We are JAGUARS!

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My cousin Kelly and Mason at the unveiling of the Jaguars’ new video boards. There was a soccer game with DC United and Fulham, and then there was a concert by Carrie Underwood.

Mason LOVED the soccer game before the concert. He like Carrie Underwood; but he made his Daddy leave when she played “the Meme song.” He associates “See You Again” with Mom’s death.

A German Folk Song

Mason just loves Aunt Anita. He only sees her once or twice a year, but he really takes to her, which is a big deal, since he’s so reserved.

Aunt Anita Cheshire is married to my Uncle Kinsey, my Mom’s brother (and only surviving sibling). She is from Germany. They met and married while my uncle was stationed there while serving in the military.

I just love this video of her teaching Mason a German folk song. He loves learning about other cultures, languages and flags, so this was right up his alley.

My cousin Ingrid says the song is called, “Hop, Hop, Hop” and is translated as follows:

It means, “Hop, hop, hop, Horsey run faster, Over sticks and over stones, But don’t break your leg.”

Bryant Family Reunion 2014

The Bryant family reunion is just not the same without my Mom. This year, for some reason, I was particularly missing my Granny and Aunt Bertia, too, probably because I spent more time as a child in White Springs with them than anyone else.

Aunt Willa Mae has been in the hospital and nursing home, so she wasn’t able to come. We actually saw her right before she was released, when I was at my Daddy’s July 4th. She looked fantastic. Still, without any of her family at the reunion, it felt lonely.

It was great to see Uncle Kinsey and Aunt Anita, who has bounced back well from cancer. They brought Ingrid and her wife with them and also their granddaughters. I can never get over how much Uncle Kinsey looks like my Granddaddy. Of course, I also see where I get my ruddy pink complexion.

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It was also wonderful to see my Great Uncle James and Aunt Retha Mae. They were driven there by their daughter Judy and her husband. Of course, Kelly and Carol were there, too, with my Uncle Jack.

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The best past of this year’s reunion was seeing my distance cousin, Chad Bryant and his wife, Sallie. Sallie and Chad both graduated high school with me. Chad and I were friends in 9th grade when he first moved to Hilliard. He escorted me for Homecoming, and we got to talking about his last name. We soon figured out that we are related. My Granny and his dad were first cousins. I had not seen either one of then for a while, so it was fun catching up!

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We can’t forget Miss Julia. She loves meeting her “fam-il-lee” and is the social butterfly at these gatherings.

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She’s also a shoe-in for the next “Jeannie With the Light Brown Hair” at the Stephen Foster Memorial.

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ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

This week, I was challenged to do the ALS ice bucket dump by a sweet psychology student from last year. {As a former fundraiser, I am so impressed with the creativity and use of social media by the ALS Association. Magnificent!}

I honestly do not know much about the disease; but I know it took the life quickly of one of my former professors and co-workers, Steve Gey. Professor Gey’s views were the polar opposite of mine, but in the cold, competitive world of law school, he stood out for his humor, kindness and compassion. I found this short clip of him that I want to share. It is worth the watch.

So, in honor of Professor Gey, here is my ice bucket challenge.

I have read several blogs today which say that a portion of the ALS Association’s research focuses on the use embryonic stem cells. I am pro-life, so my donation will be going to another organization which contributes to this cause. One alternative is the John Paul II Medical Research Hospital. More information on the hospital’s research ethics can be found here: http://www.jp2mri.org/ethics.htm.

Old Ebbitt Grill

Originally posted on Sweet Tea & Bourbon:

Old Ebbitt Grill - Washington, DC - Photo by Mike Bonfanti

Summer concluded with a family vacation to Washington, DC.  The kids were exited about the hotel pool.  Becky could not wait to see historic landmarks.  I was giddy with the prospect of eating my way thought our nation’s capital.  We arrived at Reagan National Airport at 10 o’clock in the morning, and following an exciting cab ride checked into the Liaison.

With our luggage deposited in our room we made the short walk up New Jersey Avenue towards the Capitol.  A light rain feel as the dome and crowds of tourist grew larger. We did not have a destination for lunch, and meandered up the National Mall stopping to take pictures of structures the kids had only seen on television.  Hunger struck our small band a little afternoon and Becky asked where I wanted to eat lunch.  Without hesitating I suggest the Old Ebbitt Grill.

Old Ebbitt Grill - Washington, DC - Photo by Mike Bonfanti

The saloon was founded in 1856, and…

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Art and Soul

magnoliablossom:

Shout out to Hamilton County, Florida-native (where my Mama’s people are from) and fellow FSU Seminole, Art Smith!

Originally posted on Sweet Tea & Bourbon:

Art and Soul - Washington, DC - Photo by Mike Bonfanti

On the ground floor of the swanky Liaison Hotel sits Art and Soul.  The restaurant is owned by FSU alumnus, and Hamilton County native Art Smith.  From our perch on the 7th floor the location was perfect and we invited our friends, and recent transplants to DC, Michael and Tanya to join us for dinner.

After making us presentable we made the short elevator ride down to the lobby.  Art and Soul flows into the bar and entryway of the Liaison and allowed people to move freely between all three areas.  Upon giving our name to the friendly hostess we were seated.  The restaurant was sleek and modern with touches of Southern shabby sheik.  Polished metal, clean lines, and modern lighting were mixed with chalk boards, touille printed drapery, and my favorite element, a wall covered entirely in dry beans.

Art and Soul - Washington, DC - Photo by Mike Bonfanti

Our waitress appeared with menus and immediately noticed our…

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Hard Times Cafe

magnoliablossom:

We all loved this place! Mason ate his weight in chili.

Originally posted on Sweet Tea & Bourbon:

Hard Times Cafe - Alexandria, VA - Photo by Mike Bonfanti

Riding in the back seat of our friends’ SUV all I wanted was a cold beer and something to eat.  We were all hot, tired and sweaty after a day of wandering the grounds of Mt. Vernon learning about rustication,  the workings of the plantation, and how George Washington eventually suffocated to death at the age of 67.  We crawled in later afternoon traffic through the suburban sprawl of Northern Virginia on our way to the Huntington Metro station.  Our plan was to head to Alexandria and then find a place to eat on King Street.

Following a short train ride we arrived in Alexandria. With the sun setting behind the the towering George Washington Masonic National Memorial we walked up King Street. The kids complained they were tired and the ladies chirped that we needed to find someplace to eat, and soon.  On the left a sign on the street announced the Hard…

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