Sunrise on January 24, 2017 at Stocktank RV Park, Liberty Hill, Texas


  • With the holidays over, Santa’s red suit was sadly hung in the closet. Now we returned to our normal routine of Sunday Worship and Sunday school, Monday, Tuesday, and Friday playing games and having lunch with friends at the  Leander Senior Center. Wednesdays with Grandies (a service organization sponsored by Cross Tracks Church) in the morning and choir practice in the evening. Thursdays we attend the Over The Hill Gang in Liberty Hill for games and a meal. Saturdays there are nearly always activities with the grandkids’ games. We also added a once-a-month Bunko Party.
  • The first fell on a Sunday. It seemed very fitting to have the new year start on the Lord’s Day. We worshiped at Cross Tracks Church, Liberty Hill, Texas. Where we sing in the choir.
  • The 2nd there was an Emmaus Gathering at our church in Liberty Hill
  • The 3rd we celebrated eleven years of cancer free life after Ella’s surgery in 2006.
  • The 11th was time for Ella’s wellness checkup with Dr. Wolf.
  • We celebrated Emery’s Birthday on the 14th
  • We had the first monthly Grandies’ meal. This was very special because we had it at June’s home.
  • Tate had a school musical on the 19th0223171821_HDR.jpg
  • On the 21st our choir was asked to sing at a funeral. To my knowledge, no one in the choir new the man. However, after hearing his children and grandchildren tell stories about him, I wish I’d known him. One of the stories recounted how his young grandson would sit on grandpa’s knee while grandpa smoked a cigar and drank a beer. When the beer was nearly gone, he’d hand the can to the grandson and say, “Finish this and get me another.”
  • My birthday on the 23rd was celebrated by an hour-long
  • Birthday Wishes.jpg trip to the VA in Temple Texas for an exam. Several years ago they discovered a spot on my lung. So I have yearly check ups. All is good. We stopped at Golden Corral on the way home.
  • The 29th was the fifth Sunday of the month and at Cross Tracks Church, that means it is time for a potluck. I find it strange that a Methodist Church has a potluck only four times a year. Most churches that I’m familiar with have a potluck at least once a month and more if they can find an excuse.
  • 2017-01-25_07.49.06.jpg
  • On the 30th Tom had an appointment with Dr. Borick about the trouble with his left knee. The knee has been bothering me for years. Two years ago I had an xray of the knee at the VA. They basically said, “There’s nothing wrong with it. Suck it up, Buttercup.” The knee hurts to walk on. It also sort of cramps when I sit too long. Sometimes the pain is as much as I can bear.


  • 2017-03-08_08.16.27.jpg1st Ella had an appointment with Dr. Collins about a mole that has been growing. He removed it.
  • Mole removed.jpg While he was showing us images of different moles, Tom pointed at ones that he had on both temples. So Dr. Collins removed those also.
  • Tom had an MRI on his knee.
  • The 6th we attended an Emmaus Gathering in Bertram
  • The 13th we were back at Dr. Collins so that he could dig a little deeper into Ella’s moles.
  • Valentine’s Day Tom had an appointment with the nurse practitioner at Dr Crimmons’ office for a pre-surgery checkup and renewal of his blood thinner medication.
  • Tom had arthroscopic surgery to remove a one and a half centimeter “pencil_sketch_1487431811680.jpg
  • pencil_sketch_1487429054004.jpgpearl” from behind his left patella on the 15th at 5 a.m.  We went to our normal Grandies meeting after grabbing some breakfast. People were surprised that I was there so soon after the surgery.
  • The 16th found us back at Cross Track Church for training on being a Greeter.
  • Ella started to not feel well with cough and congestion on the 19th (Sunday) but went to the Leander Senior Center on the 20th because our friend Larrain, who lives in Waco, was visiting there.
  • However, Ella stayed home on the 21st and missed Grandies on the 22nd.
  • She got to Dr. Wolf’s office on the 22nd. He started her on some prednisone.
  • Tom went to the Over The Hill Gang alone on the 23rd. However, Ella did attend Emery’s Musical in the evening.
  • Tom was back to see Dr. Borick on the 28th for a post op exam. Everything looked super. In the evening, we had a pancake supper/dinner hosted by the youth of the church.


