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The Mt. Gretna Newsletter

Mt. Gretna, Pa. "Not a place, but a spirit."       Marlin Seiders (1927-2008)

No. 143                                                                                                          October 1, 2013

Lessons from a less busy world

    Fall brings the most vivid reminder, telling us again, those of us who have made Mt. Gretna our home, just why it is that we made that choice.
   No season slides more easily onto the calendar, is more beautiful or more graceful in its descent. Days slip silently one upon the other, each transcending that which preceded it.
   A hint of color peeks out from somewhere on the hillside, then begins its downward march, a blanket for the winter ahead. It is time not only to watch but also to listen. More than music is astir.
   The rich bounty of fall makes it difficult for those who remain to make sense of the haste of those who seem bent on escapes to places like Florida, or Arizona or California just as the leaves begin to turn. To be sure, the leaves will soon be gone. But in the meantime they are the essential ingredients of a hazy early morning fog overhanging the lake, the accompaniment to crunching sounds under foot, the satisfying dollop to flavor a cup coffee in hand, the symbols of a spirit that renews.
  Those who remain have made a pledge to themselves, unknowingly perhaps, a simple pledge to stand apart from a too-busy world and recommit to a way of life and living that most others may never know. But WE know.
  We know our neighbors by first names. We know many of their hopes and joys and fears and triumphs. Their lives are distinct for they thrive amid a tapestry of artistic instincts and sometimes idiosyncratic impulses, but, in truth, are not greatly different from our own.
  We gather here seeking solace from that too-busy world and are sometimes surprised to find that is exactly what our predecessors did as well, even a century earlier. For each generation that has come, Mt. Gretna bears an enduring gift, a gift of space and time that distance us from a world that beats to a different tempo.
   Diana Sprucebank, whom we have never met, is a guide at the Nature Center just over the hill. She leads hikers on paths beneath the Governor Dick Tower. She also writes. 

   "Everything in nature is at peace or in tune with the earth," she wrote last month in a newsletter that the park publishes. "As we go to nature, we pick up the peaceful energy of the plant life all around. Nature will always embrace you -- you don't necessarily have to embrace it first."

   Ms. Sprucebank is nibbling around the edges of what may be Mt. Gretna's hidden secret. Nobody has ever quite put their finger on its essence, but she is trending close. It is the path Marlin Seiders pointed out as well. "Mt. Gretna is not a place, but a spirit."
   It shimmers most vividly when fall comes.    Citing limited emergency access, uncertain environmental impacts that could affect everything from water supplies to wildlife, and increased traffic spawned by additional houses, planning commissioners at South Londonderry Township last month unanimously rejected requests to alter plans that would bring Conservation zoning to undeveloped open space in Timber Hills.
   Affected are a 55-acre tract owned by Eastern Enterprises, Inc. and Soldiers Field, a 6.4-acre parcel owned by Mt. Gretna resident Patricia Shay and her family.
   The commissioners noted that only one of two entryways into Timber Hills is a two-lane public road. The other is a privately owned section of Lakeview Drive, with single-lane width and a limited weight bridge that make it unsuitable for heavy emergency vehicles.
   Their 8-0 vote affirming Conservation zoning for the tracts now goes to the township supervisors. The supervisors will listen to public comments but not make formal comments themselves or take actions on the matter at their next meeting (7 pm at the Timbers Restaurant Wednesday, Oct. 9).  Their vote on the proposed zoning ordinance will come Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 7 pm at the Campbelltown Fire Department.  A big turnout is expected.
   In a statement affirming the planning commission's decision, Preserve Mt. Gretna president Marla Pitt pointed out that each new household brings an average of two cars and six or more trips per day. She warned that low density residential zoning would substantially increase traffic and bring "irreversible environmental impacts" that could "permanently alter Mt. Gretna's unique character." If that is allowed to happen, she said, "we could become just like every  community overtaken by developers."    
   Eastern Enterprises, Inc., which has requested Low Density Residential zoning for approximately 40 of its 55 acres, is expected to continue its opposition to the Conservation zoning plans.
     Harold Becker, a spokesman for the family owners of Soldiers Field, says they have no plans to build homes on the site but wish to retain current zoning.
   "I was told by an appraiser that if the land goes to Conservation, its value will be cut in half," he said. "If the value's going to be cut, then they should do something with the taxation, which has just doubled."
   "It's not that we have plans to build anything," said Mr. Becker, "but maybe in 20 years or so Mt. Gretna won't have an Art Show. If they kept zoning the way it is, we would then have the opportunity of possibly doing something on that field."
    South Londonderry Township officials say that up to 25 single family homes on 1,400 sq. ft. lots could be built on the field under the existing Low Density Residential zoning. Conservation zoning would permit up to four homes on the 6.4 acre site.



