Rainy Sunday Morning

This morning a thunderstorm rolled through. It was not the dangerous, twister making, thunderstorm. Just the rainy, windy, occasional clap of thunder kind of storm. We have the windows open in the house and I sat by an open window reading cook books and watching The Masters on television. Nice!

Happy Birthday, sweetie

My wife is very difficult to buy for.  I struggle every year with Christmas gift ideas and then her birthday is 3 weeks later. At least once, she mentioned wanting to go fly fishing.  So, for her birthday this year I gave her two tickets to Garden & Gun’s Ladies-only Fly-fishing Excursion.  She was thrilled.  She has spent several month planning for the trip and took her best girlfriend with her.

Yesterday she texted me this picture of one of the fishes she caught.  She said that she actually caught 4 fish, two baby ones and another that she lost just as she was getting it to shore.  The smile on her face says it all for me.  She had a really good time.

Forgiveness

I received a text over the weekend letting me know that a friend’s wife had passed away.  He was a friend from a previous work place that I regularly keep in touch with.  I had never actually met his wife, but only heard of her through my friend.  They were at a difficult time in their marriage. She was having health problem that, based on what he told me, may had degraded her mental health. What he described to me was someone who was cruel and mean, particularly to him.  She had isolated herself in a back bedroom and rarely came out and almost never interacted with him.  There were several instances where she had called the police on him alleging physical abuse.  According to him, she had even alienated her children.  She only considered her sister as family. Not an enviable situation to be in.

Receiving the news of her death put me in a difficult social situation.  I have seen before when an abusive spouse dies and immediately is forgiven of all sins and only the good times are remembered.   The first time caught me off guard and I committed a social mistake by not recognizing that death changed the situation.  I was guarded this time and would not make that mistake again.

I called my friend and spoke to him.  As I expected, he was devastated by her death.  Despite her numerous health problem, I don’t think he had mentally prepared for her death.  He spoke of her in loving terms as if their life together had been one big honeymoon. He was a dutiful husband and he sincerely loved her.

As humans, we have a tremendous capacity to forgive.  We also want to desperately forget the bad parts of our lives.  I think this is normal and perhaps healthy.  I think this is what true love does.  I have seen people who are bitter and never let go of the hate and abuse.  However, I think with those individuals are seeking attention and victim status from others. True love forgives and forgets the abuse and remembers the love.

Nota Bene:  I hope you found this post helpful, but it was really written to help me process my thoughts and feelings about this situation. I find it helpful to write about difficult situations.

Sunday Morning with Pawpaw

My granddaughter Abigail spent the night last night.  Her Mom and Dad attended a wedding in Athens, GA and thought this would be a good opportunity to see how Abigail would do, not to mention how my daughter would do, away from her parents for a night.

My wife spends one day a week with Abigail, so there is not problem with familiarity.  She knows her “Nana” and gets a big smile on her face as Nana comes closer.    She likes to be held so that she can see what is going on and she follows Nana around the room with her eyes.

On Sunday morning, after she ate some breakfast, we had some time together.  We played on the floor for a while with her toys. I brought out my GoPro camera because I know I will want to relive this day again sometime in the future.  We took a break and sat on the couch and played with the GoPro.  As you can see in this video, at 5 ½ months old she is exploring the world through touch and taste.

Remember my Grandparents

This weekend my Grandmothers have been in my thoughts.  I can’t help thinking this is because my granddaughter will be spending the night with us. Thinking about how I want her to remember me, has prompted me to remember my relationship with my own grandparents.

I grew up living in the same town and frequently visiting my paternal grandparents. Granddaddy and Grandma Williams both lived into their 90’s.  I was an adult when they passed away.  Grandma Williams was archetypal dominant matriarch and an excellent cook. I credit her for inspiring me to cook.  It was through her that I first realized cooking for your family was a way of showing your love for them.

One of my favorite dishes that she made was potato salad.  I was very sad when she died, and I realized I would never taste her potato salad again.  Then on a visit to Biloxi we ate dinner at a friend’s house, and she severed Grandma Williams potato salad. I asked her if she could give me the recipe and she said she could, but it was from the back of a jar of Hellmann’s mayonnaise. In the age of Google, I was able to find Grandma Williams Potato Salad Recipe. Oh, happy days!

When Grandma Williams died, I inherited the bowl she always served potato salad in.  I still use it whenever I make her potato salad.  It brings back fond memories.

As I begin being a Grandparent, I want my grandchildren to always remember me as an engaging and playful grandfather who loved them very much.  Since I love to cook, I’m certain that one of the ways I will show my love, is by cooking for them.

