ARCHIVES - 2022
Dec. 16 - Holiday
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Dec. 17 - Holiday
Random Thoughts by Tony Franklin
May 5, 2022
Here are some random thoughts concerning my first two tournaments on the PBA50 tour. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. I spent a lot of time working and talking with Del Ballard over the last six months to get ready for this moment, and it’s so cool that it is actually here and I am bowling with some legends of the game.
I hadn’t realized this until right before the first practice squad, but I hadn’t bowled a professional tournament in 20 years and hadn’t bowled a national professional tournament in 30 years…so let me just say that my little heart was pumping that first round of qualifying…I was calm but nervous at the same time.
One of my takeaways was from watching the hall of famers, Pete Weber, Walter Ray Williams, Amleto Monacelli, Parker Bohn, etc. They haven’t lost the inner fire in the slightest. During the Advancers round the first week, Weber was bowling to my left, and in the 6th frame of the very first game he just about lost his Sh!#... You would think after bowling 1500-2000 professional tournaments that he might be a little more relaxed, and have a whatever attitude, nope, not in the slightest, he was going all out.
That first week, I got down to the top eight, and bowled a three-game match against Walter Ray Williams for a spot on the show. What’s better than that, to bowl possibly the greatest bowler ever, and have it come down to the 9th frame of the last game…it was an exciting dream moment for me. I did not get the win, but we battled, and I can’t wait to do it again.
For me, that’s the reason I’m here. When I did bowl on tour 30 years ago, it wasn’t everything I wanted it to be for lots of reasons, my life went a different direction, of which I could not be happier how that worked out. BUT I think I still have a little left in the tank, and I want to challenge myself against the best senior bowlers on the planet on their floor.
After a couple of weeks, that is exactly what I’m seeing, the best of the old bowling generation, are just as tough to beat as they ever were. Walter Ray doesn’t make mistakes, Weber shoots 270 when he needs to, Parker posts every shot like he’s still 22, and Amleto still has the most flawless release.
I’m so happy to have this opportunity, and I’m pleased with how friendly everyone is…but at the end of the day, I just want to tussle with the greats of the game, just to see what happens.
The second week was at The Villages, the largest retirement community in the world. I’ve always wanted to bowl and visit this area, and it did not disappoint. There are golf carts everywhere…and I mean everywhere…check out the picture, just to get a taste.
Before the tournament started, Jason Couch, ANOTHER hall of famer, had a group of us over to his house for an afternoon cookout, one of the late arriving guests was none other than Norm Duke, a neighbor of Couch’s, who just finished a round of golf. Duke, recently retired (so he says), mentioned that after 41 years of bowling professionally he was just done. With that being said, I’m sure that you all just watched him finish second to Anthony Simonsen in the USBC Masters. He said that regardless of his age at that moment, he was really proud of himself, but also really disappointed to get that close, and not finish the job.
I did however have to ask Duke my usual questions...Who’s the greatest bowler he’s ever seen, and who is his all-time favorite bowler? He said that he would have to say that Walter Ray Williams is the best bowler he’s ever seen, but also considers himself in that conversation (he ain’t scared). As for his favorite bowler, he said Amleto, which is pretty cool, because Amleto is also my favorite bowler of all-time. How cool is it to get to hangout with legends of the game…very memorable and moments that won’t come around again for me.
On to week three for me, in Aberdeen, North Kakalaka. What a beautiful part of the country this is.
Random Thoughts by Tony Franklin
April 7, 2022
The Texas High School bowling season has come to a close and it is very apparent that bowling is in good hands. There are several Freshman that had standout performances this year and will be forces to reckon with for the next several years.
Kyrah Durham, Charisse Graham, Tori Franklin, Malorie Samples, Emily Mendez, William Jewell III, Owen Ratsabouth and Xavier Patterson are some of the names you will see much more of in the coming years.
Durham finished 3rd in state singles and was the anchor on the DFW South All-District team. Graham finished 13th in state singles and was on the DFW South All-District team. Franklin finished 20th in state singles and was on the Dallas North B All-District team. Tori won the HS Region III qualifier to advance to state. The others listed all made their All-District Teams that competed in College Station this weekend.
