Tuesday, September 28, 2010

BEACH VACATION A'COMING: Three More Days!

My brother Henry and his wife Cookie invited Julie and I to share a beach vacation with them in 1989. Cookie had won a week at the Royal Garden Resort in a World Book sales contest. We had just bought a new 1989 Lincoln Town Car and enjoyed the drive, going through the mountains, on the way to the Myrtle Beach area of South Carolina.We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and the next year we returned to beach camp at the local State Park. It was enjoyable but certainly not the same as the condo. It was our second trip in the summer and it was really hot.

The following year we returned to the condo for a week. We had a great time but it was just too far to drive for one week. Also, it was too hot and crowded in the summer months. From that time on we leased for the entire month of October. The weather was mild, the beaches empty and the out-of-season monthly rate about the same as a weekly rate in season.

We stayed in various units but after about the 4th or 5th trip we started leasing a penthouse suite, unit 1604, always renewing the lease for the following year. For health reasons we have missed a couple years but, I think, this will be our 19th trip. This beautiful penthouse suite has, to some extent, become our home for 1/12th of our life.
Although it is not anything really fancy, it is very comfortable and roomy. Looking seaward from the 16th floor balcony you can see forever almost. The view of a full moon reflecting on perhaps 20 miles of calm ocean is spectacular. One year we were there a week after Huricane Hugo made a direct hit and another year we weathered a huricane going up the coast to make landfall just north of us.

We have almost always had at least two couples as guests, changing groups every Saturday. Sometimes we filled every nook and cranny, wall to wall. As there are three bed rooms, two with multiple beds, and a great roll out couch plus two twin mattresses for sleeping on the floor, that is saying a lot. We have even gone so far as to add inflated mattresses. At times people have even slept on the balcony. JUST LIKE IN OUR HOME, IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN, "THE MORE THE MERRIER"!

Our two sons, with a couple they invited, stayed a week each, at times with some of their children, spouses and the grandchihldren. Sometimes the teen age grandchildren would bring a friend. Our daughter with her children stayed a week. The fourth week we would invite our friends. One couple's young children thought that was where we lived, a funny story too long to tell.

Everyone was treated as our honored guests and, quite simply, it was "PARTY TIME" for a month. Julie and I both love to cook and we cooked up a storm. Big breakfasts daily, folks mostly made their own lunches, we provided the fixings. We ate out a time or two each week with the different groups, otherwise Julie and I cooked.

Over the years special dinners evolved to be repeated. Steak night, we brought the steaks from Bennett's Fine Meats in Canton, Ohio. One year we had to have the steaks air shipped on dry ice. We buy whole loins of strip steaks. There was a spaghetti and meat ball night. Perhaps the best night of all was "Finger Food and Games Night".

Some flew to Myrtle Beach, but most drove. Some took two days to get there, as Julie and I do, others drove straight through, taking about 12 hours. We always got there a day or so before the first guests and always had the same meal to welcome each group to the beach. I'd make a corn chowder with corn bread. Julie would make a fabulous, large taco dip with veggies and chips. Can you say Strawberry Margaritta? I would also bake an apple pie. This became the expected meal when each group arrived.

Neither Julie nor I are in the best of health. For that reason this year we have restricted the number of guests. The first week my oldest son and his wife will visit as will a newly discovered and dearly loved cousin and her husband. The second week we have a grand daughter and great grand son. The third week my daughter and her two children and two of our friends will visit. We will only stay three weeks as I prepare in the last week for a hip replacement in early November. My youngest son and a couple who have visited with us many times will enjoy the last week without us.

Life is so good! The annual trip to the beach has become a tradition and a good one. If Julie ever retires, and she will some day, I suspect we will spent the winter months in this lovely part of the world. Meanwhile, for awhile at least, we will LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL!

Be reminded to vote.

God Bless.

Friday, September 24, 2010

BUREAUCRACY: Who Needs It?

My family doctor, who recommended that I have my hip replaced, suggested the use of a cane and the getting of a handicapped parking permit. I'm not proud. He wrote me the permit. Today I applied for it.

The liscense bureau is nearby my home. I have not been there for years. They are so inefficient that they cannot get out of their own way. Normally, we drive to Wadsworth, a nearby town, for our licenses. Getting the handicapped permit would seem to be so simple, I just drove to the local office.


The big sign said TAKE A NUMBER FOR SERVICE. The number dispenser was empty. I should have turned around and walked out there and then. As the office was mostly empty, I just stood, leaning on my cane, until a pleasant young lady offered her services.

She called to my attention that the length of time for the permit just said TEMPORARY. I told her that I had a bad hip that was scheduled to be replaced in November and there was up to six months recovery, so maybe 8 to 10 months. THEN, she said, "temporary is usually 6 months". I told her six months would be fine. No, she said, she'd check.

What happens when a bureaucrat checks? Life gets difficult.

She said the doctor would have to specify the exact length of time. She would call for that info, which they would fax to her. She would call me tomorrow when she had the doctor's reply.

