Monthly Archives: May 2014

“June is Bustin’ Out All Over!”

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Thanks for this song, Rodgers and Hammerstein! The musical, “Carousel,”

featured this lively and unforgettable song from back in 1956! This month,

we celebrate Father’s Day and a lot of other exciting dates.

We will be turning a Season, in the month of June, along with the calendar

month.

Lots of exciting events begin this month like our Delaware Farmer’s Market,

downtown on Wed. evenings and Sat. mornings. The swimming pools have

opened, as of Memorial Day! The special 40 acre, new African Safari opened,

at the Columbus Zoo! Along, with its side by side amusement and swimming

area, called Zoombezi Bay.

All across the country, people are ‘gearing up’ for taking time off, using

their vacation time. Hopefully, you will have a great Summer!

You may have someone in your family or among your friends, who has a

Graduation or a Wedding event! Enjoy your month of June!

June, 2014

Birthstone: Pearl

Flower: Rose

June 5- World Environment Day

June 6- D-Day

It will be 70 years since our invasion of Normandy,

France, on 6/6/44.

We honor Veterans and Servicemen in the military.

June 12-

The U.S. Open begins and continues until June 15th.

Remember Nelson Mandela.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment, serving from

1964 until 1990.

June 13- Full Strawberry Moon

June 14- Flag Day

In 1777, the United States adopted our flag of red, white and blue.

June 15- Father’s Day.

Happy Father’s Day!

This goes out to all those men who have been uncles, fathers,

sons, caring mentors, brothers and grandfathers! There have been

teachers, social workers, neighbors and others who have played an

important role in children’s and teens’ lives, making a huge impact

and demonstrating good male role models. Thank you very much!

My Dad liked to look up cocktail mixes in his “Old Mr. Boston” book.

I was reading in the Preface an interesting description, published

in 1935, about the character of one who is an “Old Mr. Boston.”

It (with a few ‘tweaks’) could have described a Father or my Dad:

1. Official bartender.

2. Sympathetic best friend.

3. Jolly fellow.

Prankster, joker and sometimes tickler!

4. Rare individual.

5. Distinct personality.

6. Sterling values and qualities.

7. Genuine good nature.

8. Accepting of difficult tasks or chores.

9. Fixer of broken toys, bikes, or other odds and ends.

10. Errand runner.

11. His domain includes lawns and garage.

Sometimes gardens, too.

12. Giver of advice or suggestions.

13. Rule maker or ‘ruler of the roost!’

14. Someone to rely on in emergencies.

15. Chauffeur and changer of tires.

16. Champion of your causes.

17. Protector of the family.

18. Kindness, along with harshness.

19. Family vacation planner.

20. Barbecue ‘king.’

Hope this list is as ‘good’ as my Mother’s Day list and I welcome any

and all additions! Hope this one gave you some smiles and also, got

you to think of others who have played valuable roles in forming how

you have become.

June 17- Suffolk County, Massachusetts

Bunker Hill Day.

June 19- Texas Emancipation Day

June 20- West Virginia Day

June 21-

The First Day of Summer!

In Canada, National Aborigine Day.

June 24- Discovery Day, Canada and Newfoundland.

In Quebec, “Fete Nationale.”

June 27- New Moon.

June 28- Ramadan starts at Sundown.

June 29- Ramadan.

School’s Out for Summer!

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My two preschooler grandchildren had ‘graduation ceremonies,’ both

feeling mighty proud of themselves. They will be proceeding onward and

upward, to kindergarten! This happened last week, before my busy trip

taken to Cleveland, Ohio for Memorial Day weekend.

It was a fun event for Marley, since her preschool had a family picnic

held at Blue Limestone Park last Wednesday.

For Micah, it was a formal ceremony on Thursday evening, with his mother

and brother attending. Micah’s father was sick, barely able to get out of bed.

The only one in the household of four who was able to outwit the flu, or flee

from the sickness, had been Skyler.

Since I was heading to Cleveland to see my Mom, I had mentioned to the whole

family that I hoped the children would help to decorate my Mom’s corkboard

or bulletin board. I regularly ‘collect artwork donations’ so this was just

a ‘reminder notice,’ via texting.

When I had asked the children to help make ‘Get Well’ cards for my mother,

they were very cooperative. The parents all said the children expressed

concern and sent loving wishes for their Great Grandmother.

Marley made one with hearts, rainbows and some swirly lines. Micah made

his with an alligator in a swamp.

Marley’s picture had lots of “M’s” made into hearts by adding “V’s” to the

bottom of the “M’s.” She explained the process to me when I stopped by.

When I asked her to please add her name to it, since she is quite good at

writing her name, she put her little hands on her hips and told me,

“Don’t you know? I am out of school for the summer! I don’t have to do

any homework!”

I didn’t say a word.

Marley’s Mommy, my daughter in law, Trista piped up in a loud voice,

“Marley!”

