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Archive for May, 2015

Memorial Day

Stop for a moment today and remember why we celebrate Memorial Day. This was written by a childhood friend who grew up to be an Air Force Commander. I am reprinting it with his permission:
“In 2010 I had the honor of commanding the 407th Air Expenditionary Group in Southwestern Iraq at Tallil Air Base (now called Ali Base). I was the senior ranking Air Force officer of a unit of 750 outstanding airmen co-located with 14,000 dedicated soldiers and contractors. The commanding general held synchronization meetings every other Friday evening. Five years ago today he held that meeting. I met an enthusiastic Army colonel and remembered this guy is going to be fun and interesting to be around. The next day her was killed while moving his convoy. His death occurred on his 20th anniversary. He left behind a loving wife, a daughter, 16, and a son, 14. I was asked to be the speaker for the Army’s Memorial Day ceremony. The service was incredibly moving-the symbolism, the brotherhood, the bagpipes, hundreds of huge soldiers sobbing uncontrollably in a tent with no air conditioning in the middle of some God forsaken desert. It was obvious the man left a positive mark on many other’s lives. One should be so lucky. This event forever changed my understanding of the day’s meaning. Memorial Day is a day to remember those who gave their full measure ensuring others’ freedoms. Please take a moment on Memorial Day to appreciate the incredible sacrifice made by these courageous men and women . But that servitude is not yet done. Remember also the families. Their service is in a different way but is important none the less. Ask that their burden, their grief, their sorrow be relieved and healed. A very sincere thank you to those who have served and passed, those who serve now, and the families of all military members. Finally, I thank you for your support. Godspeed.”
Thank you, my friend, for serving and for sharing.

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Mother’s Day

Being a Farm Woman is not all the glitz and glamour that you might think. I had been very excited to hear the peeping of a new baby chick in the coop. Just one, though. Mama Hen (one of my five Buff Orpingtons who all look alike and all have been given the name of Mama) was still sitting on the other three eggs. Baby hatched a day early, and I waited a couple of days for the others. Yesterday, I no longer heard peeping, but was hoping that she was asleep under Mama’s protective wings. Today, still no peeps. Uh oh. The sound of silence is never good news in a chicken coop. Expecting the worst, I donned some rubber gloves and quickly lifted Mama off the nest. She cried and shrieked like a banshee. There was no baby chick in the nest. There was no baby chick anywhere. Uh oh. I searched for the body, but it was nowhere to be found. My next Farm Woman duty was to check the eggs for viability. You can “candle” the eggs by holding them up individually to a light bulb, but I have found from either experience or stupidity that it is hard to see through the shells of dark-colored eggs, and mine are all blue, green, and brown. The next thing to do is put the egg up to your ear and listen for activity. That is quite difficult to do when one is in a chicken coop being screeched at by a banshee. Since the wind was blowing, and a cold north wind at that, I carried them to the truck, closed the door, and put each egg up to my ear. These eggs were underneath Mama for 23 long days and were not too clean, but I did it anyway and took my time. Nothing. It was Mother’s Day, poor Mama had no babies, and she was still crying for them. It was really hard to hear, and since I have a soft heart, I had to do something. While Mama was carrying on, some of the other hens were arguing over who got to lay an egg in the coveted spot. Now, there are plenty of nesting areas, but all of them wanted that certain spot. There were three, and all of them sitting on top of each other like a chicken totem pole. The screeching didn’t seem to bother them, and in fact, seemed to egg them on. I grabbed an armful clean straw and put it in a safe spot, making a nest in the middle. Quickly, to avoid getting pecked, I gathered up a few eggs from the coveted laying spot and placed them in the nest. Next, I picked up the banshee and put her next to them, and suddenly, the screeching stopped. It wasn’t completely quiet though. Fluffing her feathers and settling in, Mama began purring, sounding just like a contented cat. Some days, it is best to practice kindness over practicality. The sounds of that grieving mama hen would have haunted my dreams for many nights to come. Now, it is time for this mama’s Jacuzzi bath. Not so much for the glitz and glamour of it all, but to wash the chicken poop off my ears. After all, I did hold those eggs up pretty close.

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The Sleuth

I don’t remember exactly how old I was when my mother introduced me to Nancy Drew, but from the moment I read Carolyn Keene’s first book, I was hooked. She was one of Mom’s favorites, too. Nancy was smart. Nancy was rich. Nancy was independent, at least as much as a teenager could be. Nancy drove a blue roadster, whatever that was. I loved reading about her adventures with friends George and Bess and her boyfriend, Ned Nickerson. Our small town, like many others, had a library back in those days. It was cool and dark inside and smelled like books. There was no need for a library card because the librarian knew us all by name and besides, we signed them out ourselves on a card that was located in a pocket inside the front cover of each and every book. I suppose if they were overdue the librarian could call my mother, but I was always so excited to read the next adventure that mine never were. I filled a book bag or my bicycle basket every time I went, and could spend hours perusing the shelves, deciding what to read next. I loved the adventures of the Bobbsey Twins and The Boxcar Children, but soon switched to the mystery genre such as The Happy Hollisters, Trixie Belden, and Cherry Ames. Nancy Drew was my favorite of all of these old friends, and I read the books over and over. For books that were written a generation before mine, they never seemed to get old. Nancy kept me entertained through numerous bouts of tonsillitis. She accompanied me to our cabin, where I spent many hours lying in a hammock on the beach reading and slapping mosquitoes. After dark, I would duck under the covers, book in hand. Mysteries become more mysterious when read by the light of a flashlight unbeknownst to your parents. I found out many years later that my parents knew exactly what I was doing and that Carolyn Keene wasn’t a person at all but a pseudonym for several authors who wrote the series. That was somewhat of a disappointment to me, as I had pictured a real live Carolyn Keene hunched over an old typewriter in an attic room somewhere, tapping away at the keys. Nancy Drew has been around for 85 years. It is kind of amazing how this fictional character entertained and even influenced several generations of women, including me. One of my hobbies is collecting the original hardcover books from the 1930’s and 1940’s. It is no mystery why they are so hard to find. Thanks, Mom. You were right, as usual. The second Mother’s Day without you is no easier than the first.

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