Meat-less Friday

One of the advantages of the meat-less Fridays of Lent is that it gives you opportunities to eat foods that you don’t normally eat.  Today for lunch I had an egg salad sandwich.  I cannot eat this meal without Pringles potato chips.  This combination, egg salad sandwich and Pringles, goes back to my childhood when I would visit my maternal grandmother’s house in Orlando. Grandma Callanan like egg salad sandwiches and she was an early fan of Pringles potato chips.  While visiting her house we would often have this for lunch. To this day, I never eat an egg salad sandwich without Pringles. Another potato chip would not be the same.

My Thoughts and Prayers

I’m still trying to process the mosque shooting in New Zealand, but I came across this article by Andrew Klavin: My thoughts and Prayers.  This is the quote that resonated with me:

“When tragedy or atrocity strikes — as it just did with the mosque shootings in New Zealand — thoughts and prayers are not just an expression of compassion. They are, more importantly and more wisely, an expression of humility and helplessness. They are a way of saying: “There is nothing we can do in the face of this wickedness but we stand in solidarity with the victims and ask God to comfort their families in their sorrow.”

Almost every other reaction is absurd. To suggest you have the solution to the eternal problem of evil in the form of addressing your pet peeve or of blaming and attacking your political opponents is disgraceful. It is to use the bodies of the slain for a soap box. It degrades you and insults the victims.”

It is human nature to look to our civic and political leaders in times of tragedy such as this.  I find it disappointing how shallow in stupid they appear to be when they open their mouths.  Tell me again why do we admire celebrities?

Happy Mardi Gras!!

I consider Mardi Gras season a great southern tradition. Being from the Gulf Coast, my wife and I grew up celebrating the season. It is an excuse to get together with friends and family and party. My family continues the tradition here in the Atlanta suburbs by decorating the house during Mardi Gras.

Twice we have attended Mardi Gras in New Orleans and I hope to return in the future with my whole family. It is an amazing party.

My wife and I with family before the 2009 Bacchus Ball in New Orleans

Fond Memories

Nine years ago I went with Albert and his Boy Scout Troop, to go rock climbing at Rocktown, GA. Now all these boys are grown and out of college. We had a lot of fun that day.

Goodbye Pensacola

The pier on Pensacola Beach

This morning, as I looked out across Pensacola Beach, I realized that this is most likely the last time I will see Pensacola. I grew up here and lived here for a total of 24 years. I moved away 27 years ago in 1991, so I have not lived here longer than I lived here. Today, the only reason I can foresee for visiting Pensacola in the future would be to attend a friend’s daughter’s wedding or the Blue Angels beach airshow. I think it is this finality that is making me feel sentimental this morning.

Pensacola was a nice place to grow up. I don’t think I had an idyllic childhood, but I’m not bitter about it, either. My mother encouraged all her children to leave Pensacola and see the world and we did. Later in life, when no one lived nearby to take care of her, she might have regretted her decision. She gave us a sense of adventure and I’m looking forward to all the other places I will go in the future. Goodbye Pensacola.

Celebrating my Mom’s Life

At 10:00 this morning we had a Memorial Service for my Mom at St Paul’s Catholic Church in Pensacola. It was a beautiful service, particularly the music and singing. I believe Mom would have been happy with how it all turned out. Her granddaughter Daisy gave a touching eulogy at the end.

Immediately after the church service, we drove to Bayview Memorial Park. It was the normal funeral procession complete with motorcycle Police escort. The service at the grave side didn’t take more than ten minutes. Father gave my sister Martha a small crucifix, which Martha gave to Daisy as a memento for speaking at the funeral. We planned to wait and watch the cemetery workers bury the urn, but a rain shower blew in right as the priest finished the service.

The Williams Family plot at Bayview Memorial Park

Afterward, we went to McGuire’s Irish Pub for lunch. We had almost 35 people attend. I believe everyone had a great time. I saw several people, including myself, order my Mom’s favorite drink, a frozen Irish coffee.

I’m certain my Mom would be impressed with the attendance at her Memorial Service. Her three sisters Rita, Dorothy, and Jane were there. All her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren attended. Her niece Jennifer and nephew John Vincent came from Northern California. Her niece and godchild Lynda and her sister Margo came from Texas. Her nephew Joe came from Toronto. Her niece Ann came from Georgia. It was really nice to have so many family members make the journey to attend.

