By Tyler Hadyniak


The Unity Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary is hosting another ATV Poker Run on Saturday, Aug. 21. The following details are from event organizers: Departure and return from Unity Volunteer Fire Department, 5 Fire House Lane, Unity. Registration, 10-10:30 a.m.  Safety Meeting, 10:45 a.m. Twenty-five miles of trails. Best hand wins!

Prizes: 1st, $100; 2nd, $75; 3rd, $50.

You must be 18 years of age or older to play the poker game but any age can ride. Cost: $5 per ATV, $5 per game card, limit three cards per rider. Decorate your ATV and/or wear a costume: $25 cash prize for best decorated ATV and best costume.

Food and beverages will be available by Thorndike ATV Trail Blazers and desserts by UVFD Auxiliary.

For more information, contact Maureen Haley, 570-8764, or Melissa Sanborn, 416-7661.

Maureen Haley and her mother will have a yard sale on Saturday, Aug. 7, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., at 181 Unity Road in Thorndike. She encourages all to come, and notes some of the available items as “hood vent, books, bedding, truck chains, pillows, cushions, dishes, clothing, kitchen appliances, and LOTS of Christmas decorations.”

I am flattered to hear from a reader who wanted to hear more of my Germany trip. Specifically, she said she wanted to know about “traditions, landscape, cost of living/food, or other towns you traveled to.” Thank you, reader! I didn’t want to assume other people cared about what I did, but I am heartened to see there might be some out there who do.

I was able to get out to the German countryside and escape the city for a time. My friend Leon and I visited a World War II battlefield about an hour away from the city in which he lived. This battlefield is now more of a hiking trail with some markers and displays along the way (the Battle of Hurtgen Forest, for you history buffs). We were also moved to visit a German war cemetery nearby, with many inscriptions for “unknown soldiers” and a memorial to a German medic who gave his life to save a wounded American soldier. The memorial was erected and paid for by veterans of that American’s Army unit.

When I was visiting my cousins (my maternal grandmother was 100% German and born in this town I visited), we went on a 25-mile walk through a national park. The walk took us through several small hamlets and villages, beautiful fields, and vistas dotted with wind turbines. I was so amazed at the history and longevity of these central German towns — mostly spared from heavy bombings or land battles during the world wars. In my cousins’ town, Bad Langensalza, some buildings and houses date back to the 1500s. You could stand in a house that was constructed a hundred years before the first European settlements in America!

While in Bad Langensalza, I was also able to visit the grave sites of my great-grandparents and meet a newfound cousin — each a moving experience for me after spending hundreds of hours over the past couple of years doing family history research.

These cousins spoke only passable English, so I was able to practice my own barely conversational German. That’s the best way to learn — drop yourself into a situation where you must learn the language.

That’s all for now. As I said, it was a fantastic trip and I cannot wait to visit these people and the country again. If there are any German language speakers out there who want a practice buddy, my email and phone number are at the top of the column!