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A Sisters’ Kinda Weekend….

My wife Steph had company this past weekend.  3 of her best friends in the world for the last 36 years came to Tampa for the weekend.  This wasn’t the 1st visit nor will it be the last visit.  Over the years Steph has gone north to visit with these friends time and again.

I have known these ladies only slightly less than Steph, but I don’t know them as well as Steph and I could never hope to. Steph could not have gone out and picked 3 finer people to be her best friends.  While they all have their little horns, their hearts are made of pure gold, and the friendship and love they share for each other is deeper than the Grand Canyon.

The Sisters   

As you look you see Bonnie on the far left, Jean, Linda, and of course Steph.  Bonnie is the reserved shy one, Jean is the court Jester and instigator of mucho trouble, Linda is the Matriarch, and Steph (as I choose my words wisely) is the somewhat quiet calming influence and organizer.  But for all I know Steph could be hell on wheels when she travels north to be with her friends.

I know I was privileged to be around them.  My duties were limited to cooking breakfast and being the sober driver.  Both jobs I took quite seriously, and had a lot of interaction with the ladies in that limited capacity LOL.  Each day I excused myself to go take a nap, but I am sure being the fly on the wall would have been fun.  But this isn’t about me, it’s about them.  The friendship they have built over the years and the effort they have gone thru to make sure they didn’t grow apart.  

They met through their membership in BPW (Business and Professional Woman) almost 36 years ago. After they left BPW they continue their friendship via a monthly (or so) breakfast club, I think at one time the breakfast club was up to six, but the core was these four lovely ladies.  I went a few times, Allison has gone several times, and I am sure there have been others that cycle thru the breakfast club. They met at a variety of local restaurants in the Northern Virginia area.

After Steph and I moved to Florida, she began getting calls from the Club on random Saturday mornings. Smiling over the years many a Saturday morning Steph would get a call from a hysterically insane giggling Jean just to say hi to Steph.  I only heard Steph’s side of these conversations, but I know she spoke to everyone in attendance, and I know from time to time she was laughing so hard she almost pee’d her pants.  Being on the sidelines and watching this, is and has been hilarious.

The way they share warmth and bond, you would never know that they see each other only occasionally.  To an outsider they appear to be quite normal (which they aren’t), and most would think that the four of them together is a common event, it isn’t.  It would be hard to fathom that most of Steph’s communications with them comes via Facebook or AOL, except for Bonnie who is about 2 steps behind the technology curve.  They are so natural together.  They can and do finish each other’s sentences, they laugh at the same parts of movies, and I am sure they share their deepest secrets to each other, knowing that secret will be safe forever.

This was a weekend for relaxing and that is exactly what the ladies did.  Breakfast was served around 9 or so. I cooked, and I know I busted some diet plans.  Smiling, and they really enjoyed breakfast.  After breakfast it was into the pool.  The insanity was contagious.  As they floated in the pool wine was served or bourbon was served on vodka was consumed.  The ladies enjoyed themselves.  Light snacks were all afternoon long, it was help yourself to whatever you could find that you wanted.  The evenings were spent out to dinner and home for a movie or TV show or a DVD.  More wine was consumed, as well as, vodka and bourbon.  LMAO this paragraph would imply that the 4 ladies drank, and to be honest they did LOL. But they knew they were in a safe haven, and nobody got stupid, nobody got drunk. They consumed just enough to keep them all giggling.  Which is far better than most of the “all guy” golf trips I have been on.

To be honest I toned them out, it was their weekend, I intentionally tried not to listen to conversations I thought to be private. I was the bump on the log.  I rarely could add anything of substance to their conversations, because it was about them, their memories, their stories, and their friendship.  But bless their hearts they did try to engage me, and I am honored that they trusted me enough that there were not totally reserved around me.

On Tuesday morning Steph and I took them back to the airport.  With a great deal of hugs, kisses and promises that I know will be kept they headed home.  They took with them great memories of the weekend, and left many a smile on Steph and my face.  Steph is blessed to have 3 such friends, friends that will look after her, her entire life, friends who she will watch out and care for, for their lives.

Folks as always if you have any questions or comments please feel free to ask, but be aware this is one time I can’t promise to answer them all.  Take care, Bill

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2014 in Humor, Ramblings

 

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More about me than you would ever want to know….. A Grandpa Tale

Dear Readers, if this is the very 1st time you have ever read one of my posts, I am truly sorry to subject you to the following, I would suggest you look into the archives to find something interesting, this will just bore you to tears.  If you are someone who has followed me for a bit, you know I write a lot of stories for my granddaughter, to create memories of me for when my end of retirement comes.

For those of us old enough to remember AOL 1.0, that’s when I began my online experience.  It has been a wonderful experience to be sure, and over the years I have met and become cyber and real time buddies to a ton of folks. One of the ways folks learned about each other over the years where to send out questionnaires.  These questionnaires provided the answers to many commonly asked questions.  To be sure the online community has changed significantly since I was 1st online.  Sadly many of the changes have not been for the good.  But before I get way off topic, hardly a month would go by without a friend or chat room buddy or joke buddy wouldn’t be sending a questionnaire.  I think I was one of the rare ones, because every time I got the questionnaire, I completed it and sent it on. At one point I was only sending it back to the person who sent it, and my closer buddies (if the questions were significantly different).  What I have decided to do is take one of those questionnaires (from the wayback machine) and answer it again for my granddaughter only this time I will each question two ways, or maybe three. What the answer is now, what it would have been 10 yrs, and what it would be 20 years ago.  As you read you will find that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  The questions had definitive answers that the years don’t change.  So I am sorry now if that disappoints you. 

Already I have changed the ground rules I am using 2 different questionnaires and will be applying the answer as appropriate.  This 1st questionnaire is from the late 90’s early 00’s.  Just so the record is straight, this is being done on Wednesday July 2, 2014.

This is for your entire Life!    X=Yes  O=No

(X)       Gone on a blind date – several times but all prior to 1973 — Makes me feel old from the very beginning

(X)       Skipped school – yes, but not since 1980 (in 1980 I skipped college classes).  Yes I am dating myself lost count of the classes I skipped a long time ago.

(O)      Watched someone die – and I am thankful I haven’t.  

(X)       Been to Canada – the 1st time was in the mid 1990’s          

(X)       Been to Mexico – the 1st time while in Radioman “A” school 1969, have been to several Mexican ports of call since 2006, visits on Cruise Ships ports of call.         

(X)       Been to Florida – Move to Florida 2002 – had been here dozens of times prior to moving here.            

(X)       Been on a plane – My very 1st flight was when I left Louisville to go to bootcamp in April 1969            

(X)       Been lost – more times than I will admit                      

(X)       Been on the opposite side of the country – many times both during the service and as a civilian both working and visiting          

(X)       Gone to Washington DC – lived and worked in the DC area for almost 30 yrs                         

(X)       Swam in the ocean – yes and have been sunburnt on both coasts

(X)       Cried yourself to sleep – I believe we all have or will have at some point  

(X)       Played cops and robbers and I played cowboys and Indians

(X)       Recently colored with crayons – when I originally answered these questions the answer was no but having Cari in my life I can change this to a Yes

(X)       Sang Karaoke – at Joe’s in San Antonio, TX 1998 – it wasn’t a pretty sight   

(X)       Paid for a meal with coins only? – Christmas 1976 for Steph onboard the USS Independence – one of the best meals we ever shared

(X)       Done something you told yourself you wouldn’t? – and said many things I wish I could take back

(X)       Made prank phone calls – I was making crank calls before there were spam calls     

(X)       Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose – it wasn’t a pretty sight  

(X)       Caught a snowflake on your tongue – but this was before I moved to Florida   

(O)      Danced in the rain – maybe this is something I need to do while I still have a chance.        

