If . . .

Post 23/2021 Thursday 3 June . . . If Memorial Day Weekend provided parades, ceremonies, palaver and picnics, the month of June promises plenty more. Although, with the arrival of summer still a ways off (June 20}, I wish the temperatures right now were more seasonal, not this soaring into 90 degrees F. stuff. Bring on shade trees and lemonade!

Thankfully, a long, long time ago folks in Goshen, Indiana gave considered thought and action to tree planting. No ifs, ands or buts about it back then. They did it.

Memorial Garden area on the Greencroft Goshen campus.

From the The Maple City 2021-2022 Calendar, this entry for June 2021:

“Tree planting and care for trees has been a civic feature almost from the beginning of Goshen’s history. In 1847, a meeting of Goshen residents created a 12 person committee to oversee tree planting along streets and the public square, . . . This committee was charged with the task of surveying and staking the location of every tree to be planted, and then gathering pledges of time and money from Goshen residents for this work.

“The tree committee was given authority to decide where the planting should begin and the variety of trees to be used. More than 170 years ago, they already had a good eye for diversity: the committee told residents that ‘no forest trees shall be planted but maple, elm, hickory, black and white walnut, oak, coffee nut, pine, cedar, white ash, sycamore, wild cherry, hemlock, birch, balm of Gilead and mulberry.'”

If I could thank the committee . . .

. . . I’d thank the 1847 tree planting committee. Work well done. Today, I thank the various Goshen City bodies and individuals who are working to double the amount of tree shade in the City by 2045. One-hundred and seventy years of thankyous!

If I were a baker. . .

. . . I’d bake a cake, like this Orange Pineapple Cake, Marty baked for a small family gathering on Sunday. Yum! It disappeared in a day.

If I were a gardener . . .

. . . I’d water, weed, trim, deadhead and harvest a garden plot and flowerbeds. Still, I can enjoy the skill, energy and investment of green thumbs everywhere who water, weed, trim, deadhead and sometimes share or sell the fruits of their labor.

If I were an artist . . .

. . . I’d design a quilt flower garden, like this one at the quilt shop at the Old Bag Factory in Goshen.

. . . I’d visit, artist or not, the exhibit, running March 21-November 14, of Paintings from the Mennonite Historical Library Collection at Goshen College, Goshen, IN.

The exhibit includes, “Folk and self-taught art by Emma Schrock, Benuel King, Dan M. Yoder, August Wickey, Chad Friesen, H.A. Mumaw, Leah Johnson, Johannes Janzen, et al. Fine art by Jan Luyken and Jacob Ruisdael (engravings), Pieter ter Meulen, Peter Etril Snyder, Art Sprunger, Ezra Hershberger, Sylvia Bubalo, Abner Hershberger, Bob Regier, et al.”

“Ebed-Melech, the Cushite, Rescuing Jeremiah from the Mud-Pit,” by Sylvia Gross Bubalo (1928-2007). Acrylic on Canvas, c. 1974. In Jeremiah 38:2-13, a Cushite servant of the king rescues Jeremiah from the cistern, or dungeon, where the king had thrown him. Bubalo was a free-lance artist who studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, along with her husband, Val, whose work is also represented in the exhibit.

If I were an antique collector . . .

. . . I’d take plenty of pride–and curating initiative–in puttering with old, old things.

Ah, now that’s the thing. Good work, neighbor Gary!

If I were a farmer . . .

. . . I’d pause to admire a fine field of clover as I get ready to cut it for animal feed. I’d give thanks for the animals grazing, crops growing, the land renewing. Thankfully, I can be an imaginary farmer.

If I were a Canada goose

. . . I’d fear for my life, even though I’m a protected species, or at least try to bear up under an inferiority complex, given people’s fixation on the mess I make and not the place I play in the world’s ecosystem. And if I were a rabbit, I’d run from the menacing taunts and threats of gardeners who begrudge me a meal in their garden or flowerbed. Point taken. I do make a mess and bring on quite the litters to invade unwelcome places. If I were a bumble bee, I’d leave any thoughts of self-preservation second to engorging myself.

Friends, by Benjamin Chee Chee, a painting we bought, I think, on Manitoulin Island, Ontario.

If I were a fly on the wall . . .

