Frankieleeee's Blog

Whatever boils over over here!

Moodys and Smiths. Christmas Day 2010

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First order of the day on Kendrick Crossing Lane was to make sure a boy and his dog were infused with the joy of greeting another Christmas morning together. And here they are! See the doggy's shiny, twinkling eyes? (Photo by Teresa)

The company is obviously showing more nerves as the jingle-jangle of Christmas bells draws ever nearer. "Listen," shushed Fred above the gossiping noise, "listen, I think I saw some Christmas lights moving toward us from across the street. Wake up everybody. Oh, no! It was only Frankie and Connie pulling into the driveway. Dad blast it!!!" (Photo by Sandi)

Being lost did not mean being blind to a beautiful Christmas morning. Somewhere near Verona, Kentucky, looking out from Tranq the Van along Route 491 near I-71. (Photo by Frankie)

It was up a tad early on December 25th, 2010, leave the house by 8 o’clock so we get to eat breakfast at Peggy’s table in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, by ten. I had bet CB we could make the trip from Cincinnati in less than two hours, and while I was checking out Peggy and Joe’s address for my GPS, we flew right past the I-71 exit off I-75 and spent the next half hour finding our way through back ways and two lane highways to I-71 South, which took us way past my two hour estimate. Question: was it all coincidence? Sheer and totally accidental “coincidence” that missing our turn cost me my bet? Nah!!!!!????

It all worked out beautifully, Joe Frankie has built ramps for Junior, Jr, so that Randy, Ronald, Eric and he can push and pull me from the driveway up to the back porch through the sunroom into the kitchen where steaming hot food was piled high begging us all to take a tiny taste or two of the likes of country ham (deeeelicious), grits casserole, sausage balls, biscuits, scrambled eggs, peach preserves, orange juice, mimosa (champagne and juice), monkey bread (from the oven of Teresa and second in yumminess only to the country ham), and, of course, a steaming cup of coffee to put an exclamation mark on the break”feast!”

I was so hungry, I hardly noticed that I’d dragged my shoes off my feet in my haste to get to the breakfast table.

Nick and Tara had other Santa stops before Peggy’s, so we blessed them with a split second of silence and a split of champagne dumped into the orange juice, then  dug in until all buttons and zippers were undone before one or more of us blew a gasket in the breadbasket.

Trembling, Sandi and Tara anxiously await the grand opening. (Sony photo by Ronald)

To formalize introduction of attendees in case of any rumors or lawsuits resulting from our free-for-all party: Ronald and Charlotte had driven up from Tennessee Friday night;

Ronald, in serious contemplation of life's possibilities.Charlotte organizing her receiving line. Photo by Frankie.

Sandra/Sandi & Fred who were up from New Haven,

Ronald, Fred, Teresa, Randy & Eric watch enthralled as Joe Frankie (whom you may know as Santa Claus) performs the softshoe, as part of his annual pre unwrapping minstrel show. (Photo by Sandi)


Wow! This one looks like the outflung arm of Joe Frankie (in red sweater) demonstrating the dual purposes of the lowly snow shovel: clearing away snow and clearing your path of enemies who are trying to steal the goodies Santa's just given you.? L-R: Joe Frankie's arm menacing with a snow shovel, Charlotte, Ronald, Randy, Eric and (just a glimpse of) Peggy. (Photo by Teresa)


Randy, Teresa and Eric from across town;

Randy with bowed head, praying for that cap pistol he's been wishing ever so hard for, forever it seems. (Photo by Frankie.)

Peggy & Joe Frankie, hosts of the party; CB and I who had driven from Cincinnati by way of Timbuktu;

A closeup of Santa making supervising distribution of gifts. "Nobody goes home without something," he insists.

CB just remembering what it was she was hoping Santa would bring her this year: lots of calorie-free chocolate. (Photo by Frankie.)

and, bringing in a whole ‘nother sackful of sly but well-honed humor were Nick and Tara whose names sound like they came from a movie like “The Thin Man” (Nick and Nora).

Tara, "It looks a lot like one I've got at home!" (Photo by Frankie.)

Santa waiting for the rest of us to settle in and settle down before he jumps up to orchestrate his new yule piece, "Santa Visits Louisville as the Pied Piper," which includes strewing of the magi's gifts here, there and yond. And it is magical; no ever is skipped. (Photo by Ronald.)

