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A Thanksgiving Trip

The Return Home    Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock.com

Returning home from a trip to Oklahoma and Mississippi recently I found myself standing in the underground of the Birmingham, Alabama airport returning our rental car. If you ever find yourself in BHM and in need of a rental I would say it’s the worst experience I’ve ever had. The signage for where rental car pickup is located is horrible. It is on the bottom floor of a massive parking garage. It is poorly lit, kind of reminds me of the Philadelphia subway system back in the early fifties, damp, dark and eerie is the feeling. My head was on a swivel and my hand was on my gun, oops, not there any longer, I’m retired, I forgot.

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Thrifty, not really as much as the name implies is the last kiosk as you drive through this underground maze. Were it rows of corn I would have used the word (Maize,) Wordsmith taught me that one. This being the Saturday after Thanksgiving, things were busy in the underground. Returning cars, worker bees and people standing in line were the order on this early morning. Fortunately I departed Starkville, MS early or I would have had an elevated stress level.

I had dropped herself and our granddaughter at the departing curb up above first, a smart move on my part I must say. Granddaughter Rachael had an earlier flight than us and the two of them started the check in process, they had my suitcase also. It was just me, the rental car and my backpack, I give that to no one.

There were multiple cars being returned at the Thrifty kiosk which is shared with Budget Rental Cars. I’m directed to a line of cars by a young man smiling and sipping from a hot cup of Starbucks, steam from the cup is giving his face a cloudy haze. I start to park behind the last car, the woman in the driver’s seat is looking back at me, waving excitedly for me to back up and beeping her horn like a mad woman. There is no place for me to go, another car has already placed it’s self in line. The young man drinking Starbucks approaches and after a few minutes gets things organized. We park, crazy lady leaves.

It seems the panicking lady had left her purse at her place of departure and needed to return. Those of us in the growing line of returnees were sorted into various spaces so the mad woman could go from whence she came and return once again at a later time. Any bets if she made her flight?

I get back in line, not quite in the same order as a car to my rear jumped in front of me thanks to the directions from Starbucks man. I hand my paperwork to a young woman who proceeds to do the fastest walk-around of a rental I have ever seen. Perhaps too much coffee and she needs a pit stop? She tells me I’m good to go, I grab my backpack, she hands me my papers and points to the growing line of returnees, I’m, number five.

I’m only in line for a few minutes when I’m joined by a family of five, mom, dad, two girls ten or so, and a teen age boy busy on his cell phone while he sits on a huge duffel bag. I’m guessing a girlfriend back home is on the other end. The girls are busy giggling, the mother looks as though she is not happy being up so early and is expressing the same to the husband. In a few minutes she leaves with the girls and heads towards the terminal.

My wife says I’m a talker, she’s right, I am, who, what, where, when and why are my trade mark. Back in my Law Enforcement days I conducted and evaluated hundreds of background investigations while a member of the CT State Police Selection Unit recruiting process. That penchant for people’s nomenclature has never left me.

Rutgers swet

The line has yet to move, I turn to the man in line who’s wife just left with the girls, he’s wearing a red sweatshirt with a monogrammed “R,” I point, “Rutgers” I say, “yep” he says. “You from Jersey” I say. “Yep, Exit 8A off the Turnpike,” “Exit 5” I say, Jerzyeez jargon for those who don’t know. Everyone in Jersey uses a N.J. Turnpike Exit # or Garden State Parkway Exit # to orient people as to where they live. The inquisition has begun.

We chat while the line moves slowly, Rutgers man was in Alabama for Thanksgiving with the wife’s retired parents. They have a lovely retirement home on a lake in Sweet Home Alabama. I learn the son is most definitely talking to his sweetheart back in Hightstown, seems he had no desire to come south and visit Granny and Gramps. Who would think that was the case. The Mrs. teaches school, Rutgers man works in pharmaceuticals and will be glad when he gets home. He will also miss the Iron Bowl, a football game between Auburn and Alabama for those not in the know. Oh, and his beloved NY Giants are not doing well this year. They will do Newark by way of Atlanta on Delta. Who, what, where, when and Why,  all answered.

My phone rings, it’s herself, where am I she asks? It seems she and the granddaughter are all checked in, as is their luggage. My luggage however is still on the conveyor belt at the ‘AA” counter. TSA rules prohibit it being loaded until an ID’d person is matched with it. And where is this person, still in the Dungeon of Doom, Dilly Dilly. I explain its at least another ten minutes prior to me being on my way. She sounds frustrated as we hang up. It’s been a long trip.

