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Happy Birthday

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March 27, 2020

Today is my Mother-in-law’s Birthday 🎂

 

Ethel and her two sisters, Audrey and Anne (in this order), were the first which welcomed me with open arms and open hearts, ♥️ without hesitation or reservation; without judgement. Some believe your marry a family when you marry someone (my wife, Susan Meech Hayden), in it. But there was also my father-in-law, an uncle, three step-sons, their wives, their 7 children and cousins and other kindreds. Marrying any woman is work enough and then there is work with all she is kindred to. Few men are ever good enough for a mother’s and father’s daughter. Multiply this many times, if you marry a divorced woman with children! But, call it Kingly or Queenly kindness, Mom and her two sisters (my aunts), graciously accepted me the first time I met them. And I liked all three of them, the first time I met each of them. Now unless you think this is about me or three sisters, it is not. But it is about a similar trait that all three shared and this merely is my observations of the qualities of one in particular.

Ethel Lovatt Meech, is my mother-in-law, to which I have long dispensed with the factual and formal title and just call her Mom. Blood not, but not any less is she to me, than my birth mother.

Her husband Henry, “Bud” Meech, my father-in-law called her “Lovie”. She was indeed, a loving 🥰 sister, a loving 🥰 wife, a loving 🥰 mother, a loving 🥰 aunt, a loving 🥰 cousin, a loving 🥰 grandmother, a loving 🥰 great grandmother and a loving 🥰 friend!

Our only granddaughter Leona, and one nephew Chase, both have ‘Lovatt’ as their middle name.

Mom was a proper Lady. She was often quiet and a good listener. But she was an exceptional conversationalist too, poignant, sharp and smart.

She also had a fun and funny side too. Both her two true children could tell you about her burgundy red convertible 67′ mustang she loved to drive.

Her comedic timing was often unexpected, but greatly appreciated. I would’ve loved to have been at the dinner table when her husband Bud asked her to throw him a pickle and she tossed it into the air! I remember standing next to her and my wife Susan, was on her other side at the funeral home. We were there to say goodbye to her husband, the father of her children, “Bud” Henry Meech. The grandchildren called her, ‘Grandma Sweetie Pie’. Yes, she was a sweetie, made great pie and was a wonderful cook. But there we were and it was a solemn moment, for all in saying goodbye, as we drew near to see him and pay our respects and begin the grieving process. Mom looked on her husband and friend and just quietly said, “The shell is still here, but the nut is gone.”

I would have loved to have been a fly in the car when she and dad were in the front seats (Dad was driving) and it was the first time she met his mom and grandmother. They were all singing songs and then there was a sudden quiet. To break the ice and cut through the edginess, Mom broke out singing, ‘Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall’. If that’s not funny enough for you, unbeknownst to Ethel, her newly met grandmother-in-law just happened to be the wife of a Methodist minister and her new mother-in-law was aligned with The Women’s Temperance Movement that opposed the consumption of alcohol. 🍹 🍸 🍺 🍷 🤣🤣🤣

But to me, the greatest thing my Mom had been was a career registered nurse. And that fact does not even begin to tell the story. I have met a few famous people in my life and had my heroes and heroines, But never in my wildest dreams, could I ever have imagined, marrying into a family with one hero and one heroine, married to each other. Their family became my family!

But Ethel was not only a registered nurse, oh no, a million times no! She was a proud and lifelong member of, The United States Nurse Cadet Corps.

Logo

The United States Cadet Nurse Corps (CNC), was authorized by the U.S. Congress and signed into law as a nondiscriminatory program, in July 1943. Its purpose was to help alleviate the nursing shortage that existed during World War II. The United States Public Health Service (USPHS), was named the supervisory agency; it was answerable to, the Surgeon General of the United States.

Its origins can be traced to the establishment in 1798, of a system of marine hospitals. In 1870, these were consolidated into the Marine Hospital Service, and the position of Surgeon General, first began.

The program was formed, July 1st, 1943 and was dissolved, December 31st, 1948.

The Media carried the news and offerings everywhere

The program was open to all women between the ages of 17 and 35 who were in good health and had graduated from an accredited high school.

All state nursing schools in the U.S. were eligible to participate in the program; they were, however, required to be accredited by the accrediting agency in their state and be connected with a hospital that had been approved by the American College of Surgeons. The participating schools of nursing were required to compress the traditional 36-month nursing program into 30 months and were obligated to provide the students with the clinical experiences of medicine, surgery, pediatrics, and obstetrics.

Ethel was an operating room and surgery nurse, for the better part of her career in nursing.

This was an incredible opportunity for women, for financial independence and a lifetime career, no matter the economic situation or societal woes that may befall a nation. If you were a nurse and even today, you always have a job. All of these things appealed to young women which before, may have had little to no opportunity to improve the quality of their lives. The uniforms, stockings, lapel pins, a particular shade of ruby red lipstick, and berets were highly attractive to many. If you were a nurse, a Cadet Nurse, you were in essence, a fashionista!

Status symbols and fashionistas

Many wanted to be one or to be seen with one!

 

There was a lot of prestige being a Cadet Nurse. You were not just anybody or just a woman, you were often gorgeous, highly intelligent, professional, highly trained, in high demand and were often viewed like rock stars of the times. Many women longed to be a Cadet Nurses and along with all these characteristics and compassion for others and the faithful dedication, many men fervently desired to date a Cadet Nurse, kiss one and with an ultimate hope of marrying one!