As I watched the singles finals at Forum Bowl two weeks ago, I was truly impressed with the talent on both the girls’ and boys’ sides of the house. Franklin, Durham and Graham were 3 of 5 Freshman girls to qualify for State Singles this year. You will also see a tremendous number of two-handers in coming years, far more than 50% of all competitive boys are using two-hands. For the girls, I saw three of the 40 competitors using two-hands, which included the winner, Senior Maggie Thoma of New Braunfels. She is an incredible talent who has a very bright future in front of her.
There are also some DFW area Seniors that are leaving the comfort of high school for the excitement of college. Zachary Smullen of Frisco Wakeland is one in particular that I’ve had the pleasure of seeing really grow over the last several years. He has decided where he will be attending college, and he will share that news in the coming weeks. He will be competing at the highest of levels in the coming years, so make sure you remember that name.
Forum Bowl has the best approaches I’ve ever bowled on. There are so many variables that go into a good approach, footing, etc, and Forum has it all figured out. I’ve been bowling out there a lot lately and when you have no concerns on your approach, it makes the rest of the game so much simpler.
Keep up the great work Forum!
Conrgats to Anthony Simonsen on winning his second USBC Masters title, making that four majors, and 10 total PBA national titles. He’s just 25 years old and already has 10 titles, a truly amazing feat for an amazing talent. I only wish there were more PBA national events for these guys to participate in. The PBA still has the PBA finals for 16 players and the PBA league left in the season…that’s it. How can we have a Professional tour that is basically done for the general population on April 3rd? What if you start off the year and you’re not performing well, or you don’t match up well in a certain center…too bad…that’s pretty much all you get. The season is over, and you go back home to wait eight months until you get a chance to try it again, and bowling on the PBA tour is its own animal, you can’t “practice” for it…you can prepare sure, but you can’t get in reps on what they bowl on with the transition they see anywhere on earth. The only reps you can get are the last half of every block and if you go check the money winners list for the 2022 season, you will see the same 8-10 guys at the top of the list. Only eight players made over $70,000 this year, and it’s pretty much the same from the year before, and the year before that. They have it all figured out and execute with precision.
How can the next level, and the level below that expect to move up if they never get more than 10-15 tournaments to learn and grow…they can’t, and that needs to be addressed by the PBA leadership.
Random Thoughts by Tony Franklin
March 3, 2022
I made my first trip to Akron, OH last weekend to watch Wes Malott get inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame.
This allowed Genie and I to watch the PBA Tournament of Champions at Bowlero Riviera Lanes, the home of the Tournament of Champions for so many years. It has been a few years since I watched a national pro stop, and so pleased that I got to see this one first-hand, truly something that has been on my bowling to-do list for 40 years…to walk through the doors that have welcomed the world’s finest bowlers.
I have two main thoughts to share with you…
#1 – The Pro’s are amazingly good. I know this isn’t a revelation of any kind, but watching the top 24 go at it was inspiring. The main thing I saw was that every bowler, and I mean every bowler, made every single spare they left. That’s one thing, but the number of splits they spared was like nothing I’ve ever seen. I’m not exaggerating in the least…they made everything, it was frightening and should be a training film for any up and coming bowler.
They throw straight at everything, 5-pin, head-pin, 3-6-9-10…doesn’t matter what they leave, and they don’t miss. If you ever want to get to this level, there is your starting point. With all that being said, they then missed three spares on the TV Show Sunday, and didn’t spare any of the splits…that just proves how hot the pressure is for the most prestigious professional tournament in the world can actually be.
#2 – The second thought is the sad part…none of the pros look like they’re having fun. They are certainly giving it 100% effort, but there just isn’t any excitement or energy coming from them. I asked Wes about it, and he said that’s pretty much the way it is every week. He’s not an excitable person either, never has been, but I didn’t see anybody, except for maybe Sean Rash that showed any life.
When you only watch the TV shows, it looks much different than it does in-person during match-play. Throw shot, strike, walk back, sit down or throw shot, don’t strike, throw hands up in air, walk back, sit down. As a fan I would like a little more, I’m not asking for 1960’s run out every shot and then slide on the floor energy, but give me something boys, get me invested in rooting for you. This can be a lot better spectator sport than it is at the moment.
A night to forever remember is how I will describe the PBA Hall of Fame Ceremonies in Akron, OH last Saturday.
