Obama Eve

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This morning I awoke late and feeling good. “Good morning birthday boy,” said Peg, “happy birthday.”

“It is not my birthday,” I replied.

“Well what is it then?”

“It is Obama Eve.”

“Are you crazy?”

“No, I’m just thinking that we call the day before Christ’s birthday Christmas Eve, shouldn’t the day before our first black president’s birthday be named the same? He is, after all, transforming the world as we know it.”

I went on to explain that we are all joyful to celebrate Christ’s birthday. So much so, that we can’t bear the anticipation and begin our celebration the day before. Isn’t it the same before the newly proclaimed messiah of the Western World’s birthday? Not really, but it is the opposite of Christ’s birthday. Christmas is a joyful time with an overwhejlming spirit of giving and good cheer. Regardless of how tough our lives are we forget our pain at Christmas and spread what little we have to our loved ones and forget any animosities between us in the spirit of peace and joy. On Obama Eve people who relish taking engulf us. They love taking, not giving. Instead of love and peace there is racial divide. Instead of being happy about the life we enjoy living with Christ, we see sadness everywhere. It is as if people are at a dead-end. There is no joy in losing liberty, a job, replacing the job with two or three part-time ones. There is sadness in seeing our government deny God, and then attack our right to worship. There is no happiness or joy watching Islam proclaim itself as a religion, yet profess to kill us in the name of God.

Yes, Obama Eve is the complete opposite of Christmas Eve, and the idea of turning seventy-five on Obama Eve does not make me happy.

However, I am thankful for all those years of great health, and the blessings of a wonderful family to cheer me. I am grateful for having the privilege of spending forty-two years with an amazing friend, lover, and wife. I am grateful for the gift of a second beautiful wife for seven plus years, and the family she gave me.

There are so many things I am happy about that even the dark cloud of Obama Eve can not depress me.

Simple Flower Beauty Contest

I need your help folks.

Please judge the five Intarsia flowers below and tell me which one you like the best.

All five were hand crafted by Grumpa Joe in Santa’s workshop while Santa held Grumpa hostage and worked GJ’s fingers to the bone.

Have a very Merry Christmas!

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Flower A, Cedar, Pine, Poplar

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Flower B, Mahogany, Walnut, Poplar

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Flower C, Poplar

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Flower D, Pine, Cedar, Poplar

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Flower E, Walnut, Oak, Pine

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Vote by taking the Poll below:

The Christmas Lights Ride in Frankfort, Illinois

The little town of Frankfort Illinois dolls up for Christmas every year by donning lights on its centerpiece park “The Breidert Green.” The mayor presides over the tree lighting ceremony and the season is officially open.

The lights brighten up long dark weary nights and add a festivity to the air. Combine that with the Mid-night Madness sale on a Friday night and the sleepy town stays up late to celebrate.

About ten years ago, I led a Folks on Spokes bike ride on a Friday night called the Christmas Lights Ride. Twenty of us met in the empty town parking lot at 5:30 p.m. The route I charted took us around the town on the most brightly decorated streets. I charted the ride to visit every neighborhood in town starting with the historic district and winding through each subdivision. The darkest stretch was along the Old Plank Trail which allowed us to cross route 45 a major thoroughfare safely. After an hour of slow riding a chill beset us and there was a mist in the air. One rider, dressed as he would for a twenty-mile an hour training ride was on the verge of hypothermia, so I directed him to the town center via a short cut to a warming place. The rest of the troupe valiantly proceeded for another half hour. The grand finale took us down Ginger Lane where the folks decorate the parkway trees as well as their homes. Residents wrap each tree trunk with green lights, and the canopy is strung in white. Riding down this curvy street arched in lights has a magic about it to put a person in the right Christmas spirit. Most of us had decorated our bicycles with battery powered mini lights to make the entourage just as intriguing. The neighbors who were out walking the displays, and those still hanging lights were surprised to see a chain of lighted bicycles powered by riders with Santa hats, reindeer antlers and Elf adornments streaming down the street all lit up. We ended the ride ready for a meal. A rider asked me if I made reservations at a restaurant. I replied, “in this sleepy town at this hour there will be no need for reservations.”

Upon our return at 7:30 cold, and damp there was a marked difference in town. There were cars parked everywhere. We scurried to load our bikes onto our cars and to head to the Kansas Street Grill across the street. I hurried across the street to get a table arranged while the rest of the group locked their bikes.

“I’m sorry sir, but the wait is forty-five minutes.”

