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Nick's Columns

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by lucy on Tue Jan 04 2011, 16:56

If George were writing something like this,it would begin-While EC was outside playing with her birthday gift ( the paps ) I was inside?

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by it's me on Tue Jan 04 2011, 18:18

oh please!



@ this Nick column
optimism and expectations


nice story:
restaurant
hotel
gift
(btw I know what I would like as a gift, Very Happy sì)

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Merlin on Tue Jan 04 2011, 19:49

Well I guess these days a free holiday every month is equal to the worth of 4 tires LOL...

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Merlin on Sun Jan 09 2011, 20:49

An odyssey in education remembered

Column by Nick Clooney

For many years, I have told all who would listen that I attended 13 schools in my abbreviated journey through formal education. The mystery why I thought that was some sort of distinction, but any time there was a lull in the conversation, out would pop, "I went to 13 schools, you know." Most of the time listeners were kind enough not to roll their eyes until I left the room.

What I never expected was to be called on it. That's what comes of talking to college and high school age young people. They are likely to tell you to put up or shut up.

That's what happened earlier this month. Nina and I visited a high school and on the walk back to our car, a student asked me politely if I had gone to school in Cincinnati. "Oh, yes, several of them." Then I pulled out my trusty blockbuster. "I went to 13 schools, you know."

"Oh, really?" said the young woman. "What schools were they?"

That stopped me in my tracks. "Why, I ... well, there was... actually in the first grade there were two... maybe it wasn't literally 13... most of them were parochial, and I get the names of the saints mixed up... Oh, here's our car. Sorry we don't have more time to talk."

It was a humiliating retreat. On the drive home, I tried to remember the names. There was St. Patrick's in Maysville, of course. That's where it all started. There was no kindergarten at St. Pat's in those days, so it was the first grade.

But not for long. Times were tough and Uncle George - just out of high school himself - got a job in Ironton, Ohio, so the whole family packed up and went with him. I had been at St. Pat's only a month when my sisters and I found ourselves at St. Joseph School in Ironton.

That turned out to be a bad luck town for the family. So Uncle George got a job at Baldwin Piano in Cincinnati. Once again, the whole family went with him.

This time it was Hoffman School in Walnut Hills, a fairly short walk from Fairfax Avenue where we lived. And where World War II found us.

All these moves were dictated by economics and by a determination to keep the family together at all costs. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. We moved with our mother to Clinton Springs Avenue and went to another new school, Avondale.

Circumstances then took mom to the west coast, so I went to public school in San Francisco on Eddy Street, and then to Roosevelt School in Oxnard, which was in Southern California. The school was named for Teddy, not Franklin.

The end of the war brought us back to the Midwest and to St. Gertrude's in Madeira, where I got frostbite on my way to school one morning. Things looked better to mom in Lexington, so it was off to St. Paul's where Judy Scully proved to be smarter than I, much to my chagrin.

Then, for the first time and for reasons lost to memory, I returned to a school I had attended previously. It was St. Gertrude's. But, again, not for long.

Let's see. That takes us to the sixth grade. For the seventh, at least part of it, there was St. Francis Seraph at Liberty and Vine, Over-the-Rhine. That's where I first worked in front of a microphone, calling bingo for middle-aged matrons who took the game very seriously. I got an object lesson in the need for accuracy.

One more before high school. Our Lady of Loretto on Eastern. I was now a grade school grad.

A test was available to enter St. Xavier High School on Sycamore Street downtown. I passed the test and began what was to be my longest sojourn in any hall of learning. For three years, Jesuits did battle with my - and my contemporaries' - recalcitrant brains.

After my junior year, my Grandmother Guilfoyle, who had raised my sisters and me, wanted to go home to Maysville. She couldn't go alone, of course, so at a family conference, we decided I should go, too.

Though I would miss St. X, it was no life-shattering sacrifice. St. Patrick's welcomed me as if I had never left, and I graduated with young men and women who are friends to this day. It was also in Maysville that I began my broadcasting career.

All right, how many is that? Eleven. Unless I count St. Gertrude's and St. Patrick's twice. Which I do.