(X)       Written a letter to Santa Claus – yes and I will and have encouraged any child that may have thought I was him to do so 

(X)       Been kissed under the mistletoe – yes but would have enjoyed more opportunities

(X)       Watched the sunrise with someone [and the sunset too.] – Yes  

(X)       Blown bubbles – Yes Cari and I have done so out on the Lanai

(X)       gone ice-skating – yes it was in the early 70’s and my butt is still sore  

(X)       Been skinny dipping outdoors – I have a swimming pool in a private backyard, and while I may look like I am a whale, I look like a whale enjoying himself

Here is the second set of questions, clearly the going back 10 the 20 years isn’t working out, but as appropriate I will share that information.  Now on to a game of 20 or more questions;

 

1. Any nickname? – yes “Ham” has been my nickname for over 45 years, but I have also been called “Red” at various times until I was 40, and before I even got out of elementary school (3rd grade) I was called Camelskin  

2. Mother’s Name? – Ila   

3. Favorite Beverage?

non-alcohol – Ice tea unsweetened no lemon, Coke, lemonade (pink) and the most important of all Water – Coke and lemonade thru my high school years, Coffee during my Navy career – Water didn’t become truly important until I started coming to Florida on a regular basis, now it is my 1st drink of choice

alcoholic – Knob Creek Bourbon on the rocks – Greygoose on the rocks – a good Bloody Mary (do not use greygoose), and Corina for my beer.  Being honest my choice in alcohol have changed as I have aged, my normal go to Bourbon is Jim Beam and has been for 25 years. I didn’t discover good Vodka until later in life, so whenever I had a bloody Mary it was always with well vodka. 

LMAO as I am typing this, I am trying like the devil to figure why Cari would ever want or need to know some of this stuff. 

4. Body Piercing – None except for those made during surgery

5. Tattoo – No, but I have scars, and those have much better stories than tattoos.  Cari to my knowledge your mom has 2, by the time you read this she may have 3 or 4 for all I know, ask her, and please don’t get any, well maybe one.  

6. How much do you love your job?—before I retired I was quite fortunate, I almost loved my job.  I had a 39 year career working for the Federal Govt, I was extremely fortunate to have worked on some very interesting projects, that were of significant importance, and I may have already spoke of those in a different post.  But my last four years of my career was my favorite because I worked directly with my customers, that part, well love is too strong a word, but I really enjoyed my job.  I am now retired and I enjoy this as much as I enjoyed working.

7. Birthplace – Baltimore Maryland

8. Favorite vacation spot – Australia, we visited there for 2 weeks in November 2001, next favorite Hawaii in 1999, next favorite Disney Cruise 2013, before all of these and when I was Cari’s age we always vacationed at the Grandparents place.

9. Ever been to Africa? – Yes during the Navy years, most likely it was 1970.

10. Ever eaten just cookies for dinner? Yes, I bet it would be difficult to find someone who hasn’t especially when you add the LARGE glass of milk

11. Ever been on TV? – yes evening news December 21, 1999 in London England about terrorism and the Y2K fears, CBS interviewed us as we departed a double decker bus. I stood in the background looking like a dork while Stephanie talked.

12. Ever steal traffic signs? No, and Cari I suggest you don’t either that is extremely dangerous.

13. Have you ever been in a car accident? YES – Christmas night 1967, partiers ran a red light and struck the car I was driving. Then 6 months later I was a passenger in a vehicle where the driver lost control and we struck a telephone pole.  I was in the back seat, and the 3 friends in the front were all seriously injured.

14. Drive a 2-door or 4-door vehicle? – I have driven both, owned both enjoyed them both, 1st car was 61 Buick La Salle, 2nd 60 Chevy Corvair Spyder, 3rd was a 1960 Chevy Impala Convertible (my 2nd favorite car) and I still remember the 16 other cars I have owned during my lifetime.

15. Favorite Number – 55 that was my jersey number when I played JV Football

16. Favorite Holiday – Thanksgiving, always has been and I have written more than 1 post about the meal.

17. Favorite day of the week? Sunday

18. How do you relax – read or play video games, I used to golf and bowl but health issues has taken that off the table, now my favorite hobby my passion has become this blog. Cari hobbies are extremely important.  As a person you must be rounded and grounded.  All work and no play will not allow you to be rounded and grounded.

19. How do you see yourself in 10 year? hopefully alive, and doing things that give me some level of pleasures. Answered in 2007, hopefully it’s still a good answer. We will see.

20. What is your favorite sport to watch on TV – UofL Basketball or Football, have been a U of L fan forever and 2 days.  Now they will have an opportunity to kick some UVA butt on a regular basis. (For daughter Allison and son-in-law Stu)

21. How do I vent anger – internal explosion – Cari this isn’t the best way to do this. You will find plenty of reasons to be angry over the years, and you will find that explosions is not the right response.  Be careful in the one you choose.

22. What am I most afraid of – Not being able to take care of myself.

23. What is my favorite flower – Roses, Mom grew them, and I find the so very appealing to the eye.  Always have been.  Though Steph had a wonderful garden in Virginia that didn’t include roses. 

Okay folks that is more than enough information about me.  Remember this is for Cari, I may come back to it and refine it or update as I feel necessary.  Though I doubt if I ever publish it again.

As always if you have any questions comments or concerns please feel free to ask. My answers will be as honest as I can be. Take care, Bill

 

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I’ve Fought the Law, and the Law Won ..P2.. A  Treasure Box Story

The Chief told the girls they could make one call to their parents and explain what was going on.  My friends girlfriend immediately got on the phone and call her mom, the GF explained the problem in great and accurate detail.  Bill had been stopped for speeding, and allowed the cop to search the trunk.  The cop found the fireworks and moonshine and haul us all off to the Mayberry jail.  The Police Chief was threatening Bill with possession of illegal alcohol, possession of explosives with the intent of transporting them across state lines, and both Bill and my BF, the Mann Act for bringing her and my GF into Tennessee for “unknown” reasons.  My friend’s GF must have spoken for 20 mins and then listened to her Mom for another 15, before hanging up.  My friend’s GF convinced my GF to pass on making a call, so my GF didn’t.  My friend and I were not offered the opportunity to make a call, but knowing who my Friend’s GF was, we didn’t push.  I am going to use Marge to refer to my friend’s GF from this point forward because her and her family plays a major role from this point. 

I had been best friends with my Friend for a couple years; Marge was the only girl I have ever known him to date.  They were married as she began her Junior year of High School, let me be perfectly clear, she was not repeat was not pregnant at the time of their marriage, nor did she lose a child prior to marriage, they were in love as much as I have ever seen two people, except for maybe my brother John and his 1st wife.  Marge’s family was not rich, but they had influence and pull, and they had a ton of that. 

Marge’s mom was a lovely woman, and one of the warmest people I have known.  She fully embraced me into their family because of my best friend.  Marge’s older brothers protected me because I was the runt.  And after my GF and I broke up (Marge never really liked her) Marge would set me up with her friends and cousins. But is a chapter left untold. Anyway back to her Mom.  Mrs. Marge was big in the Democratic Party in northern KY and southern IN.  When I say big I mean really really big, she knew people, and those people owed her, some owed her a lot, some not so much, but a bunch of folks in high and higher positions knew her and would quickly bend over backwards to do her a favor.  Mr. Marge was a very important field engineer for one of the Nation’s major gas and oil companies he was responsible for the Northeast, but had influence deeply into the south as well. 

To this day I don’t know all the details of what transpired.  But within 2 ½ hours there was a lawyer there at the Mayberry Jail, to pick up both my GF and my friend’s GF. The girls were released and were never charged with anything.  The Chief also apologized for detaining them. Upon leaving the jail they were taken to Nashville and then flown back to Louisville in a private plane (owned by Major gas and oil company), my GF was delivered to her home by private car before curfew. 

My friend and I while not being allowed to leave the jail were treated very well and fed very well.  The Chief did inform us that the details for our release were being worked out, and to make ourselves comfortable because it could take a day or so.  With the next day being Sunday, my friend and I didn’t expect much to happen.  My car had been moved to protected storage, and we relaxed pretty all day Sunday.  The same lawyer that got the girls out Saturday afternoon came and visited with us mid-afternoon Sunday.  He explained that we wouldn’t be charged and would be released early on Monday.  He had to visit with the local judge face to face before the necessary paperwork was signed.

At 9am on Monday, the attorney came gathered us up and walked us to my car.  The Chief was trailing along behind and seemed in a good mood.  As we got into the car, the Chief ambled over and told me to be careful and to make sure I didn’t do any more speeding in the State of Tennessee.  The attorney just shook his head, and advised us that we might be well served to stay out of TN for a bit.  That was advice we took to heart, and it was years before I ventured into TN again. No more than 20 minutes after leaving the jail we were back in the State of KY.  The tank was still reading full, it was a bright and sunny day, the top was down and we drove back to Louisville without incident.  