“What?”

“Forty-five minutes.” That folks, is how I learned about Frankfort’s Midnight Madness.

At this point, I had twenty surly and hungry bike riders who had one thing on their mind, well several things: get warm, get a drink, get some food.

Don’t panic, I said to myself. Think!

“Let’s all go to visit Brent at the bike shop across the street,” I said.

Thankfully Brent a fellow bike club member welcomed us with open arms. Next door to Brent’s bike shop was a new pizza place with an empty room. I walked in and asked how long it would take them to seat a party of twenty.

“Ten minutes,” was the reply.

“Thank you Lord,” I whispered under my breath. I went next door to tell the group the new plan and to drink some warm cider.

The Christmas Lights Ride launched Tony’s Villa Rosa that night. The place became a village focal point from that point on until Tony decided he didn’t love his wife anymore and divorced her for another woman. Tony’s Villa Rosa is no longer in business.

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Dear Lord, We Thank You For. . .

I wish all  my friends, relatives, enemies, a very happy Thanksgiving.

You cannot eat healthcare.

Easter Wabbit Invasion

Am I Seeing Things?

It was early Easter morning when I awoke to some strange noises in the house. Not yet completely awake, I began shuffling around the house looking for the source of noise. Am I seeing things, what is that in Grandma Peggy’s potted plant? My vision is blurry, I rub my eyes to clear them up and to sharpen my senses.

Easter Wabbit Munchin of Peggy's Plants

Oh my God! I am not seeing things it is real. A Wabbit has infiltrated the house. What I see is sharp and clearly a Wabbit. “How did he get in here?” I leave to get something to catch him with.

Oh no, another one!

Wabbit eating a Hyacinth bulb

This is too strange. What will I do now? First they infiltrated the yard and now the house. I’m in deep trouble. If Peggy finds the bunny wabbits they will become pets, and I will be forced to feed them. I have to catch them and make hasenpfeffer before she wakes up.

Wabbit Chews on Christmas Cactus

I don’t believe it, he is eating cactus! This is serious, I must still be asleep and this is a bad dream. Not even the dreaded terror-wabbits eat cactus plants. Yeah, this has to be a dream, no, it is a nightmare. Wake up this can not be real.

Wabbit on desert rose

The nightmare is getting worse! Not even the desert rose is safe, who are these guys? Oh my, how am I going to catch them all? If I don’t they will multiply and take over the house in a couple of days.

God save the orchid from the Wabbit.

Dear God save the orchid from this evil Wabbit! Nothing is safe. Are these Wabbits related to those who ate my tulips last year? Are they taking revenge for the rabbit barrier I used to cover the lobelia? What are they, and from where did they come?

Wabbit eats succulents

Now, that’s the last straw! Get out of the succulents. I’m cooked, there are way too many to deal with before Peggy finds them, and they become pets. She hates hasenpfeffer, and there isn’t much else they are good for except maybe wabbit foot key chains. Think, Think, Think. I need a solution fast. I just know they are busy multiplying.

I retire to my study to find a solution. I Google wabbit invasion and find numerous Youtube videos on wabbit invasions, but no solutions. Maybe I should return to bed and wake up all over again. It’ll be different, right? I don’t think so. Oh me, oh my, what am I to do? I need help. Maybe my readers will help me, yes I’ll blog about the wabbit invasion. All the intelligent people who read Grumpa Joe’s Place will send tons of advice for how to deal with this situation. Yes that’s it, but first I have to eat breakfast. All this talk of Hasenpfeffer and catching wabbits has fueled my appetite. Yes, go make some coffee, boil some eggs to have with toast made from that homemade bread. Go for it.

Wabbit army eyeing up Grumpa Joe.

Ye gods, they are coming to get me!

Pumpkin Party

Pumpkins, photographed in Canada.

Image via Wikipedia

Last Sunday, I had a privilege not many grandparents get to experience. Grandma Peggy and I crashed a Pumpkin Carving Party in Michigan. My talented and creative daughter-in-law invited kids from school to come to a pumpkin carving fest. Participants came in full costume for the Halloween Costume Parade. Mary Beth made sure there were pumpkins and carving tools to spare, and the creations were amazing. She awarded prizes for the scariest, the most creative, the funniest, etc. Each carver got a prize, and he got to take his creation home to scare off the evil spirits lurking about on the days and nights before Halloween.

The prize I took home was a cold, or at least I think that’s where I got it. It was a fun time which I wish upon all grandparents.

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