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1966

It’s Christmas Eve put the computer away, is what she said to me. But I have friends out there waiting to hear from me. Well wait until later before you go to bed, unless you hear the bells, on Santa’s sled.

I’ve got to send greetings to those who follow me, this is one day I just can’t let pass. Well right now we’ve got to get ready and, get to Mass, there is someone more important to who we must thank, and before church we need gas in the tank. So I log off the keys and clean up my act. If we don’t hurry, we’ll stand in the back.

We fill up the tank and drive to the church, I’m driving too fast, and we stop with a lurch. We’re greeted by the Priest with a skeptical stare, I’m thinking he saw us, speeding in there. We find us a seat and just settle in, as the priest and the Alter Boy’s march does begin.

The opening prayer is on Christmas and the birth of Christ, it’s the season of Joy and, everyone’s so nice. The theme of the Homily is to go forth and be kind, I turn to the wife and just start to smile, I’ve been kind to the woman for quite a while. Fifty-three years together are we, I shut my eyes and our first Christmas Mass together I see.

It was 1966 in New Jersey, a cold winter’s night when the two of us walked through thunder and snow. It was 8/10 of a mile to the church, the wind gusts were blowing 25 knots or so. There was something so special with everything white, I remember that walk, like it was this Holy Night.

Back at my grandmothers home after Mass, we were offered Mogen David wine, in a fancy cut glass. Joining us there were Aunt Maude and Uncle Jim. When I was little, every time they would depart, he would give me a dime. Those memories way back to a long-ago time, bring genuine joy and, I remember the Homily, Be Kind! theRooster, 2018

Reflecting Back

There are many great memories of Christmas with our families. While living in Connecticut, we would have Christmas Day at home and then in a day or two drive to New Jersey and Delaware to celebrate with our respective families there. This, of course, was a grand time for the kids when they were young. Santa seemed to always leave a few out of state gifts for our three, what a treat.

That first Christmas Mass together was attended at Holy Maternity Catholic church in Audubon, NJ. We walked the 8/10 of a mile from my grandmother’s house at W. Pine and 4th Ave. You can check the weather at the Wunderground site below. Twas, not a night fit for man or beast, but we were young, so what the hell.

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An excellent remembrance for me was a Christmas Eve I had to work many years ago. I was a young State Trooper and my assignment on this eve was I-84 between Rt. 32 and the Massachusetts State Line. It was called the Upper Patrol. On this night I exchanged my big grey Stetson for a red floppy Santa’s hat, big white tassel on end and all.

If my memory serves me correctly, it was a relatively quiet evening. I would make a few stops, give some verbal warnings. I would hand out candy canes to those I came in contact with and wish them a Merry Christmas and ask them to please drive safely as they continued their journey. After the shift was over, I’d enter our home quietly, my lady was waiting up, and we would have a bit of quiet time and last minute wrapping together. Those were the days my friends.  

This past week saw us journey North to CT to visit our son and his family. We would take a leisurely route and cross into NY via the Bear MT. bridge.

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A stop at the 202 diner in Cortlandt provided nourishment.

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It was only a three-day visit, but it was grand to be with those who are near and dear to our hearts. We had a meal at our favorite haunt when visiting Tolland, Camille’s. I got to spend a few hours with an old member of the Thin Blue Line, #467. We drank coffee at Dunkin Donut’s and told war stories for a couple of hours. I spent time with a brother-in-law, talking clocks and wine racks. He’s quite a Woodworker.

Yes, Christmas time is great for bringing us together. I thank the good Lord for giving me and the little women good health to travel and the ability to wish all of you who take a gander at the Blog from time to time a very Merry Christmas from our house to yours.

As I close, remember the theme from the Homily at Mass, BE KIND!

The weather on 24 December 1966 in the greater Philadelphia area.

Don’t forget to check on the elderly.

Something Fishy

Yesterday we found ourselves at daughter Kathryn’s house for an early dinner of Chili. We also got a free meal the previous night and played some single deck Pinochle. Jeff and the Rooster were partners and we got our butts kicked two games to one. One of our losses was by more than 100 points, 120 is game, ouch!

