Thursday, June 25, 2009

IGNORANCE BLISS? Nah! Its a pain in the behind!

I hate being ignorant! My mother, bless her memory, said that "Walt will always be going to school". As usual, she was right as I went to school throughout her life, from Mike Vance's Institute of Creative Thinking to the University of Akron. I still go to school intermittently. There is soooo much to know!

Kimberly gave me the wonderful gift of a "Story Stick". As I acknowledged in the blog which I wrote about it, I had never heard of a story stick. I love it and have it displayed just inside the front door of my home.

Oh, yes! I nearly forgot. Make that an IRISH STORY STICK.

A real, honest-to-goodness IRISH STORY STICK. Un Huh!

Yesterday was Julie's birthday. When we were married I was half again older than she was. After nearly 30 years of marriage she is slowly but surely catching up. I am now only a quarter older than she is. On a curve, she will statistcally catch up and pass me in 15 years. I can't wait. What are we talking about? Oh, yes! Ignorance. Hmmmm

Any hoo, Julie took the day off work yesterday. The big boss suggested she do so. They like Julie. For a good reason, she is their number one success story.

We did everything Julie likes doing, from breakfast where they have the one-legged waitresses, you know, IHOP, to seeing the new movies just released, "The Transformers". (It was a rotten movie--too noisy to sleep). In the near future we will go to her favorite German restaurant. And, of course, we went to Sam's Warehouse Club.

I love buying cheap books at Sam's. James Patterson has a newly released book, "5th Horseman". It is in hardback for only $4.88. What a buy. Unfortunately, it wasn't much of a book. No, it was quite interesting. It is the "Women's Murder Club" series.

But I like big books, books that take at least a week to read. I finished this book before I went to bed. The print was big, not the vision handicapped large, but big. Chapters were only a few pages, some only two pages. Every chapter started at the half page and ended on pages with as little as 30 words. A lot of blank space in this book. But it was good and I enjoyed it.

I especially like page 38. Cindy, the reporter, was saying "I've got a lead on a story thats going to be a bombshell". To which, Clair, the San Francisco medical examiner replyed "Do Tell." YOU'VE GOT THE STORY STICK, GIRL FRIEND."

You've got the STORY STICK! I was ignorant of that word just a week or so ago. And, once again I learned from my children. Thanks, Kimberly!

How do you avoid being ignorant? Really you can't. There is just too much to know. But, we can avoid appearing ignorant by keeping our mouths shut and by having an inquiring mind.

I LOVE BEING A BLOGGER AND HAVING THE "STORY STICK". Again, I learned from my children. Thanks Mark.

Daniel J. Boorstin:

"The greatest obstacle to discovery is not
ignorance--it is the illusion of knowledge.

God Bless!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

280 FIFTH ST NW: Welcome!

Although Julie and I repeated the normal "Until death do us part" wedding vows, the real wedding promise was made beforehand.

I told Julie that while I didn't know how we would get along she could rest assured that her two children would love me and she would have the nicest yard in the neighborhood. I didn't tell her she would have to do the work!

Keeping the yard promise this year has been difficult. Between a bout of depression from an aborted bike trip, three weeks of flu with a viral infection and a virus caused heart attack, I haven't done much of anything, including yard work.

Leaves of three, leave it be! Julie minded this boy scout caution and had me pull some posion ivy for her. I had it so often and so bad as a child I have built up an immunity. Yes, I still used gloves and wore a long sleeve shirt. Otherwise, Julie has done all the yard work from planting flowers to clipping the hedges.

Fifth Street NW in Barberton is a typical all-American neighborhood. Tree lined with mostly maples, the houses were built a bit over a hundred years ago. All the houses on our block are owner occupied excepting one.

We used to rent out this house but decided to downgrade to this smaller house for retirement. It is a small home but we had it refurbished inside and out and had it professionally decorated by Ethan Allen. It is relatively inexpensive, easy to maintain and a source of pride.

When people drive by 280 Fifth St. NW, our address, their attention is drawn to our house. From the rock garden around the big maple tree to the walkway to the porch, beauty abounds.

When we give directions to our house we tell people it is across the street from St. Andrews Epistisicoal Church, the house with the wicker furniture and the flowers. The porch stands out.


