August 2006 Page 1
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Church & Lake ...

Mom had met some distant cousins for the first time, just by chance (small world!), in Sebring, Florida this past winter. They live in the Geneva area during the summer ... and were very hospitable to our crew while we were in town.

One of Mom's must-sees for us on the trip was Old Number 9 Church just outside of Geneva in Stanley, New York. I'd been before, but many years ago. It's located amidst beautiful rolling farm country. Mom's cousin King is a member of the church and was going to let us in for a look. But the most interesting part was the old cemetery next to the church where Mom's (and our) ancestors are buried. Most notably, Captain John Rippey (1749-1826), a captain in the Pennsylvania militia during the Revolutionary War, and his wife, Mary Orson Rippey. They raised 13 children to maturity, pretty rare in those days.

Joe was impressed that he had an ancestor who fought in the Revolutionary War. He wanted to know "how many greats" was he to him ... and we figured it out: he was Joe's great, great, great, great, great grandfather —five greats!

There were several other Rippey graves in the nicely kept cemetery and we wandered amongst them for a while. Then King and Bob (another distant cousin) let us inside the church, which is very nice. They had laid out a copy of the extensive family tree for us. When we found Mom's branch she took charge, penciling in our names. Photos at the Church

Mom tells Erin about her ancestors.

Joe checks out the plaque on his 5-great grandfather's grave.

Looking at the Rippey family tree.

Afterward, King led us toward Seneca Lake, where his brother Al and Al's wife Dortha had invited us for dinner. They have a nice home, right on the lakeshore — what a treat. And another bonus, they had a motorboat! So I finally made it out onto Seneca Lake for the first time, along with Tina and the kids. Al gave Erin and Kelsey a great, rollicking tube ride and I really enjoyed the scenery and breeze on the hot afternoon. The lake is over 350 feet deep in the area we travelled, and goes to depths of over 600 feet — amazing, these glacial Finger Lakes.

The lakeshore had lots of nice flat, smooth stones — perfect for skipping. John started the action and gave technique tips to the kids. Soon everyone was slinging stones and getting multiple skips across the surface. Most everyone went in the water to cool off, then Dortha put out a great spread for dinner. It was nice to be on beautiful Seneca Lake on a sizzling summer day — a good wind down to busy Day Two ... More Photos on the Lake

At Al & Dortha's place on Seneca Lake ... John starts the rock-skipping competition.

The boys and their beers:cooling down inside and out.

Al with Lady.

Tina & Kelsey in the evening.

On the Road Again

On Day Three we had to leave Geneva, though we hadn't had enough time there. Mom decided to stay a while longer to visit Art in Waterloo, while the rest of us continued on to Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame. Then we'd all meet that night in Troy.

We took a scenic route, and if ever that term applied, it does to Route 20 in New York. Through Seneca Falls, Auburn and into Skaneateles, where we stopped to walk along the northern shore of Skaneateles Lake. A beautiful town in a glorious setting. Then it was miles and miles of rolling hills and mountains, pristine farmland and wonderful small towns (like Cazenovia) with handsome homes.

Skaneateles Lake ... the Judge Ben Wiles returns from a tour.

Cooperstown, Revisited

We turned south on Route 80 and drove alongside Otsego Lake into Cooperstown. It's welcoming, beautiful; there coudn't be a nicer all-American old-fashioned town for our Hall of Fame. John, Kurt and I had been there as kids, but our memories were very hazy. I remember my tomboy self trying to hit a baseball pitched from a machine in a batting cage and being amazed at how hard it was, even at the slowest speed. And I remember buying a movie of Babe Ruth in the gift shop ... and that's about all. John & Kurt remembered even less. Everyone else in our clan of baseball fans was making their first visit. Photos of the trip to Cooperstown

In front of the Hall of Fame.

In Cooperstown, looking for somewhere to eat.

John with childhood hero Ernie Banks, Mr. Cub.

Me and Wrigley.

What the Hall of Fame is all about ... Kurt tells Joe about Babe Ruth.

When we got inside the Hall, it was like I'd never been there before. In some 40 years they'd made massive changes and renovations. It was a great trip down memory lane, neat to be brought back to the days when I lived and breathed Chicago Cubs (60s). John and I had lots of common experiences growing up together, going to Cubs games in Chicago and New York, so it was fun reminiscing with him. One exhibit showed all the no-hitters pitched; we found the game we'd been at on August 19, 1965 when Jim Maloney of the Reds no-hit the Cubs.

Baseball was a happy thread through my life, and those of most of my family. Going to the Hall just reminded us of that. Erin, Kelsey and Joe (and Kristin) are continuing the tradition, which is nice to see.

The Hall of Fame is a great museum, very well thought out and realized ... and how about this: the Hall "encourages" photography! My kind of place. After a quick trip to the gift shop, (which was packed with sweaty kids!) we hit an ice cream shop for a treat then got back on the road again. Next stop: Troy, NY.

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