Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Wonders of Golfing with Alyzabeth

She's standing on the green watching a playing partner line up a putt and suddenly the emotion of what I'm witnessing strikes me. Her playing partners range in age from 50 plus to 80 past and AA was fitting in comfortably. She's 8.

Time was we would linger back of a group playing the holes in front of us, careful to find our spot respectfully back of and in front of others on the course. While we would hope to play through a threesome or double, we never push it. By patiently letting Alyzabeth's swing showcase the unspoken request, we often are graciously waved through. Now, she's more often to be asked to play up.

Standing there watching I couldn't help marveling at each golfer. Three of the players consistently compete for the Club Championship, the fourth, also the elder of the foursome, is a member of the Massachusetts Golf Hall of Fame. And our daughter was playing with them. Waved up at the third hole and invited to play. Never mind they would be a group of five. 

She displayed etiquette, waited for her time to hit and putt. Never standing in another's line. Marked her ball. Quietly picking up a flag waiting for the last putt to drop. Each golfer complementing the others great drive, awesome chip and twisting birdie putt!

In the end, she would instinctively walk up to each and shake their hands, thanking them for a nice round. And what a round it was. Maybe, just maybe, I was stealing a glimpse of what lay ahead for our daughter. A day when she too might wave a young golfer forward to join the group. To tell stories of courses played. Shots made and shots missed. New friends. Respect extended. A love of the game passed to a new generation.

Thank you gentlemen. Thank you...

Monday, November 24, 2014

Another Week - Golf at Amelia Island - Oak Marsh

We are back in the swing of life even though it seems like life is zipping by and we are not getting everything done!
AA played nine holes this past Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. She has been fighting a chest cough, so didn't take her out during our freezing weather earlier in the week. 
Much is going on, we had Carolyn move near us in her new apartment, I have had Children's Home meetings, trying to plan for the holidays and begin Christmas shopping plus buying our new little carriage home (and monitoring all the repairs being done). That means packing and moving before Christmas!
Here's photos from yesterday's U.S. Kids local tournament with caddy Daddy and Ms. Maria. We were fortunate that the rain stopped during the tournament, was to be 100% rain all day. It made for a wet course but the greens were faster than expected.

Playing with Alexa F. and Amelia C.:
Awards with Director Matt:
AA earned first place of three girls:
Watching KC at hole nine (9):
Three first places - the Chao sisters and Alyzabeth with Coach Jason:
Two more local tournaments to finish the Jacksonville Fall 2014 Local Tour!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sunday 11/16/2014 - Lemon Sugar Cookies

Sunday was a restful day; we decided to keep AA quiet as she has had a chest cough for a few days. She played in yesterday's golf tournament as she seemed fine, but the coughing isn't any better. We stayed close to the condo and walked over to our new carriage home twice to watch the progress of the repairs. Yes, we are moving about 1000 feet from where we live now. This will keep AA in her same elementary school until we decide what high school she will attend (depends if she keeps golfing). Our new little home is quaint and has a charming screen porch, a sun-room and a lovely yard. There is much work to do to it, but all in good time!

Today, we decided to do some cooking: we made sausage balls, meatballs and baked cookies. AA wanted sugar cookies and we (the adults) wanted something a step up in flavor, so found Martha Stewart's lemon sugar cookies (and I had lemons in the house). I added some lemon extract along with the fresh lemon juice and the lemon zest. They were delicious! One problem with the directions is that one uses a 2 inch ice cream scoop - which made gigantic cookies (6 inch rounds). A normal teaspoon drop produced 3 inch diameter cookies (much better). They will be made again!

