Monday, December 31, 2012

Wrapping Up 2012: Our Bests and Worsts

Katja’s Smart-phone photo in Venezia

Dear George,
I’ve always successfully avoided writing an end-of-the-year letter, but, now that I’m doing a blog, it’s hard to avoid it.  Just to give it a try, I made a list of our “bests” and “worsts” for 2012.  Here’s how it looked: 

  • Best holiday of the year: Thanksgiving, when our cutie-pie four-year-old NOLA grandchildren, V and L, and their courageous parents came to visit us in Cincinnati.
  • Best extended family gathering: August reunion at Farm at Menominee/Birch Creek with West Coast, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and Cincinnati attendees.
  • Best speech: Katja's paper to the Contemporary Club (“My Favorite Year”) about her junior year abroad.  Lots of smiles and laughs – a big hit. 
  • Most exciting family media event: Anna DeVeare Smith's "Let Me Down Easy" on PBS which featured a segment about our daughter-in-law K's experiences as a doctor in New Orleans' Charity Hospital during Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.
  • Fanciest travel experience: Katja’s March-April trip to Rome, Florence, and Venice with her sister Ami, brother David and sister-in-law Susan, and friend Jean.

Katja in the Surgery Ward at University Hospital 

  • Most amazing medical procedures:  Katja’s knee replacement surgery (June) followed by shoulder replacement surgery (September), making her a 75% bionic woman.
  • Cutest new zoo animal:  New baby giraffe Lulu who our grandkids, V and L, got to see running around during their visit.
  • Favorite destination(s) for hikes with sheepdogs:  Eden Park, Fernbank Park, and Miami Whitewater Forest (a three-way tie).
  • Stupidest mistake: Failing to see a red light and sideswiping an oncoming car. 
  • Favorite opera: "Maria de Buenos Aires" at the Music Hall ballroom, featuring world champion tango dancers.
  • Worst weather: the hottest summer on record with a seemingly endless stream of 100+ degree days.
  • Favorite physical activity: Tuesday night line dancing (because it’s enjoyable and helps maintain my delusion that I’m younger than I used to be). 

Flea ‘N Tique at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds

  • Best monthly antiquing/flea market expedition: Dayton Flea ‘N Tique with Phyllis S-S.
  • Longest unsuccessful camping trip: Five days at Lake Cumberland in southern Kentucky where we were unfortunately beset by flies and excessive heat.
  • Scariest moment: Hiking at Lake Cumberland when I let the dogs off the leash and later discovered Mikey was no longer with me.  I flagged down a truck for help, and the driver had already picked up Mike on the road.
  • Favorite photo location(s): Burnet Woods and the Cincinnati Zoo (tie)
  • Most enjoyable sports outing: the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament in nearby Mason, featuring Roger Federer, Serena Williams, and all the world’s other top-ranked men and women players (thanks to Paula D. and Frank C. for tickets). 
  • Best art exhibition:  "Old Masters to Impressionism” at the Taft Museum (glorious French art).

The Esquire Theater, Clifton

  • Most fun weekly group: Our Friday night “movie club” (Donna, Katja, and myself)
  • Worst dental experience: Katja's crown falling off three times in three days, requiring multiple 20-mile trips to the dentist in a distant suburb.  
  • Favorite photo exhibition: The Herb Ritts L.A. photography show at the Cincinnati Art Museum (celebrities, fashion, nudes -- so hip, beyond belief).
  • My most adventuresome personal outing: Live band karaoke at the Northside Tavern.
  • Clumsiest moment: Spilling a cup of coffee on our computer keyboard (which successfully destroyed it).
  • Worst scam which some of us fell for: Contributing $$$ to a so-called veteran's charity which we later found out distributes zero dollars to veterans.
  • Most erroneous nagging: Katja’s suggestion that I get a hearing aid because of her mistaken impression that I don’t hear well.  (What did you say?)
  • Favorite movie: “Moonrise Kingdom” (a magical fantasy which connects to the inner child in all of us).
  • Favorite TV show:  “Homeland” on Showtime (which combines sex, terrorism, torture, drugs, mental illness, adultery, deception, political intrigue and corruption, treason, adolescent angst, murder, the Middle East, national security, and a few other themes into a spellbinder).

At the DeYoung Family Zoo, Wallace, Mich.

