Life After being laid up for a bit because of surgery, my wife Cheri will finally be back on her feet and ready to do some running this month. We’ve been training for obstacle courses and adventure vacations all winter (even in recovery, Cheri won’t sit still), but she hasn’t been able to run as she used to for the last few weeks. I’m really looking forward to having her back in the game because one of the biggest things on the agenda this year is spending more time with our grandsons, and I can’t wait to get started. Cheri and I have two kids, Miranda and Justin, and they each have one son. Watching those two boys grow up and become their own little people over the last decade has definitely been one of the highlights of my life. Considering they’re both only children around the same age who share the same blood, it’s amazing how different they’ve turned out! This month, I thought it was about time I introduced you to both of them. Jacob, Miranda’s boy, is 10 years old, and he’s pretty much been glued to my side since the day he was born. When he was a baby, Miranda was working in our pizza parlor, so he was more or less raised there, hanging out with me and Cheri while she waited tables. Jacob is a real adventurer — there’s always some kind of excitement going on in his life. After Thanksgiving, we took him with us on a hiking trip to Nevada, and he decided he wanted to go bouldering. Before long, he was climbing up 25- and 30-foot chunks of mountain, just having the time of his life. When we’re home, Jacob is really into helping me out. He loves to come over to the Lynnpro shop and “work” for 20 minutes. Although, sometimes, he’ll get really into helping one of our team members with something and actually stay around for an hour pulling T-shirts off the line.
THE PERKS OF BEING GRANDPARENTS
Damien, Justin’s son, is a totally different guy. Where Jacob is talkative and outgoing, Damien is quiet and reserved. He’s 11, but he’s a big kid — 5 feet, 10 inches tall and size 10.5 in shoes. When it comes to getting out and doing things, Damien is a bit of a homebody. He likes to mull over all of his options instead of jumping in with both feet as Jacob does. If I ask the pair of them to do something, Jacob will dive in, but Damien might say, “Let me think about it.” We only see him a few times a month because he’s usually busy with his own hobbies. One thing Damien really loves is music, particularly the band OneRepublic. Because he’s the quiet type, I didn’t realize this until I heard him playing their music one day and asked him about it. When he told me how much he loved the band, I offered to take him to a concert, just like Cheri and I take Jacob hiking.
I kept an eye on OneRepublic’s schedule for a long time before anything popped up, but just before Christmas, I snagged tickets for the three of us to see them in Notre Dame, Indiana, this April. Damien was so excited, and I can already tell that concert is going to be one of the highlights of my spring. At the end of the day, there’s nothing quite like being a grandpa. As different as my grandsons are — and as cranky as they can sometimes be — I love them both and can’t wait to watch them grow up. If you have kids or grandkids of your own, you know exactly what I’m talking about! Time is limited, so let’s enjoy it while it lasts.
“As different as my grandsons are — and as cranky as they can sometimes be — I love them both and can’t wait to watch them grow up.”
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THE FIGHTOF THE CENTURY
How a Battle of Boxers Captivated the World
Ashley Franzen, our art director, is easily one of the most creative people on the Lynnpro team. Thanks to her, the art department runs like a Swiss watch, ensuring our clients get their innovative, eye-catching designs for T-shirts and other products on time. “I am in charge of handling all of the artwork that comes in, passing it out to designers, making sure things are done how they’re supposed to, and getting the proofs sent out. I also do some design work myself,” Ashley says. Though she is one of our newer employees with just six months under her belt, Ashley has fit in here since day one. She brought five years of design experience and a passion for the community to the table when she came to Lynnpro. Before signing on with us, Ashley worked as a freelancer with her own company, Graphic by Nature Studios. She also worked extensively with the Gateway Area Community Center, a local organization that offers outreach to kids (in the form of art classes, fitness classes, music programs, and more) after school and on weekends. MEET ASHLEY FRANZEN! EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT: On March 8, 1971, all eyes were on the world of boxing as people watched what would become known as “The Fight of the Century.” It was one of the most anticipated matchups the sport had ever arranged: Current heavyweight champion Joe Frazier and former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali were finally facing off, the first time two undefeated boxers would fight each other for the heavyweight title. Spectators were hungry for a battle. Both fighters held rightful claims to the title of world heavyweight champion. Ali won it in 1964 and successfully defended it for several years, but he was stripped of the title during a legal battle over his induction into the U.S. armed forces. In his absence from the sport, Frazier earned two championship belts through major knockout fights. But when Ali settled his court case and came to reclaim his title, Frazier wasn’t ready to give it up easily. Ringside seats for the fight sold for today’s equivalent of over $1,000. Millions watched the broadcast in over 50 countries around the world, and Madison Square Garden sold out to a crowd of 20,455 spectators. The fighters possessed polar opposite tactics, backgrounds, and social impacts, but when it came to skill, they were evenly matched. The fight captivated the nation. As Sports Illustrated put it at the time, “The thrust of this fight on the public consciousness is incalculable. It has been a ceaseless whir that seems to have grown in decibel with each new soliloquy by Ali, with each dead calm promise by Frazier.”
The fight exceeded all expectations with a fully engrossing 15 rounds. For the first quarter of the match, it seemed Ali would best his opponent, but Frazier came back with fury. Even though Ali continued to rise to his feet round after round, Frazier emerged victorious by the slimmest of margins, dealing Ali his first professional loss ever. The landmark event highlighted an unforgettable night of skillful prowess like the world had never seen. Even though the title fight was only the beginning of the rivalry between the two boxers, the matchup rightfully took its place as one of the greatest fights in the history of the sport.
“When someone wants me to come up with something, it’s nice to have a basis to go off of,” she says. “I think that really good designs come out of the process when the client has an idea of what they want but gives us free rein to do what we want with it.” Of course, Ashley and her team also work with finished designs sent in by clients and can even design a logo or T-shirt from the ground up!
