Dear Bob, here are some photos of my life here on the campus of Concordia Seminary. I love kids, working with the grounds crew, swimming, playing with my dog friends, and especially my own family people.
Back in war time 1942 it was forbidden to broadcast weather reports even going so far as to mention whether it was sunny or cloudy. So back then the groundhog report was censored as to the length of winter or the early coming of spring.
The groundhog takes over the news today as the most famous among them, Punxsutawney Phil, is hauled out of his hibernation to look for his shadow in front of national news cameras. But, did you know?
Groundhog's Day began in 1887 or 1841 depending on the source! "Groundhog Day has its roots in the ancient Christian tradition of Candlemas Day, ( the mid point between the winter and spring soltice) when clergy would bless and distribute candles needed for winter. The candles represented how long and cold the winter would be. Germans expanded on this concept by selecting an animal–the hedgehog–as a means of predicting weather. Once they came to America, German settlers in Pennsylvania continued the tradition, although they switched from hedgehogs to groundhogs, which were plentiful in the Keystone State."
Other states have since found their own groundhogs and go through a similar ritual locally.
And, "in 1723, the Delaware Indians settled Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania as a campsite halfway between the Allegheny and the Susquehanna Rivers. The town is 90 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, at the intersection of Route 36 and Route 119. The Delawares considered groundhogs honorable ancestors. According to the original creation beliefs of the Delaware Indians, their forebears began life as animals in "Mother Earth" and emerged centuries later to hunt and live as men."
Who knew groundhogs had such a venerable history. We have attempted to trap several of these in our Collinsville yard the past several years with no luck. They just won't take the bait. But they hunker down in the ground in the back of our yard, heading out to waddle around the neighborhood when it warms up. These guys are huge, but fairly non-plussed about much of anything.
It's February! January flew by and before we get ready to spend the day worrying about what the groundhog will see tomorrow, let's take a look at what one local butcher is offering for Valentine's Day.
Bolyard's Meat and Provisions in Maplewood is taking orders for a heart shaped box filled with heart shaped pieces of meat. A Meat Heart Box! " 9 different varieties of cured or smoked meats, just like you would with a box of chocolates. Bolyard said, "It's fun to pick and choose. We'll have everything labeled on what they're eating."
This idea is new to me and I'm not sure if I would like to receive it or not, but I'd bet there are plenty of men who like to grill would like this.
Finally the Rose Parade. Let me tell you, it seemed like the entire world showed up in Pasadena for this parade. Just getting to the parking area was an effort, but we can't complain too much because we had a parking pass for a garage right by the route. Our seats were right along the curb of the parade start and we could reach out and touch the floats and bands and animals. We could stand out in the street and take pictures and talk to the participants. It was other worldly.
Look at all the people just walking in!
Honestly we couldn't believe where we were sitting.
The Marine Corps band led off the parade and they lined up right in front of us. Nick was thrilled by all this and notice how sweet the marines were to him.
The Stealth Bomber came ahead of the parade step off and was a thrill as always.
This Singapore float was first and it was a chilly, gray day but these guys were really really not dressed for it but happy just the same.
The HGTV crew was around all the time as they did interviews for the telecast.
See the woman in red in the picture above? She was the producer and she was definitely a take charge person keeping all the men in her crew in line. She barked out orders and basically kept them doing on the straight and narrow.
I think this float promoting reading with a giraffe was a favorite of our kids.
Well, the surf board riding dogs were probably a close second.
But of course the reason we were there, the Lutheran Hour float with Dale riding. It meant the world to us that we were able to be right on the street when this float came along.
Most of us in the family ended up with pictures of Dale with his phone in front of his face as he took pictures of us.
Here's what he shot while we were shooting him.
And as often happens these days at any major national event, there was a protest group following while yelling and pounding on drums and carrying signs no one understands.
Since we were at the beginning of the parade we were able to get back to our car before most of the crowd was just beginning to see the action. However, there were still tons of people in our position and in the end it took us almost an hour to get out of Pasadena. Streets were blocked, traffic was stopped on each block and it took some stamina to keep trying one way or another. But we rewarded ourselves with lunch at an In and Out burger in a town not far from our hotel. Never having been to one of these but all of us having heard the raves realized quickly how the name came to be. The "in" is the window where food is ordered and the "out" is where you sit to eat. There is no inside seating and there are only 3 food options. Burger, double burger and either of these with cheese. We all agreed as we mostly stood outside to eat because it was almost too cold to sit, the burgers were delicious. The best part about them was the slight crunch of the outer edges of the buns.