Most sugar cookies are chilled and rolled; these are dropped, then flattened (I used the floured bottom of a measuring cup).
AA added some Christmas colored sugar:
The HUGE cookies were cut like a small pizza. We did leave a few large ones and wrapped up a few for AA's teacher.
Comparing the normal (teaspoon size) with the ice cream scoop ones. They were crisp around the edges with some slight chewiness inside. Yummy!
A sneak peek at our new home - it was a "carriage" house on the old estate.
The back yard has a very nice solid block/stucco wall for a fence:
Fountain in the center of our circle drive (cul-de-sac) has a small garden/park:
Our closing could be in as soon as two weeks! Now to get packing!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Golf Lesson (11/13/14) and More!

We had a great week with the Veteran's Holiday off from work and school; and also Ford's Birthday. Since last years birthday was a huge party in Key West, this was a quiet celebration at home: a few gifts from AA and a red velvet cupcake (and candle!). Next up is AA's PNO at OPUMC (tonight, Friday) and then a tournament at Deercreek (Saturday)!
AA had her fourth lesson with Coach Jason (his brother John, drove up with him this trip); they played nine holes at the St. Johns Golf Club (Elkton). AA seems to really like her new coach!

She measures her distance for the next shot:
New putter:
Great shot AA!
From Facebook: Her coach Jason said amazing! And:
Jason Voigts "I'm not sure who enjoys it more her or me. I have to say my favorite part of our playing lesson yesterday was when she hit the ball on the green on #1. I gave her the putter & she said "Goodbye". I know more now about the Northeast Native Americans, because I asked her what she learned in school yesterday. She is so sweet." And: "What an incredible swing by this remarkable 8yr old. I had a great time with Miss AA & I'm glad she taught me exactly where each club belongs in her bag. Student teaches coach.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Weekend - November 7 - 9th

We arrived home from Missouri and quickly got back into our routine, school, work and golfing. 
We also put in an offer for a small house in our neighborhood and had the review of the home inspection meeting on Friday the 7th. 
Saturday, AA practiced golf, went to Aiden's birthday party (he had the great reptile experience a year ago) and then met up with Cathy, Werner, Dylan and Alivia at the River House.

At the River House, we tried to catch up on news, but watching the girls took most of our attention. We showed them the little neighborhood home we may buy and then they were all off for a sleep-over at their Grandma's home (we were childless for one night!).
On Sunday, we picked them up, had a great cup of coffee at Cathy and Werner's home, and took the girls home to St. Augustine. We then went to Carolyn's new apartment in Jacksonville and visited with her. Back home we crashed!
Dylan and I writing notes back and forth in the truck......
Tomorrow, Monday, is school and I am driving to attend the Executive Meeting at FUMCH, dinner with Carolyn on the way home (at her new Jacksonville apartment!); then Tuesday is Veteran's Day Holiday!

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Missouri Trip - Aunt Linda's Woods - Part 4

Our family trip to Missouri included the kids (Leaa and Justin) hiking behind their Aunt Linda's home, something they remember doing from past trips. Alyzabeth was included and it looks like they enjoyed the outdoors from Jesse's photos. Coming from WARM Florida to a very cold Missouri Fall weekend...... Everyone bundled up!

Missouri Trip - Part 3 Kaci's Eulogy

Written and spoken by Mrs. Kaci Morgan Below at her Grandfather’s funeral (Ford's Dad); William Morgan Sr. November 3, 2014, Advance, Missouri.        

