Tag Archives: sesquicentennial

Fair trade

I love to trade things — services, items of clothing, food, etc. I think this dates back to my grade school days of marble trading. What better way to get a coveted cat’s eye or crystal without any monetary output?

Last Christmas, my friend, Norm, made a pizza peel for his wife and posted a photo on Facebook. I told him I’d trade him a Nelson Steiner cane for a pizza peel. A few months later, Norm let me know that my peel was on its way to Bluffton via a mutual friend who was coming to visit his mother. Though Norm insisted I owed him nothing, I was determined to give him a cane, but the trade was not completed until a few weeks ago when Norm was visiting Bluffton. We met up at Common Grounds and the cane passed hands. So…I’ve got a peel with which to remove my hot pizza stone from the oven and Norm has a cane for….someday…when he needs it.

Before we went on vacation in June, I hired some friends’ kids to mow our yard and weed our garden. A few days later, sitting on the beach, my phone bleeped at me, signaling a text. It was my friend, JP, mom to our mowers/weeders. Would I consider a trade rather than pay? One of her sons needed two shirts to wear at the Indian Village during the recent sesquicentennial, and she wondered if I’d make the shirts in exchange. Of course!

We came home to no weeds and a mowed yard; in exchange, there were two shirts — already cut out — ready to be sewn. Here’s how that trade turned out…at least from JP’s end. I’ll admit that was not one of the easier trading projects…there was some gnashing of teeth and hair pulling before the shirts were done. But hey, it was probably no more challenging than those kids dealing with the burdock that grows wild in my garden.

Joseph in his traded shirt

Usually, I feel like I get the best end of the deal, but I’m pretty sure the other person is just as satisfied. Yesterday I posted a photo of my “field of dreams” from my garden — a particularly pretty plot of daisies that are threatening to consume our garden. Daisies are my favorite flower, so it’s not a problem for me, but my husband keeps mumbling something about splitting them up and “Wouldn’t one of your friends like some of these?”

My end of the daisy/cupcake trade

Trade you some daisies for some cupcakes

Turns out another friend, Joanna, a local baker, was planning a party for her daughter and needed some daisies. She wondered if I would trade some daisies for some cupcakes. What a silly question…who would turn down cupcakes? When she and Katherine stopped by for the daisies and my husband spied the cupcakes, his eyes lit up. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard the end of his grumbling about the daisies.

Truthfully, I still think I got the best end of the deal. I even got an extra trade out of the deal — a fuzzy stem from a purple grass and a hot pink coneflower for a beautiful smile from Katherine, a delightful three-year-old.



Dress survives 50 years to appear in its second parade

In the past few months, I’ve spent a lot of time clearing out my mom’s condo. This involves filtering through A LOT of old photos..literally, tens of thousands of them. I’m not making this up. There are far too many photographers in my family’s history.

Anyway, when one sorts and re-sorts so many slides, photos, albums, etc., one sees certain photos that spark a memory. So there amidst all those photos was one taken 50 years ago during Bluffton’s centennial. This particular photo is of our church’s float which featured two families — ours and Fred and Mary Amstutz and their four boys. On half of the float, sat my family, dressed in clothing of the 1860s. The Amstutzes sat on the other half, dressed in modern (1960s) clothing.

In that photo, I’m almost 5 years old, wearing a yellow calico dress and sun bonnet (think Little House on the Prairie), and sitting in a miniature rocker. Looking at the photo reminded me that the dress, apron and bonnet were stashed somewhere — probably at the bottom of my cedar trunk. I finally located the dress, but by then had lost track of the intial photo.

It seemed appropriate that since the dress had survived 50 years and several wearings by my own daughters, that someone should wear it for this summer’s sesquicentennial. But who? What distant cousin was about the right size?  Would she have any interest in giving up her comfy shorts for a dress AND apron AND sunbonnet — all of which combined, would make her a bit toasty by the of the day?

Ellie Hartzler sitting on Shelby Cluts' lap

There are some advantages to growing up in a small town where one is often related to a LOT of people. One can usually find a relative without looking too far. Sure enough…there was little Ellie Hartzler, my first cousin, thrice removed. Ellie’s mom promised to ask Ellie whether she’d like to wear the dress and — maybe — ride in a float.

As it turned out, Ellie loved the dress and, in fact, put it on early Saturday morning and wore it all day while they attended various events related to the sesquicentennial. She even got to ride in the parade on a float carrying some high school graduates (one of whom is her babysitter).

When I found her mid-parade, I thanked her for wearing the dress. Ellie grinned and held up her prize of the day — two pieces of candy she’d managed to snag from some passing float.

Eventually, the dress will find its way back to the trunk. Despite my vow to spend this summer getting rid of things, I’m not sure that dress will make the cut. Or maybe…let’s see….which daughter’s car trunk can I hide it in?