By Seamus Muldoon, Himself
 Copyright © 1997-2010
All Rights Reserved


     Itís cold and blustery and snowing here in Detroit. Everyone seems upset about the economy in general and the local economy in particular, whatever than means. I hear people using words I havenít heard before, and everyone seems stressed. Is December 2008, my first December, this way all the time, or is it just now? I suppose Iíll know next year this time if the situation is different and people are acting different. Who are General Motors, Ford and Chrysler anyhow? Why are they acting so badly and upsetting everyone like this? Hmmmmmmm.

     We are packing for a trip to Houston. Itís Grandpa Muldoonís 71st birthday weekend and weíre going to visit him and wish him happy birthday. I havenít seen him in a few months, and this is making me very happy. It will be my first visit to Texas outside Mommyís uterus, so I expect this to be quite a different experience than when I wrote about my first visit there. Weíre only going for a long weekend, but everyone is packing like we were moving there permanently. I think itís because of all the baby stuff they have to carry along for me.

     Iím now 8 months old and Iím growing and developing very quickly. I bet Grandpa will be just thrilled at all the things I can do and say now. I can crawl and stand up if I hold on to something. I hear that Grandpa used to have to hold on to things to stand steady too, back when he was having such a grand time of it in his favorite haunts, especially Muldoons. His stories about Muldoons are really wonderful examples of how great people should conduct their affairs. Too bad we donít have a Muldoons here in Detroit. Grandpa Muldoon says that the CEOs of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler ought to get in their big private jet planes and fly down to Muldoons so the folks at Muldoons could help them understand how the real world actually works.

     The flight to Houston was uneventful, and we rented a car and went straight to Grandpa and Aunt Belindaís for lunch. Grandpaís lentil soup and crusty bread smelled so good. I got to eat chopped banana and baby food. Grandpa was so happy to see me. I thought he was almost going to cry he was so thrilled. He kept thanking Mommy and Dad for coming down and giving him an opportunity to visit with us all. After lunch we went into the living room so I could start to be introduced to the kitties. I met Booger, Bubba, Sweetie Pie, Little Girl and Cowboy. They didnít seem overjoyed to meet me though. I think they may be used to having the house all to themselves with Papa and Aunt B I.

     Dinner that evening was one of Papaís specialties, Beef Rhonesque. It is very much like Beef Bourguignon, but made with pancetta instead of salt pork, Cippolini instead of pearl onions and Rhone red wine instead of Burgundy. The sauce was out of this world. Mom dipped a piece of the beef into the sauce and let me taste the sauce. I have never tasted anything that lusciously satiny and perfectly balanced in my entire life. It sure beats baby food. With it Papa prepared an asparagus risotto with four cheeses that was a perfect match. The wine was a bourgeois Cote du Rhone Ė a Clos DíOratoire I think. It was the same wine with which he made the sauce. The whole experience was mind bending. It was hard to talk, as everyone was concentrating on the delicious flavors. Papa said that if we would move to Houston we could eat like that all the time. That would be enough to make my mind up, but I think Mom and Dad are probably going to stay in Detroit and not resign their professional positions just so they can move to Houston and eat Papaís cooking.

     After one of Papaís glorious dinners, replete with copious vino, there isnít much left to do but take a few moments to say goodnight and go to bed. Great sleeping! Everything tastes better when he makes it. Mom says that even when he gives her a recipe it doesnít come out the same as when he does it. She thinks that when you are using some recipe you are careful to measure everything just so, whereas he just eyeballs everything because he has made whatever the dish is so many times.

     Saturday morning starts with breakfast at The Frog, a French Croissant Brioche type cafť in Rice Village Ė near Rice University Ė and a walk around the neighborhood. Papa used to live there until he and Aunt B I moved to where they live now. Papa says that when he moves out of an area it is called gentrification Ė whatever that is. Then we went to this old house on a very busy street where they have thousands of Mexican ceramic art pieces for very reasonable prices. Papa and Aunt B I have a lot of this around their home. The colors are very rich and of course almost everything they have involves some theme of food. Their kitchen and breakfast room is really incredible Ė so many colors and all those wonderful aromas. We have lunch at Sylviaís, Papaís and Aunt B Iís favorite Mexican restaurant, where Mom actually once attended a class in how to make tamales. Having plans for dinner in a very nice restaurant, Papa took the afternoon off for a nap. So did we.

     We had dinner in one of the best seafood fusion restaurants in America, The Reef. The chef, Brian Caswell, is a friend of Papa and Aunt B I. He cooked all over the world and is a master at Asian-Classic Euro fusion cooking. He worked with Jean George Vongerichten, the worldís foremost fusion cuisine celebrity chef. It seems that Chef Caswell got his introduction to the world of professional cooking when he was in college and worked at Papaís and Aunt B Iís restaurant in Brenham Texas. His conversations with Papa about food and wine seemed to ignite a passion in him. After he had worked for many years around the world to become a great chef himself, he opened his restaurant in Houston and sent Papa an email letting him know about the restaurant and thanking him for the inspiration to do that. His restaurant is now Papa and Aunt B Iís favorite. The food is wonderful. Mommy dipped bread into several things so I could taste them, and I enjoyed my baby food in a different setting that evening.

     At The Reef I discovered that I really like waitresses. They kept smiling at me and paying attention to me and touching me whenever they passed my chair. I think that I am always going to have a certain warm feeling for women. YUM!! Mommy says that when Iím old enough Papa Muldoon will teach me all his wonderful techniques for meeting women.

     One of Papaís and Aunt B Iís friends, Pat Moran joined us for dinner. He is so animated and funny. His cell phone plays the Notre Dame fight song when anyone calls him. In addition to telling many stories, some of them possibly true, he showed us his knife and gun that he carries everywhere. Mom and Dad were somewhat surprised when he whipped out the hardware, but Papa, Aunt B I and I werenít surprised. Papa and Aunt B I always pack weapons, and I saw so many guns around their house that it may seem strange when I get back home and there arenít any. Dad was moved to have his picture taken Sunday morning after breakfast holding Aunt B Iís AK-47 assault rifle. We have a picture of Mommy holding that gun, and now we have one of Daddy looking like some third world terrorist wearing an outfit from The GAP. Now that is what I call eclectic.

     Oh Ė I almost forgot to tell you Ė Pat Moran says he wants me to travel around with him so he can use me for women bait. What does that mean? Can he really be serious?

     Going to visit Houston is fun. It is much more enjoyable outside Mommyís uterus than it was on my first visit when all I could taste was amniotic fluid. I really like Texas. I could get used to their way of thinking and the way they do everything with so much gusto. They really know how to enjoy everything, especially cold beer and BBQ. And the women are so much fun there. WOW! I canít wait until my next experience with a waitress. Papa Muldoon says that waitresses are a very special chapter in the life of every real man.

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