Monday, December 9, 2013

Happy Holidays 2013

Les and Jean Wish All a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
            As we near the end of 2013, we again count our many blessings - God indeed is good! The year really began for us 27 November 2012 when Les had a carotid artery screening ordered by our cardiologist. We did not know the results until the end of December 2012. A CT scan of his neck was ordered for 3 January 2013. The results were ‘abnormal’ necessitating a visit to a vascular surgeon 11 January that resulted in surgery 16 January to remove an 85% blockage in the left carotid artery. We could not leave for Florida until the surgeon’s release 31 January after another screening – the surgeon was talked into an early release! We departed 3 February to escape the cold weather of Virginia!
            We arrived at the home of dear friends Don and Suzanne Palczynski, Homosassa, Florida who were ‘babysitting’ our RV. February 5th Les delivered the RV to Lazydays RV, Seffner, FL to have the windshield reset – it started to pop-out last summer! The windshield was not reset and painting completed until 20 February – it’s a long story as to why a simple job turned out to be so complicated! We drove to The Great Outdoors RV, Nature and Golf Resort, Titusville, FL 21 February. While the RV was in the shop we spent time with Don and Suzanne, with Russ and Meredith Cuddy at their home in Summerfield, FL and with our RV in the shop! Visits with good friends are always wonderful; we appreciate their great hospitality. We are deeply indebted to Don and Suzanne for ‘babysitting’ our RV as they have for several years.
            This year started with medical and RV glitches, and the medical problems were far from over for Les! He had a nasty cough and went to a walk-in clinic Sunday 24 February. When he left for the clinic, Jean said to ask for a chest X-ray - he did! After a long wait he was told by the doctor that he had TB!  A CT scan of the chest was ordered for the next day and he saw a pulmonary doctor two days later. This too, is a long story! There were four chest X-rays, two CT chest scans and a torso PET scan by the end of June! The final diagnosis was severe emphysema (COPD, not TB or cancer) with several minor things including gallstones! He feels about as well as he did the summer of 2012 – with his fingers! LOL
            In spite of the above glitches, we managed to spend nearly three months last winter and spring in Florida. We went to a Sarah Getto concert, a fantabulous Andre Rieu concert and a Born Free and Assurance gospel concert. We indeed are grateful to our daughter Anna and husband, Allen Wright for giving us tickets last Christmas to see Andre Rieu. This was on Les’ ‘Bucket List’! If you want to listen to some awesome music, ‘Google’ Andre Rieu!
            We attended granddaughters Elizabeth and Kathryn Durham’s dance recital in May. Kathryn participated in six dances, one an awesome solo tap dance. Elizabeth Durham graduated Riverbend High School, Spotsylvania, Virginia 1 June and is a freshman at Albright College, Reading, Pennsylvania. Grandson Alec Vassar Johnson is a sophomore at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell campus. Granddaughter Courtney Carlson expects to receive her Bachelor of Arts by the end of this year. She is doing her studies On-Line. Her brother, Mathew Blake is taking courses at Germana Community College. Cousins Martha and Bill Potteiger visited with us the end of May, beginning of June in Spotsylvania, Virginia.
            Jean baked and decorated, with daughter Anna’s help, a beautiful, tiered cake for the 20th Wedding Anniversary of dear friends Bob and Kathy Kravitz. This cake was a somewhat smaller version of their wedding cake that she made in 1993. We were pleased to be invited to, and to participate in, the awesome celebration 8 June.