I AM OF THE OPINION THAT MOST OF THE PEOPLE GETTING HANDICAPPED PARKING PERMITS HAVE ENOUGH PROBLEMS IN LIFE. Unfortunately, I see obviously young and healthy people with permits so there has to be regulation. BUT THERE IS A TAX, ERRR, FEE! Why? The small cardboard sign could only cost cents. The fee is $3.50 per permit and she was pushing two permits.

The permit will help so I will stay after it. Meanwhile, I'll stop grousing over bureaucrats, read the bible and smell the roses! Join me?

Plan to vote.
God Bless!

2010 ELECTIONS: How very interesting!

The first election I vividly recall was F. D. Roosevelt's 3rd and 4th run for president. I remember when the newspapers were printed about Truman losing the race. He won! I recall when Goldwater, a hero running on strong national defense got wiped out during war years.


I certainly recall elections when the blacks were burning cities around the nation, dope heads were everywhere and Knott's Berry Farm had to build a fence to keep hippies from eating the livestock.

Who doesn't recall Clinton being elected after being caught in a lie to Americans about his sexual peccadillo. Committing a felony and being disbarred was not a deterrent.

Among other interesting races this year is that of Christine O'Donnell running for the Senate in Delaware. She admitted to "dabbling" with witchcraft when she was 17 and in high school.

WHAT DID YOU "DABBLE" IN WHEN YOU WERE 17 AND STILL IN HIGH SCHOOL?

I lived alone without family in high school when I was ages 15, 16 and 17. What stories do I recall.

Well, for one, I became associated with trained killers. On a regular basis I met with these guys and was taught how I too could kill. When I was 17 I became associated with even more dedicated killers. I was, shall I say encouraged, to constantly keep a gun with me. Well, it was never referred to as a gun. That Springfield '03 weighed nine pounds when it was picked up in the morning but weighed two ton when it was laid down at night.

Uh, to collect $18 a month, which I really needed, I joined the WV National Guard when I was 16. Following graduation from high school shortly after my 17th birthday I joined the Navy. "Trained Killers" all. HA

While I'd like to think I am now older and wiser, I am still one of those people whom Obama referred to as Loving my guns and Bible. In addition to the guns I have a mean dog named Gunner.





















My most faithful friend when I was 15 and on through high school, ran a house of prostitution. (No, the above picture is not her. Uh, I felt impressed to "save the elephants") Umm!

My friend was older than me by far but was a loving and fun person. She and each of her girls treated me as "the man of the house" when I lived with her for weeks, sometimes for months, at a time. Often just having something to eat was a challenge for me. This friend always fed me, albeit, often just a tomato and macaroni dish. But, all you could eat! I still like it although I haven't had it for years. If times were good, she could make the best steak and gravy which she always freely shared with me.

She would at times play an old flat top guitar and sing. At times now I sing "The River of Memories", her favorite, and think of her. Oft times we would play rum all night long. When we could put 50 cents together we would enjoy a pint each of caramel ice cream. She only teased me about my girl friends. She never saw me play football or in any way shared in my social life and she didn't seem to mind.

One of the regrets of my life is that when I became a Christian I discontinued my relationship with this good friend. When we saw one another we were friendly as ever but, living apart in different states, it was years between meetings. She has been gone for years but I always visit her grave when I am home. She remains in my "River of Memories".

Now, I've never gone on national television and talked about the things I did in high school. There are people who know, however. Could I be elected with such things known about my life? I would like to think so.

I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO THINK THAT THE GOOD PEOPLE IN DELAWARE WILL MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE, ALTHOUGH THE POLLS LOOK BAD AT THE MOMENT.

Remember the price our fore fathers paid for our right to vote. Remind others. VOTE!


God Bless!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

TO-MAH-TOE OR TO-MAY-TOE: Does it matter?

It just wasn't a night to cook. Well, it wasn't a night for Julie to clean the kitchen after I cooked. I have prepared some pretty good dinners since I've been home from the lake. When I am not home to cook I know Julie, like a lot of single people, does not eat well. The problem with my cooking is I use every thing in the kitchen, which Julie has to clean.

Barberton, Ohio is known as the "Chicken Capitol of the World", or so we like to think. We certainly have more than our share of chicken dinner eating places. We usually go to Hopocan Gardens, an establishment dating back to the '30s. It is "hunky" heaven.

After dinner I treated Julie to a treat at the Magic Freeze, a custard stand deluxe dating back to 1953. I usually get a small Orange Sherbert. Eating it in what was my first neighborhood in Barberton, I recalled my kids making fun of the way their Dad said certain words. Sherbert was one such word. I guess the "t" is silent and the word is correctly pronounced "sher-bear", at least that is what I recall the kids said.

My hill billy speech did not stop at tomato. My kids also laughed when I said "chimney" which is obviously pronounced "chim-lee". Fish? Yep, it is not "Fish to rhyme with Dish" but feesh.

