Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Airman of the Year

This is a copy of the email Tracy received a few days ago, informing her that she was named this year's U.S. Air Force Reserves Airman of the Year.

Pretty awesome.

Please join me in congratulating TSgt Theresa Eckard for her selection as
the FY09 Air Force Outstanding Junior NCO Individual Reservist of the Year.
This is a major AF-level award and we're proud of TSgt Eckard for her
accomplishments and for being such a great representative of the 70th. Well

Commander, 70 ISR Wing

Monday, November 16, 2009

Family news

Mark and Ty
This is from earlier this year, but still nice.

made all-conference honorable mention in soccer

Came in fourth in conference cross country championships recently, and helped team win the title.

This is the video she made last year at Christmas while she was serving her country

This story is from last month

And then earlier this month, he finished 16th in the 100 Breaststroke at the 3A Florida State Swimming Championships.

finished 8th in this golf tournament, and his school won

and I think his school missed making the state playoffs by one stroke. If I'm wrong, please correct me

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Good news

Sorry I haven't posted anything lately, but I really haven't felt much like writing anything. And that's not good because it is how I make my living.

But I wanted to share some good news.

There will be an addition to our clan next year sometime. Alaina and Ty found out recently that they're pregnant. Well, only one of them is, but you get the message.


So, I wonder if they're hoping for a boy this time. Nah, probably just wanting another healthy baby. I think we all can share in that sentiment.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Uncle Bill

He was always smiling, happy and the life of the party. That was on the outside.

Inside, I guess there were some demons to which he finally succumbed.

He did a good job of hiding them - probably except to those to whom he was closest. I hadn't seen him that much over the years. He and Donna came to my wedding, which I thought was pretty awesome. I never expected it.

My Mom and I visited them once in South Carolina and we had a great time on the boat. Donna, Bill and I played golf - one of my first outings since I took up the game. Pace of play and etiquette was important to Bill, and I remember to this day that you always carry your putter with you when you're close to the green so you don't have to run back and get it after a chip shot. I know, it's a simple thing and common knowledge to most golfers - including me now. But at the time, it wasn't. He always joked about how much he taught people about this and that. Well, he did teach me that.

I saw him at a couple of Williamson High School reunions. I remember him sitting around a table with family, friends and old classmates at the hotel restaurant, telling stories, reminiscing and singing.

Then there was our recent reunion - still singing, still telling stories and still the life of the party. On the outside.

And although that's the part of him that I'm going to remember most - just because I don't want to be sad - I'm also going to try to take a lesson from this.

They say that beauty is skin deep, and it's what's inside that matters most. That might be a cliche, but I think cliches are cliches for a reason because most of the time, they're true.

Inside does matter most.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

More photos

I'm even in a few of them. Thanks Julie. More pictures have been uploaded to photobucket, but I'd like to get more.

Let me know if you have time to upload them, or you want to send me a CD.

Also, here's a story from a few days ago about Alex. Apparently, she leads her team in goals this year.

And here's what Neal is up to.

I'm looking for pictures from the reunion and more family news. Keep us posted.

Friday, October 16, 2009


I'm in the process of uploading videos to photobucket. I've got some of them, but a couple of the files are too big so I need edit them into two or three parts. I'll get to that. In the meantime, check out what's up there now.

Here's a sample, too. One of my favorites.

Also, I haven't heard from anyone about other photos. I know there were a bunch of cameras there because I saw all the flashes.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

All photos are up

I finished uploading all my photos. Next step, my videos.

Don't forget, if you have pictures to upload, let me know. I can give you the username and password; walk you through the process; or wait for a CD and upload them from here.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Well, I've spent the last couple of hours editing pictures, and I started a photobucket album. So far, I've posted the first day - Friday. Some of my pictures needed editing; some were out of focus; and some I know certain people didn't want to see the light of day. So, it's going to take a while to sift through all the photos and get the good ones in the album. In the meantime, you can check out what I've done so far at:

I'd like for everyone who took pictures to upload them, as well. If you're not familiar with photobucket, it's pretty easy. You'll need a username and password to upload, so e-mail me if you want to go that route. Otherwise, maybe you can burn a disk and mail it to me, and I'll upload.

