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Joe Philippines: A Wedding

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One of the reasons we went back home was for the wedding of my brother-in-law. I was named as a Godfather by the couple, one of many so honored. In the Philippines, it is tradition not only to have godparents of children but of married couples too. It was held in a very old church in the old part of Manila and apparently has quite the revolving door for the marriage industry. Just as we were arriving at the church, another bride ahead of us was just entering the doors and getting walked down the aisle. Less than five minutes after she walked out of the church, my brother-in-law's bride was walking down the aisle. Five minutes after they exited the church as husband and wife, another bride was lined up to walk down the aisle. My brother-in-law looks to be 16 years old but is 30 and is a very successful CPA in Manila. He obviously shelled out a lot of money for the wedding because it was very elaborate. Being a godfather at a Filipino wedding has its advantages because I got to be se

Back From My Vacation... More or Less Intact

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We headed down south the family cabin to celebrate Thanksgiving and we accomplished that. We had prepared a lot of what we ate for our Thursday dinner back home in Iowa so there wasn't much to do except to heat things up and make a few odds and ends to go with it. The forecast was for rain and indeed it was raining. We decided to do a small hike anyway and went on a hike we did the last time we were down there to a somewhat famous outcropping of rock seen above. Our daughters, who had never been there, were with us this time. We walked out on the rock and had our picture taken so those who get our Christmas card, will see us in that version of the photo. The following day wasn't raining but we spent it helping friends of ours collect a winter's worth of firewood. Although there is some work involved, we enjoy doing it and just being in each other's presence. Unfortunately for me, on the final (as it turned out) load of wood, I was helping to throw it from a pickup into

Joe Philippines: A Bit of History

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On previous trips to the Philippines, our flights have always originated here in the Midwest, flown to some major hub, usually Dallas, flown to the far east to Japan, Hong Kong or Korea and from there down to the Philippines. On this trip nearly five years ago, we opted for a different route flying to the west coast on the first day, overnighting, and then catching a direct flight to the Philippines. The comments in this post reflect this new route. Other comments also reflect the purpose of this trip was to attend the wedding of my wife's adopted brother.  On previous trips to the Philippines, our flights have always landed in the wee hours of the morning and then we have to drive five or six hours up into the mountains to Baguio where our home is, arriving just after dawn. Spending 30+ hours traveling and then staying up another ten hours until evening is hell. So this time with our new flight route, we got to Manila in late afternoon and spent the evening there staying in the ho

Evolving Traditions

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  Smoked turkey cooling down The earliest Thanksgivings I can remember attending were those hosted by my maternal Grandparents. They were elaborate affairs that involved my grandparents getting up at four in the morning to start cooking the turkey. Why turkeys took so long to cook back then is beyond my comprehension. If I had to guess, I suspect it would be so it was done early enough that the last few hours could be used baking other things in the oven like rolls, green bean casseroles, dressing, etc. After the meal, sometimes the adults would go out shopping for deals while we kids stayed home and played cards with our great grandmother for nickels. Although I'm sure there were sports on a television somewhere, I never recall them being a big part of our day. In my early adolescent years, my grandparents retired and moved down to Florida. About the same time, my parents bought some land with a little cabin on it in the Ozark mountains of Arkansas. So for many years, our traditio

Mystery Photo

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  This photo fell out of a book that I was perusing and I thought it interesting enough to post here. Although I don't collect many things like the bottles and other items on display in this photo, I do collect books though to be honest, I'm trying to reverse that collection to something more manageable. I used to think I would save books that I found very enjoyable for my kids to read but there was a couple problems with that thinking. The first is that they haven't yet shown an interest in my non-fiction reading habits. The second is that as I look through some of those that I though were keepers, they have become dated over time. I now give most of my used books to others who host free mini libraries on a post in their front yards for those who may walk by. Occasionally I do save a book to pass around and add to my collection, but not nearly as often as I used to and definitely not as fast (still at a fairly glacial pace) as I have been thinning down the ones already col