Tag Archives: sister

Good Christmas season and a nice family visit

Mrs. Poolman and I spent most of the past two weeks lounging around and doing not much of anything. Mrs. P worked for two days the first of Christmas week and then again on Jan 1-2. In between, we had a great holiday, and then a three-day visit to see my middle-sister, Maggie, and her family at Lake Hartwell, near Anderson, S.C. We didn’t do any floating in the lake on this visit, but one afternoon, the clouds parted and it was nice enough to take a boat ride. So the nine of us piled into the neighbor’s pontoon boat for a winter afternoon’s boat cruise. Very nice.

The view from the back deck.

The view from the back deck.

My niece with her "child," Norman the Basset.

My niece with her “child,” Norman the Basset.

All aboard!

All aboard!

Sister and Mrs. Poolman enjoying the day.

Sister and Mrs. Poolman enjoying the day.

Sister with the center of attention.

Sister with the center of attention.

Mrs. P enjoying the ride.

Mrs. P enjoying the ride.

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A great holiday/wedding weekend

We had a great time over Memorial Day weekend. (Yes, I am a little late catching up.) Our neice, Ellen, got married in Greenville, South Carolina. She is my middle sister’s daughter, so the event attracted a large number of my side of the family. I am the oldest of five. All are married, most with grown, or nearly grown, children. We and our cousins are spread all over the eastern half of the country. It’s been this way ever since I first moved away from Pittsburgh to Florida in 1971. While we are not geographically so close that we can call and say “Come on over for Sunday dinner,” we do have a good time when we do get together.

Mrs. Poolman and I took off on Thursday to make it a five-day weekend. Our first big surprise was Greenville itself. It has a very cool downtown. There is a small river with a waterfall cutting right through the middle of town. My sister commented, “You know, we lived here for ten years before we even knew we had a waterfall in downtown.”

Greenville's waterfall

Greenville’s waterfall

Wedding 3w

Brother taking picture of his son and daughter-in-law.

Wedding 4w

(l-r) Girlfriend, Poolboy and Writer Princess

Wedding 5w

Nephew, Mrs. P and myself

The rest of downtown is nicely landscaped, pedestrian friendly, and full of shops and restaurants. We went sightseeing both Friday and Saturday afternoon.  We had a very nice time. Greenville, South Carolina! Who ‘da thought?

In between the scheduled functions and parties, our family had a fairly non-stop party going back at the hotel. We were all in a Holiday Inn Express. At almost any time you could wander through the lobby and find someone to visit with. Lots of fun and laughter, and a fair amount of ethanol.

If not in the lobby, my brother and sister-in-law's room works just fine.

If not in the lobby, my brother and sister-in-law’s room works just fine.

I guess I should show at least one picture of the couple. Here is Stan and Ellen, zoning out at the rehearsal.

We all had such a great time, we started looking around at the single children and asked “So who’s next?”

Hymns, funerals and extra mourners

I am not much into music, especially religious music. In church I try to sing along, or at least lip sync, when I know the song. However there is no way I can contribute to a song I haven’t heard enough to recognize the melody.

This past Saturday, I was the reader at 5:30 Mass.  Afterwards, I went over to Julie, the song leader, to compliment her on her contribution. A few weeks ago, after a Mass that had four hymns I had never heard before, I had teased her that she and the organist were apparently trying to sing every song in the hymnal at least once during the year. So when I approached her on Saturday, she asked if I thought they were doing any better with their music selection. This got us talking about “So what are your favorite pieces?” I mentioned a few, but said my all-time favorite was “On Eagle’s Wings.”

Julie responded, “Well you must not go to many funerals, because we always sing it there.”

I told her I had been to many funerals as a child (more on that in a moment), but fortunately, I had not much opportunity to do so lately.

During the course of the conversation, I recalled a television show that had a short run in the 1990s that focused on an urban Catholic parish. I couldn’t remember much about it, but I did remember one episode that concerned the death of a nun and a beautiful rendition of “On Eagle’s Wings” at her funeral.

Mrs. Poolman has accused me of being a bit obsessive on more than one occasion. I do hate to leave mysteries unsolved. When I got home, I got on-line and tried to locate this program. Actually, a quick Google search for “tv, drama, catholic, priest” turned up the answer in nothing flat.  “Nothing Sacred” was an ABC network program that had a short run in 1997-98. Beyond that, it turns out there are a number of episodes on YouTube. Since the show had only a short run, it was pretty easy to narrow down the episodes to find the funeral scene. Here it is. The clip is of the entire last segment of the show. The song starts just past the 9-minute mark.