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This blog is not about Chili, Pinochle or eating at the daughtersthough, it’s about something fishy. With Jeff off to work in our nations capitol for a few days we extended an invite to Kathryn and granddaughter Abigail & cousin Rachael for dinner tonight. We do that a lot when Jeff’s out of town and traveling.
So, Kathryn asks, “what’s for dinner Granny?” Me wife says, Cod Fish. Kathryn asks why do we put fish after the Cod? “Well, it could be Cod Cakes I say”. We also put fish after, Cat, I mean, would you ask someone to come to your house for cat? We put the fish after Tuna, Sword and Gefilte, don’t we? This led me to realize we put Brazilian & Sea prior to Bass. Should you be eating Drum, it’s color coded, Black or Red? Eldest daughter comes out with some strange thought provoking stuff now and then. Do I have you thinking? Are these prefix and suffix foods?
Tomorrow morning I’m having Bacon Pig with my eggs for breakfast, chicken eggs of course. What are you having for dinner tonight?  Are these prefix and suffix foods I ask?
As long as we have the La carte de vins the girls will be happy, bon appétit.

 

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Baked Cod

 

From the recipe book of https://www.delish.com
Total Time: 0 hours 20 mins
Ingredients:

4 cod filets, about 1-inch thick
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for baking dish
1 c. cherry tomatoes
1 lemon, sliced, plus more for garnish
2 garlic cloves, smashed but not peeled
2 sprigs thyme
2 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley, for garnish
Directions

Preheat the oven to 400° and pat cod filets with a paper towel until dry. Season all over with salt and pepper.
In a medium bowl, combine olive oil, cherry tomatoes, lemon slices, garlic, and thyme.
Brush a baking dish with olive oil. Pour tomato-oil mixture into dish, then nestle in cod.
Bake until fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork, about 15 minutes.
Serve garnished with parsley, more lemon juice, and pan sauce.

elderly couple

Don’t forget to check on the elderly.

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Abby is a Birthday girl today

Yesterday Jeff & Kathryn invited us to join them at Ruth’s Chris Stak House for dinner, with family and a few friends, we would celebrate Abby’s Birthday. If you’ve never been to one of these dining venues, you must try it once. Mary Agnes and I would each have a steak of different description. Fabulous sides complemented a meal over several hours of great conversation to celebrate the growth of a fine young lady.

 

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“Hmm, how do we attack this”.

 

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We gather to gether to ask the Lord’s Blessing and to wish Abby a very Happy Birthday.

From the fingers of Captain Samantha Davies, USAF

Once again Samantha has made things easy for me to put out a Blog, thanks Sam. Enjoy Sam’s first week in Germany as she continues to share her adventure.

Germany Week 1

Note 1: Do not expect me to post each week. I highly doubt our lives are that interesting.

Note 2: We would not have survived this first week without the help of family. I feel semi normal today, but it’s only lunch time.

The first week was a blast. Monday brought daycare drop off and Mia’s first day of school at AFNORTH International School.

AFNORTH-IS.com

It also brought learning the base and getting some initial inprocessing completed. Tuesday was a house hunting day and we picked up our Saturn from the processing center. We also got German cell phone numbers! Wednesday was Ana’s first day of school at AFNORTH and my first interaction with my fellow branch heads and wing commander. Thursday was a failed attempt at school lunch by Mia. She did a great job standing up and ordering it, but did not like their version of Mac n cheese and hotdogs. We also toured 4 homes. Friday was spent with my family while Zed did more inprocessing. I was able to learn the city center of Geilenkirchen, parking rules, and where the biggest grocery store is. Saturday (today) we slept in, only about an hour, and Zed set out with two kiddos on a continued house hunt.

All in all the week went smoothly. Thankfully my mom and grandmother were around. They made dinner each night and helped with bath time. I was in no condition to maintain survival of the kids or myself and Zed was about the same. So grateful for the help.

 

We’re still learning the time change and it’s been a little difficult to match up with those back in the States. We do have What’s App and that’s the best way to get in touch with us. Marco Polo is another fun one and more video messages rather than text messages. Keep following and I’ll keep posting.

-S

elderly couple

Don’t forget to check on the elderly.