    

Beyond these things, Cadet Nurses were honored to serve their country as the country was honored by their presence. They filled great voids in this country, when so much of the medical field were on the front lines overseas. But no matter where a Nurse Cadet served, she was also on the front lines and among the ‘first responders’. They did not only give life giving aid and literally saved many a life, they often wrote letters for their patients, read to them, talked to them, comforted them, and kept vigil the whole dark night of their patients’s souls. They were heroes and heroines each one, and often your trusted confidant and best friend! Doctors could never, and cannot ever, survive for any length of time without them! And the greatest medical people in the world are in the USA! 🇺🇸 The quality of the entire medical industry that we enjoy today, are the direct results of The Nurse Cadet Corps that forged it in fire, 🔥 on the front lines, of the front lines of, human trauma and tragedy, crisis and redemption, by what many think on as the ‘angels of grace and mercy!

My mother-in-law, Ethel Lovatt Meech, my adopted mom, was a pioneer on a love frontier. And she is my heroine!

She knew her grandson Jonathan was following, in her footsteps and she spoke of him often fondly and beamed with pride. He wanted her to be the one that pinned him when he graduated from nursing school, but sadly, she passed before. But he did graduate, is a husband, a father of three boys, and a NICU nurse (neonatal Specialist), but he is also studying and soon to graduate, as a Nurse Practitioner. I know she would be (is), so very proud of him as he like her, in our current World War against the Covid19 virus, is on the front lines of the front lines!

Triple Victory- The War is Over, Home Again, & Kiss a Nurse! 🙂

Jonathan was there and Susan and I were there when Mom took her last breath. I have no other way to say this than, it was a beautiful death. She was surrounded by people that loved her and that she loved and she quietly closed her eyes and went to sleep. She was draped with a quilt that was given to her by a Nurse who had also served in the military. The quilt has an American flag woven design. We still have this. It was just a token of a grateful country, for her service!

The Quilt that draped Ethel, in honor of her service to the USA

We now live in the same home that she and my father-in-law lived in, from 1973 until they passed. We inherited a simple little kitchen timer that runs off of batteries. It is just inside one of the cabinets in our kitchen. For some unknown reasons and at different times, when either of us walk by the cabinet, the alarm inside starts dinging. We always think it’s Mom trying to say something and we always say, “Hi Mom,” and then shut the alarm off. And today is, your birthday! Your your daughter Susan, is making a cake for you, to celebrate you today and for as long as we still draw breath.

I don’t know if I ever said this to you, but like the line from a favorite song of mine, “Did you ever know that you’re my hero?” 🥰❤️

Your Dahni
(Because you made me yours)

A Beautiful Woman inside and Out

Still kept her red curly hair

   


Cadet Hymn

Faithful ever to my country, to the Corps, my sacred trust,
Grant that I may follow wisely, all the guidance offered me.
Give me kindness, grant me patience,
That I may not fail this noble challenge to heal the suffering ones.
Help me to ally the sorrowing in a world torn by strife,
May I hold the lamp of nursing in the sprit of the Corps,
Give me strength, and grant me knowledge,
To pursue my chosen way with courage to heal the suffering ones.
Now I dedicate my service, pledge myself and all I am,
Thus to make of life a triumph, over sorrow over death,
Give me pride in my endeavor
In the service of my Corps, o grant that I may heal the suffering ones

The cadet hymn was composed by the director of music at Mt. Vernon Methodist Church in Washington, D.C. and the words were written by a member of the Division of Nursing Education of the USPHS. It was released in 1945 on the second anniversary of the CNC

Categories: Birthday, Family & Friends, Inspiration, Life, Live Laugh Love, Love, The Gathering Place, Things that really matter, Uncategorized, Women, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Tree of Heaven?

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By Dahni
©️2018, all rights reserved

Tree of Heaven in Summer

Ailanthus altissima /eɪˈlænθəs ælˈtɪsɪmə/, commonly known as tree of heaven. It is related to poplar and tulip trees. It is a deciduous tree in the Simaroubaceae family

It is native to both northeast and central China, as well as Taiwan. It prefers temperate climates. Grows well in sun or shade, moist conditions or dry, parched and drought-ridden areas. Sounds good yes? Tree of Heaven?

Tree of Hell 4/21/2018

It is so named the ‘Tree of Heaven’ as it grows faster than most trees and in a forest, they are prone to dominate the canopy, starving other trees of precious sunlight. Tree of Heaven? I think not!

The tree grows rapidly and can reach heights about 49 feet in about 25 years. Typical heights in the USA is about 15-30’. What? The USA? Yes, and one WAS (for years before today), was between the side of our home and our neighbor’s property.

Well how did they get from China to the United States?

Thanks to the Chinese gold miners that brought these to CA during the Gold Rush and some idiot gardener in the “City of Brotherly Love” (Philadelphia, PA,), these damn gifts of the Tree of Heaven spread across the USA literally like a plague or a virus!

By the way, the Standard Chinese word for this tree, ailanthus is chouchun (Chinese: 臭椿; pinyin: chòuchūn; literally: “foul-smelling tree”). It has been described as the smell of rancid peanut butter. YUCK!

But they are not likely to live more than 50 years. I don’t think I will live 50 more, but, maybe? 😀 But, but, through its remarkable suckering ability, makes it possible for this tree to clone itself indefinitely!!!!!! What? Tree from Heaven? Oh, NO IT’S NOT!

But, but, but since these suckers are linked to the mother tree and PARTLY fed by it, the suckers are less vulnerable than the seedlings and can grow faster. Tree from Heaven? Oh HELL NO!!!!!!!!!! But, but, but, but “seedlings”, let’s talk about those.

Seedlings Tree of Heaven

The Tree of Heaven’s seedlings are like maple tree seedlings like we used to call ‘helicopters’ when we were kids. Oh it was fun watching the wind spin them and carry them off. But, but, but, but as an adult (I am chronologically an adult anyway), NOT FUN AT ALL!

Behind our home is a much (a bunch), of rocks purposely put there so not having to mow the steep pitch. It was planned perfectly years ago and did its job nicely. The area is rectangular in shape, about 40’ long by 30’ foot wide; edged with flat concrete blocks.

Rock bed for seedlings from the Tree of Hell

After many years, stuff started to grow out from the spaces between the stones. Particularly what grew profusely, like weeds or multiplied like rabbits were those damn seedlings from the Tree of Heaven.

It seemed that if these grew above 1 inch tall, the roots would already have grown back to China, their mother country. 🙂

If I did not pluck them out at or below 1” or douse the whole area with about 575,000 gallons of ‘Round Up’® every freaking year, nothing was going to kill them!

Note: Round Up is a registered trademarked chemical or its technical name is, Glyphosate, a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide and crop desiccant, from your friendly chemical and world’s largest distributor of seeds, Monsanto company! Yes that was sarcasm and factual.

After 1” I would have to try and chop them out, use a jackhammer, break chain saws or concrete blades or try dynamite because, the evil green-less dead looking crap was like diamonds or petrified stone in hardness!!! Tree of Heaven my ass! This is the Tree of Hell!!!

Old root from Tree of Hell – like petrified stone in hardness

We were GLAD to pay half to have this Tree of Hell cut down Yesterday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Today (Sunday 4/22/18 Earth Day), they will cut down the trunk and remove it all away!!!!! YAY!!!!!

Thanks China! NO, NOT REALLY; NOT AT ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you have a Tree from Hell or if you really and truly care about someone you know that has EVEN ONE OF THEM, watch and/or share the following video!!!!!

The Gathering Place,

Dahni

Categories: China, Family & Friends, The Gathering Place, Tree of Heaven, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Mary Did You Know

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Mary, Did You Know?

This is one of my favorite songs. You decide, which is my favorite version of this song below and decide for yourself, which is yours.

Kent Rogers & Winnona Judd

Voctave

Original Music by Buddy Greene and lyrics and originally sung by Mark Lowry

Pentatonic

Clay Aiken

 

Mary Did You Know

(Lyrics)

Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?

Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?

Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?

This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you

Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?

Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?

Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?

And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God

Mary did you know, Mary did you know, Mary did you know

The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again

The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?

Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?

Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?

This sleeping child you’re holding is the great I am

Mary did you know, Mary did you know, Mary did you know

Music by Buddy Greene & Lyrics by Mark Lowry:

‘If Mary Knew’ by Dahni © 2012, all rights reserved

 

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Announcing

The Gathering Place is pleased to announce…

Two toilets, no waiting only a wall separates! 🙂

Dahni & Susan, the WallKnocker Singers. Just two people, two toilets, an extensive musical repertoire and one wall between them. People that wallknock out tunes together, stay together! 🙂

All your familairs including:

  • ‘Shave & a Haircut’
  • ‘Do Re Me’ + more

And your classical holiday favorites too:

  • Happy Birthday
  • Jingle Bells
  • Dashing Through the Snow + many more

Stay Tuned

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Any Road

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By Dahni
© 2017, all rights reserved

“Any road is, an English colloquialism. You know, “English” as from England or British (Britain). Instead of how many of us use and say “anyway” (any way), “any road” (anyroad), takes on a similar meaning. example: Anyway as I was saying, I have to get to the dentist or anyroad (any road), traveled, I must get to the store. 🙂

There is an exchange between Alice and the Cheshire Cat, in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, where the following line has been incorrectly attributed to, Lewis Carroll. It appears all over the Internet and all kinds of merchandise are being sold with the line, falsely quoting Lewis Carroll, as its author. The line reads as follows:

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”

This MAY (?), have been someone’s paraphrase of the exchange between Alice and the Cheshire Cat, but Louis Carroll never wrote those words!
BrainyQuotes inaccurately attributes this to Carroll.

Lewis Carroll NEVER said this!

https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/l/lewiscarro165865.html

 And you could even buy a vinyl decal from Amazon (and other places), with the line and supposed quote by Lewis Carroll. Note: Currently this item is not available from Amazon (but it was, just do a search). Maybe they figured out they were selling something falsely quoted?

The Cheshire Cat, NEVER said this!

Anyway or Anyroad, back to ‘Alice.’ 🙂 Below are the actual words of the conversation between Alice and the Cheshire Cat, from Chapter 6, ‘Pig and Pepper’ of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:

Alice
Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?

Cheshire Cat
That depends a good deal on where you want to get to, said the Cat.

Alice
I don’t much care where— said Alice.

Cheshire Cat
Then it doesn’t matter which way you go, said the Cat.

Alice
So long as I get SOMEWHERE, Alice added as an explanation.

Cheshire Cat
Oh, you’re sure to do that, said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.

Excerpts: Chapter 6, ‘Pig and Pepper’ – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll

Oh NO, he did NOT say or write this!

So, if neither Alice or the Cheshire Cat never said the line or the words “any road” (and they didn’t), and Lewis Carroll never wrote them (and he did NOT), who did?

It MAY(?), also, be found in the ancient Jewish Babylonian Talmud?

But if not Lewis Carroll, Alice, the Cheshire Cat, someone’s paraphrase of the three or the Jewish Babylonian Talmud, who else could have written these words?

‘Any Road’ is, a song written by the late, former Beatle, George Harrison, who passed in 2001. The song was released as a single and from his posthumous album ‘Brainwashed,’ in 2002. Notice in the lyrics to follow, the line is NOT “…any road will get you there,” but “…any road will take you there.”

CD Jacket of ‘Brainwashed’

Oh YES, He said it, sung it and wrote it!

Any Road

By George Harrison

Oh I’ve been traveling on a boat and a plane
In a car on a bike with a bus and a train
Traveling there and traveling here
Everywhere in every gear
But oh Lord we pay the price with a
Spin of a wheel with the roll of a dice

Ah yeah you pay your fare
And if you don’t know where you’re going
Any road will take you there

And I’ve been traveling through the dirt and the grime
From the past to the future through the space and the time
Traveling deep beneath the waves
In watery grottoes and mountainous caves
But oh Lord we’ve got to fight
With the thoughts in the head with the dark and the light

No use to stop and stare
And if you don’t know where you’re going
Any road will take you there

You may not know where you came from
May not know who you are
You may not even wondered how
How You got this far
I’ve been traveling on a wing and a prayer
By the skin of my teeth by the breadth of a hair
Traveling where the four winds blow
With the sun on my face, in the ice and the snow
But ooee it’s a game
Sometimes you’re cool, sometimes you’re lame

Ah yea it’s somewhere
And if you don’t know where you’re going
Any road will take you there

But oh Lord we pay the price
With the spin of a wheel, with the roll of a dice

Ah yea, you pay your fare
And if you don’t know where you’re going
Any road will take you there

I keep traveling around the bend
There was no beginning, there is no end
It wasn’t born and never dies
There are no edges, there is no sides
Oh yea, you just don’t win
It’s so far out – the way out is in
Bow to God and call him Sir

But if you don’t know where you’re going
Any road will take you there

♦  ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦  ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦

The only known public recording of this song by George Harrison was on VH1 in 1997. For your enrichment and enjoyment, the link to the YouTube video follows here.

The last song on the last album by all four Beatles (Abbey Road) was ‘The end.’ The last words are:

“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

But all things considered, in the end, for me-
“All things must pass” [G. Harrison] “Let It Be” [the Beatles]
All the unknown and undone and what I’ve left this life, showing
I’d rather to have been on the road and known, where I am going!

-Dahni-

PS And at my end, I’m taking more love with me and in me, than it is possible, for me to have ever made, in 10,000 X 10,000 lives! I cannot equal, out-give, out-love and out-live God, but His Road will take me there!

-d-

Categories: Family & Friends, Inspiration, Music, Poetry, The Gathering Place, Uncategorized, You Tube | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Tequila is My Friend

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By Dahni
© 2016, all rights reserved

Tequila as a friend? Yes! A friend not only will say what you want to hear, but they will tell you what you NEED to hear.

Margaritas

Ahh Tequila, You are a Friend of Mine 🙂

Nothing quite says summer like margaritas, freestyle, flavored, frozen or on the rocks! Tequila is my friend because, a regular margarita requires it and is part of its unique taste.

You live your life with the love of your life and you find out things about her after many years that you never knew. Tequila is my friend because, I just found out that it is my wife’s favorite drink. She had been asking me to make these for a while and the other night I made us a couple and posted on my Facebook page that it was, “Margarita 30.”

“Margarita:30,” like “Beer:30, is just a hypothetical time of day uttered in response to the question of “what time is it.” when consumption of said beverage becomes an event that is either inevitable or required to proceed with life as we know it in modern society. 🙂

Well, anyway, as I was saying, it was indeed, “Margarita:30” the other night at, The Gathering Place. I made my wife and I a couple, just as usual. A regular Margarita is pretty simple to make. It has just three ingredients: Tequila (of course), some type of orange liquor as Triple Sec, Cointreau or Grand Marnier. I have used all three and Triple Sec is the least expensive followed by Cointreau and then Grand Marnier. The last two are French in origin and I do personally, prefer Grand Marnier. The kind of Tequila is a personal choice and range in complexity and cost. Whatever works for you, works. I started making these with the once most popular and nearly the only tequila (good tequila) that was available around 40 years ago, Jose Cuervo. Although not the oldest or the best by many standards, it remains the best-selling tequila in the world.

Now the purists, the old-time tequila drinkers licked some salt, bit into a lime and swallowed the tequila. A version of this was the “body shot” and required preferably three attractive women and one male. One female placed the salt at her cleavage. Another lady would have the lime in her mouth. And the last woman had the tequila in hers. If you were the guy that was the recipient of this libation, well?  🙂

Some had tequila drinking parties and contests, most likely inspired by the male-manly-silly-ego of, ‘who can drink the most?’ I was a bouncer or a stabilizer-stand-em-up guy of such a contest where the floors were completely lined with thick painter’s drop cloths. Hmmmmm? The contest had obvious ‘ringers’ of Mexican descent. No, that is not a slur, just a probability that if you were born and raised in Mexico, you just might be able to drink more tequila, than someone that is not. But, ‘The Flying Burritos Brothers Tequila Drinking Team,’ each consumed, a fifth and a half of tequila and were still on their feet. 🙂

Many were intrigued by and dared to get to and swallow the preserved worm, at the bottom of the bottle of some tequila? It was and may well still be, as if there is something magical, spiritual or that the supposed pure tequila in that worm’s guts, would make you special or something. 🙂

Too much tequila has been known to cause temporary (hopefully) nut-ness’ and there was even a song written that was quite popular. Many may still hear it played today or recall it, all too realistically. 🙂