SIGHTINGS    AHOY there, matey. Keep your eye on 5-year-old Xen Donten. He's the kid who startled a costumed 5' 2" groundhog named Penny in Nursery School on a snowy day last February with his piercing question, Sherlock Holmes-style, "Why does a groundhog wear Crocs?"  
     This fall, Xen is the only kid who stands alongside Pennsylvania Avenue in Chautauqua each morning to wait for the school bus.  But that doesn't bother this guy, who plans to someday be a pirate. (A real pirate, not the Pittsburgh variety.)
   Walks to the bus stop alone with mom (Carol, an architect in the office next to Mt. Gretna's miniature golf course) are adventure-filled expeditions. That's when he finds more leaves, feathers and sometimes bones to add to his collection. His bedroom is decorated with the skeletons of birds, squirrels and even a few deer skulls.
   Body language, as this picture suggests, reveals a lot. In Xen's case, it telegraphs with walk-the-plank seriousness, "Don't press me too far."   
   Sure, he graciously accepted nursery school teacher Joanne Gingrich's inspired spur-of-the-moment explanation, "groundhogs get cold, just like people," when Penny came in last winter. But on the first day of school last month, when his teacher asked if he could count to ten, he replied with Blackbeard-like authority, "Count to ten? I can count to a hundred." Then, as an astonished kindergarten teacher stood back to behold something she'd never before witnessed, he did exactly that. "Arrrrl."

   YOU probably missed it in FORBES' Middle East
edition last month, but there was Mt. Gretnan Jane, one of the dry cleaning industry's most-in-demand consultants, helping to launch a couture high-end cleaning service for some of the Middle East's best-dressed women (for whom names like Fendi, Chanel, XSL, Valentino, Armani, Christian, Louis Vuitton and Christian Louboutin are household words).
   Ms. Zellers, the third generation in a family with a long tradition in dry cleaning, began by traveling all over the country as a trainer and consultant. In past years she has also ventured into England, Australia and New Zealand.
   Her assignment in Abu Dhabi last month was her first in the Middle East, but it's likely she'll return. Clients often wait years to grab a spot on her crowded schedule. Among testimonials on her
website is this from a client in Florida:  "Whenever someone compliments me on something that impressed them about our service, I have to say, 'Oh, yeah. Jane Zellers showed us how to do that.'"

nullnullELIZABETH Wein's latest book popped up on the New York Times Sunday Book Review last month. "Rose Under Fire" follows Ms. Wein's highly acclaimed "Code Name Verity," a New York Times bestseller last year.
   A resident of Scotland who is married to a pilot and flies a plane herself, Ms. Wein -- now with two children and seven books to her credit -- spent summers in Mt. Gretna Heights under the nurturing eye of grandmother Betty Flocken, whom she visits every chance she gets (including last month, when she made a book tour through the U.S. and Canada).    SOMETIMES, half the fun of dinner at the Timbers is making a reservation. Particularly if Josie answers. Then, you know you're in for a treat.
   The doyenne of Mt. Gretna restaurantdom regales callers with stories and observations that stretch back over decades, stemming from the days when she and husband John ran the Hideaway.
   She's usually at the reservations desk but rarely makes an appearance in the restaurant. Except on one night of each year -- when she joins the dinner theatre cast after the summer revue's closing performance.
   Then, she ventures downstairs as most of the patrons file out and only friends, regulars and cast members gather around the bar for some late-night entertainment of their own.
   As the frolicsome gathering gets rolling, Josie grabs a guitar and joins the band, which includes son Bart, right, and son-in-law Andy Roberts (the dinner theater's musical director) backing her up on piano.
   First time visitors to the scene are stunned. Displaying a talent they never knew she had, there is 83-year-old Josie, strumming along with verve, talent and aplomb. It is a mind-blowing performance, well-worth staying to see long after the final curtain.
   One astonished patron, making his first visit to the fete last month, told Josie's oldest daughter Kathleen Roberts (known to everybody as Tap), "Gosh, I didn't know your mother was such a good guitar player."
   "She's an imposter," said Tap. "She plays the air guitar." Popular entertainer Scott Galbraith stays in the background and strums along. They've been doing that for years.

