Saturday, October 28, 2017


Hello there, remember me??  it’s been a long (strange) two weeks since we’ve gotten together.   Not that I’ve been sitting around munching bon bon’s and vintage wine (not a good pairing, by the way unless the vintage wine is port and….. but I digress).  Far from it…but you deserve a quick update for heaven’s sake

A week ago today was the 51st annual U.S. Oyster Festival in St. Mary’s County and the 38th annual National Oyster Cookoff.  Being the Rotary coordinator of that Cook Off, it is always a busy time leading up to the event.  That kind of kept me busy with LMI’s and then helping out on the day of the cook off itself.   It actually went very well this year, and the grand champion winning dish was a Miso Mayo Oyster Gratin prepared and presented by chef Hidemi Walsh

Of course all nine recipes were outstanding and can be found in our cookbook. 

On the “shucking” side, Honor Allen, last year’s winner repeated and will be once again heading for Galway, Ireland to compete in the International Oyster Opening Championships next September.  His shucking plus penalty point time was the lowest recorded in recent history for our festival.

Above Photos courtesy of Reid Silverman

He is an engaging character and makes heavy use of Facebook, so if you would like to follow him, do so.  He did a great job while there this year. 

We also benefited from a new emcee, the gentleman who is the Director of Seafood Marketing for the Maryland Department of Agriculture, who prepared a press release for us, that is a great overview of the festival. You can check it out here


So that was one draw on my time and with apologies, another was we now have a new house pet we are dealing with.

It sits in the corner and hums…. No that’s giving it credit, much louder than that, like a small generator, it somehow sucks oxygen out of the air, and shoves it into that green (50 foot) tube off to the left, which is connected to (sorry…..) my nose.  24/7. It was prescribed to alleviate my shortness of breath issues.  Helps some.  Upon leaving the digs, I am one of those people you see with that bottle slung over the shoulder in a bag.   Yippee..   I’ll try not to dwell on that, we all have our little tribulations to deal with…  “Hi’, I’m Brittney, and I’ll be staring at you tonight”  

Okay, we have to get home from our trip.   Remember that?

The next morning after our lovely dinner at Kellogg Center we had to face reality and head toward our coast.  Our goal was Morgantown, West (by God) Virginia.  So we started out toward

Eventually leaving Michigan and into  

with it's (infamous)

Those glowering skies did give us a little shower at a rest area

But it eventually cleared and we passed interesting stuff...

And the shrine to our Holy Sport

And eventually found WBGVA

I don’t know what it is about that state, whether laws are more lenient or what, but it seems (to me) that very soon after you see the former sign, you always see one of these

But finally we got to the home of the mountaineers (who just put on a miserable display of football).

Based on a recommendation of a good friend who was familiar with the place, we secured a dinner reservation, but it will take another post to do that.   This is getting long enough.

MFO is leaving tomorrow for a conference on protecting collections from water rise.

Not sure if she’ll have to be


Saturday, October 14, 2017

More memories...

After we finished our little trip down memory lane (and Gunson Street) we went back and chilled at the not so nice Fairfield for a while.  Over the past few months, through good old Facebook, we kind of revived a friendship with another classmate.  Turns out they are “wine people”, and have a place in California as well as Lansing, and we mutually decided to get together for dinner on our last evening in East Lansing.

Michigan State has a very respected Restaurant and Hospitality school, and they are centered in the school’s Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center which they run as a “ real hotel” and training facility.  It contains a restaurant (The State Room), and our friends suggested we have dinner there.   Shortly before we got fully DFD’s they called and invited us to join them in a drink at a local watering hole in East Lansing.  Why not?   So we hustled into our duds, and found

They recommended a specialty beer from Iceland (?) which I had never seen before (no wonder)

It was quite refreshing, and despite the "Blue Moon" like ingredient listed on the label it was quite subtle and understated and very good.  I don’t think I’ve seen it here in the Mid Atlantic.
So fortified by the pre drink we drove over on campus to the

The dining room was quite well attended, with guests who apparently were at a conference (name tags still hanging around their necks).  We were seated at a nice table and given menus and the wine list, which was well thought out, very extensive and detailed, containing a lot of interesting varieties from both the old and new world.  If you have a second (and some interest) spend a moment looking at it.  I hesitate to say it was surprising, but it was better than many, many, lists we’ve encountered elsewhere.  There were some big boy wines on it.  How often do you see two vintages of Diamond Creek on a list?  Or from the old world: Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse Lalande Grand Cru Classé 2010 Pauillac?