Jose Cuervo, Shelly West, 1983, Vinyl 45 RPM

But getting back to ‘Margaritaville,’ after the proper mixing of the 3 required ingredients, for ‘The Regular,’ usually the rim of the glass is rubbed with lime and the glass is then turned upside down and pressed into a bed of coarse salt. The lime oil holds the salt onto the glass, for the ‘salted rim,’ which many find to be absolutely, a requirement for a real, true, authentic margarita. Prior to serving, the beverage is mixed with ice and pulverized in a blender or ice crusher, to make frozen margaritas. Otherwise, you would place ice cubes (as much as you like) or crushed ice in the glass, then pour the fresh margarita over the ice and Walla — instant summertime (beach not included). 🙂

I had not been able to drink even a 1/3 of my drink, when I suddenly had a horrible headache. I thought maybe it was that the Triple Sec was old so, I left my happy wife to drink hers and the rest of mine, while I tried to make another with Grand Marnier. Ooops, ran out of lime so, I had to use Rose’s lime juice and some of that lime juice concentrate from you know, that lime-looking, plastic squeeze bottle. It did not taste the same as a regular margarita without the fresh lime juice and after a swallow, my headache continued to get worse. Pffft. It is one of my favorite drinks too. But my poor happy honey was soon wasted away, in Margaritaville. 🙂

Margaritaville

Just so it is perfectly clear, we only drink moderately and modestly. We don’t NOT wear clothes, don’t shoot out lights, dance on bar tops, start fights or wake up with partners we have no idea who they are and we’re NOT wearing their shirts. To be clear, clear, we just wake up with each other, NO other bodies next to us, known or unknown! 🙂

Back to tequila.

I remembered that this tequila was newly tried last year and last year, it did the same thing to me. Last year it gave me a horrible headache too. Hmmm, I wondered, perhaps I can just no longer tolerate tequila? OH HOW SAD THAT WOULD BE! 😦

But then again, maybe it’s this PARTICULAR brand of tequila? HOPING SO!

The next day, I went to the liquor store to buy another bottle of tequila, the same brand we had used, for several years previously. But before I made my purchase, I just happened to ask the owner if he had ever heard of anyone else having a reaction to tequila or from the brand I had last purchased from him a year ago that he had personally recommended? “No,” was his quick answer, but it was followed with a “But.” But before I get to that, let’s go back in time.

My first introduction to wine was red wine and it was from France, a Beaujolais. I am told, this is still an excellent ‘first wine’ to introduce people to red wine, due to it’s low tannins and its light body. I loved it and went on to drink many different red wines, which I prefer over white. But something happened to me years ago. Red wines I loved, did not seem to like me anymore. I never even spent much time on WHY, I just tried to find some white wines that we would each other get along with.  🙂

Oh, I could still drink my red, but only a glass if with food for dinner, just NOT sadly, for ‘Happy Hour.’ When I moved to NY, where we live now, near the Finger Lakes Region of Western NY, yes, there is much more to NY than just New York City, NY, I started to wonder again. I decided my lack of tolerating red wine was due to the added sulfites to the wines, for commercial sale. All wines have some sulfites by nature and reds have more, but there seems even more are added, when mass distribution exists? I was excited to test this out, on one of our wine tour trips to a winery in particular that was, small-batch and organic. To my chagrin, the wine was horrible, so I was not able to see if my theory could “hold water” or wine. 🙂

Around three years ago, we moved to the country. We can now almost roll down the hill to a winery, owned by folks that have become dear friends. They have a wine produced and bottled by them, which is not only wonderful and red, but the first red wine, I have been able to drink just for Happy Hour, in over 30 years I’m guessing! WOW, was I happy to be able to drink a red wine again! My only problem is, if they ever run out, which is the situation currently. I could be in trouble. They probably will not have this ready for several more months. I do still have a few left in our basement, so I am not concerned, at least not yet. But, for the most part, I have, for three years, just thought that their red does not have as many sulfites, so I am able to drink it. I think now, I may be wrong about this.

I have consumed scotch in some form for over 40 years. It is not an alcoholic beverage that seems to have a middle ground. People either like it or they don’t, both with perhaps equal passion for or against. I personally had to learn to like it. It started with a beverage that someone I greatly admired enjoyed, called, Drambuie. It is Scottish in its origin and is a sweet liquor with a Scotch base. The name means, “the drink that satisfies.” I liked it. From there, I started drinking, ‘Rusty Nails’ which was, Drambuie with some scotch added. Then I moved to Chivas Regal which is, a blended scotch and this was a particular drink of choice of mine, for many years. I wrote “particular” because, for me, I discovered that if I was going to be out all night drinking (in my youth), I could drink just scotch all night long and never get drunk/inebriated/intoxicated and NEVER have a hangover. My only side-effect if you will, seemed like my skin smelled like an oak barrel, for quite some time until, all the remnants were no longing coming out my pores. 🙂

It was only when I met my wife that she introduced me to single malt scotch. Yes, my wife is a scotch drinker and I have never met another woman in my life that likes scotch. So, this is pretty cool to me! My first single malt is, still her favorite, Glenlivet. Mine later became, Macallan. We keep both as well as, a pretty good assortment of scotches, at The Gathering Place. I used to drink scotch on the rocks. It was my wife’s brother Kevin that taught me the ways of drinking scotch more perfectly.  🙂

Most scotch is bottled and sold at around the four-year old mark. The longer the aging, the higher the demand and price, but less water is left. 8-year-old and older scotch is like drinking finely aged wine with its complex nose, bouquet, start, finish and its subtle tastes. Adding a drop or a few drops ONLY of water, completely transforms the experience and ice just totally waters this down and robs me of the experience. So, for several years now, this is the only way I would drink scotch.