Then she displayed her stern “Mommy look” on her face, peeking around

the corner at us at the kitchen table.

Marley picked up a crayon and added her name to her colorful artistry.

Micah, while at his home, had used watercolors and had had his Mom add

the word, “Alligator” with an arrow pointing to the area of the paper

which represented that critter. Then, Mom had printed, “Get Well, Great

Grammie O.!” Micah’s signature left a little to be desired (in clarity),

under the message.

Again, I did not say a word.

Makyah’s artwork came off my refrigerator since she had been napping at

the time of my visit. It had curly cues and little attempts at letters,

with some “M’s” included. It was mostly in purple and pink hues. She is

three and my Mom knew this was her ‘best work!’

Skyler had recently written a book report, which he felt Great Grammie O.

would enjoy reading. It had a drawing of Dr. Seuss, along with the words,

“Hop on Pop.” I thought the drawing and report would brighten her day and

said just that to Sky. He hugged me a lot, I hugged him back. I felt bad

that he had been the only ‘well’ person in the household, possibly he may

have wished for more fun and excitement. He was getting ready to head to

a friend’s when I stopped by.

Lara and Landen had also included their own personal messages, along with

handwritten cards. Both had expressed concern about my Mom’s hospital stay,

including different little symbols of this in their artwork. A thermometer

and a red cross on one’s card and a hospital gurney (or it could have been

a bed, I didn’t ask!) Lara can write in cursive, although it is not part of

her school curriculum. She had made very elaborate letters, saying this

sincere message,

“I love you, Great Grammie O!! I hope you feel better and your leg will

heal soon!! Get Well Soon! Love, Lara.”

I had stopped by, the week preschool had ended but the older ‘school kids’

had until yesterday, May 28, 2014, to complete their year out. They were

probably yelling and hooting a lot, celebrating that marvelous feeling of:

“FREEDOM!!”

Oh, how I remember how the endless days of summer seemed to stretch before

us, when we heard the final school bell ring and we rushed out the school’s

doors into Summer! Doesn’t that make you feel nostalgic?

When I was a teacher, the principal one year, over the loud speaker in

our Middle School, played, “School’s Out for Summer!” Alice Cooper’s

“escape anthem” was released in 1972! I remember the year it came out,

thinking this is a perfect way to celebrate getting out of school!

When I read the special message that was given to Lara, on her last day

at Schultz Elementary, I got teary eyed. Lara’s venturing onward into

Willis Intermediate School. She had a “Clap Out” and also, Graduation

Cake from completing her five years at the school. The next building

will house the Fifth and Sixth graders from Smith, Schulz, Conger,

and Carlisle Elementary Schools. It is a “Big Deal” to be moving ‘up

in the world!’

I am sure you will enjoy the following poem that was given to her parents,

with the poem typed on colored cardboard, a flower with a picture of the

child as the center of the flower.

In this case, Lara. It is a message that also applies to her, since the

words encompass so much in their simplicity.

It was a beautiful, endearing message from Lara’s teacher to her and her

Parents.

Mrs. Travis had been her teacher, from Fall until Spring. It was more than,

“Congratulations on Graduating Grade School!” The poem is a treasure to

remember, one that you may wish to believe in its powerful words, too.

“I’ve worked with your flower,

And helped it to grow.

I’m returning it now,

But I want you to know…

This flower is precious,

As dear as can be.

Love it, take care of it,

And you will see…

A bright new bloom,

With every day.

It grew and blossomed,

In such a wonderful way.

In September, just a bud,

January~ a bloom;

Now a lovely blossom,

I’m returning in June.

Remember, this flower,

As dear as can be,

Though rightfully yours,

Part will always belong to me!”

Signed,

Mrs. Travis

Peace, hope and safe travels

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I had just got off the phone from talking to my good and oldest

friend, Patrice, (that I still stay in touch with), who was preparing

for her annual trip to Charlevoix, Michigan. We both say sometimes

we should just call it, “Camelot.” Bill and I traveled up there once, to

see her sister’s renovated Castle Farms. The town is beautiful, with

Lake Charlevoix and the special houses that look like mushrooms are

there, too. The Castle is so breathtakingly Princess-like I complained

when we had to leave!

We did venture North ward to the Upper Peninsula, the locks, great

waterfalls, the towering evergreens, and Lake Michigan, too. I did

stop complaining, I think I was just missing my Patrice, who is

a source of comfort and joy. We saw all kinds of other fantastic

sights!

Pat had packed up her bags, shipped her papers and medications

up to Charlevoix, had completed a few different doctors’ visits,

and was relaxing. Pat’s sister, Linda, would be coming to take

them to the airport and she patiently listened to my nervous

energy and anxiousness about my Mom. She gave me comfort that

she had put my Mom on their church’s Prayer Chain, earlier in

the week.

We sang a little bit of “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” to cheer us both up.