  • 0301171551.jpgThe first was Ash Wednesday with a 7p.m. service.
  • On the 3rd I reordered Ella’s DNA test from Ancestry.com. I ordered and received it before Christmas. However, Ella didn’t spit in the tube and return it for quite a while. I received an email that said they were unable to retrieve any viable DNA from the sample. So it was reordered.0306171143_Pano.jpg
  • Our Grandies group collects recyclable aluminum cans and every so often, takes them to a recycling center. This is also a time for us, as a group, to gather at the Blue Bonnet Cafe in Marble Falls. The place is famous for its pies. The 6th was our day to gather.
  • Photo of Andice General Store - Georgetown, TX, United States. Jalapeño Bacon Burger and fries. Great classic burger.


The 7th we were invited to go with Arik and Jenny to the Andice General Store for the World’s Best Hamburger. It’s not all hype, they are really very good burgers.



  • The 8th was our last visit with the dermatologist, Dr. Collins.
  • Great Grandson Henry Arthur was born on the 9th.
  • 10th-19th Everything was pretty routine.
  • 20th had Tom doing fasting labs at the Cedar Park VA. Afterwards, we went to IHOP for breakfast.
  • On March 26th Tom discovered that the bedroom window was shattered. It is safety glass so it was still in place even though though there was a small hole in the upper right hand side.
  • 28th Tom had an appointment with his cardiologist, Dr. Crimmons. Just a checkup before leaving Texas for Iowa.
  • 30th Tom went to Dr. Borick to have 10cc of fluid drained from a pre-patellar bursitis.
  • 31st Ella went to Dr. Wolf because her ears are still “stuffed up”



  • No fooling, on the 1st Cross Tracks Church put “Make Church a Verb” into practice and went into the community do perform various tasks. Some did handyman tasks, some did in home visits, some prayed, and the choir (us included) sang at a couple of nursing homes.
  • 3rd Tom to VA Cedar Park for exam by Dr. Bassari
  • Also on the 3rd Richard, our Progressive Insurance agent, came to look at the broken window.
  • 4th After games and lunch with friends at the Leander Senior Center, we went to the nearby2017-02-24.jpg laundromat to clean our clothes.

After which we stopped at the post office on our way home.

Surprise! The truck wouldn’t start. I called our AARP roadside assistance number (that was a mistake – I’ll explain later) and was told that they’d send a tow truck to take us to a GMC dealer in Austin. When the driver arrived, he asked why we wanted to be taken all the way into Austin (about 30 miles). I told him that it was where AARP had routed us. He got on the phone with them and told them he was taking the truck (and us) to Georgetown which was considerably closer.

We arrived at the repair shop just minutes before they were closing for the day. They didn’t have loaner/rental cars and their shuttle service would not take us back to Liberty Hill.

I called Enterprise in Georgetown and was told they had no cars. Really? They transferred my call to another location where I was told that because I had an out of state (Iowa) drivers license, and a VISA bank card (as opposed to a VISA credit card) they wouldn’t rent to me.

This is why it was a mistake to contact AARP instead of Good Sam. If I had contacted Good Sam, they would have made all the arrangements for the rental car for me.

My son Adam lives in Georgetown and so I called him to ask for a ride. He had kids to take to after school activities but he could make a quick run to get us home. Thank the Lord! What a day.

  • 5th, Wednesday. I sent a message to Louine, choir director/Grandies president, to say that we were without a vehicle and would not be able to attend Grandies or choir practice. She said that she would come and get us and see that we got home afterwards. She also picked us up for Choir practice. As it happened this was the monthly catered meal for the choir. While we were eating, I was explaining our current automotive adventures with our friends. Burt and Louise offered us the use of one of their vehicles. Burt and I went to his place and picked up one of his “spare” vans. Now that is really Make Church a Verb.
  • 6th. Our new Liberty Hill Police Chief has begun a monthly program called “Donuts with the Chief” which are sort of like miniature town hall meetings. The speaker at this one was from a woman’s shelter.
  • 7th. We got the truck back. We gave them $1100 and they gave us the keys. We have new fuel pump, sending united and associated devices. The truck also has had an oil change … which we needed to have before heading back to Iowa.
  • Saturday the 8th was adventure packed. We started with Sofia’s volleyball game, and then rushed to Tate’s football game. From there we made it to the monthly Bunko party.
  • 10th. While we were sitting at the table eating breakfast, there was a “thump and a shake”. I thought something had run into the side of our RV.

However, it was closely followed by another thump and I realized that I was now leaning to the left. Looking down, I could see that the floor of our slideout had literally fallen away from the wall about 3-4 inches. Once, we processed the fact that the floor had fallen out from under us, we started moving as much weight off of the slideout floor as we could.

I sent out a general distress message to our family. We were planning on heading back to Iowa on the 26th. The RV was to go into storage while we were gone. However, it could not be stored in its present condition. Following on the heels of the truck repair, we were not in a financial condition to have it repaired. I called our Progressive Agent. (by the way, I guess I never followed up on the shattered window. It was covered under our policy. However, the repair cost was $250 and we have a $500 deductible.)

We received a message from Arik and Jenny that we could come and stay with them until we decided what to do with the RV. So we packed some bags with clothes, medications, and anything else that we thought we might need. When we arrived at the kid’s they showed us the guest bedroom and we began unloading our stuff.

We began making a list of our options. We started with the realization that because the floor had disconnected from the wall, the slide out would not slide in and would therefore would be impossible to tow down the highways.

  1. Repair the RV (however with our financial and time constraints this did not seem achievable)
  2. Don’t repair it. However, if we were not going to repair it, that would mean unloading all of our stuff.

If we removed our belongings that would mean finding a place to store it (rent a storage unit or get an apartment). Getting an apartment also appeared to be on our list of “not possible”. There was the option of loading everything into a U-Haul and taking it back to Iowa.

  1. Give up our lifestyle of living part of the year in Texas and part in Iowa.
  2. Curl up in a fetal position with our thumb in our mouths and do nothing.
  • 11th we went ahead with our plan to have lunch and play games with our friends in Leander. We needed a break from the worry and stress.
  • Wednesday the 12th. We attended Grandies and helped stuff 20,000 plastic eggs with candy for the egg hunt coming on Sunday morning.
  • Maundy Thursday 13th Our church hosted a Seder meal. It was pretty close to a traditional Seder considering that it wasn’t kosher and we aren’t Jewish.
  • 14th Good Friday. The choir sang for the Good Friday Service
  • 16th Sunrise service, brunch at church, Regular service followed by an egg hunt.
  • 17th. Richard from Progressive came to look at the damaged RV. He wasn’t hopeful that the damage was covered under our policy.
  • 20th. Returned to Dr. Borick to have bursitis drained
  • 24th. We had a going away party with Adam, Leigha and kids
  • John, Dawn, Brandon, and Nathan drove from Iowa to Texas.

They worked at getting the slideout pushed back into the Hitchhiker RV and everything cleared away so that it could be towed back to Iowa. After only an hour or so, they hooked up to the Hitchhiker and headed back to Iowa.

  • April 28. We left Arik and Jenny’s in Austin at 8 o’clock in the morning.

We went through Temple Texas a” t 9 o’clock and through Waco Texas at 10. At 10:30 we stopped in Ross Texas at Sonic to grab a sandwich and to get up and stretch our legs. We made few stops along the way, just for gas and bathroom breaks.

  • The 28th turned into the 29th as we continued driving. Somewhere along the way, I pulled into a McDonald’s parking lot and slept for about 20-30 minutes. We purchased some breakfast sandwiches at the drive through and continued on.
  • 29th. We arrived at Cutty’s at 3:00 in the morning. It was cold and wet.

While Ella picked up the dryer sheets (before we leave our trailers for the season, we fill them with dryer sheets. Ella believes it deters mice. I put out mouse bait to kill mice.), I got the shoreline of our Excel fifth-wheel plugged in and reattached and opened the LP tanks. That allowed me to get the furnace going.

