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31 July 2014

Moving Forward As July Ends

My mother, my brothers, and I are doing fine two weeks after my father's passing. We are moving ahead in our lives, just as my father would want us to do, and living as best as we can is the best way to honor my father's life. My thanks for everyone who has expressed their condolences to me and to others in my family. Your words of comfort were most appreciated.

Work has been going well. I worked all day last Friday (25 July), last Saturday morning, and the first three days of this week. I'm doing my best to keep things moving forward for the branch.

Sunday afternoon (27 July), I went to St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia to see three World War II US military aircraft on display. They were a P-51 Mustang fighter and two heavy bombers: a B-17 Flying Fortress and a B-24 Liberator. They are owned by the Collings Foundation and they offered rides in these aircraft for $450. That was too rich for my blood (as much as I would have loved to do so), so I paid just $15 for self-guided tours of these aircraft. I saw them when they were in St. Louis a few years ago, but enjoyed seeing them again up close. I took plenty of photos of these three warbirds, including a selfie of me about to enter the B-17.

After work this past Tuesday (29 July), I joined with three IPMS/Gateway colleagues at the Cliff Cave Branch of the St. Louis County Library in Oakville. There, we put models into the lobby display case, which I reserved for the club earlier this year. Our display--which includes an unassembled model kit, a recent copy of the club newsletter, and flyers for the club and our show in September--will run until the end of August. Feel free to check it out if you're in that area in the next few weeks.

Off work today, I took care of some personal business. This morning, I got the oil changed on my Corolla. Later in the morning, I got my hair cut at Great Clips. It sure needed the trim. I also got my laundry done and cleaned out my email inbox.

Tonight, I was in the Benton Park neighborhood of St. Louis with 11 others in the Ethnic Restaurant Fans Meetup group. We had dinner at Yemanja Brasil Restaurante, a Brazilian restaurant which I had not been to before. We all had a great time there, with such good food. I had Feijoda de Ogum, a dish of black beans, beef, rice, collard greens and orange slices that is considered Brazil's national dish. This was washed down with water and Capipirnha, the Brazilian national cocktail of crushed limes, sugar and cachaca (spirit distilled from sugar cane). I definitely recommend Yemanja, 200 Missouri Avenue, 63118. Their website is: http://www.brazildining.com.

Later.


24 July 2014

Harold R. Delaney is Dead, But Not Forgotten

Things have been real for me and my family since my father, Harold R. Delaney, died one week ago today. I pulled a full day at work last Friday, never complaining. My colleagues offered their condolences, which were most welcome. I kept on moving in life, knowing that would take my mind off my father's passing and that my father would have wanted me to keep going in life.

I went to Smalls Tea and Coffee in south St. Louis last Saturday morning (19 July) for a gathering of the Saint Louis Singles Group: Ages 40+ Meetup. There were two others with me in the place, a small establishments I had never been to before, but that was the point. It was a quiet get-together, an opportunity for me to really enjoy conversing with others without all the background noise. We had a nice time with this and I plan to attend another such Meetup next month. Also on the weekend, I did a bit of shopping at CRM Hobbies, and delivered flyers for the IPMS/Gateway show in September to two other hobby shops.

My brothers and their wives started coming to town on Monday (21 July) to be with my mother and I. I kept with my schedule of events, including work and the IPMS/Gateway business meeting Tuesday night at the Jefferson Barracks Heritage Foundation building in south St. Louis County.

The next morning (23 July), the family assembled at Lord Funeral Home near Sylvan Springs Park for the trip to nearby Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. My mother, three brothers and their wives, my cousin Bertice Brown and her husband Ed, and our friend Cindy Strohm were joined by Rev. Emma Dobson, the pastor at Calvary Presbyterian Church. After a short motorcade into the cemetery, we arrived at the shelter where the interment ceremony would take place. The container with my father's ashes was placed on a table, with a folded American flag and a challenge coin placed nearby. We sat in two rows of benches facing the table, and Rev. Dobson conducted a short service of prayer. Then, a nearby rifle squad of three men fired three volleys in salute, followed by the playing of "Taps." Two soldiers unfolded, then refolded the American flag, and one of them presented the flag and the challenge coin to my mother, as he said, "On behalf of the President of the United States, the United States Army, and a grateful nation." We each placed a red rose beside the remains to conclude this service and we then drove home. My father's ashes will be placed in a nook at the cemetery.