Did I mention I went to 13 schools?

Nick Clooney writes for The Post every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by melbert on Sun Jan 09 2011, 21:51

Well, old Nick has me beat by 3! I only went to 10 different schools growing up!

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by PigLove on Sun Jan 09 2011, 21:52

No wonder he's so at ease with people––he had to meet new kids every year of his childhood!

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by it's me on Sun Jan 09 2011, 22:45

would George like it for himself?

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by it's me on Sun Jan 09 2011, 22:48

btw
domani inizia scuola! No

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Merlin on Mon Jan 10 2011, 11:28

Another of Nina's....

Familiar moniker doomed new shoes

August 8th 2007

I hate it when old age is so infernally smug. When it plays you like a cat with a mouse, and you're the mouse. No matter how far the cat lets the mouse run, when the cat gets tired of playing, the mouse's fate is sealed. It's Suppertime! Suppertime! Suppertime!

As regular readers of my husband's column know, we travel quite a bit. There is also no need to tell anyone that getting through airport security is tantamount to a strip search. Never have so many been so nearly naked before complete strangers in such confined quarters. I'm still furious at that lunatic shoe bomber every time I remove my shoes for scanning.

For convenience, I long ago resorted to slip-on-and-off shoes for travel. Loafers in the winter and backless sandals for summer. The same ones. For years.

In July, Nick and I traipsed through the corridors of 11 airports and two train stations. While the events we were attending were extremely interesting, the travel itself was tiring.

So as we walked that last leg from our plane to baggage recovery at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport and I stumbled on totally flat, uncomplicated floors, not once, but a half-dozen times, I marked it up to being tired.

Our neighbor Clark Hennessey, who, along with his wife, Sherry, enable our longer trips with airport drop-offs and pick-ups, was waiting with our car. As I got in, I saw the sole on my left shoe had given up the ghost - or, at least, the glue that secured it to the top portion.

Mystery solved. I needed a new pair of airport shoes.

Knowing that August held a couple of trips, I began to search the sales racks. Nothing will fit on any part of my body unless it is on sale.

In T.J. Maxx I found an adorable pair of black shoes - did I say that all my traveling shoes are black to go with my black traveling clothes? These shoes had open toes, beautiful, small, slim inch-and-a-half heels and sling backs.

I love sling back pumps, but I've never been able to wear them. I have no bump on my heel to hold them up, so I don't usually even try them on. But these were so cute and they had been reduced to ten bucks!

Lo and behold, the stretchy upper fabric held the sling back securely in place as I walked back and forth in the aisles. The floor mirror confirmed their shelf appeal and they were comfy. Wow. Slipping them on and off was a snap. Airport security, Here I come.

As is my habit with a new pair of shoes, when I got home I put them on and wore them around the house for several hours to make sure the store fit was not a fluke. They passed every test.

I was about to put them on the shoe rack beside all my three- and four-inch heels when I was stopped dead. Frozen like Lot's salty wife. I blinked and looked again. I cleaned my glasses and looked once more. There was no denying it. Right across the inside arch, where I should have seen it the first time, it said "NATURALIZER." On me? Miss spike heels, even if I do wobble a bit? Naturalizers? Never!

My mother wore Naturalizers, and so did Nick's Aunt Rose and Aunt Jean and many older friends and relatives in their latter years. How could I have done this?

I cannot let these shoes go through airport security. Instead of a red light coming on indicating a bomb, it will be much worse. A big neon sign will flash "NATURALIZERS!"

Barefoot, I sought some Scotch to ease my nerves, when Nick walked by. "Where are those cute little shoes you were wearing?"

"Cute?" I asked.

"Yeah. Hip, too. And you weren't wobbling."

Suppertime! Suppertime! Suppertime!

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by it's me on Mon Jan 10 2011, 13:46

oh! Shocked now I remember that Nina said thank you to me.... ages ago

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by melbert on Tue Jan 11 2011, 00:30

I LOVE that story! Thanks so much Merlin!

