A tip of the hat once again to Madonna and her Chamber ladies for another very successful Firecracker Frenzy at the York County Fairgrounds on Wednesday, July 3.

As always, it was a beautiful display honoring our Independence Day and veterans of all conflicts. This event doesn’t just happen, and planning will begin this week for Firecracker Frenzy 2020. If you missed contributing after the display last week, donations can still be made at the Chamber Office, 603 N. Lincoln Avenue. They would be gladly accepted.

We went . . . we saw . . . we climbed to the top, AND we took photos to prove it. There were no helicopters or photo-shopping involved. It WAS Machu Picchu in the background, and our sore calves and thighs were a testament to all of the climbing and hiking that we did in our week-long adventure to Peru.

Dr. Erin Dehart was brave enough to let several adults join up with several York College students and former students in the trip of a lifetime to Lima, Cusco and the Sacred Valley. I think we bonded pretty well as a group, and some of the younger ones were in the back urging us forward and offering chocolate incentives to move us along. A couple of them decided to sit with us at meals because they thought we were much more fun. I think that’s a compliment!

Food was interesting, but then we were in a different country. I was living life outside of the box when I ate an alpaca lunch at one stop. It was ok, similar to steak, but a little chewy. However, I couldn’t make eye contact with another alpaca for the rest of the trip for fear I had dined upon its brother or sister. I did not even sample the deep-fried guinea pig, which seems to be a special delicacy in Peru. It was sitting upright on its hind legs with paws outstretched on a mound of French fries, and a little alpaca cap with ear flaps on its little crispy head. I just couldn’t eat something wearing a little cap, plus it probably had a name at one time.

We had lots of potatoes at every meal since Peru is home to over 4,000 varieties of the tubers, and fresh fruit abounded. We carried bottled water everywhere we traveled to, and drank a lot of coca tea to help with altitude sickness and fatigue. Ice was mostly non-existent, flushing toilet paper was verboten, and pisco sours were a new beverage to be enjoyed.

We learned that bruschetta in Spanish does not translate to English as we thought, but means rather . . . beef heart, and most salads come topped with a Greek olive and a quarter slice of a hard-boiled quail (or pullet?) egg.

Haggling with the old Incan women at the markets is to be expected, but I felt bad doing that because they were, after all, much older, and much shorter, and kept calling me Sir or Senor. “Sir . . . you like? Handmade! You buy? I sell you. 10 sols!” I gave up and just gave them what they wanted . . . probably more. They knew a sucker tourist in his shorts and alpaca cap!

Henderson Community Days is this coming weekend, July 12-14. There’s a huge schedule of events for the whole family every day including the annual pancake breakfast Saturday morning at the Mennonite Heritage Park, from 6:30-9:30 a.m. and also on Saturday, the Exhibit Opening, “Voices of Conscience: Peace Witness in the Great War” at the Henderson Mennonite Heritage Park.

Also, on Saturday, July 13, York Adopt-A-Pet will host their 4th Annual 5K Run/Walk Fur Luv at the YAAP Building. 7:30 a.m. start for the 5K Run and 8:30 a.m. start for the 1 Mile Walk. It’s a fun-filled morning that raises funds for all of the dogs and cats at York Adopt-A-Pet. See you there!

We are still looking for volunteers to help staff our York booth at the Nebraska State Fair Aug. 23 through Sept. 2. I have most days and time shifts available at this time. Daily passes and parking passes are supplied free of charge. Give us a call at 402-362-4575 to reserve your spot.

Many, many thanks to all of our friends, neighbors and family, and especially Evelyn Campbell, for all of the calls, messages, food, prayers and offers of assistance when Todd had his two mini-strokes while I was in Peru. He is recovering remarkably well, and is improving every day. Doctors will know more at the end of the month.

For your calendars:

July 12-14 -- Henderson Community Days - Citywide

July 13-- Henderson Community Days Pancake Breakfast - Henderson Mennonite Heritage Park 6:30-9:30 a.m.

July 13 -- Henderson Community Days Exhibit Opening, “Voices of Conscience: Peace Witness in the Great War” - Henderson Mennonite Heritage Park

July 13 -- 5K Run Fur Luv - York Adopt-A-Pet Building 7:30 a.m.

July 18 -- York General Hospital Auxiliary Golf Tournament - York Country Club all day

July 19-20 -- Annual Bradshaw Days Celebration - Citywide

July 20 -- Balloon Days - Downtown York

July 20 -- Transportation Exploration - Holthus Convention Center

Aug. 1-3 -- York College Work Days - York College Campus

Aug. 1-4 -- York County Fair - York County Fairgrounds

Aug. 10 -- Summer Fair - Wessels Living History Farm

Aug. 10-11 -- 37th Annual Cornerstone Non-Sanctioned Tennis Tournament - Levitt Tennis Courts York High School

Aug. 18 -- Drive-Thru Job Fair - Kilgore Memorial Library parking lot 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Aug. 18 -- Storytelling and Conversation: Storytelling of Local Conscientious Objectors - Henderson Mennonite Heritage Park 3 p.m.

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