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

Videos

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.


video

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

Photobucket

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.

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