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Merlin on Fri Jan 14 2011, 11:19

Memories of a Truly Wonderful 87 Years

10th June 2005

There is an area of Boyle County, Kentucky, known locally as "Scrubgrass." It hasn't changed all that much over the years. There are small towns like Mitchellsburg, but mostly there are small farms.
Many of the farms have been what another generation of Americans used to call "hard scrabble,' with families eking out a living in poor, hilly soil. Rakes and mowers are as likely to turn up rattlesnakes and copperheads as grass. Sometimes, rich bottom land near a creek will yield a profitable crop. Sometimes timber will bring a check.
Here, on Scrubgrass, a little girl was born to the Edwards family. She was Roy and Nora's first child and they named her Dica Mae.
It was May 1, 1918, and in the wider world, the Great War was raging. Americans on that day would have been surprised to hear that many Europeans believed the issue in France was still in doubt. True, after our ally Russia had quit and our ally Italy had nearly been knocked out of the war, Germany had 50 more first-rate divisions than the allies, but so what?
We were Americans, said the people of Scrubgrass and others across the nation, and Kaiser Bill was all washed up. This was, after all, the War to End War. We sang ditties like "I'd Like to See the Kaiser with a Lily in His Hand".
In more thoughtful moments, as casualty lists grew, we also sang a pretty song called "Till We Meet Again," born the same month as Dica Mae.
But to tell the truth, there wasn't much singing on Scrubgrass, except at church on Sunday. There was little time for such frivolous niceties as songs and books and silent movies. Life was a mortal struggle and it took every person in the family to wring a living out of the soil.

Dica was joined by brothers and sisters. Each had chores -- hard chores -- and Dica, as the oldest, was the top sergeant of the children. Her daddy became a road contractor and was gone most of the time. The children took on even more responsibility.
It soon became apparent that Dica was an unusually pretty girl, but that did not mean the same thing then as it would now. Dica would not take advantage of her looks. It would have been against her religion and her culture. "Pretty is as pretty does."
It did not, however, escape the notice of Jackson "Jack:" Warren, a bright, gregarious young man whose sense of humor and optimism set him apart from his contemporaries.
Dica and Jack married in the depths of the Depression and began a long, tough struggle to make it as farmers. Only a few reading this will have any idea how difficult that was, because very few Americans farm for a living.
As their little family grew through the 1930s and 1940s, Dica had to work outside the home to supplement the farm income. For nine years, she worked at General Shoe, which became Genesco. Dica, in fact, became active in organizing the workers into a union. An unlikely, but effective, Norma Rae.
Hers was a remarkable American life. There was a daughter, then two sons. Slowly, painfully, Jack and Dica paid off their 50 acres and acquired more.
In her early 40s, Dica suffered a major stroke. No therapy was available, so she rehabilitated herself, crawling on the floor until she could walk. When working on her house one day, she fell ten feet through the attic floor and landed on a sewing machine, breaking her arm. I asked her if she had whipped up a dress on the machine while she waited for help.
Twenty years ago, she lost Jack. Later she got pneumonia, then another serious infection, but she always battled back, through her 70s and 80s. Fourteen days ago, at age 87, she took a tumble while going out to dinner, breaking her hip and her wrist. I, of course, expected her to bounce back again.
But it was different this time. True, Scrubgrass had made her strong. She had done great things and seen many wonders in her life, but she was tired.
She went to sleep Wednesday morning and slipped away from us. Her daughter Nina and her sons Jackie and Kenneth will miss her. So will the rest of the family and friends.
So will I.
She was my mother-in-law for 46 years.
Till We Meet Again, Dica. Till We Meet Again.

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by it's me on Fri Jan 14 2011, 13:23

nice

but also Errrr

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by PigLove on Fri Jan 14 2011, 16:03

Holy moly. Someone needs to give this man a public forum for his writing again. Let's all write him a letter begging him to blog.

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by it's me on Fri Jan 14 2011, 17:20

right Thumbs up!
find the address! Drink 3

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by melbert on Sat Jan 15 2011, 00:58

I'll get right on it PigLove if I can find that address!!!

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by PigLove on Sat Jan 15 2011, 17:48

You can probably just send it "Nick Clooney, General Delivery, Augusta, KY" and it will find him eventually!

