It was a cloudless day on the patio of the General Store where the temperatures were 65 wonderful degrees....a far cry from the single digits being experience in the midwest and east. The big news today is that Dennis Pierini got his first hole in one this last week and it must be true because Gary Castle was a witness....Gary also witnessed my great accomplishment. Dennis was attempting to down play the event and act like those types of things happen to him several times a day. He made a necklace out of the golf ball and was walking around with the golf club, pretending it was just another walking stick. It was a little wearing that he kept playing the video of him removing the golf ball from the hole...regular speed, slow motion, fast speed...you name it. Congratulations Dennis...fun stuff. Lee Hoekstra came down from the mountain and was talking about the new house he purchased in South Dakota.....after quite a bit of haggling he bought it for $10,000. It sits on 1.5 acres and he did some remodeling, which raised his property taxes up to $258 per year. I think he said it was a 2 to 3 bedroom 1 bath estate. He was also talking about White Eagle in Naperville and indicated that increased property taxes and other tax issues have had a profound negative impact on property values....a once $1.5 M property is now $900,000...ouch. Illinois is truly struggling. Lee also indicated that a lot of the property in Prescott was being purchase by Californians. Dick Davis was talking about his 7 holes in one...sorry Dennis....and the great courses where we got them while he was enjoying his patty melt. The weather back in Michigan now is in single digits and he is happy to be on the patio. Frank Stock took a break from the market and, as a result, the indices were responding by showing a red face. He and Wes were going to hit golf balls after lunch in hopes to ride Dennis’ coat tails on getting the ball into the hole. Jerry Ostermann was saying he had run into Dick George several times, at the dry cleaners of all places. Jerry has lived in his home in Elmhurst since about 1987. That is quite a stay.....and a very great village for sure. We did talk about the gravitation of residents from Illinois and California moving to other areas for one reason or another and they are taking their voting habits with them changing the political climate of the states they are relocating to. Thats ok as long as the taxes, homelessness and hesitancy to address hard issues do not become the side effects at their new digs. Here is hoping everyone is enjoying every day and taking bumps in the road with a level head. Gerry
Blue skies and 60 degrees welcomed 10 eaters and 2 special guests for the February 7th Romeo Brunch on the patio of the General Store. Jerry Ostermann is in Scottsdale till April 1st with a couple of flights back to Elmhurst in between. He doesn’t act like a retired man, but one focused on promoting his delicious candy treats. Kevin Tripp meandered onto the pavered patio, as you would expect being from Wyoming. His family is doing very well and his golf game more better. Of course he has picked up the new TaylorMade driver and that along with some recent lessons has him walking further down the fairway to hit his second shot. Life is good. Brent Keil made the trek from southeast Gilbert and is looking all the better for his new home. He and Kevin were remembering the Ole Days (good and not so good) and talking about merchandising in the 80’s in Wyoming. Instead of after Christmas sales, Kevin pushed sales by offering reloading in his photo department....he was a man of his times for sure. They were talking about the new plan CVS has promoted for increased health services versus merchandise selling. Seems that the formula for retail pharmacy is migrating with service taking a second seat to lower store operating expenses for CVS and Walgreens. Bill Harbecke finally made an appearance and he indicated that he has not been feeling up to par with some flu issues( quarantine?) and arthritic and hip problems. Certainly sounded familiar to most of us. Frank Stock took a break from driving Wall Street to spend time with friends......then look what happened to the market. He is hanging his hat on the fact that he told everyone to buy Tesla stock when it recently was under $200..of course it hit $920 on Tuesday. Stan Petersen, recently retired from Chief Ranger at Quintero Golf Course, is taking trial runs with Deone in their recently purchased 23 foot RV. Deone’s birthday is Sunday and I am sure he has some tremendous gift for her..............On February 29th, Chris, Deone’s son is getting married in Kauai...what fun. Julie Ann’s brother in law Wes, has been in town for the last two weeks and he has been building a paver patio at her home.....being from South Dakota he doesn’t think this weather is that cool. Ron Grove indicates that he has been getting some nibbles on he and Liz’s home. Great news...now the hook needs to be set. Pat Johnston took a break from his tennis game to join ole friends. Nothing officially planned specifically for a family trip this year, but details are forthcoming. They go with all family members to some great locations every two years. Arlyn White is in the midst of his winter vacation, enjoying visiting family and golf. The Ocotillo Golf Course took him to task last week. For those of you not familiar, this course has water on at least 12 holes.......I used to think he was more wise than to make this type of choice. We were joined by Sandy and Dick Davis as they were near by after running some errands. They both looked great and it was great to catch up for a bit. Very little political discussion....what can you say about chaos...whats the ole saying..”it is like herding cats”. Everyone has a great weekend. Gerry
The sun and blue skies were apparent as 6 hearty gentlemen(?) gathered on the patio of the General Store for another Friday of good food and banter. We had two attendees new to this chaos in the form of Terry Hanson and Bob Vonderhaar, who traveled all the way from Firerock CC in Fountain Hills where both are year round residents. I am surprised that Terry was not in Bison colors as he was the quarterback at the University only a few years ago.....or so it seems. Of course he attended the latest bowl game in Frisco Texas, which they won, along with the likes of Brad Trom. Brad, it seems, has been seen wearing his cleats and pads some days around Nashville. If you don’t take your medication as prescribed, those things happen. For some reason, Curt Larson missed this last game, but he was in a bar in Mesa with hundreds of Bison fans cheering along...never too far from food and drink. Terry looked great considering that he recently has been battling the by product of having his appendix rupture. Quite a lengthy battle for sure. Bob looked great as well. It seems that he keeps busy getting injections into his knee looking to avoid surgery. Ron Grove, we find out, is going to the same Orthopedists and was on his way after lunch for injections as well. We attempted to convince both of them that surgery was the way to go, but they wouldn’t even make eye contact. Ron has been having some activity around the sale of his home, but nothing final. It is a beautiful estate and one that will be swept up. I am not sure if he still has the basket and tennis courts, music studio, and home theater for 50, but he still has some great amenities. Kevin Tripp was in attndance to tell the group about his fishing expeditions in Alaska and talking about all his bear friends that he has met over the last 15 years. Perhaps he has spent a wee bit too much time by himself up there. Arlyn White and Patty are enjoying their winter stay by playing golf and enjoying family and visiting grandkids. This may be hard for some to believe but we did reference some political discussions hoping that our hard working Congress would move past sound bytes and focus on worthy endeavors. I guess worthy endeavors has different meaning for different folks. Sitting in the sun was fantastic, but our group grew restless when Bob began talking about colonoscopies. Perhaps we had overstayed......................