  • Most exciting animal experience:  Visiting the DeYoung Family Zoo in Menominee County where you get close and personal with Bengal Tigers, hyenas, black bears, etc.
  • Favorite book: Dave Barry, Dave Barry Turns Fifty
  • Favorite new downtown restaurant: Jean-Robert’s Table (dinner out with the Johnsons and Feinbergs)
  • Favorite new West Side restaurant: Nick & Tom’s (thanks to a gift outing from Donna)
  • Favorite neighborhood restaurant: Skyline Chili (five-way chili, diet coke, extra crackers). 
  • Most unusual lunch:  At an East End restaurant where the sixtysomething members of the Red Hat Society were conducting a noisy karaoke extravaganza.
  • Worst sheepdog behavior: When I boosted Mike into the bed, Duffy lunged and bit him under the eye, resulting in a $200 trip to the vet.
  • Best sanity resource: My university office which enables me to go out in the world and imagine that I’m meaningfully employed.

Katja’s Ready to Shop at Sea Shell City

  • Kitschiest Store:  Sea Shell City off I-75 near the Mackinac Bridge (unrivalled for homey North Woods souvenirs).
  • Best museum show: "A Day in the Life of Pompeii" at the Museum Center (which told an amazing story and showed us mummified bodies).
  • Worst theater experience: Shakespeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream" at the university with a sound system that prevented one from understanding a single word.  Being masochists, we chose not to leave at intermission.
  • Best canine event: The Cincinnati Kennel Club Dog Show in Hamilton where we returned unexpectedly for a second day.
  • Best Symphony outing:  Saxophone soloist Branford Marsalis performing Prokofiev, Jacob TV, and a jazz trio encore at Music Hall. 
  • Best end-of-the-year holiday event:  Xmas day dinner with the Minkarah family (nonstop laughter). 

I’d have to conclude that 2012 was “pretty good”.  That’s because there were twice as many bests as worsts.  When I first looked over my list, I rated the year as excellent.  But then other people’s Xmas letters started arriving, and our year got more boring by comparison.  It’s all in the eye of the beholder.  Probably other peoples’ lives always look more interesting.  Anyway we’ll try to put in a few more adventures in 2013.  We’ll let you know how it turns out.

G-mail Comments
-Terry O-S (1-4): "when our cutie-pie four-year-old NOLA grandchildren, V and L,"  When I read this phrase, I could hear your Dad's voice, since "cutie-pie" was one of his favorite expressions
-Gayle C-L (12-31):  David,  Awesome as usual.   Great blogs all year . 
I realize the time it takes to put onto the blogs They are so appreciated!! 
So another year has gone by and the good thing is that we are all still here healthy and sound !  So.  Have a happy new year!  Lets see what exciting the new year will bring.  Lots of love.  Cheers !!! 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Helpful Holiday Advice from the Locker Room

Holiday snacks at our house

Dear George,
You get a lot of good info in the locker room that you don’t often hear elsewhere.  I think guys must level with one another more there.  The other day two chunky, white-haired men were conversing across the aisle.  Here’s how it went:

First Guy:  My doctor says I have to lose twenty pounds.  I don’t know how I’m going to do it.  I don’t think I can do it.

Second Guy:  Those doctors all say that.  Don’t listen to him.  It took you a lot of years to put those pounds on.  It would take you the rest of your life to take them off.

First Guy:  He said I need to do it for my health.

Second Guy:  I never once saw a skinny guy who was healthy.

First Guy:  I have this friend who is real skinny.  He’s very healthy.  He’s 91.  He takes long walks every day.  He doesn’t drink.  He eats lots of fruits and vegetables.  He does everything right.

Second Guy:  He might be healthy but he’s totally miserable.  He doesn’t eat anything.  He doesn’t drink.  He’s given up on everything there is.

First Guy:  His wife is in a nursing home.  I guess he doesn’t have much going for him.

Second Guy:  There are just two things worth living for.  One is eating.  The other I can’t even remember what it is, but I can’t do it any more.  So eating is -- that’s all that’s left.

First Guy (chuckling):  I know what you mean.  Well, I’m outa here.  Happy New Year to you and the Mrs.

Second Guy:  Yeah, Happy New Years to you too.  And keep away from those doctors.

First Guy:  I will.  I will. 