She’s ready to leave soon. My car is packed, ready to go. Stopping

to call her before I go post this story about Mom and plans made.

Ever since Hurricane Katrina, this has become Pat’s yearly routine.

She has only once come back to Long Beach to find roof damage, no

serious side effects that could be compared to the year the hurricane

disaster hit the gulf coast.

since she hates and fears the potential

She has always, ever since I met her freshman year in college,

imparted heavenly peaceful feelings to me. She is my ‘Zen.’

Patrice was my first and only “Maid of Honor.” We’ve shared

a lot and has known my Mom since 1978. Both her parents died,

while she went to live down there, taking care of her Mom first,

then her Dad. Living in their retirement home, now.

She gave me a lot of reassurances and reminders of how ‘spunky’

and ‘strong-willed’ my mother is. I am prepared to see her in a few

short hours.

Mom had been a little strange, had hurt her leg, twisting it a

little as she got out of the “Whistle Stop” restaurant booth.

My brother and I had decided to see what the place that had taken

over the old Cahoon Winery would look like, what their food would

be like and found the atmosphere and the prime rib dinners very

satisfying. Mom did not recognize it, due to its internal changes

but the outside, she had exclaimed,

“Dad painted this in acrylics, didn’t he?”

It was one of the many paintings my Dad had decorated the house

with, before my brother started to paint ‘real art.’

My brothers had said the twist that had produced pain and a

slight limp, would be ‘just fine,’ only a muscle strain and

not even a bruise on Easter, when I was with her in the

bathroom, looking at Mom’s leg.

I had sent cards, reminding her to use a heating pad. I had

added another suggestion to alternate with a bag of frozen peas,

and ‘Make sure you elevate it!’

When I had to leave on Easter, she had reassured me that she would

be okay and I hugged and kissed her. I always am torn between seeing

my grandchildren and children, and the possibility that Mom may be

not as well the next time I go up there.

As I was leaving, she told me she was not used to putting her feet up

to relax on her sofa. There is a nice, soft ottoman that is part of

her living room set.

Then, recently, I was filled with some trepidation, when my brother

called during a work day. He had left a message saying he had called

an ambulance, met my Mom at the hospital.

She ended up staying the three days, that allows to have her Medicaid

‘kick in,’ along with having a battery of tests. Not many medications,

not really any results.

They did not understand why she was ‘lethargic’ and rather

‘non-responsive’ but once the I.V’s kicked in, she had ‘rallied,’

was renewed and ‘herself’ again.

I should be grateful for small mercies, knowing that she could have

had something more seriously wrong. There is a knot by her knee,

that is healing. She will have ten days of therapy, visiting in

her senior living apartment.

I talked to Mom for an hour this week, she shared with me a sort of

funny explanation. She knew my brother was coming to get her for

dinner, she had fallen asleep taking a nap. She was wearing a t-shirt

and underwear. When the knock at the door came, she had called out,

“Who’s there?”

My brother had answered, so she thought the quickest way to get to the

door was to ‘crawl.’ This is her explanation of what she did.

Yup, Mom crawled to the door to greet my brother, on her knees.

That ‘set off alarms, in my mind,’ too!

My brother said,

“It’s locked, Mom!”

She replied,

“I’m on my way, just a minute!”

She stretched and unlocked the door, remaining on all fours.

He looked at her, then looked at her dog, Nicki, who was sitting

beside her.

I am sure this was quite a shock to his system!

Nicki usually is nervous when people come in, ‘whimpering.’ Even

familiar people and family members. Mom moved to a chair, climbing

on it to sit down.

Anyway, with much reassurances that she was fine, he called

downstairs and found that my very polite mother had received

three days in a row, calls from the front desk, asking if

she was ‘all right.’

Each time, my Mom had said “I’m fine, thank you,” hanging up.

They did not ask why she didn’t go to the dining room nor did

they offer to send her up a dinner. This will be discussed in

the later part of June, when my brother can be there, along

with staff and the social worker. The ‘protocol’ was told to

us, that if someone did not come to the dining room, (without

cancelling their dinner, as sometimes people do to eat out with

their family) they would send someone up to check on them.

This is why my brother my Mom had appeared lethargic, almost

comatose and delusional! She probably had eaten a tablespoon of

peanut butter and endless cups of coffee. She is not one to

convince easily to use the microwaveable meals and other food

items that we put in her refrigerator.

By the way, Mom’s little dog is staying with her ‘sister’ who

is a half dachshund and half beagle, nine years younger, her big

brother, Hamlet, who is a golden retriever and her huge sister,

Fiona, who is a Newfoundland, at my brother and sister in law’s

house, across the street.