The evening kicked off with Larry Lichstein, long-time operator of the PBA Tour Services, speaking of the great bowlers that we lost this year. It was easily the most eloquent and fascinating 10 minutes of bowling history I have ever heard. Larry had notes, but he never looked down once, he just rolled through the history and captivated everyone in attendance.
Next up, were the performance awards for the current tour players, Player of the Year for the last two seasons, etc…this was another really cool moment has each player accepted their award, then respectfully thanked their roommate for always having their back and supporting them. Yes, bowling on tour is a hornet’s nest of competition, but it’s also a fellowship, and that was made loud and clear by each player, and how much their close friends truly mean to them. You can’t spend that much time with someone and not create an unbreakable bond.
Randy Pederson was the emcee for the event and talked about the “shields” that used to line the streets of Akron leading to Riviera Lanes. The shield (banner) is only created for the winner of the Tournament of Champions, and if you get one, you’re a legend forever. Randy got very emotional as he talked about the shields, and how much they mean to each player. He said that “the ToC is the easiest match-play event to make,” as there used to only be 52 players in the field, “but the hardest TV finals to make,” because only the best of the best are in the building. Being back at Riviera Lanes clearly means a lot to the veterans of the PBA tour.
Next up, were the Hall of Fame inductees, Gary Mage the longtime PBA Northwest and West Regional Director, and Mary and Kirk von Krueger, former PBA Tour Director.
Great speeches by all three and so much great background and history about the PBA Tour.
Our main focus was for our good friend Wes Malott, who closed the show. As most know, even though Wes is large by stature, he is quiet and soft-spoken by nature. His history is unique on one hand, but similar on the other. He was just a kid who loved to bowl, got really good, couldn’t get over the hump, then one-day he figured it out, and destroyed the hump and every other bowler in his path.
I was lucky to have a front-row seat through his early days, was there to see the awaking when he won his first PBA regional, and then the large regional a week later where he announced his skill to the world.
I’m just so proud of him and was just giddy watching him take the podium and sharing his story with the bowling world.
Now for the fun part…each speaker got 10 minutes and I feel that everyone stayed true to that and we were actually ahead of schedule for the night.
Last was our soft-spoken friend Wes, so he should knock this out pretty quick too…right…maybe not.
He spoke for 50 minutes…yes, I timed him.
As we were leaving for the airport this morning, I stopped and spoke with Josh Blanchard, Gary Mage and Marshall Holman (who introduced Gary). Josh gave me a hard time by asking if Wes was finished talking yet, I said hey….it was ONLY 50 minutes…and to that Marshall said, yeah it was only 50 minutes, but it felt a LOT longer.
I still haven’t stopped laughing at that comment.
God bless Wes and God bless bowling.
Random Thoughts by Tony Franklin
February 3, 2022
The PBA is off and running with their first tournament concluding here in DFW at Bowlero Euless. Belmo defeats Sean Rash for his 14th major championship, he is second to none.
Bowling loves drama, much like all sports, and we had some surrounding the finals due to some hot sports opinions by Sean Rash. He was fined, put on probation, and made the center of attention for dropping an S-bomb on national TV in regards to perceived unfairness in the fact that the PBA uses Brunswick machines, Brunswick oil, and the first two events were won by Brunswick staffers.
The conduct unbecoming part came up when he threw out the S-bomb prior to Matt Russo finishing his tenth frame, for what should have been three Brunswick staffers in a row winning. Russo, however, went out there and threw a bad shot, got five through the face, and Rash wins.
Definitely one of the all-time whine and wins I’ve ever seen. I do like Rash, he’s an acquired taste for sure, but what he did was out of line. He has 17 PBA titles, how can you possibly complain about integrity in the middle of a match, that you might win…poor sportsmanship…maybe…playing mental games with the rookie…maybe.
Either way, it’s a bad look for a leader in the sport and champion at the highest level. The best bowlers in the world play hard at all times, and for the most part, are babies when things aren’t going their way, and that’s totally true, some just hide it better than others.
Sean didn’t hide it, he let it fly, and it made for an interesting week of bowling talk.
If you are wondering about what the future of Professional bowling will look like, specifically what the Men’s professional tour will look like, let me give you a hint.
First, start by watching the PBA Junior National Championship that was held last weekend, also at Bowlero Euless, and can be seen again on FloBowling.
