From deep within the freezer, good morning all:

Wisdom of the Week:

“A New Year’s request, with the new Federal budget just around the corner, please refrain from telling anyone on Team Obama what number comes after a Trillion.” — Anonymous

Brother Pieter is here for a business trip and is staying with us. I had to get up early and start my morning coffee before he comes down and starts his ritualistic fancy orange pekoe tea steeping. The tea smells have to take a back seat to my coffee.

Last Sunday morning I ran to the airport to retrieve Adrianne, Tevita, and Vaioleti. Thirty plus hours of travel and they had begun to get that certain “too tired to sleep” look. Flying from Tonga and 90 degree summer weather into our Mid-western chiller meant that I had the front seat stacked with their coats, hats, scarves, and gloves. With all the current airport hoopla I expected the worst. I got the best. A police officer came strolling over as I stood beside the running car waving a jacket above my head. I had spotted Adrianne holding Vai, but Tevita was still busy. The officer offered to watch the car while I ran into the building with my armload of clothes. Terrorism alerts notwithstanding, common sense had prevailed. A small gesture of human kindness, my New Year was off to a good start—thanks madam Police officer.

Flying in Tonga also means that you are far removed from the craziness that air travel has become. The rainbow world of latex gloves and Superman Xray scanners is not part of their culture. To reach Tevita’s island requires a flight from the main island; currently on a 1964 two-engine Convair prop plane. For Vaioleti’s party two cakes were on order from the one baker able to bake it. That baker just happens to be on the main island, so each special cake needs to be flown in. The day of that critical flight the baker was informed that the plane was completely full. That also meant that this tradition-rich cake would not be a part of the birthday ritual and festivities. A little discussion had the pilot ask for volunteers to travel, each with a layer of cake, parked on their lap. Later that day, 200 birthday revelers each had their piece of special cake. I do wonder how many bits of icing became the in-flight snack du jour on that trip.

Actually it gets better. On their way home Tevita ran into a casual acquaintance at the airport. It was more than just a “howdy-doo.” As boarding began Tevita was asked if he could take the “friend’s” –unticketed—4-year old on his lap to meet up with her mom. No problem. During the flight, Adrianne with Vaioleti on her lap, asked Tevita if he even knew the child’s mother’s name? No, he didn’t, but if mom was at the fence he was certain the child wouyld recognize her. Mom was at the other end and the little stow-away happily skipped off. Oh for the love of a simpler time.

This afternoon our ‘Nati based family are finally all in town so our gift exchange will place later today. Sounds simple doesn’t it? Wrong. This afternoon is also the time that the Bengals vs. Jets playoff game is going to be played. Maybe we’ll just throw a couple of armloads of gifts at the kids while the adults focus on the game. Actually, if that is how we’d manage our exchange Marcia would put her foot down; so we’ll do it properly. Listen for many “oohs” and “ahhhs” from our little winter wonderland.

Pieter will be here all weekend, today with his grandkids, tomorrow with us. We’re already having a blast.

Make it a great week everyone. This week do someone else a good deed.

Cheers,

Dirk

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