January Man Lunch: Back to the Future!

Posted: February 4, 2016 by bkmorgan in Man Lunches

On January 26th, the man lunch group kicked off our 2016 schedule by heading over to Big Charlie’s truck stop.  One of the first locations the man lunch group ever picked as a “manly man’s” spot was Big Charlie’s Truck Stop.  Big Charlie’s has been a Northampton Blvd., institution since the late 60’s and is still thriving today.  We’re not truckers so we can’t speak to the amenities that would appeal to long haul drivers but to regular civilians it’s passable.  What we do know is that if you get close to a fill-up of 100 gallons of fuel you can get a free shower and free overnight parking.  Maybe Lee can head over there with the family van next time it’s ready for a fill-up!  When we went here for lunch 5 years ago or so it appeared to be a much “truckier” type of environment.  We were chided by other patrons for various reasons including: 1. waiting to be seated 2.  Wearing ties 3. Asking for silverware 4. complaining there was no toilet paper in the bathroom.   This time around all was quiet.  The conversation flowed like diesel fuel, covering politics, playoffs and the upcoming Superbowl.  However, the highlight of the lunch was actually the lunch.  Apparently Martin’s soul food has taken over the restaurant and boy was it good.  Nothing of a historical note with this lunch…just great food at very reasonable prices and much manly discourse!  Attending this luncheon: Bruce Morgan, Dale Gauding, Dave Bernd, Lee Gwaltney, Robert Hart, Piyush Athawale, Andy Stephenson and Brian York and Bruce Bischoff. (click on any picture to enlarge.  Why you would want to I have no idea…)

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Big Charlie’s. The sign on the road is much nicer than the actual truck stop.


 

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Brian ordered the big country fried steak meal with all the Hee-Haw fixin’s. We assume it was some type of meat we would have all been familiar with.

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Dave went old school breakfast style, eggs, sausage, the whole nine yards.

IMG_20160126_123246496Dale went with country kielbasa sausage, rice, greens, etc., etc., he couldn't finish the whole thing.
Bruce had the everything omelet. When we say everything I think we even found the chef's missing comb! It was very good.

Bruce had the everything omelet. When we say everything I think we even found the chef’s missing comb! It was very good.

Group Shot 1.

Group Shot 1.

 

Group Shot 2 since we missed Lee in the first one.

Group Shot 2 since we missed Lee and Andy in the first one.

Really, the food was outstanding. We met the chef, Carlos and our fantastic server Wanda (I think that was her name). Great folks.

Really, the food was outstanding. We met the chef, Carlos and our fantastic server Wanda (I think that was her name). Great folks.

 

 

 

 

 

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Veterans Day, November 11th 2015

Posted: December 28, 2015 by bkmorgan in Man Lunches

On November 11th a small but spirited man lunch team assembled at the Elmwood cemetery in Norfolk to pay our respects to our nations veterans.  Todays participants were Dale Gauding, Lee Gwaltney, Bruce Morgan, Piyush Athawale and Bruce Bischoff.

Elmwood Cemetery (located across the street from the Cedar Grove cemetery on Princess Anne road) was established in 1853 and although Victorian Rural Park Cemeteries were already beginning to fall out of favor in Europe, they were still all the rage in the US, especially along the eastern seaboard. Elmwood was opened by the City of Norfolk because the City’s first public burial ground, Cedar Grove, was full. A bridge was built crossing Smith Creek, now Princess Anne Road, to allow passage from one cemetery to another.

Located at the “west end” of Elmwood cemetery is the “West Point” cemetery.  In 1885, with the urging of Norfolk’s first African American Councilman, James E. Fuller, Norfolk City Council changed the name to West Point Cemetery. Councilman Fuller further insisted that a section of the cemetery “…be dedicated as a special place of burial for black Union veterans…”  Thus, Section 20 was “donated to the Directors of the Union Veterans Hall Association for the burial of the members of the Grand Army of the Republic.”  Fifty-eight Afro-Union soldiers are interred in Section 20.  Under the leadership of Councilman Fuller and the Norfolk Memorial Association, the West Point monument was erected in honor of African American soldiers and sailors of all wars.  The base of the monument was completed in 1906 and the statue depicting Sargeant William Harvey Carney was added in 1920.  Although Fuller died in 1909, the African American community continued to work for another 11 years to bring his vision to fruition (from the West Point cemetery website).