Semper-fidelis Rooster Logo

Aachn

Bright and early on this past Wednesday, 0400 hrs., EDST, (Eastern Daylight Savings Time), my awakening text from the German travelers informed me they were on a train headed Aachen. Don’t they know I’m sound asleep. Ben, my Black Poodle stirs, “What, What’s up Rooster”?

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Wiki photo

 

I’m told today is a down day from House hunting. Several rental homes to visit are on the schedule for Thursday.  We best see some sites, say the girls. So they gather themselves and head to the place every German traveler goes when they want to change locations.

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The Railway Train

I like to see it lap the miles, And lick the valleys up,
And stop to feed itself at tanks; And then, prodigious, step

Around a pile of mountains, And, supercilious, peer
In shanties by the sides of roads; And then a quarry pare

To fit its sides, and crawl between, Complaining all the while
In horrid, hooting stanza; Then chase itself down the hill

And neigh like Boanerges; Then, punctual as a star,
Stop – docile and omnipotent – At its own stable door.

Is it time for a bath?

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Carolus Thermen Bad Aachen, Aachen. 31 mil curtidas. http://www.carolus-thermen.de Passstr. 79, 52070 Aachen Impressum: www.carolus-thermen.de/go/impressum.html

Aachen: Cathedral city of Europe.

Located at the border of Germany – Netherlands – Belgium, Aachen is a German city with a long-standing connection with the country’s history. Thanks to its many sulphur-laden springs, this historical spa city has been a site where the German Kings were crowned. Residence of Charlemagne, Aachen is one of Europe’s most important cities. The city itself has many historical sites that are worth visiting. Check out some of the best things to do in Aachen @ https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g187367-Activities-Aachen_North_Rhine_Westphalia.html

A beautiful gothic cathedral like one should be. Situated in the old town of Aachen with hundreds of nice shops & restaurants and cafes all around it. Definitely worth the trip.
Aachen: cathedral city of Europe.

Aachn Cathederal

Kathryn’s image capture

Aachen is a city that lives and breathes Europe. It is practically Europe in miniature. Aachen, on the border with Belgium and the Netherlands, has encapsulated the spirit, value and ideals of Europe since the days of Charlemagne. Indeed the Charlemagne Prize for services to European unity has been awarded at Aachen’s town hall since 1950.
Aachen Cathedral is both a local landmark and a monument to Europe’s illustrious past.

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Pinterest photo

 

After starting out life as the imperial palace’s chapel in 800 AD (the year of  Charlemagne’s coronation), the completed building became the first cathedral in northern Europe and for many centuries served as the church of coronation for nearly every German king. The term ‘completed’ is open to interpretation, however, since the cathedral has been extended numerous times, including the addition of the great chancel in 1414 – a Gothic masterpiece whose windows reach an impressive 27 metresin height, making them the tallest ever at that time. The cathedral’s treasury is the most important north of the Alps and features precious artefacts such as the Cross of Lothair, a silver and gold bust of Charlemagne and the shrine in which Charlemagne was supposedly interred in 814 AD. Both the cathedral and its treasury are among the highlights on the Charlemagne Route, the historical path that winds through Aachen. The route takes in a series of eye-catching buildings, including Haus Löwenstein (a former residence and inn) and the Büchelpalais, which until 1752 served as the local corn exchange. Every checkpoint on the route focuses on a different topic: history, science, Europe, religion, power, business and media. It’s a wonder there’s not an equestrian-themed checkpoint, given how passionate the locals are for this noble sport. The annual Concours Hippique International Officiel is among the leading equestrian tournaments worldwide. It’s just one of numerous major events in the city, many of which are held in the equestrian arena before a crowd of 50,000 enthusiastic spectators.

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Aachen is also renowned for its relaxed atmosphere, best experienced on a stroll through the historical streets. There’s a charming contrast between the grand old buildings dotted along the Charlemagne Route and the lively buzz supplied by 45,000 students from all corners of the globe. They give the city a vibrant yet laid-back character that everyone seems to be enjoying wherever you look – evidence of Aachen’s cosmopolitan flair and yet another reason to wander around the city centre, walking back through the centuries.

 

Wiki photo

 

Aachen Town Hall, built on the site of the old imperial palace in the 14th century, is another firm favorite for sightseers. It was later converted into a grand baroque palace during the city’s prosperous heyday. Just next door is the Postwagen, a refined restaurant that has been welcoming visitors through its doors for centuries.