Upon arrival back home we checked the trunk and found much to our surprise the fireworks and moonshine were still in the trunk.  We got rid of the stuff as fast as possible and laid low.  We never volunteered to do that again.  Besides only a few months later I was in the Navy, and not long after that my friend and Marge were married.  I haven’t talked to either in a few years now, but the last time I did talk to them they were still happily married. 

Now a little back story.  Our release was engineered by Mrs. Marge.  I always knew she was a player in the Democratic Party, I just never realized the level of her game.  Clearly it was at a level beyond anything I have encountered since.  Remember the only reason I was stopped was because I was speeding, and it wasn’t by as much as I would normally be speeding.  Apparently the cop that stopped us had no probably cause to search the trunk.  Anyway Mrs. Marge tentacles reached all over the three state area.  She knew someone, who knew someone, who could get to Mayberry and straighten and clean up whatever mess there was.   While she was doing that, Mr. Marge was arranging transportation for the girls.  I’m not sure if the trip to Nashville and return was company supported or not, and that’s not my problem.  It happened and the girls got to ride in an airplane home. 

The girls only had to spend 3 hours in a jail cell with an unlocked door and complete access to the restroom.  My friend and I biggest issue was we had to wear the same cloths all weekend, but this was 1968, and it wasn’t the 1st time I had spent an entire weekend in the same cloths.  The Mayberry jail was small, only a couple cells and we were the only occupants Saturday and Sunday nights. And we got to keep our purchases.  I thanked Mrs. Marge a bunch, and I loved her like a mom.  Also to her credit, she had to help out my friend and me a couple more times before I was off to the Navy.  I will say it is nice to have friends in high places even when you don’t know they are. 

So ends my tale of getting to spend two evening in a TN jail as a visitor, (I was never charged or arrested for anything), so I must have been a visitor.  I hope you enjoyed the story.  If you have any questions, concerns or comments, please feel free to ask, and thank my wife for suggesting I tell this story.  Take care, Bill

PS – This was not the only time I have driven Fireworks across a State line for a friend.  A few years ago, just before I moved to Florida permanently a good friend asked me to stop someplace along my way back to his house in Northern VA and purchase $500 in fireworks.  He had a specific list, brand names, gauge, and estimated cost.  When the guy I was travelling with suggested we call it a night, we stopped at the 1st SC exit, that sold fireworks, checked into a decent place, had dinner, and then bought 500 dollars’ worth of fireworks.  We carefully laid them on top of our golf clubs, and pulled the cover over the back.  When back to the hotel had a couple drinks called it a night and completed the trip without incident the next day.  So I can buy and transport fireworks without getting in trouble, so there LOL LOL.  Take care, Bill

 

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I’ve Fought the Law, and the Law Won ..P1.. A  Treasure Box Story

Friday (June 20th) after my wife and I returned our granddaughter to her parents we decided we needed adult beverages and Italian for dinner.  We were no more than a mile from our home and passed two extremely large firework tents. Which reminded Steph of a story I shared with her a million years ago, she turned to me and asked “Have you shared that firework story on your blog?”  Nope I said, she then said you should.  

So here it is. I have been arrested one time (so far) during my life, but I have spent 4 nights in jail over the years (3 completely different occasions), with the last time close to 40 years ago.  Before my arrest for DUI in 1968, I was honored to spend 2 nights as a (controlled) visitor in a tiny little town in Northern Tennessee just a few short miles from the Kentucky State line. The final time was while I was in the Navy; the MP’s got me for disorderly conduct.  I wasn’t arrested or charged, just allowed to cool my jets for a bit, and released. But the story Steph wanted me to share dealt with the 2 nights I was a visitor in Tennessee. 

Back when this event occurred Kentucky was not repeat was not very liberal regarding the sale of fireworks, as a matter of fact; most things beyond your sparklers were not allowed to be sold in KY.  But Tennessee was much more liberal at the time, you could just about anything that exploded in Tennessee, and you could buy in large quantities.  

In early June 1968 a friend and I thought we would take up a collection (or orders) and drive down to TN to buy fireworks for friends and neighbors (covering our costs and making a bit of a profit).  It was a great idea and was well accepted by both our friends and many of the Dads (our collection pot runnith over). 

My friend and I decided which Saturday we were going to make the run down to TN, and even invited our girlfriends for the adventure.  Though at the time we didn’t realize just how much of an adventure it was going to be.  We collected the funds from those that wanted to participate, and made our final arrangements.  That Friday night before we were to depart, the father of a friend called and asked if we were going to go thru XXXXX on the way to our destination, a quick look at the map confirmed that we would indeed be going thru XXXXX.  He asked if I minded if we made a side stop and pick up a package for him.  He would donate 25 bucks towards expenses if we just picked up this package and deliver it to him unopened.  I spoke to my partner, told him about the “package” and we exchanged knowing smiles we agreed to pick it up. 

The next morning we gathered our girlfriends (his girlfriend was 14, mine was 15) put the roof down on my car, and started our trip from Kentucky into Tennessee.  The trip south was totally uneventful, I don’t have a clue as to how long it took to get there, or where we stopped, I just remember the trip being totally uneventful. 

When picked up the package that we had been instructed to, placed it the trunk of my car, and threw a blanket over it.  

Then we proceeded to one of the several Firework sales locations we had passed, and had a blast buying all manner of fireworks, we had specific names and specific quantities and approximate costs.  It was like going to the fireworks grocery store.  A little of this a bunch of that, some of those, a 2 boxes of this, and just kept loading the cart. It was a “Don’t forget the milk,” kinda deal.  My friend and I knew we were going to be hero’s, and we knew we were going to make some good change, and nobody was going to take a beating.  We gathered up our purchases, carried them out to the car, opened the trunk and threw them neatly under the blanket with that package we picked up. 

On the way out of town we stopped at some diner, had lunch, and filled the car with gas before heading north.  Back then gas was still less that 20 cents yes 20 cents a gallon. We were good to go, and we were headed north back to Kentucky. 

Of course I was not following the posted speed limit, heck I never have, always heavy on the right foot. When lo and behold there in my rearview mirror was a police car with his lights a flashing.  Being honest we had just passed a sign say 4 miles to the Kentucky State Line, and for a tiny moment I considered making a run for the line.  But that thought when away almost as quickly as it had arrived.  Besides it was only going to be a speeding ticket. Lord knows it wouldn’t be the 1st time I got a speeding ticket.  So I pulled over.  My friend pulled the registration from the glove box, and I dug my driver’s license out of my wallet.  The police officer ambled his way up side the car, and asked if I had any idea why he stopped me, I looked him dead in the eyes and said most likely cause I was going faster than the posted speed limit.  He smiled and said yelp that would be one of the reasons. He looked at my friend and our girlfriends and asked for ID, my friend dug his driver’s license out and handed it over, but neither of the girls (again ages 14 and 15) had license’s, and freely admitted their age.  The cop just shook his head and politely asked if he could search the car.  We had about 200 dollars in fireworks in the trunk which we bought just down the road, and we were still in TN, besides this was back in the day when you didn’t argue with cops, so I said sure, got out of the car (we all did), and he commenced to looking throughout the passenger compartment, finding nothing of interest he asked me to open the trunk.  I had a feeling that the shit was about to hit the fan, I just had no clue how much shit it was going to be.   The 1st thing he saw was all the fireworks, scattered all over the trunk. Looking at me, he said where exactly was I planning on using these and when (it was still a couple weeks before the 4th of July).  So honesty played out and I said we intended to take them home and use them on the 4th.  He asked if I realized it was illegal to transport fireworks across state line, and I tried the ole innocent me thing, going on no sir I didn’t know that.  I knew he wasn’t buying it and I figured I was about to lose $200 worth of fireworks. But then he pushed the blanket off the box that we had picked up.  He asked if I knew what was in the box, and because we had not opened it I could honestly say that “No Sir, I have no idea what is in the box.” To which he replied, “Let’s open it and see.”  As much as I would like to say how surprised my friend and I were when the cop opened the box and found four gallons of TN moonshine, we both kinda figured out that was what we were picking up.  And that folks is when the SHIT really hit the FAN. 

We were directed to get back in car and follow him to the local sheriff office, which we did, he directed me to put the top, lock up the car, and give him the keys.  The 4 of us were herded into a cell and the door closed (but not locked).  He was holding my friend and my driver’s licenses, and the keys to my car which was just outside the police office, (the place reminded me of police office in Mayberry) so he had all the info on us, but the girls (both minors from KY in TN), was causing him all manner of concern. 

