Andrew Kreider

Michiana Chronicles: A Pennsylvania Farm Boy In Elkhart

Aug 28, 2020
Andrew Kreider

Paul Gingrich was for many years my neighbor here in Elkhart.  He and his wife Anne were world-travelers with vast experience and influence in places all across North America and around the world.  But in spite of all that, to me Paul was always still a farm boy from Pennsylvania with simple tastes and a huge heart.  Paul loved nothing more than to go out for breakfast at McDonalds – I could not tell you how many Egg McMuffins I saw that man eat.  And never was there a happier day than when Paul discovered that Dairy Queen had invented a new drink. 

Andrew Kreider

It was twenty-five years ago.  Pastor Duane Beck of Belmont Mennonite Church had just done a funeral for a young man in the neighborhood who had died from a gunshot wound.  At the service, Pastor Duane told the young man’s friends: If you would like to do something to bring meaning and change from this death, then I’ll help you organize yourselves.  Out of that offer, a local movement began – it was entirely youth led, and it called itself Drop Your Guns.  Over the next number of months, DYG organized themselves into a hopeful force in Elkhart.  They spoke to local businesses, to churches,

Michiana Chronicles: Learning To Livestream

Apr 30, 2020
Andrew Kreider

Downtown is deserted.  You could imagine tumbleweeds blowing down Main Street past the theater’s façade.  I pull into the truck dock, where another vehicle is already parked.   It’s Derek.  We’ve worked together a couple times before, and we exchange a happy long-distance high five through our car windows.   We are about to begin a dance which will continue all night.  Like kids at a middle school social being cautioned to “leave room for Jesus” for the next three hours we will maintain a distance of six feet from each other at all times.  To this end, I enter the building first and turn of

Andrew Kreider

It’s a good day in our house.  I just received a new 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle in the mail.  It’s a Star Wars one, a happy conglomeration of posters from the first three movies – images large and small of Luke, Leia, Han, Obi-Wan, Darth Vader, the Death Star, the droids, aliens, light sabers, X-wings, Tie fighters, all the good stuff with no pod racing – everything jumbled up in a large pile of cardboard and dust, all the characters looking for their missing parts. This mess is going to take days to sort out.  I can’t wait.

As I look back at the past twelve months, I realize that 2019 was the year of the bad joke.  In the middle of work, of play, of family changes, of national politics – the one constant for me was that I was always able to count on a bad joke to get me through the bad days.

And when I say bad jokes, at my age what I mean is not smut or sick political burns – no, for me what this means is just good old-fashioned “dad jokes.”  You know the ones – the kind of one-line groaners that you are embarrassed to hear someone tell.  I resort to these all the time. 

Andrew Kreider

I’ve been working on maps recently.  It all started with Lara Trump.  A few weeks ago she suggested that the average American would need to Google “Who are the Kurds, and why is America even over there fighting this war?”  I was righteously offended by this comment, until I realized that in my case she was correct.  I really couldn’t have shown you where Kurdistan was on a map.

 

Michiana Chronicles: Hundred Dollar Pasta

Aug 16, 2019
Andrew Kreider

I just ate the most expensive meal of the year.

It all started back in May.  One Saturday, in a fit of yard care, I decided it was time to dig up our old vegetable patch.  The raised bed had not been tended in several years and it had come to resemble a giant chia pet put on railroad ties.  The last time I tried to address the issue, I was surprised to discover a family of rabbits living under an abandoned squash plant.  Suitably sobered, I left them to do what rabbits do.

Andrew Kreider


Andrew Kreider

It’s a rainy Sunday, and I have dragged my adult daughter to an origami class. It is, after all, her birthday; and in our family, we really know how to celebrate.

We have signed up for the beginner class, titled: Family Fun.  Accordingly, we find ourselves seated at a low table with several mothers and an array of squirming seven-to-ten-year-olds.  I feel vaguely unqualified for what we are about to undergo.  One mother looks at me suspiciously, but I just smile back.

Andrew Kreider

We have a lot of speakers in the theater.  Not the lecturing, human kind (although we get our share of those, too).

Andrew Kreider

Maybe it’s the time of year, maybe it’s the colder weather…. But all of a sudden, a number of the people around me have taken a great interest in hot tea.  English hot tea.  What in my family we refer to as a proper cuppa – as in “cup of tea.”

Housewarming

Oct 26, 2018
Andrew Kreider

I’d forgotten what it’s like to look for your first apartment. It’s been a week of living in borrowed spaces. Days pounding the pavement, exploring possible neighborhoods. Nights poring over internet ads, contacting landlords, hopes raised and dashed over and over. But finally, she’s found the right place. And today is moving day.

Andrew Kreider

Why don’t the toilets stink at the library?  

The Beautiful Game

Jul 13, 2018
Reuters / Getty Images

It’s been a month of irrational exuberance in our household.

I’m speaking of course of soccer.  And it’s completely irrational.  To be an England soccer fan is not too far removed from being a Buffalo Bills fan, or a Cleveland sports fan before LeBron came on the scene.  Imagine a once-proud population reduced to a litany of almosts and never coulds.  That’s England.

Puppy Love

May 25, 2018
Andrew Kreider

Last year, my grandma died, my dad died, my car died, and my dog died.    Out of all of these, the one I had the most trouble mourning was the dog.  This is sort of surprising, because I never used to be a dog person.  But then we had kids.  And then one of our kids wanted a dog.  And then everybody wanted a dog.  My wife and I were having coffee at Barnes and Noble one night when it hit me.  I said to her, “We’re getting a dog, aren’t we?”  She just smiled.

And the very next week it happened.  April the dog adopted our family.

Andrew Kreider

Did you know it’s possible to kill a cactus?  I didn’t… until I did.  My friends, never trust an Englishman with your cactus.

Last fall, the day she left for college, my daughter decided to buy me a going-away present – a plant for my cubicle at work.  Let’s get you something simple, she said.  How about a cactus?  That should be easy enough for you to take care of.

Chinese Acrobats

Feb 16, 2018
Andrew Kreider

The Chinese acrobats come tumbling out of their two mini vans, laughing and teasing each other as they carry their equipment onto the stage.  By the measure of some of the troupes we’ve seen at the theater, these guys are a bit older, but they’re still mostly teenagers.  Through the door comes a tall stool, a high wire, a unicycle, various sized rings, plates, sticks, straw hats, giant yo-yos, and what looks like an oversized teeter-totter board.  Then behind the stage equipment comes the kitchen supplies.  Two rice cookers you might buy at any department store, and a large electric wok, to

What would it be like if, at this time of the year, instead of sending each other greeting cards, we were to send each other poems?

In the early 20th century the publisher Faber and Gwyer decided to do exactly that -  commissioning a series of poems from famous writers, to send out in lieu of a Christmas Card.  These poems, the Ariel Poems as they became known, each in its own illustrated pamphlet, numbered thirty-eight in total, appearing from 1927 to 1931.  A generation later, in 1954 a further series of eight poems was released by Faber and Faber.  Each pamphlet is a gem.   

Knives and Mugs

Oct 27, 2017
Andrew Kreider

I’ve been thinking a lot about cooking lately.

It’s Monday morning, and I have just survived an entire weekend at downtown Elkhart’s first ever Comic Con.  What’s a Comic Con, you ask?  Well,  it is a comic book convention – thus the name – at which thousands of fans gather to meet celebrities, buy collectibles, listen to guest speakers, watch movies, network with other fans, and dress up as their favorite comic characters.