    MEET Leela Cleary, left. Next time you call Mt Gretna United Methodist Church on Monday, Wednesday or Friday mornings, is the voice you're likely to hear.
   After eight years, Campmeeting resident Mary Blackburn, right, is retiring as the church secretary. Not that she won't be busy. With elderly in-laws to care for, helping out at fire company social events and working as a Lebanon County Christian Ministries volunteer, Ms. Blackburn will have plenty to do. "It was wonderful having this job when my children were in school," she says. "I now know so many people in the community."
   Ms. Cleary, an Upstate New Yorker from Elmira, is not only the new secretary; she's also a new mom. With a benefit few employers could match, she's allowed to bring her 13-week-old son to work in her office right outside the pastor's door. Not so on other days, when she works as an audiologist.
   She and husband Sean, with the army at Ft. Indiantown Gap, moved to a home on nearby Northwood Drive last year.
   "This job is perfect for moms," says Ms. Blackburn. "When my kids were sick I'd just call and say, 'I'll in tomorrow.'" Proving, of course, that in church blessings often abound.
    To reach Ms. Cleary, call 964-3241 or email

   BET you didn't know that one of the Patriot-News' top central Pennsylvania quarterback picks has ties to Mt. Gretna.
   Colin Fry, who passed for 2,224 yards and 22 touchdowns last season at Manheim Central High School, is the son of Lowell and Daphne Fry, who own a
Chautauqua cottage on Stevens Avenue. 
   Colin also rushed for 373 yards and 14 scores last season.




A calendar to keep you in touch with Mt. Gretna

   What do artists have in common with allergies, leather boots, love, jeans, flannel shirts and cast iron pans?

   Like fine wine, artists also get better as they get older. Just as boots, love, allergies and all the others listed above also improve with age, as Prevention Magazine set out to prove.

   Which leads us to the 2014 Mt. Gretna calendar, just published by veteran artists Carol Snyder and Betsy Stuzman and surprising newcomer Bill Barlow, whose main occupation is desig homes and buildings.

   Ms. Snyder says the new calendar includes works by all three -- "realistic renderings, impressionistic styles and a few artistic photographs" done by Ms. Snyder herself, Ms. Stutzman (a Mine Road resident who works at her Campmeeting studio), and Mr. Barlow, an architect who moved from Lancaster with wife Julia Bucher to the Chautauqua several years ago.

   The calendars, $15 each, can be purchased directly from the artists and also at a few local stores and shops: Betsy Stutzman (, Bill Barlow (, or Carol Snyder ( or tel. 717-304-3753). Limited supplies are on hand at the Timbers Restaurant, Diana Lynn's Hair Salon, and Le Sorelle Restaurant and Gallery.



Questions Readers Ask


[] Whatever happened to that directional signpost that used to be near the Chautauqua Information Center? The neat arrows pointing in all directions added a whimsical touch for Mt. Gretna's first-time visitors, setting a tone and letting them know they'd come to an unusual place. Do you know who created it, when it disappeared, and why it's now gone?

