Monday, December 30, 2013

Fort Edmonton Park (#2) – Alberta Canada

Continuing with our visit to Fort Edmonton Park and its historic assembly of buildings and artifacts… We start this section in 1905…sidetrack to 1885 for a moment…and end in 1920 or so.

This is the Dominion Land Office…an important place indeed for those settling in Alberta in the late 19th Century.  This isn’t the original office but it is a similar building that was built about 1900 in Fort Saskatchewan. 

Dominion Land Offices administered the Dominion Land Act.  The Dominion Lands Act was an 1872 Canadian law that aimed to encourage the settlement of Canada's Prairie Provinces and to help prevent a potential attack from the United States.  It was closely based on the United States Homestead Act.  In order to settle the area, Canada invited mass emigration by European and American pioneers, as well as by settlers from eastern Canada.  The Act offered 160 acres of free land, (except for a small registration fee), to any man over 18 or any woman heading a household.

The Dominion Lands Act required that each homesteader provide proof via an application attesting that his or her efforts had caused the land to increase in value through farming or construction.  When a homesteader filed their application, the local Dominion Lands Office screened and validated the claim, sending an inspector to the property to confirm that the improvements had been made.

This photo was inside the Peter Erasmus House.  It was built around 1861 and the Erasmus family lived in the house until 1941.  They say that what is new is old…this is definitely a ‘modern’ open floor plan!

Peter Erasmus, (1833 – 1931), was a remarkable individual who played a role in the events which transformed western Canada from open, buffalo-covered plains into towns and cities.  Peter was well educated, fluent in six Native languages as well as English, Greek, and Latin.  He settled at Whitefish Lake where he was an interpreter, guide, trapper, hunter, and trader.  He assisted in negotiating an important Treaty and he worked for a time with Canada’s Department of Indian Affairs.

At the age of 87, (1920), Erasmus told his life story to a journalist, who wrote it down.  The manuscript subsequently was published in book form as "Buffalo Days and Nights." (Available at Amazon:

I included this photo because we liked this beautiful and ornate cast iron kitchen stove!  It resides in the Kenneth McDonald house, which was built in 1886 and was moved to Fort Edmonton Park in 1967.  I did some research but I couldn't identify the builder from what I could see on the stove.  If you’re intrigued and would like to look into purchasing one of these beauties, check out this website:

The first non-Indigenous or non-Native families to settle outside the walls of Fort Edmonton were Scottish…the McDonalds and the Rowlands.  Kenneth McDonald, from the Isle of Lewis, and his wife Emma farmed and lived in the Edmonton area.  Emma’s brothers, the Rowlands, who were the children of William Rowland of Birsay in the Orkney Islands, also settled in the area.  Numerous other fur trading families and settlers from Eastern Canada soon followed, and Edmonton was soon transformed from a Hudson Bay Company trading post to a small farming settlement.

OK… We missed this building when we visited the 1885 portion of the Park.  It sits back from the rest of the buildings from that era and we didn’t notice it until we’d moved into the 1905 era.  This is the Northwest Mounted Police Jail.  It was also known as the guard house.  It’s a replica building and it has 10 cells, each of them measuring 8 feet by 5 ½ feet…not real roomy!
A Northwest Mounted Police Regional Headquarters was established inside the original Fort Edmonton in 1885.  The jail occupied a portion of a former Hudson Bay Company warehouse.  This post-on-sill construction looks very solid…with its hand hewn logs and mud chinking.  However, it proved to be an unhealthy place indeed…hot and humid in the summer and cold in the winter.  Disease was rampant and it was closed in less than a year.

Part of the 1905 “Main Street” includes a couple of these structures, a portion of what was known as a tent city in the early days.  Boom times in Edmonton in the early twentieth century caused a housing shortage. This meant many people had no choice but to live in canvas tents.  Some even boasted pianos.  The Park's ‘tent city’ reflects the temporary solution that people used until houses could be built.  These structures were also common in the USA, especially whenever or wherever a new gold or silver discovery was made… 

This is the Firkins' House…  This original home was built in 1912 and it was donated to the Park.  The home represents the young, growing professional class in Edmonton.  The house represents an example of the most modern building designs and technology that was available in 1911.  The “Californian bungalow” style home features stucco on the exterior, which was relatively new to Edmonton at the time.  Also a new product called Beaverboard, (a material of compressed wood fibers), was used on the interior walls.  The building was also wired for electricity, telephone and there was even a coal boiler in the radiator room.  Best of all, the home has a garage for an automobile…in 1912!

