Friday, May 27, 2011

A little about Pop

The wound is still fresh. Scarcely, scabbed over with God’s salve. My own grandfather passed away April 30, 2009 and a few short months later I met Pop, Joseph’s grandfather.

Pop passed away last night, in the presence of his wife, Nonny. It was a swift and peaceful death, no suffering or prolonged hospital stays.

 Joseph always echoed, “I wish you knew Pop when”. When he would take them to Clemson games, take them fishing. When he would whistle “How Great Thou Art” in the car with his own unique arrangement.

But I feel lucky to have known him at all, to have spent two years getting to know him and his lovely bride, Nonny. What I know of him is only a pinprick in his life.

I know on June 1, 1952, he married his wife, Maxine. Together, they raised four children together and were married almost 59 years. (Next week would have been their 59th anniversary).

He was the former director of Charleston County Mental Health Clinic, Deputy Commissioner for S.C. Dept. of Mental Health for Community Mental Health Services for 15 years. During his tenure the number of Community Mental Health Centers increased from one to seventeen. He served as Psychiatric Services Chief for TriCounty Mental Health Center in Bennettsville, Director of the "Rose Center" at the Regional Medical Center in Orangeburg, and Special Consultant for Medicare Certification Program for NIMH.

He  was a pioneer in the field of autism, receiving the "Professional of the Year" award from the National Society for Autistic Children in 1975. In 1981 the S.C. Society for Autistic Children named their award "Raymond E. Ackerman Professional of the Year". He was honored "Distinguished Life Fellow" by the American Psychiatric Association in 2003. He was a member of Alpha Omega Alpha (Honor Medical Society).

He was known for his love of Clemson football and his sweet tooth. Every time I visited, (sometimes sporting a USC Gamecock t-shirt, just to tease him a little) he would have a twinkle in his eye and friendly bantering would ensue. There was always a bowl of candy on the kitchen table (it was the good stuff…he had a hankering for Reece’s peanut buttercups and Twix bars).

I have many fond memories of him, besides the ones listed above. Sitting and listening to his stories (which is always the greatest thing an older person can give to a younger person), rubbing lotion on his legs when he was in the hospital, scratching and rubbing his back and my favorite…hearing him tell me how happy he was to have me in the family. Those words meant so much. He made me feel completely welcome and at home.

Another memory is the way he looked at Nonny. Their love story is one that will stand through time. It was rare, beautiful and a love that we all should try to achieve in our marriages and relationships.

It was a joy to see Nonny laugh amongst tears, last night, while stories were shared about Pop and it was utterly heartbreaking to see her hug him one last time as we left the hospital.

 I am sure I will edit this post as I gather more information about this awesome man, father and pop.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Jamaican-Me-Crazy Sirloin Steak

You need to walk out side, heat up your grill and make these steaks. If you don't want a 12 oz steak (who does?) You can certainly use 8-6oz steaks.

Do it.

4-12 oz steaks

46 oz. pineapple juice
1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar
2 cups soy sauce
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup cider vinegar

¼ cup honey
1 tablespoon garlic salt or two teaspoons fresh, crushed garlic
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper for a kick!

Mix together all ingredients (except the steak of course). Reserve one cup of marinade liquid. Place remaining marinade into a large, ziplock bag

Tenderize steaks by pounding them with a mallet or by using a spiked tenderizer.

Place steaks in marinade and smush (don’t you love that word? Smush…Smush…Smush.) Sorry…I get carried away. But seriously, work the marinade into all those holes you just made in your beautiful steaks. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Use this time to pause, reflect and heat up that grill.

Brush grill with olive oil and place steaks on the grill. Cook until medium (or however you like ‘em!). Drizzle a tablespoon of reserved marinade on top of steaks, place on platter. Try not to eat them before placing them on your table. That would be bad…very bad.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

It's been so long...since I've seen your face

10 points to anyone who names that tune.

SO it has been a while since the last post. A lot and nothing has gone on. My birthday came and went along with Easter.

My birthday was a magical one. My first birthday being a married woman...and my husband did not disappoint. The night started with a surprise visit to Al's Upstairs, a swanky Italian restaurant located in West Columbia. Al's has a beautiful view of downtown Columbia.

 I had the mixed grill (filet migon, salmon and lamb, anyone?) It was unbelievable and worth every penny. Joseph had Chicken Charleston...which was some sort of chicken. It was okay. It didn't touch my mixed grill. We ended with cheesecake. A ginormous piece at that...I didn't want to share with Joseph. It was so good, so rich and creamy. Almost sinful.

After the cheesecake, my husband decided it would be a marvelous idea for us to walk the riverwalk. I, however, did not think it was a good idea as I was in 3-inch heels and my stomach was full of cheesecake. We walked about 5 minutes before the complaining started and Joseph relunctantly headed back to the car.

We then took an interesting tour around downtown Charleston. We took a left...then another left....then another left and ended up back where we had started (at the State House). I was completely and utterly confused as to why we circled the block. We then headed over to the Flying Saucer where my hubs had set up an intimate surprise party with my favorite people. I wish I would have gotten a group shot!

I will leave you with this pic: