Author Archives: awishcalledwanda

About awishcalledwanda

I am an experiential writer who loves to interact with nouns, ie people, places and things. Meeting people from different countries and cultures is high on my priority list. I long to see, sense, and experience places. I'm a spin the globe kind of a girl. Wherever my finger touches, as the globe comes to a stop, (hopefully on land) is a place I want to go. I like to interact with things such as touching history, smelling exotic aromas, and seeing rugged landscapes that are beyond my imagination.

A tale of three castles

There are no shortages of castles in Ireland. Sprinkled throughout the country they stand tall or as fallen remnants of the past.  We visited three and found them to be both enchanting and daunting. Constructed by the hand of man as fortresses for protection, they are built on foundations of huge rocks, perched on the highest of hills, or dangle from the edge of a cliff.

The Rock of Cashel was the first on our agenda.  We knew it was just off the road we were traveling and as soon as it came into sight we couldn’t get out of the car fast enough to let the exploration begin.

It was a lovely sunny day and even more than the majestic castle, the scenery around it drew us in as we viewed endless acres of green pastures with stone fences, grazing sheep and yellow daffodils.

Once inside the mighty fortress, we began to live and breathe the ancientness of our surroundings which dated back to the 4th or 5th century. This is where King Aengus ruled and in AD 432 was baptized by Saint Patrick to become the first Christian ruler of Ireland.  Additions came in the 12th, 13th and 15th century in the form of a Gothic style church, with a hall of vicars and a huge room for the choir.  Further exploration took us to the site of the original Saint Patrick’s cross and pictures of Queen Elizabeth and Philip visiting the castle in 2011. We did a self guided tour and watched an interesting film on castle life and history to conclude our visit.

Surrounding the castle was a very old cemetery, however we came across graves with dates as late as the 1950’s, one from 1997 and 2006.  The stunning countryside was always beckoning our cameras.

Ross castle in Killarney was the next castle stop that we are so glad we did not miss.  This tower like structure is next to a picturesque lake where people come to feed the geese, picnic and just enjoy the day.  The guided tour here is not to be missed. Our well informed hostess, pointed out many features of “how to protect yourself in a castle,” including the square hole where you could dump hot water or grease onto an unwanted intruder, and the spike laden door designed to discourage trying to break through with your shoulder. Each room was another flight of steep, narrow spiral steps that had to be carefully navigated.  We could only imagine fighting your way down them wielding a sword and holding on to the rope banister.  She told us of life and times in the 12 to 1600’s with little light and less heat, candles burning at both ends and toilets that seated four people in a row.

There are no pictures to be taken inside, because of the very old and delicate pieces of furniture obtained during restorations.  She said they actually had more furniture than what was ever in the castle while people were actually living there.  I truly enjoyed the top floor or the “great hall,” as it reminded me of several books I have read about that time period and of course the classic “Camelot.”

 

Castle number three, located in Northern Ireland along the coast of the Giant’s Causeway, has been a defended site from as early as 500 AD. This was the one dangling from a cliff over the ocean and it is said that part of it actually fell off centuries ago. Dunluce Castle is an archaeological site as well as having much historical significance dating back to the 15th century and lived in as late as the 17th century. Also shown in the featured picture at the top of the blog, you can see the walk across bridge, formerly a drawbridge, that would close to the approaching enemy. The stone walls speak of kitchens, towers, fireplaces and great rooms.

A climb to the top of the tower reveals immense rock formations,  and the impressive heights give fantastic views below.

 

Thankfully we did not have to use those steps to reach the castle. It was a chilly windy day, but an hour well spent, reaching in our minds to a distant time and place.

Three castles telling tales of days gone by, when life itself was extremely difficult with death and danger around every corner. It’s always fascinating to learn how people lived long ago, but appreciating the life we now have is something we must certainly cherish everyday.

 

 

 

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Phil-la-del-phia Here we come, Right back where we started from.