The menu followed suit a good variety of choices.   And as a sign of the times, entrees to which it applied, was the little “GF” symbol which are more and more prevalent.  I guess it’s a good thing. 
Anyway, we finally settled on menu choices, which of course I now forget, and got a bottle of Four Graces 2014 Willamette Valley Pinot.  Food arrived when it should, MFO’s salad

And my fish, with my "beloved" Asparagus.  

All nicely presented and very tasty, ladies served first.   Which kind of leads me into a comment on the service.  I presumed that all the servers were students, or, “college kids” as we used to call them.  I suppose they were all in the hospitality program, but they were very refreshing.  They were enthusiastic, friendly (read eye contact) and actually cared if you enjoyed your food.   Didn’t come to the table every 7 minutes asking if everything was all right, or if you were “still werkin’ on that?”, which unfortunately is more common around here…  Delightful experience and meal..
Finally, we considered the dessert list

Those of you who are/were from East Lansing might notice that “MSU Dairy Ice Cream” is on the list. MSU Dairy has been around since forever, and the ice cream enjoys (or at least used to) kind of a cult following. But we decided against it as our friends invited us out to their house for a capper glass of wine.  They have a lovely house on the Grand River in Lansing, with a lot of art on display.   We very much enjoyed a glass of 2012 Denner Syrah, great stuff.  

Unfortunately, while we were enjoying dinner, there was a storm that blew through and upset many of the plants on their deck.
A great way to end our re-visit to our home town, enhanced by seeing people we went to high school (class of ’59!!) with.  Somehow gratifying to see that we still have bonds with them even though the world has turned many times…

As an interesting note, those that still live in East Lansing is having a “greater than 50 year” class reunion TODAY.  As time goes by, having a single year class reunion isn't real rewarding, hence expanding the base.  Obviously, MFO and I will not be able to attend, but maybe a few of the “East Lansing High School Trojans” will enjoy the fellowship.  After our experience recently renewing acquaintances makes us wish we could be there even more.  Enjoy and hope you are


and despite promises, looks like returning to the digs will require another posting..

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Driving down memory lane

Well, as you (should) know by now, I spent my life in East Lansing (Michigan) up until the time I went to St. Louis to work for McDonnell Aircraft Company.  My parents were not very happy, their son who got degrees in Civil Engineering was going to the fledgling and unstable aerospace industry.  They were only mollified somewhat by the fact that St. Louis is close enough to East Lansing that when I got laid off, as I most assuredly would, I could “Come back home”.  After all, there would always be a need for somebody to engineer bridges and I could find stable work for that..

Anyway, this trip was the first time we’d been “back home” for many years, I think maybe the last time was for some High School Class Reunion, probably the 50th? Which would have made it in 2009.  Hence the aforementioned kind of getting lost on Campus.  After the previous day’s journey and appointment with the archives people, concluding with that dinner and Lake Lansing Sunset

we kind of took the next morning “off” and lazed around the not-so-nice hotel.   One of the guys I used to hang out with in high school lives within a reasonable drive to EL, and we had made arrangements to meet him and his wife for lunch. 

We didn’t want to do a “bid deal” lunch, so a search on trip advisor for Okemos, Michigan turned up a place called

which was near the highway and hotel, and seemed to have some fans and reasonable reviews, so we picked that.  It was nice enough, and done in the standard decor of such places (near a college town)

However, as a sign of the times, the distribution of the “menu” was replaced with “Hi I’m…….you” handing us an Ipad.  I’ve kind of touched on this before, and I suppose it is reflective of my age but I am not a fan of this approach.  

You can’t flip the pages and browse the choices, that function is replaced by "swiping" to go from menu items to wine lists, etc.

I guess I understand, but the logical extension would be if you have an electronic device, presumably with wi-fi, with the menu choices, why do you need “Hi I’m"?.   Seems like you could all just decide, select your choices,  and touch "order".  Boom!  ticket goes straight to the kitchen.   At any rate, we managed to figure out the wines and did (quite) well with those

Conversation made the time fly, as I recall.   It's rewarding to find out that despite not particularly communicating, you are still friends, things to catch up on, etc.  As for the food, I had another Great Lakes Whitefish dish.  Am getting very partial to that fish.   Food was okay, but yakking took the day.   A fun time.   Too bad we’re not closer.

After we finally parted again, we decided to “tour” East Lansing to see some of our old haunts (if we could find them). 

NOSTALGIA Department
(warning, could be extremely boring to many readers!)