The youth bowlers have unbelievable skills, like nothing we have seen before. And as far as how it will look, well, there won’t be many people using their thumbs.
There were 10 finalists that competed on Friday, of those, there was only one bowler that used his thumb. One.
Eight right-handed, two-handers (no thumb), and one left-handed, two-hander (no thumb) that led qualifying by a bunch.
It’s the state of the game and there is no turning back, and no doubt this is what it’s going to take to compete at the highest levels.
I remember having a conversation about five years ago with USBC Exec Director, Chad Murphy about the raw numbers of two-handers competing at Junior Gold. At that point it was around 20-25%, but when you factor in the best of the youth competitors, the number is higher, and if you use this tournament as a gauge, it was 90%...90%.
It’s really amazing. I don’t have a problem with it at all, but I sure am glad I won’t have to compete much against these kids because they are all going to change the landscape of bowling, and it’s right around the corner.
Sticking with the PBA theme this week, as I was researching the Looking Back column, I came across the Quaker State Open Results from 30 years ago. It was my first PBA national stop as I ventured out into the professional bowling world rooming with Del Ballard, David Smith, Robert Lawrence, and Bill Oakes.
It was always my dream to bowl professionally and while I only did it for about two years, I still look back on it fondly, one for the experiences, but mainly for the lifelong friendships it created. I spent a lot of time with Robert and David in Austin this weekend and Del subbed in league with us last night. The more Del bowls, the more he wants to bowl competitively, and that really gets me excited. I love his energy, not his ball speed, his energy. So, 30 years ago, I was a rookie on the big tour and this spring, I will be a rookie on the PBA50 tour. I simply can’t believe it’s been that long. My bowling dream growing up was to make a PBA TV show and while that hasn’t happened yet, there is a chance that it could kinda happen if I decide to consider FloBowling a TV show, which I probably will. I always wanted my parents and grandmother, Toni, to be in attendance. And while that piece can’t happen, I could still make the stepladder and maybe bowl my childhood idol, Amleto Monacelli, for a title.
That would be pretty cool…I would gladly take that moment.
Editor's Note - I am so incredibly proud of Tony. He took time off from the game 14 years ago when our daughter was born, so he could focus on her activities. Now, she is exceling in bowling, volleyball and softball. The past year, Tony has now taken the time and put in the work getting ready for the Senior events and his hard work and dedication is paying off. And it's so much fun to see him in the winner's circle again!
Random Thoughts by Tony Franklin
December 16, 2021
In this week’s Just Paying Attention column by Mark London, he talks about the word ‘Legacy’ and what that really means. He references the passing of the great Mark Roth, and the legacy he left and those around the bowling community are leaving. Bowling in its modern form has been around for almost 200 years, and in the 1920’s to 1940’s the number of alleys or centers exploded which created the modern ‘competitive’ bowling game.
I’m sure that many legacies were left behind by the innovators, in fact I know that to be true, but the history most of us are familiar with started when the stars of bowling became public figures, like Mark Roth, who changed the game. I’m much more interested in the legacies that are being created right in front of our faces today that will live on long after their time is done.
That’s the thing about the bowling community, its constantly evolving and growing in some form or fashion. Here are just a few names that popped in my head as I thought of this topic…Jamie Brooks, Lois Cathey, Joyce Claus, Billy Jo Cathey, Chuck Lande, Del and Carolyn Ballard, Tina and Terry Taylor, Jeanie Hulsey, Keith Little, Jim Welch, Josh Modelo…of course there are pages of more names the DFW area that could be listed, I certainly don’t know them all. A legacy is not about a contribution that someone made, a legacy is when a person makes a contribution and then the next person picks up the baton and runs with that…that’s how you make a legacy.
As The Bowling News turns the page on 2021 and rolls into 2022, that would be my message to our amazing bowling community, what is the legacy you are creating, or continuing?
In our case, the first person I think about it is the founder of The Bowling News, Joe Gennaro. He created The Bowling News 65 years ago, and it has stood the test of time. He passed the baton to Genie and I in 2009, and we have held the torch proudly for the last 12 years.
His vision was to create a communication and recognition outlet for the bowling community, and he did so in the most awesome way. Bowlers love seeing their name in print, and especially when they are able to take a keepsake with them. That too, creates a legacy for their family to have some day down the road.