After lunch, Shari, my sister Nancy, and I drove by Mom’s old house and along Tanglewood Drive. The first thing I noticed was that the new owners removed all the Gerber Azaleas from the front flower bed. I remember how hard I worked to clear out that flower bed and plant those white azaleas. I also remembered how each year Mom would tell me how full of flowers and how beautiful they were.

The whole family gathered together again around 5:30 at the house my sister Anita rented. We visited for the rest of the night. Anita ordered pizzas and Martha brought the left-over bar-b-que from the gathering at her house the night before. It was so nice to be able to visit with everyone. My cousin Jennifer Bailey took the photo below of some of us.

All together

Proud Parents

Tonight, we attended the Georgia Special Olympic Games Opening Ceremony where Albert was awarded the 2019 Male Athlete of the Year. The award is more of an acknowledgement of his activities outside of Special Olympics, but he is quite an athlete. Congratulations!!

Georgia Special Olympic 2019 Athletes of the Year

Chick-fil-a Bowl Florida vs Michigan

We left the house right on schedule and stopped at a McDonalds drive-thru for breakfast. We ate in the car as I drove to the MARTA station. I was surprised to find plenty of parking. We added trips to our MARTA BREEZE Cards and got on a train headed to town. We sat near a few Gator Fans who were also going to the game.

Once we arrived at the Five-Points MARTA stations we change to a West Bound Train to get to the stadium. It was really foggy around the stadium. We walked around a little and then found where the parade was ending. We stood there a few minutes watching the parade. While we were watching the parade, a friend from Church came up to us and said Hello. Small world. The Florida Marching Band came by and we followed it into the Georgia World Congress Center were the Fan-Fest activities are held.

After entering Fan-Fest we met up with Shari’s friend Melanie who is volunteering. After visiting with her for a few minutes we walked around Fan-Fest taking it all in. There were a lot of activities, but most had long lines. We waited in line for about 20 minutes at a basketball toss that Albert wanted to do. Then we walked around more until we arrived at the Face Painting booth. We all got a little face painting done. Albert had his whole face painted.

Go Gators!!

As game time approached, we walked from Fan-Fest to the stadium. Our tickets are on the 300 level, so it took a few minutes to get up there. Once at the 300 level we walked around and surveyed our choices of food. Albert chose an Italian sausage sandwich. Shari and I decided on Fresh-Mex, but the portions were small. After eating we walked to our seats. Shari’s friend Melanie and her Brother-in-Law Larry were already in their seats when we arrived.

The game was over around 4:00. By the time we got out of the stadium, rode the MARTA train back to the car, and then drove home, it was almost 5:30 before we arrived at the house. We watched a little news and cleaned up our faces before going to Taco-Mac for dinner and to watch the second half of the Clemson vw Notre Dame football game. A great day filled with good football.

Thanksgiving 2018

At the first Thanksgiving that Shari and Jessica attended at my parent house, my Mom took Jessica into the backyard to pick magnolia leaves off the tree. They used the leaves to make the feathers for a turkey centerpiece for the Thanksgiving table. The centerpiece was a pineapple with the magnolia leaves and a red turkey head my mother had made. When my mother died, she left the turkey head she made to my daughter Jessica.

This year Jessica and her husband Matt hosted Thanksgiving dinner at their house for the first time. Jessica bought a pineapple and wanted to make the centerpiece for the table. I helped Albert gather Magnolia leaves to complete the turkey’s tail. Shari put the leaves in the pineapple to make the tail. Jessica pinned the head on the pineapple. I took this picture of Albert and Jessica with the pineapple turkey. The framed picture is from the first Thanksgiving that Shari and Jessica ate with my family. Jessica photo-bombed the photo in the bottom right. Too cute.

Fine, Fine, Fired

We had a disappointing day because Albert was fired from his job at North Fulton Hospital. We have heard for weeks that he wasn’t doing the work. Shari sounded the alarm two weeks ago about Albert buying drink at a vending machine as many as 5 times in one day. She alerted, Donna, Albert’s Briggs and Associates advocate about the vending machine activity. It sounds to me that in the end, Albert social nature did him in. Evidently, he wasn’t getting the work done because he was socializing or wandering between deliveries.

I was extremely disappointed in Albert and in his advocate with Briggs and Associates. Being fired from a job, in my mind, is the worst possible outcome. Being fired is a setback for anyone and it normally result in a lesser job the next time. I don’t think Albert has processed what happened yet and what it really means.