This has to be the most helpful conversation I’ve heard in a long time.  People I hang around with never say stuff like this.  My doctor gives me the same old story about losing weight, and it’s a relief to get a fresh point of view.  It definitely takes the pressure off during the holidays.  Happy New Year to all and be sure to eat a second piece of chocolate fudge cake.  Maybe even a third.

G-mail Comments
-Donna D (12-30): very funny :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tales of Xmas Past

Our family's 1940 Season’s Greetings card (Dave with Santa, V.A.L. photo)

Dear George,
I’ve written about our family Xmases on a couple of occasions.  Those childhood celebrations have to be among the most thrilling times of our lives.  But post-childhood Xmas holidays are important too.  Some elements remain stable over the years, e.g., Santa, gifts, the Xmas tree, “Jingle Bells”, eating too much fruitcake.  But other aspects of the holiday season change dramatically.  Once you reach that post middle-age era, you’ve accumulated a lot of Xmases.  Here are a few personal tales that illustrate the striking discrepancies in holiday experiences that can occur as one moves through the life course.

I started college in September 1955, so Xmas of that year was the first time that I’d been living away from home.  My freshman hallmate Newt, who was from Walla Walla, traveled to Menominee with me from Yellow Springs. I arranged dates for us for the Holly Hop, the annual holiday dance held at Menominee High.  We all went to dinner first at the Cholette Hotel in nearby Peshtigo.  When Newt tried to pay his bill with an American Express Traveller’s Check, the clerk had never seen such a thing and refused to honor it.  None of us had sufficient cash in hand.  After a lengthy, heated negotiation, the clerk finally reached the hotel owner by phone and reluctantly accepted a twenty-dollar traveler’s check.  Newt, disgusted, decided he had truly entered the wilds of rural America.  After the dance we went and parked under the light of the moon in Henes Park.  A police car pulled up behind us moments later.  Nervous because we were under-age teens with open bottles of beer in the car, I started the car, slowly backed up, and crept through the park at its ten m.p.h speed limit with the police car following closely behind.  We managed to escape without further incident.

My younger brother Peter and I in our driveway with my first car (circa 1957)

December 1957 was the first time that I didn’t come home at all for Xmas.  I was on a coop job in New York City.  I lived on 163rd St. in Washington Heights, and I decided to spend Xmas eve at an Irish bar in the neighborhood.  After three or four shots of whiskey, I called home to exchange holiday greetings before my speech got too slurry.  A little while later some of the men in the bar decided from my newly acquired accent that I’d recently come from Ireland.  Another guy disagreed saying I sounded more Scottish.  I admitted to being from Scotland rather than Ireland, and, as the questioning from my barmates unfolded, we determined that I had jumped ship in New York harbor and was in the country illegally.  Two of my new Irish friends said that they had contacts in the criminal underworld and that they could arrange to get fake papers to keep me in the country.  At that point I decided that I’d enjoyed enough Irish Xmas cheer and bid my farewells.

In 1958 my college friend Arnie P. came to visit our family.  Arnie was from White Plains just outside NYC, and he was curious about visiting the U.P.  He’d jokingly referred to me for some time as coming from Menominee, Mishigas (Yiddish for “craziness”).  A major winter storm moved in as we drove north from Chicago.  Shortly after we’d passed through Milwaukee we were stopped at a state police barricade shutting down Highway 41, the main highway to the U.P.  A policeman explained that the roads were impassable, and all the roads heading north from Milwaukee had been closed except one county highway.  He cautioned us not to risk it, but we decided to try it anyway.  With at least two feet of freshly fallen snow on the ground, we couldn’t see the roadway at all, so I just steered the car straight ahead through the open space between the trees. We rarely saw a house with a light on, and we didn’t see a single other car between Milwaukee and Green Bay.  It was a long, tense, probably dangerous trip, but we did eventually make it.  I think Arnie enjoyed his Mishigas visit.  He and my dad had a spirited debate about the military.  Arnie described his Army Reserve military experience as a thoroughly unpleasant waste of time, while Vic considered his experiences in the Pacific in World War II as the most meaningful of his life.  Their discussion may have marked the beginning of the generation gap.    

