On and Off The Mountain-Stephanie Grubert

Thanksgiving 2016 was a fun filled long weekend for our family. Lara and Mark Dicus and four of our grandchildren Charlie 15, Patrick 13, Kate 11, and Maggie 8, and Mark Grubert rounded out the dinner table for the holiday feast. We enjoyed all of the standard favorites including the homemade apple pie and pumpkin cheesecake for dessert.

Our family tradition includes watching Planes, Trains and Automobiles and the hilarious movie starring Steve Martin and John Candy released in 1987 always keeps us laughing out loud. Mark Grubert can recite just about any line with just the right inflection.

All enjoyed black Friday shopping. It’s really not that we are looking or bargains or door busters, we just like being out with the crowds to get into the season. Friday night is leftover turkey dinner night, an easy end to the day.

Saturday was gloomy and damp but we all took a nice hike. Charlie brought Lara and Mark over to the Gamelands entrance from Brown Street for the 3-mile walk back to our house along Heslop Road. Heslop has been a public road for more than 100 years and has had no maintenance for the last nearly 40 years since we moved to Mountaintop. Parts are quite easy to drive and walk, especially with a truck or 4-wheel drive vehicle and other areas are similar to walking across Boulder Field in Hickory Run State Park. The Brown street access makes much of the hike a downhill outing.

We had our Christmas tree brightly lit for the crossover holiday from fall into winter and the outdoor lights were put up Saturday by Patrick and Mark Dicus assisted by Charlie Dicus and Papa Grubert. Our display is pretty simple, three strings across the front shrubbery and the lower roofline. It is just enough so ladders are used at lower levels. My neighbors say our house is always the first in the neighborhood to show the holiday colors.

Saturday night Lara and Mark departed for their annual date to plan their children’s Christmas gifts over a casual dinner and the children and grandparents enjoyed our traditional Saturday night dinner. It is fun to play with the kids while their parents are out. We always hear the most amazing things.

Instant Camera Research

This year the girls wanted what they called “polaroid instant cameras”. I found this request puzzling as I knew that the Polaroid Corporation had gone bankrupt twice, the last time in 2008. What were the girls asking for? I suggested that they do some research online about instant cameras including the Polaroid company and tell me where the current instant camera on their lists came from. Maggie 8, assisted by her brother Patrick 13, came up with a report about the history of Polaroid and how instant cameras were now branded by Fuji Corporation. Kate 11, researched reasons to enjoy an instant camera and formatted her report as a PowerPoint presentation. I had told them that they could work on their projects for the next day, but each girl was anxious to finish and show me what they had done. I was amazed at the excitement and dedication Maggie and Kate gave their reports. I believe their wishlists for Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Instant Film Camera may be fullfilled. I will never forget the excitement I had with my Kodak Brownie at age 11. Photographers are born every day.

Big Breakfast & Tree Cutting Sunday was the “big breakfast

day”, which for our family usually includes pancakes and bacon and/or scrambled eggs. Fresh fruit salad is often on the menu.

It was time for the Dicus family to pack up and head home to Brooklyn. We all headed out to Helen & Ed’s Christmas Tree Farm in Dorrance to cut down their Christmas tree. The annual ritual has so many beautiful choices on the Myslowski family’s 220 acres. Ed, Jr. told me the farm has 120,000 trees for Christmas and landscaping needs. That’s a lot of trimming, fertilizing and monitoring rain each year. Ed’s parents Helen and Ed started their business in 1957 and it continues to thrive into the third generation.

Back from the tree cutting and saying goodbye to the Dicus family, Charlie and enjoyed another Sunday afternoon walk. With the “first day of buck” coming up on Monday November 28, I enjoyed my 3.8 mile round-trip trek to the “crushed drainpipe” on the Gameland trail. Sundays are no hunting days for deer and bear so the coast is clear for hikers. The weather was mostly fair, 41° with some sunshine and scant wind, perfect for a late November outing.

Deer Day Monday was “deer day” as we like

to call it in our house; the first day hunters with rifles can shoot antlered and antlerless deer. Deer season will