From Genie, Gma, Mark, Dave, Bubba, Susie and myself, we thank you for being loyal fans and participants in The Bowling News, it’s been a MEMORABLE 65 years for bowling.
Have a great holiday season and we will see you in 2022.
Random Thoughts by Tony Franklin
October 7, 2021
I’ve finally met up with a crazy milestone…50 years old. I’m happy this day has come, I’m a little sad that this is most definitely the last few frames of my life, but I’m very excited for all of the fun I will be having on and off the lanes for the next few years. I will start the bowling portion of my 50’s this weekend, participating in my first SASBA as a member at Red Bird Lanes. That is followed by more Senior bowling fun the next two weeks, and then in Las Vegas in November for the Ron Mohr Senior Shootout. I’m still amazed at how much good action there is for the “senior circuit.” We are lucky to live in this area with so much to bowl in, I know I say it a lot, but it’s the truth.
Make sure to read the article by Dave Williams in the paper this week. Really interesting stuff on Bowlero and their addition as a publicly traded company on the NYSE, under the symbol – BOWL.
He also takes us in the time machine back to 1987 and Black Monday.
Fall Leagues are back in full swing again…woohoo. This fall I am bowling at AMF Lewisville with Terry Taylor, Paul Henderson, Stoney Burke, and Frisco Doug Rice. We are bowling the Monday Nite Mens league which is a five-person, men’s only league. I can’t even begin to tell you the last time I bowled in a five-person league, much-less a MENS ONLY league. Sometime in the 90’s I would guess, but maybe never. I can’t really recall a time when I didn’t bowl with Genie, or Debbye Berry, or Tina Taylor on my team. Its weird, not a bad weird, just weird. Even though we don’t have Tina on the team this year, she does show up to have fun with us each week, which was the requirement going on. She is being the perfect “teammate” as I would expect. The best part is that we actually have several side bets in this league. Long gone are the days of gambling with everyone in the league and having sheets full of 5/10 bets, but in this case, it feels very good to relive that portion of league bowling. Especially with 5-person teams.
The North Central Texas USBC will be hosting their annual Hall of Fame Banquet at the Texas Star Golf Course on October 15th at 7pm. A truly great event that has grown every year. This years’ class of inductees is a stellar one as usual with, Sherry Houghton, Mike McHugh, Toney Nelson and Pat Currie being inducted. We will also be celebrating our Youth Bowlers of the Year, Alyssa Ballard and Matthew Reed, along with other yearly award winners.
Franklin/Franklin Win OKC Auto Works Mixed Doubles at Holiday Lanes
March 27, 2021
Genie and I had an exciting Saturday. Started off with a flat tire at 8am on our way to OKC to bowl the OKC Auto Works Mixed Doubles tournament at Holiday Lanes. The bowling got off to a rocky start as well, but was salvaged by some late heroics by G with a 256 the last game, as we snuck into the top 12 bracket by four pins.
You know how it goes when you have some really bad luck (flat tire at 8:00am that morning) and you wonder if it will continue or will the rest of the day go in your favor…that’s what was going through our minds.
We got to the bowl 10 minutes before practice starts and I start the first game with a pocket 7-10 and then a pocket 4-9 my first two frames. In my head, I have pretty much already answered my question from last paragraph. But we grinded through, gave ourselves a chance, and Genie saved the day.
Once we made the bracket finals anything can happen, and oh my, did it. We got EVERY single possible break in our favor for the next four games. If we needed help from the other team, we got it. If we needed a key strike, we got it. It’s so crazy how things work out like that sometimes.
The funny thing was that we both knew what was happening, but didn’t say it out loud because we didn’t want to jinx it and upset the bowling karma that had clearly selected us as destiny’s team on Saturday.
For me, the best part is just getting to compete with Genie every once in a while. Bowling with her truly is my favorite thing in the world and we generally have good success when we team up. I told her when we got done that it’s really easy to bowl with her because she doesn’t say much, I don’t say much, but we both have complete confidence that at some point, something good is going to happen, and in this case it did…it took a few hours…but it happened.
And let me say this, when you win something with the person you love most in the world, it makes it feel about a hundred times sweeter than it normally would. If nothing else, it sure did make for a good story and a lot of laughs on the way home!
2020 is Finally Over!