End of part 1

Smiling yes this is too long to be a single post. As always if you have any questions comments or concerns please feel free to ask. Take care, Bill

 

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Best 4 Some I’ve Played Golf With…. A Grandpa Tale

I have been extremely fortunate over the years, and I have had the opportunity to indulge myself.  One of my favorite indulgences was the annual golf trip.   I went on such a trip for 11 years, and visited nice places, a not so nice place, and played golf on some of the nicest golf courses in central Florida.

It all started by chance I guess.  I knew one of the managers that lived in Texas, and that he played golf, we had talked from time to time about our love of golf.  One day out of the blue he called me and asked if I wanted to join a group of guys going to Florence SC to play golf for a week.  After getting the cost and getting permission from my wife I called Ken back and said I would love to join the group.  Ken asked me if I knew of any other golfers that might be willing, I said let me make some calls and I would get back to him.  Shortly after the call, I spoke to Terry and Don.  Both agreed without hesitation, and I became the coordinator for the DC contingent of golfers.  Including Terry, Don, and I the group was 28. That was my 1st golf trip.  I loved the golf; the accommodations were okay, the group way to damn big.

L to R Doug, Me, Terry, Don

L to R Doug, Me, Terry, Don

Terry, Don and I all liked the concept behind the golf trip, only to a much smaller scale.  It was decided we would do it again the following year, but only 4 of us.  Don was sure he could talk Jim into joining the Group.

The following year the four of us headed to Myrtle Beach in late February.  We  stayed at a place called the Hurl Rock Motel, by far the single biggest dive I have ever stayed in, and could write a two thousand words just on this one golf trip.

Jim was an active participant for the first 2 years, and would join the group from time to time in the future years.  But Terry, Don and I would remain the core of our group for the duration.  After Jim’s departure, Doug joined the group, and also became part of the core. For the next 2 years it was just the four of us. Our group would grow from 4 to as many as 9.  But it was generally 7 or 8. 

I realize that once again I have taken a million words to set up my story.  Today’s story really is about Terry, Don and Doug, and why I feel these three guys made it the best 4 some I ever played golf with. 

Doug is the best golfer I have played with consistently over the years.  I have never beaten Doug no matter many strokes he has given me; we may have tied a few times which to me meant I won.  But even at my best I couldn’t beat him.  Sure I won a hole or 6 over the years. But Doug is just good golfer and even better person.  Doug was the baby of the group, no matter who joined Doug was always the youngest.  But Doug is a people person, a great listener, a good conversationalist, and a caring person.  During the trips he would be the 1st to volunteer to be the step and fetch person.  He was generally the last to bed and the last to get up.  Doug also helped me during the planning stage to pick the golf courses we would play that trip, and we pre map them so we didn’t have to scramble trying to get directions each day.  Doug could also hold his own in the verbal jousting that always when on during one of these trips.  Giving as well as he got.  I believe, I have known Doug for over 17 years I have never seen him mad, nor have I ever seen him have even single drink.  His drink of choice was Pink Lemonade, and he was just as addicted to Krispy Kreme donuts as the rest of us, and he would be willing to drive 40 miles out of his way to pick up a couple of dozen for the group. He was also in charge of the nightly movie or double feature, however it played out. 

Terry or “Mr. Magoo” as he is affectionately referred is the elder statesman of the group.  I don’t believe if we actively searched we could find anyone older to play with (that fit it) LOL.  He is referred to as Mr. Magoo; because I am sure the cartoon character was fashioned after his likeness.  A Terry and I became friends in 1985, but met in 83, while on a business trip to NYC.  He was the Telecom Dir. in charge of an area that stretched from Maryland all the way to Maine (the entire NE). I was the program manager out of DC, and we met to review how his Zone was managing my program. It was during the course of these meetings that our friendship was born.  And we have been extremely close friends since then.  We speak at least once a month and talk for 30 or 40 minutes.  Anyway, back to the 4 some.  Terry was/is the oldest member, can’t see for shit, has no sense of direction, and thinks he hits the ball further than he does, which makes him pretty much a normal golfer.  Terry was by far the worse golfer in the group expect when Jim played.  On the tee Terry would dead hook to the right, and begin searching the left side of the fairway.  Doug or I usually rode the cart with him because we had the eyes of the group, so we could normally drive Terry right to his ball.  In time it got to the point where Terry would just get in the cart and just let us take him to his shot.  But his single biggest contributions to the outings were his stories.  He has some of the best life stories imaginable, and even though I have heard almost all of them, I would gladly sit through yet another telling.  Do keep the ears of most women and child out of range when he starts because his language has the ability to embarrass even a Sailor.  More often than not he is clearly the villain or perpetrator in his stories, which explains why he got to go to so many different private and public schools as a youth. Terry was also a Marine, and worked for the federal Govt for at least 35 years. Terry btw was one of two gentlemen that called the hospital when I was gravely ill demanding an update on my condition.  Claiming he was my brother in Philadelphia and as part of the family it was his right.  The nurse started in on the HIPA rules and Terry apparently told the Nurse to F…. HIPA tell him what he wanted to know, HOW!!! Apparently the nurse folded, and gave out very detailed information on my condition, and Terry advised her he would be calling back.  At some point Steph added him to the HIPA paperwork.  I speak at length of Terry in my dream sequence posts.  Terry is one of my dearest friends (way beyond a best friend) in the world. 

Finally I will talk about Don.  Don was one of the highest ranking Govt Officials for local telecommunications before he retired.  He wasn’t considered an expert in local telecom, he WAS the expert.  One of the single smartest men I have known.  He was my mentor and dearest friend.  As a golfer he was middle of the road. He could power it off the tee, but not always with the accuracy needed.  On any given day we could play pretty even. For as loud as Terry was Don was quiet.  Terry and Don were best friends and had pretty much worked together in one way or another, their entire adult lives.  As a fledgling manager Don taught me 2 important lessons 1; it is always better to ask for forgiveness than permission, and 2; a crisis on your part doesn’t make it a problem on my part.  Don was a constant source for education, guidance and leadership, and I tried to emulate him throughout my career. In the office he had a style grace that I had not seen before or since.  Don passed on about 5 years ago as a result of complications from his COPD he was 74 at the time of his passing.

This wasn’t so much about golf or golfing, it was how I enjoyed these friends and what they meant to me.  Doug is still Doug, and we talk about once or twice a year.  Terry and I are dearest of friends and we talk about once a month.  Terry is 83 or 84, and doesn’t act a day over 15 usually.  He recently successfully had lung surgery to remove some cancer.  He is cancer free, and currently does not require any further treatments, just checkup every 6 months.  While Don isn’t around to talk to, I do chat with his wife every 5 or 6 months.  She was the love of his life, it just took forever for them to finally meet, but their time together was fantastic, and I don’t remember Don being happier prior to his marriage to Nancy. 

Someday I may actually write the story about the Hurl Rock Motel, and that golf adventure purely as a golf story.  I will continue to dig pictures out, and write the appropriate story. 

If you have any questions, comments or concerns please feel free to ask.  I will address each.  Please take care and have a great day.  Bill

 
15 Comments

Posted by on June 11, 2014 in Grandpa Stories, Humor, Ramblings

 

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Happy Mother’s Day

Good Morning, and Happy Mother’s Day

Each morning as I take my meds, I sit and respond to the many notes, comments, posts, or other mails that fill my in box like pedals of (fill in the blank).  I respond directly and on target to what I have read or thought I read, or answer a specific question. But today is special, and in my responses I failed to take the time in each response to say Happy Mother’s Day in some of my responses. So I want to take a moment and extend to each of you mothers a wish for a wonderful day, filled with love and joy, a warm smile, a tender kiss, and the thought in your heart that you did good.  

Mom’s we love you, we thank you, we will never forget you.

