I am now using facebook after contributing many hours to Windows Live Space without much to show for it. It seems to be a little backwater of the Internet that has great apps but little activity. My link is; http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/hal.bekemeyer?ref=profile
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Clayton P.S.

While Rita & Glen were visiting us we went to the Antique Boat Museum which is located in Clayton. The craftmanship and wood of the era is quite interesting to see. The acme of the tour is the houseboat built by George C. Boldt. It was luxurious for its day. Suprisingly, it sank after his death but was purchased from his estate, raised and restored, and put in service by another family until a couple of years ago when it was donated to the museum.
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Clayton, NY

As I have opportunity I will continue to update photos from ourtrip. After leaving Luray, VA we traveled to Clayton, NY on the St Lawrence Seaway and the 1000 Islands. There for about a week we saw as much as possible despite some inclimate weather and kathy’s sister and husband (Rita & Glenn) visited for several days sharing our traveling abode. It was fun! These photographs, for the most part, were taken on a boat tour of the Seaway which included a stop at the Boldt Castle. Derelict for many years it is in the process of restoration and is a very interesting stop. It is a grand house – if you can call the 127 room structure a “house”.
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The Journey Continues

June 2nd, we departed Luray, Va at 8:00 a.m. and we arrived in Clayton, NY in the 1000 Islands at precisely 6:40 p.m. – right to the minute our GPS predicted. Since May 16th leaving Winter Garden, we enjoyed a week with Lee & Julie – visiting Chimney Rock, NC, Linville Caverns, Linville Falls and various other sites. Kathy was amazed at the extensive nature of the Sacred Arts collection in the Museum and Gallery at Bob Jones University. Most of the works and artifacts there date between the 13th and 15th centuries. I will say, however, that viewing repeated images of the crucifixion can almost become oppressive. No doubt, much of the work came from Catholic Churches and monasteries as many are iconoclastic in nature.

We left Lee & Julie’s on Sunday and arrived in Asheville, where we spent two nights. Beth, Aaron and little Leon met us there for the afternoon, night and part of the next day. It was fun – we drove the Blue Ridge Parkway, saw Looking Glass Falls and went to the Farmers Market. Sunday, we also enjoyed lunch at the Mellow Mushroom downtown. Looking at most of the people walking around I would think that I had been time warped back to the 60’s or early 70’s with all the hippie types wandering the streets.

Tuesday, we went to Bristol, TN to visit the Hill’s and had a great time there, especially playing with baby Leon. Beth and Aaron are great parents and Leon lacks for nothing in that department. I only hope that we can live up to our role as grandparents and spoil him rotten. Friday afternoon we got together with the entire Hill clan and had a cookout along the stream in Sugar Hollow Park – where we also camped in a beautiful, rustic, woodsy setting.

Departing Bristol mid-day Saturday we made our way to Luray, VA where we stayed for two nights at the scenic Country Waye Campground in a beautiful Shenandoah Valley setting. Of course, we went to Luray Caverns and had a picnic high up on the Skyline Drive. Leaving there Monday morning we made our journey here where our campsite looks out over the St. Lawrence River with Canada on the horizon. Our trip leg yesterday was over 500 miles – not too bad dragging a 27’ travel trailer. AND, here we are!

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The Summer Adventure Begin

Well, that time of year is upon us again and the adventure begins. As I write this I am sitting in our 27” Kodiak travel trailer which is parked on a pad at son Lee, and wife’s home in Greer, SC. We arrived last Friday and have been enjoying our visit with varying field trips to local scenic spots like Chimney Rock and Linville Falls. Our plan is to also stop at daughter Beth and Aaron’s home in Bristol, TN to visit and spend time with our grandson. From there we will progress to the 1000 Island area of New York for a few days and will eventually land in Alton Bay, NH where we will be staying with my grandmother who is in her 96th year. We shall return home mid-October where we shall attend my 40th high school reunion on the 17th of that month. All in all it looks to be a busy and interesting summer and I shall attempt to do better at updating events and photos as things go along.
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Winter Garden Village at Fowler Groves

October was a time of melancholy for all our family. The decision was made several years ago to shut down the family farm – Fowler Groves (history link). The reasons were numerous but the chief being there just wasn’t enough money in growing oranges to cover the expenses. A contract was signed with Sembler Co. – a developer of premier commercial and retail sites. The result is Winter Garden Village at Fowler Groves. On the 12th we attended the unveiling of the art projects integrated into the Village.
Sembler has taken great steps to honor the heritage and culture of Winter Garden.  There is a history walk honoring pioneers and noted citizens – even a replica of the old porch from the house built by my great-grandparents. My grandmother, Isabel Fowler, expressed her pleasure in the way everything has been handled and the wonderful result. In a nice ceremony the living honorees were acknowledged.