Also, anyone who didn't get a CD with all the old photos that I scanned, let me know, and I can get one to you.

Again, thanks to everyone for making last weekend so special.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

We did it

Well, it's over, and I can tell you that I had a blast. A lot of people said I did a good job of setting up the reunion, and I appreciate the sentiment. But it was a success because so many people showed up. So, I think all of us deserve a round a applause for making this event special. All of us.

I think a few people deserve to be called out for special recognition, and if I forget anyone, it's not intentional. It's because I forgot - I am getting old - or I didn't know some behind-the-scenes information.

First, Jeff set up a special day of golf Friday morning at Old Palms Golf Club. Then, Jeff, Mark, Ty and Bill took care of the impromptu dinner and drinks Friday night at PGA National by the pool. On Saturday, Ginny went above and beyond with her catered dinner, and Gregg and Fran opened up their home for the event. On Sunday, Leigh and Mickey pulled together a last-minute dinner for those of us who stayed Sunday night. The poem my Mom read meant a lot to me, and let's not forget Gary's hard work on putting together the Neal family tree information. Thank you.

There were many special moments for me, including seeing so many people that I hadn't seen in 10, 15, 20, 25 years - or at all. The cousins are all grown up, and most have kids of their own now. It was a treat for me to connect and reconnect with all of you.

Some of my favorite memories:

When I met Tas on Friday for the first time since he was a baby, he told me that when he saw my friend request on Facebook, he said, "Who is this creepy old man?" Or realizing that it had been so long since Todd Neal and I had seen each other, he didn't even recognize me. Then there was the surprised look on a lot of people's faces when Cindy walked in.

I think it was Mickey who recognized many of the people who weren't with us anymore. I'd also like to say that those of you who couldn't make it for various reasons were missed: Neal, Mike, Steve, Craig, Shane, Kelly, Will and all their families. Maybe next time.

Speaking of next time. After some thought and a few conversations, I think it might be a little ambitious to do this again in 2010. Perhaps, every other year would work, so I think we should shoot for 2011. If you have any immediate opinion on a location, please let me know. The early talk is Atlanta, D.C. or Chicago. But nothing is set in stone.

Again, thank you all for making this such a great time for me. And I hope we can all stay in touch.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

You know them

Here are some more. These, you should know right off.

Guess who

OK, here's a little game we can play. It's called "Guess who."

Can you guess who all these people are?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Shopping update and golf head count

First, I'd like to get a head count on golf. Whoever wants to play, please email me or post a comment here. If you have talked to Ty or myself already, that's good. But just double check to make sure you're on the list. I just don't want to miss anyone.

And secondly, I have an update on shopping from an insider. Thanks Shawn.

The Gardens Mall
3101 PGA Boulevard
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410
South Florida's premier shopping destination featuring Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale's, Macy's, Sears and over 160 fine shops and restaurants in an exquisite indoor setting.

Downtown at the Gardens
A 350,000-square-foot upscale retail, restaurant and outdoor lifestyle center located in Palm Beach Gardens on PGA Boulevard. An open-air two-level, lifestyle center with approximately 30 stores and restaurants, its achors include a 16-screen Cobb Theatre, Whole Foods Market, and The Cheesecake Factory. Downtown at the Gardens is also home to three permanent art fountains and landscapped walkways and courtyards.

Legacy Place

A shopper’s haven offering a “Main Street” experience with a large and varied selection of retail stores and restaurants, with an abundance of loft office space, Legacy Place has it all.

With more than 40 shops and eateries, Legacy Place invites you to enjoy a complete dining and shopping experience. Legacy Place fulfills all your shopping needs. Our retailers include Best Buy for electronics, featured fashion stores such as Loehmann’s, NY & Co. ,Lane Bryant, and Sweet & Sassy for kids, in addition to an assortment of specialty, home, and food stores. The large variety of fabulous restaurants include, Capital Grille, Amazonia, Coola Fishbar, Aquamarine Grill for leisurely dining, and for a quick bite the choices include Tossed, Five Guys, Moe’s, TGI Friday’s and Chili’s.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Activities other than golf

OK, based on a little feedback, I've come up with a few options for Friday and/or Saturday. There seems to be plenty of shopping districts and malls in the area. There's even one near the hotel called PGA Commons, an upscale retail area with shops and restaurants.

