Although It's Been Said, Many Times, Many Ways, Merry Christmas to YOU and Yours!

     Every year we send out our homemade Christmas cards. This year we sent out over a hundred and sixty of them. If you did not receive one, here is your copy, just as filled with love as the ones sent by mail. Truly. We hope this Christmas finds you and your loved ones happy, healthy and richly Blest by The Lord.

"So far, so good...I'll try to stay out of trouble...Mom and Dad will let you know how that works out, I'm sure."


The New and Better Cover

Since we published our book, Space Freighter First Dock: Neo-Eden last August 8th, a little more than four months ago, initially it didn't 'take off', as far as sales. Folks commented that they didn't like the cover which I, Peggy, had quickly put together, (seen below),
so, we opted to hire a much awarded book cover artist, Tatiana Villa. As you can see, she did an amazing job and it has made a big difference in our sales. While as yet, we haven't actually 'launched' our advertising campaign, it has been selling, and a few of the readers have been nice enough to take the time to give us reviews. 
  We are thrilled that every review has received 5 stars! This has so encouraged us that we have been busily working on the next book in the (what we hope to be) a series. This next leg of our adventure will be to the airless 'rock' called "Oer". As of yet, we have no working title.
Although I have friends who tell me that they aren't fond of science fiction, I let them know that while it's always not been the kind of subject I like reading, either, Cappy and I 'write like we write'. We write our books in the same style as we write our blog here: Once't ya get past Cappy's highly scientific information that's needed to put our readers where they need to be in time and space, the story blooms and the characters come to life.
We just thought we should give you an update, because, actually, many of you, our readers, have encouraged us for years, to "write a book...write a book!" So to this we say, "Well, there ya go!"


Merry Christmas from Cappy Claus

I have been really enjoying wishing folks a Merry Christmas and asking God to Bless yall and everyone I see as I go around town on my Christmas errands.  Here I am with my beloved ol' rusty "sleigh", Tinker Bayl, run by horsepower instead of reindeer, pullin' her along.
I go around, "Ho! Ho! Ho!-ing" and smiling, and passing out candy canes to the very young and old, who seem to appreciate the gesture.
So with a hearty "Ho! Ho! Ho!" Here's wishing you and yours the most joyous and Blessed of Christmases.
From Cappy Claus


The "Get Well" Gumbo

When we usta come down with the winter sniffles, Mama would make what she called her 'get well gumbo'.  It starts with a full 5 lbs. of yellow onions julienned, and a full head of garlic in a stock pot of water.  She seasoned it with her own special blend of Cajun Seasoning, a lot of powdered cayenne pepper and 2 tablespoons (!) of Zatarain's concentrated liquid crab boil.  
  When she got all this to boiling, she added a big baking hen that the butcher had cut into "gumbo pieces", being that, even the bones are sawed open, exposing the rich marrow. To all this, she added sliced smoked Cajun sausage and also special South Louisiana Andouille sausage. 
    As part of her larder, there were quarts of smothered okra lining the shelves of her pantry, so she'd open one and put that in to help thicken her gumbo.
   Well, seeing as Peg has had a bad case of tonsillitis, has been running a fever and aching all over, I followed my Mom's 'prescription', as laid out above.
    After it had been merrily boiling away for a of couple hours, I added green onion sliced and parsley, both from our garden and let it boil some more. 
   The fiery spicy hot soup with the overdose of onion and garlic is supposed to be healthy and good for your cold; apparently the germs can't take the heat.   
Next time, I need to remember to make this amazing 'medicinal' soup, but not wait for someone to be sick before I decide to cook it.  It's truly is an amazing soup and as Mama usta say, "It's good for what ails ya."
   ...Now, this particular pot of gumbo is the most special pot of "get well gumbo" that we have ever made.  Rooting around in our freezer, I came across a pack of Andouille sausage that our recently dearly departed friend, Todd had given us this time last year. Peggy and I both were in tears when we realized that it hadn't been that long ago that Todd had been alive and busy making sausage, boudin, wine...so alive enjoying his whole world and sharing it with everybody. Todd was so popular and poured out his life helping others, and he was a highly esteemed critical care nurse. He had chosen his profession well.
  So, here I was, alone in the kitchen making a gumbo to make Peggy get well, but...I wasn't alone, because Todd, even from Heaven was helping me minister to Peggy, nursing her back to health. (She's feeling much better now)
    God Rest ye, merry Gentleman, and thank you again, so very, very much!


Bonfires on the Mississippi River Levee; a Cajun Christmas Tradition

I have been told that the lighting of the bonfires on Christmas Eve to light Santa's way along the banks of the Mississippi River is the oldest local Christmas tradition in the country.  I am not sure if this is true, but "Laura, a Creole Plantation" has this wonderful picture in its archives:  
When I was a youngster, the origin of the tradition was explained to me in the form of a story:
     Years ago, families living along the River who wanted to trade merchandise or do business, and such, or, those who intended to get on board one of the vessels for travel, and needing the steamships to stop, would signal the Riverboat captains with a bonfire.  Naturally, as Christmas neared, people needed the steamboats to transport presents and Christmas cheer up and down the River, so many signal fires burned every night leading up to the holidays.
    Legend has it that a young child stood on the river bank with his parents, watching as they lit a fire to signal the boats.  The child asked, "Papa, why are there so many fires on the river tonight?"
  The quick thinking parent answered, "Mah, Cher, das so Papa Noel can find his way up da River bringing presents to all the good little children along the way." 
  And, maybe it was kind of true; after all, the steamboats were loaded with Christmas gifts and Holiday travelers.  
    This is the story I was told about how the tradition started and of the legend of Papa Noel finding his way along the River in the dark of night and seeing the bonfires, he knew where to stop so that he could deliver presents to the good little children's homes.
    And thus, the legend of the signal fire was born.  True or not, the tradition has been celebrated for over a hundred years in the little towns of Gramercy and Lutcher, Louisiana, who are right next door to each other.  
   Two years ago, Christmas Eve, Peggy and I crossed the Mississippi Veteran's bridge to take in all the intricate and beautiful bonfire structures atop the levee as folks were putting their finishing touches on them, in preparation for the lighting of the bonfires that night, after dark.  We made two back-to-back videos of our trip, and apologize for the sound on both. But...if you manage to "ride along" with us for the duration, a little more than half an hour, total,  you will get a good idea about the festivities that take place in our 'neck of the woods' on Christmas Eve, as though you were here along with 
 us. You'll need to click the lower right hand square kind of icon...the four corners with the sides of the 'square' missing, to enlarge the screen to get a better view of your 'ride'! (Next time we'll wash the car windows before we leave.)
After this first video, we attended Christmas Eve Mass, then,  
after Mass we began a slow wonderful trip home enjoying the bonfires in all their Christmas Eve glory.  This video does not give justice to this amazing colorful Christmas tradition, but we tried to capture it for you. We were in almost standstill bumper-to-bumper traffic, but we think it's the best way to see it all, not driving down the road in a rush. As you can tell by the diversity of loud music along the ride, the New Orleans area is truly a melting pot of cultures, and all joyously enjoying the celebration of the Season.  
  If you ever find yourself in South Louisiana around Christmas time, you really owe it to yourself to experience this unique Christmas tradition.  Until then, grab a glass of eggnog and come along with us as we ride along River Road, slowly making our way home enjoying this yearly Christmas Eve burning of the bonfires.


Under Construction

A note to those of you are already curious about this years Christmas card.  They are under construction.

Each one, and this is around a third or less of them, thoughtfully  highlighted and prayed over and lovingly stuffed and addressed and stamped as our gift to family and friends.