My brother and sister in law, are heading this weekend to Bethany

Beach, Maryland. They will be taking the big dogs, Hamlet and Fiona,

leaving the little ones, Nicki (my Mom’s shih tzu) and her other

one, she had to give up to move into the senior apt., Bella for

my brother to watch, take care of and feed. I look forward to his

coming over after he works, plays volleyball or tennis, along with

his other activities. I picked up a few movies, older ones for Mom

and I to watch and action ones where the three of us will watch.

I am filled with less trepidation, just sadness, because I am

not sure how Mom will “be” over the weekend. I had sent a couple

of “Get Well” cards this week. Unless she made it to the mail box

she knows from my big letters on her white board on the kitchen

wall and her calendar over the sink, “Robin will be here for

Memorial Day weekend, on May 23- May 26.”

I saved the rather amusing “Mom’s version of what happened before

she got taken in the ambulance” for you to possibly chuckle at!

In her recounting of the crazy, cuckoo, some would say, “Did you

lose some of your marbles?” moments, I gathered that she was not,

in the least, embarrassed about her state of undress, when greeting

my brother.

By showing a fine sense of humor, she had told me, ‘right off

the bat:’

“Hello, Robin! I am fine, I was in the hospital and got a few

meals along with tests. I hate to tell you this, but I would

not have passed the ‘dining room dress code’ the other day,

when your brother came to get me to take me out to dinner! I

had no pants on!”

Last summer, the signs to enter the dining room had first said,

“No shorts allowed in the Dining Room.”

I had inquired of the seating hostess, “Why did this happen? Surely,

no one would wear ‘short shorts’ in the dining room.”

I had ‘capri shorts’ on which ‘passed inspection’ for dining that

summer evening.

She had leaned over and whispered to me,

“A few gentlemen came to the dining room wearing boxer shorts!”

She had added in a rather horrified tone,

“And one’s overlapped fly, didn’t exactly overlap!”

Later last summer, 2013, apparently someone had come in their

bathrobe to dinner!

A new sign had been posted upon my next monthly visit:

“Proper Attire Required in the Dining Room.

NO shorts.

No pajamas, robes, boxer shorts or otherwise

bed clothes allowed.

Men and women must wear pants.”

I laughed (back then) when it had become such a wild and long

list, almost like the silly Jean Kerr’s “Please Don’t Eat the

Daisies” book where she had forgotten to tell the children in

the New York apartment that request.

I had stopped worrying about my Mom’s mental state when she made

that joke about proper dining room apparel. But, when she said

she wanted to ‘do all the things we usually do, like go to the

grocery store and eat out, at least twice!’ I had become rather

concerned. Hopefully, she and her walker will be just fine and

we will have a grand old time up in Cleveland, ‘tooling around

like we usually do!’

Hope you all have a happy Memorial Day!

Hope there are lots of good times with family or friends.

A few moments of meditation and memories for loved ones, too.

Enjoy your three-day weekend!

May it be safe and peaceful.

Spectacular Finales

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There could have been a ‘ticker tape’ parade, fireworks or an explosion,

but none of those would have ‘beat’ the two nights of ‘back to back’

finales! If you don’t follow “The Voice” or “American Idol” you may think

this post is not meaningful, but I will tell you that if you turn your

radio on in the next month, I am guaranteeing you will hear one of the

winners singing!

I still remember ‘picking’ Carrie Underwood, Philip Phillips, David Cook

and Chris Daughtry. I chose Caleb Johnson, early in the “American Idol”

interviews and singing try-outs. He had been here once before in another

season, and he won the ‘whole she-bang’ last night.

On the show, “The Voice,” I did feel a close affinity with Josh Kaufman,

38 years old, married with three children. I could relate to his ambitions

and his enterprising spirit. I enjoyed his singing, all the way through

it, held my breath when he slipped through Adam’s fingers and got grabbed

by Usher.

I would like to tell you all about everything in my mind, but sometimes

the best way for readers to feel some excitement, is not to tell too much!

After all, you are all here on the internet, either with wordpress of a

dot come blog. You may choose to look up some of these favorites of mine

and their songs they performed. Don’t worry, many of the songs were

actually ‘older’ and recognizable songs.

Here are Robin’s Top Ten Favorite “Collaborations” on the two competitive

singing shows, “American Idol” versus “The Voice.”

TOP TEN BEST ACTS:

My #1 Favorite:

What I call the “Fabulous Foursome”

This involved the three “American Idol” judges and Randy Jackson.

When Jennifer was sitting on the Grand Piano, while Harry Connick, Jr. was

singing, it gave me goosebumps. She was singing in a sweet, childlike way,

Cyndi Lauper’s, “True Colors.” Then, when she had the audience ‘chilling’

and not expecting any kind of change, she jumped off the piano, the Fab 4

struck the beginning chords of “Go Your Own Way,” by Heart and I was not

able to sit down! I had to jump up with the ‘gang’ who I had come to

look forward to. Keith Urban and Randy Jackson jammed on their guitars,

Harry pounded the ivories on the Grand Piano and the electronic keyboard.