He's like Santa Claus that way. Smile

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by it's me on Sat Jan 15 2011, 23:15

no! affraid really? santa

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Merlin on Tue Jan 18 2011, 14:18

29th December 2007

Two dog stories, two happy endings

Here comes a story for the season. Two stories, actually.

One goes back a long way, to September of 1993. Nina and I had just returned to Augusta after a two-year stint in Salt Lake City, where I anchored a start-up TV newscast. I had been writing this column for four years.

My sister Rosemary was at her home on Riverside Drive. Her soon-to-be-husband, Dante DiPaolo, was there, too, and had just called to invite us to dinner. He was cooking my favorite, spaghetti and meatballs, in honor of our return. He announced it on the phone in his usual shorthand. "Hey, Nick. Spags tonight."

That's why we drove north on Bracken Street, heading toward the river, late that afternoon. Suddenly, I saw something hurtling toward the hood ornament of our car, full speed, I didn't know what it was, but I stood on my brake, sure I had hit it.

I opened the car door and up jumped the most disreputable looking little dog I had ever seen. Its thick hair was matted, there were twigs and a small piece of wire entwined over its body. It jumped into my lap and licked my face, then jumped over to Nina's lap and licked her face before settling down in the front seat between us.

There was no collar, but she was a well-behaved little dog. She didn't cower or snap. She had not been abused, but abandoned.

We checked around town and learned she had been in Augusta for several days, going from house to house, hustling meals. She also checked out cars with special attention.

It seemed obvious that she had been dropped off by someone who could no longer care for her. That happens in small towns sometimes. Later, Dr. Glass in Maysville gave her the requisite shots, said she was in good shape and about a year old. We named her Spags.

She became our friend and companion, taught us a lot about patience and loyalty, taught us what was important and what was not. Taught that if we really didn't have to do something, it was all right to take a nap. That the world looks looks very different from eight inches off the ground. All valuable lessons.

In the process, she became quite a traveler. She has waded the warm waters off Key West, the cold waters off Montauk Point. She has starred on TV at Radio City Music Hall and Central Park. She was an honored guest at Doris Day's hotel that caters to animal companions in Carmel, California.

When we have had to leave her behind, she has cheerfully stayed at Theresa Danehe's house four doors away, where Theresa and her two sons love her as much as we.

And, even now, when Nina precedes me upstairs at bedtime while I linger watching a TV show, Spags will wait for me on the landing, then accompany me to the bedroom, both our gaits slower than 14½ years ago.

But I promised you two stories.

A week ago, our friend Caroline Cigolotti of Riverside Drive came up to us at a holiday party. She asked if we had seen the dog that had wandered around town for several days. We were surprised to hear it because loose dogs are a rarity now that Augusta has a leash law. "He looked like a dachshund, except his legs were a little longer. Very friendly, a nice dog. I saw him several times.

"He was panhandling for food and looking for a home. Al and I thought about it, but we have our dog and it wouldn't be fair to bring in a newcomer to disrupt his life."

Caroline was concerned and so were many people in town. The animal control officer would soon be making his weekly sweep of Augusta. He's a good man and does his best, but most of those stories do not have happy endings.

"Then yesterday," Caroline continued, "a car with a man and a woman and a couple of children pulled up. I was walking my dog and I saw the little stray sitting on the lady's lap, nuzzling her. She rolled down her window.

" 'Do you know who this dog belongs to?' I told her it didn't belong to anyone. 'He ran right at our car. I thought we'd hit him, but when I opened the door, he just jumped into my lap. Do you think we could keep him? We've been asking around.'

"I told her she should keep him. I told her about another family I knew that had the same story, then I asked where she lived. 'Fort Thomas,' she said. He'll love Fort Thomas, I said."

For at least 14½ years.






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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Merlin on Tue Jan 18 2011, 14:20

22nd August 2007

Sirius business, these hot dog days

Spags and I were sitting on the front porch swing, waiting out another thunderstorm so she could take me for my afternoon walk.

"You know what I hate?" she asked me.

"No."

"I hate it when you humans call these miserable, hot, sticky summer days, DOG DAYS."