<> Our best authority on such matters, Borough chief Bill Care, thinks the directional sign was a of the late Dale Grundon, who delighted in all things original -- especially if they had a slightly quirky, offbeat aspect. Mr. Grundon thought that everything that emanated from this unique community ought to have a quixotic quality, and he usually imparted it to his creations.
   No, the sign wasn't entirely accurate, and it was certainly out of date by the time Mr. Care's crews deemed it irreparable. The wood had deteriorated over the years, so the pointer arrows were removed.
   Clearly there's a need for someone to replace the sign, if not the visionary and sometimes willful Mr. Grundon himself, a lanky figure in a railroader's cap, ambling around the streets of Mt. Gretna and leaving an indelible mark wherever he went. The distinctive signpost was one of them.




    75 BAGS OF CANDY the Mt. Gretna United Methodist Church usually gives out every year on trick-or-treat night. Seventy-five? That's probably news to most residents, who in some Mt. Gretna neighborhoods rarely catch a glimpse of spooks and skeletons.

   Could be it's because the Campmeeting's narrow streets and imaginatively decorated cottages make fertile hunting grounds for goblins.

   Pastor Mike Remel also suggests another reason: For parents who accompany their children on Halloween night, "the church makes a good pit stop." Treats are a bonus.
    Whether or not they're members of the church, all are welcome.

    100th BIRTHDAY Sept. 1 for Patrick Bowman, front and center in this photo, surrounded by wife Dorothy, left, and daughter Bowman Wyerman, right. Standing: daughters Ann Bowman Bering and Gail Bowman Lombardo and son John Bowman. (Another son, Scott, in Oregon, was unable to join the celebration.)

   Pat and Dorothy lived in Mt. Gretna more than 60 years before retiring to Elmcroft Senior Living in Lebanon.

   Pat is the uncle of Campmeeting resident Larry Bowman, who heads the Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce and sent this happy photo from a birthday party that attracted over 60 family members and friends.

25 YEARS of Sunday service to the Pennsylvania Chautauqua. It may not be a record but probably comes close. And since it likely will never be duplicated again, that's cause for a celebration Sunday, Oct. 6 at the Timbers.

   The 1:30 pm luncheon will honor pianist Mary Ellen Kinch, left, and Chancellor Nancy Besch.

   Kat Snavely (964-2191) is accepting reservations until Thursday, Oct. 3 at $25 per person, payable to the Pa. Chautauqua, P O Box 622, Mt. Gretna, PA 17064.

   Mrs. Kinch, who organized a bus trip to the New York Chautauqua to celebrate a Pennsylvania Chautauqua anniversary and helped develop the Cicada Festival, also co-chaired the Chautauqua Summer Programs for many years.

   Mrs. Besch, together with the late Mary Hoffman, ranks among the longest-serving chancellors in history.  Her responsibilities include everything from arranging for guest ministers and vocalists as well as instrumental musicians to preparing the worship services and printing the bulletins. She is a former county commissioner and current board member of Gretna Theatre who first came to Mt. Gretna as an infant and has been a summer resident every year since birth.

   Other chancellors in a distinguished lineage include J. Max Hark, father of the noted Ladies Home Journal writer Ann Hark, and former National Education Association president Nathan Schaeffer, Pennsylvania Secretary of Education for nearly 20 years at the turn of the last century.

    600 GUESTS as the Hernley clan gathered Sept. 14 for the wedding of "flower lady" Mary Hernley's grandson Judah Clapper in Penryn.

    To be sure, it was a big wedding. And guess who provided most of the flowers? Bouquets for over 40 tables, said Mrs. Hernley, who closed her Route 117 stand for the entire weekend to cut the flowers and keep them fresh for a 10 a.m. Saturday wedding in the church and luncheon under a giant tent at noon.

    Judah is only the third of her 19 grandchildren to get married. . . so far. Looks like they'll have wedding flower orders for years to come at the Hernley farm in Manheim (deeded to the Hernley ancestors on a sheepskin signed by William Penn himself).








Chester "Chet" Rittle (1930 - 2013)  

   The name is familiar even though he and Delores moved from their home at the corner of Lehigh and Lancaster avenues nearly 20 years ago. Familiar because Chet Rittle left his mark on people who loved theater, who loved trips to Broadway in the spring and fall every year, and who loved being in the company of a man who shared his joy with others.     

