Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Lighthouse Wedding

Tybee Island Light Station (c)

Bob & I had retired to the coast of Georgia and were living on Tybee Island, 18 miles East of Savannah, when our daughter from St. Louis decided to get married.  We'd always figured she'd want a large wedding, but after her first visit to Tybee, she and her fiancee fell in love with the island and its lighthouse Known as the Tybee Island Light Station, it is located next to the mouth of the Savannah River.  

Kim & Paul liked to come visit for Christmas, so our second Christmas on the island they decided to combine it with a wedding.

Lightkeepers Cottage (c)
It was a very simple ceremony, held in the lightkeepers cottage, one of several buildings which surround the lighthouse.  

A Savannah judge who lived on Tybee performed the ceremony that was  attended by just her parents, 3 other members of our family, and 3 friends.  A 'wedding party' of ten, counting the bride & groom.

The Wedding Party


  • Us - the parents of the bride.
  • Our son & daughter-in-law, who were living in Gainseville, FL and my mother who lived close to them in Ocala, FL.  They all drove up together to Tybee Island for the wedding. 
  • Our daughter's best friend/college roommate flew down from Illinois to be her maid of honor.
  • Our neighbors, who had previously met Kim & Paul, joined us in watching the ceremony. 

The Wedding Party (c)

Kim brought her wedding dress with her from St. Louis and Paul rented his tuxedo in Savannah.  I made the local arrangements, rented the building at the lighthouse, arranged for the Judge to perform the ceremony, and ordered the wedding cake with a theme that fit the fact that they are both artists.  All of this was accomplished in three weeks, as Kim didn't call with her wedding idea until almost Thanksgiving and the wedding was December 23rd!

Wedding Music

Prior to the ceremony, our son, Greg (Kim's brother) & his wife sang (Everything I Do) I Do it for You, by Bryan Adams, at the request of the couple. It is a favorite song of theirs from the movie Robin Hood (Prince of Thieves), and the lyrics are special to them. 

The wedding music was pre-recorded and played on a tape player.  We decorated a table in the lighthouse cottage with flowers and candles as our only decorations and I took all the wedding photos. The whole ceremony, held two days before Christmas, was simple, but lovely. 

Weather Hitch

Stormy Beach Weather (Pixabay)

The only 'hitch' we experienced was the weather that late December day. The Georgia coastal area was having a Nor'easter complete with cold temperatures, high wind and heavy rain.  But we all laughed it off, because problems with severe weather have been so frequent in our family over the years for any event or trip that we've all taken to calling it "The Austin Weather Curse" and are not surprised when it happens.  It's pretty much a 'given' that it WILL happen. It's a good thing we decided on the Lighthouse Wedding instead of a 'beach' wedding!

An Unusual Wedding Cake

After the wedding, we all went over to a local restaurant on the beach for a seafood dinner.

Because there were only 10 of us in the wedding party, a large, standard wedding cake was not needed, or wanted.  Simple was the password of the occasion, so the cake had to fit with this theme.  I ordered it from a local bakery and arranged to have it placed on a small table near our reserved dining table at the restaurant for the traditional 'cake-cutting' ceremony.

Wedding Cake (c)

Instead of a multilayer wedding cake, we had a one-layer sheet cake.  Instead of having the bride & groom sitting on top, the cake was decorated with an artist's palette and brush, along with the names of the bride & groom and their wedding date.

Why this unusual decoration, you wonder?  Both my daughter and my son-in-law are Artists!

Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs.!

Mr. & Mrs.(c)

Afterwards, the wedding couple left for their wedding night in the bridal suite at a hotel on the beach while the rest of us returned to our island home.

Everyone stayed on with us through Christmas two days later. It was a marvelous and memorable Christmas-on-the Island and Lighthouse Wedding!

Kim & Paul  & Their Lighthouse Wedding (c)

To my knowledge, we were one of the first people to hold a wedding at the Tybee Island Lighthouse in 1994.  I think we may have started something, because today it is a regular event.

Kim & Paul's wedding was small, by choice, and very simple, but charming. If we had decided on a large wedding, we could have sent wedding invitations that fit the location.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Reflections of the Sea Ornaments

Christmas Tree Ornaments from the Seashore

From the Gulf Coast of Florida to the Central Coast of California to the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Georgia, we've celebrated Christmas near the 'Sea' over many a year. As a result, our Christmas Ornaments have gradually gravitated toward items that reflect and remind us of the seashore. We have seagulls and shells, lighthouses and ships, and a 'colorful' crab. Here I share some of my favorite 'Reflections of the Sea' ornaments that I use on my Christmas Tree each year.

Throughout this page I've included a variety of seashell holiday ornaments and other related ornaments that reflect life at the seashore. Perhaps there is one or two that would fit in with your Christmas Tree ornament collection, whether you live near the seashore or just love 'all things about the Sea'.

*All pictures on this page are personal photos by Wednesday-Elf, unless otherwise noted.

The Tybee Island (GA) Lighthouse and Our Lighthouse Ornaments


Tybee Island Lighthouse and Lighthouse Ornaments

Living Near a Lighthouse on Tybee Island...

Lighthouses have long fascinated people, and visitors to Lighthouse locations number in the thousands every year. We were lucky enough to spend 13 years living on Tybee Island, Georgia and the Tybee Lighthouse became a favorite of ours.

Naturally, collecting lighthouse ornaments to add to our "Sea" ornament collection was a 'given', especially after our daughter was married at the Tybee Lighthouse two days before Christmas in 1994!

Cute Crab Ornaments on the Christmas Tree...


One of our favorite seashore memories of Tybee Island, Georgia was eating at a restaurant named "The Crab Shack" (where the elite eat in their bare feet).   

To remind us of those fun times, and the Atlantic Ocean we loved around the island, we acquired this fun 'Crab' ornament.

Blue Crab Ornament


This "Blue Crab" Ornament will make a unique addition to your sea-theme Christmas tree

If your favorite 'coastal' area is the Chesapeake Bay at the Atlantic Ocean, you are probably a big fan of the Maryland Blue Crab (as my son is). This 'Blue Crab' ornament will be a fun reminder of the delicious blue crabs you've enjoyed in the past.

If you are interested in learning more about the Blue Crab, this Blue Crab Informational Site is an interesting read. It even has recipes for your enjoyment.

Clam Shell with Pearl


Then we added a pretty little clam shell with a pearl inside.

We See Seashells by the Seashore

Walking on the beach and finding 'shells' is a favorite pastime of anyone who lives near the ocean, or visits on vacation. Over the years we collected quite a few shells on the beach, and seashell Christmas ornaments for our Tree and home decorations. These two are of a lacy-looking gold color and they look lovely hanging on the Christmas tree.

Seashells, Starfish & Beach Glass Ornament

This colorful collection of seashells and other beach life makes a beautiful ornament for your ocean-themed Christmas tree.

It's also a lovely addition to a beach house decor.

Seagulls along the Shore - My very favorite ornament

Seagulls and the seashore go together, so naturally we had to have a "Seagull" ornament for our "Reflections of the Sea" theme.

Seagulls also soar around fishing vessels and 'ships at sea', a constant reminder of the sea.

Continue Your Nautical Theme

Down to the Sea in Ships...

Cruise Ship Ornaments
Ship themed ornaments are a fun reminder of the Sea, and a cruise ship ornament is perfect to remember a past cruise or look forward to one. On a cold winter day, the thought of a cruise to a tropical island warms you right up!

Bring the 'Seashore' to your Home for Christmas

Since we lived near the seashore for so many years, our Christmas Cards were often photos of our children with the ocean in the background. Below is one of my favorites, taken Christmas 1976 on the Breakwater at Morro Rock on the California Central Coast.

Christmas by the Seashore...

"Christmas on the California Central Coast" - 1976

May you all have a joyous Christmas Season

© 2009 Wednesday-Elf.  Updated 8/23/2018

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Savannah Gingerbread House Festival

Gingerbread Houses - Savannah Festival
One of the sweetest things about the holiday season are the delightful (and delicious) Gingerbread Houses on display in numerous places around the world.  Often large hotels, such as the Hyatt Regency and the Westin feature gingerbread house displays in their lobbies from Thanksgiving through New Year's and thousands of visitors come to see them.

Our family went to see our local Gingerbread Village a couple years ago, held at the Westin Hotel. Known as the Westin Savannah Harbor Resort, it is located on Hutchinson Island in the middle of the Savannah River directly across from Savannah, Georgia's famous River Street.

Holiday Houses in Gingerbread

Gingerbread House Railroad Station
The Savannah Gingerbread House Festival has been an annual event in Savannah, Georgia for 16 years.  The gingerbread houses on display at the festival are culinary creations which are part of a competition open to everyone in two divisions (adult ages18 & over, and students, 17 & under).  

Each creation is judged and voted upon the day before the festival opens to the public and prizes awarded. 

Our Savannah Gingerbread Village is sponsored by The Savannah Harbor Foundation, a nonprofit that helps local and regional children's charities.

Savannah Harbor Foundation

The Foundation first began as a response to the tragedy of 9/11 when the General Manager of Westin Savannah Harbor, Mark Spadoni, felt the need to bring some feel-good, family-friendly, uplifting events to the city in the tragedy’s aftermath. Mark and other area business people joined forces to form the Savannah Harbor Foundation which hosts a variety of holiday festivities and other family-oriented events throughout the year.

Some of the Gingerbread Creations Seen on Our Tour...


Old Lady in a Shoe


Gingerbread Golf Cart

Replica of Savannah's Famous 'Olde Pink House' Restaurant
Southern cuisine served in an elegant Colonial mansion

Westin Savannah Harbor Hotel in Gingerbread

One of the largest and most elaborate Gingerbread Houses on display was over 4 feet tall and was a replica of the Westin Savannah Harbor Hotel.

The Rest of the Festival


"Parade of Boats' on the Savannah River
We spent about an hour touring the Gingerbread Village, then went outside on the lawn of the Westin Hotel which faces the Savannah River and from there watched the rest of the evening's activities, the beautifully decorated 'Parade of Boats', which was followed by a fireworks display.  A fun family evening.

Make Your Own Gingerbread House

If you want to make your own Gingerbread House, recipes are available in a number of places online.  Check out a list of various sites here

Gingerbread House Kits

Mini-Village Gingerbread House Kit
If 'starting from scratch' is too time-consuming for you, Gingerbread House kits are available. This kit includes enough gingerbread to make 5 mini houses, including all the candy icing.  Ready to construct and eat. 

Kits come in a large selection of themes from a fancy gingerbread manor house to Christmas houses to ones depicting popular cartoon figures such as the Minions, Peanuts or Spongebob. Whatever your interest, a Gingerbread House kit can be found.

So, grab a kit,  or start with a recipe, and create a Gingerbread House this holiday season!

In what city have YOU seen this sweet Christmas festival of candy-covered creations?

Gingerbread House Day is December 12

(c) Originally published 12/3/2013. Updated 12/11/2018

*All images are personal photographs taken by Wednesday Elf at the Savannah Gingerbread House Festival

Friday, November 18, 2016

Thanksgiving ~ Our Memories Through the Years of this Sharing Holiday

(c) Personal Photo
Our Thanksgiving Tradition - Sharing with Friends

Our Thanksgiving Tradition began quite accidentally in 1962.  First Thanksgiving together, first year of marriage, new baby, new job in a new State far from family, and Bob, a radio broadcaster, had to work on Thanksgiving Day.  As it turned out, Bob's co-worker was also new to the State and had no family nearby, so Bob brought him home for dinner with us.

This began a 40-year tradition of 'sharing' our Thanksgiving Dinner with someone who would otherwise be alone and probably not even have a traditional holiday dinner. We fed a turkey dinner to a lot of grateful bachelors over the years and it always felt like the perfect way to celebrate this "sharing" holiday.

Pilgrim Greeters

Our church in Lincoln, Nebraska had a tradition for the Thanksgiving Service of having a family with a pair of children be 'greeters' for the congregation. Someone in the church had made pilgrim costumes for the greeters to wear. In 1969 our children (
Chris & Kim, brother and sister, ages 7 & 4) were chosen - not just because they were so cute (well, they were!), but because they were the right SIZE for the only pair of costumes available. Chris & Kim had a marvelous time "dressing up" and greeting everyone at the door to the church.

What Can I Bring?


Friend Eric, daughter Kim, & son-in-law Paul at Thanksgiving Dinner

 Dinner guests often ask "What can I bring?"  For several years, while living in Georgia, we invited a young bachelor friend of our daughter and son-in-law to Thanksgiving Dinner. Eric was a broadcaster with a Public Radio Station and had to work on holidays, so he came to dinner after work. Eric always wanted to "bring a dish", so we left 'dessert' up to him. The first two years, Eric brought TWO kinds of pies, a third different dessert, like a cheesecake, AND a bag of Peanut M&M's.

These extra desserts Eric brought worked out well when our shared table included our daughter and her husband from St. Louis and another year when we also had my brother & his family, making Thanksgiving a bountiful 'family & friend-filled holiday.

One Thanksgiving Eric was the only dinner guest, thus there was only 3 of us eating an entire Thanksgiving Dinner. Therefore, I admonished Eric to bring only ONE dessert -- there was only SO MUCH that we could eat!

Away for Thanksgiving 

This Thanksgiving day it was my son carving the turkey. 

From being the home my family came to for holiday celebrations, Thanksgiving 2010 the 'tables' were reversed and I spent Thanksgiving at the home of my youngest son in Kansas City, Kansas.

Grandsons Nick & Jake

Thanksgiving with my Grandsons!
My Grandsons made the Thanksgiving weekend at my son's house even more special as Thanksgiving is:

~a family time,

              ~a sharing time, 

                                   ~a loving time!

Happy Thanksgiving from the Austins!

Related article: Thanksgiving Themes

(c) Wednesday Elf  article originally published 11/3/2009.   Updated 11/20/2017

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Elizabeth Linington - Queen of the Procedurals

Author Elizabeth Linington

Elizabeth Linington, Author (Source)
One of the first women to write police procedurals, long a male-dominated genre of police story writing, author Elizabeth Linington (1921-1988) would eventually be regarded as the "Queen" of the Police Procedurals!
A 'police procedural' is a subgenre of detective fiction, depicting the activities of a police force as they investigate crimes.
Most of Elizabeth Linington's crime stories involved the LAPD and took place in and around Los Angeles, California.

Elizabeth Linington was a very Prolific Writer

She wrote books under her own name, as well as several Pen Names:

  • Dell Shannon
  • Leslie Egan
  • Anne Blaisdell
  • Egan O'Neill

Elizabeth and her Pseudonyms...

Crime Scene Do Not Cross Tape (Source)
Many authors write a series of books around a central, continuing character. Linington wrote Four separate crime series, each with their own main character. The following is a brief review of her characters and the books you will find them in.

Born Barbara "Elizabeth" Linington in 1921, she became a prolific American novelist, writing different series under her own name and one of several pseudonyms. Her crime fiction 'Police Procedurals' were written under Elizabeth Linington, Dell Shannon and Leslie Egan.

 as 'Elizabeth Linington'



Main Character: Ivor Maddox, Police Sergeant, Hollywood

Ivor Maddox is portrayed as a police sergeant working in the Wilcox Street precinct in Hollywood, California. From the first book "Greenmask," written in 1964, through the 13th book in the series "Strange Felony" (1986), we follow the policemen and women of this precinct - (including Maddox's wife Sue - a fellow policewoman he meets and marries) as they investigate... and eventually solve... crimes occurring in their area.

"Greenmask" was the very first book in the Ivor Maddox series. It's available from other sellers through Amazon.

Source: Pixabay

List of Ivor Maddox Books

  1. Greenmask! (1964)
  2. No Evil Angel (1964)
  3. Date with Death (1966)
  4. Something Wrong (1967)
  5. Policeman's Lot (1968)
  6. Practice to Deceive (1971)
  7. Crime by Chance (1973)
  8. Perchance of Death (1977)
  9. No Villain Need Be (1979)
  10. Consequences of Crime (1980)
  11. Skeletons in the Closet (1982)
  12. Felony Report (1984)
  13. Strange Felony (1986)

as "Leslie Egan"

Two Different Series!


The Borrowed Alibi on Kindle
The Vic Varallo Series...
by Leslie Egan

Egan wrote 13 books in the Vic Varallo series between 1962 and 1984. Vic Varallo is a small-town cop who moves to Glendale, California and joins the Glendale Police Department. Working with his boss (and friend) Charles O'Connor as a homicide detective, they are later joined by Detective Delia Riordan, who acquits herself splendidly on her first case, proving to the 'men' that 'women' are just as competent in the Police Department. As with all Linington's series, we meet and get to know the families of the Glendale detectives.

Egan's first book in the Vic Varallo series is "The Borrowed Alibi" (1962), now available on Kindle, and the series concludes with the 1985 book "The Wine of Life".

Police Line Poster Available on Amazon

A List of the 13 Books in the 'Vic Varallo' Series... - by Leslie Egan 
  1. The Borrowed Alibi (1962)
  2. Run to Evil (1963)
  3. Detective's Due (1965)
  4. The Nameless Ones (1967)
  5. The Wine of Violence (1969)/b>
  6. Malicious Mischief (1971)
  7. Scenes of Crime (1976)
  8. A Dream Apart (1978)
  9. The Hunter and the Hunted (1979)
  10. A Choice of Crimes (1979)
  11. Random Death (1982)
  12. Crime for Christmas (1984)
  13. The Wine of Life (1985)
Found on eBay

The Jesse Falkenstein Series
by Leslie Egan

Jesse Falkenstein, the second series by Elizabeth Linington writing as Leslie Egan, features a lawyer in Los Angeles, California. If you wonder what a lawyer has to do with the genre 'police procedurals', Jesse is not your average lawyer and these are not true 'lawyer' type stories. In the first book in the series - "A Case for Appeal" - Jesse is a poor struggling lawyer just starting out in private practice whose secretary is murdered and he becomes involved in the investigation. As the series continues, he tends to do more 'investigative' work than 'lawyering', helping out his best friend, LAPD detective Sergeant Clock (who soon marries Jesse's sister), and aided by an amazing (and extremely wealthy) 'older' gentleman who is 'bored' in his retirement and wants to feel useful. Jesse .... and all the characters in the series, including his beautiful and charming wife he once defended in a murder case -- will entrance and charm you.