 

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So many choices of dining.

 

https://www.yelp.com/search?cflt=restaurants&find_loc=Aachen%2C+Nordrhein-Westfalen

Over on Pontstrasse, inside the Grosses Haus – believed to be the oldest residential block in Aachen – you’ll find the International Newspaper Museum featuring many fascinating exhibits. The museum now explores the wider media and its collection includes more than 200,000 newspapers and other printed matter from all over the world and in (almost) every language, demonstrating the transience of history and how today’s headlines become tomorrow’s chip papers. Whereas at the Ludwig Forum for International Art, the works on display are always contemporary, with genres ranging from pop art to photorealism. Throughout the ages, however, one thing has remained constant in Aachen: its European ethos. You can’t fail to notice that when you arrive in Aachen, you arrive in Europe                              (From the pages of Trip Advisor)

The girls got back to Geilenkirchen just in time to learn that Abby (Kathryn’s youngest daughter), got to take a tour of the new office she will be working out of next month. The young recent college graduate will be working in an off site Neurological practice of PRMC.

 

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Nice space Abby.

Down Texas way, my traveling granddaughter Rachael took a sightseeing day and went to Waco, the home of Magnolia and, Fixer Upper and Chip and Joe.

 

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elderly couple

Don’t forget to check on the elderly.

Settleing In

Deutschland Mietbremse Symbolbild

Sam’s post from Facebook yesterday

We’ve officially been here for 2 full days…all 4 kids are enrolled in school and medical, We have 1 of our 2 vehicles, have a German cell phone number, have 3 additional IDs, have a Rations Card, toured 1 house, and I have had my first funny international encounter.

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Italian – “Hello I’m Grandpa”
Me – “Hello”
Italian – “You’re going to die”
Me – Image result for female emoji what
Italian – points to the car behind me that is trying to back up!

What is a Ration Card, you might ask.

RATION CARDS

Because of host nation tax laws, some items are rationed in the Commissaries and Exchanges.  Gasoline is a big one.  Other rationed items include cigarettes, distilled liquor, and coffee.  You will be issued a ration card.  You will need your ID card to obtain the ration card and must present the ration card and ID card anytime you buy a rationed item.  Separate cards are issued for each adult family member authorized privileges and should be more than adequate for your needs.  DO NOT abuse the privilege.  Using your ration card to purchase items for someone not authorized privileges, except as a bona fide gift, is a violation of both military regulations and host nation tax laws.  A result of abuse may be loss of privileges, fines, and disciplinary action.

GASOLINE

Gasoline is VERY expensive on the economy.  The NATO Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) allows the sale of fuel to authorized members of the NATO forces free of local country taxes, on a controlled basis.  When your register your vehicle, you will receive a certificate which conveys your gasoline allowance and is used as your ration document for gasoline.

Geilenkirchen today From: https://www.geilenkirchen.de/en/home/

Center of Geilenkirchen Center of Geilenkirchen
At the southern edge of the Heinsberg district, where the B 221 (Aachen-Kleve) and B 56 (Bonn-Sittard/NL) trunk roads cross, lies the modestly sized town of Geilenkirchen. Surrounded mainly by rural countryside, the town has a population of over 28,000. Geilenkirchen owes its traditional key position in the daily life of the surrounding region to its convenient location and easy access.The face of the town centre has dramatically changed in the course of extensive renovation work. The extension to the Town Hall and the redesign of the Market Place put the final touches to this phase. Without a doubt, the town has benefited tremendously from this facelift.
Wurmauenpark todayWurmauenpark today
The town centre is surrounded by dozens of well-maintained villages that pride themselves on their cleanliness and are home to a particularly easy-going lifestyle. Geilenkirchen offers its inhabitants a high standard of living and above average leisure time activities. Apart from its excellent shopping facilities, Geilenkirchen has the full range of educational institutions and a whole range of social and care institutions – a modern hospital, old people’s homes and nursery schools. Making good use of one’s leisure time is hardly a problem here, with sport centres and gymnasiums, swimming baths, both indoor and outdoor tennis facilities, indoor riding, gliding and model aeroplane aerodromes and numerous recreational and sports grounds round off the options.Those in search of peace and quiet will find the town in the valley of the River Wurm – nestled between hidden castles and stately homes, old water-powered mills and impressive farm houses – the ideal choice. A particular attraction is the nearby Teverener Heath.The pleasures associated with this town are appreciated by, among others, the German Army and NATO, whose soldiers are stationed close to Geilenkirchen. Relations between the local population and these “visitors” are extremely convivial.

elderly couple

Don’t forget to check on the elderly.

