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Thanksgiving Snow in the Country

Originally uploaded by claypotparker

Today we were invited out to Calvin & Pat Bradford’s farm/ranch for Thanksgiving Day. Guy “Bear:” McCain (Calvin’s stepson) and his wife Charlotte are part of our church family in Albany. We had a wonderful away-from-home Thanksgiving meal with turkey, ham, and all the trimmings. The amazing thing was that it started sleeting and then snowing beautifully with accumulation that defied the weather predictors. Just before we left, I took this snapshot outside the McCain’s house on the Bradford property.

OK, now I’m on a roll. This is Fandangle time in Albany and there are lots of extra activities going on. Any time of year, we are blessed to have the Old Jail Art Center, and tonight they hosted an exhibition called “Harmony in Stone,” featuring the works of Jesus Moroles, 2007 winner of the Texas Medal for the Arts. Moroles himself was on hand, and the kids got to join him in “playing” some of his sculptures. His primary medium is granite and he “tore” a piece of granite for us as he played it. He also does some amazing work in paper, creating amazing 3-D photographs from images of granite. I discovered that his largest sculpture is the 1991 Houston Police Officer’s Memorial.

The video below begins with Jeremy (sometimes looking lost) “playing” one of the sculptures as Moroles helps out.

Four things have happened this week that have made me think a lot about West Africa – well, really, there are more than four, but I’m going to talk about four here. On Saturday we had a gathering of former missionaries to West Africa at the Hollands’ home. Jeff, Brenda, Josiah, Ellianna, and Rebecca, our teammates from Togo, live in Abilene, about 30 minutes from Albany. Jeff is getting a degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. In addition to the Hollands and our family, the Wilsons (our teammates in Benin), the Baileys (who worked among the Aja in Benin), and the McVeys (20 yr. veterans to Ghana), were present. We talked some about Africa, but mostly we just enjoyed being together. There is a feeling of understanding and being understood when you’re with those you’ve served with.

Hanging out with old friends — Andy Wilson & Dan McVey (but who was I boxing?)

The second incident was a couple of nights ago when Maureen made fufu for us to eat. Fufu is made from boiled and pounded yams and/or plantain – it sort of resembles sticky mashed potatoes. Of course, the secret is in the sauce. Our favorite is groundnut (peanut) soup, which Maureen made with the help of peanut butter. The boys jumped for joy when they heard we were having fufu. Jonathan announced that this was the first time he had eaten fufu in Texas—a truly momentous occasion!

You can taken the boy out of Africa …

Today I attended a meeting of some of the CofC ministers in the area. We enjoyed a good time of fellowship. I discovered that one of them believes that God is leading him and his family—along with several others—to West Africa of all places. (I can’t say who because he is a preacher and his church does know yet.) We compared notes and shared memories and dreams. It was definitely a God-thing that we met.

Finally, today I was looking on the Blogger home page and happened to scroll down far enough to find this blog of a Peace Corps worker in Togo. He has some great video that gives you a feel for Togo, especially this one. (I still haven’t figured out how to link to/embed YouTube. Any help out there?)