On the Eve of Independence Day

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As you probably know from what I have written here, I am a Veteran. I am also a widow of a Veteran. I am a child of a Vet and a granddaughter of another Vet. I have family members who died in WWII and are buried in Europe. You could say military service runs in my family. You could say that my family was patriotic and loyal to their country.

It makes me sad when I read that some groups are getting together on Independence day so that they can burn the US flag. It is done in the name of “free speech.” Why am I sad? Because the flag is a symbol of our country and our people. Because when I was in the Navy, every morning we would stand and salute the flag. It reminded us as sailors, soldiers, and airmen of the reasons we were in a foreign country. It was for our families, our neighbors, and our country.

It saddens me when a group of people intimidate others through violence and coercion. The most recent group being “Antifa.”

This was not why I joined the Navy. This was not why my family joined the Navy and Army in wars. We truly believed what it said in the Constitution. We truly believed that we are a “nation of laws.” No one group of people is more equal than another. We are equal as individuals.

I’ve heard the argument that to make everyone equal we need to become exactly the same. Bullsh-t. What makes this country wonderful is that we all have the “opportunity” to make something of ourselves. We can be free in word and deed.

If I am speaking a strange language, then I am sorry. I am sorry that you did not learn your “civil rights” in school. I am sorry that you learned to be exactly like everyone else in your group. I am sorry that you didn’t learn discipline and the ability to set a goal and see it through. I am sorry that you are weary of the world of “instant gratification.”

Tomorrow as we celebrate this “grand new experiment” please stop and read. Read the “Declaration of Independence.” the “Constitution”, and the “Federalist papers.” Read what the Founding Fathers had to say. They weren’t just white males who owned slaves. They were educated. They were thinking past their generation. They were visionaries.

Let me leave you with the Pledge of Allegiance:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America
and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation
under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

 

Day after Summer Solstice and Strawberry Moon

Lone Tree Full Moon

From Pixabay

 

It was a hot day yesterday about 115 degrees and I was invited to sit in a friend’s pool for a few hours. Yes, I accepted.

The sun baked down on our heads and the only reason I didn’t get a sunburn–I have that light light skin– was because I was in the water and under a tree. It has been a long time since I have sat in a cool pool of water and watched the wasps land to take a drink. My late hubby and I would sit in my brother’s pool many years ago when I was half out of my mind after taking some serious prednisone and chemotherapy. There is something calming about sitting in the water, feeling it lap on your skin, while the air is as hot as an oven. The only thing better is a slight breeze to whip up once in awhile to cool your wet hair.

So we sat in the pool and swapped stories. New friends and old stories. When I was a young girl, my father had a friend who would come every summer to visit us with his family for a couple of days as the sun began to heat up the high desert. We didn’t have a computer or even a TV in the house. So when his friend came, we would sit around a round table, drinking lemonade and eating crackers, and my dad and his friend would swap stories.

Before my father became a hermit, he was in the Navy and was also a door-to-door salesman. I had heard most of my father’s stories. Because we had to make our own entertainment, we would tell or read stories to each other on Sunday evenings. However, his friend had other stories that were more colorful and were not quite fit for children’s ears.

When he would start on the stories, my parents would send us out to play. I would sit quietly in the corner so that they would forget I was there and I would listen. It was then that I gained a yearning to travel and see new places.

I miss the stories. Today, we have so many electronic toys and gadgets. So many of our stories are processed through the same clearing house. We don’t talk to each other any more. We don’t tell each other stories.

There is this push to read to the children. It is a good goal. Maybe a better goal would be to take a night a week and tell stories to your children of your lives and the lives of your parents.

We are all made of stories.

 

He would have been 68 today

Out_house_useage_Last night I knew today would be a punch in the gut. My late-hubby, Otto, would have been 68 today.

There were a few tears when I woke up about 4 a.m. this morning after a restless night.

Instead of thinking of his death, I want to think of his life. This picture shows that smile that made me love him. And yes, the inappropriate picture to prove that he did know how to use an outhouse.

Now if I could just remember his jokes– although most of them are inappropriate as well. He liked to get me with this one.

If you call a guy who works in the matshop a matman,
What do you call a woman who works in a matshop?

(a mattress)

(Matshop means maintenance shop btw)

So yea, I miss the easy laughs and just lying my head on his shoulders with his arms around me. I never thought I’d say that I miss his jokes.

The anniversary fast approaching

Out_house_useage_Another side of Otto– When this picture was taken we were taking his daughters around Carson City, Nevada to see the place. This old outhouse was next to a small museum.

I put this picture up to remind me that he had the Trickster side to him. Plus he loved to tell jokes–

When I was first dating him, he told me every blonde joke he could find. He went through some hard times, (foster child, Vietnam Vet to name a few), but he was able to think positive.

I have been talking to a few of his old friends and it reminded me of his irrepressible humor. I would prefer to laugh at his jokes than cry about his death. I am a gloomy type– (read some of my books and you’ll see) and he was the sun to my rain.

And for old times sake– an elephant joke:

Q: What do you call an elephant with a machine gun?
A: Sir.

And the anniversary fast approaching? We married on Feb 16, 1993.

The Art of Losing – Year of 2014 in Review

Writing Perchance to Dream todayI have lost several things in my life – my innocence too early, my grandparents, my personal possessions, my faith. I have lost pets and cried as I laid them to rest. I have lost my great-grandmother, whom I am most like according to my father.

I have gone to several foreign countries, heck I was born in Canada, and left pieces of me and my possessions there. But, the hardest thing I have ever lost in my entire life was my hubby shown in this picture.

As I reflect on last year, I sometimes wonder if I could have saved him. He told one of my brothers that if he could have been just a little stronger, a little braver, maybe he would have beat the cancer and been there for me.

There was nothing we could do. I remember sitting in the hospital, hovering over him, holding his hand as he explained to me that he could feel his life force bleeding away from him. He said, “I can’t crack this nut, Cyn.”

The doctors and nurses kept telling me that if I could get him to eat that they would start cancer treatment. I had thought up to that point that they would give him cancer treatment in the hospital. I was wrong. A week in the hospital and he was too weak to continue. I don’t even think his digestive system was working well.

Of all the people I dealt with during his death, Otto was the most honorable. I know that I became angry at one point. I think I quit eating to pressure him to eat. It was too late. He couldn’t eat. He thought he was eating. It was over except for the grieving.

I fought to the end. He fought as much as he could against his body. We didn’t get much help from the medical establishment. They were more interested in a DNR than getting him well. I even had nurses tell me that I was keeping him in this world against his will.

There were two things he told me at the end – “Time to Rest,” and “I want you to be happy.”

I have had some happy moments. I watch Foxy run down the stairs with her tail going a hundred miles an hour. I watch the hummingbirds buzz around the trees. I sit in the cemetery and listen to the planes fly over. Sometimes I feel peace.

I’ll leave you with Elizabeth Bishop and her poem One Art. It’s still copyrighted so here is the link. She wrote this poem in memory of the loss of a child.

Past, Present, Future

We are jogging into the last few days before Christmas. I look outside my current bedroom window, and see my neighbor’s Christmas light. Across the street my other neighbor has blinking stars in the upstairs windows.

I enjoy the Christmas lights. I do notice that the neighbors turn off the lights after about an hour– I guess that means that the economy is still not as good as we hear on the news. I get sticker shock every time I pay my bills too.

A little secret – I don’t really celebrate Christmas. I don’t give presents or cards. I do listen to a little Christmas music and I will go to a Christmas Eve dinner, but by and large I haven’t celebrated Christmas since Panama.

My parents used to celebrate. They would have a tree cut on Thanksgiving. Then they would get it decorated in the next two or three days. The gifts would be piled up on the tree. My mother would sing Christmas carols for a business in town. On Christmas Eve we would gather around the baby grand piano and sing all the Christmas songs we could remember. There were a lot.

But, Christmas in my parents’ house always had a little drama. Either the house wasn’t clean enough or the dinner didn’t taste good enough. My mother would spend hours in her bedroom sulking. When it was time to perform, she was there in her Christmas best.

Writing Perchance to Dream todaySo for me I like having a quiet Christmas. My late-hubby and I would cook a ham and take a walk outside. We would look at our landlady’s decorations. She always had a cup of cider or chocolate for us.

He would joke about being the anti-Claus, who lived in the South pole and ate reindeer.

This is my first Christmas without him.

Blast from the past 1/4/2009: For richer or poorer

When I first hear those words “for richer or poorer,” my mind goes automatically to the next lines of the vows “in sickness and in health.” As one who has had to deal with severe sickness for six, almost seven years, I have learned that sickness equals poorer. Just look at my bank account.

If it wasn’t for my husband who takes his vows seriously, I would be sick and poor. Unfortunately, I have seen quite a few cases of wives and even husbands bailing when they realize that their spouse would never get well.

One case. I knew this guy that dated my sisters a long time ago. We were friends. Let’s call him Jake. Jake had a motorbike that he liked to race around the country lanes in our “neck of the woods.” Okay… there were no woods because we lived in the high desert, but we used all of the Western slang at our disposal. There were a few times that I thought Jake would wreck his bike and hurt himself and his passenger. After a few escapades, my parents made a law “you will NOT ride on the back of Jake’s bike.”

About four or so years later he married and they had twins. A week later, he wrecked his bike and ended up in our small hospital. We heard the news that he would be a paraplegic. His wife spent about two weeks learning how to take care of a man with this disability. The next we heard, she was back home with the babies. The divorce was only a few months later.

Let me get this straight. I have been poor. When all you have in the cupboard is noodles and your only dressing is butter, that is poor. When there are nine children in the house with four boys who always seem starving, that is poor. When eleven people try to live in one single wide mobile home, that is poor. I know poor.

Even when I was in college, eating ramen at three cents a pop, I was NOT poor.

But because I have been poor, I worry about money excessively. I check my bank accounts every day, every hour to make sure that I have the same amount. I constantly worry about how to make pennies.

It wasn’t so bad when I could work. I would check the bank accounts once or twice a week when I was writing checks for bills. I would worry and then go back to work. No big deal. I don’t have that luxury now.

I even worry that my husband will get sick. What would we do if I am sick and then he is sick? He is the only one bringing in the dough. And since this economy is crashing like Icarus, you can understand why I get that little sick feeling in my stomach when I think that he might lose his job.

My grandfather went through the Depression. He used tell stories of making that extra penny or dime so that they could have that extra salt or butter. My great-grandmother Jane who I was fortunate to meet before her death used to tell us of homesteading. Her husband had left her with four children. With the help of her dad and brothers, she was able to make a home and feed her family. She never said much about that absent husband, but I know that he hurt her badly.

But, poor is just money. It is not a state of mind unless we let it become that … I know that as a child I had the most fun when we had nothing. We would play with our fertile imaginations. My sisters and I would put on variety shows and plays. My second sister would be the hero. My third sister would be the femm fatale. And I would write the plays. My fourth sister, just a baby then, would be the audience.

Yes, those were the days. It was fun.