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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.

The First Three Days

Forward

Today I send out another Blog, this time by a guest author, my daughter, Kathryn. It was one week ago today I drove Kathryn and her mother to PHL for their trip to Germany. The two of them seem to be surviving quite nicely and I am so glad they have had this opportunity to spend time together as well as be with the Grands & Greats as they transition to their new duty station in Germany.  So my friends, read on and theRooster shall return later.

Heading Out

Once dropped off by our fabulous chauffeur, Herr Lee, we got through security, ditched our luggage, and walked the Philly Airport.  We went to the USO for an hour or so.  I took a nap, mom played Bob One “O” and others in Words with Friends, and we enjoyed stretching out in preparation for the flight.

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We boarded our flight, it got off a bit late.  The flight attendants were fabulous and extremely professional.  That was the high point of the flight. There was a broken bathroom, so the line for the bathroom went the whole line of the cabin.  After 7.5 hours, we landed in Dublin.  The best part of landing was being able to stand up!  the most interesting thing in Dublin and this part of the trip was border control.  We moved into line to enter Ireland and noticed 2 lines, there was one for all EU, and another sign for mom and I that read…. “Rest of the World”.

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After an hour layover, we were on to Düsseldorf.   Arrived at 11 AM.  Got a taxi to the Marriott.  The staff and concierge were delightful. Checked us in, let us know there was no water until 4 PM, and we fell asleep for a few hours.

That afternoon, we took off with an U Bahn pass and went into the big town of Dusseldorf, to the Ko, or Königsallee.  As we came up out of the station we were surrounded by white tents.  We had happened upon the city three day Food and Drink Festival.

 

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Gourmet Festival Düsseldorf 2018

We were surrounded by everything Jeff and Lee love, brats, weinerschnitzle, kartoffel, and every wine, beer, gin and other “cocktails” were available.

 

 

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Foodbeast photo

 

We saw hundreds of beer tables all over.  It was a great time, kind people and lots and lots to see.  We bought some pepperoni for Zed, a few glasses of dry (troken) German and South African wines, had spetzle for dinner, and absolutely enjoyed the beautiful evening.

 

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Thanks Wiki

The next day we got up, had a fabulous German breakfast (soft eggs, cheese, breakfast meat, fruit, coffee, tea). There is so much I miss about Germany, and breakfast food is one of those things.  We headed out Day 2 to the large market at Andreaplatz.  WE had figured out the transportation and every street and stop brought back memories of my time with Jeff and our fabulous life in Berlin so long ago.

 

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Day 3 we didn’t have great plans.  We had thought of church, but the masses were so late after checkout we opted out.  We went to the Hauptbahhof to find our train.  Getting tickets was easy, so was getting a marzipan croissant, hot and fresh, along with my milkkaffee.  We boarded the quiet train to Erkelenze, a quick 1 hour ride, then got on our bus to Geilenkirchen.  Mom, ever the trooper, hauled her suitcase up and down stairs, platforms, busses.  She is amazing!  Sunday’s in any German town are quiet, and our Sunday here was no different.  After checking in, walking up 3 flights of stairs (who needs Elevators in buildings?) and dropping our stuff, we got on our way to investigate the town.  We went to the local grocery, ReWe, and bought cheese, rolls, meat, milk, coffee and tea.  Oh yeah, and they have nice wine for 2.99 a bottle.  Why is our wine so expensive?

 

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REWE Store

After our quick jaunt, since Sam and family had already arrived, so we took a walk 1.5 miles (with 1 mile up a large hill) to the Davies family. (Thank The Lord for Google Maps!  So worth the 10$ a day international with Verizon). The kids had a lovely guest house with lots of room and beds and a great back yard.  Karin’s Guest’s House did a great job for them with a car, fully outfitted home, cell Phone waiting with minutes, kid TV and toys. The kids looked good, happy, running around, but Sam and Zed looked gray and pasty.  Within moments of our arrival Sam and Zed hopped off to check out the McDonalds and see what they could get for the kids for dinner.  They came back with all sorts of chicken tenders and fries and little bags of gummy bears.  They then left a second time for real food, groceries, etc (a challenge on a Sunday night we have all come to find out).  No restaurants took credit cards, they had no euros yet, and got limited groceries.  Mom and I bathed the kids, got them all settled, got Zoe in bed, kissed everyone good night, then high tailed it to our apartment.  At least the way back was all down hill.  As we came down the hill we noticed a Bitberger Pils sign, and decided to stop.

 

 

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I think theRooster might enjoy one of those also.

 

We ordered a beverage, sat outside and absolutely enjoyed a lovely night watching people walk around the town center.  We were surprised by the wasps everywhere.  The restaurant had small cups of coffee and lit it on fire to keep the wasps away. It worked!  After an hour outside we headed back to the hotel. We stopped at a little Italy 🇮🇹 restaurant, ordered spaghetti Carbonari to go, and came back to our small apartment and enjoyed a lovely dinner in our jammies.

Here is a Blog from a travel writing Military Family, in this article they wrote about the ReWE experience. http://www.worldtravelingmilitaryfamily.com/rewe-grocery-store-germany-shopping/

Thank you Kathryn, you did theRooster proud. Many thanks to all who are following along. Peace my friends.

elderly couple

Yesterday daughter Sarah and friend came by to check on theRooster and brought a lovely salad from Panera. Feed the Elderly, they like food.

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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Real Simple photo

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

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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.

 

Another Gastric Event

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This past Thursday nourishment was once again the order of the day in our tiny village, you just gotta love those Lions. It was the Fire Company Auxiliary who’s turn it was to do the serving and the villagers all added sides to the staple of fried chicken provided by the Lions Club. As you will be able to see from the pictures, there were plenty of sides. The Auxiliary and the United Methodist Women share these event tasks. I must mention that a number of the ladies are both Auxiliary and United Methodist Women.

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If your not a member of either, the recruiting door is always open, just contact one of those individuals who are always there.

The hungry gather to await the dinner bell.

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Once again Scott McCurdy has set up his trains to entertain all. Scott would be the big fellow in the background chit chatting. Santa and Mrs. Claus were also in attendance to the delight of the young ones.

 

The table is prepared, no one went home hungry.

 

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Ms Sue Malone rests her legs after doing dishes. That would be herself congratulating Ms Sue on a job well done. Ms Sue was a founding member of the Fire Company Auxiliary, herself has been a member for the past 29 years.

Since it’s charter the organization was known as the Ladies Auxiliary. I finally had to put my foot down last year and get them to drop the Ladies from the organization. It seems they could not find a lady willing to take on the Treasurers job some years back, would you believe ten? Herself was President at the time and the Rooster was drafted. No one has stepped up to volunteer for the position yet, so Auxiliary it is. They treat me well so I can’t complain, as you can see I’m well fed.

rolaids

Today’s sponsor

Once again a big thank you to the Lions Club and all who brought the bounty to the table. Merry Christmas one and all. Don’t forget the cookies and milk for Santa.