That afternoon, there was a standing-room-only crowd in the sanctuary of Calvary Presbyterian Church for the celebration of my father's life. Rev. Dobson led the service, which included the singing of two hymns my father liked a lot, "Just A Closer Walk With Thee" and "Pass It On." Attendees were invited to share memories of my father, and I told of how much my father wanted me to stay positive and not think I had disappointed him in life. I also read three stanzas of "Amazing Grace" to the audience. After the service, there was a reception in nearby Lewis Fellowship Hall. I met a number of people I had not seen in years, and my family was most heartened by how much they regarded my father in life and how they well remembered him now. (I got Wednesday off from work for these events; I told my boss that I only needed this one day off, with the next day being my day off and I would be back to work on Friday.)

My brothers and sisters-in-law all departed for their respective homes last night, except for Brian, who flew out today. Mom and I took him to the airport, then we stopped at Denny's for lunch on the way home.

I am holding up very well under these circumstances, and so is my mother. We will need some time to get fully adjusted to life without my father, but I am confident we will do well in the years to come. Thank you to everyone who has expressed their condolences to me and my family. Your kind words are most welcome.

Before I go, I've attached a photo taken of my father in 1991, when he completed his time as Calvary's Clerk of the Session (the elder who serves as recording secretary for the parish in a Presbyterian congregation), along with a photo of the American flag and challenge coin my mother received at yesterday's service.

Later.

20 July 2014

Final Arrangements for Harold R. Delaney

Thanks to all of you who have expressed to me their condolences on the death of my father, Harold Delaney, this past Thursday. They are most welcome.

The final arrangements have been made for my father, and I am sharing those with you now. They come from the obituary of him that appears in today's edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Here's the link to the online version: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/stltoday/obituary.aspx?n=harold-r-delaney&pid=171789989&fhid=16836

His remains will be cremated and interred in a private ceremony Wednesday morning (23 July) at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis. There will be no visitation nor funeral; instead, there will be a celebration of his life on Wednesday at 1:00 pm at Calvary Presbyterian Church in Mehlville, which will be followed by refreshments and fellowship. The family requests no flowers to bent; however, you may made donations in his memory to: Calvary Presbyterian Church, 3400 Lemay Ferry Road, St. Louis, MO 63125; AT&T Pioneers/JB Museum Fund, 4410 Gemini Drive, St. Louis, MO 63128; or, to a charity of choice.

Later.

17 July 2014

Losing My Father, After Some Happy Days for Me

Today, my father, Harold R. Delaney, died peacefully at home in his bed. He was 90 years old and had been suffering from lung cancer in recent weeks. No more suffering now. My mother Joan, my brother Doug, and I were beside his bed when my father breathed his last. After a hospice nurse came by a little while later to confirm his passing, his body was taken away. Final arrangements are pending.

I was the first of Harold and Joan's four sons. Throughout my life so far, I have had many ups and downs (mostly downs), but my father never expressed disappointment in me and told me so. He was very well liked and respected by family, neighbors, friends, co-workers, and associates. Harold served in World War II as a radio technician in the US Army Air Forces, and worked for 41 years with Southwestern Bell Telephone Company in St. Louis. He was active in our church, Calvary Presbyterian, including serving several years as Clerk of the Session. He was also involved with the Telephone Pioneers of America and in the Cub and Boy Scouts when my brothers and I were there.

My mother is really keeping a firm control of herself--in good part because his death was expected--and Doug and I are also keeping an even keel. My other two brothers, Rick and Brian, should be here in a few days for the memorial service. I'll report on that in my next post.

My father's passing came after what has been a good past few days for me. Last Saturday midday (12 July), I was at St. Louis Outlet Mall in Hazelwood, Missouri for a meeting of the Singles Over 50 Meetup group. About eight of us were there, and we had lunch and shopped at several stores there. I bought a couple of small flags at Flag World, and browsed at Books-A-Million. It was pretty good. On the way home, I stopped by the recently opened Half Price Books store in Chesterfield, Mo., where I browsed the stacks and bought a couple of books.

That night found me at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel in St. Louis' Central West End. Cafe Eau at the Chase hosted a art and cocktail party, in which local artist Ted Collier displayed his latest work, "Waves." It was nice to see the paintings displayed on the cafe's walls, and several of them were sold by the time I arrived there. (Collier donated $25 percent of the art sales proceeds to St. Louis Children's Hospital, a few blocks south of the Chase.) I stayed around for about an hour before leaving.

