"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."
Mahatma Gandhi

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Every day there are moments when I thank God for my life.  This summer contained an abundance of those moments, starting with a week visiting Dave's first cousins at their homes on the Allegheny River in Western, Pennsylvania, continuing with our trip to North Carolina for a niece's wedding, visiting our son Paul at his college home in Amherst, Massachusetts, where he is thriving in the classroom, the great outdoors and among good friends, and ending with another visit to the cousins, this second visit with Paul and Anna along, so they would not miss the tradition of spending a week on the river with their cousins.  

David is an only child, but you would never know that when you see him amid the sea of Mourer cousins who were his brothers and sisters as they grew up in the small town of Chicora, Pennsylvania.  Two of those cousins own homes side by side on the Allegheny River and we have been going there for a week every summer for a very long time.  Our children have grown up with their children, and it has been, and continues to be, a total blast.   Every moment at the river, the beauty of nature and family surrounds you, and so there are many moments that make me thankful. 

Here are some pictures of those moments, pictures of unfettered joy and celebration. 

Paul and Anna got to enjoy some brother-sister time before the cousins joined us at the river.  

Some of that time together was spent in Paul convincing Anna that floating this beached 500 pound tree would be a good idea. 

She did not necessarily agree with the importance of this project and here is pleading for someone end the madness.    (The log could not be moved, in spite of a back-breaking effort.)

Since they were very small children Anna (middle) and cousins Lori and Nicole have ridden a tube together.  This tradition continues, and I suspect when they are 50 years old, they will still be jamming themselves onto one tube.

They have added a few stunts to their tubing excursions.  

They've learned how to relax a bit now, which was not the case for many years, when they had to be in motion for every second of every day at the river.  
And, let's not forget the boys.  Paul (flying through the air) and cousin Kevin on the shore have a tradition of inventing what I call "stupid boy tricks."  As you can see by this photo, at ages 23 and 22, they do not disappoint.  Visiting this rope swing is an important tradition that continues in spite of sore arms, backs, and belly flops. 

Kevin on the Rope Swing.

Anna is not to be outdone by the boys. 
Another fun spot on the river is this old bridge abutment, which is a great diving platform.  This year Kevin did the back flops to end all back flops, returning to the house on the river with a slapped red back which was very sore for a few days.  I did not witness it, but Dave described it as the stuff that heart attacks are made out of.  
And, last, but not least, Kevin, Lori and Nicole's little brother "Little Paul."  He gets braver and braver every summer, following in his siblings' and cousins' footsteps.  Perhaps not a great idea, but lots of fun. 
How very grateful I am to be a part of Dave's first cousins' lives.  They have embraced our family and turned me, this City Girl from New England, into a cousin. We love these Mourers, young and old and in between, and they love us back. 
I could not ask for more.  


  1. Oh to have cousins to play with! Such fun - and I must admit to remembering when "I had a body like that!" for a few of those pics!

  2. I need one of those giant floats for the lake!


Some day, I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one, I’d like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done. I’d like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways, of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days.