Back to the Baum Shelter

As has been our practice every summer, we made an annual trek to the Baum Shelter—the home of good friends Merry Sue and Fred Baum—who live in Nazareth, PA. Their expansive backyard view is truly impressive, incorporating breathtaking vistas that go on for miles. Adding to that ambience this year, we were treated to a huge full moon while dining al fresco later that night.


Panoramic views from their back deck.

Weather-wise, the weekend was a “10,” so for most of the afternoon we lolled around—or in—the pool while catching up on news of family and friends. Late in the day, we munched on a smorgasbord of picking food such as my guacamole and chips, cheeses and crackers, ham salad on lettuce and tomato, and deviled eggs. Interestingly, we found out that Merry Sue (who was born on Christmas day in the PA town of Bethlehem—kid you not!) grinds up leftover ham and freezes it for future use. In this case, she thawed some and added mayo and a few other ingredients to create a tasty ham salad. Guess who’s stealing that idea? Not that we eat much ham, but when we do, it’s a good idea for using up the leftovers…

The pleasant afternoon morphed into a lovely evening, so we brought the party up to the deck for cocktail hour and continued conversation. Trying to capture images of that full moon, Fred set up his camera on a large tripod taking multiple shots, with disappointing results—however they were much better than my iPhone attempts. Dinner this night was on “Spanish time,” meaning we ate after 9:00—luckily, no one was in any particular hurry.

Merry Sue and Lynn having fun boiling the corn on the cob.

Russ, Fred and Merry Sue. 

Now you have to understand that Fred is a die-hard motorhead to really appreciate his grill and accessories. A few years ago for a milestone birthday, Merry Sue and her two grown children all pitched in to buy him his dream grill—made from a motor! And you gotta love the mitts, goggles, tool kit flatware case and spark plug corn holders!! It somehow made the quick and easy dinner menu, consisting of pasta salad, fresh corn on the cob, grilled burgers and bratwurst—that much more innovative.

Freddie in his grilling regalia.

A close up of the motor grill.

The tool kit flatware set.

The very effective spark plug corn holders.

Brats and burgers grilling away.

Enjoying the moonlit night.

We woke up on Sunday to another stellar day, starting out with coffee and tea on the deck. For years, we have always enjoyed doing the New York Times crossword puzzles together, so Fred printed out several copies which the three of us got started on while Merry Sue whipped up a tasty breakfast of eggs, bacon, home fries and bagels with several cream cheese options. That crossword puzzle was a bear and took a while to slog through, but once Russ cracked the gimmick code, we had an easier time of it. Granted we had to cheat and ask Google a couple of the answers (who knew President Obama’s stepdad’s first name?!? Turns out it’s Lolo!)

Another lazy afternoon was spent at the pool with intentions of playing Scrabble—on a magnetic board none-the-less. We never did get around to starting that game, partly due to the Baum’s son, Brian, and his precocious 6-year-old daughter Ali, dropping by for a visit. She is truly a hoot! Oh, and I would be remiss if I neglected to mention Fred’s 4-year old Weimaraner, Lucy—who Russ used to call “Lucifer” in her early years as she was quite the devil incarnate. However, thankfully the years have mellowed her and she’s a beauty—albeit a bit rambunctious when you first arrive.

Granddaughter Ali emulating her Grandpa Fred.

Son Brian Baum holding his daughter Ali at a car show.

How can you not love this face?

Monday being a work day for most, we all said our goodbyes in the early evening with hopes of reconnecting over the Fall or Winter months. If not, there’s always next summer…

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