youths, or lovers, I leave Memory, and I leave to them the volumes of the poems of Burns and Shakespeare, and of other poets, if there are others, to the end that they may live the old days over again, freely and fully without the tithe or diminution;
and to those who are no longer children, or youths, or lovers, I leave, too, the knowledge of 
what a rare, rare world it is."



ThE wOnDeRfUl WaCkY fAmIY of BaRkMaN's.

What a week.
What a weekend.
What a time.
What a family.

A weekend where we actually got there before Dark. (thanks to me driving, of course.)
When we never got to bed before 12:30.
When waterfights abounded with frightening intensity.
To quote Cherie:
  "The Barkmans are basically a cool family."
Yeah, that pretty much sums it all up.
 I shall now proceed to narrate the weekend with pictures.

The swing is definitely one of the highlights.
Big time.
Even when the swing becomes too short, and they build another tiny
little platform off of the original one.
That sometimes freaks people out.

The Uncles are very child friendly.
Up to the point when every ten seconds,
they give them the "sockers".
That's not even a word.
Here, Joel talks to them about
the deep mysterious things of life.

The creek is lots of fun.
And it's cold.
Here, Zoe finally simply gives up
trying not to fall into the creek, 
and so she just crawls on her hands and knees.
She's my kind of girl.

ANY excuse to eat chocolate, and

Or Starbursts.
We love our Starbursts.

This picture took a little while to set up,
with help from Zachary.
But, I wikee.

Meet Manthony.
(that's his favorite name.)
We interrogated him.
Of Course.
And we found out these random bits of information:

#1: His favorite color is pastel pink.
(he was lying)
#2: His favorite animals are the wombat and the sloth.
(he was lying again)
#3: He has a horrible fear of mice and snakes.
(but Jana doesn't mind.:)
#4: He almost blew his head off with a shotgun.
(it was something about strange old guns.
We didn't quite understand.)
#5: Some of his worst fears are clastraphobia, and being tortured.
(hmm . . . tell us about your childhood.)
#6: He drinks approximately 17 cups of coffee a day.
(well, that's not SO bad...)
#7: His least favorite nickname is Manthony.
(we aren't exactly sure whether he's lying or not.)

But, all in all, he's a nice guy.
I think we approve.

Okay, this was hysterical.
You might think that when children knock a pinata open, 
that they eat all the candy?
Nope, not here.
The mother's were all sitting around getting high on Pop Rocks.
"This is wild!" -Rose
"You can't really tell if you like them or not" -Patty.
Our moms are the rock.
(tee hee)

NEVER cause Chams to have a reason to throw you in the freezing, disgusting creek.
I must say that he doesn't need a hair cut anymore; 
I pulled it all out. 

Waterfights were awesome.
We never did get Chams back.
He hid in a vehicle.
We basically didn't care if we got wet anymore.
We were too wet.

This pretty much describes Barkman Campout in an expression.

The Uncles finally fell in defeat to the Cousins,
 (although Kenny was dangerously close to joining their team)
Cheryl was brave and went off of the platform, 
we all sat around and wrote letters to Ervina and Claudia,
(our cousins who were too busy in Cambodia to come to campout)
there were a whole lot of random questions asked that week, 
I lost two hairclips down the cracks in the showerhouse,
(for some reason, Dawn and I just thought that was hilarious)
we tried a zip-line this year . . .  it kind of failed,
(Or I kind of failed it)
I was a wimp when it came to spiders in the tent,
(I ended up sleeping in a car)
It rained and rained and rained and rained Sunday morning,
(I love how it takes a rainstorm to get the Barkmans up relatively early out of their tents, or cars)
There was a wonderful supply of coffee,
(Until the morning when there wasn't, and we all nearly died)
Some of the Barkmans had left, 
And it started raining again, 
and then, 
Right as Clarita and Cherie were hugging goodbye,
A lightening bolt hit a tree only about 30 yards from the tent where we were all hanging out.
(we weren't sure if we wanted to do anymore hugging)
Talk about scary.
But, miraculously, 
we all lived, 
by the Grace of God.
It was a grand time.

We missed Ervina and Claudia horribly.
But, Kenny and James shall remember to give them their letters, 
won't you guys?




Toad sat straight down in the middle of the dusty road, his legs stretched out before him, and stared fixedly in the direction of the disappearing motor-car. 
He breathed short, his face wore a placid satisfied expression, and at intervals he faintly murmured 'Poop poop!'. . . 
"Glorious, stirring sight!" murmured Toad, never offering to move. 
"The poetry of motion! The REAL way to travel! The ONLY way to travel!
Here to-day, in next week tomorrow! Villages skipped, towns and cities jumped - 
always somebody else's horizon! 
O bliss! O poop-poop! O my! O my! . . . 
"And to think I never knew," went on Toad in a dreamy monotone.
"All those wasted years that lie behind me, I never knew, never even dreamt!
But now - but now that I know, now that I fully realize! O what a flowery track lies spread before me, henceforth! What dust-clouds shall spring up behind me as I speed on my reckless way! What carts I shall fling into the ditch in the wake of my magnificent onset!"
                          Toad, the Magnificent, from The Wind In The Willows.