Rutgers man and I chat football, growing up in Jersey, the beaches at the shore and stay away from politics, Roy Moore country you know.  Eventually I made it to the front of the line, I thought I had won a prize. I got apologies from the kiosk attendant, a lovely calm young lady who gave me a $50.00 coupon for a future rental that I never asked for. I didn’t even complain. If you travel Thanksgiving this is something to expect. I say goodby to Mr. Exit 8 and make a bee line to the check in counter. On this day I will get my steps in.

The AA staff are happy to see me and get an ID from the baggage owner who’s luggage is accumulating dust. I get my receipt and we are off to find our cup of Starbucks, I’m smiling.

Should you ever fly into OKC, you’ll love the rental car experience there, one stop shopping, constant shuttles. BHM has a long way to go.

As for me and mine, we were off to the Eastern Shore via Charlotte and Philadelphia on American Airlines. I hope all who celebrated the day of Thanksgiving had a wonderful four-day weekend, and from our home to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas.

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Photo Credits: Turnpike , Wiki. Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, city of Birmingham, Rutgers Jersey, Rutgers, Thanksgiving Dinner, Pinterest

 

When does winter come?

I’m walking about one day and a stranger approaches and asks, “How do you know when winter is coming?” Short of looking at the calendar,  in 2016, winter begins on December 21, 5:44 A.M. EST. Learn more about the winter solstice, facts, and folklore! Check out The Old Farmers Almanac.  http://www.almanac.com/content/first-day-winter-winter-solstice

However, around our house the way we tell when winter is getting close is by the Paulonia, or more commonly known name, The Princess Tree. When the first frost approaches the tree loses most of it’s leaves.

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Yep you guessed it, I’m saying winter began on November 20th this year.

An old friend who is a lover of trees gave me a Princess Tree some years back. In year one it grew six or eight inches, during one of my late grass mowings I thought it had died. Yep, you guessed it, mowed that sucker down I did. The next year it came back with a growth spurt that was amazing. We got an early frost and I remember all the leaves just fell off. Every year since, first frost, down come the leaves.

So if you were to ask me when winter begins I’d say, when the leaves fall from the Princess Tree.

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I just had to share our giant Maple Tree in all it’s golden glory.

The following on the tree is from Wiki.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paulownia_tomentosa

Paulownia tomentosa is cultivated as an ornamental tree in parks and gardens. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.[7]

The characteristic large size of the young growth is exploited by gardeners: by pollarding the tree and ensuring there is vigorous new growth every year, massive leaves are produced (up to 23in/60 cm across). These are popular in the modern style of gardening which uses large-foliaged and “architectural” plants.

In China, the tree is planted at the birth of a girl[citation needed]. The fast-growing tree matures when she does. When she is eligible for marriage the tree is cut down and carved into wooden articles for her dowry. Carving the wood of Paulownia is an art form in Japan and China. In legend, it is said that the phoenix will only land on the Empress Tree and only when a good ruler is in power. Several Asian string instruments are made from P. tomentosa, including the Japanese koto and Korean gayageum zithers.

The soft, lightweight seeds were commonly used as a packing material by Chinese porcelain exporters in the 19th century, before the development of polystyrene packaging. Packing cases would often leak or burst open in transit and scatter the seeds along rail tracks. The magnitude of the numbers of seeds used for packaging, together with seeds deliberately planted for ornament, has allowed the species to be viewed as an invasive species in areas where the climate is suitable for its growth, notably Japan and the eastern United States.[8]

The Paulownia tree

Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council Invasive Plant Manual

Common Name: Princess Tree

Scientific Name: Paulownia tomentosa (Thunb.) Sieb. & Zucc. ex Steud.

http://www.se-eppc.org/manual/princess.html

Only 48 hours until Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Proclamation

Issued by President George Washington, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 1789

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go. Washington

Where are your priorities?

Last Sunday’s sermon at church addressed our priorities in life, specifically Christ and family. If we put Christ first and follow with family, everything else should fall into place. I just absolutely loved my granddaughter’s blog which I shared in my last posting. God and family are right there at the top of her priorities, and yes she is the “storm.” If you haven’t taken a look at her blog or my share, take a minute and do so. So young, so busy, so focused on priorities.

Back to the Sunday sermon. What is important in your life? I can’t do that right now, I have to mow the lawn. I’m sorry, maybe later, the ball game is coming on. Let’s do that some other time. And then of course there’s the computer, and all of it’s distractions.

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None of us is perfect, but we can always check in with ourselves to ask: Is my relationship with my God as good as it can be? Do we communicate?  Is my relationship with my child as good as it can be given any major differences we may have, and if not, what can I do to make it better?

