Happy New Year !!

We had a traditional Southern New Year’s Day meal of Hoppin Johns and Collard Greens today.

According to legend, during the US Civil War, as the Union Army made its way through the Southern States they killed the livestock and burned the crops. Believing that the black-eyed peas were feed for the cows, the didn’t burn them. Collard Greens they probably didn’t realize were edible. Because until they are cooked for a long time, they really aren’t. In the wake of the Union Army’s destruction, the survivors ate black-eyed peas and Collard Green.

Legend also says that the black-eyed peas are eaten for luck and the collards greens for money in the new year. So here is to “Luck and money in 2020.”

Goodbye to a Dear Aunt

While we were traveling in Europe we received word that my Aunt Marlene had died. At the end of the summer she had surgery to remove a mass on her brain. I think they knew at the time, the surgery would not cure her, but would make her more comfortable during the time she had left.

Marlene was married to my mother’s oldest brother. Uncle Dick died in 2001. In 2016 I travelled to Southern California for work and had the pleasure of taking Aunt Marlene to dinner. It was just the two of us and during dinner I asked her about how her and my Uncle had ended up together in Southern California. She was from Monticello, Kentucky and he was from Orlando, FL. She told me the story about how they met and the circumstances that brought them together again in Cypress, CA. I really enjoyed my visit with her.

Aunt Marlene was a very smart and creative person. Each year she sent me a birthday card that she made herself and address with calligraphy. I learned later that she did that for about 300 people each year.

We drove to the church for the funeral and arrived right at 10:00. My sister Martha texted as we arrived to say that she had seats for us.  The service was very nice.  My cousin Robert gave a great eulogy and did a good job of holding it together while he talked.  Afterwards there was a slide show with a lot of great pictures of Aunt Marlene through the years.  

After the church service, we rode with my sister Martha and her husband Mike to the cemetery.  The graveside service was short.  At the end the pallbearers took the white gloves that they were wearing and a white rose and laid them on top of the casket.  Next the children all  laid a white rose in her casket and then everyone was invited to lay a flower on the casket.

After the graveside ceremony we went back to the church gym where there was a reception. We ate lunch there and visited with family members.  I spent a fair amount of time talking to Jack, my cousin Jill’s. Son who is autistic.  He is a good looking guy and seams to be very high functioning, but he does get on some obsessive topics. 

Eventually, the church people had to run us out of the gym. Our Irish family has the gift of gab. We went back to the hotel and changed our cloths.  While we were in the hotel room I turned on the tv to watch some of the SEC Championship Game.  Georgia was loosing and it got worse from there.

After changing into more comfortable cloths, we drove over to Aunt Marlene’s house were the family was gathering.  When we arrived, My cousin John was standing outside talking to his next door neighbor Peter and two friends who were visiting from Serbia and Montenegro. After chatting with them for a few minutes, we went inside and joined the rest of the family.

I started out watching a little of the football game with my cousin Pat.  Albert watched too. I made my way around visiting with various family members. The guys were hanging around the pool, so I went out there for a while.  Then I went inside and visited with my cousins Jennifer and Aunt Rita for a while. It was a nice gathering and at the end we took a group picture to remember everyone who came together for Aunt Marlene and her family.

The family


We attended the broadway play Wicked today at The Fabulous Fox Theater.  We left the house on time, found our parking garage, and walked up to the Fox.  The weather was clear and cool, just perfect for our three block walk to the Fox Theater.  The only bad thing that happened was that security wouldn’t let me take my two inch swiss army knife into the theater.  I had the choice of walking back and putting it in the car or throwing it out.  I chose to throw it away, because I have 4 more just like it at home.
The show was spectacular.  I always love the creativity of a live theater performance.  It is always a treat to go to the fabulous Fox Theater.  The moorish interior and lighting always impresses me.

A map of the Land of Oz
The Moorish interior of The Fabulous Fox Theater


Happy Halloween. The rain passed through in time for the little goblins to go Trick-or-Treating. We had about 50 come to the door. Our traditional Halloween night festivities includes a classic movie, Young Frankenstein.

Favorite Dinner

I’m in Irving, TX and I was pleasantly surprised to find an In-N-Out Burger here. So a Double-Double Animal Style was a must for dinner. It was delicious.

Abigail Update

On Sunday we had the pleasure of hosting my granddaughter Abigail at our house while her parents had a lunch date. She has been teething for the last few days and has not been in a very good mood. Of course she was a perfect angel while she was with her Nana and Pawpaw.

She is now 10 months old and has real hair. She is growing fast. Like most children her age, she loves to be held and walked around with so she can see the world from a taller perspective.

My daughter sent this picture of her eating breakfast this morning. This is her typical personality. A happy girl.