Love Bill

 
19 Comments

Posted by on May 11, 2014 in Grandpa Stories, Observations, Ramblings

 

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The Brothers not so Grim…. A Grandpa Tale

This past weekend and while my wife was away having the time of her life, and checking off another bucket list trip, I spent entertaining and being entertained by my three brothers.  I should use the names of the seven dwarfs to protect the not so innocent.  But I have spoken of them by name in the past and I will continue to do so.  But if I were to use the 7 Dwarfs names, I would claim and take full credit for being the one referred to as “Grumpy”.  It is a self-promoted nickname I gave myself shortly after moving to Florida.  See link for https://dealingwithcopd.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/old-and-grumpy/

Pictured below from left to right as you look at the picture are Jim, Grumpy, Ed and John.  Each of us has many redeeming qualities and each of us has many not so redeeming qualities.  And I could go on for words and words and words about each of them, but as they would all say “Payback is a B…. “

DSC01204

I will say that at one time I was the heaviest, but from appearances that may not be the case anymore.  But I am the one with all my original hair, and the best looking of the lot.  Ed did try to pretty himself up at the last moment running into the house to grab a Golf shirt.  

Immediately upon arrival at the house, as Ed was sipping his 1st beer, he tried to establish a “Judgment” free zone on the Lanai.  As place of peace, without the normal razor-sharp blades we normally use to cut each other to ribbons.  But even with a “Judgment” free zone, the barbs flew back and forth all weekend long.  It didn’t matter where we were or what we were doing, we were slinging barbs.  To see the smiles and grins throughout would have been a lot of fun to the fly on the wall.

But it wasn’t all about kidding each other, or sticking the knife in gently. We shared a lot of stories, reminiscing about incidents, each with a different perspective depending on the time and place in the family history.  We shared stories grandpa’s farm and about close encounters of the worst kind with Dad. We spoke of or marriages, our kids, the good and bad times.  I suspect they realize this will be one of the last visits we have together.  So we talked about more pleasant things.

The menu was quite simple.  One night we had pizza, wings, and garlic knots, another night we had bbq’d pork chops, another hamburgers and hot dogs, and steaks.  Surprisingly salads were also served during some to the meals.  And I will admit that the boys did graze right thru most things editable.  And we shared more than one drink over the weekend.  Nobody got drunk, no one got fired up, but we did talk loud, hell when we were kids we were considered the loud family.  It seems it is something we haven’t been able to shake as we have grown older.  Of the four of us I am the oldest; Ed is the youngest, with 13 years separating us.  If you think back (or at least for me) I had absolutely nothing in common with my youngest brother when I was 20 or 30, we started to become close as I reached 40, and have grown closer as more years pass.  Families are that way mostly I think, of course there are dysfunctional families, and I am sure that from time to time we were indeed dysfunctional.  But for the most part we have been able to maintain a good relationships and friendships, as we have grown.

No earth breaking disclosures were made, and while we spoke only for the fewest of moments of world events we couldn’t find a solution or come to an agreement as to a solution, sometimes we couldn’t even agree what the problem was. But we were taking to talk, to share, to be together. We managed a lot of reflection. John and Jim would sit in the corner of the lanai after dark smoking cigars, LOL that kept me in the house and out of the conversation, but what little I did catch seemed to be the quiet friendly conversation brothers can have.  One afternoon they wanted to go to the casino, I was more than happy to take them, and pick them up, but I didn’t venture into the casino.  There wasn’t much in the way of bragging, so I suspect there wasn’t much in the way of winning either.  In reflection I guess I could have taken them on a field trip to Dunedin or Clearwater Beach, but they were satisfied with the pool, and not having to venture far for a drink or the bathroom.  I can say with total honesty I am so so glad they came, I am glad we got to spend the time together we, and that we had to opportunity to share moments and time together.

Smiling here are the names of the 7 Dwarfs, let’s play a game, if you choose to comment on this post, tell me which name fits which brother best.  Remember “Grumpy” is taken: Bashful, Doc, Sleepy, Sneezy, Dopey, Grumpy and Happy.

As always if you have any questions, comments, concerns or issues please feel free to ask.  I will respond. Please take care and have a great day. Bill

 
18 Comments

Posted by on April 29, 2014 in Grandpa Stories, Humor, Pictures, Ramblings

 

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Movies with Allison…. A Grandpa Tale

This story comes to mind because yesterday my wife and I when to the movies, us going to the movies is a rare event, but the movie (Monument Men) was great, and I give it a solid 2 thumbs us.  But sitting in the theater with Steph reminded me of the hundreds of times I went to the movies with Allison.  Allison and I love movies and truly enjoy going to them together, though we haven’t been able to coordinate a movie together in months and months.  But this grandpa tale isn’t about today it’s movie or the wonderful date with my wife, it is about all those other movies I saw with Allison and I am sure more to come.

 

I can’t begin to tell you with any degree of accuracy what movies we saw together. But here is a partial list, Terminator 2, Harry Potter 1; Lord of the Rings 1, there had to be a drama or 6 and a few dozen comedies, and a sprinkling of horror (Maybe Scary Movie 1).  I can’t say how old she was our first movie date.  Though to be honest I suspect it was while she was in junior high that it really began in earnest.  Our movie dates always ensured we got to the theater in plenty of time to get some junk food and a soda’s before the flick, it allowed for perusing the billboards for coming events, making initial determinations of which movies struck our fancy, and finally going into the theater so we had 1st choice in seat.  Sidebar – today at the movie theater I most often use they have assigned seating, which is the single biggest piece of crap idea I have ever heard, especially when only 5 people are in the theater to watch a given movie.  Allison was of an age that we normally saw PG-13 movies, I don’t believe we saw our 1st “R” rated movie together until she was at least 16 or 17, that’s not to say she didn’t see them at home when we rented a blockbuster or 4 for a weekend, or managed to see one or more with her friends.

 

Folks, my daughter Allison is a giant chicken, she is the 1st one to cover her eyes when the blood starts to flow, if you pinch her at the right time in a movie she will come a foot out of her chair (I know, I have done this to her successfully dozens of times), blowing on her ear makes her shiver likes someone is walking on her grave, and saying BOO! Works real good even to this day.  It is for all of these reasons that I love going to the movies with her.  Another truth is that she acts the same way now (at 34) as she did when she was 12, she just slaps me harder now, when I get her.

 

Smiling, but if there is a downfall to taking my daughter to a movie, she has this single nasty habit, which is probably payback for all the antics I play on her. I have this one nasty, despicable, horrid, unscrupulous, and nasty, let’s just say bad habit when I go to the movies, I hog the armrest, and I am not a good sharer.  Allison doesn’t really care if I am hogging the armrest or not, she makes her claim, and will put her arm directly on top of me if she finds it necessary.  She also plays with the hair on my arm, twirling it or softly pinching it, just to let me know that she is not in total approval of my hogging the armrest.  But the minute she becomes intense, or feels something is about to happen that she will not appreciate, she does two things.  One she immediately takes her free hand and covers her eyes (like that’s going to help), and two (and much more important to me) is that soft twirling or pinching of the hair on my arm where her other hand rests becomes ten times the level of intensity.  And that soft twirling and pinching ends up being the Vulcan Death Grip on the hairs of my arm.  I will swear on a short stack of bibles that over the years I have most likely lost 4 square inches of hair on each forearm    from my daughter pulling it out during intense parts of movies. Hell she will do it during the credits LOL LOL.  Also trust me slapping her hand away does not save you.  Yes I always get that “gee Dad, I am so sorry!” line of BS, and you can tell its BS because of silly her grin on her face as she says it.  But I love her so I tolerate it; probably even relish it a bit.

 

In past years we have shared a meal after the movie, and chat like dad and daughter, these are the moments father’s live for, and I have been so fortunate to have shared so many with my daughter.  I hope you have enjoyed this story.  I am sure that when Allison reads this she will call and tell me for the umpteenth time how my memory differs from hers, and I will respond for the umpteenth time “that’s because they are my memories.”

 

Folks as always if you have any comments or questions please feel free to ask, you know I will answer each of them.

 

Also I have an announcement to make my daughter Allison Poindexter has started her own blog, Burning Candles, Perspectives from a wife, mother, and teacher who burns candles at both ends. She will be launching her blog on April 1, 2014 (how appropriate). If you get a chance, give her a look-see.  She is a hell of a lot smarter than me, she has written a book, and she spells and proof reads tons better than I do.  It should be quite good if I do say so myself.  Here is the link for her upcoming blog. http://burningcandlesblog.wordpress.com/

 
37 Comments

Posted by on March 12, 2014 in Grandpa Stories, Humor, Ramblings

 

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Dream Sequence Part II… Biking the Beltway … a Grandpa Tale

I recently completed a post about an extended hospital stay I had.  In that post I spoke in passing of some exceptionally vivid dreams I had during my hospitalization. I also teased that I would write about them.  I was called out, and I completed the first a couple of weeks ago, entitled “Dream Sequences” where I recalled a very vivid and reoccurring dream I had about the Hospital actually being the Starship Enterprise, and my desire to find the crew and the guts of the ship which I was sure were hidden behind one of the 1,000’s of hospital doors.