   He had the look and perhaps even the serious demeanor of an accountant, which was his profession. But his passion was always the theater.  Spend only a few minutes in conversation with him and you knew that. 

   A founder of the Lebanon Community Theater, to which he devoted 50 years of his life, theatrical productions were at the core of his existence. Early morning departures on the bus trips he organized to Broadway were never a problem for him, nor the dilemmas of late-arrivals in the parking lot nor the associated cares and calamities of bus travel and travelers. All were acceptable means to an end for Chet and Delores, whom everyone calls Dolly. Both loved New York and were a team. 

   Their partnership extended to their social life in Mt. Gretna, where he was among those who helped organize the first Outdoor Art Show in 1974. From that year forward, they were always together at the Information Booth, greeting visitors and helping art show exhibitors and patrons get to where they wanted to go on the Chautauqua grounds. But always his heart stayed focused on theater. "He lived for it," says his widow, an artist who set aside her painting several years ago to help her husband through the final stages of a nearly 20-year battle with leukemia.  

   That illness, together with the challenge of helping their son Eric get to work along icy winter roads, had led to their decision -- agreed to reluctantly by Dolly -- to finally move to a home in Lebanon. Even though they had spent 26 years here, she says, "We were too long in Lebanon and not long enough in Mt. Gretna."   

  Chet Rittle died Sept. 3 in a Myerstown nursing home at age 83. A brief obituary appears online. 




Updates & Stuff to 

Post on

The Fridge

Did somebody say parade?





































Metropolitan Opera star Blythe 



The Winterites launch their 64th season with a $15 luncheon by Chef-on-the-Go Becky Briody and an exhibit of artist Eleanor Sarabia's latest creations. Starts at noon in the fire hall. Donna Kaplan (964-2174) handles reservations and suggests bringing two friends. First Tuesday of each month (except January) through April. All Mt. Gretnans invited, both men and women; $10 annual dues benefit firefighters.


First Friday introduces Reaghan Harvey, an 11-year-old violinist who began Suzuki studies at age four and has performed twice at Carnegie Hall. She'll appear at Le Sorelle Restaurant and art gallery with guest artist Kathy George, a painter and potter who studied at Kutztown University. They join Le Sorelle resident artists Susan Wentzel, Randy Snader, Bill Barlow, Carol Snyder, Carolyn Hartman, Heike Fleming, Barbara James, Barbara Fishman and Marcia Judd.
Other stops on this last walking tour of the year include displays, refreshments and gift-buying opportunities at the Gallery at La Cigale (where Hummelstown artist Steven Koons will

A Steven Koons exhibit at La Cigale

display plein air landscapes, with music by Matt Miskie); the Timbers Restaurant (displaying acrylic and oil paintings by Mt. Gretna artist Ryan Fretz, with music by Bobby Licata, Bart Briody, James Hemperly and Dominic Iacovone); 3SummerArts Studio (with sculptors Tom and Eli Weaber and guitarist Scott Galbraith); and Penn Realty (where artist James Arnold will display his oil and acrylic works), 5 to 9 pm.


Luncheon honoring Pennsylvania Chautauqua Chancellor Nancy Besch and Mary Ellen Kinch, pianist, who have contributed 25 years of service at Sunday worship services in the Playhouse. At the Timbers, 1:30 pm. See "Numbers," above.

Music on the Porch at Governor Dick Park. Bluegrass and country-style music, 1-4 pm.


South Londonderry Township Supervisors at The Timbers, 7 pm. (Officials will consider comments for and against zoning changes around the lake and at Soldiers Field but do not plan to comment or vote on the matter until Wednesday, Nov. 6 at a meeting to be held at the Campbelltown Fire Department at 7 pm.)  



Toddlers in Tow (ages 1 to 5): Play, create, observe and explore on the Governor Dick trails to build a love of the outdoors. 10-11 am. 



