A New Sweet Shop!

Kids know things! We went out to eat with our pre-teen granddaughter, Chloe, recently to a favorite "all you care-to-eat" restaurant.  At the end of the meal, I noticed that the final plate was missing one of her must have desserts - tapioca pudding. When I asked her why she was passing on it, she diplomatically said, "I was hoping you would take me to a new sweet shop nearby. I have been asking mom to take me, but she said, 'Why don't you ask Poppi!'" (Thanks, Michelle!!) Before I could ask how close we were to it, she already had her phone app open to Google maps and it was giving voice directions!

After the .8-mile car ride, we pulled up to the business with a most inviting name, Oh Icee! Inside we stood gazing at all the items offered and saw a long list of bubble tea blends and another category called, "rolled" ice-cream. None of us had ever sampled either! This was an adventure! So, we decided to order a bubble tea that we soon discovere…

Choosing an Unhurried Pace!

We have just turned the corner on a New Year. I have transitioned to a new desk appointment book and hung a new wall calendar in the kitchen for doctor appointments and Monique's teaching schedule. We even received a unique calendar from our young and gracious server at the local Hibachi Grill and Chinese-American buffet. The latter has found its place on a wall downstairs near my library and sermon files.

The server seemed so proud when she came to bring us the check after our meal the other day and then surprised us with this mystery box labeled with Chinese symbols. I thought at first it might have contained a fresh supply of chop sticks and was glad it didn't because I get a cramp in my hand each time I try to use them!

Upon closer observation, I could see that there were words in English at the bottom of the box indicating that this contained a wall calendar. I was pleasantly surprised by the colorful picture of a snaking dragon-like creature that was depicted on the outs…

"I Have Spoken!"

The Mandalorian is a new hit seriescreated by Jon Favreau for Disney Plus. Favreau also produced Iron Man, The Avengers, and Spider Man and is known for his story-tellingvisual effects, selection of music and actors for his series. The Mandalorian has just concluded eight episodes and is set for a second season to debut as soon as the fall of 2020. This venture is already a big success among lovers of the Star Wars genre. Favreau's genius is often compared to George Lucas! Mandalorian is a lone bounty hunter who works in the outer glaxacies of the Star Wars universe with a cute, large eared Baby Yoda as his side-kick. The series' characters and story-lines are compelling and fascinating. It is hard for viewers not to "binge watch" this at one sitting!

Actor Nick Nolte plays a most unique character among the cast. The ageless Nolte (soon to be 79 years old!), is an "Ugnaught" or diminutive humanoid with an upturned nose and thick jowls named Kuiil (pronoun…

Reflecting on Dad's 90th Birthday!

Nine decades is a very long time, yet it seems that many are reaching this birthday bench mark these days with relative ease! Thanks to God’s grace, good genes, healthy living and excellent doctoring, we now have one of our own who has joined the “ninety club!”

My Dad turned ninety on December 9. Joseph Donald Keppler was born in Fayette County, Illinois on this date in 1929 to Kenneth and Thelma Keppler. Dad is the second oldest of what was 14 living children. Their farm house sat north of Vandalia on 80 acres at the base of “thrill hill!” This was only part of what my great grandpa, Joseph (Dad’s namesake!) farmed just south of the state property surrounding the Vandalia Correctional Center today.

Grandpa Joseph also farmed 120 acres on the east side of highway 51 in the bottom land of the Kaskaskia River. Dad said that they planted corn most years and sowed grasses for pasture. There were 14 milk cows, and 8 work horses along with 20 pigs and 250 chickens. An orchard also sat on the…

Make Time for Christmas!

We were in Vandalia this past Sunday for my Dad’s 90th birthday celebration. His birthday is December 9th but we delayed his formal party and reception in order to accommodate the schedules of out-of-town family and guests. The day started by attending Sunday School and worship with him at his home church of Bethel Baptist. Dad loves his church and they love him too!
He is especially thankful for and proud of his Pastor, Dr. Ben Foxworth. He loves and appreciates Bro. Ben for many reasons: friendship, his messages each Lord’s Day, for pastoring our family through the passing of Mom in July of 2018, for the fact that Ben and Dena, his lovely wife, bring their cars out to the shop for regular service, and I’m sure there are many more reasons.
However, there has been an unusual connection with Bro. Ben since the day he came to pastor Bethel in August of 2014. The reason? Bro. Ben retired from 21 years in the Navy with the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer. If you mention the Navy, the…

Peanuts' Linus Explains Christmas!

Monique and I made a visit to Springfield's Chiara Center during this Christmas season to review over 130 nativities on display for the annual Franciscan Nativity Festival. This was my second year to enjoy seeing the nativities in that beautiful setting. There were so many varieties exhibited from the complex to the simple, ceramic to wood, and hand-crafted to store bought. Each one had been loaned out for the event by owners who doubtless have cherished them for years! This "Nativity Arts' Revue" has become an important part of my annual Christmas observance!

Typically, I am taken in by those depictions that retell the Christmas story in a straightforward, simple and uncluttered way. Last year, I wrote about the Yupik (Eskimo) aboriginal peoples who visualized that first Christmas night of Christ's birth as occurring in an igloo with Mary and Joseph donning parkas (see A Fanciful Christmas Story, 12-6-18).

This year, my fancy fell upon a rendition of the Christm…

Christmas in Pink!

I have a question for you, "Is pink a Christmas color?" Monique recently completed writing her annual Christmas newsletter for family and friends both far and near. We have been sending this holiday update for years. It is a practice that was started by my father-in-law when Monique was a little girl. Back then, Bro. Bob Eppinette (her dad was a Baptist pastor!) humorously and I think, accurately, titled his newsletter: "From the Mad House!"

Anyway, now that the Keppler newsletter has been written, the next tasks are to print, put them into an envelope with a picture and affix the postage for mailing. However, it is the matter of printing that concerned Mrs. Santa this year. What color would be chosen from the paper supply for the printing? I suggested that we did not have sufficient copies of the red or green paper in our storage, so, "What about pink?" She tersely replied, "That's not a Christmas color!" I begged to differ without convinci…