On a recent trip to the green, green isle of Ireland, we left Philadelphia and certainly expected to return, but not in the middle of the same night that we left. But that is exactly what happened. At the time it was concerning, then frustrating and very, very tiring. In a backward glance, we are thankful that we were never in danger and now it makes a good story, one everyone who travels needs to realize that these things can happen and we have to count it as all part of the adventure.

Two and a half hours into our flight to Dublin, this is the turn of events of our flight pattern. We left Philly at 9pm and had just finished our hot meal at about 10:45. Settling down for the long trip, I played a little trivia before being booted out of the game for not getting enough right answers, then it was nap time.  At 11:30 the announcement came over the PA system that we would be returning to Philly because the plane’s computer system was not giving the right signal to allow crossing the open ocean.  At the time I thought, “well it beats landing in the middle of the ocean.”  We arrived back in Philly at 2:45 AM, to stand in line until 6 AM.  We were able to get another flight into Shannon at the same time the next night.  That meant spending our first planned day in Dublin in a hotel in Philly, trying to get some rest and making arrangements for the change in plans.

I was traveling with my long time friend and coworker, Gale, and her two grown sons.  It was a trip we had been planning for over a year, and it was difficult to decide what had to be scrapped.  We tried to make arrangements from Shannon, but the price to rent a car the next day more than doubled and we decided to enjoy the train ride across the island and pick up our plans and previously rented car there.  While we were getting some rest and changing plans the boys slept for a time then called an uber driver to downtown Philly, got an authentic Philly Cheese steak sandwich and walked around Independence Hall giving the younger boy his first view of the Liberty bell. Since we spent more time in the airport than we had ever imagined I got this shot of the famous bell on one of many “airport walks.”  However, I was in no mood for a selfie.

We arrived in Shannon, found a bus to Limerick, which put us on a train to Dublin. In Dublin we needed to find a metro to station Connolly that would take us to Dun Laoghaire, and just before that metro bus stopped we realized we needed to get off that one and catch a local metro to the station at Sandy Cove which was near our bed and breakfast. In haste to depart, one of the guys left his backpack on the metro, which was well on its way as we just made it out the door when realized his pack was still on the train.  The one with his passport in it.  While he reported it right away, there was nothing more to do but go to our B&B and take in some of the local sites.

After meeting Mary, our friendly and very helpful hostess, we walked the short distance to the local “Fish Shack” recommended by Rick Steves whose travel guide made our trip planning much easier.

A walk along the local water front eventually brought us to a place where the locals hung out enjoying their first warm April day.

We too were enjoying the warm weather as we had left rather wintry conditions in Pennsylvania.

A few brave souls were running in and out of the water in this small beach area. I am sure that water was anything but warm. We were told that it had been cold and rainy until two days ago, but today the sun was out and the temperature hanging around the mid 60’s.

Interesting shell sculpture.  Later we saw small replicas of these for sale in the gift shops.

In Mary’s home I recognized this painting as the place where we had just walked the evening before.  The round tower is known as the James Joyce Tower and now a museum that holds many of his writings.  The tower was originally constructed to repel an invasion from Napoleon forces, but years later became famous when Joyce used the tower to set the opening scene in his popular novel “Ulysses.” The museum, that is free and open to the public gives a panoramic view of the Sandy Cove area if you are willing to climb the narrow, spiral staircase to the top.

With no word on the finding of the back pack with the passport, our only option for the next morning was to make a visit to the US embassy in Dublin. While we waited outside, Corbin found it a unique and interesting experience to have a first hand look at the operation of a US embassy in a foreign country.

Because he had a copy of his passport in a different location, he was able to leave the embassy passport in hand about 3 hours later. He had an interesting story to tell about a lady who had no identification with her, lost her passport when she laid her backpack down at the Cliffs of Moher. She said it was very “rolley polley” because she had it stuffed with sweaters, and it rolled right off the cliff into the ocean below.

Later we saw where that might have happened. Looking at this part of the Cliffs of Moher where there are no guard rails, I guess there is no way you would want to chase a rolling backpack. Staying on the pathway is highly encouraged. The ocean is indeed at the bottom.  More on these gigantic cliffs later.