Cowboy Boots

I had a pair of cowboy boots when I was five or six years old. I wore them everywhere, mostly with shorts. I used to romp, play, and explore the woods across the street from my house in them. I was Fess Parker, my favorite actor in the Daniel Boone TV series. As you can tell, I have lifelong fond memories of them. So, it is a bit of a mystery why it took me fifty years to get another pair. Here’s to new adventures in my cowboy boots.

Under the Lights

My son baseball team had a rare night game tonight. It was the perfect evening for baseball. Cool without bugs. 😃

Chick-fil-a kickoff game

Since yesterday was my company’s fiscal year-end, I went to work this morning. I worked until noon and then went home. A good friend gave us tickets to the Chick-fil-a kickoff game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. My wife and I have never been to the new stadium, my son has been to an Atlanta United game there. The game was Auburn vs Washington only my son cares about either of the teams.

It was and adventure getting to the game. We planned to ride MARTA because parking will be impossible. The first MARTA station we went to didn’t have any parking available. The trains were full of mostly Auburn fans.

We arrived before the game and explored the stadium and ate lunch. It is an impressive stadium with a great selection and variety of food and beverages.

We enjoyed the game and stayed until the end.

Project Complete

For more than a year I’ve been promising my wife that I would build her a proper compost bin. After several days of planning and construction, it is finished!!!

After finishing the construction, I screened all the compost we had before construction.

Ant-man and the Wasp

This afternoon I took my son and a friend to see Ant-man and the Wasp. It was a really fun movie. It was extra special for my son, because he visit the set of the movie while they were filming in Atlanta. He was allowed to watch the filming of a few scenes and had the pleasure of meeting Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly on the set.

The studio visit was arrange by my nieces boyfriend, Daniele who was working on the movie. He was such a great guy and photographer. Later he presented Albert with framed copies of the photos that were autographed by Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly. What a special gift to remember a special day.

Tomato sandwiches

For lunch today I had the first tomato sandwiches of 2018. The tomatoes were some of the first, that the birds didn’t get, from my garden.

I make my tomato sandwiches with fresh soft white bread. Sunbeam “King Thin” is my favorite. I slather each side of the bread with a generous portion of Duke’s mayonnaise. Then I slice as much tomato as will fit on the bread without falling out when I pick it up to eat. Then a little salt and pepper to finish. Bon appetit, y’all. I have so many tomatoes, I had to have two sandwiches today, before the tomatoes go bad. I finished the meal with a moon pie.

In my humble opinion, that is a classic southern lunch.

Morning Thunderstorm

This morning a thunderstorm rolled in. You could hear it coming from far away. When it reached us, It poured down rain and the lightning flashed for about fifteen minutes. There was a flash of lightning and a very loud clap of thunder and then, almost immediately, the rain stopped. The storm reminded me of the ones that would roll in off the Gulf of Mexico on a summer morning when I was growing up in Pensacola.

Grief

One year ago today, my mother died. I wish a could write a lengthy tribute to her, but words fail me. I miss her all the time. Here is a picture of us together when I took her to a Blue Wahoos game. Fond memories.

Mission Statement

The purpose of this blog is to give me a forum where I can write about the people and places that make up my little corner of heaven, also known as “The South.”

I have lived all my days in the Southeastern United States. I have lived in 4 of the 12 states and visited all of them, except Arkansas. Currently, I live in one of the region’s largest metropolitan areas, Atlanta, but I have lived in one of its smallest, too. (Monroeville, AL pop. 6,500)

A few things I love about this region include sugar white sand beaches, crawfish boils, Mardi Gras, SEC football (Go Gators!), Mint Juleps, fried mullet, raw oysters, Krispy Kreme doughnuts, deviled eggs, pimento cheese sandwiches, Barq’s root beer in a bottle, wisteria, confederate jasmine, azaleas, pink dog wood trees, and bourbon.

When writing, I will select topics that make me smile and reflect warm light on the subject matter. I will only write about politics when provoked.

I named it “Classic Seersucker” because in my mind the quintessential Southern Gentleman is in a Seersucker suit.

Sazerac at home

Last night I enhanced my bar tending skills by making my first Sazerac at home. I found a recipe for the quintessential Southern cocktail at Thirstysouth.com. I settled on this recipe after doing some research on the web and realizing that it was the best match for my bar tending abilities.

I spent an hour on Friday night at my local Total Wine store purchasing the ingredients. I chose a nice rye bourbon and splurged on the Lucid Absinthe because I read a good review about it.

Considering first attempts always leave room for improvement, I enjoyed the results. To me a Sazerac is a very aromatic drink. Every sip has a different flavor and smell than the previous. I enjoyed it and I look forwarded to enjoying many more in the future.