After an afternoon of complete torture, I.HAVE.PASSED.
My permit test.
My "instructor" was a man of . . . shall we say, unsubtleness?
I was sitting there in my chair, sweat pouring off of my face, hands shaking.
Might I point out that my dear brother said that it was "easy", and that I would maybe only have 25 questions.
There were 40.
I got into the chair, after being asked whether I'm dependent on alcohol or drugs, or whether I have a mental disorder, and began.
I had ten wrong, out of the eleven questions that I could get wrong, and still had about 5 questions remaining.
And then. 
I shakily stood up, and went to the counter after he called my name, and after mother came, he proceeded to tell everyone in the building that I JUST passed with a "wing and a prayer."
I don't exactly know what that's supposed to mean, but it makes pretty much sums it all up.
He also proceeded to announce that I would kill myself on the intersections.
Thanks, I'll have fun on them now that you said that.
And mother won't let me forget that little fact.
Might I also mention that I only had about one evening and morning to study?
Yeah, well I did.
And never once did I squeal my brakes, or make mother scream!
Okay, that wasn't true.

And yes, for all of you people who are wondering, I can reach the steering wheel, AND the gas and brake.
And the seat.
Thank you.

above picture from the internet.


Just Like My Sister.

This is a birthday post about my sister, Cherie.
If you do not know Cherie (poor you), you are not forced to read.

Happy-happy-happy-happy birthday! (i suddenly feel like the goose on Charlotte's Web.)
I can't believe that you are 18. 
Was it really that long ago that we were playing "bro and sis" on the GIGANTIC hill by our house? or luring the poor innocent cows to come smell our sticks, and then nearly piercing their nose all the way through when they did? or fighting over sweeping our lilac bush playhouse with the broken broom? or listening to you make up fascinating new rules in games like,
"Hey, Zach and Christy, (my two wonderfully gullible siblings) let's say that whenever we play CandyLand, when I, not you, land on a green square, and then I win. Oh, and if you land on a green square, you get to go all the way back to the start!" "Good plan, oh wise older sister!"

 or sneaking popcorn into our bed before we went to sleep, and waking up to suspiciously salty sheets? or when we blared classical music out the window at innocent Amish people? (oh yeah, that was a couple days ago.)

Cherie, you have been one of the most influential people in my life, and I am SO GLAD.
You have inspired me in countless ways.
Your heart for the Lord is a challenge and a joy to see; you search things out, you make it personal for yourself, you really and truly love your heavenly Father, Lover, and Savior, and there is absolutely nothing that will move you from His side, You have been given an incredible gift in music; anyone enjoys sitting down and listening to you play, you are also immensely gifted with your stories, and your drawings; children love you, you get on their level; get interested with them in what they love: you are going to go places, Cherie.
Do you have any idea how intimidating it is to be related to you?
But still, sometimes I try to be immeasurably cool, like my sister.
The Lord has been using you already in powerful ways right here, in Sandusky Dr. Beach City. 
He will continue to use you in ways that you and I (see Cherie? see? I use "I" instead of "me" even when you're not here to tell me!) can't even imagine.

You're the peach in my tea, you're the Beach in my City, you're the happy in my thoughts, you're the Jack in my Sparrow, you're the "bonnet in my movie", you're the British in my accent, you're the Roasted Cherry Hazelnut in my Wallhouse, you're the par- in my -fai,
you're pretty much amazing.

There's so many things that I wouldn't even know about if it wouldn't be for you. Like, how cops are allowed to drive on the yellow lines in the middle of the road if they want to. And how we can always solve mysteries if we come up with a couple of explanations, and then just pick one.  Mystery solved!

We've had some really good times, haven't we?
And our lives have only just begun! 
you're going to travel around the world, you globetrotter, and i'll stay at home and knit, and watch the calender.

I really and truly have no idea where I would be without you.
I love you so much.

Hey Cherie!
Yeah, you know what I was thinking.

I shall now proceed to show the traditional embarrassing pictures that come with having birthdays in the double digits.

You really just can't get a picture alone, you're just too popular, and they really aren't that embarrassing.
I really really really looooooove you.
May there be many more embarrassing memories.
Someday, when I grow up, I want to be like you.

(that was 18 hearts, Cherie.)
(cause you're 18.)
(that one's for next year.)