Now if you think I’m a long way away from what the liquor store owner said to me about tequila, and even further from Margaritaville (margaritas) and tequila being my friend, hold on, I’m getting there, it’s all important!

For years, my wife and I would occasionally share a scotch together and the same scotch, her Glenlivet, UNTIL I discovered Macallan. We would still have our scotches together (she her’s and I mine), once in a while. After her bother Kevin, showed me how to properly drink it, I have learned to love drinking it this way. My wife still prefers hers on the rocks and I, with just a drop or a few drops of water. And this does NOT matter what time of the year it is either. Perhaps by this time, you may have discovered what I discovered is, a taste for more expensive single malt scotches. I have had 18-year-old which were from drinks purchased for me by a friend. But my cut-off is, 12-year-old. It’s expensive enough and I really don’t want to get use to anything that might be better and even more expensive. But I also discovered something else. Since I do not drink scotch, I SIP IT and slowly, to maximize the experience and to make it take as long as is possible, we could actually afford more expensive scotch, since we do not drink it like water or need to buy it as often.

Something else happened to me years ago. I learned to enjoy fine cigars. But something was missing— other people. Yes, I was a conversation only, social cigar smoker. I would really never smoke alone. In my mind, a good quality cigar was a social thing, for conversation. I even started having what I called, Cigar-tys. I would have people over and most of the time, I provided the cigars and the beverages. I loved these! And since they were not frequent, I could afford better cigars. It was a win-win for me. Then, I started associating sipping 12-year-old single malt scotch, with fine cigars and conversation. Then, religion interfered. It wasn’t disagreeable politics, but religion. Rather than just agree to disagree, one stormed off and did not speak with me again for a long time. Thankfully, it was not permanent, but this ended my beloved cigar-tys! I would still have a scotch now and then with my wife, but rarely smoked another cigar, for some time.

I knew my brother smoked cigars, but found out he too, not only liked scotch, but my favorite as well. Then he and I got together with our wives, for a week at a cabin in the Ozarks. As far as he and I were concerned, we could have just stayed on the screened-in porch, had conversation, listened to the creek that ran just underneath, watched nature, smoked cigars and drank scotch all week-long! But our ladies had other things in mind so, we did do other things.  🙂

But ever since that time, just a few years ago, I can no longer drink scotch without a cigar and someone to share good conversation with.

Thankfully, I made a new friend a few years ago, that stops by every-now-and-again and we share a scotch and a cigar and good conversation. But last year I noticed, I was not tolerating scotch too well when he was here. I didn’t think too much of it until a few weeks ago, when he was last here. I poured him a scotch, but not one for myself. I just did not want to take a chance. We shared a cigar and great conversation, but I noticed, I wasn’t handling the cigar too well. Then, I got a little angry about that and after he left and to soothe myself somewhat, I poured myself a scotch. Same as last year, I just didn’t feel right. What was going on was soon forgotten. I would not have to think about it again until my friend or someone came by that liked conversation, a good cigar and some great scotch.

So, now finally, we get back to the liquor store owner. This just happened yesterday or one day before I wrote this post. Remember, I went to buy some tequila, like we used to have on hand, before last year.

Tequila

Two different Tequila brands— amber and clear

The amber-colored tequila on the left in the picture above is the one I have reacted to, twice now. The silver or clear one on the right is the one we used to use, for several years previously and the one I purchased yesterday. Remember, before I made my purchase, I asked the owner if he ever heard of anyone reacting to one or both types of tequila? After he said, “No,” he went on to say, “…but what you are describing to me sounds like you might have celiac disease.” He informed me that the only reason he knew anything about this was because his wife was having some issues with cancer and was referred to a gastrointestinal specialist. After proper testing, his diagnosis was that she did indeed, have celiac disease.

I have never heard of this disease before. Now, before you or I freak out with that dreaded word “cancer,” let’s not jump to conclusions. Celiac disease can happen at a young age or at any age and can vary with symptoms per individual and/or be gradual over the years. There is a test, for this and rest assured, I will be bringing this up with my doctor at a regular scheduled visit, in the next couple of weeks. But most often the disease is usually associated with the body developing antigens, for things it believes do not belong in the body of the individual as, me perhaps? It is usually associated with not tolerating gluten from wheat, rye and barley.

To my knowledge, I don’t seem to have any issue with rye or barley. I often feel uncomfortable after eating granola and sandwiches etc from whole wheat or gluten rich foods. There is a nine grain bread we have been buying for some time, which I love and gives me no problems. Pizza does not. But too much of anything would bother anyone eventually, but I try not to do that. Ice cream does not (especially Ben & Jerry’s). Yes, some ice cream contains gluten.Pie crust does not bother me. So, over the years, I have become aware of these things and have limited or weaned myself from those things which do bother me.

OK, so what has this to do with wine, scotch, cigars and at least one brand of tequila? In a word, wood. To be more specific, oak. All of these things can be aged, cured or stored in oak and as cigars, in a humidor made with oak. So yes, celiac disease can be triggered by oak and even some plastics (not that I eat plastic). The skin can absorb plastic and it can be inhaled in sufficient amounts to irritate those with celiac disease. OK, do I have this? I don’t know and won’t, before I am tested and properly diagnosed by my physician, within the next couple of weeks. But do I have any possible proof?