When she isn’t at the office, Ashley likes to spend time with her husband, Andrew, and their two kids, 8-year-old Mary and 3-year-old Elijah.
“They keep us pretty busy running around, but they’re good kids,” Ashley says fondly. “They actually enjoy doing a lot of the same things we do. We go for walks a lot, and they like to draw, get creative, and have fun.”
To check out Ashley’s work for yourself, visit GraphicbyNatureStudios.com.
Here at Lynnpro, Ashley says her favorite part of the job is designing, particularly when she gets to exercise her creativity on a half-finished design.
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CUSTOMER SPOTLIGHT: THE TRASH PANDA RED DIRT RAMBLE
Way down south in Autauga County, Alabama, a group of dedicated cyclists gathers every year to celebrate the challenge and gritty authenticity of riding on gravel. According to Max Britton, the ride director who organizes the Trash Panda Red Dirt Ramble, there’s nothing quite like biking on unpaved roads. “There’s not much traffic, so they really are the roads less traveled,” Britton says. “It’s a little more challenging, but it’s fun to be out on the dirt, the mud, the sand, and anything else we run into.” In past years, the ride offered three route options — 27 miles, 48 miles, and 68 miles — and wasn’t competitive. But this year, Britton plans to change up the routes and give riders the option to race. The ride is an excuse to get outdoors and have some fun, but it’s also a fundraiser for the Prattville Autauga Humane Society, which helps adorable dogs and cats find good homes. Pets aren’t the only animals featured on the ride, either! Britton says spotting wildlife is a regular perk of riding dirt roads, and he and fellow cyclists often catch sight of the raccoons (aka trash pandas) the ride was named for while en route.
“We see raccoons, deer, snakes, rabbits — you name it,” Britton says.
2020 will mark the third year that the River Region Riders Cycling Association has held the ramble. Lynnpro has partnered with them since day one, providing T-shirts and race bibs for the adventure. “We used Lynnpro from the beginning because the Montgomery Bicycle Club had a good rapport with
them, and they did good work for them,” Britton explains. “Last year, we sold our shirts separately. So if you wanted one, you had to buy it. But we had such positive feedback on the design of the shirts that, this year, we’re going to go ahead and include them with registration.” We’ve already worked with Britton to finalize this year’s design, and we can’t wait to see it debut at the race on Saturday, Oct. 10! To learn more about the Trash Panda Red Dirt Ramble, visit TrashPandaDirtRide.com.
Inspired by Bon Appétit
1 eggplant, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, halved and sliced 1/2-inch thick 1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 large zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
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2 tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, sliced 2 pints cherry tomatoes
3/4 cup olive oil, divided
5 sprigs thyme
1. Heat oven to 400 F. 2. In a colander, toss eggplant, zucchini, and salt. Let sit for 30 minutes and pat dry. 3. In an ovenproof pot, heat 1/2 cup olive oil. Add half of eggplant mixture, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Remove vegetables from pot. 4. Tie thyme sprigs together with kitchen twine. 5. In the same pot, heat remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, and cook onion, pepper, garlic, and thyme for 8–10 minutes. 6. Add half the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. 7. Stir in original eggplant and zucchini mixture and top with remaining tomatoes. Do not stir. 8. Transfer pot to oven and bake mixture for 15–20 minutes. 9. Remove pot from oven and remove thyme bundle before serving. DIRECTIONS
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inside this issue
The Perks of Being a Grandpa Boxing’s Greatest Battle Employee Spotlight: Meet Ashley Franzen! Where Gravel Roads, Alabama Cyclists, and Lynnpro T-Shirts Meet Ratatouille
The Evolution of St. Patrick’s Day
From extravagant parades to green-dyed rivers, something about St. Patrick’s Day feels quintessentially American — despite its Irish heritage. That’s because many common St. Patrick’s Day traditions actually originated in America, evolving beyond their roots in the Emerald Isle in a few key ways. On March 17, Irish folks commemorate the death of St. Patrick, who brought Christianity to pagan Ireland during the late fourth and early fifth centuries. Historically, these religious origins make for a more somber observance of St. Patrick’s Day. Many Irish families go to church and eat a modest feast as the extent of their celebration. However, St. Patrick’s Day in America is not so much about venerating Ireland’s patron saint as it is about celebrating Irish heritage in a foreign land. When Catholic Irish immigrants first came to the United States, they faced persecution from a largely Protestant population. In response, Irish Americans began using March 17 as a day to publicly declare and celebrate Irish heritage with parades and demonstrations. The observation of St. Patrick’s Day grew in popularity in cities with large Irish populations, like Boston, New York, and Chicago. Then, in the
booming post-World War II economy, various businesses aggressively marketed the holiday to Americans of all heritages. Thus, it became a day when anyone could celebrate Irish American heritage, or at least it gave everyone an excuse to drink like they believe the Irish do. Ironically, imbibing was not a part of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Ireland until relatively recently. Due to the religious nature of the holiday, pubs and bars closed down on March 17 until 1961. Additionally, the traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage is another American addition. In Ireland, pork and cabbage was actually more common, but impoverished Irish immigrants substituted less expensive beef for pork, and the tradition stuck. Even though the most widely observed St. Patrick’s Day celebrations originated in America, many of them have found their way back to Ireland. Starting in 1996, the St. Patrick’s Day Festival in Dublin now attracts over 1 million attendees with all the drinks and revelry that Americans love. You’d be hard pressed to find a green beer, though. In the hallowed birthplace of Guinness and whiskey, some traditions may be better left across the pond.
CELEBRATING ST. PADDY’S DAY IN IRELAND VS. AMERICA COMPLETELY DIFFERENT ROOTS
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