So, why, you might wonder, did I attend so many funerals as a child? It had nothing to do with dying family members, although there were those too. I went to a Catholic grade school, and my sixth grade teacher, Sister Mary Leonard, was also the musical director for the parish. Fairly frequently, when she was called upon to play music for a week-day funeral. Usually there was no substitute teacher available, so Sister just brought the class along for the funeral. Three to four times a month, a grieving group of family and friends would show up at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church to say farewell to a loved one, and there, sitting in the back rows of the church, were 40-45 sixth graders.  We were all well trained on the proper procedures and etiquette of the Requiem Mass. We knew all the responses and the words to most of the hymns.

One day, we even attended a wedding. I wonder if the father-of-the bride looked over as he was escorting his daughter down the aisle and wondered, “Are they coming to the reception too?”

Looking back on it, I am a little surprised at how well behaved we all were. However, by that time, we were all veterans of a number of years of parochial school, weekly Masses, monthly confessions, etc. We were well aware that any cutting-up during a funeral Mass, might result in a lightning bolt from the choir loft. In any case, it would not be a pleasant experience. We knew what was best in the long run.

Lake trip, broken things and alot of clothes

Summer is probably my favorite season of the years. It gets hot here in coastal Georgia, but that just makes the water in our pool that much warmer. Mrs. Poolman is happy.

We have been fairly busy.  Two weekends ago Mrs. P and I drove up to visit my middle sister and her husband at their lake house near Anderson, S.C.  This is their second summer on Lake Hartwell and they are really enjoying it. The house isn’t all that large, but it is very nice and has a great screened porch overlooking the lake. Our daughter, Writer Princess, and son-in-law also drove up. We had a very pleasant weekend of eating, drinking and lounging around.

Ever since we got back, we have been dealing with “things broken.” We have used the internet for our home phone service. When we got back to town from the lake, we discovered the wireless router that handles the phone service as well as our regular WiFi was apparently fried. I think we are going to join the ranks of the Generation X or Y, or whatever it is, and just blow off our traditional home telephone line. We are still working on a way to keep our home telephone number. That is the one people have used to contact us for 20 years. It’s a bold new world out there folks.

Then our washing machine decided to go on strike. The repairman came but had to order a new part. Hopefully it will be running tomorrow.

In the meantime, I have two and a half weeks of laundry piled on the floor of my closet. The sad thing is — I haven’t really been inconvenienced. Mrs. P says, “You have more clothes than God.” (Of course, God is a spirit and doesn’t need clothes, so I guess that is no mean feat.”)

I really don’t do much shopping or buy many clothes. I just don’t throw away or recycle my clothes very often. For example, if you just buy one pack of underwear and a couple of golf shirts each year, by the time ten or 12 years pass by, you have a bunch of underwear and shirts. That’s my story.

Independence Day falls in the middle of the week this year, which is a bit of a bummer. Mrs. P is up for a “party.” We have invited about a dozen people over for an afternoon pool party. Ribs, potato salad, baked beans, etc. Should be fun. The guest list includes our favorite 22-month old twins, Helen and Brittany. Another friend is bringing her two grandsons, roughly five and three. Should be fun, but it definitely won’t be dull.

On the road again…

Mrs. Poolman and I are off for our annual (more or less) driving trip to Pittsburgh and other northern locations. We will have visited my father and youngest sister (and family) in Pittsburgh and then head over to Mechanicsburg (near Harrisburg) to meet up with my brother and his gang. We’ll be spending the Memorial Day weekend at their new beach house in Stone Harbor, NJ.

Fortunately, we’ll have a lot of activity at our Savannah house. Poolboy and GF have moved in for the week to care for house, pool and pets, and Writer Princess (daughter) will be in and out frequently.

So far the trip has gone very well. We left Sunday morning and broke the 11 hour drive into two days. We can and have done it in one day, but Mrs. P tends to get cranky on long trips.

“After eight hours in the car, just cut my throat and put me out of my misery.”

Not a lot of subtlety there.

Our overnight at a Holiday Inn in Beckley, WV was very nice. It was a new or, at least, remodeled hotel, and we were upgraded to a suite. Don’t you know that only happens when all you are looking for is just a bed for the night? Oh well.

We have spent the last couple of days visiting with family. I did take Mrs. P to lunch at two Pittsburgh traditions. Yesterday, we took Dad and my brother in law to Primanti Brothers. This is a famous sandwich shop that started in Pittsburgh’s “strip district” and has expanded to a number of suburban locations. You can always spot a Primanti Brothers sandwich. The French fries are on the sandwich, not on the side.

Today, Dad had some doctor’s appointments so Mrs. P and I were on our own. We headed out to one my favorite spots from my high school and college years,  Danny’s Parkway Pizza. This sandwich shop and pizzeria on Route 88 near South Park, invented and perfected the “hot hoagie” (sub sandwich) long before Quiznos and Subway discovered the concept. It’s a “hole in the wall” place on a busy highway, but as expected, the hoagies were great. I wonder what happened to the drive in theater that used to be next door. 🙂

We had a very nice birthday dinner for my Dad (87) at my sister’s house. Mrs. P and I provided and cooked the steaks. Everyone had a good time and Dad seemed to enjoy it. But after the all-afternoon doctor’s visit and then a family dinner, he was pretty pooped.