Well, the deliverer of that sermon used Harry Chapen’s “Cats in the Cradle” lyrics to highlight what too busy is. I want to share it. I want to make time.

Time passes quickly, don’t let it slip by you. Encourage the young, check on the elderly.

Cats in the Cradle

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etundhQa724

My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talking ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew
He’d say, “I’m gonna be like you, dad
You know I’m gonna be like you.”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
“When you coming home, dad?” “I don’t know when
But we’ll get together then
You know we’ll have a good time then.”

My son turned ten just the other day
He said, “Thanks for the ball, dad; come on, let’s play
Can you teach me to throw?”

I said, “Not today, I got a lot to do.”
He said, “That’s okay.”
And he walked away, but his smile never dimmed
And said, “I’m gonna be like him, yeah
You know I’m gonna be like him.”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
“When you coming home, dad?” “I don’t know when
But we’ll get together then
You know we’ll have a good time then.”

Well, he came from college just the other day
So much like a man, I just had to say
“Son, I’m proud of you. Can you sit for a while?”
He shook his head, and he said with a smile
“What I’d really like, dad, is to borrow the car keys
See you later; can I have them please?”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
“When you coming home, son?” “I don’t know when
But we’ll get together then, dad
You know we’ll have a good time then.”

I’ve long since retired, and my son’s moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, “I’d like to see you if you don’t mind.”
He said, “I’d love to, dad, if I could find the time
You see, my new job’s a hassle, and the kid’s got the flu
But it’s sure nice talking to you, dad
It’s been sure nice talking to you.”

And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me
He’d grown up just like me
My boy was just like me
And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
“When you coming home, son?” “I don’t know when
But we’ll get together then, dad
We’re gonna have a good time then.”

Songwriters
CHAPIN, HARRY F./CHAPIN, SANDY
Published by
Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

Growing up and attending Sunday School I will always remember the following song which I’d like to share.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CBtA1A-cR8

Jesus loves the little children

All the children of the world

Red, brown, yellow

Black and white

They are precious in His sight.

Jesus loves the little children

Of the world.

Jesus died for all the children

All the children of the world

Red, brown, yellow

Black and white

They are precious in His sight.

Jesus died for all the children

Of the world.

Jesus rose for all the children

All the children of the world

Red, brown, yellow

Black and white

They are precious in His sight.

Jesus rose for all the children

Of the world.

My thought on this, if Jesus can do it, can’t we all do it?

From the Rooster’s Hutch to your house, Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Why do I feel this way?

 

Our day in Eden

Our tables were set early for 32 guests to arrive for a great Thanksgiving meal. The menu will be added to my Daily Journal to be forever captured in past memories. Fourteen months in a row without missing a day’s events, I’m amazed at myself for Journal accomplishment.

The Menu IMG_1622.JPG

The Tables

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The Washington Post had a great article Titled “Too Much of a Good Thing.” The below captured images are from that article. Should you wish to read the entire article go to http://tablet.washingtonpost.com/top/too-much-of-a-good-thing/2014/11/27/54fe3a4e20e8d79deb723925b649918c_story.html?wpisrc=nl_draw

1st part

tablet.washingtonpost.com

The Grand and Great children down in Oklahoma City, OK.

The parents, Air Force Officers at Tinker AFB and Mama awaiting child #3 in a few weeks, decided to put up the tree. That would be Mia looking on in wonderment. The socks all tidy and neat in a row, waiting for a little foot to add to the flow.

We missed you guys, thank you so much for your service, you were in our thoughts and prayers.

Abby in Mississippi

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For the first time ever, no Abby. It seems the Egg Bowl took precedence over Turkey. I thought a turkey laid eggs also. See you soon for Semester Break kiddo. Study hard, “go State.”

No. 19 Ole Miss, No. 23 Mississippi State set for Egg Bowl

A CelebrationDSCF0671

This past Monday my wife and I celebrated our 50th Wedding Anniversary. We slipped away to Fall River, Massachusetts with another couple, played pinochle on our wedding night after a Chinese dinner and returned to our jobs in New Jersey the next day.

Fifty years later our two daughters were in Baltimore, Maryland and Portland, Maine, our son was in Connecticut and we did our thing. We ate Chinese Take-Out and watched a Movie. And the movie was: “the Holiday” with Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet, one of our favorites.

Neither one of us are purchasing GOLD. We purchased GREEN instead.

We will be off to Ireland shortly.ireland_map

To all my readers, a day late “Happy Thanksgiving” from Eden, MD, USA.

God Bless, be safe and ever Vigilant,

Semper-fidelis

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