Dec 312007

I haven’t felt any pressure to be out doing something fabulous on New Year’s Eve in several years.

I guess the best time I ever had was at the Hilton ten or twelve years ago. They used every square inch of public space in the place to set up four different bands/dance floors/bars, and the cover was $20 or something. One of the bands was all guys I knew, so that was fun. The other cool thing was that my dad and a bunch of his friends were there as well, so I could move back and forth between my crowd and his crowd. It was satisfying and enjoyable to move between my guys singing Crowded House’s “Something So Strong,” and his guys singing The Four Seasons’ “Sherry.”

Rock ‘n’ roll is rock ‘n’ roll.

Conversely, tonight we had Zatarain’s for dinner, played some Super Mario Galaxy, and (of course) enjoyed bowl games. Auburn just beat Clemson, preserving the (as of this writing) perfect 2007 SEC bowl record.

(I might be taking an inch or so off the bottle of Crown, too.)

Thing is, what would I change? Nothing. Am I old, or content? Or both?

One good thing about this year is that it’s the next-to-last year we’ll have to put up with these stupid glasses, which were witty for New Year’s Eve 1999, and for no other time. After next year, it will be 991 years before we’ll see them again. (Or, depressingly, maybe only 91, if someone decides to do an unbalanced 2100 with them. What the hell ever. I won’t be here.)

Thanks for reading, boys and girls. I wish you prosperity and serenity in 2008.

 Posted by at 10:28 pm
Dec 302007

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 Posted by at 6:19 pm
Dec 292007

Several outlets are pouncing on this Fred Thompson quote.  The comment is from a visit to a firehouse, and here it is with a little context (thanks to the Campaign Spot blog at National Review Online):

I approach it from the standpoint of a deal… Of kind of a marriage. You know, if one side of the marriage has to be really talked into the marriage, you know, it’s probably not going to be a very good deal for either one of them. But if you mutually think that this is a good thing — in this case, if you think this is a good thing for the country, the you have the opportunity to do some wonderful things together. I’m offering myself up. I’m saying that if I have the background, the capability and the concern to do this and I’m doing this for the right reasons… but I’m not particularly interested in running for president, but I think I’d make a good president. Nowadays, the process has become much more important than I think it used to be.

I don’t know if they ever asked George Washington a question like this. I don’t know if they ever asked Dwight D. Eisenhower a question like this. Nowadays it’s all about fire in the belly. I’m not sure that in the world we live in today, it’s a terribly good thing for a president to have too much fire in his belly.

I have what I believe are substantial and legitimate concerns about the prospect of a Thompson presidency.  However, it certainly is difficult to dislike the guy personally.

 Posted by at 11:14 pm
Dec 282007

Well, I swore I wouldn’t set foot in Huntsville’s latest peoplequarium for at least six months, and I went today.  Weak.  So.  Weak.  Here’s my ear; pour in whatever you want me to “know,” market researchers.  Oh look, they have gondola rides.  Is that a Fossil store over there?  Where can I get a latte?  Oh my, isn’t the fountain exquisite?  Num, num, num, num, num.  Here’s my wallet.  Please, put latex gloves on, at least.

Pathetic.  But I’ll own it.

Dad and I both wanted to see I Am Legend, and it was on at the theater there, so it got the nod.

I must admit, it’s a nice place to see a movie.  For $10, you get:

  • A 75-foot screen with stellar projection and sound.
  • Reserved luxury seating.
  • No one under 21 admitted.
  • Alcohol served.

It’s definitely where Lea and I will go the next time we have a date movie.

The movie was fine.  I’d call it a good solid B to B+.  I think I slightly prefer The Omega Man (based on the same novel).

The mental lapse of the afternoon was running into Brina Bat and Gray Bat and not thinking to take a photo with them.  Duuhhhhh.  They were as adorable and personable as you would imagine.

I feel so blessed that my father and I are genuine friends, who actually want to spend time together.  Too many dads and sons don’t make it to here.

 Posted by at 11:56 pm
Dec 272007

Lea, the boys, and I went to see my Uncle Bill in Hoover for Christmas today.

Bill’s an uncle by marriage. He was married to my maternal grandmother’s sister Dottie for most of 60 years. (Both my grandmother Gwen and Dottie were Gran’ma‘s daughters.)

Dottie was a smash knockout of the sort who sent men scrambling, looking for loopholes in their wedding vows. She could have told you her last name was Hepburn, and you’d have believed her. She was also a master painter, a talented life insurance executive, an obsessive cruciverbalist, and a loving wife and aunt.

Dottie and Bill had a lovely house on Logan Martin Lake for all of my childhood, and some of my fondest memories are of playing there. I loved sitting in Bill’s lap and looking at boating magazines with him, or maybe watching football. Dottie played word games with me, and quizzed me on geography. Occasionally we’d go for boat rides, or just get out the floats and lounge in the lake. It was a warm, loving place, of which I don’t have a single negative memory.

Not long after they moved to Hoover, Bill spent the last decade of Dottie’s life trying to help her hold her decaying mind and body together. Naturally, we all ultimately lose that battle. You don’t take up arms with the illusion of keeping the city forever; only with the hope of holding off the invaders as long as possible.

She finally let go a handful of years ago, long past the “it’s a blessing” point for even the most conservative regarding such. (I cried when she died, but not nearly as much as I did the last time I saw her.)

Bill’s as by himself today as a body can be, I reckon. His days are all largely identical. He gets up around 4 am and has a little breakfast. He watches the news. He reads the paper. He listens to big band CDs. (Bill only first experienced the pleasure of the compact disc player a couple of years ago, so he’s still pretty blown away by the whole thing: the digital sound, the instant track access, etc.)

He drives to Piccadilly Cafeteria for lunch, arriving at 11 sharp. (If he has drugstore, grocery, or other errands, he’ll attach those to either side of lunch.) He is a celebrity at Piccadilly; it’s a kick to go in there with him. Everyone knows and loves him, and he them. Some folks have been there long enough to remember Dottie, as well.

In the afternoon, he watches television. He likes Law & Order and CSI. He’s generally asleep for the night by 6 or so.

That’s it. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I visit him a couple of times a year. Generally Nathan and I will go down for a visit, with all of us going at Christmas. I used to wonder if that was enough, but I don’t anymore. He speaks frankly with Lea and me about his lifestyle. He specifically notes the potential perceived unorthodoxy of a man of his demographic being so content to be by himself most of the time.

He’s in good health, both mentally and physically. He enjoys his friends at Piccadilly, and makes new ones of opportunity. He became buddies with the manager at Coconut’s when she was helping him build his music library, for example. (Pardon the -5, but Bill never meets a stranger.) An occasional friend from years gone by calls or visits. My sister Jenny calls him from Virginia and keeps him up-to-date on her happenings.

He loves the boys, and I just think he’s going to pop with emotion every time they hug him. He loves flipping through photo albums with us, reminiscing about Dottie, Granny, Papaw, Gran’ma, my mother, my uncle, and my sister and I as tykes.

As much as I believe he genuinely enjoys our visits, we generally keep them to an hour or so (plus lunch). Lea put it best on the way home today: “Bo, you visit him as often as he wants you to.” Heh. I think she’s right. (I did blow it on bringing him more photos today, though. I’m on that this week.)

We brought him three varieties of Lea-baked cookies today, and as the visit wound down, I think he was ready for us to leave simply so nobody would see how many of them he was going to eat at one time. And I’m delighted. Who’s to begrudge him that?

Merry Christmas with love, Uncle Bill. We’ll see you soon.

 Posted by at 8:13 pm
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