We crawled into bed and slept until around 8 a.m. Then we went to Village Inn for breakfast. John brought the Hitchhiker to Cutty’s and set it on a temporary storage site. Rain and Cold continued.

In the evening, John, Dawn, and Brandon invited us to Felix and Oscars for supper. Afterward we stopped at Wal-Mart for water hose and filter.

  • 30th we attended church UPUMC. Then came back to the Excel and rested. More Rain and more Cold made me wonder why we are always in such a hurry to get back to Iowa in the Spring.

Usually we hurry back because I start to work at the campground fee booth early in May. This year, however, we had an additional reason … a new great grandson.


  • 1st The Sun came out but it was still cold. We went to Grimes senior center for lunch.

Then to Wal-Mart to stock up on groceries. There are canned goods in the Hitchhiker. However, we can’t get to the pantry in the Hitchhiker when the slideout is in. And we don’t want to risk further damage to the floor by opening it. Later went to see brand New great grandson, Henry Arthur Roff. On the way home, we stopped at Chicago Speakeasy for prime rib.

  • 2nd We began to settle into our Iowa routine.

We had lunch at Grimes Senior center and played lots of games. Joyce was very excited to see us return. She loves to play a board game called Fast Track. However, she has trouble finding anyone to play with when we’re away.

  • 3rd ( pie rush Wednesday) After being at the senior center for lunch.

We meet up with Tom and Sue Stone at their RV and then we all went to Village Inn for pie and a

L-O-N-G conversation. Pie Rush Wednesday is another of our summertime routines.

  • 4th Started the day at the the dentist for teeth cleaning.

Then to Grimes and the senior center for lunch and games. We went to the Hitchhiker (in storage) and moved a few things around. We brought both recliners from Hitchhiker to the Excel. We did that for two reasons. One to get more stuff out of the way in the Hitchhiker so that when we can get to work on it there’ll be less stuff in the way. And two, the recliners are more comfortable that what are in the Excel.

  • 5th signed in at senior center, then Tom went to Unity Point doctors for his sore toe.

After the nurse practitioner examined the toe, she prescribed some antibiotics and said to soak it several times a day in hot water and Epsom salts. Then it was back to center for Lunch and games. In the afternoon we picked up prescription. Once we returned to Cutty’s, we went to the Clubhouse to do our laundry. For supper we got a pizza at Casey’s General Store

  • 6th Tom worked at the Fee Booth from 8 to 2.
  • 9th there was a Cutty’s Employee meeting in the afternoon. We got to meet the new Club General Manager.
  • 10th was another Pie Rush. Lyn Wilkerson joined us for supper, pie, and conversation. She is a cherished friend for over fifty years.
  • Tom worked 8-2 both 11th and 12th
  • 14 th was Mother’s Day and was spent with the Iowa family of kids, grandkids, CV and great grandkids. Tom worked 2-8.
  • 15 th Ella had an eye exam at Wolfe Clinic in preparation for having her plastic lens implant cleaned.

Appointment set for 20th of June. We made it to the Grimes senior center in time for lunch and then played a few games after lunch.

We stopped at Cutty’s office on the way back in and picked up my first paycheck for the season. It was for just a 13 1/2 hours and I got $112 which I deposited electronically. One of the joys of retirement, working seasonal, part-time work for minimum wage.

  • 17th Ella had a tooth extraction at 8 o’clock in the morning.

It was around 11 when we got home. Ella went to sleep until sometime after 2.

I worked on more sermons while she slept and then set my alarm for 2 and took a nap also.

Ella woke from her nap and demanded oatmeal right now! After she had eating her oatmeal, we went back to the dentist to get her new dentures. On the way home we stopped at Village Inn for Pie Rush Wednesday. We had just gotten inside the building when it started raining really hard and then about three minutes later it increased in intensity. There were trees down and limbs scattered around the campground. One large limb way across the camper just across the street from us. She was not home at the time Dominoes on Wednesdays and Card Jackpot on Fridays are another part of our summer routine.