Elmwood 3 Beautiful fall day for flying the flag!

 

Elm 8

 

 

 

 

Brief history of the cemetery.

 

Elm 4Hard to see but that’s Bruce B., Dale, Piyush and Lee in front of the monument.

Elm 6Graves of the African-American civil war veterans appropriately adorned with an American flag.

Elm 5Right behind the flag is a headstone that is actually being absorbed by the tree.  Talk about your “family roots…!”

Elmwood 2You have to have lunch to be a man lunch and we opted for Doumars BBQ.  However, it appeared that everyone who was off work that day also opted for Doumars so we settled for Wendys.  After lunch we were still full all the same!

On Saturday, April 18th Bruce Morgan and Bob Garris, two charter members of the Man Lunch group went to the University of Virginias “Old Cabell Hall” and attended a sesquicentennial history conference focusing on the end of the war, reconstruction, “The Lost Cause,” etc.  4 Panels of distinguished history & civil war scholars presented various works and studies.  There were approximately 600+ attendees.  It started at 8:30 and ended at 4:00 and we stuck it out the whole day….great information.  C-Span covered the event live.   It was fun seeing in person the experts that you’ve been viewing on television for past 10 years on all sorts of documentary series.  We came up the night before and spent the evening at a local hotel, had dinner then came back and sat around the lobby with a glass of bourbon on ice and discussed the upcoming conference.  A manly weekend, indeed.

On the campus of UVA the morning of the conference.  Bruce proudly displays his Lincoln book written by Harold Holtzer, one of the featured speakers.

On the campus of UVA the morning of the conference. Bruce proudly displays his Lincoln book written by Harold Holtzer, one of the featured speakers.

Bob look's like "Mr. UVA" with the khakis, orange shirt and blue blazer.  Note the C-Span truck in the background.  They covered the conference live.

Bob look’s like “Mr. UVA” with the khakis, orange shirt and blue blazer. Note the C-Span truck in the background. They covered the conference live.

prod_389April 1865 was a month with many  significant historical events that changed America.  A few decisions or outcomes one way or the other could have turned the America we know now in an entirely different direction.  On April 2nd Robert E. Lee notifies the Confederate government in Richmond that he is pulling out of Petersburg and that Richmond will now be open to the Union Army and should be evacuated.  Jefferson Davis and his cabinet hit the road.  Several days later Abraham Lincoln was walking the streets of Richmond and sitting in Jeff Davis’s chair in the Confederate White House.  On April 6th General George Meade defeats Lee’s army at Saylers Creek and captures 8,000 Confederate soldiers.  On April 7th, General Grant begins corresponding back and forth with Lee for the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia.  By the afternoon of April 9th Grant and Lee are meeting at the McLean house at Appomattox Courthouse, VA and Lee surrenders.  While there are still other Confederate armies active in the field this surrender essentially ends the Civil War.  While the southern states start to grasp the loss the North begins wild celebrations and homecomings.  Washington D.C. in particular is in a state of raucous frenzy.  That all comes crashing down on the evening of April 14th, 10:00 p.m. when Abraham Lincoln is assassinated by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater.  Lincoln died at 7:22 a.m. the next morning at the Peterson boarding house across the street from the theatre.   Lincoln’s funeral in D.C. takes place on April 19th and the nation begins it’s mourning.  Confederate General Joe Johnston commanding the last large confederate Army left in the field surrenders to General William T. Sherman on April 26th in North Carolina.  That same evening John Wilkes Booth is shot and killed at Garrets farm in Virginia.  4 other conspirators would hang by July and 2 sent to prison.   As you can see many significant events happened quickly during April 1865  and this April of 2015 we are celebrating the sesquicentennial of that month.