The second series of dreams I had involved myself and 2 very dear friends Terry and Gary.  This series of dreams included bicycling around the “Beltway” surrounding the Washington DC.  This is the dream I am going to share today with you.

Please understand these dreams only lasted a week or so, and they took place during the darkest period of my hospital stay.  Clearly the dreams came as a direct result of the drugs I was being given to keep me alive, and if for no other reason I appreciate both the drugs and the dreams.

While I had a very real mission in my Star Trek dreams, in the Beltway dreams, it was all about getting together with my 2 very very good friends.  I worked with these guys for over 20 years and we have been friends for over 30 years.  They are also 2 of my golfing/drinking buddies.  Terry at the time of the dream was about 75 and Gary was about 68.  Sidebar remark, while I was in the hospital either Terry or Gary would call the nurses station to get a status report.  The 1st time one of them called the nurse would not share any information, from that night forward they would call and state that this was his brother Terry or Brother Gary (who lived out of state).  The nurses from that point forward, when they called, they were given complete updates on my condition.  It probably helped that my wife had told the nurses that my brothers would be calling from time to time for updates, and it was okay to share the info.               

Without further foot dragging, on to the Beltway Dream.  It was during my stay at Brandon Regional Hospital in 2008, that Terry visited and suggested that we leave the hospital, and go visit Gary.  Well maybe he just came to the room said he was going to walk me around a bit (getting my daily exercise) but we ended up leaving the hospital.   But the hospital we left was not Brandon Regional, as we transitioned thru the front doors of the hospital (in Brandon) it became Fairfax General, in Fairfax VA,   you could read the name on the marquee, as well as the sign announcing the entrance from the street.  Once outside Terry said we had to meet Gary at his place. 

I asked Terry, “Why, what’s going on.”

To which Terry said, “Don’t know we just have to be at Gary’s!”

I said “great, where’s your car?”

Terry said “Don’t have a car, but I do have a bicycle”

I said, “Okay let’s go!” 

Without even thinking, I took the seat, and Terry sat on the handle bars.  The bike had those cool butterfly handle bars, and Terry fit perfectly (all 6 feet & 200 lbs).  So visualize an Old Fart sitting between the handle bars of a bicycle with his feet on the front wheel axle.  And an almost old fart in a hospital gown securely tied (no butt flashing this time), pedaling out of the hospital parking lot. It had to be spring time because neither of us was cold. I pedaled the bike and Terry and I chatted about a variety of things, just as if we were riding in a car together.  It was amazing because the speed limit on Gallows Rd was 45 and I was staying with traffic, even pushing the car ahead of me, all along without even breaking a sweat.   Terry and I took the entrance ramp to the 495 East (beltway) and easily merged into early evening traffic (remember I am pedaling a bike {and it isn’t a 10 speed}).  Terry and I are cruising along at speed (on the bike), at approximate 65 mph (we stayed in the right lane), gown flapping (butt not showing) in the wind, and Terry and I just chatting away. When traffic starts to bogs down and we move to the left passing slower traffic.  Still chatting away, not having a care in the world.  We are maintaining proper spacing between vehicles, and rapidly progress to our exit (Van Dorn), but because I am stuck in the far left lane, we cannot cross 4 lanes of traffic to get off at our exit, we are required to proceed to Telegraph Road (2 miles further East past Van Dorn), exit 495 and reenter going West.

It gets strange now (like it wasn’t before), because as soon as we reenter 495 West (Beltway), we are in the throes of a massive snow storm. We have approximately 2 miles to Van Dorn, and we (I) are pedaling against 40 mph winds in a blinding snow fall.  I can barely maintain control of the bike as we continue our trek to Van Dorn.  Luckily for me Terry is acting as a shield, keeping a lot of the wind off me. But riding a bike on snow in 40 mph winds is a real trick especially when you have 200 lbs. of Old Fart in front of you.

We finally arrive at Van Dorn, I have snow crusted on my eyebrows and kneecaps, Terry is freezing his ass off, and we have to walk the bike up the hill at Van Dorn.  The storm was getting worst, and we say F#$^OI It!!! and stop at the Comfort Inn on Van Dorn.

We walk into the Lobby (bringing our trusty bike out of the storm) and immediately go and stand in front of the fire, and take the chill off.  Terry and I both notice that the Hotel is extremely not busy given the circumstances.  So not busy, we are the only people there.  Not a soul is around including staff, we have the place to ourselves, we.

We find a phone and call Gary, told him we couldn’t make that last mile, and we were stuck at the Comfort Inn. Gary says, “Don’t worry, I will grab a couple of cases of beer and be right down.”

Shortly Gary arrived at the Hotel.  But when he started to enter the hotel, the doors disappeared, and became a solid sheet of glass.   Also the storm continues to rage, and now there is almost 2 foot of snow packed against where the door should be.  Terry looks forlornly at the beer Gary is carrying and begins to rush around looking for an entrance.  Terry needs his beer LOL LOL.  Finally Gary screams for us to go sit at the fire, and he would figure a way in.

Gray traipses around the hotel 2 times, and finally finds a service entrance buried under 4 feet of snow.  Undeterred Gary digs thru the snow and emerges in the Lobby beer in hand.  The three of us gather at the fire, pop open some beer and chat, talking about our experiences that day. But none of us finding it (even the tiniest bit) strange that there is 4 foot of snow in the Washington DC area in late spring, or finding a Comfort Inn at a busy intersection to be abandoned, but with a nice warming fire and no doors, or pedaling around the Beltway (495) on a bike built for one (with 2 riders) at 65 mph. Or how strange that Gary can walk a mile in 4 foot of snow carrying 2 cases of beer, (without being wet or cold) and him only being 5’5 at best.  We chat like the old friends we are.  That was the normal part.

Folks, this ends my dream sequence posts.  During that dark period, these dreams came and went for about a week or so.  But sitting here typing them out, they are as real in my mind as the nights I had them.  I have never had any such vivid dreams since this period, and none that I can remember to this level of detail.

If you have any questions concerns comments please feel free to ask, I will do the best I can to answer honestly.  No I don’t remember what drugs I was on at the time of these dreams LOL. 

Thank you for indulging me as I share these dreams with you.  Please take care, Bill

 
26 Comments

Posted by on February 12, 2014 in Grandpa Stories, Humor, Ramblings

 

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My Sunshine Award Nominations

I have been nominated for the Sunshine Award which I graciously accept without reservation from Huntmode.  In my past I would have blown off such an award because I felt undeserving.  But I have come to recognize and acknowledge the fact that if you are nominated for such an award, the sheer fact that someone else thinks you’re worth it, indeed does make the award and nomination worthwhile.  

So thank You Huntmode, thank you very much for the nomination.  I am and will take it seriously. 

Hunt did all the research and leg work, and has provided simple instructions for accepting and going forward.  I won’t change a word of those instructions.  But if you want, you can make slight modifications like I have.

  • Ø Rules of the Sunshine Award  (as provided by HuntMode)

  • Ø Post 11 random facts about yourself

  • Ø Nominate 11 bloggers

  • Ø Answer these questions eleven questions:

1. What is the first thing you do as soon as you wake up in the morning?  Take off my cpap mask, and turn on the light (if wife has already left for work)

2. What is your greatest fear?  My greatest fear is of open heights. I have a story about the Grand Canyon and heights.

3. Do you have a new year’s resolution for 2014?  If so what was it? I did…and it was to be here for 2015, only a little worse for wear.

4. What is your favorite song at the moment?  Stardust by the Gemini Project.

5. What is your favorite childhood memory?  When I won 3rd prize at an art show, when I was in the 3rd grade.  I was competing against adults.  I won 10 dollars for my prize, and that was a lot of money in 1957

6. What’s your favorite social media platform and why?  What is a social media platform?? LOL LOL, if that means AOL, then AOL, and the reason is simple it was the 1st one I really tried and understood.  I am still getting used to Facebook, Kir and some others (like WordPress LOL).

