I warn you, this isn't a happy post. No, it's sad on one hand and discomforting on the other. So why share? Because I know y'all care. And talking helps.
Hubby's archery mentor had a heart attack Christmas night and was dead less than 24 hours later. Hubby has somehow fallen into the position of aiding the family with all those endless telephone calls that come with an unexpected death. I know. I made those calls when Hubby's father died unexpectedly. As if losing someone literally at Christmas wasn't hard enough, they've had to push the funeral back so that this man wouldn't be buried on his birthday. The upbeat note of this is that last year, there was a blow out bash for his 80th birthday and he had a blast! So in the never take anything for granted mode, think about the people in your life as the new year approaches.
The other item which struck me as unsettling, as in uncomfortable, is a set of soldier portraits which appear here. They are young soldiers, for the most part, with shots taken before they left for a war zone, in that combat zone and when they returned home. Their eyes say so much without them uttering a word. I choose to see them not as victims, but survivors. Perhaps in 2013 the human race will smarten up and figure out that war is no way to settle our differences.
In this morning's paper was the following political cartoon on the Editorial page. It summed up how the real tragedy, loss of innocent lives, is lost in the headlines.
Yesterday, my office had it's Christmas Luncheon. With the above headlines in the news, we all wanted to forgo the usual "games" we play. They seemed frivolous. Stupid even. And yet, my Supervisor insisted we play the game she chose. We were asked to write our name and fill in the phrase, "For Christmas I want Santa to bring me......". There was some eye rolling and grumbling but in order to eat, everyone had to play along. I wrote the first thing that came to my mind.
Peace on Earth.
The papers were collected, food was served and we all hoped the "game" would just disappear in the rush to get back to work. No such luck. Before the drawing for door prizes, the Supervisor started to reach into the bag, then stopped. She declared we would go around the room, one by one and state what we had written. That like Santa, she would know if we were telling the truth because she had the paper in her hand. AND that she was keeping the information until after Christmas to see if we'd been Naughty or Nice and gotten what was on our wish list.
Someone how the irony of going around the room like a group of school children went over her head.
I sat waiting to see who was greedy or wishing for things our paychecks would never buy. The first guy asked for a winning lottery ticket. And then an amazing thing happened. As we got to our group of Maintenance workers, I figured visions of new trucks and hunting gear were dancing in their heads. The first guy was new...and about 12. With a shy voice he said, "Love and Happiness for everyone."
You could've heard a pin drop.
Around the room we went, adding Peace, Love, Happiness for children. The Supervisor started digging into the bag to see if we were telling the truth. The shock on her face confirmed we meant what we said. I was the 4th "Peace on Earth" and we all smiled at each other. By the time we got to the Boss' 19 year old grandson, he actually grimaced when he replied, "A BMW".
We're Public Servants. We work with the public every day. We see them at their best and worst, while they test us to see if we can remain our best and resist saying the worst. As we left the room I glanced at my stunned Supervisor and smiled.
I hope Santa was listening. A little Peace on Earth would be a wonderful gift.
As promised. Oh, I tried to post on your blog but the computer I utilize for several hours a day does not like blogging, therefore it refuses to post.
1 teaspoon cold water 1 egg white 1 pound pecans: which equals about 4 cups, shelled. 1 cup sugar 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon salt
egg white and water until frothy. Add pecans and toss gently, until
nuts are coated. In a separate bowl, mix other ingredients, then
combine with nut mixture. Again, stir gently. Spread pecans on a
non-greased cookie sheet. Bake at 225 degrees for one hour....stirring
pecans around every 15 minutes.
Take a step back from those holiday crowds and present a 55 word story to the G-man. They don't have to be wrapped and you won't have to stand in line to return one.
Pearl Harbor Day.
“A date which will live in infamy.”
We’re told those who can’t learn from history are
doomed to repeat it.
So why do politicians mistake war
as a viable solution for disagreements?
Why toast one man as a war hero
yet ignore another
whose wounds are invisible?
TBI still hurts.
TBI: Traumatic Brain Injury. Sadly it's getting more "play" in the news due to Football players who've committed murder/suicide than as a medical condition cause by head trauma. As many as 400,000 soldiers have been diagnosed with TBI after returning from war zones. The question remains how many have been kept from diagnosis and help due to military stigma?
This was shared by Jim Beaver, a wonderful character actor who is perhaps best known as "Bobby Singer" on the American t.v. program "Supernatural." He's not the actor in the clip, but he should've been...Jim is also a Vietnam veteran.
If this doesn't bring a tear to your eye, you don't have a heartbeat.
Meet Millicent Owuor, age 20, of Kenya, who gave birth to twin sons on Wednesday. All mothers want the world to see their children as special and what better way to leave a legacy than by what you name that child.
Say hello to her sons: Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.
If she can find our election process inspirational enough to name her children, then perhaps America, (and this goes double for Congress), needs to quit whining about how life isn't fair and get to work on that "all men are created equal" clause.