The doorway to 280 Fifth St. NW has four welcome signs. When we have a group dinner we print the menu which extends to our guests the "warmest of welcomes". In addition to the four signs at the door there are multiple welcome signs in every room.

The yard is framed with plantings and the steps hold two beautiful potted plants. The door way has a beautiful colieus, Julie's pride and joy.









Every man needs a throne and mine is in the rocking chair to the right of the steps. I can and do spend hours in this chair, sometimes reading and sometimes just watching as the world goes by. I love it late at night or the wee hours of the morning.

From the floor to eye level flowers abound. Every year Julie selects different hanging plants. This year she has gone to pink and they are beautiful. She shops carefully and is as proud of the price she pays as she is of the flower its self.









Julie likes frogs. I do too but I prefer mine cooked! Or, maybe on a fishing hook? UMMM. She has a frog in every nook and cranny of the porch, in the pots and in the gardens. I broke the protruding eye out of this treasure that sets atop of our milk can. I keep putting a flower in the empty eye socket but she keeps taking the flower out. Wants to keep the guilt trip alive. UMMMMM again! I told her she should be ashamed for the porno frogs but she insists they are just playing leap frog. I REPORT. YOU DECIDE!









Our porch, an important part of our home when we entertain, has two couchs and two chairs. We often need to add a couple chairs on the porch from the dining room for a large number of family or friends. I very frequently set on the porch very late at night when the neighborhood is silent. I love it when it rains and am thrilled when it thunderstorms.

One of Julie's favorite flowers is her hisbiscus plants. In this picture they have just completed a flowering cycle and are bare. I counted 36 flower buds forming on just one plant. In a week or so each bud will be a huge, six inch, pink flower. It will be spectacular. The pink hisbiscus is underplanted with pink vinca.



The back deck and small back yard is likewise covered with flowers, hanging plants and an underplanted fountain. The patio by the side of the garage has a large stone waterfall. The patio needs attention and the deck needs painting. Oh, well!

Unlike me, Julie has so few faults, being addicted to flowers being one of them. Yes, the wedding vows also included the words "for better or for worse" so I guess I'll keep her. Hmm!

Old Chinese Proverb:

"When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one and a lily with the other".

PS: I dearly love it when I get a comment before I even finish the blog. Thanks Cheryl. Yell, tell me about those frogs!

God Bless!

Friday, June 19, 2009

EXTENDED SCHOOL DAYS? Not the answer!

Our new leader, whose name I'll not mention so as not to set off an alarm by my "Big Brother" monitor, promised change and change he is delivering.

Delivering much anguish I might add. I might also add that, in my belief, that anguish will be experienced by more and more citizens as all of his changes take place.

Lying in the Cornorary Care Unit, probably from the effects of a virual infection rather than from a bad heart, after hearing one of our fearless leader's plans to provide extremely low interest home loans and about $8,000 for a down payment to what he termed as "unfortunate people", I watched as my heart beat grew erratic.

Today, observing the disparity of education of the poor and the wealthy, the president is proposing either extending the school week or the school year. This action may cost him one of his strongest bases, the teacher unions. Teachers do not want to work longer. At least those in my family do not.

All of my grandchildren attended private schools. Some for eight years and some for twelve. Along with nearly 100% of their classmates, they have all gone to college, excepting the two little munchkins, who are most certainly college bound.

What about public schools where the test results and the number attending college are much lower? Like health care, aren't all the so called "poor" children entitled to equal educational opportunities?

All my children attended public schools. Starting before kindergarden it was understood that their parents would be fully involved in their lives, including their education. The children were never allowed to have a "coast" class, no study halls! Again, importantly, their parents were totally emersed in all aspects of the kids lives, including education.

Although they went to church every Sunday and were active scouts, they were each encouraged to be independant thinkers, and their own persons. Kimberly was runner up to and senior attendant for the homecoming queen. She was the class speaker at graduation. Mark and Todd were active all around. If there was a trophy for being ornery, Todd would still hold that honor I'll bet.

Many of the grandchildren graduated early from high school with a year or two of college credits. Jillian, started at Cedarville last fall. Next fall she will be a senior.

