That most wonderful time of the year

From our house to yours, enjoy the wonders of the human spirit throughout this string of holiday seasons that carry us into 2011. May your holiday spirit enjoy broad sprinklings of merriment, family, safe travels, and optimism for what lies ahead.

One-of-a-kind, On-line, Odd-ventures

double genache chocolate cheesecakeIn ongoing ventures as an E-preneur, I've gathered a marketplace for world-class goods that you can't find anywhere else. Please explore with me the worlds into which I've  wandered, studied long and hard the last 3 years, and discovered wonders -- gourmet specialty coffee roasting and blending; gourmet artisan chocolate; gourmet cheesecake; art prints, and artisan crafts by amazing family artists. MORE DETAILS

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Join in themes that support living in good cheer and overcoming anything the world throws at us. Favorite subjects: Family. Grandchildren. Dogs. Friendship. Excellent books. Incredible food. Cameras and photos. Espresso. Movies. Music. College sports. Baseball. Fountain pens. Cooking. Other stuff. Yours?

Talk back: Tell us how you found Be of Good Cheer dotcom.

Thanks for dropping by. Come again, and bring a friend.

The Fourth

JULY 4, 2008

Back after 2 months' hiatus. From one day of independence to another. This one, the one we proclaim with the power of simplicity as The Fourth, far more impacting for Americans than Cinco de Mayo, the one of commercial convenience in the U.S., where most who toast it don't even know what it celebrates. (hint: NOT the independence of Mexico.)

Back on the blog now, seated, watching a U.S. flag ride breezes on the front porch, likewise swaying, thanks to John and Josh through headsets. (Mayer and Groban reside on my iPod under the Js. Along with James Brown's constant feel-good, Joe Cocker's constant wailing, and John Hartford's constant sorrow.)

Back with thoughts about The Fourth, and why it's my favorite secular holiday. (Or is it? Hmmm. Check out the entire passages from which Patrick Henry's "...give me liberty, or give me death...." is extracted.) Thoughts about a Bozo. And thoughts for a friend who can spell his name backward as fast as forward.

Back on the keyboad after weeks of establishing some biz. After cleaning the garage. (Almost all of it.) After moving 2,600 miles to a new home. Home on an island. Won't say which one, out of respect to my best friend-life mate-and-spouse La's request. That's a formality anyway; for me, we're at Walden. Thoreau took me there, in the mind's eye, as a young boy, and I wrote from there, in the mind's eye, through more deadlines and journal pages than I can count on the fingers of perhaps 1,000 persons.

To be cont'd....and cheers to a good life on the island.

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The Fourth is my fave mainly because of memories it evokes of my late, wonderful, witty, and stolid American patriot and assigned-expatriate father, CWO Murray Willard, known affectionately by all whose lives he touched as "Mac." Pearl Harbor took him to war at age 22. He was assigned in Saudi Arabia, the Philippines. Later, he served in Korea. And, during his final years, he joined the military attache in the American Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Mexico City. He didn't denounce the U.S. (the usual meaning of expatriate); in fact, totally the opposite.

Living and serving in multiple parts of the world where freedom did not ring as clearly, if at all, Mac was passionate about all things American.

His mantra rang clear and was inspirational to an ambitious young lad who dreamt big, and still does: "You can do anything you put your mind to. Anything." He gave many reasons. One headed the list: "...Because of the country you live in."

The freedom. The opportunities. The choices. He loved it, lived it, left the stamp of his career and lifetime (1920-'64) on preserving independence. Certainly, in November we salute Mac and the legions who serve(d), and in May those who died in battle.

But the Fourth is a day with Dad. He represents what that flag on the front porch symbolizes.

P.S.-That's a special flag. Handed down from La's late father, on this island. A relic. 48 stars.

P.P.S.-The fireworks are fun, too....

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A Bozo died. The Bozo, really. Larry Munson wasn't the original Bozo the Clown, but he was Bozo the longest - like, 60-some years. Reason I bring it up (and will practice avoidance regarding times that folks made me his namesake) is I liked a couple of lines in an obit I read on line.

He had a terrific ‘good-cheer' comment: "I felt if I could plant my size 83AAA shoes on this planet, (people) would never be able to forget those footprints."

On that point, let's join him in putting our foot down. Check out the quote from his wife on the home page, opposite....

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Finally, to my wonderful friend, Bob, who said, "You won't ever mention me in your blog....":

Hel-lo, Bob.