After several phone calls with promises of return phone calls that never came, we continued our trip without the backpack.  On Sunday, however, we were surprised by a phone call to the B&B we rented on the Ring of Kerry.  The message was that the pack had been turned in to lost and found by a cleaning man.  Upon inspection they found the phone # to the B&B on an itinerary I had given to Corbin when we landed in Shannon.  The bag was intact, containing his passport and a computer.  We were to pick it up on our return trip to Dublin on Friday.  Frustration dissipating, our trip continues with thankfulness settling in. Always look on the bright side.  God is Good.

Look for castles, cliffs and caves in coming posts.

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If these walls could talk

There is a beautiful old farm house that sits on a crossroads near the town of Annville, Pa.  It was my childhood home, where my dad rented a farm to do his dairy farming business until 1956 when he stepped out in faith and bought his own farm in Gettysburg, Pa. Two of my younger sisters and 3 of my living older siblings have fond memories of this old house.  We recently were invited to view the house as it had been updated and restored to  farm house beauty.

It wasn’t so beautiful in the 1950’s. It was just a farm house, where a man was making a living with his wife beside him raising nine children. One exciting day happened in July 1953 when the local newspaper came to the farm and took pictures of the many activities going on around the busy farm.

We always had time for supper back then, and each evening, except for Sunday we would gather around the table and share our meal and our day.  Dad fed the youngest child, mom was ready to jump up to grab a towel to clean up the, at least one glass of milk that had been tipped, or bumped over during the meal. “No use crying over spilled milk,” was an often heard statement at our house.  Mom gave birth to the ninth child in August of 1953.  Do you see the radio on the window sill behind the youngest children?  I sat in that sill listening to my favorite music station. When we moved to Gettysburg I was sorely disappointed when I learned that the same radio would not broadcast that same station.

 

 

This is the corner in the kitchen where the table sat for the 10 years we lived there. Sunday evenings were different because we always had our big meal after Church on Sundays, then back to church in the evening with no supper.  After church mom would fry us egg sandwiches to eat before going to bed.  Today, about the only time I get hungry for an egg sandwich is a Sunday evening.

 

Another kitchen place was the old sink where my sister and I learned to wash dishes, we washed stacks of them with no few tears, arguments or laughter.

There is a funny twist to this story as we also had a chance to visit the farm back in 2006, exactly 50 years from when we moved from there.  We took some pictures on that visit as well. The most surprising thing about that visit is that virtually nothing had changed in 50 years. When I walked into the house in 2006, I literally was 11 years old.  Everything including the linoleum on the kitchen floor and the paint on the living room wall were the same. It was well worn, but we recognized it. Still being rented, the house was not well taken care of.

Here is the living room today.

Another much loved place in this house were the two staircases. The one in the hallway went up three stories and had a wonderful Bannister.

The one in the kitchen holds memories of sitting on the steps singing with Dad while he played his harmonica and also during Hurricane Hazel to keep the fear factor at a low level.

This is the door opposite the kitchen entrance, and what greeted us in 2006.

Thankfully this is what it looks like today.

Outside had it’s pleasures as well.  Plenty of yard to play in, ride bike and even a small woods to climb trees. These posts were there in the 50’s with a hedge around the entire yard. I think I remember that Dad hated that hedge for it had to be trimmed too often to suit him.

It was a nicer day when we visited in 2006.  This is the front yard with the stone summer house, where in the warm weather Saturday night bathing took place in washtubs.  How else do you raise 9 kids with one bathroom?

This is the front yard from across the road.  There is a set of cement steps on the back that went down to the mailbox. We would hold school and Sunday School on those steps as kids, and we could name every car that went past from 1949 to 1956. The steps to the mailbox in the Gettysburg house were too close to a busy road, so those games came to an end.

These walls do a lot more talking in my book “A Wish Called Wanda,” still available in digital form. Check it out by clicking the link above.  It’s the story of my life from birth till marriage.  If you enjoy reading happy stories from days gone by, set in a functional family tradition, you will like this book.