Well, it was a 70 degree(barely) day with light cloud cover as 9 souls from varied careers with Lucky, Eisner, Osco, Sav-on, Jewel, American Stores, Skaggs, Albertsons etc gathered for a hearty meal and frequent banter. We had two new additions to our group and they are permanent residents of the Valley of the Sun. Stan Whitcomb and Dave Bell reside with their spouses at VI at Grayhawk on Thompson Peak in Scottsdale, it's a CCRC or Continuing Life Care Facility. Stan was a “systems guy, executive” from Lucky and then moved to SLC before the Albertsons acquisition. I am sure most of you know Stan or at the very least, know his name. Dave Bell began his career with Eisner along with Pat Johnston. I will believe he knows stories that we all would like to hear. He started as a bag boy and then went into store management ultimately becoming an operations VP. Along the way he spent time with Petsmart where he was the equine specialist......you don’t hear that every day. Pat kept them both busy at his end of the table either to protect them from the rest of us or to protect himself. Alway great to see Pat....why he looks so young is anybody’s guess. I think he must be using Kardasian facial products. Tom Nielsen also here after a brief hiatus...one side trip for him was Barrett Jackson where he was looking at key VW vintage vans and also immaculate ice cream trucks. I think he is looking for a hobby or two. Curt Larson was fattening up before his road trip next week to California to visit national parks. The man loves to drive, as we all know, and will probably terrorize wild life in Yosemite. Travel safe Curt. John Spellman has returned from Maui where he spent a week volunteering for the PGA Sentry Tournament at Kapalua Plantation Course....he does that every year. His son, Justin, is still doing well and improving weekly, thank heavens. John was telling me his daughter just took delivery of a Tesla Model 3 and he enjoyed taking it for a “fast” spin. Those automobiles create whiplash when depressing the accelerator. They are so enjoyable to drive. Time will tell if Dad follows suit. Arlyn White and Patty are playing golf weekly and today he is picking up his son and his wife as they visit for a spell. Food and golf accompany a very nice visit. Brent Keil and Carol are looking forward to The Wahlstrom’s visit when they stay down by Talking Stick. The Keils will be showing off their new digs when Larry and MG stop by next Wednesday. John Eversman, John Dyer and Joe Bugas were three people mentioned as we all looked for updates....only thing we knew for sure, none of them were in jail.....now.
Deep blue skies greeted winter travelers from Utah and Illinois as they began their snow bird adventures. Alway good to see Arlyn for his annual sun and warm temperature visits. He and Patti arrived las week and have been testing the quality of certain desert courses. So far, so good. The White family is doing well and Arlyn indicated that his son that was in Japan for a number of years is now working at Cambridge University. The Japan university wanted to grant him tenure but he more preferred the country of England focusing on a robotic project....how they interact and relate to humans. I don’t even do that very well. Big undertaking. Arlyn was asking about acquaintances from the past...Jim Willyard....where is he and what is he doing? Larry Wahlstrom..he and Mary Gail are looking to come to the Valley of the sun the last week of January. They were coming for 5 to 6 weeks, but MG’s right knee decided to break down and request a replacement which is scheduled for February 11th. Neil Stacey.....not seen much but still playing lots of golf and participates in an annual outing with Tom Dieterle, Bob Potter, Dave Schoenbeck and group. The Illinois contingent showed up in the forms of Gary Castle and Dennis Pierini. The Castles are doing well and, for a hobby, looking at properties in Trilogy in Tonto Verde....love where they live in Troon, but looking for one level floor plan....something to that. Dennis arrived a week ago with his wife and 13 year ole Golden Retriever. I am surprised he could lift his 750 lb Harley in Chicago. The man is crazed. He also enjoys target shooting using one of his six handguns. I understand his wife is a better shot. The Pierinis always spend their winters in Fountain Hills......very enjoyable. Always nice to warm up in our sunshine while putting 2000 miles between themselves and all the critical comments regarding the out of control taxes and legislature. Positive thoughts to all and wishes for a great weekend. Gerry