But there's plenty more - from CityPlace, which has 60 shops, 30 restaurants and an IMAX theater, to Mizner Park, which features shopping along with an art museum and amphitheater.

There's some driving involved. CityPlace is about 15 miles from the hotel, and Mizner Park is about 42 miles.

Also, on Saturday, there's a craft fair in Delray Beach, about 30 miles from the hotel.

Stitch Rock
10/3/2009 - 10/3/2009
Old School Square
51 North Swinton Avenue; Delray Beach, FL 33444
Stitch Rock is an annual indie craft fair and bazaar bringing back old school crafting techniques with new school flare. Full of handmade crafts and unique products like D.I.Y fashion, funky home deco items, natural bath and body goodies, vintage finds, hot rod paintings, pin up photography, and much more!
12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
General: $5; Children 12 and under: free

Here's the Web site:

As far as eating at The Breakers, there are about a dozen eateries on site from which to choose. It's about 15 miles from the hotel.

And lastly, here are a couple of tours that might be of interest to some.

Guided Nature Tours
John D. MacArthur Beach State Park, North Palm Beach
Explore the diverse habitats in this beachfront park, on guided nature walks or shaded tram tours. Expert leaders will point out unique plants and small animals that are native to this undisturbed remnant of the real Florida. Free with admission to the park. $4 per vehicle.

Narrated Bus Tours of Historic Delray Beach 
4th Saturday of every month (except major holidays) 11:00 a.m. 
Bus tours location for ticketing/boarding/de-boarding/parking is at the 1904 Historic Chapel at Trinity Lutheran Church & School 
Hop a trolley and discover Delray Beach’s colorful past on a guided tour. On the 1 hour and 45 minute excursion you’ll learn about the city’s early Seminole, Japanese, African American and German settlers. The tour also visits historic districts and historic buildings. $10.00 per adult; free for children and teenagers under 18 and accompanied by their family. Sponsored by the Palm Beach County Commission and the City of Delray Beach. Tours conducted by the Museum of Lifestyle & Fashion History.

So that 's what I have right now. Let me know if you see something you like or if I can facilitate anything else.

See you soon.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

More update

Like I said yesterday, I think Friday night will be low-key with an impromptu get-together at PGA National. As we arrive, we can meet by the pool or the lobby, and then we can check out one of the eight restaurants on site.

Here's a link to the dining options.

Saturday morning is golf for some of us, but we should be done by lunchtime - at least by 1 p.m. - so there should be plenty of time to do something else as a group before dinner Saturday night. If that's what we want. Like I said before, I'm open to suggestions.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Well, it looks like everyone who has committed so far is staying at PGA National. We've set up tee times for two foursomes at the Champion course, so if I could get a head count on who wants to play, that would help me.

So far the only official activities that have been set up are golf and the dinner on Saturday. My thought about Friday is that we'd probably have an impromptu get-together at the hotel as people arrived - like in the restaurant, bar, hotel room or pool.

I've been asking this since the first day. If anyone has any ideas about something they'd like to do, let me know, and I'll try to facilitate that.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tee times and other activities

OK, it's getting closer. I hope everyone is getting excited. I know I am. And I hope everyone is getting prepared. I just got a call from PGA National about tee times on Saturday, Oct. 3. Slots are filling up so we need to get a head count of who's playing golf and what course. If you want to play golf, send me an e-mail or text, call me or post a comment on the blog.

For those of you who don't want to play golf, let me know if I can do anything to help plan an activities while you're there. There's a previous post about links to various things you can do. But whatever I can do to help you facilitate something, please let me know.

See you in a couple of months.

Friday, July 24, 2009


Just a quick note to let everyone know that I'll be playing in the Buick Open Pro-Am tournament on Wednesday. Pairings are set for Monday, so I'll let you know who I'll be paired with.

I can't believe I have this opportunity. I feel lucky, and God is definitely looking out for me.