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People are talking about The Museum of the Bible

The Museum of the Bible is a great thing to talk about, especially after you’ve been there.   I have been hearing and reading about this new museum in the heart of Washington D.C., so I decided it was something I had to see.   Five of us started the trip down Rt 15 to Shady Grove where we caught the metro into Federal South West.  It was a cold and windy day, but at 9 AM the metro was not crowded and the ride was pleasant.  Coming up out of the hole in the ground we were greeting by signs that said Bible Museum this way. It was a left turn out of the metro. However, we opted a right turn first because it was lunch time and right beside the metro is a handy little sandwich shop called The Potbelly. Much like Subway it served up some good sandwiches that for the most part you crafted, but the door was always swinging open and the cold air coming in did not do much for a relaxing lunch.  In fact “heat” as in warmth was not on the menu.

After lunch a short walk to the left found you at the entrance to the museum.  First of all you will notice there are a lot of friendly employees around that will direct and answer any questions you may have.  They will also engage you in conversation if that is your desire.  Another ‘right off the bat’ notice is that the place is beautiful.  The stairways are wide, easy to navigate and very eye appealing.

Floors 4 and 5 are mostly ancient biblical history.  Many nice exhibits, however the larger screen videos which very cleverly told of some of the discoveries and visited some historic sites were really appealing to me.

Depending on your interest, you will want to spend most of your time on the second and third floors.  This is where my camera came out. We all enjoyed the walk through a Nazareth village.  Here is a scene of a wine making process.

Then there is an interactive stop where you sit around the table and hear of the foods that were eaten in the time period of Jesus, and other scenes of daily living.

  

The walk through the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament are very well done, and tells the story of the Bible in a “special effects” kind of a way you have never experienced before.

The second floor offers the impact the Bible has had on World and American History.

There is Martin Luther, and scientists.

There is a large screen video of movies that use Bible Verses to make a point and a display of familiar verses and sayings, in different languages.

This beautiful original painting of George Washington is on loan and is guarded through out the day.  We had a wonderful conversation with the very pleasant lady who had the job of standing in front of the picture for 8 hours.  I wondered who might be able to yank it off the wall, put it over his shoulders and try to walk out with it. Seems almost funny to think about, it’s so large and obviously heavy.  The detail is amazing and the picture is certainly worth the care it gets here at the museum.

We spent about 5 hours viewing many displays, and not having the time to engage in the numerous interactive sites, on 4 floors. There is much more to see and we have already planned a return trip. The museum asks only a donation and there are a number of displays that will change and new ones added.

The last thing we did was almost the best to my way of thinking.  It is called The Washington Revelations and it is a virtual flight over the nations capitol city to have a look at Bible verses on and in buildings and monuments in this beautiful city.  The 8 minute “flight” costs 8 dollars and is truly worth the unique experience.

I close with this picture of Christ and an invitation for you to “join the conversation”especially after you visit The Museum of the Bible and share your thoughts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I should have been a cowgirl, not!

Here’s my post on looking back for a laugh at where I’ve been and oh….. the things we did.

A Wish Called Wanda

Interacting with animals is one of our favorite things to do on a trip. When I’m away I am up for whatever is going down, a horseback ride in Turkey, an elephant ride in Zimbabwe or a camel ride in Australia, I’m there.
Who wouldn’t want to take a horseback ride through the farmlands of Turkey on gentle Sultan who was very tolerant of his inexperienced rider. As we were going down a steep rocky bank, I just hung on, closed my eyes and let the horse do his job.

Even though I look as comfortable here in the saddle as Dale Evans, (ah hem) the riding wasn’t the problem. It was the mounting that I recall. The first try to hoist myself to the horse’s back ended in sad defeat. The second try was not much better, and I pulled the saddle off to the side. I glanced quickly…

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It’s time for the New Year

Happy New Year everyone!! On a cold New Year’s eve I watched six different fireworks displays from my warm sun room window at midnight.  It’s the advantage of living at the top of the hill.  True, the colorful great balls of fire were distant, but the displays and the landscape were brilliant in the light of the super moon on the new fallen snow.