December 17, 2020
It is finally here...the end of 2020. It feels like the general public is just waiting for the clock to turn, and then everything will return to whatever normal we had before. I wish it were that simple, but it is not. We have lots of challenges in front of us and I don’t know that we will ever see the world as it looked in 2019, whether that is good or bad, I really don’t know.
From our vantage point, I am happy that people are able to get out and bowl and for the most part live their lives. Keeping the businesses open is of utmost importance to the livelihood of every single one of us.
For that I am truly grateful, and thankful to all of those that support The Bowling News, so that The Bowling News can support the businesses, bowling centers and great bowlers out there enjoying the game that has been a lifelong passion.
From all of us at The Bowling News we want to THANK YOU for tuning in as we complete our 64th year of this publication. I wonder how proud, Founder Joe Gennaro would be to see his legacy still going strong all of these years. An amazing feat in this day and age…Thank you all, and we will see you in 2021.
Tony & Genie Franklin
The Bowling News is in Full Force
October 19, 2020
Hey Everyone, The Fall leagues are rolling again and there are plenty of adult and youth tournaments to bowl. So, with that being said, there have been numerous requests for The Bowling News to come back for it's weekly publication. We are happy to oblige and I look forward to seeing everyone while I'm out delivering papers each week. Thank you for your support to keep The Bowling News going and most importantly, support your local bowling centers, they need it the most right now.
The Bowling News is "Back"
July 1, 2020
Hello Everyone, I hope you all are safe and healthy and kept busy during this crazy time. The bowling centers are open and league bowlers are back, so The Bowling News is back in business as well. We are limiting our publication through the summer months and will be back in the full swing of things when the fall leagues return in September. So, enjoy the next few Southwest Editions and enjoy the rest of your summer.
The Bowling News Goes on "Vacation"
March 23, 2020
Due to the Coronavirus, The Bowling News will not be publishing for the next few weeks. Our publication depends on league bowlers and the bowling centers. The health of our bowling community is our first priority, so please wash your hands and do your part to bowl this virus over! We will see you on the lanes in a few weeks!
2019 is quickly coming to a close and a new decade is upon us…
December 14, 2019
It was certainly a fun year for this bowling couple. Genie and I were inducted into the Texas State USBC Hall of Fame in May. What an amazing evening that was. Our family and friends were there to help us celebrate and watching Genie give her speech was something I will forever cherish. I started a new endeavor this year with my Out of Range Podcast on BowlTV. I’ve really enjoyed that as its something that lets me express myself in a whole new way, and on top of that, I’ve been able to interview and interact with bowlers I never would have before.
With this edition, The Bowling News completes 63 years in print…63 years. I wonder what Joe Genarro had planned for this little endeavor when he started the publication in 1956. All I can say is that Genie and I are both extremely proud to be able to continue the publication and celebrate the accomplishments of bowlers all over the southwest.
All of us are lucky that Joe saw a need and found a way to fulfill it. I still love looking back at past issues and seeing the names of great bowlers from the past and what will become of our youth bowlers. That is what The Bowling News was built on and will always be about.
God bless you, Joe Gennaro.
We would like to thank Mark London, our lead columnist, for providing amazing content each and every week. He is a true bowling historian and I can’t wait to watch the “lost bowling videos” he is able to find, it’s my favorite thing! As always, a BIG THANK YOU to G-MA, Genie’s mom, for typing up all of the scores every week, we couldn’t do it without you, nor would we want to. Steve McBride has stepped in and become a life-saver in delivering the papers to the centers each and every week. This is no small task I can assure, it’s a full-day job in travelling all over the metroplex. Thank you so much, Steve!
To the bowling centers that support the paper, we can’t thank you enough for your constant belief in the paper and what it provides to the bowlers. The SW area is so lucky to have great proprietors that step up to give something to the bowlers that no other area has. Thanks, thanks, thanks!
On a personal level, I would like to thank Genie Franklin for being the driving force behind keeping the paper going for the past 10 years. Yes, we have owned The Bowling News for 10 years now…wow I can’t believe it’s been that long. She does it all and produces the finest bowling publication this country has ever seen, and I am so very proud of the job she does. She’s the very best !!!
So, that will put a bow on 2019. As always, we will be taking off for the next two weeks, but will be back the second week of January.
See you in 2020 friends,
Tony & Genie Franklin