…Thank you God for this day and the joys of being a father.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
We are discovering the real meaning of Thanksgiving today…
No wait! That is to say we pulled out our old Charlie Brown Thanksgiving disc and after the TV version of Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving with toast and popcorn they show the real meaning of Thanksgiving in a hidden Charlie Brown skit.
For instance, do you remember there were close to 100 Indians at the first thanksgiving celebration? And a lot of them already spoke English? And people from England, hunters and fisherman, had already been making trips over to the new land before the Mayflower?
Its true! The Great Pumpkin says it is!
So if you are a little curious? Or the kids are getting restless and you want to cool them down? Or just want to relive a childhood classic,
HERE is the real story of Thanksgiving…. as told by Charles Schultz.
We have a lot to be thankful for this year.
I trust you do too.
Not the least of which is YOU right now.
You are all such fun and interesting people!
Thanks for making the time to stop by 3D,even if you were only lost.
I really do appreciate it.
It’s great to see you and even better to hear from you below!(hint, hint)
Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
I’ll try to do a better job next time….Turkeys
And Merry Christmas!
I am sorry about being so distant. I had a day or two of some photo harvesting of my girls it appeared and so I got concerned and shut down a bit, hoping it will blow away and on to some other blogs.
We went to our favorite Christmas party last night and it reminded me of the blog post I did last year about these nice people, their great food, conversation and Christmas ambiance. And so I wanted to revisit the post again (and not take pictures of their home again) with wishes you and yours are enjoying the Spirit of Christmas.
Is there anything wrong with being old fashion and clinging to tried and true ideas?
Last night we went to an annual Christmas party, hosted by some friends of ours. Does anyone have those friends that love to entertain that they just take it to a whole new level? I know some of you reading this are that way. That’s the way this couple is. They enjoy hosting. They love to entertain. And they take great pride in their final product.
Their house is always decorated for Christmas tastefully yet still above and beyond. They maintain an ‘old fashion Christmas’ theme. And it truly is! We enjoyed our evening so much the food, the wine, the decor that I leaned over to my wife, gave her a nudge and a wink and whispered, “This house is truly blog-worthy.”
So come and join us down Christmas’s past and a truly festive Christmas night.
I missed the pic of the life-size Nutcracker man at the front door of their house, but here is a glimpse of what you see when you walk inside.
Like that end table, the toy blocks, they actually made them themselves.
The toy blocks actually do stack one inside each other for storage.
See the jacks on top?
And those skates?
And more signs of their handy work and their pride in decorating sits beneath their tree…
I swear, I have to take a testosterone enhancer every time I leave their house as I am so humbled by their wood skills, crafts, and initiative. I was so impressed.
Other ‘old fashion’ parts of the living room looked like this beside the entertainment stand..
There are some vintage dolls, bunnies and bears there. And the camera doesn’t capture the magic of Santa’s Sleigh, but that is brightly finished metal 3D replica, suspended from the breakfast bar above by fishing wire to give the illusion of Santa dropping his gifts and flying away leaving all to a ‘good night’.
There were some vintage reindeer above the entertainment stand
The walls had all the normal accessories removed and replaced with Christmas themed eye candy..
I know, I know what you are thinking, where do they store all this? They told me they leave that to their little elves!
Even the dresser in the bathroom hallway has an old letter to Santa with it..
The house was so adorable it was hard to remember we were there for a bit of a party. The buffet line was equally magnificent
With some very special ornaments there as well..
The dining room (and dessert buffet) had equally charming decor…
Joe and Deborah were truly spectacular hosts and we had another great time at their Christmas shindig.The atmosphere was festive. The food was 5-Star. And the company was the best.
And yes, I must be the guest / blogger from hell as I go and record the privacy of their home for the whole world to see.. or at least you dozen or so that read my blog.
Do you think I will be invited back next year?
I hope you too are able to recapture the joy of Christmas’s past and create some more new memories of the miracle of Christmas present this year.
HAVE A MAGICAL MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!
Have you ever had one of those moments, those ‘Toys In The Attic’ moments you hear about where somebody finds something really Incredible or valuable, like lost baseball cards, a forgotten valuable painting or heirloom that they never knew they had? Well last night Dylan and I found my gem that I never knew I had.
Last night Dylan and I were looking through the dresser in my bedroom and ran across my old childhood piggy bank. Ah, ‘Elephant’ bank if you really look at it.
I have had this since I can remember. I kept my fancy coins that were given to me back in the day. And so Dylan takes it and opens it up and starts exploring my treasures. Eventually she ran across a broken stainless steel bracelet with a person’s name on it. It was a POW bracelet that I wore as a child during the Vietnam War.
I wore this $2.00 bracelet everyday for about a year. I didn’t know who the POW was on the bracelet but I did wonder what happened to him? Was he Army, Air Force, Marine, Navy? Was he a prisoner? Was he missing? Was he still alive?
So I thought about him, prayed as a 10-year-old knows how to pray, and really always hoped he was alive and doing OK. He was in my thoughts and prayers. But really, so were Little League, school and trips to the beach.
Then the war ended and I never heard his name. I lived in a small town in PA and I watched and I listened but I never heard a word about Mr. Gruters.
Where was that darned Internet when you need it!
And so the war ended and I reluctantly took the bracelet off and put it in my piggy bank, not knowing what else to do.
This POW bracelet stayed in my bank after I left home in my early 20s along with all my coins; silver dollars, Bi-Centennial quarters and dollars and the like. It stayed in that bank as I moved up and down the east coast, through all the dozens of apartments and now houses I moved into as I made my way through life. I couldn’t understand the significance of the bracelet but I felt it represented a ‘Life’ of someone who fought hard for my country. .
Not familiar with the POW Bracelets?
Here is what my Wiki says about them: ” a nickel-plated or copper commemorative bracelet engraved with the name, rank, and loss date of an American serviceman captured or missing during the Vietnam War.
The bracelets were first created in May 1970  with the intention that American POWs in Vietnam not be forgotten. The bracelets sold for $2.50 or $3.00. Those who wore the bracelets vowed to leave them on until the soldier named on the bracelet, or their remains, were returned to America.” And that’s what I did
So with Dylan sitting by my side I Googled the name on the bracelet, after all these years, to see if I could ever find the outcome to this mysterious GI honored on my bracelet. To my surprise the name I was typing, Capt. Guy Gruters, came up in the search before I was even done typing it.
I thought who is this man?
Who was this man?
Is he famous somehow?
You know what? There are lots of pages on the Internet about this great man. This man, whose bracelet I wore, now does motivational speeches based on his captivity and surviving it. His speeches are based around:
Conversion / Finding God in a Prison Camp
Here is a link to my Mr. Gruters and 2 other POW’s appearing on an ABC Memorial Day Tribute to POW’s of the Vietnam War.
There are many pages about him, too numerous to list here. Each one is filled with incredible stories depicting the courage of this man on my bracelet.
I decided to read his Wikipedia page first. To my delight and astonishment I found he was not only alive but thriving!
Here is a brief bio about the name of the man I wore on my bracelet from Wilki:
“Guy Gruters was raised in New Jersey where he spent his childhood trapping muskrat, camping, hunting and Scouting (Eagle Scout Rank awarded).
He won acceptance to the United States Air Force Academy and graduated with a BS in Engineering Science (Summa Cum Laude, ranked 7th in his graduating class overall, #1 in Engineering Science.) He then went on to Purdue University and completed a Master’s degree in Astronautical Engineering in less than one year.
After Undergraduate Pilot Training and fighter gunnery school, he volunteered for Vietnam and served six years, more than five years of which was as a POW. During his flight operations as a Forward Air Controller in the first 10 months, Guy flew more than 400 combat missions, first for the 173rd Airborne Brigade.
As a copilot of the two-seat F-100F, Gruters was shot down twice. The first shoot down required a parachute water landing less than one mile offshore near the North Vietnamese city of Dong Hoi while under fire from the enemy’s coastal guns in November 1967. North Vietnamese boats were prevented from intercepting the downed pilots by strafing U.S. F-4 fighter-bombers, First Lieutenant Gruters and Captain Charles Neel were rescued by two USAF HH-3E Sea King helicopter crews based 60 miles away while under heavy fire.
Gruters was shot down for the second time on December 20, 1967. He and fellow pilot, Colonel Robert R. Craner were captured and imprisoned in the Hoa Lo Prison (Hanoi Hilton) among other camps. Upon their initial incarceration, Gruters and Craner cared for Lance Sijan before Sijan succumbed to wounds and torture in January 1968. (which is an incredible story itself)
Gruters spent 5 years and 3 months, over 1900 days, as a prisoner of war before his release in 1973.
Guy Gruters’ decorations include more than thirty combat awards, with two Silver Stars, two DFCs, two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star Medal for Valor, the POW Medal, a Presidential Unit Citation, 20 Air Medals and other medals.
