Monthly Archives: December 2010

How I spent New Years Eve…daytime

Have I mentioned how much I love to rake leaves?

Mrs. Poolman is working back-to-back 12-hour shifts New Years Eve and New Years Day. Looks like a quiet evening of watching bowl games. My next-door-neighbor will probably shoot off some fireworks at midnight. If I’m awake, I’ll go out and socialize. I hope he doesn’t wake Mrs. P.

We are just so exciting!

Catchin’ up on a holiday week

Christmas is behind us, but I still have nearly a week left before having to go back to work. Life is good.

We had a rather quiet Christmas Eve and Christmas. Mrs. Poolman and I went to 4 pm Mass and then over to some friends for their annual Christmas Eve open house. Both our children were either working or were tied up with their spouse’s or GF’s families. They came over to our house late Saturday afternoon. We did the gift exchange and had a fantastic holiday meal of prime rib roast, twice-baked potatoes, squash casserole, and more. Yum-yum!

On Sunday morning, Mrs. P and I took off for Jacksonville to visit her two sisters. We had hoped some more of the nieces and nephews might have been able to join us for dinner, but it was not to be. That’s life. I contributed a pan of chicken enchiladas to the evening meal and we had a very nice visit.

We had a fairly busy day today. I had a routine dentist appointment this morning. After a lunch of left-overs from the above-mentioned Christmas dinner, we took two of our pets to the vet. Penny the Kitten needed her initial check up and round of immunizations. Casey the Lab, however, has some sort of growth between two of his toes on one of his front paws. The vet isn’t sure what it is, but says it’s about a 50-50 proposition that it may be a malignant tumor. He’ll remove it next week and sent it out for lab work. At the same time, Miss Penny is going to lose her “lady parts.”

We’re off to the church tonight for this round of the Interfaith Hospitality Ministry. As I have described in other posts, our church cooperates with others in the area to host homeless families for a week at a time. They need couples to spend the night at the church to “host” and troubleshoot as needed. We’ve done it several times already over the past two years. It’s an all-together good thing. Actually it’s less of trouble for me because I can sleep like a baby under almost any conditions. Mrs. P, on the other hand, hears every bang or creak and never does get much sleep. I guess I can count on her taking a “long winter’s nap” when we get home tomorrow morning.

Keep those cards and letters coming!

What ever happened to Christmas cards? We have always looked forward to the annual mailings, especially those with photos, but each year, the volume of holiday greetings seems to be a smaller.

We have moved around the country to various cities before settling in Savannah. As a result, we have left good friends all over the Southeast, from Orlando to Tulsa (not really Southeast, I know.) We started a tradition of doing photo-cards when Poolboy was just six months old. It was one way for our distant-friends to stay in touch with the progress of our growing family.

Last weekend, Mrs. P and I sent out our reduced-batch of 40 cards. This year, it is a photo card with a picture of all six of us (includes son-in-law and Poolboy’s GF)  sitting around a table at an outdoor bar in Key West during our summer vacation cruise.

Cbristmas letters are also a great source of humor, although not always in the manner the letter-writer intended. We frequently laugh — sometimes WITH the writer and sometimes AT the writer. On one end of the spectrum is our old friend, Wyatt, who mercilessly pokes fun at his children in his annual letter. A collection of his Christmas letters could be published. At the other end are those sanctimonious letters, usually written by mothers, who try so hard to paint a glowing portrait of their perfect little life and family.

Gag!

Steelers sing Christmas carols

This is really bad great!

Gator fans — be sure to watch it all the way through and see Rothlisberger play a joke on Maurkice Pouncey near the end.

Living in the past

You can always count on the folks in South Carolina to stir up the pot. They did it in 1860 and they’re back at it 150 years later. Monday night Confederate heritage-lovers staged a Secession Gala on the sesquicentennial of the state’s vote to secede from the union.

As a history lover and also a Yankee who has spent all but a few of his adult years in the South, I am chagrined by that group of Southerners who hold firmly onto their historical memory of four and a half years of bad judgment and reckless hubris under the banner, “It’s our HERITAGE!”

Some people take it seriously here. Former Georgia Governor Roy Barnes was defeated in his bid for a second term in 2002, in a large part because he would not support the use of the Confederate Army battle flag on the state’s official state flag. Groups of protestors followed him to public appearances in flag festooned pickup trucks and staged demonstrations to support their cause. I remember it well. It was really funny. But I don’t think Roy thought so.

I guess what I don’t understand is the battle cry, “It’s our heritage.” While it is a part of Southern history, it is not a big part. The Confederacy lasted only a little over four years. Besides, it is not a part of history that Southerners should be justly proud.

Taking nothing away from the soldiers who fought for the Confederate side, their cause was morally bankrupt and politically flawed.

Current day revisionists will claim the Civil War was not fought over slavery, but rather for some vague concept of “states rights.” That may be literally true, but when taken in context, not factually so. The causes of the Civil War were complicated, but at the risk of oversimplifying them, here is what it came down to:

  1. The Civil War started because the Southern states attempted to secede from the Union and form their own separate and hostile nation.
  2. The alleged reason they attempted to secede was to defend their “state’s rights.”
  3. However, the only “state’s right” they were really willing to fight for was the right to own slaves.

Many modern revisionists like to cite the first two reasons, but they stop before they get to #3.

There were economic issues in dispute, but if it were not for slavery, there would have been no secession and no war. Slavery, along with its related issues like expansion to new territories, was single hottest political issue of the decade leading up the Civil War. It was the overarching issue of debate. The current debate over legalized abortions pales by comparison.

You cannot separate the Civil War from the issue of slavery.  Lincoln figured that out. While he has been quoted as saying he would accept slavery if it would preserve the union, he also knew by tying the Northern war effort to a fight against slavery, he could strengthen his political position, gain additional support for the war and isolate the Confederacy from potential European allies. By 1863, slavery was most definitely a central issue for the north.

You will hear Southern apologist claim, “My great grandfather didn’t own any slaves, and neither did most of the soldiers who fought for the South!” So what? The key decisions that led to the war were not made by lower aand middle class farmers and shopkeepers. The decisions were made, as usual, by the rich and powerful, and they were overwhelmingly slave owners.

It is interesting to note that the Southern politicians did a complete turn when it came to writing their own Constitution. On one hand, they claimed that while part of the national union, the states had the rights to secede and to determine the status of slavery within their borders. Yet when it came time to write the rules for the Confederacy, they specifically prohibited both those rights to their member states. Any future secession was disallowed, and states were not allowed to outlaw slavery within their borders.

What’s good for the goose isn’t necessarily good for the gander.

Hallelujah!

I ran across this video of a great “flash mob” performance.  I’m a big fan of the Hallelujah Chorus anyway. This is pretty good. Enjoy!

Where did the time go?

Christmas looks to be fairly quiet for us this year. Both our children have jobs and other family obligations (in-laws and GF’s family). We’ll do a Christmas dinner at our house on Christmas evening, but it will probably be just the six of us, plus maybe just one or two additional guests. Nothing like the major family gatherings or “widows and orphans” holiday gatherings of years past.

For years, Mrs. P’s family got together for at least one, if not both, of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. However, both her parents are now deceased. All the nieces and nephews are grown and have jobs and other obligations. We are past the time when the kids were out of school for two weeks and we could throw them in the car for a holiday trip.

It dawned on Mrs. P and me a couple of years ago – we are now at the stage in life that her parents were when we were first married. Then her parents were the gathering point for holiday celebrations. Now, the generations have move up one notch, and we are the center for our children and, eventually and hopefully, grandchildren.

Life moves on.