"Well, actually..."

"Can you imagine any mortal disliking this kind of weather more than a dog?"

"I hadn't really thought about ..."

"Take a look at this coat of mine. It's pure wool, you know, and how would you like to walk around Augusta in 95-degree heat in a wool coat?"

"I wouldn't like that at all, but ..."

"And I'm all the way down here, not even a foot tall, walking on the sidewalk you could fry an egg on and on top of that, I get insulted by getting the least comfortable days of the year named after me."

"If you'd let me get a word in, DOG DAYS is not an insult."

"How do you figure?"

"As I was trying to tell you, it is only an astronomical designation."

"An astrological ..."

"No, astronomical. A long time ago, the people who lived in the Mediterranean rim started calling the days when the star Sirius moved into conjunction with our own sun the DOG DAYS."

"Why would they do that?"

"Because Sirius is known as the DOG STAR. And, usually, that conjunction comes in July, so the people started calling the time from about 20 days before to about 20 days after, the DOG DAYS."

"Well, that doesn't sound so bad ..."

"Of course, that coincided with the time of year that was most uncomfortable, and when illness and disease were most likely to strike ..."

"There you go again, just when I was feeling better about this whole thing."

"Spags, why do you always look on the negative side?"

"So would you, if your view was from one foot off the ground."

"Think Sirius."

"Serious what? What serious?"

"No, Sirius, the star. It is one terrific star. It is the brightest star in all the heavens."

"The brightest?"

"The brightest. And they call it the DOG STAR, part of the constellation CANIS MAJOR. You know, 'canis,' the Latin word for 'dog.' "

"I'm a canis?"

"One of the best. It's where we get the word 'canine.' "

"So you took a lot of Latin?"

"Four years."

"Say something in Latin."

"Cave canem."

"What's that mean?"

"Beware of the dog."

"Advice you should pay attention to."

"Remember, you're the brightest star in the sky. You're twice the size of our sun and 20 times brighter."

"Is there a CAT STAR?"

"Not that I know of."

"I'm liking this. Is the word Sirius Latin, too?"

"I think it is Greek."

"Did you take that in school?"

"One year."

"What's Sirius mean?"

"I don't know. I could look it up. I think it means 'hot.' "

"Well, well, well. I'm the brightest star and I'm hot, too."

"You can stand proud."

"I'm not a foot tall."

"You're the tallest dog in town."

"I do have a certain presence."

"The rain stopped."

"Well, let's go. There aren't many DOG DAYS left."

Look out, Augusta. Cave Spags.

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by melbert on Tue Jan 18 2011, 14:52

More great stories! Thanks Merlin!

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by it's me on Tue Jan 18 2011, 16:44

amazing... we all miss those pages... Sad

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Merlin on Mon Jan 24 2011, 10:57

It's swing time again down by the river

17th September 2007

"Nick. My wife and I saw you at that wonderful swing dance in Augusta last week when you talked about your sister Rosemary. But you didn't tell us about the concert in her honor in Maysville. Is it still on? Mel C. Shoup, Cincinnati.

Yes, Mel, it is. But first, thank you for mentioning the "Swing on the River" dance. For those who don't know about it, Augusta now has an annual big band event at the end of summer which has turned into quite a success in just a few years. Tables are set up on Riverside Drive, our local restaurants offer some of their specialties, there's a band and singers and part of the street is set aside for dancing. It is a rare evening with the mighty Ohio as a backdrop and I salute all who work so hard to bring it together.

Now to the Rosemary Clooney Music Festival. From all I hear, it is shaping up to be quite an event on Friday the 28th and Saturday the 29th. I'm sure you can get the details by calling the Maysville city office.

I don't have the full schedule at hand, but among Saturday's celebrations, one will be in Augusta at Rosemary's former home on Riverside Drive. As some of know, Steve and Heather Renee Henry bought the home after Rosemary's death and have turned it into a museum honoring her career.

At 1:30 Saturday afternoon, Steve and Heather will dedicate a new display there. This time it's a red and white dress Rosemary wore in the quirky western musical I liked so much called "Red Garters." I don't know where the Henrys come up with all these items, but they must have a pipeline to the man in charge of wardrobe for Paramount Studios, where Rosemary was under contract.