The man lunch crew lucked out.  At the Chrysler museum in Norfolk there happened to be a photo exhibit of Abraham Lincoln along with other various civil war photographs so it made perfect sense that this is where we would commemorate April 1865 and remember President Lincoln, the hero for many of us that study history.  On Thursday April 16th the team convened.  Attending today were Lee Gwaltney, Matt Serino, Bruce Morgan, Dale Gauding and Piyush Athawale.  The group was small, however, the enthusiasm was large and it was in fact a quorum.  The lunch in the café was decidedly “unmanly,” but given the time constraints it was deemed appropriate to eat there for this occasion.  It was still a great afternoon, good historical updates, good company and “okay” food.

 

Piyush and Lee contemplating the grandness of the Chrysler.

Piyush and Lee contemplating the grandness of the Chrysler.

Dale contemplating an entire wall of photo's of Lincoln Re-enactors...who knew there were so many.

Dale contemplating an entire wall of photo’s of Lincoln Re-enactors…who knew there were so many.

Lee looking very dapper with his flower lapel and glass of Evian.

Lee looking very dapper with his flower lapel and glass of Evian.

 

Not very manly fare but we made do.  What was served wasn't bad.

Not very manly fare but we made do. What was served wasn’t bad.

Paying respect to one of if not the greatest American President. L-R: Lee, Bruce, Dale, Pyiush and Matt.

Paying respect to one of if not the greatest American President. L-R: Lee, Bruce, Dale, Pyiush and Matt.

Veterans Day Remembrance, November 11th, 2014

Posted: December 24, 2014 by bkmorgan in Man Lunches

Honor to the soldier and sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country’s cause. Honor, also, to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field and serves, as he best can, the same cause.  -Abraham Lincoln

What is Veterans Day?

An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

Later that same year, on October 8th, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first “Veterans Day Proclamation” which stated: “In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible.”

President Eisenhower signing HR7786, changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day.

This year the man lunch crew drove out to Suffolk to visit the new Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery.  What a great location and setting for this type of cemetery.  In the country, well laid out and neat as a pin.  Albert G. Horton, Jr.  was passionate about meeting the needs of the Hampton Roads community through political action.  He first became involved in his community as a founding member of the Norfolk Tea Party that fought Norfolk City Council for lower tax rates and succeeded.  Later he chaired a committee to examine the excessive cross-town busing that was occurring to address racial segregation.  His efforts were fruitful in, not only reducing the amount of busing but also, highlighting the inconsistencies in which busing had been implemented.

However, his most notable contribution was spearheading a four-year grass roots effort that was successful in bringing a much-needed new veterans cemetery to Hampton Roads.  As a Navy veteran he was deeply concerned that there was no possibility that a veteran from Hampton Roads could be buried among other veterans within a reasonable distance from his home.  In response, he helped establish the Hampton Roads Veterans’ Cemetery Committee.  He was tireless in mobilizing over 65 local, regional and statewide organizations into a powerful force that made the cemetery a reality.  Ironically just as the cemetery project was clearing its last hurdles, Albert Horton died suddenly at the age of 76. In appreciation for all of his efforts, the cemetery was dedicated in his name.  Today, the Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery is a beautiful 73-acre site in Suffolk that the veterans of the Hampton Roads community can depend on as an eternal place to rest in honor.    All of us on the man-lunch crew are indebted to all of our veterans who have proudly served our country.

 

This is where services are held prior to burial

This is where services are held prior to burial

Very reverent and patriotic.

Very reverent and patriotic.

Bruce, Lee, Matt, Andy, Philip (Dale is taking the photo).

Bruce, Lee, Matt, Andy, Philip (Dale is taking the photo).

Great fall foliage

Great fall foliage

We found a Gwaltney (Lee isn't sure if there is relation; lot's of Gwaltneys in Suffolk).

We found a Gwaltney (Lee isn’t sure if there is relation; lot’s of Gwaltneys in Suffolk).

 LUNCH TIME!  Ricky & Roy’s BBQ and Catering….