Arnie P. at river house in Menominee    

Though we’d been dating for two years, Katja didn’t make her first Xmas visit to our house until Xmas of 1959.  Vicki was 12; Peter, 14; Steve, 18.  They and my parents took to Katja immediately, and she to them.  She remembers Peter getting a barbell set for Xmas and embarking on his teenage body-building career. We went with my dad to cut down an evergreen tree on our back lot and then take it to town to have it spray-painted (perhaps yellow or red) at Van Domelen’s auto body shop.  Katja and I walked across the river to Pig Island and spotted a mud puppy through the ice lying on the river bottom, looking like the prehistoric creature it was descended from.  All our extended family came for dinner on Xmas eve, Uncles Kent and Ralph distributing cosmetic samples from the Menominee and Marinette drugstores and bachelor Uncle Karl bringing extravagant gifts from Neenah-Menasha. As she did each year, my mother made a delicious turkey Xmas dinner, topped off with her famous cherry, pineapple, whipped cream molded jello salad.  Katja couldn’t get over the parade of wonderful friends who came through our front door throughout the holidays. All in all, it was a memorable Xmas.

Katja playing cards with David, Vicki, and Peter (circa 1959) 

Katja and I graduated from college and got married in 1960.  That year was our first Xmas in Menominee as a married couple.  The main thing I remember is that my parents turned over their bedroom to us, and I was totally embarrassed to come out in the morning, having spent the night there with a strange woman.  Thanks to my parents subsidizing us, we started flying up to Menominee for Xmas on North Central Airlines, the line of the Grey Goose.  North Central had smallish, propeller-driven planes.  On one of our trips Katja had a bad cold and her ears felt like they were going to explode.  She asked the stewardess if there was anything she could do, and the stewardess recommended swallowing deeply.  Five minutes later, the stewardess came back and asked Katja if she were feeling better.  She said she was, and the stewardess explained that the pilot had dropped the plane’s elevation by 3000 feet.  We decided North Central was the best.

Our son J was born in September 1969, and we made a big deal about Xmas from the outset, even though J was only three months old.  Once he reached two or three we’d take him to a big local toy store to look over the merchandise (in order to get clues for Santa).  J would get very excited seeing all the wonderful things, but after twenty minutes he would invariably wind up in tears because of the over-stimulation.  I always enjoyed Xmas morning at least as much as J because I got to play with the new toys too.  Usually I was more of a playmate than a dad.  One December I went to the Digby tennis courts and cut down a sumac tree on the forested hillside.  I made dozens of paper mache ornaments over balloons with painted faces, hanging them from the sumac’s branches.  It started out as our Xmas tree, but became a permanent year-round decoration in our dining room.  As J got older we began making snowmen in our side yard each Xmas, then switched over to snow rabbits.  They were the hit of the neighborhood.

J in his Xmas cowboy outfit (circa 1973)

With our families living in opposite directions, we decided in the early 70s to go to Menominee each summer and to Katja’s family in Philadelphia and New York City each December.  Katja’s parents, Helen and Buck, lived on Sherwood Road in west Philadelphia, and her sister Ami and brother-in-law Bruce lived in Manhattan.  We’d drive the turnpike to Philadelphia four or five days before Xmas.  We’d typically do the Art Museum, the Franklin Institute, the Italian market, Philly cheesesteaks at Pat’s, the Wanamaker tearoom, supper at Howard Johnson’s, a great G.I. surplus store, Bookbinder’s downtown bookstore, Katja’s shopping expedition to the suburban Lord & Taylor’s, sometimes a visit to the zoo, sometimes Independence Hall.  Bucks’ relatives would have a big family gathering at Aunt Miriam and Uncle Moe’s, along with Aunt Beatrice and Uncle Joe, Aunt Sophie and Uncle Nate, Katja’s aged grandmother, and various cousins.  Katja’s parents didn’t celebrate either Channukah or Xmas, so we were always eager to move on to New York for Xmas eve.    

Buck and Helen enjoy a holiday hug in their kitchen on Sherwood Road (ca. 1972)

