Monday, November 28, 2005

War Stories

One of the best parts of Thanksgiving dinner was hearing my grandfather (Pop Pop to me, Marvin Atchison to most) tell stories about his experiences during World War II. This video records his story about how he won the Silver Star fighting on the island of Saipan.

(Click here to see the full video (4 min 35 sec) on Google Video.)

On a more lighthearted note, in this next video Pop Pop tells the story of how he met my grandmother (Mom Mom, aka Janelda Atchison).

(Click here to see the full video (5 min 4 sec) on Google Video.)

Some other time I'll have to convince Pop Pop to tell the story about being shot through the neck on his 21st birthday and winning the Purple Heart.

------- update ---------
Here are the full videos

Silver Star

Pop Pop Meets Mom Mom

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Days After Thanksgiving

The day after Thanksgiving, Elaine and I had Mom & Don, Katherine, Adrienne, and Pop Pop over to our house to celebrate our Austin connections and watch the Texas vs. Texas A&M football game. Katherine and Adrienne decided to be a bit ornery and root for the Aggies, just because Pop Pop rooted for Miami over Virginia Tech a few weeks earlier. Fortunately their rooting wasn’t enough to prevent Texas to pull out the win and keep their undefeated record in tact. Elaine and I made pork tenderloin with cranberry sauce for dinner after the game, which we somehow managed to find room to eat after gorging ourselves the night before at Nancy & Danny’s.

On Saturday, we all went over to Mom & Don’s to meet Mom's new cat, Squirrel Nutkin; play with Katherine's dog, Tamu; eat bbq pork; and watch the Virginia Tech vs. UNC football game. Katherine, Adrienne and Darius also played the “drink a shot of vodka every time someone scores” game, which led to 10 shots and much hilarity for the rest of us. Pop Pop enjoyed the most highs and lows that resulted from the game. Katherine and Adrienne decided they needed many pictures with Pop Pop, one of which, taken by Darius involved this exchange:

Darius: “Adrienne, you’ll have to move your boob off of Pop Pop’s head for the picture.”

Pop Pop: “Darius, you talk too much.”

If that was one of the highs of the game for Pop Pop, one of the lows would have to be waking up in the middle of the night with what he thought was Katherine’s dog Tamu jumping into bed with him, only to find out that it was Darius stumbling into the wrong bedroom. Ahh … the joys of Virginia Tech drinking games.

On Sunday, the last day of our post-Thanksgiving celebrations, Elaine and I went over to 813 E. Capitol to have lunch and celebrate Dad’s 62nd birthday with Rodney, Claudine, Evelyn, Jimmy Jackson, and Merrily. Katherine, suffering the after effects of the previous night’s revelry, managed to rouse herself out of bed and make it all the way down town. She even had enough energy to give Dad his present, but as soon as the food was served, her hang-over won out and she headed back up to Silver Spring and the comfort of her own bed.

(click here to see all the pictures, or here for the slideshow)

Friday, November 25, 2005


Elaine and I ate Thanksgiving dinner at Nancy & Danny's with Pop Pop, Mom & Don, Katherine, Adrienne, Christopher and Kel. The turkey was injected with juices and delicious; the sweet potatoes were meticulously topped with marshmallows by Christopher; Elaine made a superb pumpkin pie; and Mom made her famous rolls. Pop Pop regaled us with stories from the War, including how he won his Silver Star, and how he and Mom Mom met after the War. I told Danny about my old high school friends and I would scoff at the cold and strip down in the cold and make snow angels. Danny, being a little to the left of sober, took my story as a mandate to take off his shirt in the bitter cold, claiming it was too hot outside. Of course he questioned how I could bear to be out in the heat with a sweater and jacket on, so I had to take off my shirt to cool off. Christopher of course was horribly embarrassed by the resulting picture.

(click here to see all the pictures, or here for the slideshow)
(or here to see Don's pictures)

Monday, November 21, 2005

Skating & Sculptures

Elaine and I went ice skating in the sculpture garden across from the National Archives yesterday. Were it not for a criminal lack of practice as a child (this was Elaine's third time ice skating), Elaine certainly would have been Olympic material. As it is, she just has to settle for being a graceful beginner. I on the other hand suffer from a surplus of confidence and a deficit of ability, which yielded more than a few bruises.

(click here to see all the pictures, or here for the slideshow)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Taking advantage of the long weekend provided by Veteran's Day (Armistice Day in Ireland) and suprisingly cheap airfare, Elaine and I took a quick little trip to Ireland.

Getting to Dublin was a bit more adventurous than planned. For now let’s just say, never fly through O’Hare if you don’t have to, even if it would save you $400.

When we finally arrived in Dublin (10 hour late do the O’Hare debacle) we caught a bus into Dublin and tried to walk to Cassidy’s, our hotel. Unfortunately, the map I printed out telling us how to get to the hotel had the hotel in the wrong place. So we ended up walking way too far to get to where we were going. Exhausted, we collapsed for a little while on the bed before rallying and going out for a lovely dinner at Halo located in the Morrison Hotel.

The next day, we slept in, and walked through Dublin to the Guinness brewery, stopping along the way to eat lunch at Gruel, which was highly recommended by our Lonely Planet guide. The soup I had for lunch was delicious, and the Guinness brewery lived up to the hype. The story of the 9000 year lease and the cooper exhibit were highlights of the museum, but the best part was the free Guinness at the Gravity Bar with the spectacular 360 degree view of Dublin and the surrounding countryside. After the tour, we went back to hotel, grabbed our bags, and caught a Bus Eireann bus to Ennis in County Clare, where we caught a cab to Hotel Woodstock and continued catching up on our sleep.

On Saturday morning, we headed into the town of Ennis and took a Bus to the Cliffs of Moher. We lucked out on the weather, which was a bit brisk, but sunny whereas the day before the Cliffs were battered by 50 mph winds and driving rain. We had two hours to explore the Cliffs of Moher (also known as the cliffs of insanity from The Princess Bride) and really the pictures speak for themselves. After the Cliffs, we took the bus up to Galway, which was a spectacular ride through the Burren and along the coast of Galway bay. In Galway we did a little shopping, and saw a random Christmas parade. We ducked in a pub called Busker Brownes for some dinner and caught the end of a rugby match between Ireland and the legendary New Zealand All Blacks. The All Blacks won 45-7, but we did see Ireland’s only score, and even got a picture of the moment of their touchdown. After dinner we headed back to Ennis, and stumbled upon the ‘Trad Festival’ where every pub in town had live traditional Irish music. We wandered around the pubs of Ennis, and also saw the 12th century Ennis Friary.

On Sunday we traveled back east to Dublin, and stayed in the George Frederick Handel Hotel on Fishamble Street, which dates back to Viking times and is the oldest street in Dublin. While not so old itself, the Hotel’s claim to fame is that it is the building where Handel’s Messiah premiered. That evening we wandered around the pubs of Temple Bar, and enjoyed our last night in Dublin, and the next day we flew home.

(click here to see all the pictures, or here for the slideshow)