Jennifer Lopez’s moves were making the audience, get ‘dance fever!’

My #2 Favorite:

Malaya Watson and John Legend.

Such a beautiful treat. The song, “All of You” is so enthralling and a

true legendary love song. Check this one out, if you like traditional

piano playing and great vocals. Amazingly sweet and shows Malaya’s

ability at such a young age, too. She’s from Detroit, Michigan!

My #3 Favorite:

***KISS and Caleb Johnson***

He won and is America’s new Idol.

Wow! Hot, sizzling and rocking the house! This brought great big smiles

from usually stoic and serious Harry Connick, Jr. In fact, all three

judges were dancing their hearts out to the song. It felt like a real

love, rock and roll ‘festival!’ Such a warm and fuzzy feeling when they

called Caleb’s non-singing brother up to shake the Kiss group’s hands.

My #4 Favorite:

Paramore and Jena Irene.

They were awesome in their matching voices, blending and melodic in

their song.

Great (yellow) balls of fire and joy!

My #5 Favorite:

Jennifer Nettles and Jessica Muse.

Truly magical and fantastic pairing!

My #6 Favorite:

Ed Sheeran and Christina Grimmie, The Voice.

The song transcended time and space, “All of the Stars.”

My #7 Favorite:

Josh Kaufman (who won The Voice) with Usher, singing and possibly

improving Police’s song, “Every Breath You Take.”

My #8 Favorite was Christina Grimmie’s version of the Elvis song,

“Can’t Help Falling in Love with You.”

Now, if you wish to check out Jena Irene’s version, you may find she

did an awesome job with this song, too!

My # 9 Favorite:

Josh’s version, the night before, of Adele’s song, “Set Fire to

the Rain.”

My #10 Favorite:

Alex Preston and Jason Mraz, singing together. They performed Jason’s

new song, “Love Someone.” I liked Alex’s voice, wished he had been

able to sing more of his serious numbers. This was light and very

fun-loving, relaxed song.

The two shows gave us really great concerts with many more fantastic

moments. Hope that you will enjoy hearing some of my recommended song

collaborations with famous people with the contestants…

Who I believe will be famous themselves, someday!

One Who Served and Many Who Serve

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Today, May 21, 2014 is a day set aside for “Wait Staff Apreciation.”

By celebrating servers in the food industry we may improve their

self images and produce great service. It is always a wise choice

to be friendly to the ones, going in the kitchen to pick up your food

orders! Smile!

So, please appreciate all those men and women who try valiantly to fill

your food orders. They do, most of the time, try to act pleasantly and

give you time to look over the menu!

Tomorrow, is a day to remember Mr. Rogers. Fred started his long run of

being a kind neighbor to the younger ones in our world, back on May 22,

1967. Now, Wikipedia doesn’t have the correct date, as I found this in a

reliable source!

His show, “Mister Roger’s Neighborhood,” continued until 2001. Fred

passed away in 2003. In his lifetime, he received the Presidential

Medal of Honor, over 40 other special awards and the Peabody Award.

I felt Fred’s gentle soul, soft spoken ways, his daily routines were

quite soothing and comforting to my toddler children. I realize that

these days, with high technology and such fast-paced lives, most of

the small ones would find his show, “Boring!” I liked his changing

his jacket into a sweater, his puppets in the Land of Make Believe

and his male role model in a society, that even when my children

were little, did not have many male adults on television that tried

to ‘reach them.’

Another man who served his country well, is my good friend and coworker,

Melvin. He was walking out of the building today, telling me a funny

story about the Jack Russell terrier that lives next door to him, out

in Delaware County. It was a great one, where I wished (and he does, too)

that he could have captured this on film!

The story of his neighbor’s dog, “Ignat” is interesting and such an

amazing story that you may not quite believe it. I would not, if I

didn’t know this fine man, Melvin, who served his country from 1975

until 1997. His Army days have been fun to listen to, including his

serving in Germany, (maybe you remember he bought me a special wine

that they serve on the streets of Germany, warmed up in little cups

for the shoppers at Christmas?) You may remember his annual trips to

meet his Army buddies and the time he paid for a bunch of them to

have lobsters and crabs in Massachusetts. Also, he is the man who I

‘chase’ and he ‘chases’ me, around the area on the second floor of

our warehouse, called the Mezzanine.

Before you ask, ‘Why aren’t you thinking about Melvin as a future partner,

Robin?’ I will tell you that he is a very devoted boyfriend and lives

with a woman who has had serious surgery, sometimes he has cleaned out

colostomy bags or helped bathe her.

The best parts of Melvin, are his incredible patience and heart!

Oh, and having served as a cook, he is an outstanding guest at our work

potlucks! Melvin is getting geared up to be the caterer of a good pal’s

daughter’s high school graduation. He was out, recently, pricing pork.

I may or may not have told you, a weird thing is, most places don’t

keep the skin on the pig! So, he had a ‘heck’ of a time locating one

that he could put on a pit!