This is part of the kitchen at the Firkins’ house.  I’m sure that it was modern for its time…and it was utilitarian.  Certainly, kitchens back in 1905 weren’t the focus of the home like they are today…

Dr. Ashley M. Firkins, (a dentist), and his wife Blanche allegedly moved into this house from Chicago Illinois in 1912.  Another account has the family moving from southern California. 

There is a myth or legend attached to the house… According to the story, the house is haunted.  Others say that the whole haunting bit was a fake.  In any case, it made for interesting Canadian TV…  If you’re into ghosts, spirits and the like, check it out at

From 1895 to 1911, this was the home to Alberta’s first premier, Alexander Cameron Rutherford.  This is the original house. 

A lawyer by trade, Alexander Rutherford was a proud Ontarian of Scottish descent. In 1895, he moved his family from Ontario to Edmonton and he became active in politics.  His second home, located in Edmonton near the University of Alberta is now also a museum.  Later in his career and following his service as Premier, Rutherford became Chancellor of the University of Alberta.  He had been personally involved in that institutions founding. 

This is the Rutherford home’s dining room… It brings back memories of my grandparent’s home in Michigan, which didn’t look that much different than this one.  The chairs even look the same!

This house in Fort Edmonton Park has been on display for over 20 years.  Using archival photographs and original condition reports, the Edmonton Artifacts Center and the Fort Edmonton Park team have recently renovated the Rutherford family home…wallpaper, paint and refinished woodwork.  It is now at the point where they believe Mrs. Rutherford would be very proud to once again call it home.

Many credit Alexander C. Rutherford as the man whose vision put Edmonton on the map.  He dreamt of a co-educational University and he was appointed as the first Premier of Alberta.

This is an antique round top metal ice box at the Rutherford House!  This precursor to the electric refrigerator was popular in the early 20th century.  I found one for sale on eBay for a mere $999.00!

Alexander Cameron Rutherford's legacy is mixed.  Some have concluded that he was a weak leader who had very little skill at debate or negotiation.  Nevertheless, Rutherford’s government did a good job of promoting and he is credited for his success in building up the Province.  However, while Rutherford himself was an honorable man, he apparently failed to control his conniving lieutenants who ultimately ruined his political career.  He resigned from office.  One Canadian historian concluded that Rutherford’s educational contribution remains his ultimate legacy to the Province. 

To learn more about this successful and complex man, you can go to

This is the original Anglican Church of St. Michael and All Angels from Edmonton.  The church was built in 1910 and it was moved to Fort Edmonton Park in 1974.

The initial congregation consisted of about 20 employees from Swift’s new packing plant in Edmonton and their families.  They financed and assisted in building the church and a resident priest was assigned to the new church by the end of 1910.

This is the warm and calming interior of St. Michael and All Angels Anglican Church.  As you can see, this simple and quaint white and grey trimmed church has an elegant hardwood interior.  Warm light is cast from soft electric lights and streams of natural light pour in through the windows.  Note the antique pump organ…

In 1972, the city of Edmonton announced that they wanted to develop the land occupied by the church.  Consequently it was moved, remodeled and re-consecrated.  The church, with a capacity of 75 seated or 95 standing, is used for many weddings throughout the year. 

This is a fairly uncommon barn design...round!  We've seen a few in our travels but not very many.  This barn came from the Henderson homestead near Rabbit Hill Alberta, an area fairly close to Edmonton that is currently known for its relatively gentle but convenient ski slopes. 

The barn was built in 1898.  The barn was disassembled and actually moved to the park but the nearby Henderson farm house is a replica of the original family home that had been built in 1891.  The horses that were hanging out by the barn received a little tender loving attention from Laurie…

This is a reconstruction of Reed's Bazaar and Tea Shop. (also known as the Lee Block) The original building was built in 1905 but was destroyed by fire in 1913.  The lower floor had the tea room and a store that sold crockery, china and cutlery as well as many other household items.  The upper floor contained a number of offices which housed architects, physicians and a tailor.

Robert Lee, (1862 – 1925), was a politician in Alberta and a mayor of Edmonton.  He also served on the public school board from 1902 until 1904.  Lee first sought municipal office in 1907, when he was elected to a two year term as alderman on Edmonton City Council.  He ran for mayor in the 1908 election and won.  He was re-elected in 1909. 

Costumed interpreters actually operate the site and play their part ‘living’ as they would have in their particular period of time.  The do stay in character and they definitely add to the genuine ambiance of the visitor’s experience.

