During the visiting time prior to Aunt Kay’s funeral, I struck up a conversation with Caleb, first cousin once removed—in other words, my cousins Jim and Lisa’s kid. (Jim is AK’s youngest, and I remember when he was born.) I knew Caleb well as a little kid, much better than I know him now, which only means I had some catching up to do. He’s a free spirit. I like him. He told me about his truck, which he converted to burn used fast-food vegetable oil for fuel. That caught my attention, because I just read a book about biofuel for our reading group, titled Greasy Rider. The book chronicles a cross-country road trip fueled entirely on french fry oil collected from restaurant grease dumpsters. So I heard all about Caleb’s expeditions in, around, and outside the country.
The next day I headed north from Kokomo to my old summer stomping grounds, Winona Lake, Indiana. Back in the day, it was a Bible conference. My personal history goes way back to the 1930s, when my parents met at a music school there. Jim and Lisa have lived and raised their family in Winona Lake, so I’ve had good reasons to return as often as opportunity allows. I pulled up to their home on the lake, where I found Jim working on his ’72 Jeep in the driveway. A beater truck pulled up behind me. “Do you smell the french fries?” Jim hollered.
The smell of french fry grease is a prominent feature in the book, but this was my first actual whiff of it. Oh, yes!
Caleb patiently illustrated his diesel-to-grease conversion system, which he invented rather than resort to a kit like the rest of us might.
The tour wouldn’t be complete without a look under the hood.
There it is. No mechanic am I, but I can still be impressed!
So Jim motioned me toward the Jeep. We were going to take a ride to the woods, land acquired a while back for the log cabin of Jim’s dreams. Meanwhile, he (with his sons’ help) built a fabulous home on the lake (I’ll give you a peek later.)
He bought this beauty on eBay with 4,000 original miles!
On our walk toward the cabin he (with his sons’ help) built, I stopped to take this:
I don’t imagine they’ll be cold any time soon.
Is that cute, or what? It isn’t the log cabin he hoped to build here, but this might even be preferred.
It’s a work in progress. What it lacks in electricity and plumbing, it makes up for in charm. You’re looking at the kitchen.
We sat on the porch for a spell, taking in the peaceful surroundings.
A little ways down the path we came across cousin Lisa. You see correctly—she and a helper are taking out the iffy trees and splitting the logs for firewood. The brush gets burned. There isn’t a thing this resourceful woman can’t do.
I didn’t have much time before heading to my next destination, but we stopped back at the lake house so I could do a little office work on Jim’s wireless Internet. While I did that, Jim’s grandbabe Lilly needed his attention.
With their parents’ open-home policy, four of the five adult “kids” (plus two more grandkids) enjoy the comforts of their former home. Actually, Isaac (the youngest, at the table) still lives here.
Here’s Jim just after he laid the foundation for the home on the lake.
I should have taken the time to look for this picture for my last post…Aunt Kay’s four kids. So here again is the current pic.
And just because I can…
Jim and Lisa’s family not all that many years back.
And here they are now. Absent are the girls’ husbands, both named Hoover because they’re brothers!