At the Norton High School, which my children all attended, the elderly English teacher was known to be "tough". If you passed Mrs. Good's English class you had a good grasp of the English language. My oldest sons both had Mrs. Good.

My son Mark was certainly a teacher's pet. It was not a gift. He earned it. He got himself up at 5AM daily to study. He took Honor's English class as a freshman in college and considered it a breeze while getting a perfect 4.0.

Mrs. Good retired before my daughter got to senior english but her replacement so inspired my daughter that she became an English Major in college.

All my children are professionals married to professionals, all the products of public schools.

Compare two schools. Both are in the 44203 postal area. Norton and Barberton High Schools are 1.4 miles apart. Norton has older schools. Barberton has a shiny new, air conditioned school. Norton teachers average making $51,721, the state average, while Barberton teachers are paid $64,701.

The enrollment at Norton High School is 725 while Barberton is 1,085. Norton is 97% white while Barberton is 84% white. (THIS IS IN NO WAY A RACIAL ARTICLE!) How do the two schools compare in test results.

SCHOOL------------------NORTON----------- BARB-------OH AVERAGE

READING:.................. 94.9 ............. 81.0 ............ 81.7
MATH:...................... 91.6 ............. 73.0............. 81.0
SOCIAL STUDIES .......... 92.1 ............. 68.0............. 74.9
SCIENCE:................... 91.0.............. 64.0............. 71.1

What might account for the difference in results?

Are the teachers overwhelmed with large classes at Barberton? No, the teacher-student ration is 16:1.

Is it school environment? No, the facilities at Barberton far exceed those at Norton.

Are the teachers at Barberton lowly paid individuals? No, they are, indeed, paid 25% more than either Barberton or the state average.

What, then, is the difference?

Is a Congregational Study Group or a new Educational Czar needed to determine the shortfall at Barberton? I think not. Two elements of difference should indicate the cause to anyone with a brain and an open mind.

First, look at the dismal Social Studies comparison. A 91% to 64% difference, even below the state average of 71%. Abraham Lincoln espoused that "all men are created equal". I agree that all children are born perfect. Instantly, however, their parents change that equation.

Secondly, the average household income in Norton is $52,682 while in Barberton it is only $36,003. Why is that? The clue, again, comes from a comparison of the Social Studies in the two schools. Children are a reflection of their parents.

Are the people in Norton descendents of wealth and education?

Not on your tin type Tilly, although they are better educated with less single parent families. My Mother, may she rest in peace, went to the third grade and Dad to the eighth.

Wealthy? I think not. My inheirtance consisted of Mom's colored TV, her old iron skillet, which I revere and plan to pass on to her great grand daughter, and one dollar.

How in the world can this inequity, which most certainly exists in these two schools, be corrected by pouring more money into the Barberton School? It cannot! Will that happen? Almost for certain!

What will the end result be?

An even more abusive tax burden on those who have lived a good life, paid the price for their success, and invested time and money in their children's lives.

And, further generations of unprepared students who will look to the government to give them what they have nor earned. It is a most basic example of wealth redistribution and dumbing down.

What do I think about all this? I think it is time for "change". The elections of 2010 and 2012 cannot come too soon for me.

Just so there is no misunderstanding, I have taken a solemn vow to defend the President of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I will honor that vow throughout my life.
I will still vote!

Norman Vincent Peale:

"Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that!"

God Bless!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

OLD TOO FAST: Smart too late!

Ps. 90:10 (KJV) The days of our life are three score years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be four score years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off and we fly away.

At the 50th reunion of the 1948 Class of Point Pleasant, WV High School several old friendships were renewed. One such friendship for me was with Dottie (Thomas) Campbell.

It had been 25 years since we had last seen one another. Ten years later, we saw each other again at the 60th Class Reunion. The next reunion will be the last Saturday in July.

Dottie and I, along with others, have stayed in touch via email. Although she rarely writes a message she forwards the most beautiful pictures, stories and music. Responding to such an email I mentioned that I had had a health problem but was on the mend. She replied that she had spent three days in the hospital with pneumonia but was better.

I am age 78 and I suspect Dottie is about the same age.

Life insurance companies bet on the length of peoples lives and they get rich being right. According to the actuary tables used by insurance companies a male born in 1931 will average living for 76 years.