I found an interesting paper on-line that examines and speculates about the importance of tea and its psychological connection with English settlers in Canada and their attempts to maintain their heritage and identity in a country with so many immigrants from across Europe.  Check it out at:

The Edmonton Radial Railway, (Streetcar line), began operations in 1908. The line was 12 miles long and by 1914 there were 52 miles of track in the downtown Edmonton area.  Rides cost 5 cents back in the day.

The streetcar experience at Fort Edmonton Park started with 1 single car (Edmonton #1) in 1980 and it has since grown into a collection of 8 operational streetcars with 3 more in various stages of restoration. Amazingly, another 11 streetcars await eventual restoration or rebuilding. Work for Edmonton Radial Railway Society’s volunteers is guaranteed for decades to come!

The Edmonton streetcar system was abandoned around 1951.  Most streetcars at the time were stripped of their metal parts and electric equipment and the bodies were sold for further use as cottages, sheds, barns or even roadside diners. The goal of the Society is to eventually restore at least one car of each type that once operated in Edmonton.  For more information about the Edmonton Radial Railway Society…and perhaps to lease a streetcar…just go to

This is a reconstruction of the Edmonton Fire Hall, Town Hall and Police Station combined.  All 3 functions occupied the same building which was built in 1893.  In 1904 the town offices and police station were moved to a new building adjacent to the fire hall.  Indoor plumbing was added to the original building in 1905…and a new stable as well as a new hose and bell tower were erected.  After 37 years, the fire department moved to a new building.  The original structure was used by several organizations until its demolition in 1958.

This fire engine was built by the R.S. Bickle Company.  However, I couldn’t determine what year it was built. 

In 1906, Robert Bickle began his career in Winnipeg Manitoba as a sales representative for an American fire equipment manufacturer.  By the end of that year he formed the R.S. Bickle Company.  He originally specialized in building two-wheeled horse-drawn chemical carts but the company soon began producing motorized fire equipment.

In 1913 the company moved into a new plant in Ontario where it continued to produce hook-and-ladder trucks and chemical wagons "ideally suited to small municipalities". The company continued to grow and during the WWI it sold two-wheeled fire engines to the Canadian military.  In one form or another, the R.S. Bickle Company continued to operate until 1984.  The company was associated with the American fire equipment manufacturer, Seagrave, for many years.  For more information about the R.S. Bickle Company, go to

I couldn’t get close enough to this fire engine to identify the builder. 

Hey…Do you want to buy an antique fire engine?  I was surprised at the number of antique fire engines for sale on the Internet.  By way of an example, you can go to and take a look at a 1923 GMC pumper.  It’s a steal at only $14,500!  Fenton Fire has an exhaustive list of fire engines for sale, antique and otherwise.

I’ll end up this segment of our visit to Ft. Edmonton Park by stepping into the next era on exhibit for the park’s visitors…the 1920’s.  This is a reconstruction of the Koermann block and Ukrainian bookstore as it appeared in 1919.   The building opened in 1913 and in 1914 the Ukrainian Bookstore moved into one of the front stores, eventually taking over the whole front space of the lower floor.  Apartment space occupied the second floor.

In 2006, there were an estimated 1,209,085 persons of full or partial Ukrainian origin residing in Canada (mainly Canadian-born citizens) making them Canada's ninth largest ethnic group.  Canada has the world's third-largest Ukrainian population behind the Ukraine itself and Russia.

During WWI, about 4,000 Ukrainian men as well as some women and children of Austro-Hungarian citizenship were kept in twenty-four internment camps and related work sites – also known, at the time, as concentration camps.  Many were released in 1916 to help with the mounting labor shortage due to the war.  About 80,000 persons of Ukrainian descent were registered as "enemy aliens" and obliged to regularly report to the police. Those interned had whatever little wealth they owned confiscated and were forced to work for the profit of their jailers.  For more about the internment and ‘registration’ of Canadian Ukrainians, you can go to

Ukrainian heritage is big in Alberta.  Just a bit east of Edmonton, visitors can find the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, another major attraction for the area.  We had it on our list but we ran out of time.  To learn about this attraction, go to

That’s it for this segment of our visit to Fort Edmonton Park.  Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them! 

Thanks for stopping by for a visit.  We’re wishing everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, December 27, 2013

Fine Dining in Edmonton Alberta Canada

Throughout our trip to Alberta and the Canadian Rockies, we did take the opportunity to check out some well rated upscale restaurants.  We’ve always enjoyed fine…but not fussy…dining and what better time to enjoy it than when you’re on vacation! 