Block Shoot, noon to 5 pm. A popular fire company fundraiser even for non-shooters: Drawings, prizes, hot dogs plus ham and bean soup with rivels. Rivels? Don't ask. They'll know you're not from around here.  


Gretna Theatre Gala at the Hotel Hershey. Snazziest social event of season: champagne, wine, dinner plus a wines-around-the-world card drawing and live auction of trips, jewelry and other art leading to a treasure chest filled with cash. Details online or call 964-3322. 



Fitness Hike, fast pace 4 to 5 mi., at Governor Dick Park. 9 a.m.  


MONDAY, OCT. 14:  

Bach, Handel and Haydn program with opera superstar Stephanie Blythe and chamber orchestra Les Violons du Roy; Gretna Music winter series, Elizabethtown College, 7:30 pm.  



The Art of Making Charcoal, Governor Dick Center, 6:30 pm. 



Bow Wow Meow Ball at the Timbers: a benefit dinner with dancing and silent auction on behalf of the Lebanon County Humane Society. Especially popular among Mt. Gretnans, who typically make up half the crowd. $60 per person. Animal costumes encouraged but not required, says organizer Peggy Seibert (269-6343). 6 pm cash bar, dinner begins at 7.    


Full Moon Hike at Governor Dick Park, 6 pm. $3 per person.    


FRIDAY, OCT. 25 Smallest Halloween Parade in America? Could be, but one of the liveliest. More fun than you'll find anywhere else. Marchers outnumber spectators by maybe 10 to 1.  

   Starts from Jigger Shop at 6:30 pm then down the highway to the fire company where there's hot dogs, refreshments, spooks and goblins.  



Rape Aggression Defense classes for women 14 to 65 begin at Philhaven. Call or email Stephanie Burris, right, (717) 274-2 to reserve your spot in these limited-size classes, offered without charge.     

   Instruction in use of the Kubaton and weapon-enhanced physical skills by Ms. Burris and certified R.A.D. instructors including Cornwall P.D. officers Candace Miller and Jim Conklin; 5:30 - 9:30 pm sessions run through Nov. 12.



What to do on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon if you're a youngster in Mt. G
   If you're between 11 and 14, head over to the youth game room at Mt. Gretna United Methodist Church for Ga-Ga (an updated version of dodge ball, inset left), air hockey, pool, darts or ping pong and maybe someday soon a game of Foos Ball.
   "It's a neighborhood thing," says Pastor Mike Remel. "You don't have to be a member of the church."
   The church turns on the lights and opens its door off Glossbrenner Avenue from 2 to 4 pm each weekend. As word spreads, turnouts are growing (eight so far).
    "It's a good way to let off steam and take a break from video games," says the pastor, who likes to join the fun himself.
    Don't Saturday sessions get in the way of his preparation for the sermon on Sundays?
   "No, I usually do that on Thursdays or sometimes on Fridays, which are supposed to be my day off," he adds with a grin. 

Search for Bigfoot, Governor Dick Park hike to the Tower for bonfire, refreshments and Junior Naturalist awards. Family fun.
$3 per person or $10 per family. Starts from Nature Center, 6 pm.


Don't forget:

Mt. Gretna's new year-round calendar appears online, a service of the Mt. Gretna Arts Council. Email listings and updates to Jennifer Veser Besse at   





Other newsletters of interest:

Mt. Gretna Updates -- Issued as warranted to alert local residents to such matters as temporary road closings, utility repairs, shelter advisories for adverse weather and other conditions affecting people who live in the seven neighborhoods served by the Mt. Gretna post office. We also send out bulletins for pets that have been missing for 24 hours or more. To be sure you're on the local list, just send us a "LOCAL UPDATES" request in the subject line:


This Week in Mt. Gretna -- Issued during summer months; a week-by-week listing of local events, sent by e-mail on request. To add your name to the mailing list, e-mail 

Mt. Gretna Arts Council Newsletter -- Now available only online (no mailed copies). Updated to include news concerning groups dedicated to the arts in Mt. Gretna, Calendar of Events, Summer Premier and Arts Council scholarships.Click here


Gretna Music bulletins -- E-mailed updates on concert events, schedule changes and other news. See "Join Our Mailing List" at FOUNDER Carl Ellenberger's blog (worth reading): Check for updates online at
Mt. Gretna Area Historical Society Newsletter -- Online at 

Mt. Gretna Bible Festival Newsletter -- Mailed in the spring and fall without charge. Send request to Bible Festival, P.O. Box 408, Mt. Gretna, PA 17064.