            We departed by RV 10 June with Neena, Elizabeth and Kathryn Durham for a Good Sam RV Club rally at the New York State Fair Grounds, Syracuse, New York. We had a great time; entertainers were Reba McEntire, Wayne Newton, The Vogues and Sarah Getto. We were home 17 June and left 22 June by RV with Neena and Kathryn Durham and great granddaughter Nattalie Carlson for Goshen, Indiana to host RVFEST 2013, 24 - 29 June. We visited Amish Acres, Nappanee, IN for dinner and to see the hilarious play ‘Nunsense A Men’. Daughter Charlene Johnson and children Derek and Sara honored us with a visit in July. Charlene created a beautiful flower garden for us beside the walk leading to our apartment. Many thanks to Charlene for providing the design and plants, and planting them, with Les help!
            We traveled by RV 1 August to the Yonkers Rod and Gun Club Hunt Camp, Hillsdale, NY where we spent a wonderful week with Johnson family members and friends. September 17 we took a flight to Boston to spend three weeks with daughter Charlene and family. Many thanks to Rhonda Beneke for the airport ‘taxi’ service. Their hospitality and wonderful fellowship is greatly appreciated. We drove to Albright College 11 October to pick-up Elizabeth Durham for a long weekend at home. We departed by RV 16 October for another Good Sam rally at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hampton, Georgia. We were entertained by The Beach Boys, Vince Gill, The Vogues and Sarah Getto. Cousins Bill and Martha also attended the three rallies.
            We left the Speedway 21 October and traveled to Homosassa, Florida to visit with dear friends Don and Suzanne Palczynski through the end of October. The 1st of November, we took the RV to The Great Outdoors RV, Nature and Golf Resort, Titusville, FL. We have a site at 201 Greenwing Trail where our RV is parked in an RV port facing Spartana Lake. There is at least one resident alligator that periodically enjoys the sun while lying on the lake shore about 100 feet from our RV! (Two were lying there one day!) We’re enjoying warm, wet weather even though this is to be the ‘dry season’ here! Cousins Bill and Martha treated us and her mother Ruth to a delicious Thanksgiving dinner at their home.
            Our eldest granddaughter Marlena Jarrell delivered our tenth great-grandchild Isaiah Alexander-Grant Jarrell 8 March (not the eleventh as we reported last year!). He is a cutie; he and Marlena are doing well. All of the good this year was scarred by the passing of many dear friends and associates – all will be sorely missed. Les’ sister-in-law Phyllis Royer passed away 21 January. The last day of RVFEST 2013, Jeanette Allison fell out of her RV. She passed away four months later at 82. This year also marked the demise of the Mid-Atlantic Streamers RV Club after 20 years – we were charter members of the once, very active club.
            We leave by car 7 December to spend Christmas at home with the Durhams and other family members. We have many doctors’ appointments lined-up and hopefully there will be no glitches keeping us from returning to Florida – ASAP - ‘Lord willing and the creeks don’t rise!’
            We thank God that we are blessed in so many ways, that we are able to do so many things that we thoroughly enjoy, and for the health of family members and friends.  We give thanks to, and prayers for all Service, Police, Fire Fighting and Medical personnel who ensure our freedom, keep us safe and healthy. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families this Holiday Season. May you be blessed with the Spirit of the Season surrounded by family and friends with much fellowship, laughter and, above all, an abundance of love!
                                    God Bless America & LTA (Love To All),
                                    Les and Jean Potteiger   December 2013