So…after a very long walk through the West Edmonton Mall exploring its many attractions and taking in the sights, it was time for dinner!

The Cactus Club at West Edmonton Mall is a bit plain looking on the outside but it is the only out facing restaurant at the mall.  When I checked before our trip, this restaurant had scored 61 Excellent or Very Good reviews on Trip Advisor and only 5 Poor or Terrible reviews…well within my desired 10:1 good/bad ratio. 

The Cactus Club features a wrap-around all-weather patio, a two tiered dining room and a menu crafted by Iron Chef America Champion, Rob Feenie.  The restaurant stresses a menu that provides meals made with fresh, local and sustainable ingredients.  For learn more about this celebrity chef, you can go to

The Cactus Club provides upscale casual dining…at least that’s how I’d describe it.  This restaurant is just one of the 27 that comprise this group.  There are 22 Cactus Club Restaurants in British Columbia, 4 in Alberta and there is 1 in Ontario. 

This is one view of the restaurant’s all-weather wrap-around dining patio.  Décor wise, I prefer something with a warmer feeling than the quasi industrial/modern chic look of the Cactus Club at West Edmonton Mall.  Still, it is one of the big design trends that have stayed with us for some time now…and maybe I’m just stuck in the past…

We began our experience at the Cactus Club with a couple of alcoholic libations…a Stoli dirty martini ($9.75) for Laurie and a glass of “Cactus Blonde” beer ($6.00) for me.  Laurie loves those extra olives!

The beverage menu at the Cactus Club is as long as the food menu! There are sparkling wines/champagnes, a solid assortment of wines, signature cocktails and martinis, signature beer and others as well, liquors, drink specialties and of course, after dinner drinks.

We started out our meal with the Beef Carpaccio appetizer. ($14.75) This consisted of peppercorn-crusted Canadian tenderloin, Dijon aioli, capers and grana padano cheese…along with the nice bread crisps shown in the photo.  It was a very good way to start our meal!

Other options of interest on the starter menu included: Tuna Tataki, ($14.50), with seared albacore tuna, papaya slaw, pine nuts, yuzu vinaigrette and micro cilantro, and: the Ravioli + Prawn Trio, $13.00, with butternut squash and mascarpone ravioli, truffle butter sauce, sautéed jumbo prawns and pine nuts.

Laurie loves curry dishes…and we have never gotten into cooking fish at home. Consequently, for her entree, she chose the Thai Red Curry Pacific Lingcod. ($24.50) This was line caught lingcod with Thai red curry sauce, coconut almond rice, crispy wontons and micro cilantro.  She thought her meal was excellent!

Other interesting sea food items included: Soy-Dijon Salmon, ($25.00), which consisted of steelhead salmon, whole grain barley, snap peas, shiitake mushrooms, soy butter sauce, grape tomatoes and cilantro, and; Prawn Spaghettini, ($20.50), with slow-roasted tomato sauce, chilies, fresh herbs and crostini.

More casual and less expensive items on the menu included a Szechuan salmon rice bowl, ($16.75), with steelhead salmon, miso mustard, broccoli, edamame, red peppers, snap peas, daikon and pea shoot salad and; Fish Tacos, ($14.00), with lingcod, chipotle aioli, shredded green cabbage and salsa fresca.

For my entrée, I went for the Double-Braised Pineapple Hoisin Short Rib. ($24.50) It comes with a pineapple ginger glaze on the beef, shiitake mushrooms, Korean chili sauce, buttered mashed potatoes and snap peas.  Since I don’t care for mushrooms, I had them left off my order.  This was a very good meal indeed!

There are a number of other beef options on the menu.  Examples include: the Peppercorn New York Striploin, ($35.00), which consists of a 12oz certified angus beef striploin, pernod peppercorn demi-glace, buttered mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables, and; the Creole Steak + Prawns, ($34.00), with a 9oz certified angus beef sirloin, Cajun spices, spicy creole butter, white wine sautéed creole jumbo prawns, buttered mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables.

Lighter and less expensive items on the menu include: the Short Rib Sandwich, ($16.25), with caramelized onions, beef jus, emmental cheese on toasted sourdough with sea salted fries; the BBQ Duck Clubhouse, ($16.25), with Peking duck, roasted chicken, san daniele prosciutto on pecan fruit bread with sea salted fries, and of course: the Burger, ($16.00), made with certified angus beef, sautéed button mushrooms, aged cheddar, alder smoked bacon, red pepper relish accompanied with sea salted fries.

