From a winter’s snap returned ‘Nati, good morning all:

Wisdom of the Week:

“Reality leaves a lot to the imagination” — John Lennon

The amazing happened this week. No, not the Tiger Woods debacle, the one where he turned from being a sleek hunting dog to a ‘birder’ to one sorry old beast who now just sits in a corner licking himself. But, first let me pour my mug. For, it was Alphonse Allais who said; that coffee is the beverage that puts one to sleep when not drank—and it is early.

This past week, the 10th to be exact, it was exactly one year ago that Vaioleti came home. Then 7-pounds 6-ounces she had spent three months plus in the neonatal intensive care unit at Good Samaritan hospital. At the NICU she demonstrated just how much of a combination of both patience and fight she had in her. She had entered the world at 26 weeks and weighed 1-pound 14-ounces. To put it into perspective, her torso was about the size of a Blackberry.

Thursday Adrianne took her in for her regularly scheduled checkup. Now, at a healthy 20-pounds and 7-ounces, she has caught up to where any other 15-month old tyke operates. In fact, in most of the measurable categories, she is in the middle of the pack. Plus, she is in love with life, is happy, and now that she is walking is driving Adrianne and Tevita ragged exploring everything.

Since much of our extended family reads this weekly post I want to thank all of you for your ongoing involvement in Vai’s saga. Your concern, care, love, and prayers have in no small part gotten her to this point. I’ll ask Vai to pick up her favorite Bengal’s orange “roaring” towel to frantically scream and wave it at you. She is very good at that.

Later today Marcia and I are heading over to my former employer’s Christmas party. Now that they don’t have to pay me any more they extended an invitation in appreciation. We, in turn, are taking Vaioleti along for a bit of ‘show-and-tell’. Actually there is more to it. Us taking Vai gives Adrianne and Tevita some free time to further organize for their trip and possibly see the new movie Invictus with its close-up of Tevita’s favorite sport, Rugby. Starting on Thursday and ending Saturday evening—the three of them are flying off to the south Pacific and Tonga.

It’s been three years since Tevita has seen his family, and his mom has never seen Vai. Then there is the Tongan tradition where it’s a ‘blow-out’ feast/party for the 1-year old (after which birthdays are minimally recognized); so this is now Vai’s time. From early reports family from all over the nation and even from New Zealand will travel to Tevita’s island of Okoa. Friends and neighbors will be part of the festivities—they are estimating over 200 people. A special birthday cake will be flown in from the capital (this is where the bakery is) and the pigs were bred months ago to provide for the requisite “Umu” (barbeques).

Delta with their horrible ‘pay-per-bag’ policy will be making out like a bandit (which they are) as Adrianne and Tevita are packing bags filled to bulging with gifts. At least their main carrier, Air Pacific, doesn’t nickel and dime you to oblivion. Anyway, to say that the little group is excited is an understatement.

The Chump!

A day ago the coach of the University Cincinnati Bearcats, head coach Brian Kelly, coughed up a hairball and in the clumsiest way possible informed the team that he was off to Notre Dame (a smallish private catholic school located in Indiana’s ‘snow-belt’ just outside South Bend).

Cincinnati, undefeated and the nation’s 3rd rated team, got whacked a broadside just as the players are preparing for the biggest game of their lives: the Sugar Bowl. I say clumsy, especially since just days earlier Kelly had informed the team he wasn’t leaving, “Cincinnati would not be just a stepping stone”. Looking back over the week Kelly masterfully ‘parsed’ (read: lied) his words—Bill Clinton could take lessons. He handled his decision to move in the most classless manner possible.

Oh I know that college sports is a mega-million dollar business and that people want to advance themselves. However, not being a house-man, let me say that it seems that the current crop of senior managers, in both sports and business life, want to ‘climb’ the easy way, roughshodily elbowing their way to the top. These days rarely does anyone see the likes of a “Bear” Bryant, coach of Alabama’s Crimson Tide and a Eddie Robinson who for 56 years was the head coach at historically black Grambling State University. Or the Green-Bay Packer’s Vince Lombardy, the UK Wildcats and their coach Adolf Rupp, and Penn State’s Nittany Lions coach Joe Paterno; these all created their era, and their aura. Through time, dedication, and by strength of character they did both, establish a legacy and be true and honest on the way.

To my friends at Notre Dame, should you spot a letter to coach Kelly with a return address showing the New England Patriots pitch it immediately. I know it’s illegal, but do it anyway. If you don’t he’ll be on his way to Boston before you can refill your coffee. But, possibly by then his egomania will have surfaced and maybe that is exactly what you would want to happen.

I am somewhat afraid for I have never done this before, just moments ago I cast the terribleGerry Faust” hex on Brian Kelly.

Make it a great week everyone. Now its off to the Post Office before the line snakes out of the door and into the cold.



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