Another part of my ‘verification’ of his abilities to not only work hard;

but be truthful is that he has always ‘called them like he sees them,’ no

matter what. In any conversation, whether it is about “Duck Dynasty,”

musical tastes or whether or not he likes a certain movie or song, he

will impart his ‘wisdom.’ I sometimes will include him in my ‘lunch time’

survey of opinions to include in my stories about work.

Anyway, Melvin was out in the yard, looking around the barn where he had

seen a large, lumbering raccoon go into. He also was looking out at the

field, where he had just seen a young doe. He was smiling, while recounting

about seeing the white tail bobbing up and down, as it leaped over some of

the remains of weeds that had grown up in the neighboring farmer’s fields.

He says, that he shouted to “Ignat” (possibly the shortened name for

Ignatious?) We cannot figure out why this dog has this name and Melvin

is sure of it, since he has bent down to feed him a dog biscuit and

read the little brass circle that holds his name. Melvin calls him

“Little Big Man,” in remembrance of Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal of a

wizened, stooped version of a Native American and why that makes him

think of that, I am not sure…

Anyway, I digress again!

Back to the rest of Melvin’s story, he whistled to the neighbor’s

roaming dog, and he would not come to him. He was gazing off into the

distance at the doe, sure enough, there was a blurring motion of the

dog, as it took chase after the doe. Melvin says that they would go

‘aways,’ the dog’s energy would start to wane, and “Ignat” would slow

down. The doe, he insists, would slow down to ‘wait’ for the dog to

catch his breath. Melvin insists that the doe even stopped from entering

the nearby woods, turning her direction to head a different direction!

“Ignat” would then zigzag and head off, speeding up to catch the doe!

Melvin says he would ‘swear on a Bible’ that this was a true incident!

When he got tired of seeing if “Ignat” would catch the doe, he looked

up at the window of his barn and lo and behold!

Another ‘minor miracle’ occurred!

Melvin saw four little baby raccoons with their tiny little paws up

on the window pane! He did not see that for too long, since the Mama

Raccoon must have ‘shooed them away from the window.’

“Melvin, are you sure, double sure, that you aren’t pulling my leg

now?”

He repeated the part about ‘swearing on the Bible.’

Wasn’t this more than enough to entertain me,

and you, today?

Letters from Our Soldiers

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A man who collects letters from those wartime men and women

who died, gathered them together to donate a huge amount to

a university. Andrew Carroll, editor of the New York Times

best-sellers, “War Letters” and “Behind the Lines,” donated

his collection of 100,000 letters to Chapman University in

Orange, California.

For those of you who liked “Reader’s Digest” magazine and

their equally valuable reading place, “Reader’s Digest

Condensed Books,” I would like to share that I dreamed of

having a position and getting paid for working for one of

those highly esteemed reading sources. I always thought

what an interesting job it would be to ‘cull’ and ‘sort’

through newspapers, magazines and newly published books to

discover which ones would be worthy of being condensed and

read by millions of readers.

After all my days in doctor’s offices and hospitals with my

youngest daughter, (who has lived with JRA since she was 11,

diagnosed at age 13) I would like to nominate those special

and easily read magazines for some kind of Pulitzer Award!

The books were ones I could take to a babysitting job, while

12 and up, read one or two of the ‘books’ encased in those

esteemed volumes and feel I was ‘in the know’ for a time, on

what was considered popular literature, nonfiction and other

kinds of writings. They sometimes led me back to the library

to get the complete book, wanting more details.

What I am doing today is presenting you with an article and

a lead on some books, which may ‘whet your appetite’ for more!

I am considering myself, ‘duly elected’ to this position and

consider finding these ‘gems’ to share with you. In each letter,

there is a story.

Had my cousins written during their Viet Nam War experiences and

shared the letters with my mother, she would have kept them. I

wish I knew more of their experiences.

I will always remember when my twin second cousins, Johnny

and Eddie, came back from the Viet Nam War. My cousin, Ed, went

back to being a pharmacist at Tuck’s Pharmacy, located in the

small, notable town of Rockport, Massachusetts. My cousin, John,

came back to California, briefly found out that his wife had

been unfaithful, and left the West coast permanently. It was my

16th summer, the one my parents let me go work at the candy

counter, learning how to be independent since my Great Aunt Dot

and Great Uncle George, gave me working hours, dinner hour and

the curfew of 10 p.m. during the week, 11 p.m. during the weekend.

I learned firsthand about PTSD, through deep and dark discussions

with Johnny. He was not happy with his war experiences. I wish now,

that I had written notes down, during that three month period.

His life irrevocably changed, whereas his twin brother, who had

been in the ‘medic’ field tents and not in direct contact with

weapons. No, he just handled their aftermath results, seemingly

unscathed.