This is Andree, our waitress at the Cactus Club.  She was helpful, efficient, fun, friendly…and she’s very attractive too!

Throughout our trip, something different happened whenever we were ready to pay our bill.  Unlike in the USA, whenever they brought the bill to the table, they also brought a handheld card reader.  The feeling is that this improves security as your card is never out of sight.  Since I’ve been ripped off in a restaurant before, (Helena MT), I can see the rationale.  On the downside however, it is possible for these wireless readers to be hacked and…it is awkward to have your server standing there when you’re calculating their tip.

Andree also did us a little favor… We didn’t know it until we got our bill, but she gave us this Apple Galette with ice cream, normally $8.00, ringing it as a promotion. Of course, she did know that I blog about restaurants and write some reviews for Trip Advisor as well.  But hey, this restaurant was going to get positive feedback anyway!  Maybe she just liked us...

If the Cactus Club Restaurant at West Edmonton Mall is any example of the quality offered by the other locations that comprise this upscale chain, we would definitely recommend stopping in for a top notch dining experience!  To learn more about the Cactus Club Restaurants and to check out the menu, go to

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

We hope that you had a terrific Christmas…and thanks for stopping by!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmases Past…and Present!

Laurie and I were digging through our photos…looking at Christmas photos from our past…and some more recent ones as well.

In the spirit of Christmas, we thought that we’d share some personal family Holiday photos, some of them so old that they could be called ‘historical’!
This December, a good size flock of Turkey came through our yard.  They were very close to our front porch!  We love having all types of wildlife right in our own front and back yards!  Nothing like turkey to make one think of the Holidays…

This is the only photo we have of the outside of our home that looks ‘Christmassy’!   This was taken a few years ago during the Christmas holidays.  Usually, we don’t have any snow…Yea!  We sure don’t miss that Chicago weather! 

Here’s a 21st century family Christmas portrait!  This photo was taken last year at our home… Our son, David II and Amy, our daughter-in-law, with our grandson’s Emmett, (on the couch), and David III, (on the window seat), are settled in for a cozy winter night! (Note: Not to worry...We had lots of fun and we played a fun board game shortly after this classic ‘electronic age’ photo was taken)

This is a Holiday photo of Amy and David II.  What screams Christmas more than a dinner at a diner?!  We had a great time at Hot Rod Fifties in Maryville Tennessee. 

This is a photo of our tabletop Christmas tree in our living room.  Very festive!

Here are David III and Emmett Lee in 2012 with some of their favorite gifts from Nana and Papa! (Note the electronic bias…games and movies…plus a little cash)

This is a lovely photo of our “adopted” daughter Dawn Marie, warming herself by the fire.  Big Daddy Dave met Dawn Marie in the mid-1990s while working at Montgomery Ward.  She and Laurie met and we are now considered her “Tennessee parents”…Papa and Mama!

This is a photo of yours truly, my mother Elizabeth (Beth) Myers-Thomson and my brother, Robert (Bob) Thomson.  It was Christmas 1951… I was 9 years old and Bob was only 3.  I had a cavalry hat and a train set among other goodies.  My mother made that big cat for Bob. (Talk about ancient history!)

This is a photo from the Christmas of 1978!  ‘Little’ David II and myself are posing in front of the Christmas tree at Laurie’s apartment in Creve Coeur Missouri. 

It looks like a tornado struck this room!  In 1978, after a frenzied attack on all of the packages under the tree, Laurie captured this photo of David II sitting in the middle of the resulting carnage! 

This is yours truly…yes, actually working but looking like ‘grumpy’ Santa Claus in a Department Store.  I was only about 20 years old and I had a Christmas job at a local department store in Jackson Michigan.  (I believe that it was J.M. Fields)

The best part about this photo is that these are 4 of my nieces and nephews…and they didn’t have a clue that it was me playing Santa! (From the left it’s Margaret, Judy and John…with Michael in front) 

Our best guess is that this photo was taken at Christmas in 1956.  Laurie is the one in pink and she’s with her sister Bonnie at their home in Maplewood Missouri. 

Mambo (we pronounce it Mombo) the monkey was Bonnie’s favorite stuffed animal!  Laurie loved him too!

It’s Laurie and Bonnie in their new cowgirl outfits! (Cowboys and cowgirls were really popular in the 1950s!) Weren’t they cute!