Of my 125 class mates in 1948, there were about 100 living at the 50th reunion. There were about 35 at the 60th. The actuary tables are accurate.

I accept that life ends with old age. Actually, I have no problem with that. For some people perhaps it should end sooner. My brother Ray was in a rest home his last seven years as a result of a massive stroke. He was paralized on one side, couldn't walk or care for himself. The age of 76 would have been a burden which Ray would not have wanted to bear.

On the other hand, Dottie still enjoys a productive life. She is the Genealogist for Mason County working in the county clerk's office. She sets an example for the community by driving a golf cart to work.

I'm sure Dottie has an active social life with a multitude of family and friends. She has grandchildren of whom she is proud, one is a professional golfer. I'm sure she is financially sound. She enjoys a beautiful home. She may be older but she has taken care of herself and is still small and lovely.

How sad that the three score years and ten applies to such people.

When we were young our life was "Labor and Sorrow". For me there was the challenge of a daughter with serious allergeries. For years every Saturday morning was a rush home from work to get her to the doctor before noon. Later, when she failed to make the cut as a cheer leader, there was the rush to the Y every Saturday for gymnastics. (There was joy the following year when she survived the cut.)

There was the challenge of three children in college during the hyper inflation years of the 70 's and 80's when costs grew much faster than income. Although blessed with a senior manager position with an international firm, it was necessary to always have at least one business on the side. (Again there was joy when all the children continued toward their master's degrees). Now there are grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Life is good!

My wife and I own our home and a lakeside retreat. We're debt free. Our cash flow is at least adequate. We each own a vehicle for which we paid cash. Although I've been retired for nearly 20 years, Julie, who is younger, still works. We have enough for ourselves and enough to share with others. We know how to play and do. We travel around the world. We are also blessed with family and friends. We have a good social life. Yet, like Dottie, I at least, am well past my "three score years and ten".

Is life fair?

I suppose we must answer that question individually. When life's mistakes are mostly behind us, when we are strong and healthy, the "three score years and ten" may not seem fair.

I've discussed this around a wilderness campfire with my older brother, who passed away at the age of 84. It was my opinion that when it was time to go, we would be ready to go. My Mother was.


On the right is a picture of Mom taken in 1914 at age 15. She was a fiercely independent person. I take that after no stranger. At age 84 she was losing her eyesight.

Mom had moved into a senior's apartment house and my brother and his wife cleaned house for her. One time Mom saw something on the floor in her kitchen. She crept up on it and stomped it good. Henry laughed and said "You sure killled that grape, Mom". She was as crushed as the grape.

A devoted Christian, she asked Henry to pray that God would take her home. Henry said that was one prayer he would never pray. She said "Never mind, I'll pray it myself". We buried Mom a couple weeks later. She wasn't ill. She had had her "three score years and ten" and was ready to go. She died peacefully saying "Yes, Lord".

Like Dottie, I've had a bit of a physical problem from which I'm recovering. I have no complaints. Wisdom is knowing what can be changed and accepting that which cannot be changed. I have always strived to use wisdom.

What wisdom do I have to share? Consider what the writer of Psalms said in 90:12 "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom".

When I was one year old Albert E. Brumley wrote the song "Some glad morning, when this life is 'or, I'll fly away"

Until that time comes, "LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL! Class reunion here I come, the good Lord willing and the krick don't rise.

God Bless!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

SMARTER THAN A 5TH GRADER? Don't bet on it!

The Easton United Methodist Church is holding their annual Sunday School Picnic on Sunday, June 21st. There will be good food and lots of rowdy games. I have been asked to have 30 minutes of games that everyone, including the elderly, can enjoy.

I immediately knew just the game and have it prepared already.

I made up my own version of "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?" I have tried the game out on a number of people.

I'm putting my money on the 5th graders. Oh, Yea!

My daughter, Kimberly, along with grandchildren, Riley and Rosebud, went to the Farmer's Market with me this week. Of course we bought a couple week's worth of fruit and veggies and I gifted each of the children with a small toy. I can't go to the Hartville Market without getting a hotdog so we had lunch.

Riley, who is undergoing braces, had a tooth extracted earlier and could only eat soup. As he expressed his discomfort I told him to be brave and thankful. His Mother had four teeth removed for her braces. Wasn't much comfort. HA

Riley will be in the fifth grade next year. His sister, Rosebud, proudly announced she will be in the third grade and get "letter" grades.

While we were enjoying lunch I took my game out for a trial run between Kimberly, who has a Master's Degree and her son, the soon-to-be fifth grader. Because I know some of the people who will be at the picnic will read this blog I won't share the details of the game. Suffice it to say that Riley almost "skunked" his mother.

Was Kimberly embarrassed? Not at all. Her only comment, accompanied by my laughter of course, was that she guessed she was getting a good return on her $14,000 a year investment in her son's private school. I agree!

It was so much fun that I ran the game by my wife Julie. She did marginally better than Kimberly. Julie is a consummate reader.

At a breakfast today, a treat of my son, Mark, I told him about his sibbling and nephew. He thought it was funny until I ran it by him. He is working on his second Master's Degree. He did about the same as Kimberly. It was so much fun.

When I came home, Renee, Julie's good friend, was there. I told her about the game and she agreed to play. She is from New York and holds a degree from the U. of Oregon. She was a bit better than Julie but chagrined not to be nearly as good as Riley, the fifth grader.

You might ask how well I would have done. Well, having that same thought, Mark asked me a question that few people would know. He was amazed, I think, that I knew the answer to his question.

I'm a reader, also, and I have travelled over a lot of the planet. I made the game up from information that I already knew. Ironically, when they were children I exposed Kimberly and Mark to first hand experience on some of the questions they missed. But it has been awhile and it is all still fresh in the fifth grader's mind.

Are you smarter than a fifth grader? If you're past the age of 30, don't bet on it.

NOT AT ALL RELATED TO THE SUBJECT OF THIS BLOG, THE FUNNIEST THING JUST HAPPENED. UH, I THOUGHT IT WAS FUNNY. JULIE WOULD DISAGREE!

Julie just quit planting flowers to shower and to accept her daughter's phoned invitation to come on over for a cookout in progress. Julie left the water hose turned on. Like a lot of 105 year old homes, our water pressure leaves something to be desired. She shouted "Walt, I'm naked and ready to step in the shower but I left the water hose turned on". I shouted right back, "Julie, you don't have to be dressed to turn off a water hose".

Well, now, I thought that was clever. I won't repeat the words I heard from Julie as I hustled down the stairs to turn off the water.

Dr. Carl Sagan:

"Knowing a great deal is not the same as being smart; intelligence is not information alone but is also judgement, the manner in which information is gathered and used".

God Bless!

Friday, June 12, 2009

THOSE DANGED GERMANS: A Wonderful Story

My cousin Cheryl sent me this story. I loved it! The next time you are tempted to paint a people with one broad brush keep this true story in mind.

In WW II a B-17 on a bombing mission over Germany was shot to pieces. The tail was partially shot off, the nose of the bomber was blown away, the top gunner was splayed over the fuselage, the tail gunner was wounded and the plane was full of holes. The painting on the right tried to capture the two planes.

The bomber was named "Ye old Pub" and the pilot was Charlie Brown. His navigation system had been shot away and he was in error flying further into Germany instead of heading back to England and safety. One engine was shot up and the plane was barely flyable.




A Luftwaffe pilot was ordered to take off and shoot the bomber down. Pilot Franz took a look at the plane and was amazed that it was still flying and respected the men who had done their duty and were so gallently striving to stay alive. He circled the bomber and with hand signals told them to reverse course. They did and he led them to the English Channel where he saluted them and flew back to his base.

He reported that he had shot the plane down. Knowing that he would have been shot for what he did, he never told what had really taken place. The bomber crew were instructed by their superiors to never tell the true story creating good will toward an enemy.

Forty years later, at a reunion of the 379th Bomber Group the truth came out and both pilots were honored. What an unusual story! Both pilots died in 2008.




In 1989 Julie and I went to the 175th Ocktoberfest in Munich, Germany, traveling through Germany and Austria. We sneaked away from a reception on the first night and went to the Ocktoberfest. Of course neither of us spoke or understood German, although many of their words are common to English.

We joined perhaps two million people who rode rides, ate food, went to shows and quaffed down enormus amounts of barely cooled beer. Well, Julie and I kept the same huge stein of beer in front of us all night. In the center of each tent, which held seven thousand rowdy people, was an ompah band.

Four thousand people were dancing, half of them on the rough picnic tables. They were all singing a song which had the same tune as "Old MacDonald". I grabbed a totally intimidated Julie, joined in the dancing and started to sing along.

Of course, I was singing "Old MacDonald" in English. My dance pardner was terrified as I laughed and danced away.

We stood out in the crowd. We were the guests of an oil group for whom I had raised a meaningful amount of money. I had flown to Germany in a cowboy hat with cowboy boots.

Oil people are mostly westerners, several were from Lubach, Texas, and with them I blended right in. Our luggage was lost and I wore those boots and hat for four days. To put it bluntly, in the German crowd we were obviously Yanks!

A group of Germans, maybe a dozen or so, took us in hand. We joined them at their picnic table, ate and danced the night away.

Thousands swayed in time with a drinking song, much like a wave at a football game. They counted to three and banged those huge beer stein together. Some danced on the table.

Uh, no! Although she got into the spirit of this friendly, fun loving group, Julie wouldn't get on the table and dance with me. Boo!

We loved the food although it was more bland than ours. Less sugar but still delicious. Before moving on from Munich we made a second trip to what we would think of as the state fair.

When Julie went to visit the setting for the movie, "The Sound of Music" I went to the first death camp at Dachau. We had a personal guide and and toured to Innsbruk and the Austrian Alps in our own chauffered Mecerdes.

Speeding 120 MPH down the autobaun I whispered to Julie about how fast we were going. Erika, our guide, a young woman who spoke five languages, asked if she was driving too fast for us. I told her she wasn't but we didn't normally drive that fast in America.

A moment later she swerved hard to the right, too hard for that speed I thought, and I must have caught my breath. She said "it's alright, we are required to yield to a faster vehicle". At that point a small, red german car went flying past us.

I asked the hotel coceriege for instructions to get to the town of Dachau and the concentration camp. She took me to the undergrown train station. Unlike in America, the subway was as clean as a newly waxed hospital floor. No buttes, no gum wrappers and certainly no grafetti.

You bought a ticket that allowed you to ride any conveyance for that day. No gates, no one to check your ticket. I got off the train and onto the bus. No one checked anything. Can you imagine that in America? Transportation was so plain that it was clear to one who did not speak the language. I never got lost.

I found the German people to be friendly, clean, hard working, fun loving and very intelligent people. If they have a fault it is that they obey laws unquestioning. This trait has got the country in trouble throughout their history. I liked Germany and the Germans.

I did not feel the same way in Japan. Although the Japanese were oh so polite, I never felt completely safe. Travel in large cities in Japan was very difficult for me. Not so in Germany. That being said, we are all God's children.

Graver morgan, schoner tag! (Grey morning, beautiful day!)

Erst mistus, dann christus. (First fertilize, then prayer.)

God Bless!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

THE PERFECT GIFT: Thanks Kimberly!

My daughter, Kimberly, and her husband, Jack, were two years in building their 8,005 square foot French Colonial home and moving in. Another two years will probably be required to completely finish the home and to decorate the interior. The completion of such things as a circular library with a 40 foot ceiling takes time.

Kimberly has a friend whose husband is one of the nation's top banking executives who is reassigned every few years. At each move Kimberly's friend, who has wonderful taste--she reads my blog--redecorates each new home completely using the same nationally acclaimed interior designer that Kimberly uses.

Kimberly has to some extent been a beneficiary of the desposition of each home's furnishings at a very generous price. There was one article of art, however, that the lady has kept through each of her last three moves. It is quite heavy, though, and she will not be shipping it to London for their upcoming move from Chicago. Kimberly gave this item to me today.

In all honesty I have never heard of the gift but it makes perfect sense and I am a natural to receive it. It is an antique "Irish Story Stick". It is made of iron and is quite heavy. It is finished in a crackled bronze finish. I would hate to think of the original price. I am so blessed.