The next day (13 July) had me at Amsterdam Tavern in south St. Louis to join other soccer fans to watch the FIFA World Cup Final on television. Arriving about two hours before match time, I had time to have a couple of beers and to take in the atmosphere with about 200 other fans--mostly supporting Germany, but there were some Argentinian fans there. Most fans came home happy, as Germany defeated Argentina 1-0 in extra time for their fourth world championship. It was an exciting game, mostly clean, and I was happy about that. Overall, I would say this FIFA World Cup was the best I've ever witnessed, and I've been following this tournament since 1982.

Back to work Monday--frantic Monday, of course--and it's been going well. I can't complain about the weather, with high temperatures near 80 degrees F (27 degrees C). Right after work Tuesday night (15 July), I was at Calvary Presbyterian Church for the monthly IPMS/Gateway meeting. This month had our annual Slam Fest, where members had two hours to assemble and finish a model kit, which would then be judged in a popularity contest. I honored by employer by building a small (1:1200 scale) kit of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6) from World War II. I had the kit assembled, painted and decaled with about 20 minutes to spare. It was one of three kits completed in that time frame to be judged in the contest, by a vote of meeting attendees. My model came in second, to a very nicely done car model, and I received two $5 gift certificates from CRM Hobbies as my prize. It was real neat, and I showed the Enterprise model off to my dad, who liked it.

In closing this post, I have attached a photo of Doug, Harold and myself taken on Christmas Day (25 December) 1999 at home. RIP, Dad.

Later.

12 July 2014

Work, Networking, and the World Cup is Almost Over

Been a bit busy late this week with this and that at home, so I haven't written you a bit sooner. Anyway, here's my latest post. Work at the car rental firm has been going well. We were closed last Friday (4 July) for Independence Day, but I worked the next morning at the branch. It was rather busy with customers getting vehicles to rent out for the holiday weekend. Monday (7 July) was rather hectic as customers were returning vehicles from the weekend. Also, it was very hot, with heat indices topping 100 degrees F (38 degrees C). Fortunately, I stayed inside as much as possible and drank plenty of water. Last Wednesday (8 July), after delivering a vehicle to one of our satellite branches, I ran into a former colleague, who was there getting work done on her vehicle. We chatted a bit before I had to get back to business, but it was great seeing her.

On my off day Thursday (10 July), I edited some short articles for the upcoming issue of Naturally Autistic magazine. Most were short pieces that didn't take much time to do at all. That magazine comes out this fall; more info at www.naturallyautistic.com.

Also on Thursday, I went to the Barrett on Washington in midtown St. Louis for a creatives networking event. It was rather nice to go. I did see a few people I worked for while temping at a staffing agency (which hosted this event) and got them up to date with myself. I also chatted with a few others to let them know I'm keeping my eyes out for career opportunities in editing and PR. We'll see how it goes from there.

The FIFA World Cup ends tomorrow (Sunday) and it's been a fabulous tournament so far. Plenty of action and surprises. As much as like Lionel Messi and Argentina, I think Germany will be too strong and will win the Final. I went to a watch party on 4 July for the Brazil-Colombia quarterfinal at Amsterdam Tavern in south St. Louis. Big crowd on hand, with many Colombian supporters and some Brazilian fans. Those rooting for Brazil ended up happier after their country won, although Neymar Jr.'s injury late in the match made it a Pyrrhic victory.

This week also marked get-togethers with two high school classmates I have not seen in some time. Last Sunday, my friend Tim Popp and I met. He lives in Oklahoma City and is in town on business. Tim and I met at the bar at Rich and Charlie's restaurant in Mehlville as we got caught up on things. Thursday afternoon, I saw Michael Anderson, who I had not seen since high school. We met at the St. Louis Bread Co. near South County Center. Michael lives near Columbus, Ohio, where he just retired on disability from a federal job. He's doing pretty good, considering, and we had a good time catching up on things in our lives.

I'm off to a singles meetup at midday today in Hazelwood, Mo., and plan to attend an art exhibition tonight. More on all that in my next post.

Later.