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Les and Jean Wish All a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
            As we near the end of 2012, we count our many blessings - God is good! We have enjoyed reasonably good health, probably because we visited our doctors and had periodic medical wellness checks over 30 times this year!
            We have four daughters, an adopted son from Germany, thirteen grandchildren (not including our adopted German son’s three!) and ten great-grandchildren with another expected next year! Daughter Anna Elizabeth and Allen Wright were married in June. Daughter Neena and her daughter, Elizabeth Ann traveled to New Orleans in July with other Christ Lutheran Church, Fredericksburg, VA teens and chaperones. In New Orleans, they met some 36,000 Evangelical Lutheran Church members for fellowship and community service. It was an awesome experience! Grandson Alec Vassar Johnson graduated high school in June and is now attending the University of Massachusetts, Lowell campus. The day after graduation, Alec, his father Chuck and Les left for a fishing expedition on Tew Lake, Ontario, Canada. Seven other Johnson family members joined them for a great week of fellowship and fishing for Walleye and Northern Pike.
            We were privileged to attend Alec’s graduation 1 June in Amesbury, MA and then a graduation/18th birthday celebration 28 July. After the July Amesbury visit, we went to the Yonkers Rod and Gun Club Hunt Camp in Hillsdale, NY where we spent a week with Johnson family members and friends. Chuck is a member of the Club. It was another wonderful visit and camping experience in our RV. We spent an evening at Tanglewood in western Massachusetts for a Boston Pops Orchestra concert. Tanglewood is the summer home of the Boston Pops.
            We were on-the-road half of 2012. We spent three months in Florida where we attended eight Gospel concerts. The Collingsworth Family was our favorite. We heard Sarah Getto and her father Mike twice. Sarah sang Happy Birthday to Les on his 80th birthday, 18 February! Sarah was born blind with a severe cleft pallet 27 years ago. She taught herself to play the piano at the age of three and the violin at the age of eleven. She entertained at RVFEST 2011.
            We attended our first Tiffin RV Rally 1-3 March at Sarasota, FL with Bill and Martha Potteiger. We had a great time in spite of Jean’s visit to the local ER for food poisoning! We spent two nights at Lake Manatee State Park after the rally before visiting Lazydays RV, Seffner, FL for service. We then spent ten days at the North Mount Olive Shores Resort, Polk City, FL with Bucky and Nadine VanHorn where we had a wonderful time. They own several RV sites in this beautiful RV resort.
            We spent quality time in Florida with cousins Bill and Martha Potteiger and dear friends Don and Suzanne Palczynski and Bucky and Nadine VanHorn. Bucky and Nadine, and Randy and Laura Turley joined us to celebrate our 60th Wedding Anniversary 15 June at Nappanee, IN. We had dinner at Amish Acres followed by a performance of State Fair in the Round Barn Theater. It was a wonderful evening with four great friends.
            We visited with Bucky and Nadine at their home in Battleboro, NC when we took the RV to Florida the end of October. We were on our way to The Rally at the Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, FL. We attended The Rally with Bill and Martha. Kenny Rogers, Reba McEntire and Steve Jeffris entertained. Les rode his bike around the 2.5 mile speedway track, a first for him! After the rally we spent a couple days at Lazydays RV before delivering our RV to its fall/winter home at Don and Suzanne Palczynski’s home in Homosassa. We are deeply indebted to them for ‘baby sitting’ our home on wheels until we get back in 2013.
            We hosted a Mid-Atlantic Streamers rally at Luray, VA in May and the RVFEST 2012 rally at Goshen, IN 18-24 June. Neena, Duane and Kathryn Durham and granddaughter Sara Johnson attended the RVFEST rally with us where Kathryn and Sara were invited to dance with the Heartland Country Cloggers! Neena and Duane were a great help at the rally. In October we attended a Mid-Atlantic Streamers rally at Christopher Run Campground, Mineral, VA.
            October 30th we joined 20 family and friends at a wonderful restaurant in Newburyport, MA to honor Jane Johnson who will be 95 years young 19 December. Daughter Charli had an open house the next day. Jane’s four sons (Frank, Richard, Robert and Chuck) and daughter (Betty Zaring) were together for the first time in five years to celebrate with their mother. Her 90th was celebrated five years ago in Baltimore, MD. She and her daughter live in Lynchburg, VA. She says we must now plan for her hundredth! We spent a couple nights in Williamsburg, VA with dear friends Don and Brenda Monn after the Amesbury trip. 
            All of the good this year was scarred by the passing of many dear friends and associates – all will be sorely missed. Jean’s sister-in-law Ginny Freeburn passed away 21 September. We attended the Penbrook Junior High School reunion 16 September at Shellsville, PA and found that many of our school mates had passed away in the six years since we last attended a reunion! As we’ve noted before: “There is only one thing wrong with growing old, all of my (our) friends are dead!” This quote is attributed to Jane Johnson’s late husband, Warren Vassar (Cy) Johnson who passed away at 80 in January 1998.
            We’re looking forward to Christmas in Amesbury with the Johnsons: Charli, Chuck, Alec, Brock, Derek and Sara. When we get home, we will celebrate Neena’s 50th Birthday 29 December. Early January we should be on our way to Florida where we have a site at The Great Outdoors RV Nature & Golf Resort west of Titusville, FL where Martha and Bill Potteiger reside. We spent January and February at the lovely Resort this year. RVFEST 2013 is scheduled for 24-29 June at The Elkhart County Agricultural and 4H Fairgrounds, Goshen, IN.
            We thank God that we have been blessed in so many ways and that we are able to do the things that we enjoy. We give thanks to and prayers for all Service, Police, Fire Fighting and Medical personnel who insure our freedom, keep us safe and healthy. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families this Holiday Season. May you be blessed with the Spirit of the Season surrounded by family and friends with much fellowship, laughter and love.
                                                                                    God Bless America & LTA (Love To All)