Santa, having misplaced his hat, wore his new Cincinnati Reds' cap to give a proper air to distributing presents at our party. (L-R: Connie, Santa Joe Frankie, Nick & Sandra) (Photo by Ronald.)

Nick now has a place to park his beer and on a new score keeping corn hole stick. If he ever finds a time when he can drink a beer and not have to worry about being at the beck and call of the railroad (which one, Nick?). In the background Santa grabs more goodies to hand out to us greedy recipients. (Photo by Teresa.)

Definitely not a game! Nick and several others also found practical gifts under the tree, like this industrial strength snow brush and ice scraper which can also serve to ward off muggers. (Photo by Ronald.)

Nick has a new job as a choo-choo train conductor. Sounds like he’s on call just about all the time, has to be ready to hit the (rail) road a running within 2 hours of any hour they wanna disturb his beauty rest.

Seems like most of us have had some medical problems of one kind or another during the past year.

Randy’s been back to work for a while now after his heart surgery. Says he’s been walking on the treadmill for two years now and, despite promises from the medicos to the contrary, has not learned to love it.

Just recently both Peggy and Joe Frankie have helped pay for the extravagant lifestyles of their doctors. Peggy says she was checked over by a cardiologist because she seems to be tired all the time lately, and Joe Frankie, too, but I forgot why he went (somebody email me and tell me why so I can change this)

CB broke her toe trying to help an absentee daughter cope with a flooded basement in her Cincinnati home. “It hurts,” she says.

My cataract surgery a year ago and taking in oxygen 24/7, aided by an excellent no meat/no salt/no fat diet (when I’m not taking a vacation from it – which seems a tad too often of late) have helped me recoup some physical strength and lots of eyesight (although my surgeon is hesitant to operate on my other eye which also needs it because he has to stand during the entire procedure.)

There are probably other medical stories I’ve missed. Lemme know and I’ll include them.

Sleeping contest was a tie between Joe Frankie and Fred, although Eric was in the running for a while. Strangely, Connie wasn’t competitive at all in this field of seasoned veterans.

Peggy was showered with diamonds and things, with hand vacuums and cream, with music and a long list of stuff that very well represented the love of the givers. (Photo by Frankie.)

Obviously, I am a true coiffeur connoisseur.

Sandi, "Cataract surgery didn't do you a whole lot of good, did it, Uncle?" (Photo by Frankie.)

Sandra looks at the next chapter of fame and fortune in her life. "Not bad so far!" (Photo by Ronald.)

For example. I complimented Sandi on her new hair color. “It’s been this color for a year or more,” she said. “You’ve only seen me like this twice before you noticed.” Uh Oh!

For example, I commented on Teresa’s new hair style.

Teresa, speaking stylistically, of course! (Photo by Frankie.)

“I don’t have a new hair style,” she shot back, “but I do have a new hair stylist.”

Teresa also pointed out that taking pictures year after year seems pointless. “We all sit in the very same places.

L-R: Connie, Teresa, Charlotte. (Did we all take our "Usual places, Teresa?) (Photo by Frankie)

Nothing changes. So you can’t tell one year from the next unless you’ve got a memory good enough to remember who got which gifts which years.”

L-R: Connie, Teresa, Charlotte, Ronald, Peggy. (Photo by Frankie.)

The rest of us just sat there and watched the others take their places for the Santa phase and, sure enough, almost all of us plopped down in the same places we’d plopped last year and the year before. Talk about creatures of habit.

As always, Joe Frankie was our Santa Claus, perhaps because he’s the only one who has the patience to wait until everybody else has opened their surprises before he sees what goodies he has received. Peggy was my personal scribe, volunteering once again to make a list of who gave me what with the admonition that perhaps this year I should try a little harder to remember. (I’m trying. I’m trying.)

Santa with a puzzled look. So many packages. Which one to choose. And whose terrible handwriting is this anyhow. Bad enough they wrapped their stuff in them thar cheap newspapers. (Photo by Frankie.)

Gifts! Gifts! Gifts! Everywhere. If everyone’s take was half as good as mine, we all made out like Flynn. Look at all this. I got ice hobnail slip-ons from Sandra & Fred; a Paris (TN) cap & a Frank/Paris TN cup from Ronald & Charlotte; a fruitcake from Sandra & Fred; scrub wipes from Santa; a iHOME docking station (speakers and charger) from Ronald and Charlotte; Nook & Nook cover from all the Smiths (Nook comes with 500,000 FREE books, I’m told – wow!); Mighty Bright XtraFlex LED Book Light from all the Smiths – I’m always reading in the van; an animal magnifier, pen and key chain and flash memory from Randy, Teresa & Eric.

Then came the “fun” part. The grab bag where we all end up fighting for the same thing – paperweights for Charlotte. Charlotte got her paperweight again. I got a talking “Git ‘er dun!” bottle opening. CB got chocolate. Fred got a handy dandy tool chest on a keychain. Then I remember no more.

Peggy finally gets to open her gifts after kowtowing to me all afternoon. To help my nonexistent memory, she jobs down each gift and its giver before she starts shredding her own paper. My gifts are mixed with Peggy's on the coffee table. CB is keeping check on me from behind. It is my belief that the more a person looks like Santa Clause, the finer the treatment that person will receive from his/her North Pole benefactor. But what happens, I wonder, if one year everything is absolutely perfect? mmmmmm!!!!! (Photo by Ronald).

What in the world could it be? Really? I feel like Yogi Bear opening a pica-nick basket. Yum Yum Yum!" (Photo by Sandi)

I haven’t seen Nick’s sister Stephanie since she was 7 years old. Figuring she’s probably in junior, maybe even senior, high school, Nick replied to my query, “She’s 20 years old, Frankie!” What’s happening to those years, folks? I feel like Rip Van Winkle, sleeping my life away.

Opening all those gifts was a lot of work, so, we had to eat something afterwards to renew our energy. Ronald and Charlotte brought enough Trolinger’s barbecue for the feast and there was enough left over for CB and I to bring some back to Cincinnati accompanied by the delicious hot sauce. Then there was ham and sausage and cheese and potato chips and who knows what all else I must rely on secondhand descriptions filtered through two or three layers of verbal gymnasts. And more punch to power the pain pills down.

Peggy made her specialty punch which was so good that I begged a little more from her to drink on the way home – Damn, I forgot to clock our trip home to see if we made it in less than 2 hours! Oh, well, next year, I guess.

"No, Sandra, don't matter how big of a fit you pitch, IT IS NOT your turn to play Santa; you haven't finished elf school yet!" (Photo by Teresa)

Perhaps the fact that December 26th is a major milestone means Joe Frankie won’t be penalized for having a birthday so close to Christmas. Today (December 26, 2010) is his 75th! Congratulations! The old truckdriver just keeps on a truckin’ on down the road, pretty near as feisty as he always has been.

Two old men sitting in their comfy chairs: the one on the nearside waiting to serve up the good stuff from the North of Kentucky; the other waiting anxiously to be served goodies from the North of Kentucky. (Photo by Sandi)

After we sat letting the latest grub settle before we all took off, Joe Frankie went outside in the brrrrrrrr weather to prepare me. A little ramp for the doorsill between the Kitchen and the sunroom. Ramps for going from the sunroom to the back porch. Two looonnngggg ramps making a track for Junior, Jr, from the back porch to walkway by the garage and one more ramp from the walkway up to the driveway. Whew – makes me tired thinking about it. What wonderful people there are in my family, that they would have the patience and the kindness and the willingness to help make my Christmas Day every year. Thank you, guys.

"Man, was that hard work; is it suppertime yet?" Charlotte, Ronald, Randy catch their breath after all that energy-depleting box-lifting and paper trashing. Captured on video for others who follow so they will know where to sit! (Photo by Teresa)

Thence into Tranq the van, up the lift, transfer to the shotgun seat, slip into my navigator’s uniform and home, descriving in minute detail to CB each move she should make as we make our way home to the west side of Cincinnati.

As darkness marked the close of the 25th, the holiday lights of Cincinnati beckoned us to the north side of the Ohio River and home. (Photo by Frankie).


Written by frankieleeee

December 26, 2010 at 10:58 pm

Posted in Family, Yule 2010

2 Responses

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  1. Aside from your rambling I see no photographic evidence you were even there – perhaps this was all a dream?


    December 27, 2010 at 12:08 am

  2. Your blog clock is as confused as you were.


    December 27, 2010 at 12:09 am

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