7. What did the last text message you received say?  Someone advising me their email address had changed.

8. What bugs you the most?  I will borrow the person answered these before me answer– stupid behavior and bullies.

9. What do you consider to be the most important appliance in your house?  Without a doubt my desk top computer, second my Nook.

10. If you could have one song that would play whenever you entered a room, what would it be?  I have about 1800 songs on my IPod, anyone of them would be good, but I don’t need “making an entrance” music.

11. What’s your favorite movie quote?  From Forrest Gump “Stupid is as stupid does.”

 

Sunshine Award looks like this:

 sunshine-award-2[1]

 

10 little known facts

  • Ø My favorite number is 55 (worn on my JV Football Jersey);

  • Ø I am the runt of my family, but the oldest;

  • Ø My 1st car was a 1960 Buick LaSalle

  • Ø I only lived in Louisville KY, for 5 years, but it is the place I am from

  • Ø Every woman that meets me loves my hair;

  • Ø I believe that everyone has a purpose, but not all of those purposes are good;

  • Ø I have had only 4 male best friends, so far, during my lifetime;

  • Ø I believe you can love with all your heart more than once in a lifetime;

  • Ø I was totally bummed when the Colts moved to Indianapolis and because of that have become a complete and total Washington Redskins fan;

  • Ø I drink at least 6 to 8 (16.9 oz.) bottles of water a day, plus other liquids and wonder why I have to pee all the time. LOL LOL that’s the TMI fact of the day.

Thank you Huntmode for nominating me for the Sunshine Award.  This award is given for “bloggers who are positive and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.”  I am so very honored chose me and I thank you. 

These are my nominees for the Sunshine Award, each tugs at my heartstrings and makes them sing.  My rules:  Accept and play; Accept and choose not to play – and know that my nomination of you is genuine. 

The following are those blogs who have inspired me in some very real manner, that have touch a core element in me, and have allowed me to use them to bounce ideas off and to gain further inspiration.  Each of these folks deserves to be recognized for the outstanding image their blog presents to the community.  Therefore I am very happy to nominate each of them for the Sunshine awards

http://kiramoorescloset.wordpress.com/about-2/

http://jmgoyder.com/about/

http://benzeknees.wordpress.com/

http://kate1975.wordpress.com/about/

http://tidbitsandtreasures2011.wordpress.com/

http://bikecolleenbrown.wordpress.com/

http://clowiescorner.wordpress.com/

http://friendlyfairytales.com/

http://clanmother.com/

http://ladyornot.com/

http://thepersecutionofmildreddunlap.wordpress.com/

http://chasingrabbitholes.com/author/huntmode/

The key here is that while all of these may not strike a chord with you, they did with me.  Each of these bloggers have helped in some way to shape my blog, each have shown me something, has presented a way to express an idea, or has given me a glimpse of a world I didn’t know existed.  Combined with the total has better allowed me to express myself, and I thank each of them.

If you have comments or thoughts you wish to express please do.  Take care, Bill 

 
24 Comments

Posted by on January 26, 2014 in Grandpa Stories, Observations, Ramblings

 

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Happy New Year Welcoming 2014 and saying goodbye to 2013

Good day folks and a very Happy New Year to you.  I don’t know what you did for New Years’ Eve. But I was fully engaged.  We (the extended neighborhood family) shared a meal, good times, teasing, laughing and card playing.  We also celebrated the retirement of one of the group.  It was a wonderful party.

I am so fortunate to have such good friends.  Such a diverse group, we have the deeply religious, and then we have the folks like me that teeter on the edge of hell LOL.  We have saints and sinners and we even have an asshole or two.  But we all have found ways to melt into a wonderful group of individuals that like each other, that can put up with other, and smile and laugh at the end of the evening. 

We hosted the event this year, and we served New York Strip Steaks for 11, baked potatoes, and a Caesar salad.  The salad was brought by one of the guests.  The guests also brought all manner of hors d’oeuvre and desserts. Beer, wine, (and some Whine), whisky, cider, and sparkly cider were served.  Normally I am an excellent cook on the grill, but last night I wasn’t at my best,  Half the folks wanted  med well or well done (what a way to screw up a NY Strip) the rest of us wanted them med rare.  Well I managed to cook them all med well or well done I am so ashamed.  But the quality of the meat made up for them being over cooked.

After dinner a community effort was made to clean the kitchen, and that community made short work of the task. 

After dinner the card games commenced.  The neighborhood family plays 31, we play so we can share insults, so we can banter, so we can abuse each other’s card playing and so we can BS.  Folks, there is a lot of BS going on at the table and proudly I can admit I lead the charge. The sheer number of folks involved led us to having 2 tables of 5 players each, with the only rule being that spouses could not sit next to each other. I played with Art, Wanda, little Steph and Laura. The other table was made up of Bob, MaryJo, Steph, Vernon and Chris.  My table was in the kitchen the other in the dining room. We could hear the laughter, the howling, and the fact that someone had lost their 31 virginity at the dining room table (trust me that was later questioned), at our table we were talking about each other to our faces, and mumbling other things under our breath (in a stage whisper), and spent the 2 hours laughing and giggling.  It was a great game and made more better because I won!  I believe that at the other table Vernon won (which was a first for him).  We took a break between games to enjoy more group fellowship and dessert.  This was a ton of fun because we shared the desserts brought and Steve’s retirement cake, coffee and other drinks were served. 

The second game of 31 was played with 7 of us at the dining room table, we had 3 individuals that wanted to spectate rather than participate, and one of those was giving me a running commentary on the Duke vs. Texas A&M game, which I appreciated greatly until the final score LOL. It was a shortened version of the game to accommodate the midnight hour.  The game was frantic at times, filled with more burbs, snide remarks, jabs, and laughs.  Eventually as we closed in on midnight, I once again came out the winner. Boy did I have a great night of cards.  I enjoyed the company of my friends, we shared a meal of fine food (though the steaks were over cooked), great appetizers, and wonderful desserts.  We laughed, we kidded, we chatted about millions of things, and had moments of quiet introspection.

When New Year’s came we shared a toast, and a kiss.  I had a quiet word with each of my friends, and we bid them Aude. What a wonderful way of ending one year and starting another.

My group of neighborhood friends reminds me of my online and blog friends.  We also have sinners and saints, we have an asshole among us (most likely me LOL), we have the deeply religious and those teetering on the edge of hell (again, most likely me), and all points in between. We have rights and lefts and middle of the roaders.  We are as diverse a group of folks as one could ever hope to encounter. We share among ourselves without reservation. We are painfully honest when we need to be.  There is nothing we won’t talk freely about, and there is nothing we won’t do for one another.  My evening would have been just as wonderful and just as entertaining and just as friendly had my home been filled with my online and blog buddies.  The stories would have been only slightly different.  Maybe the steaks wouldn’t have been as overcooked.  The card game would have just as much fun with just as much teasing and BSing.  The laughter and cackling would have been just as loud, the fellowship just as wonderful.

In a perfect world I could find a way to blend these wonderful groups. But the world isn’t perfect.  Yet I am so so thankful that I have such wonderful groups of friends. 

To all my friends’ blogger, follower, supporter group, viewer and neighbor, I hope that 2014 brings you nothing but joy. I hope you find both big and small ways to smile to be thankful yourself.  I know the joy you have brought me, I know the many smiles you have put on my lips, and how many times I have LMFAO because of something you said.  And I remember the tears we have shared. Thank you.  

At the end of the evening, I said a little something to each of my friends as they left.  I offered a warm smile and a gentle word, a hand to shake, and an embrace.  To you my online and blogger friends I offer you the same in a cyber-way.  Please take care, and be safe during 2014.  – Again Thank You — Bill                                                              

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2014 in Grandpa Stories, Humor, Observations, Ramblings

 

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The Feast informally known as Thanksgiving…..

Folks, I need to say that there is one meal I truly love, a meal that is so rich, that if I starved myself for a week, I would still consume 10,000 more calories than I lost that week, a meal so wonderful that deviations are not in the least bit tolerated. A meal so filled with tradition that I anticipate it like Christmas morning.  There are a million placed to go and have turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, and grave.  I personally know of 4 such places within 10 minutes or so from my home.  I have sampled their efforts, and sadly none come close to those served here.