Later that afternoon in Maysville, there will be the dedication of a huge portrait of Rosemary on the floodwall flanking the entrance to the boat dock.

Nina has seen the work-in-progress and is very impressed. I've been avoiding that part of Maysville because I want to see it for the first time the day it is dedicated. I'm told that part of the mural will feature Rosemary's life-long friend Blanche Chambers. I'm glad to hear it, because when Rosemary and Betty were little girls singing on Market Street, Blanche and her sister Pud were right there with them, dancing. I understand the mural will be dedicated at 4:30, with the ceremony followed by a reception.

Then we'll all head up to Third and Market which, once again this year, will be blocked off for the outdoor concert. There will be tables set up on Third Street, there will be dinner, then there will be a show. The stars this year are the Pointer Sisters, whom we have all enjoyed for years on records, on TV and in concerts as well. They came on the scene back in the 1970s and were once back-up singers for Boz Scaggs and Grace Slick, among others. As was the case with so many musical stars of that era, the sisters from California were children of ministers.

The first time I remember hearing them was in the late 1970s when they had a big hit with a long song called "Fire," which I later learned was written by Bruce Springsteen. Perhaps others will remember their 1980s hits better, such as "He's So Shy," "Slow Hands" and "I'm So Excited."

Anyway, it is entirely appropriate that a sister act should be singing again on the corner of Third and Market in Maysville. The only thing missing will be Papa Clooney, our grandfather, who would be around when those talented kids drew a crowd back in the 1930s. He would hand out cards reminding the audience he was running for office.

We're also looking forward to the return of Rosemary's widower, Dante DiPaolo. He has more friends in the tri-state than Nina and I do. He was there last year when, for the first time, we didn't have "Rosemary Weather." It rained right through dinner and up to the moment the star, Neil Sedaka, was introduced. Then the skies cleared and the moon shone its brightest. I learned something new last year. How to cut a steak while holding an umbrella. I hope I never again have to use this new skill, but no one who was there will ever forget it.

There will be more memorable moments in Maysville the last week in September this year, too. Nina and I will be there. We haven't missed one yet. Maybe we'll see you there.

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Atalante on Mon Jan 24 2011, 23:16

So Nick Clooney talks to his dog and the dog responds. Some dog. lol!

And dinner in the rain. Mmm, no pictures of those events from the past Merlin ?

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by melbert on Tue Jan 25 2011, 00:44

Thanks Merlin! Another great story!

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Merlin on Tue Jan 25 2011, 06:55

Couple of articles and pictures here.....

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Atalante on Tue Jan 25 2011, 15:28

Not many pictures there and not even a vid. The older generation should learn how to use youtube. Laughing

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] got a dime for a car ? bounce

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Merlin on Thu Jan 27 2011, 07:31

Sunny Italy welcomes a special woman

Your roving reporters are at it again. These words come to you from the shores of the Lake of Como -- no relation to Perry -- in Northern Italy.
The reason for this trip has everything to do with one person: Dica Edwards Warren of Perryville, Kentucky. Her grandson has had the great good fortune to acquire a home in this beautiful part of the world and his fixed intention from the moment he bought it was to have his grandmother see it.

Dica told me it was all right to tell you she is 85 years old. Her health and mental agility are superb, all traces of a serious stroke she suffered as a young woman in her early 40s now long gone.

Still, as Dica says, 85 is 85. So her grandson George undertook to make everything as easy as possible. He hired an airplane and, along with his late Aunt Rosemary"s husband, Dante DiPaolo, flew to Cincinnati"s Lunken Airport. There Nina and George and I walked Dica to the sleek jet and embarked on her first trip to Europe.

The flight at 40,000 feet was smooth as silk, the landing in Milan uneventful, the trip through customs easy. For the eight and a half hours in the air, Dica had barely closed her eyes. Everything was new and exciting; everything was done to make her comfortable. And that was only the beginning.

Dica"s room at the villa was on the first floor with its own outside door opening onto a manicured lawn that disappeared into the lake itself.

The Lake of Como is ringed by the foothills of the Alps. Clinging to the steep banks are ancient towns, houses, churches, some of them dating back to the fourth and fifth centuries. It has a checkered history, with various national masters over the ages, but at the moment it is an Italian haven for the artists and artisans, wealthy residents and well-heeled tourists.

There are pricey hotels and famous restaurants side-by-side with neighborhood bars where carpenters and stonemasons exchange tall tales. In this spring season, flowers explode with color in every available space.

George"s assistant and friend Amy Cohen had gone ahead a month earlier to prepare the house for Dica"s visit. The home, dating back to 1701, had to be cleaned, painted and furnished. Amy was a whirlwind, convincing artisans to work on holidays and weekends, unheard of in Italy. She became a familiar face at every shop in the region. George had not seen his villa since its transformation, so his eyes were as wide as ours at what he saw.

No, perhaps not as wide as Dica"s. Watching her over the next few days was a joy. So was listening to her. "I just never imagined I would ever see anything like this." "Every direction I turn in it"s like another picture postcard." To her son Jackie on the phone back at the farm in Perryville, "Well, I can talk and talk, but I"ll never be able to tell you what I"m seeing."

It did not get any easier to describe because, three days after we arrived, a private bus whisked Dica and us away to Venice for an overnight stay in that enchanted city.

A water taxi took us to the legendary Cipriani hotel from which, after checking in, we bounced back across the lagoon to explore San Marco Piazza and its pigeons. Dica wanted to have her picture taken in front of every building with each traveling companion. She wanted to know how the gondola worked, the name of every flower and tree and what ingredients were in each new dish she tasted.

She listened carefully to the accents of our new Italian friends and, by the time our visit was nearing its end, she was unconsciously adding vowels to some of her own phrases. "I"m-a gonna take-a my nap-a."

She was seeing wonders, but so were we. Nina and I watched the glances exchanged between our son and his grandmother. A smile that said success is only success if it is shared with those you love.

As for Dica, if you are looking for a tour guide to Northern Italy, her number is in the book.

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Katiedot on Thu Jan 27 2011, 08:23

success is only success if it is shared with those you love.
I think that is one of George's guiding principles.

What a great column, thanks for sharing, Merlin.

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Merlin on Thu Jan 27 2011, 13:59

It would be nice to be loved by George (in a friend/family way) I would think.

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by it's me on Thu Jan 27 2011, 14:29

yes
it WOULD be

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by it's me on Thu Jan 27 2011, 14:40

great piece
yes

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by melbert on Fri Jan 28 2011, 00:53

Thank you thank you thank you Merlin! Another beautiful story Nick!

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by lucy on Fri Jan 28 2011, 05:11

It's no wonder why I have this love-hate thing for GC.

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Atalante on Sat Jan 29 2011, 18:40

What a strange name, Dica. Confuzzled

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by melbert on Sat Jan 29 2011, 18:50

I don't know if it's her given name, a nickname, abbreviated name. I kinda like it.

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by it's me on Sat Jan 29 2011, 20:41

we say "Dica" as "tell/talk"
funny how words change in different languages

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by melbert on Sat Jan 29 2011, 21:22

Well, it does sound as if she had the "gift of gab", so the name is appropriate.

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Merlin on Sat Jan 29 2011, 21:28

From Nick's previous column....

She was Roy and Nora's first child and they named her Dica Mae.

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by it's me on Sat Jan 29 2011, 21:58

"gift of gab" sounds really funny Very Happy

for listeners too ? Wink

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by melbert on Sat Jan 29 2011, 22:22

It's only fun for listeners if the "gab" person is interesting. I'm sure that Dica had loads of stories to tell.

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by it's me on Sat Jan 29 2011, 23:08

I didn't talk about 'her' only!

I adore story tellers
hope G is one of them

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by melbert on Sat Jan 29 2011, 23:48

From what's been written and others who have spoken about spending time with George, he loves to tell stories and is quite good at it. He would hold my attention reading the phone book, but that's me.