After an hour or so at the cemetery it was time for the actual “man lunch” part of the outing and it was a good one…Ricky & Roy’s BBQ and Catering Shack…easy to find:  Route 58 toward Suffolk, left on Holland Road, cross under the train trestle and it’s on the left!  Look’s like an old store inside that they’ve just kept adding onto….only a handful of tables and the décor was “eclectic” at best.  The wooden floor sloped so bad that your drink cup would spill if you sat it on the table full-up.  But who cares, the food was outstanding.  You approached the food counter, ordered off the chalkboard menu and they served your choices on heavy Styrofoam plates.  Really a great find and we would go back again.  This restaurant got us back to our “Man Lunch Roots”….small, down and dirty and great food.

Bob said "best hush puppies I've ever put in my mouth!"  He wouldn't lie about something like that.

Bob said “best hush puppies I’ve ever put in my mouth!” He wouldn’t lie about something like that.

Dale, Andy & Philip enjoying their downhome fare!

Dale, Andy & Philip enjoying their downhome fare!

Lee was going to try the jar of hot peppers; wisely, he passed.

Lee was going to try the jar of hot peppers; wisely, he passed.

Andy and Bob getting ready to enter Roy's and Ricky's.

Andy and Bob getting ready to enter Roy’s and Ricky’s.

Fort Norfolk Visit, June 13th, 2014

Posted: August 22, 2014 by bkmorgan in Man Lunches

On June 13th Andy, Brian, Dale, Bob, Bruce Bischoff, Bruce Morgan and Lee headed downtown to visit historic Fort Norfolk located on the waterfront right behind the Sentara Fort Norfolk Medical Bldg. But first, lunch at the TEN TOP RESTAURANT down in Ghent. Located in a smallish strip mall setting next to a laundromat, its definitely a place for locals. Very small inside with just a handful of tables and seats but as usual we made do. You order at the counter, pay and they bring your food out to you. Good variety of sandwiches, salads, homemade desserts and a cooler with retro soda drinks which was interesting.

 

Plenty of Elbow Room

Plenty of Elbow Room

 

After a hearty lunch we took a short 5 minute ride down to the fort.  There are a number of people who live in the area that aren’t even aware that there is a fort in downtown Norfolk that dates back to 1794.   Fort Norfolk is the last remaining of 19 harbor-front forts authorized in 1794 by President George Washington.

 

Fort Norfolk from an 1853 drawing.

Fort Norfolk from an 1853 drawing.

  The fort’s four-acre site overlooks the Elizabeth River and includes earthwork embankments, ramparts, a dungeon, officers’ quarters, powder magazine, barracks, and guardhouse. Most structures in the fort date to 1810. 

Inside the Fort

Inside the Fort

Plaque on the Entrance to the Fort.

Plaque on the Entrance to the Fort.

Have no idea what they're looking at but it just doesn't seem right.

Have no idea what they’re looking at but it just doesn’t seem right.

Great weather this day and great view of the harbor.

Great weather this day and great view of the harbor.

READY! AIM! ...........

READY! AIM! ………..

These guys took their "Man Lunch" time to a whole different level!

These guys took their “Man Lunch” time to a whole different level!

The fort helped protect Norfolk during the War of 1812. In the Civil War, Confederate forces seized the fort and used its magazine to supply the CSS Virginia (Merrimack) during its battle with the USS Monitor. In 1862 the fort was recaptured by the Union Army and used as a prison. Later it was an ordnance depot for the Navy. In 1923 the fort was occupied by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which still owns Fort Norfolk. The Norfolk Historical Society began making restorations to the fort in 1991.

Another afternoon of camraderie, food and history is in the books….until next time.

 

Here’s Brian

Posted: December 26, 2013 by bkmorgan in Other Manly Things
"Somebody please pass the paste and construction paper?"

“Somebody please pass the paste and construction paper?”

Hey, we caught a picture of Brian at his son’s school during activity time! What a great dad….oooops. It’s actually Brian in his office. He only waited 3 months for the furniture and this is how it all turned out.