Yes, it is sad that the old home place is gone but we are very happy with the new dimension of convenient shopping and dining never before experienced in our city. For generations local residents have driven to neighboring Orlando, or elsewhere, for these activities. Many have expressed there delight with, and appreciation for, the new project.


Art Ceremony 010




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More Adventures

In July we left NH for a week and visited Canada again. The Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia was beautiful and we found a little bit of heaven at the Keltic Lodge in Ingonish. The location was dramatic, and the setting beautiful, but the dining was to die for. We hiked many trails, the Cabot Trail is a wonderful place to walk. giving Kathy ample opportunity to try out her new knees. There were remote waterfalls, and intimidating coastal cliffs with blustery winds and views that stretched for miles. There were face to face confrontations with moose, bear, whales, birds, little critters, and even two deer swimming two miles off shore. The deer would surely have drowned as they were swimming out to open sea but the captain of our whale watching boat herded them back to shore. Everyone cheered when they reached the beach.
On our return we made a two day stop on the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick. Kathy, and I, were both especially impressed with the beauty of this area. Though the region is reputed for its spectacularly dramatic tides, the waterfalls and coastal vistas left us stunned. We would have liked to have stayed much longer – like forever. Then it was back to our family in Alton Bay, NH. We enjoyed our stay with Mom & Dad and with Gramma at Pleasant Place. Gramma’s flowers are wonderful, thanks to Studley’s creativity and good service.
By the end of July it was back to Florida, and our home on Lake Avalon. We did stop over in Savannah to view that historic city. Perhaps we would have enjoyed it more if it hadn’t been so beastly hot – over 100 degrees. Of course being there afforded me a chance to introduce my very yankee wife to some really authentic southern cooking. We dined at the Riverhouse Resaurant in the historic waterfront. It is housed in an old cotton warehouse with brick walls six feet thick – the walls stil bearing scars from shelling during the Civil War. Kathy came away raving about how much she enjoyed the cheese grits – I couldn’t believe my ears.
As much as we enjoyed our travels and visits, it was good to be home. 
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Summer is about done

It has just dawned on me that I have been negligent in maintaining my space so I’ll try to get things back up tp speed.
Well, it is finally a little cooler here in Florida. Kathy and I had an interesting summer and our travels were varied and fun. Unfortunately, we arrived back here about two months before I really wanted to be here. Golf in Florida during the month of August is the pits! However, it has allowed me to sweat off some weight that I have been wanting to shed.
In June we stopped in Bristol, TN to visit Aaron and Beth on our way north. Beth was then expecting our first grandchild and it was fun with all the anticipation of the impending birth. We just recently returned to visit again and to meet baby Leon. What a treat that was. Aaron and Beth are a great mommy and daddy and Leon certainly has no lack of care and attention. One of the biggest discussions while were there was on the subject of how Kathy and I are to be known to our grandkids. After much research, and more than a little angst, it is concluded that from henceforth we will be known as Pawpaw and Memaw. Certainly, not too original but these monikers should do the trick. I will upload grandbaby picks soon.
From Bristol we made our way to Rochester, NY where we spent a week visiting Kathy’s family. We enjoyed our time there with participation in 4 (four) weddings. It was also interesting to see the area and key in on some of the history and heritage of the area. We did High Falls and some of the scenic spots. Also, the George Eastman Estate and some of the historic sites. At Eastman we were fortunate our visit coincided with the Ansel Adams exhibit. What an amazing feat these photos are with that old black and white box camara! Sure makes me want to photograph Yosemite.
From Rochester we proceeded to New Hampshire with a brief 2 (two) day layover in Montreal. We enjoyed this stop more than was anticipated. It is a lovely city with much history and interesting architecture. There was a lot of walking around the city – an adventure in discovery. Never knew that Montreal had an "underground" similar to Atlanta, only larger. It seemed to go on forever and in some places it looked to be ten stories, or so, deep as I looked at up at skylights to the outside world. I bet that palce is real popular in the frigid winter when doing things outdoors is inconvenient. You can just about any store you want and numerous places to eat. We also enjoyed eating on the sidewalk. It seems everything moves outdoors when it’s warm – no wonder.
From there we proceeded to Alton Bay where we lodged with Mom and Dad, and then later with Gramma. I will pick up the narative from this point on at a later, but sooner than last interval, filling in the details about our other side trips and visits. Will also upload some more photo sets as we again photographed some beautiful locals.
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Summer Outlook