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by it's me on Sun Jan 30 2011, 00:12

hehehehe

he could teach me about English pronunciation
you know what they say: better learn foreign languages into.... Exclamation

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Katiedot on Sun Jan 30 2011, 07:11

George with his grandmother. Look at the smile on his face Very Happy
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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by it's me on Sun Jan 30 2011, 08:45

big big baby smile

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by melbert on Sun Jan 30 2011, 13:38

Precious pic! Thanks Katie!

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Merlin on Wed Feb 02 2011, 15:42

27th August 2007

Which U.S. city is tops to visit?

"It's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there."

How many times have you said that? How many times have you heard it? All right, let's put it to the test. We haven't had a survey in a long time and I don't want you to get lazy. Tell me which is your favorite American city to visit - and why?

The poll, by definition, eliminates the city where you live. But we have been called the most mobile society in world history, with good reason. We have an excellent road system and more cars than any nation. It is true that our public transportation - except for air - lags far behind many developed nations, particularly train and bus. But nobody hits the road in personal transportation any more than we do, so we have seen a lot of our country.

Let's get to work.

There are cities that we love to love and cities that we love to hate. Paradoxically, it is sometimes the same city. New York is one of them and Los Angeles is another. Is either of these at the head of your list? Why?

Not long ago, New Orleans was in my top five. How quickly events can change perceptions. Nina and I have been there only once since Katrina. I hope we can go again soon in search of the New Orleans we remember.

Some cities and towns have taken us by surprise. Portland, Ore., is one of them. It is beautiful and vibrant. Lots of things going on and lots of civic pride.

We still remember the first time we saw the Riverwalk in San Antonio. A generation ago, it was an entirely new idea and we were captivated.

How about San Francisco? In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit I have a bias in favor of the City by the Bay because I lived there when I was a little boy. It was during World War II and everything about the city seemed purposeful and important.

Every second person you saw on Market Street was in uniform. The Army base at the Presidio was busy, as was the Navy installation at Mare Island and the military hospital complex at Treasure Island. Ships going to or returning from war sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars clanked up the sharp little hills and the restaurant and bar known as "Top o' the Mark" was the hottest spot west of the Mississippi. Every time I visit these days, I see it through the prism of those edge-of-the-world days.

But that doesn't mean I can't love Chicago. In an odd way, Nina and I think the Windy City is the most underrated big town in the nation. There are always a lot of interesting events going on in Chicago but, for some reason, we seem more oriented to New York or L.A. when we think of going to a metropolis for a visit. Chicago has everything they do - except for L.A.'s sunshine - and it is so much closer to us.

How about "Hot"lanta? The city with more "Peachtree" streets than L.A. has "Orange Grove" streets. Atlanta's phenomenal growth is one of the great urban success stories in my lifetime.

We can't forget Miami and its resurgent South Beach, or Philadelphia, which holds so much of our nation's history in trust.

If we were making this list 30 years ago, two cities that would have been unlikely candidates were Cleveland and Indianapolis. My, how times have changed. Some of the most interesting innovations we have seen in central cities over the last decade we found in those two nearby communities. What a comeback.

In fact, if there is one common denominator among the cities Nina and I love, it is that each has a busy and vibrant downtown, day or night. Those core areas that close up at the end of the business day and leave the streets virtually empty in the evening are courting trouble. They are leaving a vacuum and nature hates a vacuum. Soon, the concrete canyons are filled with unpleasant and dangerous elements. Visitors have had a bad experience, which they then spread far and wide. It takes a lot of time, effort and money to erase a bad impression. Ask Cleveland and Indianapolis.

This time, however, let's concentrate on good impressions. What is your favorite American city to visit?

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Merlin on Wed Feb 02 2011, 15:49

My favourite city so far is Las Vegas...some think its tacky I thought it was fab.

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Re: Nick's Columns

Post by Atalante on Wed Feb 02 2011, 23:34

it's me wrote:we say "Dica" as "tell/talk"
funny how words change in different languages

Yeps, it's the same in Spanish. Digame, tell me. Razz

And that grandmother of his SURE looks like him, ..., naughty and born with a smile on her face. Twisted Evil

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