Tomorrow, we head to Mechanicsburg and then on to Stone Harbor.

 

 

 

“Hello! Who’s there?”

Much has been written regarding the sharp decline in the art of writing notes in this age of text messages, email, Facebook and Twitter. Recently, I realized another decline in the art of communication – telephone etiquette.

Obviously, I date myself by evening bringing up the subject.  When we were younger, we were taught how to properly make a telephone call, answer the phone, and so on. The parents of one of my friends were so strict about the proper way to answer the phone in their house that she persists with it today.

“Hello, Smith residence, this is Mary speaking.”

And she is single – the only person living there!

This came up when we recently received a phone call from one of our 11-year old relatives.

“Hello”

Silence….finally “Hi”

“Hello. Who is this?”

Silence…finally, in a baby-like voice “This is Mallory!”

“Hi, Mallory. What can I do for you today?”

More silence….finally, “Oh, nuthin.”

And so it went on. Like trying to dig a splinter out of my thumb.

When I mentioned this to Mrs. Poolman, she said, “Why are you surprised? Have you talked with her parents lately? Who do you think is supposed to teach her?”

I realized that Mrs. P was right. We have received frequent calls from relatives in their 20s who call and simply say, “Hey!” and apparently wait for the recipient of the call to guess who they are and why they are calling.

You would think someone of our generation (50s) would know better, but they don’t. We have several friends who almost never identify themselves when they call. And some of them show annoyance when I ask, “And who is calling, please?”

I would recognize the voices of Mrs. Poolman, my two children and my father. After that, it’s a crap shoot. Caller ID works some of the time. I only look at it part of the time anyway. And if just shows a number and not a name, it’s not much help.

That last part is courtesy of the contact list built into my cell phone. I don’t even know Mrs. P’s cell number without looking it up. All I know is that it’s in my cell phone contact list under “Mrs. Poolman.

Recently, I received a call from the middle of my three sisters,  Margaret. I recognized her voice, but I thought I’d “zing” here anway.”

Margaret: “Hi Poolman! This is your favorite sister.”

Me: “Oh, hi, Kathy! I’m glad you called. I really want to hear more about what you were saying about Margaret yesterday.”

As they say on “The Big Bang Theory”…Bazinga!

And Mrs. Poolman says I still don’t understand why people don’t call me.

Family, food and football — a very nice Thanksgiving weekend!

It’s Sunday evening of the Thanksgiving weekend, and Mrs. Poolman and I are just “chillin.’”

We had a very nice weekend. My sister, brother in law and recent-law-school-grad nephew came down from Greenville, South Carolina for the weekend, and we all had a great time.  Maggie is the middle of my three younger sisters, and the only of my sibs within a reasonable driving distance.

Mrs. P and I both took Wednesday off to shop, clean and generally get ready for the weekend. Company arrived on Thursday. Both our children and their significant others came over and contributed to the feast. We spent the day “visiting” and watching a little football. Dinner was all the usual – turkey, gravy, dressing, mashed potatoes, vegetables, etc. Son-in-law made the pies. Poolboy contributed about 20 pounds of mashed potatoes. Yummy!

We have two adult children, both of whom also have other family commitments. It’s interesting that we have absolutely no problem coordinating holiday schedules with one of the families. With the other, it’s nearly impossible. Every holiday becomes a minor drama. I think the major issue is the other family cannot organize their own lives, which makes it impossible to coordinate with someone else.  A while back, we got frustrated with the whole deal. Now, we stake out our meal time and plans well in advance and just let it be known, so they can work around it, or not, as they will.

On Friday, we drove downtown and walked around River Street and the historic district.

The World War II memorial in Savannah's River Street

We stopped into one antique-salvage-junk store. My sister and both bought an interesting looking old window frame.

We'll see what I can do with this.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it. I may print up some individual family photographs and mount them behind the glass in each frame. I’m not a really “craftsy” person, so we’ll have to see how it turns out.

For Friday dinner, we cooked a low country boil (shrimp, potatoes, sausage and corn.) It broke up the non-stop turkey and turkey and ham sandwiches.

On Saturday, we watched football from lunch time to bed time. In our group, we had alums of Penn State, South Carolina and, of course, Florida. We were one for three on the day. How the Gators held FSU to less than 100 yards of total offense, and still managed to lose by two touchdowns is just amazing.

The Steelers are on Sunday Night Football. Maybe they will bring our weekend effort up to .500.

Back to work tomorrow. It hasn’t been the most exciting of weekends, but it was a very good one all the same.