  • 18th in the morning I drove to Union Park UNC to pick up worship bulletins for the 28th.

From Memorial Day through Labor Day, I preach at the campground nearly every Sunday. I prepare the bulletins in advance and email them to the secretary at UPUMC who prints, collates, and staples them for us.

  • 19th  Tom worked 2-9 and missed playing Card Jackpot. Ella did play.
  • 20th there was a Meet the Manager meeting from 10-10:30 followed by a Club Hall (think town hall) until nearly noon.
  • Sunday the 21st we went with most of the family to Be Hope UMC. For Henry Arthur Roff’s baptism.
  • Tom worked 8-2:30 on 22nd.
  • 23rd Both Ella and I went to the Foot Clinic at the Grimes Senior Center.

There is a Public Health Nurse that comes once a month to care for our feet. It is on a rotating schedule so you can only get in once every three months. Having gotten our feet taken care of, we ate and played games until our 2:30 appointment at Unity Point Clinic. Ella still having trouble with her ears, was given a prescription for Allegra D and Flonase. Tom had 25cc of fluid drained from the bursitis on his left knee.

  • 24th Wednesday. You know by now that we will be at Village Inn for Pie Rush Wednesday.

We did our normal trip to the senior center in the morning and then in the late afternoon/early evening, we met up with Frances and Sandy and Stoney and Sue for pie. Then in the evening we played Train Dominoes. We play Mexican Train throughout the year in different locations. And every location has their own house rules. I do fairly well until someone yells, “Hey! You can’t do that.”

Friday and Saturday (26th & 27th) Tom worked at the Fee Booth from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

  • Sunday the 28th was our first campground worship service of the season.

Ella and I were the only ones there. This was partially due to the fact that our yard signs (we had 5 originally) were missing. Tom then worked from 3 to 10 at the Fee Booth.

  • Monday the 29th was Memorial Day. Tom conducted a brief Memorial Service.

It was held at the entrance to the campground where there is an eagle statue and where we fly the US flag, The POW/MIA flag and flags of all the armed forces. There were fifteen to 20 people present.

  • 30th we were back at the senior center as usual.
  • 31st Ella had a mammogram and ultrasound. She had detected a change in the way it felt.

Since we just past the eleven year mark from her breast cancer surgery, any change gives us concern. After the exam, they set an appointment to do a needle biopsy on June 7th.



  • 2nd Tom worked 8-3;30
  • 3rd Ella did laundry at Cutty’s main street. She also attended a graduation party for one of the kids she befriended while working at the Clubhouse for many years.
  • Sunday the 4th was our second Worship Service at the campground. There were five of us this time.
  • 6th Normal day until 2 when Tom went to work until 9:00. It was a slow night at the fee booth. When I got home, Ella had bad a banana cream pie for us.
  • 7th Ella had a mammogram, ultra sound and needle biopsy this morning. We missed coffee at Cutty’s Cafe but arrived at the Grimes Senior Center early enough to help set the tables. After lunch, Ella took a nap and Tom did some outside work around the Excel. And, of course, it was pie rush Wednesday.And ended the with Train Dominos.

  • 6/8/17 Thursday. Ella received a call from the doctor about the biopsy. No Cancer! Praise the Lord. Tom had a department meeting this morning from 8:30-10 at the Clubhouse while Ella had coffee and conversation at Cutty’s Café. After Tom’s meeting was over, we went to the Grimes Senior Center for games and lunch. We didn’t stay for more games after lunch because Tom had to be at work from 2-9. Before he went to work he took care of a few things around the Excel. He moved the awning support to a vertical position so that he’d stop cracking his head on it. He added a row of pathway “lights” along the patio. And added support stakes to the two signs he had painted for the Sunday Worship. Since it is Thursday, they were serving family style meals at the Café tonight. Tonight’s menu is meatloaf, baked potato and some veggie. Ella brought some to Tom for his supper at the Fee Booth. ‘Aint she sweet?

6/9/2017 sunrise at Cutty’s


Published by Tom

husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, and Santa

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