So today begins 2018, a blank page.  What will you do with your time? Over the past years Dick and I have been privileged to go on mission trips where we could help, teach, serve and work with people in different places and settings than we were used to. These experiences helped us to appreciate the times we have had to love, and share what God has given us. These were times that are very special to us.

 

Several years ago I wrote a short poem about time.  I called it A Time Piece, I would like to share it with you now. I hope it gives you pause to think about time and what you do with it.

“Once upon a time there was plenty of time for quiet time, play time, nap time, chow time, big time and party time. These were the times of our lives. They were precious times with lots of family time, church time, school time, lunch time and long leisurely dinner times.

Ah…………those were the best of times. Do you remember the good ole summertime, and the fun of winter time? In the springtime there was apple blossom time. There were good times anytime, always had some time even if I wasted time.

Suddenly times changed! Someone said now is the time, a stitch in time, one day at a time, and time is money!  So now I’m doing time…..full time, part time, overtime, all the time, for double time, but in the end there’s no time, anytime, daytime or nighttime.  Boss says your time is my time, make time, don’t take time and even if the computers on down time, there is no pay for comp time!

So where does time go?  Time rushes on, funny how time slips away, time and time again. Time marches on and time flies when you’re having fun, time after time.  Where has time gone?  Well it’s been past time for a long time. Can we turn back the hands of time to old times?  We try to save time and still we can’t find time, feel like I’m livin’ on borrowed time. Till one day you’re out of time, then you cry…..just give me a little time and I’ll take time to smell the roses.  

We know we have a short time, so there’s no time like the present to make up for lost time and take time for God.  It could be just in time, because, there comes a time when time shall be no more.”

By Wanda Gallimore 

From Ecclesiastes we have these selected verses about time “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven……..He has made everything beautiful in it’s time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts and no one can fathom all that God does from the beginning to the end.  Whatever God does, It shall be forever. Nothing can be added and nothing can be taken away. Because of this men should stand in awe before Him. God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every purpose and every work.”

Many of our travels revolved around mission trips that had a good purpose, and work……. but also we were given time to enjoy the culture, and the beauty of different places.  There is also time given to laugh, and as I look back on the times of the blog I am going to repost and share with you, I hope you will laugh with me as we look forward to the New Year.

 

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Gettysburg’s Victorian Christmas, and my Christmas card to you

Christmas JOY= Jesus is the reason for the season, giving to and serving others blesses you abundantly.

It was a beautiful day in historic Gettysburg, the second day of December and Christmas was all around on Steinwehr Avenue.  Six adults, one toddler and one infant started out on a grand walk down the avenue, prepared with a double stroller and plenty of hands anxious to help with the little ones.

This little guy was not happy in the stroller for long.  He was having the time of his life, practicing his recently accomplished goal of walking.

We were headed for a carriage ride with horses decked out in lots of jingling bells. When he spotted those big horses he made a quick jump for g-grandma’s arms.

We all enjoyed the ride through the streets that celebrated Gettysburg’s history as well as the season.

After the ride, he was ready to be friends with the horses.

We were dropped off in front of the historic Dobbin House, beautifully decorated for Christmas.

From there we continue our walk along the avenue. Dick comes close to getting a taste of a large ice cream cone.

Next stop, a visit from a Civil War era Santa. He was almost as perplexed here as he was with the horses.  So many new things to see today.

Later we enjoy the parade, and look who’s still all eyes, not missing any of the action.

But this little beauty never missed a minute of her daytime sleep. As snug as a bug in a rug, she also enjoyed the day.

This lovely day began our Christmas celebration, with almost a month to go I see many happy days ahead.

Merry Christmas to all of you from all of us.

 

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Orange you glad God made October

The color orange is never so prevalent as it is in the splendid month of October.  Flowers, trees and pumpkins all sing praises of the vibrant and appealing color of orange on warm sunny days with frosty mornings and cool evenings.