Laurie’s guessing that this photo was taken Christmas 1957.  Both sisters were very excited to get their ‘stick horses’ from Santa!! 

We’re unsure of the date, (1958 or 1959?), but here we have Bonnie and Laurie with their new ballerina outfits!  Their next door neighbor ‘Missy’ Miles…who really spoiled them…made these costumes for the sisters!  It was a very special Christmas for them!

In keeping with the times and popular culture, for Christmas 2013 David II, Amy, David III and Emmett Lee sent out a clever and creative card… It’s David III as Harry Potter, Emmett Lee as Ron Weasley, Amy as Hermoine with Grandma Dianne in the background as one of the teachers at Hogwarts.  In the bottom photo, it’s my namesake David II fittingly dressed as Hagrid!  They wished that everyone would have a Magical Christmas, with Peace and Joy to All…
Finally, we offer this Christmas scene that was drawn by my mother Elizabeth while she was in an assisted living home back in 1994.  She’d been an artist for years and Laurie challenged her to draw a couple of cards that could be used by the nursing home for the Holiday season to send out to all the families.  My mom seemed to cheer up quite a bit due to this bit of holiday creativity and she basked in the praise from the staff and other residents!  Sometimes, it’s the little things that make a difference…

So…that’s about it!  This was just a bit of nostalgia from Laurie and I…plus an effort to share our Christmas, past and present, with everyone. 

We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!
Blessings to All!

Take Care!

David and Laurie

Sunday, December 22, 2013

More Food and Wine + a 'Southern' Medical Trip!

There is nothing like good friends, good food and good wine…plus a little southern whimsy thrown in for good measure!

To begin, it was time for another food and wine fest, aka a ‘wine tasting’ at our home here in East Tennessee…

Laurie and I decided to serve up this beautiful hunk of beef brisket.  We didn’t smoke it but we did get it from our fellow wine and food gourmand, Larry. (He blogs about food, family and travels under the handle of Big Dude, aka Unfortunately, Larry and his better half Bev were traveling when we had this little party, so they missed the fun and food… The brisket was a hit!
Larry had packaged the juices with the brisket, so we heated the brisket in its own juice and then sliced it into smaller slices so our guests could make sandwiches with the buns we’d purchased from a nearby Fresh Market.  If you’ve never been to a Fresh Market, you should make the trip!  Lots of goodies to be had… Check these stores out at

Our ‘wine tastings’ have evolved into a food tasting/eating experience that’s paired with the consumption of a fair amount of wine.  Everyone brings appetizers or more substantial food to consume as well as their favorite bottle of wine.  The host provides food as well…along with wine and other alcoholic beverages to start out the party. 
Here we have, from left to right, Jenny, Karen, Holly and Martha.  In addition to the brisket sandwiches, other offerings included bacon wrapped grille jalapenos, hot cheese dip with crackers, stuffed mushroom caps, chips and veggies with dip and salsa, nuts and candy.

The guys tended to gather around the dining room table.  From left to right…yours truly, Joel and Charlie.  We were probably talking about ‘Obamacare’.

Here’s another photo of the counter where part of the food was spread out.  Looking over the scene is Fred, who had recently undergone shoulder surgery.

Absent from this little soiree were Larry and Bev as well as Susan and Dick.  As I mentioned before, Larry and Bev were on a road trip, (with their RV).  Susan and Dick were in Florida.  In the photo above...from left to right: myself, Joel, Holly, Karen, Charlie, Martha, Jenny and Fred. (Laurie was as usual taking the picture!)
Did I mention that we also had a ‘light’ dessert courtesy of Karen & Charlie. It was a delicious Mascarpone Cheesecake from Costco and it was very good indeed!  Even yours truly liked it & I don't like cheesecake!

We always enjoy our wine tastings & we look forward to attending each & every one!  Great food, great wines & great friends!  Who could ask for more?
Now…onto totally unrelated whimsy…

Laurie and I were at the podiatrist’s office when Laurie noticed a label on the trash can.  Usually, the only labels on trash cans in the doctor’s offices are for hazardous waste…or biohazards.  Not this time!

You know that you’re in the South when the label on the wastebasket or trashcan states “DO NOT spit Tobacco in Trash Cans”!  We asked the nurse if it had really been a problem and she told us that the biggest problem they’ve had was with women who ‘chew’… Yikes!  That sounds really attractive and sexy doesn’t it?
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping by for our ‘wine tasting’ party!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave