On and Off The Mountain/Stephanie Grubert

Saturday March 1 was the first day of Meteorological Spring. How’s that for fantasy? Mountaintop avoided the bullet of a predicted 15 inches but from coast to coast the latest “monster storm” tracked volumes of precipitation. In California the rain was welcome and although it threatened mudslides and took down trees all up and down the coast damage was minimal. Our west coast cousins would be horrified to see what happens to us. I love those graphics on TV showing the colors and the intensity of the storms. It is probably too much information anyway.

Most of California got soaked with a year’s worth of rain over three days. Californians have been complaining about their lack of rain for months. The drought there has drained reservoirs and left farm fields in the dust. Every year a different part of the country seems to suffer from lack of rain and or precipitation. It reminds me of the plagues written about in the Old Testament.

We have so much information, probably too much, that we are anxiously fearing the worst regularly. My friends who own local restaurants say business is often very brisk during weather events. Some people just can’t stay home and must socialize to get through it.

Often our photographer John Wengrzynek, whose job is to come up with a beautiful front-page photo every week, is greatly challenged to find anyone outside when the single digits and the wind chills keep us indoors. This week John happened to meet up with George Albright II, owner of Glen Summit Floral, who was tending to his greenhouse plants for future spring sales. I got the absolutely best ever impatiens from George last year. He warned me that I needed to spray fungicide on them every week and I did just that. They were the biggest, most colorful and healthiest impatiens I ever grew thanks to George. Sadly they were just too much temptation for the hungry deer in my yard, who feasted on my beautiful plants while they were at the height of their glory. I will be back to Glen Summit Floral in May to get the 2014 crop.

Now that we are marching toward spring temperatures will begin to warm away from the cold of winter. By the end of the week we should be finished with the sub zero and single digit temperatures. Our snow will not linger and the days will soon be above freezing. We eased into winter and now we are easing out. It happens every year. Meteorological spring or not we are still suffering from our long extreme cold and the snowiest winter in 100 years. Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. We need to pray for spring real hard today.

This Sunday we turn the clocks ahead to Daylight Savings Time. That’s right, Saturday March 8 is the day. The “extra hour” of daylight is supposed to give us more time for leisure activities in the evenings. Sunset will be one hour later and if we were able to play golf we would have more time for our game in the afternoons. I am really fantasizing now.

Sunset is 6:56 p. m. on Sunday March 9. Sunrise is 7:18 a. m. and the daylight will last for 11 hours and 38 minutes. It will be a little harder to wake up in the dark mornings, but that too will end. The frigid winter has challenged all of our heating budgets. We have learned how to bundle up. I remember when we first moved to Mountaintop in 1978 and the drop in temperature was marked from our previous home in south Jersey. We all got thermal underwear and learned that sweaters were our best friends. Sometimes coats and jackets indoors are part of the deal. The really cold times have got to be behind us now. The sun is rising higher every day.

Movie Fantasy

I enjoyed watching the Oscar awards show last weekend. I don’t go to the movies “at the movies” much, but I like to keep up with what the popular offerings are. The show offered a lot of clips from the nominated movies and now I have a queue of what to look for when I rent from iTunes. The new movies won’t be on Netflix for a while, but there are other options.

One of my favorite actresses, Judi Dench, was nominated for Philomena, a movie that I did enjoy very much in the theatre in November when it was first released. Judi was not at the awards because she was filming in India. I was thrilled to hear this news and immediately asked Google what was going on. Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2 with most of the original cast including Maggie Smith is filming now. After Downton Abbey finished last week I was pleased to learn that the cast was now filming Season 5 and we will see it next January. Now I have another beloved film to look forward to with two of my favorites, Maggie and Judi.

Free Clinic In Danger The Mountaintop Free Medical

Clinic that has been open for the past 26 years at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church is in danger of closing. Doctors, Nurses, PA’s and LPN’s are needed to donate 2 hours of their time and expertise each month to keep the Free Clinic open. The senior doctor at the clinic was Dr. Doug Morgart for most of the time it was open, but the Morgart family moved to North Carolina several years ago.

St. Paul’s JoAnn Schaeffer, Press Secretary, Church Council Member, and Secretary says “We have tried numerous times to reach out to churches, clubs, and through bulletins, so I thought I would reach out to you women, who are the community’s voice, and help us to be able to continue to serve the community. We do not want to see it close, because it would be devastating to many families who have nowhere to go with their children in the time of need. It breaks our hearts on a Monday night when we have to turn the families away, due to no doctor, or nurse on duty for the two hours we have been open from 6:30pm-8:30pm Mondays,” implores Shaffer.

The Free Clinic sponsors are pleading the Mountaintop Community to step up and offer assistance. Joanne can be reached at craftyjs@gmail.com.