Andrew Carroll has collected letters from the Revolutionary War,

the Civil War, WWI and WWII, Korean War, the Gulf, Afghanistan and

Iraqi skirmishes, too.

1. A Revolutionary War letter~

Writing from father to son, James Williams began a letter to Daniel,

on June 12, 1779:

“This is the first chance I have had to write you. I am, by the cause

of Providence, in the field in defense of my country.” He describes

missing his children and wife. I love the way he shows his emotions

about her,

“Your mother, who sits like a dove that has lost its mate, having the

weight of the family on her shoulders.”

Sadly, James died at the Battle of Kings Mountain in South Carolina.

He had written these foreboding words,

“The uncertainty of life ought to induce every man to prepare for

death.”

2. A Civil War letter~

When a soldier has been mortally wounded, their words are even more

heart-breaking, since time is slipping away from them. Here is a part

of a letter from John Ross Wallar, who volunteered to be a drummer boy,

in the Civil War. This is most sad, since he was only 15 years old.

He dictated these words in a short letter, sent to his family:

“Dear Sister, Father, Mother and Friends,

I received your letter, but I don’t think I ever shall see another

that you write. This is Friday night. But I don’t think I will live

to see morning. But my kind friends, I am a soldier of Christ. I

will meet you all in Heaven. My leg has been taken above my knee. I

am dying, at this time. So don’t mourn after me. For I have bled and

died for my country.

May God help you all to pray for me. I want you all to meet me in

Heaven above…

My wound dresser is writing this letter.

Write to Alexander Nelan, for I won’t live till morning.

So goodbye, my friends. May God be with you

all. God bless my poor Soul.”

3. A WWI letter (in France)~

On September 11, 1918, a Columbia University student who had volunteered

for service, leaving school. Sgt. David Ker sent a letter to his mother

the day before the attack on Saint-Mihiel, France. He wanted to keep his

family’s spirits up:

“Tomorrow the first totally American drive commences, and it gives me

inexpressible joy and pride to know that I shall be present to do my

share….Should I go under, therefore, I want you to know that I went

without any terror of death and my chief worry is the grief my death

will bring to those so dear…”

4. A WWII letter~

Tommie Kennedy, 2nd Lt., only 21, knew he would not come home alive.

He was captured by the Japanese at Corregidor and spent nearly 3 years

as a P.O.W. He was ‘fatally malnourished and incarcerated on a ship.’

Kennedy scribbled a farewell message to his parents on two family

photographs:

“Momie & Dad:

It is pretty hard to check out this way without a fighting chance

but we can’t live forever. I’m not afraid to die, I just hate the

thought of not seeing you again.

Buy Turkey Ranch with my money and just think of me often while

you are there… make liberal donations to both sisters…

I guess you can tell Patty that fate just didn’t want us to

be together…

Hold a nice service for me in Bakersfield and put head stone

in new cemetery…

Loving and waiting for you in the world beyond.”

This letter was smuggled from one POW to another and it was

finally mailed, getting there in late 1945. Four years after

Tommie had left home to be in the service.

5. A Vietnam War letter~

Lt. Dean Allen wrote to his wife, Joyce, on July 10, 1967.

“…Being a good platoon leader is a lonely job…” Pondering his

position and not being able to discuss things with her, he said,

“I guess it (writing a letter) helps a little though because you

are the only one I would say these things to. Maybe sometime I’ll

even try to tell you how scared I have been or now… Sometimes,

I wonder how I’ll make it. My luck is running way too good right

now. I just hope it lasts…”

He tells his wife, “I love you with all my heart.” Four days later,

Dean stepped on a land mine.

6. An Afghanistan War letter~

Mainly during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, service members have

usually ‘Skyped’ or emailed letters. There have been some exceptions,

for which it helps for posterity’s sake, to have them as examples of

this period in wartime. Sgt. Josh Harapko, with the 10th Mountain

Division, preparing to be part of coalition forces, for Operation

Anaconda, was 23 years old. A major assault on the Taliban and al-Qaida

was planned, before advancing into one of the worst Afghan campaigns,

he wrote this letter to his mother dated March, 2002:

“Dear Mom,

I’m writing this letter before I leave. I couldn’t say what I

wanted to over the phone. First I want to say I love you so much.

You were always there for me even though I would never talk about

my problems.

Second you gave me the options to be a man, giving me slack in the

rope to try to make the right decisions. No matter what you always

believed in me, no matter how much of a punk I was to you…

I don’t want you to worry about me. (I know you will cause I’m your

son.)

Mom, I’m not afraid to die for something that is right… I just hope

that I made you proud… I’ll always be with you…”

This young man, Josh, survived combat in Afghanistan but died exactly

one year later, on March 11, 2003. His Black Hawk helicopter crashed,

during a training mission at Fort Drum, N.Y. Shortly before he died,

he had given his mother this letter. She cherishes it.

The words of the nearly dying and the ones who fought for our country

are very brave and sure in their convictions. I am in awe and amazement;

there is such selfless-ness through their written correspondences.

Andrew Carroll’s words are good ones to close this article and to give

a summarization:

“On a more personal level, these correspondences provide a tangible

connection to the past and humanize our men and women in uniform,

capturing their distinct personalities, experiences and aspirations.

Through their words, we see them as more than just soldiers, Marines,

airmen and sailors. They are a parent, a sibling, a child, a spouse,

a fiancé or a best friend.”

May this fine and early tribute, through Andrew Carroll’s words,

to all of our servicemen and women, living and gone ahead, a week

early…

for Memorial Day, 2014.

A Flower Cart Vendor and a Queen

Standard

Today, May 20, 2014, we honor a character from a musical play and a

Queen of England! (Okay, maybe a day late for her!) Yesterday, May 19,

2014 was a federal statutory holiday called, “Victoria Day,” in Canada.

On my home calendar, they accidentally had it on the 20th! This extra

special day first came about for the celebration of Queen Victoria’s 35th

birthday.

That historic day had begun at midnight, with a ‘gun salute.’ I wonder

now if it was to wake everyone or maybe the party goers cavorted all

night and were already awake?

Annual celebrations included ‘pre-dawn serenades,’ athletic contests

or competitions, ‘torch-light processions,’ picnics and all-out 19th

Century revelry. This Canadian Patriotic Holiday makes it sound like

the United States’ Fourth of July celebrations!

There were two names listed, both French for Quebec’s celebration of

“Victoria Day:”

“Fete de Dollard” which lasted from the period of the “Quiet Revolution”

until 2003 and “Fete de la Reine,” (party for the Queen) which continues

to this day.

Also, there is another fascinating woman who really is ‘featured’ today:

“Eliza Doolittle Day!”

Both these notable women could be considered ‘heroines,’ of sorts.

One who was the creation in the imagination, originally, of George

Bernard Shaw in his play, “Pygmalion.” In 1938, a film adaptation of

the original stage play was produced.

When it was revised to become a musical, in 1956, Lerner and Lowe

had collaborated on the lyrics and plot line. It became a very well-

respected and beloved Broadway musical. It still circulates among

high schools, colleges and independent acting theaters.

When in 1964, Lerner and Loew’s musical was transferred into movie

form, it “shone” with the star, Audrey Hepburn. I think that I may

have written in a former post, awhile back, that Julie Andrews was

dismayed not to have been asked to be in either “My Fair Lady” or

“Camelot’s” film versions. Both had directors who chose ‘non-singing’

female leads in Vanessa Redgrave and Audrey Hepburn.

Just for your information, Marni Nixon was the young woman who voiced

all of Eliza’s songs, in the 1964 film adaptation, “My Fair Lady.”

I love how she delivers the song, “Just You Wait (Henry Higgins).”

Audrey Hepburn, as an innocent waif, did an excellent and well-received

portrayal of the character simply described as ‘the flower girl.’ Her

name was Eliza Doolittle.

So, this is the character for whom we celebrate today!

The male lead, playing the character of Professor Henry Higgins, is Rex

Harrison.

The part of Colonel Hugh Pickering, was played by Wilfrid Hyde-White.

Another fine actor and singer was Stanley Holloway portraying Eliza’s

father. He belts out the song, “I’m Getting Married in the Morning”

in his full blown version of a ‘cockney’ accent.

The songs are lovely memories for me, hopefully for some of you.

The whole concept of the transformation of Eliza, ‘the flower girl,’

into a fine lady of ‘high society’ in Edwardian London came from a bet

or a ‘wager’ between the two men, Professor Higgins and Colonel Pickering.

They happen to be ‘phoneticists’ or linguistics. They study phonics and

dialects.

Higgins is the one who thinks he can change Eliza by using phonetics

and recordings to eliminate her ‘cockney’ accent. She is able to complete

this transformation into a refined and formal lady by a set time, to

attend a Ball. She falters as a stilted, yet genteel, lady at the Ascot

Racecourse.

I remember, at age 9, going to see this “breath-taking” movie at the

theater with my family. It really enchanted me with the way the whole

story went, along with the costumes that were lovely. Not only for the

Ball, but the race track, too. My brothers and father did not complain,

it is funny, thinking back to that time. Sometimes, I think about the

many action movies we would go to where I would not say that I didn’t

really want to go. As a sign of the times, there were less choices

and one did what their parents ‘told them to do!’

Another amusing thought is that if “Eliza Doolittle” met the Queen

Victoria, what those two minds would have come up with! Especially

with one who was considered one of the longest reigning Monarch’s

of the British colonies and a simple ‘street urchin’ who had spunk

and a feisty nature indeed. I imagine there may have been some mutual

admiration for their strengths of character.

Now go on!

Celebrate with birthday cake and British tea or have a glass of wine to

cheer these women on!