We spent most of Friday in airports and on the plane traveling to Los Angeles and from there by car to Pasadena. Saturday, however, was filled to the brim with things having to do with the Rose Parade. Here is a brief look at how our day went.
We got to the entrance to the Phoenix Decorating warehouse where a good number of floats are built and decorated with flowers and other plant life. The unique thing about the Rose Parade is that every float must be completely covered in natural-living plant life, not painted wood or glass or whatever. At the entrance were several Lutheran Hour parade people. We had to wait outside for a bit because some judging of floats was going on inside. So we bought some stuff.
After everyone got a shirt or jacket, Dale got out his credit card. Heh
Then we got into the warehouse where floats were being finished and got a special tour from the Lutheran Hour float officials.
Some things just take young, limber, people to do
Here we all are in front of the Lutheran Hour Ministries float which will be portraying the 500th anniversary of the Reformation which is this year, 2017.
And all of us on the float kind of where Dale will be tomorrow.
And Dale alone under Grace Alone and Faith Alone
Some other floats we saw being finished up were Shriners Hospital for kids which is a very cool pirate ship.
Lions International has a show stopping Lion
Everywhere people are cutting, shaping, filling vials with, all kinds of flowers and stems of every conceivable plant.
After several hours of this tour, we headed to Old Town Pasadena for lunch, then naps and then church in the evening.
We're leaving for Los Angeles today, the whole family will be at the Rose Parade because Dale is riding on the Lutheran Hour float on Monday. We have a number of things planned for out there the next couple of days and of course, the map shows southern California in the midst of a rain band. Well. What can you do? It will be January. But parade day looks chilly but sunny.
Anyhow, we're off and hope to have a fun and probably a bit of chaotic family time.
The Lutheran Hour float is slotted near the end this year, regular entries are flipped flop in the parade order from year to year. So if you want to try and see Dale, the estimated time is somewhere around 11:40 central time. We have seats in the grandstand at the beginning of the parade, under the tv cameras.
Katie and Charlie and the two little boys had an early flight to Los Angles this morning. They chose this time so that they'd have more of the day to do things when they arrived and because early morning hours are when the boys are still groggy and not restless. But when they got to the airport they learned the flight has a two hour delay. So there they are with a just 4 year old and a 5 year old with nothing to do. The bad part of this is the practice of airlines not to explain the why of delays until the patience of passengers has run out. Then they announce, "thank you for your patience."
The Riverfront Times has a story titled, "10 bad things that will happen in 2017". I hate to admit that I checked that story out. It begins with unnecessary vulgarity which made me not want to read further. This must have been written by someone who'd been drinking all night. And the ten things are just stupid.
Amazon reports their best year in sales. I can believe this. Where else can you shop at home and get what your ordered so quickly? I did a lot of Amazon shopping for Christmas this year and was not disappointed. It works well if you know what you want. Stores are better if you don't know because you can look around for ideas.
My vote for pictures of the year comes from my brother in law who is a biker. One day last summer he was riding and came across what he thought was a new cement roadway and just kept on going despite the orange construction barrels. Turned out it was newly laid cement and his bike took an immediate stop which tossed him head first into the wet mess.
I think I've pontificated on cyclists in the past.
Dale and I went to the Missouri Botanical Garden last night to walk through the lights. Us and just about everyone else in the St. Louis Metro area. Boy it was a jam packed evening. But the crowd was only difficult when trying to find a place to park, the lots were full as were all the side streets near the garden. We ended up parking practically underneath I-44, but it's worth it. Once in the door and through the massive group of people having their tickets scanned, everyone spreads out.
The tickets are very time specific. We had 6:30 as our entrance time and the outside lines have you line up according to your scheduled time. This works well actually.
I love these glow balls which change color as they rest on the water.
I took this next picture of our reflection in windows.
Near the end we stopped at one of the small places which sold food and drinks, got ourselves a glass of wine (me) and a Bourbon and Eggnog (Dale), and took them outside to sit next to a fire in Adirondack chairs. We people watched for a while and wouldn't you just know it, we saw quite a few people we know passing by.
The garden makes good use of lights reflecting on water.
Connor got one of the more interesting presents for Christmas. A set of shapes which can be combined to construct about anything he might want to build. He got at it right away and made a robot. Then he got a hold of the car keys and put the robot in the car so no one would take it apart. Pretty good indication this was a well liked present.
And at the same time, Dale who ribs the rest of us for being on our phones was...on his phone.