The liquor store owner told me that both tequilas are fermented in stainless steel tanks. But the amber-colored one is then aged to produce what some believe is a smoother tequila with the characteristic amber color. Would you like to know how it gets that color and whatever else becomes a part of the finished product? Well, it’s OAK! OK, now what?

I bought the new silver tequila untouched by OAK. I made us another pitcher of margaritas with it and slowly tasted and waited. Nothing happened. I had no reaction at all. I drank two and still, nothing. Nothing but pure delight that I could drink one of my favorite drinks again! So, tequila is my friend!

A friend tells you what you want to hear. Yay, I can still drink tequila (un-oaked) and continue to enjoy margaritas.

A friend tells you what you may not like, but need to know. I may or may not have Celiac disease. But now, I know it’s a possibility and what to do about it – check with my Doctor and take the test for this and just avoid things that may cause me discomfort.

And you Dear reader, tequila may be your friend too? If you have similar experiences as I have, check with your doctor. But rest assured, if you’ve no issue with any of these things, we will keep the stuff you like, for whenever you stop by, The Gathering Place! 🙂

Categories: Beverages, Celiac Disease, Health, Inspiration, Tequila, The Gathering Place, Toast this Life, Uncategorized, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

A Toast to Life

short url to this post: http://wp.me/p4jGvr-AV

 

By Dahni
© 2015, all rights reserved

 

A Toast to you on St. Patty’s Day:

May your every need, be ever met
And your heart, always full
And all the best that’s yet to come,
May it be your crowning jewel
May love and hope ever find you,
sharing these two, with all you meet
And this, ever circling
will never find complete!

The Gathering Place

Your Friends and family on the road of Life

Toast Life

 

 

Categories: Holidays, Inspiration, Irish, Irish Music, Life, Live Laugh Love, Love, Music, Poetry, Spring, St. Patrick's Day, The Gathering Place, Toast this Life, videos, Visual Poetry, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

The Robin Report

Short url to this post: http://wp.me/p4jGvr-Aq
by Dahni
© 2015, all rights reserved

 RobinReport1

The American Robin is, a more sure harbinger and prognosticator of spring, than Punxsutawney Phil the ground hog, could ever be, in his or her, wildest dreams.

Robins are actually, part of the family of thrushes. They received their familiar name from homesick European settlers in the United States, many years ago. They were reminded of their beloved and familiar little Robin Red-breast, which has a color pattern brighter, but somewhat similar to our robin, even though the two are, not closely related.

Years ago, there was a median strip between our home (then) and our neighbor’s property. In the middle of this strip of land was a Hawthorne tree with long and potentially hurtful thorns. Trust me they hurt, having been pricked by them, more than a few times. The berries are bright red orange and often stay on the tree throughout the winter. The reason for this is quite simple. Their berries are not considered to be, culinary fowl fare or bird yum yums. 🙂

Most wintering critters and birds don’t care for them, that is, until one snowy wintry, February morning. I happened to look outside our bedroom window and right below in this Hawthorne tree was, at least a hundred robins. In about a half an hour, they picked the tree clean. There was not a single berry left. I was astounded!

I had never seen so many robins before and I did not know they would group like this. So, I did some research.

I suppose, I never really thought about where robins go in the winter? I guess I never entertained the idea that they migrate, but they do. Curiously, first of all, some, for some unknown reason, will winter farther up north in Canada (We live in NY). But others, will migrate thousands of miles, from Vancouver Island to as far south as, Guatemala. Some will just hang around where they are.

Robins are of only, just a few type of birds that change their diet. They will eat nuts, seeds and berries (even those nasty Hawthorne berries), insects and grubs and their favorite delicacy, earthworms. Obviously in February, it was still a little cold for earthworms. But the interesting thing I have come to understand about the robins I saw in February is, they were all male. The males return before their females to begin building their nests, scoping out new or defending their territory. And how do they defend their turf – by singing, sometimes fighting, but a good song seems to be, what works best, most of the time.

After the male robins first appear, the spring rains begin soon thereafter. When the grounds become saturated, the earthworms come up for air. From the time the males show up and the rains fall is, around two weeks. Right on cue, about two weeks after the males, the females arrive hungry from the long flight and earth worms are easy to find. Contrary to what I thought and perhaps many others as well, robins do NOT hear the earthworms underground, they see them on the top of the waterlogged soil. I know, we’ve all seem them pecking on the ground when it looks like there’s nothing there, don’t they really hear the worms? Just remember, their eyesight is far superior to ours. They can see the smallest movement of leaves and earth and KNOW, something alive is moving!

So dear friends and family of, The Gathering Place, robins are, the sure sign that spring has sprung! 🙂

 Robin song mp3 on SoundCloud (may not work on Apple devices)

 

YouTubeIcon32X32Robin Song on YouTube

 

 

The following poem which inspired by these robins was, posted on another one of my blogs at: Dahni Daily, Februrary, 21, 2010. It was written right around the time the robins first appeared in the Hawthorne tree. They did come back the next year, but only around 30. That was the last time I saw them in such numbers or in that tree. We moved to where we live now at: The Gathering Place. But we still see robins here. I can’t wait to see them soon and report that spring here, has definitely arrived! I hope you enjoy the following poem.

A Sure Sign

By Dahni, © 2010, all rights reserved

The Hawthorne berry bright red

Seemingly an attractive fruit,

But most unsavory,

For they last the whole of winter,

Undisturbed and uneaten.

A robin one or two or few,

A sure sign of spring,

Though long after the snows melt,

And the rains come,

And the worms surface.

