Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wintering in the good old US of A.

Part of the following is a personal political statement.

Well, here it is, almost March and getting close to the time I will be returning to the Shenandoah and the Saone river valley.

The winter has been brutal here, especially on the east coast with record setting snowfalls. Pete and Sharon have been blasted in northern Virginia and may still not be done. Florida has had record cold temperatures and I am heading to Naples to visit my old friend John the day after tomorrow and looking at sweater weather there.

While on the subject of Pete and Sharon. They have graced me with a new grandson, Harrison Wright Webb.

His middle name is in honor of the Wright Brothers of Kitty Hawk fame. Something about his being conceived on the outer banks of North Carolina. Well, guess that is as good a reason as any. Harrison now joins his beautiful, whirling dervish of a sister, Sophie, as my two grandchildren.

This is very, very cool to a grumpy, old guy like me.

My beautiful daughter, Julie, and her husband, Tayfun are still living in Germany where she is now the head of the speech language / audiology department at Landstuhl military hospital at Ramstein Air Force Base, Ramstein, Germany.

It has been an interesting past few months.

The earthquake in Haiti was devastating and my heart truly aches for the unfortunate people of Haiti. The aftermath was interesting. The USA, as always, there with billions of dollars of support and troops and ships and you name it. The French, as always, complaining about the US. The rest of the world, with a few exceptions like the Mexicans and a few others, where the hell were you?

The winter games have been great - for the USA.

As for me, I have spent the winter taking Tai Chi classes. This is something I have wanted to do forever and had the opportunity to do so. For those unfamiliar, this is a Chinese form of internal martial arts done by using a series of choreographed moves to complete a set of 108 individual movements. Now, the trick will be to follow through with it for the rest of my life. They say it takes a lifetime to master. With what is left of this old man's life, there will be little mastery of the art by me.

Also, I bought a new vehicle. It's the first one in twenty years.

The old Acura was getting long in the tooth so it was time to replace it. I loved that car!

So, I bought a Jeep. Yes, a "made-in-Toledo, Ohio, United States of America," twenty-miles-per-gallon, freakin' Jeep.

I decided it was time to put my money, as well as my mouth, into this country I love. My grandfather was a Jeep employee, my relatives have worked at Jeep, my home town runs on Jeep blood - and I have driven Japanese cars. NO MORE!

...and, a beautiful little 4 X 4 Jeep she is.