My mother, bless her memory, fished all her life and she kept every fish she caught for future fish frys. The extended family loved to come to Mom's for her fish. She had the "touch" when it came to frying fish. The thing was, you had no idea of what kind of fish you were eating, perch, blue gill, carp or catfish, who knew?

During the Great Depression of the '30s we lived on fish. Mom's people sold fish for a living. They ran several trot lines on which they caught huge fish that are no longer in the Ohio River. I remember seeing massive white buffalo or catfish butchered while hanging from a single tree, much as one would butcher a hog.

It was before I was born but a family story involves Mom running Poppa Elliott's, her step-father's, trot line. Mom needed a fish to feed her family. There was no fish on her trot line. She went to one of Poppa Elliott's lines from which she took a big, white buffalo fish, like the one shown at the right. In those days the Ohio River was clean and the fish good to eat.

As she and my brother Henry, who was about 9 years old, walked up the river bank with the fish, they ran right into Poppa Elliott. He said "where did you get that fish, Sis, off my lines'? Without breaking her stride Mom replied "Yes, I did" and laughed. He laughed too, not at all believing the truth she had spoken. He was a harmless man but sure could fiercely cuss up a blue streak. My brother Henry, recalling this story at family outings always said that was his "first lesson in how to tell a lie".

Another of the words my kids teased me about was dynamite. As a youth in West Virginia, dynamite was quite familiar. It is correctly pronounced "dan-o-mite". Once when my kids were trying to "un-red-neck" their father, my Mother was visiting. With the kids listening, I said to Mom, "I remember Dad catching wash tubs full of fish at the mouth of a creek. How did he do that?" Mom replied, "why son, he just lighted a stick of DAN-O-MITE floating on a board, rowed the jon boat away, and the explosion killed a lot fish". The kids loved and respected their grandmother and just shook their heads.

Fond memories.

I can't complain about the kids. I created them and am proud of each of them, even if "they" do speak differently. All college grads going on for their their grad degrees, one son is currently pursuing his second Master's Degree, they are professionals married to professionals.

Kimberly, my youngest seen here with her son Riley, was an English major, taking pronunciation to a new level. She and her husband, Jack, who is pursuing a Master's Degree from Duke, only speak correctly in their family and the two kids speak just like their parents--as did I.

Although the kids attend a wonderful, private school, their teachers are amazed at just how properly they speak.

Great Memories. Making more daily is my aim in life. Let the good times roll!

Remember to vote.

God Bless you and your's.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

THE LAST DAY: Summer is over!

Winter has went, Spring has sprung and now Summer is summed. How sad!

I love the fall season but dread the winter that follows. It was not always that way. When younger I loved winter. I loved winter sports. I loved to walk in a blinding blizzard. Today, I just want to stay warm.

Thankfully, I no longer have to leave the house to go to work daily. I don't even have to shovel the snow any more, Donna our hired neighbor, takes care of that for us. Today the best thing about winter happens on March 21st--the first day of spring.

This winter promises to be particularly difficult as I'll be breaking in a new hip. My left hip has continued to deteriorate and is scheduled to be replaced on November 9th. The new minimum invasive techniques reduce the size of incision from about 10" to about 3-4" for most people, probably more like 5" to due to my size. Supposedly, recovery is much quicker, maybe six weeks of therapy. We'll see.

A week from today Julie and I commence one of my favorite fall happenings. A month at the beach. Well, actually, this year we are only staying at Myrtle Beach for a bit over three weeks as I commence my surgery prep in late October. We take two days to make the trip enjoying driving through the mountains. We stop to gawk quite often spending the night near Wytheville, Virginia.

The reduced ability to walk--I am now married to a cane and not overly stable, I even have handicapped parking--has put a damper on my summer at the lake, although for the most part I spent the summer there. An attempt to landscape the lakeside lawn was half accomplished.
The garden turned out well, thanks mostly to Julie and Donna. We've certainly enjoyed the green beans, with some in the freezer for this winter. We've had an abundance of tomatoes and will pick maybe a bushel to take to the lake with us. We feed a lot of family and guests at the beach. Fried squash, can you say yum yum good?
Normally we entertain small and large groups at the lake. Family members and friends for weekends. Certainly rib roasts with an old fashioned hoedown. Couldn't hack that this year.

I am home now for a wedding last weekend. I am staying home for an outing with my dining group this weekend. It is my and Julie's month to choose and we have made reservations for the group at Wasali Japanese Steak House. That is always a fun group. Dessert afterwards will be at my daughter Kimberly's home, which is nearby.

THIS IS NOT MUCH OF A BLOG AND IS MEANT TO STAY IN TOUCH WITH THOSE OF YOU WHO STILL CHECK THE SITE. Julie just paid the bill for another year for the blog site. Maybe the months to come will be more productive. We'll see.

ELECTION DAY IS ABOUT 41 DAYS AWAY. PLEASE PLAN TO VOTE.
God Bless! You are truly appreciated.