Day 4 Abroad/Food for Thought

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I had the opportunity to FaceTime with the girls from Geilenkirchen today. We ended the call at 3:00 PM/9:00 their time. This lovely bottle of wine immediately popped into view. Other than no elevator and forty steps to climb to their suite, they seem quite content. It’s a one-mile walk to the temporary home of Sam, Zed and family, all uphill says Mary Agnes. The temp here on the Eastern Shore at the time was 93F, 60F for the girls at the sidewalk cafe of their hotel. I wish we could have some of that cool over the next few days.

Traveling about by train or bus seems to be a non-issue for the girls. Great maps at all the stations and aboard the transport mode, easy to figure out says my lady. The girls looked at one home today for Sam and Family, quite large, with a lot of stairs, OSHA might have to rule that one out says Granny. With the Netherlands also right on the doorstep of the base, either country could be an option for a residence.

E3 in GDR

E-3 AWACS

Kathryn just happened to catch a glimpse of one of the base planes as it was flying overhead. The below Banner is the base where the two young USAF Captains will be working. If you pull up the base web page, there is a plethora of information for you to digest should you be interested.

Down in Austin, TX

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Rachael says it’s hot and dry. She got to have lunch with her friend Jenna, Ray says it’s nice having so many options for food, dining out, and grocery shopping. With a population of 950,715, I’m sure there are more choices. Her old home of Salisbury, MD only had 30,343, quite a contrast there.

As for Me

Last night our good friends the Wojciechowski’s took pity on the old man home alone. I got to have one of my favorite meats, Lamb. Mary Agnes is not a lover of Lamb. She is not fond of the smell either. In the days of her late mother’s visits to Connecticut when that was our home, I cooked Lamb outside. M.A.’s mother loved Lamb also. Being the fantastic son-in-law that I was, I almost always cooked Lamb for the two of us, always on the grill of course.

The wife disliked that meat so much, she would only reference Lamb, referring to the words in the Agnus Dei:

Agnus Dei (liturgy)

In the Mass of the Roman Rite and also in the Eucharist of the Anglican Communion, the Lutheran Church, and the Western Rite of the Orthodox Church the Agnus Dei is the invocation to the Lamb of God sung or recited during the fraction of the Host.[1]

Now, I did say Grace last night, thanking the Lord for this fine meal of Lamb, Polish flat noodles, coleslaw, and carrots. Desert was a delicious Cheese Cake. Before dinner we sat on the banks of the Wicomico River and I was treated to a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio. No more beautiful evening could be had by man. I’m sorry you missed it, my dear, just in case you read this.

Hey, since I’m putting it all out on the table, so to speak, she could not stand Linguine and Clams either. Should you run into any of our children, you can ask them about that meal. We were fortunate when the kids were growing up to have her work evenings on Thursdays. Guess what we ate, Yes Sir E Bob. When Nurse Mary walked in from work just as Ed McMahon was shouting “Herrrre’s Johnny, she would turn up her nose and utter those all familiar words, “You had Linguine and Clams, didn’t you.” I think she could smell it when she pulled into the driveway.

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Chuck and Jan, if you’re reading this, thanks for a great meal.

Tonight is:               Image result for Spaghetti and meatballs

Abby is coming over for dinner, I’d best get the water boiling and say good night and finish this later.

Dinner with Abby was great. Had some leftovers and now she has lunch to take to work in the morning. Today she worked in Laurel, DE at a Family Practice, tomorrow she returns to the Neurological practice. Abby locked the chickens up for me while I cleaned up after dinner. Jeff returns home from DC tomorrow, and I’ll fire up the grill, do a few steaks, and we will eat some good Maryland sweet corn.

 

It’s time to wrap this up for the day, peace my friends, many thanks for stopping by.

elderly couple

Don’t forget to check on the elderly.