What is a "Story Stick". Before written history story tellers were responsibile for keeping the people's records verbally. A podium being to bulky to tote from place to place, a simple stand was used. The story teller would place a hand on the stick and tell his story. When aged the story teller would pass the "Story Stick"on to the next story teller.

I placed my hand on the "Story Stick" today and the poetry just naturally rolled out of me. Uh, was it used in Ireland? But, of course! The title was "Antique European Story Stick" but Ireland is part of Europe isn't it? The Irish are just the grandest of story tellers, aren't they? Doesn't it just seem to reason that it is an "Irish Story Stick"?

I have been accused of many things in my life. I am guilty of most, probably. But, no, I've never been accused of "letting the truth get in the way of a good story".

With my hand on my new "Irish Story Stick" I declare that "that's my story and I'm sticking to it" Yep! It's an Irish Story Stick. Un Huh!




Thank you Kimberly. You are truly Daddy's #1 Girl, after 39 years, huh?

As the sign in my kitchen proclaims:


God Bless

Thursday, June 4, 2009

STEAK ON A STONE: Sizzle Sizzle Sizzle !!!

OUT TO DINNER WITH FRIENDS!

One of the many joys of the above dining group is checking out potential restaurants. After a progressive dinner to start the year, each couple gets to choose a restaurant that is different with good food at a reasonable price. The host couple is responsible for personally checking out the restaurant in advance.

My and Julie's month was May. Due to lot's of reasons, not to mention that we each had a virus infection and I was in the hospital for a week and a half with heart problems, we couldn't make it happen in May. No one had June so we just backed our choice up a month.

One long night a year ago Julie couldn't sleep. During the wee hours of the night she was up watching a dining show. Several caught her attention but one that stood out for fun eating was Steak On A Stone. Earlier this year that unusual restaurant build a locally. We checked it out yesterday.




The food is brought to the diner on a lava stone that is heated to 750 degrees. That's hot! The diner cuts bite sized pieces and cooks them to their own taste. Unlike grilling, where the juices are cooked out of the meat, this stone sears the meat surface keeping the juices in. A bite size of meat will cook to "medium" in twenty seconds.

Steaks come in Filet Mignon, New York Strip, Ribeye or Sirloin Strip. The diner may also choose to cook Jumbo Shrimp or Duck Breast. Don't want to do the cooking? You may also order your food fully prepared.

Greek owned, the restaurant also specialize in authenic Greek Cuisine. You can get Avgolemono Soup, Saganaki or Grape Leaves rolled around beef, topped with lemon sauce. Want Boneless Chicken breast grilled and covered with spinach, mushrooms and provolone cheese on Clabatta Bread. No Sweat! Mousaka, Pastitsio or Spanakotyropita? Yep! They have that too. Sea food? How about a lobster?

The steaks on a stone come with a wide assortment of dipping sauces. To go with our New York strips we chose a House Steak Sauce, Peppercorn Merlot, a Bernaise, and Horseradish.

We serve strip steaks often at home, either in ten or twelve ounce sizes. Although our steaks were supposedly twelve ounces, it was at least twice as thick as the steaks we buy. They were huge! The picture on the left is what's left when my steak was half eaten.

There was a wide assortment of side dishes. We both chose salads. Julie got the usual baked potato. It was a big potato. I had french fried sweet potato strips. No seasoning, just the sweet potato.

You know how a potato cools off as you finish your meal. Not here. You pop it onto the stone and each bite is sizzling hot.

The meal is served with a freshly baked loaf of bread with herbed butter. The bread alone was worth the trip to this restaurant.

After the meal is complete the stone is still over 500 degrees. The special dish that holds the stone is hot. The table beneath the dish is hot. You can feet the heat as you cook each bite. It may not sound like it but it was fun. It was also very, very tasty.

Dessert? Are you kidding? We were stuffed. I helped Julie finish her steak although I was full when mine was gone.

Very important, the coffee was kept fresh and hot by the waitress.

For groups of eight or more they take reservations, normally we number twelve. They will serve 12 at one table. Friday nights is less busy than Saturday. It looks like everyone can come on Saturday, June 20th. Sample menus and literature will go out tomorrow, June 9th.

Let the good times roll!

Author Unknown:

"A friend is like a bowl of Jelly Beans......good to the bottom of the bowl"

God Bless!