Time for Comfort Food

The weather has definitely turned colder and I’ve got winter on my mid. In fact, it has snowed already in many states, including North Dakota, West Virginia and Ohio.

The temperature got down to 29 degrees last night, so I’ve got comfort food on my mind. I am craving macaroni and cheese, meatloaf, chili, beef stew and homemade bread. I think we will be heading out to the grocery in a little while, so I plan on bringing home all the fixin’s for these comfort foods. I hope I can sweet talk my wife into making mac an cheese tonight – with maybe a Polish sausage and boiled cabbage.

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The Story Behind Nicknames

As much as parents agonize over choosing the perfect name for their baby, the truth is that most people end up answering to a nickname. Sometimes the nickname is a logical, traditional adaptation of the given name, such as people named Richard often go by the name Dick, and some go by Rich or Rick. I don’t personally see the logic behind Dick, but that is what it is.

And then there is just a shortened version. Like shortening Pamela into Pam, and shortening Christopher or Christina into Chris. Or my name, Walter being shortened to Walt.

The story behind some nicknames can be very interesting. For example, I had a friend in high school who just didn’t need much sleep. He woke up every morning before dawn, even when he didn’t have to be up for anything. So his dad started calling him Rooster, because he woke up with the rosters on their farm.

I have who goes by the name D. R. Copa. The story behind that is he was embarrassed by his given name and teased about it greatly in school. So he decided to go by his initials, D. R. when he was about 10 years old.

That was not enough to satisfy the cruel kids in his school. Once he started going by D. R., the kids decided to call him Doc, because Dr is the traditional abbreviation for doctor. Now, D. R. is not a doctor and neither is anyone in his family. But for some reason, he was OK with being called Doc and that has stuck with all these years.

Sometimes D. R. likes to joke about being an honorary doctor or joke about writing someone a prescription for chill pills or something. He is a good guy and we’ve been friends for a very long time, but to this day I do not know what his real first name is, nor why it caused him so much embarrassment as a kid in school.

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End of Summer Fireworks

The family fun water park near our house is celebrating the end of summer by hosting a 30 minute fireworks show on the lake. Of course, they are hoping that everyone will want to come to the water park and spend the day there, then buy food from the concession stands for dinner and stick around until 8:00 pm to watch the fireworks show. But a lot of people actually park along side the road and in nearby shopping center and motel parking lots and walk to the edge of the lake to watch the show without going into the park itself.

Hard to believe this is the end of summer already. Labor Day has always meant the end of summer for me, as I grew up on the East Coast and school did not start until the Tuesday after Labor Day. I was surprised when I moved to Tennessee that the kids here have to go back to school in early August. It kind of takes away the magic of Labor Day being the last big hurrah for the summer. Nonetheless, it still means that a lot of public pools will be closing and the days are certainly getting shorter and cooler, and it is always nice to have a 3-day weekend.


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Not As Impulsive As In My Youth

This morning I heard from a friend who lives in South Carolina that he is coming to Nashville on Sunday and wants to know if I have some free time. It used to be, when I was younger, that a last minute phone call like this was always welcome and I would drop everything on impulse. But now that I am older, my impulsiveness is fading and I much prefer planning things and having a nice routine.

Even so, I would like to see this friend, I’m just not sure that I want to change all of my plans for the weekend, especially since they involved the Labor Day holiday weekend and several other people. As an alternative to me going out to meet him, I proposed he come to my house and join in with the family barbecue. The whole neighborhood is having a big block party, with everyone bringing a pot luck or covered dish, we took RSVPs for the meats and all pitched in to cover the shopping trip to Sam’s for steaks and ribs – and the beer keg.

I hope he decides to come and join in. I would not feel right leaving the BBQ early, and although he won’t know all these people at the party, it’s enough diversity that I’m sure he would enjoy the people and the food. If not, we’ll just have to get together another time.


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The First Week of 90 Degrees

Here it is, the last week of August, and we are just now getting the first week of every day predicted to be 90 degrees or hotter. It has been a very mild summer for us – thank goodness!

Part of me feels guilty for the nice weather and plenty of rain that we’ve been getting these past three months, when other parts of the country are dealing with drought and horrible wildfires. Our family has friends in Colorado that have been evacuated twice this year – they risked losing everything they own to wildfires. But, thankfully, they escaped with just smoke damage – not a complete loss.

I really do wish the Forestry Service would find a better way to prevent and fight forest fires. Surely we can figure out a way to use remote controlled robots to clear the underbrush and dig trenches to stop the spread of fires. And surely we can do a better job managing the target fires areas to prevent the start of these fires in the first place. Why don’t we have a grid of trenches and cleared underbrush that would be a natural barrier to fires? Why don’t we have a system if irrigation ditches or at least piping of water that can be used. God knows we can put down plenty of pipe to transport oil – why not water?

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