Guy Gruters’ testimony was instrumental in Lance Sijan receiving the Medal of Honor posthumously in 1976. Guy Gruters’ story was described in the book, “Bury Us Upside Down,”
I had no idea
As a small boy, I had no idea that I was wearing the bracelet of an American Hero and a phenomenal man. Can you imagine, 5 years as a Prisoner Of War? What were you doing 5 years ago? What have you done since? I can’t begin to appreciate the hardships and torture this courageous man had to live with for those five+ years.
Five + years in captivity, where people are being tutored daily? Guy, in his words says, “Facing death was easy. It was facing torture that was the the hardest.”
So how is your day going so far?
Let me take you back to a day in March 1973 when I could have, and should have, been able to take off my POW bracelet. Watch as Guy is greeted by his ‘little’ brother, who Guy claims was, “the kid I beat up all my life and now (grown and) stronger than I am” (after 5 years of incarcerations) in a very special reunion with his family:
So this post comes back to a little boy in a small town wearing the bracelet of a very big man that has been rediscovered.
And this little boy is humbled.
This man has more courage than this boy can possibly fathom.
What a remarkable treasure, the story, the meaning, the role model,the man thought lost for so long Dylan and I found in my old piggy bank.
What a joy to be able to finally put a face and a life with the name on my little POW bracelet.
What a huge inspiration of courage and strength and faith held in a teeny-tiny bracelet.
Mr. Guy Gruters is the real deal. An American Hero. An American Treasure.
I feel honored to get a glimpse of this great man’s life through my childhood POW bracelet.
So I need some advice please. What would you do with this bracelet?
And if you say give it back to Mr. Gruters, under what premise of doing so after almost 50 years?
What kind of Thank You is great enough for Mr. Gruters; and all the servicemen and women and POW’s out there?
Interested in more real life stories about the adverse life of a POW and the courage of a hero? Check out the many stories captured in Guy’s website.
“Courage is fear after you have said your prayers” Capt. Guy Gruters
I warned you I had a few more beach photo’s from Ocean City with the new camera. So I wanted to unload some for my family and friends and be able to retire this beach vacation theme here in the middle of October.
So bear with me here. If I haven’t scared you off with the pics from our kids on the first two episodes, this won’t hurt much either.
Again, we took a trip to Ocean City, New Jersey, which calls itself America’s Greatest Family Resort. And if you have a young family this is a great place to escape to when the time is right.Well we visited on the shoulders of the off season and so the main attraction of Ocean City, its 2.5 mile boardwalk looked something like this:
The boardwalk is a great family destination for a number of reasons, not least of all is fun, great tasting, and completely unhealthy food. That’s why, literally, the first place we stopped every morning was:
For a breakfast that resembled something like this:
That’s right, there are two warm fresh made, partially eaten donuts for my oldest one, along with some Bavarian Waffles all topped with strawberries. A good father might have suggested she try something a little less ambitious for breakfast. But I was looking forward to finishing it!
And I did!
Then every day, after we finished breakfast, we would peddle on down the boards for some shopping; or probably more food.
Let me introduce Johnson’s Homemade Popcorn!
Anybody who has ever had fresh, warm, sweet smelling caramel popcorn knows what a treat that is. And Johnson’s makes it ways with about 4 different stands on the boardwalk, each making their own in-house, much like these Popcorn elves, hard at work one beautiful morning.
Not sold yet, here is the link to their online store, try some! Charge it to my account. ..http://www.johnsonspopcorn.com/
Manko and Manko Pizza is another Ocean City establishment with a huge reputation on on the boards.
One particular chilly afternoon, I rode my bike down the boardwalk. It was empty. But as I rode past Manko and Manko’s there was maybe three empty seats in the whole place. Its that good!
The other must try, and we did, boardwalk treat is Kohr Brothers Frozen custard. Dylan tried to con me into taking her there every day as she knew it was my favorite spot on the boards.
Friends if you go to OCNJ and try just these four places then leave it would not have been in vein.
The other big reason for the great family fun on their boardwalk are the two big amusement piers.
Of course I am a beach bum. Any vacation of mine has to include some sand and some waves.
I showed a few pics over the weekend of the poetic surf to be found there. I would be misleading if I left you with the idea it was always like that.
One day the ocean was just plain flat
And as I sat their one afternoon, not worrying about blogs to write, or to-do lists, or finances, or health my eyes kept coming back to these two.
I sat there watching them thinking, ‘yea that is the life in retirement for me. I could get use to this life I think; come out on the beach every day and read whatever suits my fancy, while warming in the sun and the crash of the waves for my backdrop. I hear it calling me….’
“A most mysterious calling ocean.
So far but yet so near.
I can see the day when my hair’s so gray
and I finally disappear.”
But not yet!
Have a great week knuckleheads!
I’ll try to do better next time…