                                                                                    Les & Jean Potteiger
                                                                                                                December 2012                                

Saturday, July 21, 2012

News Update

Twenty years ago yesterday the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) made its first run from Fredericksburg, VA to Washington DC – I was on the first train, to my part-time retirement position at American Ordnance Technology (AOT) at Crystal City, VA, and I have a certificate to prove it – as if anyone cares! Forty-nine years ago yesterday the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) was founded. Yesterday good friend Nancy Elizabeth Bobb passed away peacefully in her sleep at 81 and a massacre took place in Aurora, CO! Our thoughts and prayers are with Nancy’s family and the families of those killed in Aurora, as well as with those who were wounded and their families.
Several other good friends passed on recently at ages younger than I, and as I said in my note to RVFEST 2012 attendees, it seems to have taken the wind out of my sails! (See That is my excuse for not writing this earlier!
It has been nearly two months since I published news that, upon review, provided most of the future news covering the past two months! Our trip to Boston by train was uneventful – just long! Alec Vassar Johnson’s Amesbury High School graduation 1 June was very nice. Alec’s excellent high school performance earned him full-tuition for four years of college and he was awarded a $500 scholarship that he did not know he was to receive. He plans to attend the Lowell campus of the University of Massachusetts in the fall where his lady friend Alexa finished her freshman year this spring. After the graduation ceremony, the graduates were taken to dinner by bus to a Renaissance Fair and then to a roller derby to spend the rest of the night. They did not know where they were going when they boarded the buses! Chuck and Charli met Alec at the roller derby early the next morning for his flight with Chuck to International Falls, MN and our fishing trip. Alec was one tired puppy that day!
The fishing trip went well. I caught 60 Walleye and Northern Pike fish and released most of them. I fished with Richard, Chuck and Frank Johnson, Dan Moose (Frank’s son-in-law) and Dave Leanio (Darren Johnson’s father-in-law – Darren is Richard’s son). When Dave and I were fishing in the rain, a humming bird buzzed us! The day I was to fish with Alec, it rained and he was too tired to fish that afternoon! Alec caught 89 fish on this, his first ever fishing trip! It was my ninth fishing trip! Chuck caught 188 fish (see! The total catch for the week was 1274 fish! I believe we had four fabulous meals of Walleye, perhaps five with the Walleye eggs we had for breakfast one morning. Darren, Jeromy (another son-in-law of Franks) and Alec deserve much credit for filleting, breading and cooking the fish (probably near a hundred as we were each allowed to keep and eat two fish a day).
Tuesday 12 June, Jean and I escorted granddaughter Sara Kristine Johnson to Fredericksburg by train. Thursday 14 June, we departed to Goshen, IN and RVFEST 2012 rall (17-24 June). We celebrated our 60th Wedding Anniversary with good friends Laura and Randy Turley and Nadine and Bucky Van Horn at the Amish Acres Dinner Theater, Nappanee, IN. Bucky and Nadine treated us to the delicious dinner and the fabulous State Fair performance in the Round Barn. Laura and Randy treated us to the dinner wine. It was a wonderful evening. One of the young actors was from Fredericksburg, VA. Sara, Kathryn Marie Durham and her parents, Neena and Duane, met us at Goshen 17 June for the rally. Kathryn had a dance recital Saturday evening 16 June before she and her parents could depart with Sara for Goshen. We hosted the rally with co-hosts Richard and Virginia Raikes. Two other co-hosts could not attend the rally because her step-father died at 88. The rally was attended by some 85 people in 41 RVs. It was a success – see the RVFEST blogspot. 
We departed Goshen on 18 June and arrived home 19 June after spending the night at the Spring Valley Campground, Cambridge, OH.  While home, we visited doctors! Jean had a carotid artery test and an appointment with her gastroenterology doctor. We both had appointments with our general practitioner in July and Jean saw her dentist.
Tuesday 17 July, daughter Neena Potteiger Durham and granddaughter Elizabeth Ann left early morning by bus from Charlottesville, VA to New Orleans, LA to join some 43,000 other Lutheran teens and escorts to perform social work. They return to Charlottesville early morning 23 June – I will pick them up. 
I saw Dr. Sandra Johnson, my glaucoma doctor, yesterday in Charlottesville and pretty much decided that I would have cataract surgery on my left eye in September. Hopefully this will improve my vision and lower the pressure in that eye.
We leave by RV 24 July for Amesbury, MA with Neena and Kathryn. Alec will be 18 July 25th and his parents are hosting a Graduation/Birthday party for him 28 July. Neena returns home by air 2 August and we depart with Sara and Kathryn by RV 3 August to join Sara's parents and family for the Yonkers Rod and Gun Club 1000-acre camp just over the Mass/New York border to spend the week with Johnson family members. Chuck, Charli and family will travel to the camp as well that day. We’ll depart there either 10 or 11 August and find our way home again with Kathryn.
Except for Jean’s colonoscopy 23 August, the month of August appears to be uneventful! Friday 14 September we travel to Lickdale, PA by RV for three nights. I will attend the Hershey, PA RV show Show and Sunday we will attend the Penbrook Junion High School reunion. The 1st through 10th grade school existed from 1903 to 1957 when county-wide school consolidation took place. Jean and I both attended the school. Monday 17 August we will go to the Artillery Ridge Campground, Gettysburg, PA for four nights. We plan to visit friends and some of the sights in the area, bringing back memories of our stay in Gettysburg from August 1956 to June 1959. Good health, safe travels and love to all, Les and Jean

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Travels Past & Future

It's been over two months since our last post. Late March we visited Don and Suzanne Palczynski in Homosassa, Florida. While there, we acquired a new tow bar and electric cable for the RV and Jean purchased new hearing aides. We were home on the 3rd of April and began our doctor's appointments the next day (ten appointments in April and May!).