The week before Grandpa died, we were talking and he starting telling me a few things about how he wanted his funeral done.  He said not to go overboard with the obit, start the funeral on time and try not to get into an argument with my Dad right before the funeral starts (we have a tendency to do that).  Then he said, “Maybe it would be nice if you said a few words.”  And we all know when he told you to do something; you did it and didn’t ask any questions.
          The last couple of weeks I have thought about how lucky I am.  I’m lucky because I got to be Big Bill Morgan’s granddaughter.
          For the last 18 years, I walked into my job and from April to October, my Grandpa was there.  He had taught my Dad the business well and I was blessed to be taught by both my Grandpa and my Dad.   Many people don’t get to experience being taught your trade that way.  He was proud of the way my Dad ran the family business.  He once told me my Dad was the best embalmer he had ever seen.  He wasn’t so proud of him when he lost cemetery lots in a card game but honored the lots because he understood not walking away from a good card game.
          When he would leave in the fall to go to his home in Florida, he would always say “If I don’t make it back from Florida put me in whatever casket isn’t selling.” When he returned in the spring I would always say, “Thank God you made it back, we still haven’t sold that pink casket.”
          The talks we had were priceless.  His life reads like an interesting history book about the Greatest Generation.  I loved hearing his stories about when he was a kid, which always involved his brother, Jack and baby sister, Patricia.  Jack was his best friend and Patricia, he loved more than words.  He told me after he graduated from Advance High School at 16 years old, he wanted to go to medical school and be a doctor like old Doc Masters, but his father told him NO, he had a family business to carry on.
          After his time serving in the Army in WWII he went to St. Louis School of Mortuary Science.  He returned home and ran the funeral home until 1979, when my Dad took over.  He once told Leeman, he conducted his first funeral by himself when he was 14 or 15 years old.
          He told me stories about seeing the Rat Pack and Elvis perform in Vegas, meeting Harry Truman, running the local ambulance service (that his sons often helped him with) and all of the babies he delivered when they couldn’t make it to the hospital.          
          He enjoyed a good drink, preferable bourbon and a chew.  He was an excellent hunter and fisherman.  In the summers he would take his boys to Norfork Lake on vacation.  And he loved to read.
          He always had a way with words.  When he told you something you better listen because he was only going to tell you once.
          A few days after my mother died he told me he understood because his mother had died when he was 5.  He said the world can be cruel and unfair but I could not be angry or mad the rest of my life.  That I was a Morgan and we were tough.  Then we loaded up in the old blue Ford and he took me to buy scratch off lottery tickets because that’s what we were into at that time…. I was 11.
          When Lane was born, Joan said my Dad called Grandpa and told him he was never going to believe that Lane looked just like them.  Grandpa showed up at the hospital, looked him over and told me I had done well. I’m pretty sure it was because he looked like a Morgan and it didn’t hurt that I had named him William.
          He would come to the park and watch my boys play baseball.  He loved being there but not just to watch my boys but to see all the people in the community, always greeting them with a handshake, like the gentleman he was.  He helped organize and start Little League baseball in Advance.  I think it made him proud to see that program still thriving. Every year he asked me how many kids signed up to play. 
          He believed in giving back to his community.  Because in his words, “This is the community that feeds us.”
          He loved Advance High School basketball.  He told me countless stories about his sons’ games.  But he also said some of the best games were played on the goal at his house.  That some nights those boys would play all night long.  But that didn’t bother him because that way he always knew where his boys were.  He also talked about trips he made to watch Benny play at Austin Peay and my Dad at Three Rivers.  In the last few years he was still watching Advance games on the laptop at his home in Florida.
          This past spring I was stressed and worrying about where Lane was going to play his college ball.  Grandpa told me it didn’t matter where he was bouncing that ball just as long as he got a college degree.  He was very proud that all of his children and grandchildren were college educated.  He said the key to success starts with being educated.  He was proud of the lives his kids and grandkids had made for themselves.
          He was so proud when Tiffany got married.  He had the best time at her wedding. And looked dapper as ever in his tux as he walked her down the aisle.  He said his little girl was beautiful and had his blue eyes.  He was proud when Walker was born as well as the twins, Margaret Morgan and Kathryn Harper (named after his mother). 
          One day I came back to the funeral home after lunch.  It was summer break.  My boys had decided to play baseball in my living room.  They had broken the ceiling fan and the wood blinds.  I WAS FURIOUS! Grandpa laughed and said, that was nothing.  That when my Dad was little he had wrapped Ford in a blanket and thrown him through a glass door at their house.  Grandpa replaced the door.  My Dad again wrapped Ford in a blanket and threw him through the newly replaced glass door.  Two doors in one week.
          He said when his boys were little he really didn’t have to worry about Benny, he didn’t get into too much trouble but little Bill and Barry Ford he had to keep an eye on.
Grandpa loved the St. Louis Cardinals.  He told me about taking his boys to Old Sportsman Stadium with Jack and Salty.  He went with Dad and me to take Lane to his first game when he was one.  We got to see Mark McGuire hit home runs #63 and 64 at night.  In the 9th inning he said we had to go to beat the traffic and get out of the park before my Dad tried to buy it for Lane.  I had a satellite put in the office several years ago just so we could watch afternoon Card games together.
          He was happy when Benny moved home to Missouri because that also meant he got to see Travis more.  And he loved Christina.
          The week before he died, I told him I had to go to Jack’s parent/teacher conferences and that I would be back when they were over.  I got back to the house told him that Jack’s grades were pretty good, but I was worried he was getting by on his charm with some of his teachers.  Grandpa laughed and laughed and said he knew another Jack with charm like that.  He said it was alright because we could always use charm like that shaking hands at the front door.
          He enjoyed his winters in Florida with Nana Joy by his side.  The winters also meant he got to spend time with Ford, Aly and AA and JK and Leaa and their kids.  And that made him happy. 
          He was proud when Nikki went to Mizzou and made the cheerleading squad. And he enjoyed getting to see Morgan and Regan.
          He loved Joy so much.  They were married for 43 years.  She took care of him in every way.  Her wonderful meals she cooked him and her calm, loving, caring demeanor.  He loved Debbie, Donna, Michael and Candy and their kids as his own, there was never any step involved.  He enjoyed his time spent with them.  Candy said he made their lives better.  I’m sure that is true but it is also true that they made his life better.
          He had a special place in his heart for his nieces and nephews and Jan. 
He loved the town of Advance and the town loved him.  I couldn’t even tell you how many people have called or stopped me in town the last couple of months wanting to know how he was.  They would all tell me a story of how he had helped their family in some way or simply what a good man he was.
          He liked being called Big Bill, but more than anything he liked when Joy called him “honey”, or he was called Pop, Grandpa or Big Pop.
          He lived his life on his terms and has left a great legacy behind.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

From Rhett - Missouri Trip - Part 2

Cousin Rhett is carrying on the family writings...he's the journalist in the family and helps us see from another perspective.

Time marches on

This pretty much summed up my weekend: The same day I shared my mother’s birthday cake, I helped carry my uncle’s casket.
But the occasions were memorable.
I saw people and relatives I hadn’t seen in decades. I caught up with a town and a people that embraced and molded me.
The hugs were warm and the handshakes sincere. I reminisced until my mouth went dry.
My time off also opened my eyes.
I saw saints this weekend.
They endure unimaginable heartache and carrying unspeakable burdens. They are flesh-and-blood reminders that compassion walks and lives among us.
They sacrifice more than any person should have to. And they do it out of love.
God bless them all.

Monday, November 03, 2014

The Missouri Funeral Trip

We arrived in Missouri (Cape Giradeau and Advance) on Halloween afternoon, visited with Nana Joy and then went with Livi and Dylan to the Cape Mall for Trick or Treating.
Aunt Joan provided a candy bag and AA loved being Ginny Weasley.

Bill Morgan Sr. Dad's funeral was Monday. Bill Jr had a special vault cover made to honor his Dad's service in WWII. No one had their cameras with them during the funeral, but did get a few on their iPhones.
Playing Train Dominoes at Joy's home:
At the family luncheon after the funeral, talking about Cousin Butch's run for a public office - County Sheriff (he lost, but maybe will try again).
 Ford with nephew Travis:
Picture taking by Candy:

Leaa and Jesse with Nana Joy (the kids stayed at their Aunt Linda's home):
The cemetery:
AA and her Daddy, talking about the family that has passed.......
Much family love was all around us; many thanks to Bill and Joan who shared their home during this sad time; very much appreciated.