A trip to Hollabaugh’s market is a treat anytime, but in October it is a celebration of all things fall.  My trip this October was to accompany a school bus full of children anxious to get their first taste of apple cider, take a wagon ride through the orchards and pick five apples for themselves from the bin.  It was a rainy day when we were there but have no fear, there was no enthusiasm lost.

We disembark from the half hour bus ride to a multitude of colors.  The displays are inviting and a feast for the eyes.

Look here, look there, so many things to see.

“There are a lot of pumpkins here,”  was the comment heard from a wide eyed third grader. Yes, a lot of pumpkins.

Hollabaugh Bros. have been hosting bus loads of school children for many years.  Today we would take the bus ride first and then go inside and learn about the role of the bee in the orchard business.

We were thankful for the covered wagon to take us on a tour of the orchards on this 500 acre farm.

The rain slowed down to a heavy mist.  We got a little wet one time when the wagon brushed a tree hanging over the edge of the road. No damage done, only a lot of delightful squeals from happy children.

As we rode along the not too bumpy roads we saw the left over pumpkins and squash in the field, and learn of the only two perennial vegetable plants, which are asparagus and rhubarb. These happen to be the only vegetables in my garden. I love low maintenance plants that keep coming back.

When the tour brought us back to the buildings each visitor was allowed to pick 5 lovely apples from the big bin. Normally visitors pick the apples from the designated trees, but today it was too wet.  So the big bin it was.

Back inside we heard the story of pollination, complete with the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees.

Thanks Hollabaugh Bros. for letting us visit your beautiful farm, taste your cider and pick your apples.  It was a fun day and I enjoyed looking at all the crazy squash, as we got back on the bus.  The ride home was just a little much for the two that shared my seat. Before we hit Biglerville their eyes were closed and their tired little heads were bobbin.

I for one am glad that God made October. Enjoy these days while they last, November is just around the corner.

 

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In a cabin in the woods

Source: In a cabin in the woods

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In a cabin in the woods

Each year, sister Cindy invites her other sisters to the cabin she and her husband own about 2 hours from home.  We trek over the mountains, five in one car, with two days worth of food and luggage in the trunk. Sometimes we eat out, but this year we had so much food we ate in and took turns in the kitchen.

Eating in, is half the fun!

Playing Mexican Train or watching a chick flick wraps up a day that includes cooking, laughing, walking and just being together, away from the hustle and bustle of life. To add a little history and culture we also watched “Invictus” with Morgan Freeman.

Each year we do different things to make our time together fun and memorable.  One year we went to flea markets and yard sales. Then there was the year we toured historical sites in the area. Another time we visited a near by deer farm and the lady of the house made us the best chocolate cake ever and served us tea.

This is how and where we recall many of those memories.

So what to do this year?  It was later in the year than when we usually go and cooler as well.  We got the bright idea to make a batch or two of our mothers recipe of deep fried cake donuts. It was very likely that no one had made them for over 20 years, but we could all remember the sweet nutmeg taste and, when coated with powdered sugar they were quite a treat.  Cindy had the recipe, I had a deep fryer (of sorts) and the oil.  Someone remembered the rolling pin, and brown paper bags to drain them, once they came out of the grease.

We were set up and ready to go!!

Cindy mixed them up, Brenda rolled them out, I put them in the fryer, Linda made a flour run,

and Pat got the first bite.

We made two batches and brought some home for our families.  We learned a few things and feel we are in good shape to carry on this tradition.

There was also time for walks and a shopping trip.

One of the best times we look forward to is reading scripture and having prayer time for our extended families.

By the time we were ready to leave the serenity of this place, we realized some things had been added to the amount of stuff we had to take home, and “stuffing” the trunk was somewhat of a challenge, but it was met successfully.

In a cabin in the woods with sisters; tasting memories, sharing stories and loving the time we took from our daily routines to get together. It’s good to do that in times like these.

 

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