We’d set off on the New Jersey Turnpike on the morning of Dec. 24th in order to exchange gifts with Ami and Bruce at their Upper West Side condo.  Bruce, J, and I would go out on Broadway and bring home a Xmas tree (always over-priced by Cincinnati standards).  Katja and Ami were both extravagant gift-givers, and they’d shower us all with numerous presents.  Ami would usually invite friends for Xmas eve or Xmas day dinner, and we’d get together with Bruce’s Bronx family as well.  We’d go to the Met, to MOMA, and to the Whitney or the Guggenheim.  Ami and Bruce would treat us to dinner one night at a cutting edge Manhattan restaurant.  We’d do Rockefeller Center, St. Pat’s, Soho, Canal St. and Chinatown, the East Village, sometimes South St. or the Battery, Madison Ave. galleries, Times Square (mostly of interest to J and myself), the Metropolitan Opera, and one or more Broadway shows.  As J got older, he and I would spend a lot of time walking about the city while Katja and Ami went shopping at Bloomingdale’s or ABC Carpets and had lunch at the Grand Central Oyster Bar.  J loved the city so much that it was the only place he wanted to go to college, and he wound up at Columbia as a result of our Xmas trips.  On one of our visits our car trunk was broken into and all our Xmas gifts were stolen.  We went to the district police station to report the theft.  The officer on duty explained that they didn’t investigate car robberies, saying simply, “Welcome to Fun City.”  Another time J and I were walking along the edge of Central Park East in the 90s, talking and laughing, and I noticed an attractive woman in a fur coat watching us and smiling.  I looked more closely, and it was Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.  I blushed a bit and looked away, but was privately pleased that Jackie seemed to be enjoying our father-son camaraderie.

Ami at Xmas in NYC (ca. 1973) 

When Katja’s parents moved to Cincinnati in 1992, we began staying home over Xmas vacation.  Our son J and daughter-in-law K would join us occasionally, but more often they were away in Michigan, New Orleans, or California, and we’d communicate by phone and electronically. When we’ve been in town over the years, our long-time friends Eleanor and Sam Minkarah have made us a part of their family for the holidays.  Their son Jay and his kids and daughter Randa and her spouse come in from New Hampshire and Washington state, and it’s a festive gathering with a Xmas eve cocktail party and a family dinner on Xmas day.  This year Randa held a  50th birthday dinner party for her brother at the Cincinnatian Hotel.  Jay was ten when we first started sharing Xmas with their family, so it was a noteworthy and nostalgic occasion.   

Katja with the Minkarah women: Maria, Randa, Grace, Katja, Eleanor (2011)

Looking back, Xmas has been a significant event every year since we were teeny kids. What amazes me on reflection is the enormous changes that we’ve experienced over this time span – running the gamut from being little kids in the family awaiting Santa to being young adults, honeymooners, then parents, empty nesters, and now grandparents ourselves.  I’m glad we’ve hung around to enjoy it all.  Despite the constant change, I’m pleased to say that all our Xmases have been good in their own way.  That’s what the spirit of Santa will do for you. 

G-mail Comments
-Donna D (12-27): how wonderful!
-Linda K-C (12-26):  What a great great letter.

Friday, December 21, 2012

An Ode to Santa

Dear George,
Aside from family and friends, there are tons of other people who are important in one’s life.  Some who come to mind for myself are Hopalong Cassidy, Jack Benny, John McEnroe, Paul Bunyan, Brigitte Bardot, Sigmund Freud, Vince Lombardi, and Santa Claus.  Hopalong and Freud were influential, but Santa, of course, outweighs them all.  It’s hard to imagine anyone else being such a source of wonder, obsession, and adrenaline-rushing pleasure.  Like other kids, I went through a period of disbelief around age six when I began imagining that Santa didn’t really exist.  My faith was restored, though, two decades later when I became a parent myself, and Santa became nearly as big a presence as he’d been years before.  This is because Katja and I became his local household agents.  It was our task to pick up presents at the toy store, wrap them with a bow, hang the stockings on the mantel, put out the milk and cookies, set the gifts under the tree at midnight, and read the bedtime story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  Since this ritual occurs simultaneously in millions upon millions of households, it seems incontrovertible that Santa is a tangible, consequential force in the world.  Most of all, he epitomizes endless goodness – generosity to a fault, selflessness, dedication to creating happiness in the world.  Because he generates such positive feelings, I decided to concentrate on collecting Santa Claus ephemera.  I already had a batch of vintage Santa Claus postcards and old magazine ads featuring Santa.  Recently I’ve been collecting Santa Claus greeting cards from the 1940’s and 50’s and beyond.  In celebration of the season, I’ve posted a few of these below.  Merry Xmas to all.

G-mail Comments
-Phyllis S-S (12-22): Dave,  What a great way to share your terrific collection.  They are charming.  I hope you do more themes.  Phyllis

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What Happened When Evilla the Witch Tried to Destroy Xmas

Dear George,
It was the week before Xmas, and Santa Claus was feeling good.  He and the elves had finished making all their toys for the year.  The reindeer were resting for their big trip.  Everything was ready for the best Xmas ever.  

All around the world, the children were excited too.  In New Orleans V and L couldn’t wait for Santa to come.  They were four years old, and it was their fourth Xmas.  They had been good children all year long, and they were sure Santa Claus would bring them some special presents.  

Nobody knew it, but scary things were happening at a castle far across the ocean.  It was the castle of Evilla the Witch.  

Evilla the Witch hated Santa Claus, and she hated Xmas, and she did not like little girls and boys to be happy.  She decided she was going to capture Santa Claus and put an end to Xmas forever.  

Evilla got on her broomstick, and she and her henchmen flew to the North Pole.  They grabbed Santa and tied him up and brought him back to Evilla’s castle and put him in jail.  

Santa was so sad.  He begged Evilla the Witch to let him go, but she wouldn’t listen.  Santa knew that none of the children in the world would get any gifts and that Xmas would be ruined. 

Evilla didn’t realize it, but Santa’s best friends, Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny, saw her capture Santa and put him in jail.  They hopped as fast at they could to New Orleans, and they told V and L all about it. 

L and V went to their mom and told her what the Easter bunnies said.  Their mom said, “That’s so terrible.  What can be done?”  L said, “I know just what to do.”  And he whispered in V’s ear.

Then L jumped high in the air, whirled around three times, and said the magic word, “Shazzam”.

And then V jumped into the air, whirled around three times, and she said the magic word “Shazzam” too.

Whoosh!  The children turned into superheroes: Spiderboy and Supergirl.  

L got on his ferocious tiger, and V got on her mighty stallion, and they raced across the country to Cincinnati.

The children told Nana all about Evilla the Witch and Santa Claus.  Nana gave them each a big hug, and that made them feel brave.    

Then L and V got in their special airplane, and they flew across the ocean to the land of Evilla the Witch.

The Witch saw L and V coming in her crystal ball.  She went to the cave of the giant monster Mozzarella and told him to find the children and eat them alive.

The monster Mozzarella was waiting when V and L’s airplane landed.  He was very hungry, and he couldn’t wait to gobble the children up.  

“Watch out, L,” V said.  “That bad monster Mozzarella wants to eat us up.  We have to take care of him.”

L said, “I know just what to do.”  He pulled out his magic bow and arrow.  “Take that!” he yelled.  And he shot the monster Mozzarella right on the nose.  Mozzarella went “Poof”, and he disappeared into the thin air.

Evilla the Witch was hiding behind a tree, but V saw her.  V said, “I know just what to do.”  She pulled out her hose, and she sprayed Evilla the Witch with a stream of water. 

“Take that, you bad Witch,” V said.  She knew that witches melt when they get water on them.  And that’s just what Evilla the Witch did.  She melted into a puddle on the ground, screaming “Oh no!”, “Help!”, “Eeek!”  And then she was all gone.

V and L ran to free Santa from his jail cell.  He was so happy to see them that he had tears in his eyes.

Santa told V and L that they were the bravest children and that they had saved Xmas for all the boys and girls in the world.

Then Santa jumped in his sleigh and sped off, just in time to deliver his presents all around the world.  

V and L were very happy, and they gave each other a hug.  “We did it,” V said.  “We did,” L said.  “Evilla the Witch will never hurt Santa or the children again.  And we will always have Xmas.”

But the proudest people of all were V and L’s mom and dad, K and J.  They said, “Our children saved the whole world.  They deserve the best Xmas ever.”  And that’s exactly what happened.

The End of the Story

Dave (a.k.a. Grandpa)

[Kid photos by J.M.L.; others from Google Images]     

G-mail Comments

-Vicki L (1-22): Hi David,  I just read your Evilla story - how fabulous. Lucky little Vida and Leo. Too bad I get so far behind in my email perusual - I just sent it along to my grandkids all the same - such a gem. Thanks. Sis

-Donna D (12-21): david, this is so great!  you should write childrens' books!
-Gayle C-L (12-19): David,  This is soooo cool.  Love it !! 
-Linda K-C (12-18):  What an absolute treasure, for all of us. Love it.
-JML (12-18):  awesome dad, can't wait to read it to them later tonight. in fact, i may print it out in book form first. thanks a lot. love j…
-Ami G (12-18):  Very tense, but feel so relieved that there was such a happy ending!  Thanks!