A List of the 13 Books in the Jesse Falkenstein Series

  1. A Case for Appeal (1961)
  2. Against the Evidence (1962)
  3. My Name is Death (1964)
  4. Some Avenger, Rise! (1966)
  5. A Serious Investigation (1968)
  6. In the Death of a Man (1970)
  7. Paper Chase (1972)
  8. The Blind Search (1977)
  9. Look Back on Death (1978)
  10. Motive in Shadow (1980)
  11. The Miser (1981)
  12. Little Boy Lost (1983)
  13. Chain of Violence (1985)

as Dell Shannon

Luis Mendoza, a Police Lieutenant with the LAPD in Los Angeles, California - by Dell Shannon

Now Available on Kindle at Amazon

Luis Mendoza - Dell Shannon's Most Famous Character

Dell Shannon introduced her most famous character to us in her first book "Case Pending" written in 1960. Mendoza, a police lieutenant in homicide with the LAPD was originally planned to be a minor, one-time character. But when Lieutenant Luis Rodolfo Vicente Mendoza arrived upon author Shannon's pages, she found she was now in possession of an egotistical, sharply defined, inescapable Character who was clamoring insistently to occupy another book. 

Shannon was somewhat shook by this, as she was used to building characters in deliberate and leisurely development. But, as she wrote in a foreword to "First Four by Shannon", Mendoza suddenly "was, he existed, and he refused to be ignored." By the end of the second 'Mendoza' book, Shannon had settled down to a kind of temporary truce with Mendoza and by the end of the 4th book featuring him, she was stuck with Mendoza and his emerging cohorts, and there was "...nothing in this world I could do about it."

Linington, writing as Dell Shannon, wrote 38 Luis Mendoza books between 1960 and 1987. Throughout the series, the men and women of the LAPD homicide division are faced with a multitude of crimes similar to those faced every day by big city police departments. Mendoza, a poker wizard and cat lover who quite inadvertently found himself a millionaire after being a police detective too many years to want to do anything else, solves crimes with the help of his two trusty Sergeants and a collection of other detectives. In addition, as the series continues, we become acquainted with the personal lives of these detectives as they meet and marry their spouses, become parents and acquire a delightful collection of dogs & cats. By the end of the series you are wishing Shannon was still around to write more as Mendoza and his team have become personal 'friends'.

The list of Luis Mendoza books is too long to include here, but a complete list can be found on Cozy Mystery List and also on Stop, You're Killing Me (A website to Die For... If You Love Mysteries!)

First Four by Shannon - The Beginning of the Luis Mendoza Series!


First Four Mendoza Stories
This volume called First Four by Shannon introduces Dell Shannon's most well-known character, Luis Mendoza. 


(Dell Shannon is the most famous pseudonym of Elizabeth Linington)

The Anglophile

Check Price on Amazon
Besides police procedurals, Elizabeth Linington wrote this 'spy' story about a British spy in Dublin who is in the middle of falling in love while maintaining his cover and ridding himself of a very inquisitive policeman.

Copies available through new and used book sellers through Amazon.

Personal Notes on Author Elizabeth Linington


My Collection of Elizabeth Linington Books

I've been a fan of author Elizabeth Linington since the 1970s. Pictured is part of my collection of Elizabeth Linington-Dell Shannon-Leslie Egan books, which fill two whole book shelves in my bookcase. Of the 79 books Linington wrote between 1960 and 1987, I own all but five. Most of her books are now out-of-print, but can still be found in used book stores and online at places like Amazon and eBay.  A few have recently been made available as Kindle editions.

In the late 1970s, I was living on the Central Coast of California. While checking out the newest Dell Shannon book at the library one day, the librarian said "did you know that Elizabeth Linington now lives in Arroyo Grande (just 25 miles away) and is listed in our (San Luis Obispo) phone book?"  She suggested I call her and tell her what a fan I was. Well, regretfully, I never got up the nerve to call (thinking she wouldn't want to be 'bothered') before Linington died in Arroyo Grande in 1988 at the age of 67. She wrote her last book in 1987, so she wrote right up to the end. I wish now that I had called, because I'm STILL a fan and re-read her delightful books frequently. 

She truly was the "Queen of the (Police) Procedural".

This article was originally written on another site in © 2012 Wednesday-Elf