Monday, February 12, 2018

All in the Family

I'll tell you, the internet is a strange and wonderful place.

In yesterday's comments there was a note from a woman named Penelope West, who said she was the granddaughter of my grandfather's brother.  I emailed her and we have been having a lovely chat about family -- what I know and what she knows (far more than what I know!).  She also sent me a photo of my grandfather's brother, taken in 1898 -- he is the coxswain in this boat.

Obviously this doesn't give you much information at all!  All of the brothers in my grandfather's Irish family made names for themselves.  Tommy almost became champion bantam weight boxer, until he was blinded by someone who wanted to prevent that from happening.  My grandfather made his name in vaudeville, where he was a well known Irish tenor and nearly got a recording contact (until my grandmother put the kibosh on that), my godfather Fred was a famous six day bicycle racer, with lots of headline reports of his wins in the scrapbook I inherited after my father died, Roy ended his career as a bouncer at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, and apparently had a feud with SF Columnist Herb Caen.

Apparently Penny has a son living in Davis and she visits here occasionally, so we hope to get together some day.  We are second cousins after all!  A follow-up email from her shows that we have been kind of crossing paths in our lives for years. There is also a woman in Argentina who is a second cousin on my mother's side with whom I have been Facebook friends for a few years now.

What an absolutely wonderful afternoon I had yesterday.  I was invited to a luncheon to celebrate the year of the dog, which starts next week on the Chinese calendar.  Our hostess has two daughters-in-law who are Chinese and so she celebrates each year.  It was interesting to see a poster of many dogs hung up for the year, since she is also terrified of dogs!

There were four guests.  Two or three others had to cancel out for various reasons, but the five of us who were there just had a great time.

The table was loaded with tea leaf eggs like these

These are a typical Chinese savory food commonly sold as a snack, in which a boiled egg is cracked slightly and then boiled again in tea, sauce and/or spices.

There was also a lovely fruit salad and also several kinds of cookies (including fortune cookies--my fortune said I was going to do "something different" this weekend.  We are going to a show, which is not exactly "different" but Confucious got it half right.)

We just sat and ate and chatted for several hours and it was just wonderful.  After you chat long enough it starts to become cathartic and you realize how much you miss that sort of interaction.
We were sent home with mandarin oranges, and instructions to eat them at the end of the week because if you eat one at the start of the new year, you will have luck all year long, or so it goes.

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