Two years ago, about a week,

Before the end of February,

Hundreds of robins picked the Hawthorne clean,

In minutes,

Their migratory mates followed two weeks later,

And brought spring with them.

Today, about a week,

Before the end of February,

Many robins sat in the Hawthorne;

My heart was lightened,

Though snow still upon the ground,

And in the air,

Surely their mates are on the way,

And bringing with them,

Spring.

From the collection: ‘As it Happened – Collections of Recollections, by the same author
Short url to this post: http://wp.me/pc5BC-39

 RobinReport2

 So, what is, your robin report? Are they where you are yet? Is it spring where you are yet?

Categories: Beauty, Birds, Family & Friends, Poetry, Robins, Spring, Uncategorized, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Auld Lang Syne

AulLangSyne1

 

Among the many traditions that come with ringing in the new year, the singing of “Auld Lange Syne” has become a custom of almost every gathering at midnight of New Year’s Eve. But what do these words mean?

“Auld Lange Syne” was originally a  poem written by Scotland’s favourite poet, Robert Burns in 1788. It was eventually set to the tune of a traditional folk song. The title of the Scottish tune translates to “times gone by” and is about remembering friends from the past and not letting them be forgotten.

Now, at the conclusion of almost every New Year’s celebration, partygoers join hands with the person next to them to form a great circle around the dance floor. At the beginning of the last verse, everyone crosses their arms across their breast, so that the right hand reaches out to the neighbor on the left and vice versa.

I chose the Youtube video (presented below) with Susan Boyle because, I just love her soothing voice, her love for singing, the emotion she projects; I love her heart and simplicity and she was, born in, Blackburn, West Lothian, Scotland.

 

Susan Boyle, album ‘The Gift’ – Auld Lang Syne

 

Auld Lang Syne 

 

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And auld lang syne

Chorus:

For auld lang syne, my dear
For auld lang syne
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne

And surely ye’ll be your pint stowp
And surely I’ll me mine
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne

Chorus:

For auld lang syne, my dear
For auld lang syne
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne

We twa hae run about the braes
An pou’d the gowans fine
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fitt
Sin’ auld lang syne

Chorus:

For auld lang syne, my dear
For auld lang syne
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne

 

 

Auld Lang Syne

(modern English translation)

 

Should old acquaintances be forgotten,
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintances be forgotten,
And days of long ago!

Chorus:

For times gone by, my dear
For times gone by,
We will take a cup of kindness yet
For times gone by.

We two have run about the hillsides
And pulled the daisies fine,
But we have wandered many a weary foot
For times gone by.

Chorus:

For times gone by, my dear
For times gone by,
We will take a cup of kindness yet
For times gone by.

We two have paddled (waded) in the stream
From noon until dinner time,
But seas between us broad have roared
Since times gone by.

Chorus:

For times gone by, my dear
For times gone by,
We will take a cup of kindness yet
For times gone by.

And there is a hand, my trusty friend,
And give us a hand of yours,
And we will take a goodwill drink (of ale)
For times gone by!

Chorus:

For times gone by, my dear
For times gone by,
We will take a cup of kindness yet
For times gone by.

And surely you will pay for your pint,
And surely I will pay for mine!
And we will take a cup of kindness yet
For times gone by

Chorus:
For times gone by, my dear
For times gone by,
We will take a cup of kindness yet
For times gone by.

AuldLangSyne2

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!  🙂

Categories: Holidays, Inspiration, New Year's Day, New Year's Eve, Poetry, Robert Burns, Scotland, Susan Boyle, The Gathering Place, You Tube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Jacky Frost

JackieFrost

Jacky Frost © 2014 by Dahni & I-Magine all rights reserved “She could be a girl you know!” 🙂

 

When I was a child, our grandmother that we her ‘kidlits’ (as she called us), called her Nanny. This name was probably due to the trouble my brother had with the ‘g’ and ‘r’ sounds as in grandmother, grandma and granny. So Nanny just stuck.

Well Nanny used to sing this little song called ‘Jacky Frost.’ I loved it and still sing it, especially when the weather gets colder and/or as the holidays approach.

I married a music teacher with a master’s in music. She taught K-6 for over 25 years. But she had never heard of this song before I sang it. So I taught a teacher at least this one thing.   🙂

To my wife Susan’s credit, she was recently able to find the words and the music for this little known, perhaps forgotten, but enjoyable little tune for children of all ages.  I will share it here for all, just in time for the holidays.

The lyrics to this song were adapted from the poem, “Jacky Frost”, by Laura E. Richards. You can find this poem in the collection “Tirra Lirra Rhymes Old and New” by Laura E. Richards.

The music was composed by Eleanor Smith, who included the song in her music textbooks designed for children. These textbooks are over 100 years old. You can find the song in “The Common School Book of Vocal Music” by Eleanor Smith. She adapted the poem just slightly to fit her melody. 

Jacky Frost

Jacky Frost, Jacky Frost,
Came in the night;
Left the meadows that he crossed,
All gleaming white.
Painted with his silver brush
Every window-pane.
Kissed the leaves and made them blush,
Blush and blush again.
 
 Jacky Frost, Jacky Frost,
Crept around the house,
Sly as a silver fox,
Still as a mouse.
Out our little Jenny came,
Blushing like a rose;
Up jumped Jacky Frost,
And pinched her little nose.

Click to download a copy of the music

 

Donnie

 

Categories: Entertainment, Family & Friends, Fun, Holidays, Jacky Frost, Music, You Tube | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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