Friday, July 4, 2014

The Fourth of July - Barker Barbecues, The Rockets' Red Glare, And An Update on The Missus

This Old House, sorta...

It's the Fourth of July, and I hope everyone who has today as a holiday is enjoying the day off! Back in the days of the original Thursday Night Group, today would be the day we'd all troop out to see Phil and Ambereen at their house; we'd set up the grills, Ambereen would make her fabled Authentic Pakistani Stuffed Hamburgers (made from a secret family recipe, inscribed on an ancient scroll kept locked away in the vaults of the Royal Bank of Canada) and we'd stuff our little faces with a huge potluck meal.

On occasion, we'd be joined by The Other Group, Phil's Monday Nighters, and the lawn at the house on Elmwood Place would be graced by names like Kadarsha, Dori, Vrisa, Korunme, Kayalein, Origo, Kutume, Karim Missum. Eyloa, and Chirine.

When dusk fell, we'd get out the box of highly illegal fireworks from across the border, and have hours of fun setting things off for the amusement of the neighbors and ourselves; they were some very good times indeed...

Phil passed away two years ago, and Ambereen sold the house and moved to be with her extended family in California last year, but the old house still stands. Flip a burger, and think of all of us, if you like...


I'm amused, every year at this time, by the British Army manual for the Congreve Rocket, used to no little dramatic effect at Fort McHenry in Baltimore by the Royal Navy against those pesky colonials during the War of 1812 (fought largely in 1813, 1814, and 1815, with the biggest battle fought after the war was formally ended by the peace treaty) and used to even more dramatic effect by Francis Scott Key when he adapted a well-known drinking song into a national anthem for the new republic.

The manual states that the War Rocket is "... very effective against primitive tribes and Americans ...", which sums up the British attitude pretty well regarding us uncivilized types.

When we use our miniature Congreve rockets on the game table, the 'house rule' is to use those little plastic 'party poppers' that look like champaign bottles - you pull the string, there's a loud bang, and streamers shoot across the room. We've found that the wildly erratic devices provide a pretty darn good simulation of the equally erratic rockets, and it's fun as well.


Once again, The Missus and I would like to thank all of you who have called, text-messaged, e-mailed, and commented to send her your best wishes! She really appreciates your concern and kind words, and is feeling a bit more chipper today.

We saw the surgeon yesterday, and she'll be going in for the surgery in early August. After that, it's a week of radiation therapy, and watching the situation. The doctors are optimistic; with such early warning, and early treatment, they think she should be in pretty good shape going forward. We'll have to be careful, and prudent, but we have hope.

Thank you all, once again!


  1. Great news about Janet! As I write this I am hearing the rockets, and writing spell conversions from EPT to Fate!

  2. Happy (belated) Fourth Of July - congratulations on your continued independence from us Brits ;-)

    And that's very positive news about your wife.

  3. Good to hear her situation is looking so good.