Kathy and I are leaving in two days for our summer trip. Ultimately, we’ll end up in New Hampshire after visiting friends and family along the way. There are three weddings to attend in Rochester, NY and a two day stay in Montreal, Canada. My parents have invited us to stay with them on Lake Winnipesaukee for the month of July and we are looking forward to that. Also, we are planning a jaunt to Nova Scotia and the Cabot Trail.

This week is hectic in preparation and is hindered by the fact that Kathy is ill with a cold. Unfortunately, at this moment I am feeling like I might be coming down with the same. I’m not looking forward to leaving with both of us under the weather; besides being miserable, we don’t want to spread our germs to others along the way.

One of our planned stops is with my daughter Beth, and son-in-law Aaron in Bristol, TN. They are expecting in September and it will be nice to see them before our first grandchild is delivered. Another stop is with Lee and Julie, my son and daughter-in-law in Greer, SC. Lee is just beginning in golf and we hope to get in a round. Also, we will be visiting Glen and Carol Lloyd, Kathy’s uncle and aunt, in Morganton, NC on Lake James. After these visits we will be on our way to Rochester, NY and then to Canada.

Sunday, after services, we had our church family over for fellowship dinner. We will miss them a great deal and our ministry together. Jerry Scott will be filling in for me by teaching in the Bible Hour, first service on Sundays. I appreciate his willingness to step in and trust that our folks will enjoy having a break from listening to me each week.

At this time, we plan to return around the first of August. Larry Sanborn is house-sitting for us and keeping our dog TarTar, the terrible. We may take another trip in September but haven’t decided on this yet.



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Thoughts From My Early Years

I am a native Floridian and was raised on the family homestead and later became the fifth generation to farm the land. My ancestors settled in Orange County, FL in 1877 and Chester A. Arthur signed the Homestead papers in 1882. Most of my childhood memories center around our home in the orange grove planted by those same ancestors. Usually barefoot as a child, I remember the feel of sand between my toes as I roamed the property at will. The smell of the orange blossoms was almost overpowering in the spring. I have memories of walking down a long, very sandy, lane to meet the school bus and, at the time, felt quite abused by having to do so.

There were five houses on the property and at various times different children with whom to play. They, along with my three siblings, became a part of various play scenarios the most popular being “War”. We would build forts of orange crates and wage war with whatever we might find. The ultimate insult was to be plastered with rotten oranges.

In my twelfth year my life became centered around church and the activities that took place there. Through the efforts of my aunt and uncle I heard, and understood, for the first time the gospel. It was obvious to me, even as a twelve year old, that I was a sinner. It was joyous to know that God loved me enough to have His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, die for my sin debt. For some reason, I never struggled with the notion that I could earn God’s favor by my own self-effort. I knew that I needed salvation and that I could never achieve it on my own. To escape an eternity in Hell by accepting God’s free gift of eternal life was a no-brainer in my childish mind and I have never doubted the efficacy of the transaction that took place that day between the Creator of all things and a young boy.

Church association has defined much of my life but, surprisingly, I have never considered myself to be a religious person. To me, my relationship with God is a personal one independent of any church ties. The church was a place I found encouragement, learning and friendship but it was not the point of contact between myself and God – that was internal and was engendered by the time I spent reading the Scriptures. Progressively over the years the Bible has become increasingly dear to me. The truths I find there are a never ending source of wonder and comfort. As I study the Word of God I am continually amazed by the intricacies of God’s purposes and the generosity of His grace extended to all mankind.

I trust that anyone reading this, too, has discovered the depths of God’s love and grace. If not, it is a truth worth knowing. (Rom 5:15)  "But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many." 

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