03 July 2014

A Movie, the World Cup, a Dinner, and Heat

One week ago tonight (26 June) found me at Creve Coeur Airport for the Missouri Aviation Historical Society's meeting. There, we saw the 1954 movie "The High and the Mighty," which starred John Wayne. It's a drama about an airliner flying from Honolulu to San Francisco that has trouble and about the people on board with their own dramas. I had not seen this film in a few years and enjoyed it a lot. More info on this group at http://moavhist.org/

When not working, I was at home watching the FIFA World Cup matches that went into the Round of 16 last weekend. I was disappointed that the USA could not beat Belgium and was eliminated on Tuesday, but the Stars and Stripes put in a good showing against a favored side and can go home with heads high. The radio in the branch office was tuned to that game, and I also followed it on my phone (via the FIFA app) and in the vehicles' radios. It's been a real interesting tournament so far, and looking forward to the quarterfinals tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday.

Speaking of work, it's been going well. Not so much fun being outside in the heat last Monday (30 June), when the heat index topped 100 degrees F (38 degrees C). At least I stayed inside when not having to work and kept hydrated, so I was OK. Temperatures did cool down after that, so it only feels like about 80 degrees F (27 degrees C).

After work Tuesday, I went to Mark Twain Hobby Center in St. Charles for the IPMS/St. Louis meeting. We had five total attendees, including one first-time visitor. After giving the latest news in the hobby, I began a discussion on how to improve our club. This led to discussions of having our own website (currently, we're using a Facebook page), and perhaps having in-meeting contests. We'll have more discussion of these ideas in the coming weeks.

Last night (2 July) after work, I went to India's Kitchen in Ballwin for the Ethnic Restaurant Fans Meetup group. It was my first time at this restaurant and with this Meetup group, and I had a great time. There were 10 of us enjoying dinner (India's Kitchen specializes in South India cuisine) and conversation. I had Rasam, a soup, and Masala Dosa, a crepe-like dish, and both were very tasty and worth the price. A good night, overall.

This morning, I went back to the rental branch early because I had taken our fleet credit card that we use to buy fuel for our vehicles. I had borrowed it from the boss, but forgot to give it back before I left for the day. (It was rather hectic late in the day!) I gave him the card back, and he very much appreciated this gesture. Later this morning, I had my car in for a 90,000-mile (144,841 km) service check at a car service center. They found my car in good shape, apart from rear struts they recommend that I have replaced. However, it would cost just over $600 and it wasn't urgent, so I passed on this for now.

Tomorrow (4 July) is Independence Day in the USA. My workplace is closed, so I have some fun that day. Not too much fun, though, as I have to work Saturday morning.

Later.

26 June 2014

"I Believe That We Will Advance"

One week ago today (19 June) found me in downtown St. Louis. First, it was a late afternoon party with the Friends from Around the World Meetup group at the Hard Rock Cafe at St. Louis Union Station. It was nice to meet the interns from overseas; however, the power went out at that cafe (but not elsewhere at Union Station) after a while. Thus, the restaurant could not serve anything but water and could not charge me or others for what I ordered before the power went out. Still, it was a nice time.

Then, I hopped aboard Metrolink to ride to Busch Stadium for the Cardinals' game vs. the Philadelphia Phillies. My parents were there along with my brother Rick, his wife Melissa and their son Alex. We had good seats looking down the left field line and had a nice time, although the Cardinals lost that game. I left after the seventh inning to go home early, as I was tired and needed to be up early the next morning for work.

Saturday morning (21 June) found me taking a defensive driving class for work at the Safety Council of Greater St. Louis. There were 16 other students taking the course with me, and I had no problem passing the four-hour class. Then I was back home to watch more of the FIFA World Cup on TV. By the way, work has been going well, although a bit hectic at times.

The next day, I stopped by Ted Drewes Frozen Custard in south St. Louis for the Autism-Aspergers Meetup social there. Only two others were there, so it was a rather short stop, but it was good to visit Ted Drewes for a concrete, which I have not had in quite awhile.

I was home that night with my parents watching the USA-Portugal match on TV. It was quite a nail biter, with Portugal pulling out the draw in the dying moments. Earlier today, I was at the Amsterdam Tavern in south St. Louis for the USA-Germany match. We as a crowd were disappointed that the USA lost 1-0, but happy that our team still advanced to the Round of 16. Good luck, Stars and Stripes!

After work last Tuesday (24 June), I was at Brad and Julie Vaughn's house in House Springs, Missouri for the IPMS/Gateway business meeting. After a fine supper featuring red beans and rice, we of the club's board planned next month's meetings and other club business. Tonight, I am at the Missouri Aviation Historical Society's meeting. More on that in my next post.

Later.