Alive And Well! It’s A Good Thing!

Yep!  Last night I lay in bed looking up at the stars in the sky and I thought to myself, “Where the heck is the ceiling?!”

We are off and running!  Diane and I made coffee and we had cereal for breakfast! We decided to go to Sherman Gardens to see the flowers and it was a great visit.

We walked around the gardens snapping pictures as we went.  Inside the Orchid room was the Koi Pond with Mr. Turtle occupying prime space and greeting everybody that passes by! The orchids were magnificent!

Outside, the flowers were astounding. The Passion Flowers were so vibrant with the warm Fall noon-time sun hitting them just right!  I can remember back to my elementary school as the back fence of the playground was solid passion flower probably 1000′ long!

Mother Nature is amazing…

Did You Know?  Passiflora, known also as the passion flowers or passion vines, is a genus of about 550 species of flowering plants, the type genus of the family Passifloraceae.

They are mostly tendril-bearing vines, with some being shrubs or trees. They can be woody or herbaceous. Passion flowers produce regular and usually showy flowers with a distinctive corona.

After Sherman Gardens, we went to Cucina Enoteca.  Last time we were there as February with Diane.  The menu has changed but we found some sensational selections!  The lunch was fantastic…I opted for comfort food again!  I dined on their “Huge Meat Ball” and I ordered the kids pasta (spaghetti in butter sauce!). Diane and Sue also had simple but excellent meals.  Cucina, you did it again.

A great restaurant!  Great staff!  Great food!!

The meat ball was done perfectly, a work of art!

Life is good!

We returned home and rested a bit before heading out again…this time, to Garden Grove Elks Lodge 1951 for a short evening of dinner-dancing.

I was still thinking about the old slides I ran through Legacy Box…this one below I remember as if it were yesterday.

It was taken in McRae Arkansas in about 1952-1953, the lot next to my grandparents house had a fallen tree on it and the cleanup had just begun. I climbed on the top of the stack along with two other boys (who I do not remember) and we teased my cousin (who is on the ground to the left.  The brick house across the way was the preachers home which was next to the Methodist Church!  We played on that stack for days and days!

On top of the world! 65 years ago,…

My “real” grandfather died in 1912 after a horrible accident when he was doing some bee keeping…Dad was only six years old so he did not remember very much and we have no pictures of Grandpa Liles.  Susie Liles, my Grandmother was much older than Charlie Essig when they got married.   Susie had four kids already, Opal, Alma, Edith, and Paul (my Dad). There was one more brother, Wilbur, but he passed in 1907 at the age of ten days.

Grandpa & Grandma Essig 1952

Rumor has it Charlie Essig was a “drinking man” (nice words for town drunk)  who was about to be thrown in jail again  if he did not change his ways.  Susie was alone and raising four kids so the local Sheriff said to Charlie… “Marry Susie or else!”  He did and became a respected member of the little town and they had two more children together, Clarence Earl Essig and Helen Essig (Straighorn).

All the Liles kids ended up in California with Alma the last to arrive in the mid 1950’s.  The Essig kids stayed in Arkansas.  Clarence Earl was also a drinker and was apparently was married and had two kids I never knew about until 2017! He died in the 1960 from alcoholism.   Helen stayed next door the Grandpa Essig and she passed in 2015 at the ripe of age of 95.  Their son, Ricky, who was adopted, passed at 36 of an unknown/un-diagnosed heart condition. Helen was the last of the Liles/Essig clan to pass on dying in 2010 at the age of 92.

I do remember Charlie (Grandpa) Essig, coming to California at least once a year on the train. We would go downtown to Union Station and meet him…he would stay a month and then head back to Arkansas.  Every summer throughout the late 1950’s and all of the 1950’s, we would drive to Arkansas to visit for a week before returning home! Someday I will tell about my memories of those road trips…July crossing Texas without air conditioning.

Susie passed in 1955 and Dad could not make it back for the funeral because he was quite sick.

Aunt Edith, Claudia (my cousin), and Aunt Alma at the Bird Park on Catalina Island in 1953

Dad departed Arkansas in 1924 to make his way in the world. He first lived in Louisiana and worked in a Woolworth’s dressing windows. He met Mom in Oklahoma and coming to California in 1934.

I learned how to dress windows from my father and, frankly, I was pretty good at it…I even printed the signage used to attract customers!

Dad had a mild form of polio as a child and was also prone to sickness although one would never know it…never complained and worked like a madman all his life. His childhood friend used to pull Dad around in a wagon when he could not walk. “Uncle Otis” was an amazing man! They met in 1912 and were life long friends until Dad’s death in 1970.  Otis took care of my Mother until her death in 1990 and we took care of Otis until his death in 1998.

I remember those amazing plastic flowers…This was taken with Otis Tucker in 1955 in Tijuana Mexico..Sorry about the fuzziness but the pictures is 65 years old!

After returning home, we freshened up and headed to the Garden Grove Elks for some entertainment and dinner.  Diane got to meet some of the regulars..Mike and Bridgette, the Finch’s, and the Branders.  We laughed and giggled until about 9:15 PM and then headed for home.

Yes, Gilmore Girls were watched until about midnight and then we crashed!

About Paul

Just an old retired guy trying to finish out my last years on this planet. I lost my best friend and wife in early 2020. I was blessed again by reconnecting with Dr. Mary Côté, a long-time friend. Mary and I got married July 28th, 2021, and are enjoying life together and plan to spend the rest of our lives being a blessing to our friends and family.
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