. . . I’d sit high up on the walls of the Carbis Bay Hotel, home to the G7 meeting June 11-13. I’d give thanks that I’m not a cicada, though I have nothing but praise for the role cicadas play in the scheme of things. On the other hand, I’d be a rather rare specimen in a place that knows little of flies. Still, I’d be there listening to the presentations, the back and forth, the questions, the counter questions and comments, the on and on of the deliberations wondering when I could land on someone’s head and cause the cameras to click. I’d even dare to land on someone’s Cornish Cream Tea. Wouldn’t that be heavenly!

Even more heavenly, is for people to tune into the music of young people singing Gee Seven, a music video with more than 13,000 voices from 17 countries signed up, with 50,000 the goal leading up to the 2021 G7 Summit in Carbis Bay.

Tune in to http://www.sing2g7.org. Beautiful! Powerful! “Sing2G7 is an apolitical international engagement programme with a vision to enable children to raise their voices in song and be heard by world leaders.” I highly recommend listening to the song, Gee Seven.

May 2018. We’ve just had Sunday lunch with friends at the Carbis Bay Hotel Dining Room, days before our trip home. Adieu, Adieu!, dear friends, again we say, Adieu! Farewell, until we meet again.

If I were not a reader . . .

. . . I’d be in the dark, hungry for illumination. As it is, I’ve just devoured this engaging book published by Cascadia, Telford, PA, 2016. (Thanks for the alert and loan, Alice and Willard). The volume is dedicated,

“To the Mennonite and Church of the Brethren communities of faith who offered their sons and daughters a vision of service alternative to the wars of the twentieth century; / To the young men and women of those Anabaptist communities who heard the beckoning call to serve in those distant worlds at home and abroad; / And to the emergent landscape of Anabaptist institutions and ecumenical communities now serving as an epiphany of hope for a new and less violent world.”

I read the life pilgrimages of friends, former colleagues, strangers and found them all deeply moving. evocative and reassuring that the roads taken, the streams converged, and the dedication and effort expended have borne fruit. Thank you Kenneth L. Seitz Jr., Margaret Jantzi Foth, Paul M. Schrock, Daniel Hertzler, Bertha Beachy, Edgar Metzler, some of whom have gone before, and all those I’ve only now meet on these pages. The book is co-published with the Anabaptist Center for Religion and Society of Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, VA.

If I were a rose . . .

. . . I’d be delighted to tickle your nose.

If I had the recipe for Orange Pineapple Cake . . .

. . . Lo and behold, I do have it and now you have it, too.

With electric mixer, mix I box (18.5 oz.) yellow cake mix, 1 can (11 oz.) mandarin oranges with juice, 4 eggs, 1/2 c. vegetable oil until orange slices are broken up and batter is fluffy, about 3 min. Divide among three greased and floured 9-inch layer cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees F. about 20 min. or until cake tests done. Cool on rack. When layers are cooled, ice between layers, sides and top.

Note: Marty has simplified the recipe by using a 9 x 13 pan and baking the cake in one layer only. (Bake 30 minutes.)

Icing: 1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple with juice, 1 container 8 or 9 oz. whipped topping, 1 pkg. (3 oz.) instant vanilla pudding mix uncooked. Blend pineapple and juice, whipped topping and dry pudding. Mix well. Spread on cake. Keep refrigerated until served.

If I could quote some fine advice . . .

. . . I’d pick the following, selected once upon a time by either Marty’s sister Doris or Mary (it follows a recipe From Doris’ Country Kitchen, that appeared in the Markle Times, a monthly for which Mary served as editor):

“I’ve learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But if you focus on your family, the needs of others, your world, meeting new people and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you.”


6 thoughts on “If . . .

  1. Hello John & Marty!

    With the emphasis on tree planting, I can see why Goshen is called “Maple City”! If we get there this summer, we would like to see the Mennonite painting exhibit at the College. Your photo of the clover flower brought back memories of their fresh,sweet smell. We are in Toledo right now visiting my mother at the nursing home. We were able to sing for her yesterday and that seemed to lift her spirits. She loves music and this has been largely absent during the pandemic. At 102 she is sleeping most of the time but still lights up when she sees us, either in person or in video conferences on Skype. Thanks for the blog this week!

    Monty & Ginger

    May the God of Wonder be with you, delighting you with the beauty of sunrise and the majesty of sunset, with the song of the bird and the fragrance of the flower.



  2. IF I could visit you I’d love to be served a piece of that cake. But low and behold I now have the recipe. If I would be granted 3 wishes I wonder what I’d wish for. I’ll have to ponder that for a bit.


    1. Happy baking! Either way, the easy Marty one pan way, or the three pan way, you’re sure to enjoy this easy bake.


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