 

This post is about the meal, not the concept of it, not our countries rich history of celebration, not the Macy’s parade, not the endless football games (the games are of interest only because they give you an excuse to nap), but the meal, the effort, the consumption, and the enjoyment.

 

The post is also about; food babies, it’s about being so stuffed that not only do you open your belt, you unzip your fly, it’s about sharing the feast with family and friends, it’s about staying true to family traditions, it’s about cranberry sauce (the jello type in a can) not any other kind of cranberries, it’s about stuffing (even stove top stuffing will do), it’s about the 5 hours of preparation for a meal that takes no more than 30 minutes consume, it’s about cleaning up the mess, it’s about football but only in the sense it gives you an excuse to take a nap, and finally this post is about coordinating everything needing to be hot at the same time from a single oven (my wife constantly amazes me how she does it).

 

My 1st Thanksgiving with my wife was the traditional meal, with all the trimming, we shared the meal with close friends, I was just shy of 28 at the time, and had been having Thanksgiving on board ships or navy facilities for the prior 7 years. Before that Mom had always prepared the feast, but I will say without reservation that the meal Steph put together was by far one of the best, if not the best I had ever experienced, and it was clearly a case that I almost ate myself into a coma. It was clearly a time when not only did I have to unbutton but I had to let the zip down just a bit. 

 

One of the endearing comments I have ever heard showing appreciation for the Feast, came from my daughter Allison.  Allison was either 5 or 6 at the time she made the soon to be famous remark.  To continue the tease, the three of us had consumed another fantastic Thanksgiving meal, we had completed all of the courses, the appetizer, the salad, the main event, and finally dessert, we sat at the table to stuffed to move (another unbutton moment), with no one having the energy to get up from the table. Allison slowly pushed back from the table, gazed down at her belly and announced “I think I am going to have a food baby.”  Steph and I both lost it, we were laughing so hard it seemed like food was coming from our noses.  To this day whenever anyone of us (or Allison’s family) talks about having too much to eat, we all smile and say they are having “a food baby.”

 

We have lived in Florida now for almost 12 years and this will be only be the second time we have not shared Thanksgiving with our neighborhood family. Laura has always hosted Thanksgiving, and has had as many as 13 for that meal, she has taken complete responsibility for it, only requesting that her guess’s bring their appetite’s and an appetizer.  Laura puts on a wonderful meal and does so with a great deal of love, but Steph’s is better.  But the meal at Laura’s was and will always be all about the gathering of friends.  Mike, Laura’s husband was a giant part of the festivities, carving the turkey, story-telling, and being a great host.  Allison and her family were always invited to the gathering, but choose to start their own family traditions.   In recent years, Allison and her family have shared Thanksgiving with us.  Only it’s an early Thanksgiving feast, they come spend the night, Allison helps with the preparation, Stu and I have clean up duty, and Allison and Stu put up and decorate our large Christmas tree.  We always watch White Christmas (Stu naps), and Christmas music is playing in the background.  Before moving to Florida Steph, Allison and I travelled to KY for Thanksgiving.  In the later years Mom would sit in her chair and coordinate the ongoing.  There had been up to as many as 23 folks coming to her house for the Feast.  Everyone would bring something, and it was served at 2pm.  This allowed nappers to nap and those that had other feasts to go to time to relax a few before moving on the next feast.  I always felt sorry the ones that had other meals to consume that day, I wouldn’t know how to pace myself. I most likely would have had a food litter.  But these were the traditions that they had to uphold.

 

Now I need to spend some time talking seriously about the FEAST itself.  With all this talk about tradition I bet you think I insist on having a majestic 20 + lb. bird in the oven, au contraire I don’t need the big bird, I am quite content with the big breasts.  KEEP YOUR MIND OUT OF THE GUTTER! My wife serves 2 bone-in breasts, which will feed 5 or 6 and still have a ton of great leftovers.   She does this because as good as the dark meat is, everyone really prefers the white meat and it is so much better for post feast sandwiches.  My wife makes a great stuffing and cooks it separate from the breasts, but has found a way to stuff the breasts for some great cavity stuffing.  And after the meal if the stuffing is in short supply, in our pantry we have a couple extra boxes of STOVE TOP Turkey Stuffing that I can whip up in 5 minutes and I am golden.  As long as the gravy is good as far as I am concerned whipped potatoes or instant potatoes are just fine, but my wife and daughter insist on making the mashed potatoes from scratch, and these are worth the effort, and only require a touch of gravy to be complete.  I don’t do sweet potatoes at all, but again the wife and daughter slave over them, I believe my son-in-law also likes sweet potatoes, the only smart one is Cari, and she is not a fan of sweet potatoes, that’s my granddaughter she makes me so proud.   Allison and I have almost a fetish like for canned cranberry sauce.  Open the can from both ends and let the tube of cranberry mass slide out and into the serving bowl and we are good to go, again Cari is coming around and likes her cranberry sauce like me and her mom. LOL LOL.  We also serve and wonderful green bean and onion dish, no it’s not the green bean casserole (with the cream of mushroom soup and gurkin onions, which I truly love) but a very nice compliment to the meal. Steph makes some of the finest Thanksgiving gravy one could ever hope for, rich with flavor from the cooked breasts and their drippings. A deep rich brown color which is not over powering visually, but has a taste that I could eat like a soup.  I pour (not spoon) this gravy over my turkey breast meat, the mashed potatoes and dressing, and I keep the gravy boat handy in case I need more, yes I am a pig, yes I starve myself in preparation for this meal, and I do it every Thanksgiving.  Below is a recap of the Hamilton Family Feast informally known as Thanksgiving.

 Turkey Breasts (2)

Gravy (at least a gallon for me)

Mashed potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

Rolls

Green Beans

Cranberry Sauce

Apple fruit salad

Pumpkin and Pecan Pies

Pumpkin Bread

 

That folks is a meal worth sitting down to, and the leftovers can be enjoyed for days afterwards.  I truly love a good turkey sandwich on white bread, with salt pepper and mayo.  Throw some chips on the side and that too is damn fine eating.  But my wife will make open face turkey sandwiches with mashed potatoes and dressing at least once generally twice immediately after the feast, generally the next 2 evening meals.

 

What truly amazes me is how you cooks coordinate such a meal, and to do all of the above using 4 burners and 1 oven.  Steph does it year in and year out.  This massive Feast takes almost 5 hours to prepare.  The multitude of dishes is staggering. The preparation area is so so at best, and yet when everyone sits down at the table, all the hot things are hot, and all the cool things are cool.  The entire process of preparing the meal take almost 5 hours, but in almost every case (no matter where I have gone to have the meal) it only takes 30 minutes to eat it, and includes in some of our cases having seconds and thirds.  I think anyone that undertakes such an effort is to be commended, and for those that actually pull it off, well they deserve a Medal!!!  And most importantly for those of us that consume our unwavering thanks. 

 

I show my gratitude to Steph and Allison for their efforts, but being the chief bottle washer.  As soon as they start cooking I start cleaning.  Every dish as it’s used to prepare an aspect of the meal is placed in the sink where I attack it with the same vigor the cooks are attacking the making of the meal.  In some cases during clean up I have washed and dried the same bowl 4 or 5 times, and this is a continuous process throughout the preparation.  By the time the last dish is coming out of the over, all prior used dishes have been washed and put away, the sink is empty awaiting the next phase.  Post eating clean up.  I must give credit where credit is due.  Stu has been great in the cleanup process, and he does so with a smile on his face, and goodness in his heart.  I know there has been many a time when I thought I was at my end, when Stu jumped in and took over. After the meal he really steps up and does most of the work.  But between the 2 of us we take care of 90 pct of the actual cleaning of the kitchen.  By the way I don’t want to leave Cari out; she does a great job of setting the table, and making place holders.  She also helps in post meal clean up by carrying things from the dining room back into the kitchen.  Cari is also responsible for selecting the Christmas movie or movies we will watch.  Each family member has a part in the celebration of the Feast and we all take our responsibility very seriously!

 

That my friends is how we celebrate the Feast here.  Thank you for enjoying it with me. I hope that each of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by those that love you and that you love.  And I hope you eat until you have a “food baby.”  Happy Thanksgiving, please take care Bill.

 

As always your thoughts and comments are welcome. 

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2013 in Grandpa Stories, Humor, Observations, Ramblings

 

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