Governor Dick Park Newsletter -- Online and by e-mail. See 

Cornwall Police Department E-Mail Bulletins -- issued as warranted to update residents on events of community interest, including crime alerts. To add your name to the mailing list, e-mail request to 

South Londonderry Township Newsletter -- of primary interest to Mt. Gretnans in Timber Hills, Conewago Hill and Timber Bridge; online at 

Campmeeting Newsletter -- Available online and mailed to residents of the Campmeeting.

Mt. Gretna Heights Newsletter -- e-mailed to Heights residents. Contact Michelle Shay,   


     Last month, in the middle of a quiet evening at home, a text message arrived asking me to alert Mt. Gretna residents to a dog that had disappeared a few hours earlier.
     My heart sinks whenever someone loses a pet, especially a dog. I'm convinced that dogs are truly messengers from heaven, sent to give us a glimpse of what's ahead.
     So my impulse is to do whatever I can. Yet, I don't wish to burden newsletter subscribers everywhere with small but important emergencies that affect only people in Mt. Gretna.  So a bulletin about missing pets must be separated from the worldwide mailing list.
     While I mulled that over, I drove around the area with a friend and a flashlight. We looked for a half hour or so, but the missing dog was nowhere to be found. Since it was getting late, I decided to delay sending out a notice to Mt. Gretna readers.
     I don't know what the statistics show, but I figured most lost dogs probably turn up in 24 hours. That, in fact, is exactly what happened. The pup was reunited with his family the next morning and no special bulletin was necessary.
        Still, it reminded me of the importance of pets.

Cornwall patrolman Rick Finicle and friend with cold nose and warm heart.

        At a gathering a few days later, a neighbor mentioned she had been to a jury trial where lawyers were not allowed to ask prospective jurors if they owned a dog.
       She wasn't sure why, but it probably had something to do with characteristics the attorney sought among those who would hear his case.
     I'm not sure what those characteristics were. I just know that it's rare to find someone who likes dogs who's not also someone I'd like to have as a friend.
    People who like dogs generally like other people. Not always, but often enough to suit my sense of what constitutes a reliable guide.
      Dogs break through social barriers. All but the most crotchety people usually smile when they see a dog wagging its tail. Strangers speak up who otherwise wouldn't speak.
   Some people think that dogs should not be allowed in places where people go. But in England, I once encountered two ladies who brought their puppy into a tea shop and set him up in a chair at the table. As far as I know, nobody died because he was allowed inside.
   Dogs go in and out of pet food stores. In Europe this summer, I saw dogs in grocery stores. My favorite hardware store keeps a  supply of dog biscuits on hand for the dogs they welcome in their store.
    The biggest problem with dogs, of course, is getting them to "go" in the rain. Here's my trick: I sometimes take Winston to a shopping mall with a big canopy overhead. We walk under the canopy until he gives me The Signal. Then we scamper over to a distant grassy area and take care of business, including the cleanup just in case you're wondering.
   Some people say they don't want a dog because they travel too much.
   But I'll bet not one of them ever saw a sunset, a mountain, an ocean or a sunrise that comes anywhere close to a cold nose pressed against their cheek in the morning.
   That's why, if you live in the Mt. Gretna area and ask to be on my Mt. Gretna Updates list, you can expect to get a special bulletin when a Mt. Gretna pet has been missing for 24 hours.
   I'll try not to open the floodgates and overstuff your mailbox.


   Roger Groce

 P.S. This unofficial newsletter uses a commercial distribution service, Constant Contact, to send email copies to about 2,000 people around the world.



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