April 11 and 12, we accompanied granddaughter Elizabeth Durham, her mother and sister to Westminster, Maryland and Reading, Pennsylvania to visit three colleges. She is a junior in high school this year and wants to study to become a pediatric endocrinologist.

Jean purchased new eye glasses in early May and we hosted the Mid-Atlantic Streamers May rally 14 -17 at Luray, Virginia. It was a small rally with only 11 individuals in five RVs. Nine of us visited the Skyline Drive and had lunch at Big Meadows. We had a great farewell dinner at the Speakeasy in the Mimslyn Hotel, Luray.

Tomorrow we leave Fredericksburg, Virginia by train at 7:00 AM for Boston, Massachusetts. Grandson Alec Vassar Johnson, our daughter Charlene's eldest, is graduating from Amesbury, Massachusetts High School 1 June. The next day, he, his father and Les fly to International Falls, Minnesota and transfer across the border to Fort Frances, Ontario where we spend the night before we fly to a cabin on Holly Lake the next day. The lake is ours for the next six days! Ten Johnson family and extended family members will fish for walleye and northern pike from dawn to dusk. We catch and release except for some walleye that we eat! Jean will spend time with Charlene and her other two boys, and daughter while we fish.

We arrive home by train on 12 June, spend 13 June at home and leave 14 June for Goshen, Indiana! We have reservations at Amish Acres, Nappanee, Indiana 15 June, our 60th Wedding Anniversary, for dinner and the presentation of 'State Fair' in the round-barn theater. Laura and Randy Turley and Naomi and Bucky Van Horn are joining us. RVFEST 2012 begins Sunday 17 June at the Elkhart County 4-H Fairground, Goshen, Indiana and ends 24 June. Our daughter Neena Durham, her husband Duane and daughter Kathyrn will be with us in our motor home. Kathyrn's cousin Sara Johnson of Amesbury also will be with us. They are less than a year apart in age (10). See for information on the rally.

July will be rather quiet until 25 July when we travel with Neena and Kathryn in the motor home to Amesbury for a celebration of Alec's graduation and 18th birthday. (Just four doctors appointments while we are home!) We leave Amesbury 3 August for the Yonker's Rod and Gun Club Hunt Camp in New York state along the western Massachusetts border. We'll spend a week there with Johnson family and extended family members before trekking home. Safe travels and love to all (LTA) Les and Jean

Monday, March 19, 2012

News Update

We spent the rest of February at The Great Outdoors and left 1 March with Bill and Martha Potteiger for Sarasota, Florida where we attended the Tiffin Buddy Rally.  There were 250 RVs at the rally and 40 new Tiffin RVs on display.  Twenty of the new coaches were sold by Saturday night, 3 March!  We left the rally on Sunday and traveled to Lake Manatee State Park where we camped with Bill and Martha two nights. We returned to Sarasota and the home of John Ringling for a self-guided tour on Monday.  The home, gardens and surrounding buildings are awesome.

Tuesday, Jean and I went to the Lazydays Campground for two nights.  Wednesday, we went to see Steven Ottavanio to have Jean's hearing tested.  She left with new hearing aides, with a remote control to change channels!  John and Pat Cherkowski met us at Steven's place of business and we went to their home in Tarpoon Springs to leave our car for the rest of the day.  John and Pat took us to Tarpoon Springs Sponge Docks where we had a scruptious dinner at a lovely restaurant, thanks to John and Pat.  We returned to the Cherkowski home with Greek goodies to enjoy with our drinks while we visited that evening.

Thursday, we traveled to Mt. Olive Shores North (MOSN) campground in Polk City to spend time with Bucky and Nadine Van Horn.  We broke bread together many times.  We had all we could eat catfish each Friday evening at a local restaurant with friends - Mike, Pat and Sarah Getto joined us Friday 16 March at the restaurant.  Sarah Getto entertained superbly March 15th for over a hundred people and March 17th we attended a St. Pattys Day dinner for over a hundred people, both at Clubhouse 2.  Last evening we went to the church attended by the Van Horns to hear the Down East Boys gospel quartet.

Tomorrow, 20 March, we leave to visit Don and Suzanne Palczynski for a week or so in Homosassa Springs, Florida.  We'll then stop at Don and Brenda Monn's home near Salem, South Carolina and visit for a few days before getting home in early April for hair cuts, doctors appointments and Easter!