If you can't do it for your country, do it for these namesakes representing the dream that America inspires outside her own borders.
My plan this morning was simple: I'd enter the polls at 9:15 a.m., which should make me miss the "going to work crowd" and be ahead of the "I have to get this done during lunch" group. My plan, I would discover, only had one flaw.
I was missing. Or at least my name was AWOL.
I walked into my precinct at 9:15 and discovered only two people were ahead of me in line. For the last Presidential election, that line had wrapped around the room and I stood for over an hour just waiting to get inside to vote. Today, eight voters had already been processed and were standing on the other side of the room, waiting for a voting machine to free up. An older gentleman, resplendent in suit and tie, was asking for our last name, to expedite the process as the polling list had been divided alphabetically into two sections. We all seemed to be headed for the first list, leaving him with little to do. I complimented him on how nice he looked, making him beam from ear to ear. He offered that of all the things people had said to him so far, none had noticed he was wearing his Sunday best.
For future reference: ALWAYS compliment someone who has been given a thankless task and yet is doing it with a smile. That simple courtesy would later save me a ton of trouble.
The girl in front of me, about college age, stood with her hands in her pockets and grunted her name when it was required. As the poll worker, who also was dressed as if going to the Presidential Ball instead of spending 12 hours in an old school gym, looked for the girl's name, said girl huffed and puffed in irritation. The woman politely looked up at the girl and said in a rather maternal voice, "Where is your I.D.?" With much eye rolling, College Girl dug into her huge purse and pulled out a state photo I.D. instead of a registration card. That's okay. It's acceptable for voting if you're already registered. After signing in she huffed over to the line, as if it were unacceptable for her to have to wait. Again.
Land of the Free. Home of the Impatient.
I smiled at the woman, handed her my registration card and said, "My name comes just before all those (name of a prominent family in my community) folks." She laughed and scanned the list. Like Santa she checked it twice. Then her smile turned upside down.
My name, the one which has been showing up at the polls for many years now, was AWOL.
Mr. Dapper Dresser quietly leaned over and whispered, "You're at the right precinct to vote?" I assured him I'd been voting right here for 15 years. He looked perplexed, they consulted the list again and then looked at me in unison, as if delivering the bad news together would make it easier. On them.
"Your name isn't here," they sighed, apologetically. "But since your registration card clearly shows that you vote here, we'll write you in."
Now before anyone worries that I have just single handedly rendered the election process null and void, I will share with you exactly what I shared with the sharp dressers.
"It's okay," I began calmly, with a smile. "Redistricting after the census always means an error or two. Oh," I added, as they unwound from recoiling in what they just knew would be a tongue lashing, "I use to be Director of Elections for my hometown. It happens. And thank you for handling it so kindly."
Mr. Dapper Dresser looked at me and shook his head, "Ma'am, I have been chewed out for the most ridiculous things already this morning. You should be upset and yet you've been...polite."
I think if I told him at that very moment I could fly, he'd have believed me.
"It's not your fault," I laughed, as the people behind me let out a sigh of relief that I wasn't going to be "that woman" who raises hell in public just to see how many heads will turn her way. Never been a head turner. Sure don't want to be labeled as worse.
The truth is, I've been on the receiving end of worse during an election. I know the trouble drawing new district lines can cause as it was once my job to set up elections. When I went to our local political delegation to advise I didn't have enough information to do the job properly, their reply was to insist I proceed. The kicker was having them tell me to quit worrying, as I'd always done my job well. Unfortunately they forget that conversation when everything went wrong election night. By morning they were calling for my head on a rusty platter. However, actions have consequences. Let's just say I got to keep my job as I'd documented everything in writing. Not all of them survived public opinion.
So today, I signed the polling list, waited in line for a couple of minutes and got to talk to neighbors I don't often see. When Mr. Dapper Dresser turned to see who was next in line, he looked at me and smiled. As I approached the machine, I grinned and muttered, "Here comes trouble," making him laugh out loud.
And with that, I not only did my duty as an American in voicing my opinion, I left feeling better simply because I didn't make those poll workers feel worse.
I will be the first to admit that South Carolina has been lucky. Hurricane Sandy took a run at Florida, then waltzed around us like we had the plague before making a beeline for North Carolina.
We've experienced lots of gusty wind and have had wind advisories which began last Friday afternoon and run until tomorrow night. Halloween...how appropriate. We've also been forbidden to burn anything as things are now extra dry.
I've been shocked at some of the photos I've seen of damage...having been through Hurricane Hugo, I understand exactly how those people feel. The flooding, though, has been beyond comprehension. I actually saw a photo today of a home near the New Jersey coastline where a small SHARK was swimming in the front yard, right past the front porch.
This afternoon, as I approached home, I realized the long arm of Sandy is still trying to reach out and smack us. Click on the photo to get the full effect, as I took it in panorama mode. The dark is the storm...the blue sky was what it looked like over my home.
And there's no place like home.
If Sandy is visiting in your neck of the woods, be safe!