By Doris Schroeder
The TV and newspapers have been full of the California forest fires and are looked upon as one of the largest in history. Coming after the Harvey, Irma and other huge storms we’ve had, 2017 has been the most tempestuous twelve months I have ever seen…and that covers a long time. Since I have some acquaintance with the golden state, I thought I’d revive some of my memories.
Of course I’ve told you my family lived in McFarland, Pittsburgh, Ambrose and again McFarland , California in 1941 and 2, but then Kansas called us back to the farm and then back to Hutch. I had made up my mind to attend Buhler High School where I met John and we realized we were in love. After graduation and three months after we were married, he talked me into moving to the Golden State to see what we thought about it. It was all right but I wanted Kansas so back we came.
After we built our first house on 17th Street, we decided to try our hand at the carpet business and finally to retirement. In the meantime, our son John graduated from Juco, K-State and finally from Grace Seminary. After preaching a few years; he felt God wanted him to become an army chaplain in the military. After his training, his first assignment was at Fort Ord, California. Hubby and I had decided we were going to visit California again and then found out his assignment was going to be in the golden state. Ford Ord was near the beautiful town of Monterrey and of course, near the ocean.
We visited Fort Ord even before he got there with his family. We received a booklet from our bank with discount tickets to many places and found it to be a perfect time to get to know the coastline of the golden state.
The first time we visited Fort Ord, we were truly on our own since John and his family hadn’t arrived yet. We had a lot to learn about the military. For instance when you come to the entry gate, you do not make light conversation. The guards are dead serious and you state the facts only. This is how they are taught to do and if you try to make light of it, you are “suspicious”
We probably visited the area at least six different times and learned a lot about being a soldier. We visited the chapel service on the base and heard John preach to the ones who eventually could be “in the line of fire.” We realized more and more the heartfelt patriotism a real soldier displays when he risks his own life so that American citizens can truly live their life according to God’s purpose.
During the time he was stationed there, his light infantry group was called to help the citizens in the LA riots that were going on. When they arrived his commander ordered him to come with him to talk to the troublemakers. They told him “We have no argument with God!” and listened to what was said. There was still some respect for God at that time.
We enjoyed all our jaunts to California, I even went one time with our daughter Judy and one time with my sister Carol. We enjoyed all the wonders of San Francisco…from a small ship going around Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge, to the street of many curves, Chinatown and the Golden Gate Park, it was a lot to absorb.
We visited McFarland where I had lived in the second grade and found it almost completely changed. The school I attended, Kern County, still looked familiar, and the Kern County Library was still in existence. Other than that, it did not feel the same.
The forests with huge trees were fun to visit. We visited the Henry Cowell Redwoods located a little past Santa Cruz. As I walked with our son John, we loved the peace and quiet that permeated the air as we went down the Redwood path. The soft pine scent soothed our nostrils and we took deep breaths of the soft California air.
Looking down, I was delighted to spy tiny Redwood pine cones that were the most miniature I have ever seen. All kinds of craft ideas came to my mind as I got everyone to help me collect some. They helped me stuff them into our pockets and my camera bag. Later, I showed them to one of the ladies at the information booth. She told me each one holds 40 seeds. The chance of germination, however, is only one in 200,000 since Redwoods grow from their own root system.
With a borrowed flashlight, we crawled into the former living quarters of a young lieutenant who used to live in the hollow of this tree. We could see where the stove pipe used to be, now that the tree has healed over it and keeps on growing.
As we walked out of the park, our minds were completely filled with awe, We have seen part of God’s wonderful creation. We realize anew what a great and marvelous God we have…not only does He help us spiritually after we have asked Him into our hearts, but He is forever watching out for us in the forest of unknown things that happen in this world. There is absolutely no way all this is accidental
Whatever happens in this world we can make it if we have accepted Him into our life!
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