The Town
When we were there full time (in the ‘60’s mind you), East Lansing was a nice little “college town” with book stores, head shops, music stores (that sold vinyl records) and so on.   Well, time changes things. Here’s what Grand river looks like today

Perhaps there are "plans", we wouldn't know.  At least our old “People’s Church” still stands proud

On those (rare) occasions when the Moodys went to church, this is where we went, and it was called “Interdenominational” due to the wide cross section of cultures in a college town.  Of course there were still the “standard” faiths with their own church, but this was kind of "one service accommodates all". 

Grade Schools
 Marble School: Where Jackie Moody taught 4th Grade for years, Dorothy Otto (MFO’s mom) was the school secretary and MFO attended

Bailey School; where the Feeder went for grade school (now a community center)

High School
East Lansing High School, where we both were the first four-year class after it was constructed in 1955, although it may have had a face lift since then

MSU College of Engineering for the Feeder; Bachelor and Master’s in the afore mentioned Civil Engineering

It takes real photographic talent to get this shot!

MSU/Library Science, MFO and UoM Master’s in same.


Gunson Street, the home of the Feeder

Snyder Road, the home of MFO


While there were others, what the Pretzel Bell is to the University of Michigan, Coral Gables was to Michigan State.  And I suppose the “now hiring” sign reflects more hard times

Kind of depressing, but I’m sure tastes, locations, and venues have evolved and there are now new spots where the students hang out and so forth.  Can’t judge by what was some 60 years ago…

We did end the day on a high note, when we had a nice dinner with more acquaintances from those days.  We’ll save that for the LAST (what did the Feeder just say?) yes LAST posting of the trip… and indeed for this occasion we did


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Rolling again...

Okay, we’re getting back on the horse.. so to speak.  New (solid state) hard drive has been inserted into old laptop, all software transferred, and things seem (with a nod to the technology gods) to be getting back to “normal”. And By God, we can resume recounting the trip to the Midwest.  By God..
But before we start, a heartfelt thanks to those who took a moment to give me some nice thoughts in regards to my &^%#@* shortness of breath issue.   Since I live my life through these postings I will give updates occasionally, but will not turn it into a pity party nor medical narrative..
So, where the hell were we?  Oh yeah, in Holland Michigan (my Dad’s home town) after completing phase one of giving the Morris Moody (called “Mose” by his friends) archives and memorabilia to institutions in Michigan.  We started our morning in Holland with a nice breakfast at the Courtyard

 Delivered by a wagon from some local farm

But to be fair, it was quite tasty, you have to work hard to screw up eggs and bacon.  The chef did come out from the kitchen to ask, a very pleasant guy.  It was really one of the nicer Courtyards we have stayed in.   Holland is a nice little town, although I wouldn’t beat myself to get back to the New Holland Brewing Company.  But we pointed the MOMSTER toward the southeast and next stop was East Lansing (My home town) and also home of

We decided to make more extensive tour the next day, since we were on a mission for now.   I must say that having spent my early life and college years there, one would think I would know my old Alma Mater:

(sing along optional):
On the banks of the Red Cedar,
There's a school that's known to all;
Its specialty is winning,
And those Spartans play good ball;
Spartan teams are never beaten,
All through the game they fight; etc….

like the back of my hand….. nope!  Needed a map to navigate around ("I don't remember that building!") although one monument was still prominent

Anyway, with the aid of the campus map, we did find our destination

Note the words that are near and dear to MFO’s heart..

She of course had coordinated our arrival with the curator who helped unload the MOMSTER and schlepp the stuff inside

This time there was not only stuff from the “Moody” side, but also from my Mother’s side, the “Craig” tree.   She grew up in Northern (lower) Michigan, around towns such as Millersburg, Onaway, and Rogers City.  Another story for perhaps another time, but her Father Frank (my granddad) was a photographer.  Before he opened his own Studio, he made a living by going around to the lumber camps and taking pictures of the lumberjacks and logging operations.  He would often live in “the bush” eating berries and competing with the Black Bears (so the story goes).  Part of the other story for the other time, my Mom’s sister opened a linen store in Petosky, home of the hoi polloi, and lived the high life..

Anyway back to MSU.  Finishing the donation, we went out to Okemos, and checked into our Fairfield out there.  As nice as our Holland Courtyard was, this was at the other end of the spectrum.  One of our friends (son of my parent’s good fiends) who remained local invited us out to his place on Lake Lansing, for a nice dinner

and enjoying the sunset.

The next day was quite full, and included two dining experiences.  I think we’ll sign off on this note, and hit those next time.   Each one called for a different strategy to