Saturday, November 30, 2013

Eye See You

So, did you get any of those good deals
they were advertising on t.v. for  Black Friday?

Me and the peeps pretty much hid in the house to escape the crowds.

Soon as the list making is done, it'll be time to deck the halls.
But I have people for that.  

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What?!

You mean you don't do the
 "Happy, happy, joy, joy Thursday we're eating Thanksgiving Turkey!"  
dance?

That's right, some of y'all aren't from around here.
Have a good weekend anyway.

As for my peeps, 
they will be steering clear of all the madness known 
as Black Friday Shopping.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Birth of a Do-Gooder

Nov. 22nd marks a tragedy in America: the 50th "anniversary" of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  I was five years old when he died.  I still clearly remember playing outside and asking Mom if Mr. Kennedy was going to be okay.  As documented in my baby book, I was quite the fan.  One notation stated that when Kennedy appeared on t.v. , I announced, "There's the President, now on with the show."  His death was probably the first time I cried over someone I didn't know.  Ironically, shocking as it was to witness on t.v., I did not cry when Jack Ruby assassinated Lee Harvey Oswald as he was being transported  to another jail.

Kennedy was well known for, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country".  And with that statement, the man from Massachusetts planted a seed in a little southern girl's mind.  Sure, he had his personal problems, but little kid me subconsciously latched onto the power of public service.

We would meet again at a crucial moment, Mr. Kennedy and I.  As a twelve year old, I was part of a group of girls who won a trip to Washington, D.C. over a Thanksgiving weekend. We were part of the "Y-Teens", a group for strengthening "girl power" locally known as the YWCA.  It was the female counterpart to the YMCA, which we thought of as the gym where boys played basketball.  Several years ago I chronicled that trip in a 2 part poem which began: 
                                                             
Five little girls.
Black and white.
Traveled in a van
with the Undertaker's wife.
Destination: Washington, D.C.

Yes,  our driver was the wife of a local undertaker who'd taken girls on this trip before.  Yet this was at a time when integration was in it's infancy.  Sending a racially mixed group out-of-town with a black woman was a test of our parents' intestinal fortitude.  As kids, we were caught up in the adventure of it all.  Our biggest "shock" was learning that our accommodations would be in a convent of Nuns. 

We toured the usual sites, with the exception of the White House because there wasn't enough time.  And yet, it would be an encounter with Mr. Kennedy which firmly planted my feet on the path to public service.  
Journeyed for fun.
Learned awkward lessons
courtesy of Arlington Cemetery,
the Unknown Soldier and
the work of Lee Harvey Oswald.

Arlington Cemetery.
Eerily quiet.  Creepily correct.
A mathematician's symmetrical dream.
Precise angles wherever you looked.
Death done to perfection.

We watched in hushed awe at the changing of the guard at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Funny, I still remember actually wondering who he was, what he was like and what had happened to him.  Afterwards we walked over to the eternal flame at Kennedy's grave.  It was there that all the "stuff"  I had witnessed on t.v. became real.  I was standing at the grave of someone I didn't know, but admired.  And it overwhelmed me.


Four giggling girls

Raced for the van.

One stood with a lump in her throat

that felt as eternal

as the flame at her feet.



Quietly a soldier approached.

Silently laid a hand on the little girl’s shoulder

and stood reverently with her for one brief moment.

Funny…his touch

reached all the way to my heart.


That night we were on our way back from the Chinese restaurant when the answer to, "What would you like for dessert?" was an emphatic, "Ice cream!"  Yep, in November.  So we stopped at a hotel with a restaurant and went in for dessert. Some of you will get a kick out of the fact our mischievous waiter sent us into the bar.  When the bartender turned around and found five little girls on bar stools requesting ice cream, he almost had a heart attack as his buddy stood in the doorway laughing.  Rushed to a proper table, we discussed our day while waiting.  The room was virtually empty, with just a single couple nearby.
Seated next to the romantic couple,

Five little girls turned to look.

He was dashing in Marine dress blues.

She was picture book pretty.

Four little girls diverted their eyes uneasily and looked away.

Ah yes, even then I was Miss Curiosity.  Politely of course, but always wondering, "Why?"  I'll let the rest of the poem tell the tail.


The fifth little girl was spellbound.

Watching the Marine look the woman in the eye,

the little girl’s heart skipped a beat

right along with the pretty woman’s

as he took her hand and smiled.



Although she couldn’t hear the words,

the girl somehow understood the dance,

interpreted by the woman’s face.

He spoke, then she spoke.

Their laughter intertwined until you couldn’t tell them apart.



The little girl wanted to scoot closer.

To hear what the handsome man said

that made the woman look so fascinated,

and shy and moved and happy

all at once.



Four little girls

No longer giggling.

Hissing at the fifth

that it was impolite to stare

at a man in a wheelchair.



The fifth girl frowned.

Confused by what they said.

Staring at each girl until,

one by one, they glanced at the man,

then diverted their eyes.



Very carefully, not wanting to cause a scene

the fifth girl politely checked

and was amazed to discover that

the Knight in Shining Armor

had ridden in on his own set of wheels.



Oddly enough, it didn’t matter.

For one thought kept returning to the little girl.

One day when I grow up

I want a man to look at me

the way he looks at her.



Five giggling girls.

4 left laughing.

One left changed.

She never saw his chair.

She only saw the love in his eyes.



My Unknown Solider.

One who survived the war.

Left to ride his government issued metal horse.

Got the girl.
And won my heart.

Fast forward to now, where a little girl made the decision to embrace the concept of, "what you can do for your country".  I grew up wanting to make a difference with compassion, like that silent soldier at Kennedy's grave did for me. Our charity for wounded soldiers is more than a "Do-Gooder" exercise.  It's paying it forward...with love and respect.

That day when I was so unsteady on my feet, a soldier literally had my back.  Today, I have his.  Our charity doesn't just give archery equipment to help soldiers heal physically.  We offer a hand to someone whose world might be a little unsteady.  We don't hand them a gift and push them out the door,  we actually care about that soldier.  And we stay in touch.  

For me, it's the ultimate "Thank You" to those two soldiers:
the one who could've rushed past but made time to care about me
and
the one who made me see the man, not the wheelchair.  
 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hi Y'all!

Today I discovered Nov. 21st is "World Hello Day"
Folks are encouraged to greet 10 people to
"demonstrate the importance of personal communication 
for preserving peace".

Nice thought.

So, HELLO my friends!
Have a wonderful,peaceful day.  

Sunday, November 17, 2013

For Chef

 Currently cooling in the kitchen: 2 dozen Pecan Pie Muffins.
And yes, 
I did have to stand on my trusty kitchen stool in order to get an overhead shot.

These little delicacies remind me of your recent words: 
like friendship, 
they're sweet and nutty with an interesting texture.
Their goodness is best when shared.

Saluting the man you are today
rather than questioning the path which brought you here.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Seeing Spots

When I opened my door this afternoon,
to temperatures which have returned to spring like, 
I saw this.
Looking as if it had the measles, my door was humming with activity.

When I was a kid, I remember a rhyme, 
"Ladybug, Ladybug, fly away home. 
 Your house is on fire and your children will burn!" 

I know, we learned odd things in childhood 
but when you're a kid, it seems perfectly normal.  

Seeing so many of them, 
I was beginning to wonder if maybe OUR house was on fire.
They were literally everywhere!
(Yes Kim Ayres, I know.  
Bad photographer didn't check angle, 
thus added self and top of car to photo)

On the house and shutters.

The porch swing.

It was a virtual tornado of flying red giddiness.
I had them in my hair, on my shoulders, crawling up my legs...
even landing on the camera.
After I finished playing photographer and went into the kitchen, 
 a few hitchhikers flew off of me to inspect my kitchen curtains.

I know they will soon be gone.
Mother Nature keeps them on a strict schedule of eat, reproduce, then
 pass on to the great Ladybug Haven in the Sky.  

But until then, I will laugh when they buzz past my ears 
or tickle me as they march from my hair to inspect those freckles on my face.  
With so many spots of my own, perhaps they think we're related.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Dorothy Was Right...

...there's no place like home!  

Which is where I've returned after the most drama filled 3 day Beach trip with 21 of my senior citizens.   They refuse to go on a bus, enjoying the "freedom" carpooling allows them...."them" being the shopaholics.   Of course that freedom is sometimes sad....I got a call at 7:30 a.m. this morning from  one of the seniors that they'd had to leave in the middle of the night due to a death in the family.  

At times, it was like herding cats.  At least the Comedian between acts at the Matinee Theater Show gave me a good laugh.  I'm calling this outing the "Comedy of Errors Tour"...which included one of the Dining Room waiters excitedly whispering to me that I looked just like a certain actress and hadn't anyone ever told me that before?!  Despite his well meaning enthusiasm, it wasn't a very complimentary comparison...she's older than me and although I'm not skinny, I'm not as "big" as she is either.  But bless his heart, he thought he was making my day so offered my politest "no" with a semi-frozen smile.  He waved at me every morning at breakfast. 

This time of year the weather is usually decent and we get non-seasonal rates, with the added benefit of everyone getting an ocean front room with balcony.  The rooms are like efficiency apartments, complete with microwave, full size refrigerator, coffeepot, ironing board/iron, hair dryer, safe and the now expected free Wi-Fi.  Since our last visit, with the old air force base closed, commercial flights are now directed, you guessed it...right over our hotel!  So between "sleeping" on a bed which felt as if it was filled with rocks and springs, the sound of ice makers dumping in the middle of the night and sounding suspiciously like gunshots and flights every 45 minutes, sleeping will be something I do tonight.

For November the weather was almost spring like...until this morning.   I took this at 6:30 a.m. on my balcony with my cell phone... and it was 18 degrees (-7C).   Watching the local news I saw that some time after midnight it had actually snowed!  Nothing stuck but the wind was at gale force level for most of the night and those palm trees spent half that time bent over, as if reaching for the ocean.
At one point I discovered how well the door to my balcony DIDN'T seal when the curtains started dancing with the trees outside! 

So tomorrow, as I go back to work to face a Staff Meeting and who knows what kind of messages from the seniors who decided to stay and shop a little longer while the rest of us left for home at 9 a.m., I will smile and say we had a swell time.  Because that's what the majority of the seniors said to me as I checked with each group before leaving...

"This was so much fun!  When can we do it again?"


Monday, November 11, 2013

Salute!

Today on Veteran's Day I salute the service of our military vets, 
both past and present..
including our Dads'.  
(Hubby's Dad on the left, mine on the right).

Saturday, November 9, 2013

I'm Off..whether on an adventure or out of my mind, we'll see


Taking 21 of my senior citizens to the Beach on Monday for 3 days, 
with the highlight of the trip a matinee live Christmas music show 
at Alabama Theatre. 
 I know.  
It seemed like a good idea at the time...
even if it's too early to contemplate Christmas.

Fashionable 3 year old me, 
complete with Beach jacket made my Grandma,
bids you a good week.

(The hat, I think, returned itself to China).

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Just a Thought


Please note the proceeds from Nov. 11th are being donated to our charity, CWWAF. 
 
Although it may not be the happiest of subjects, 
you may know some child who has gone through this experience 
and could use the book as a gift.  
 
If you're interested please contact CJ's Creations at 803-696-5566


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Proud Because She's There


This morning's update from Kinga at the World Para Championship Games was a telling quote from one of her favorites, Mother Teresa.  

 "God does not require us to succeed; He only requires that you try."

If they gave out gold medals for simply trying your best, Kinga would be at the front of the line.  

 A little while later she offered this:   
                        
 “Team USA had a great day of shooting! I won my first match against Ukraine 6/2 and lost my second match against China 2/6.  
                                
I'm proud of myself of making it this far, learned a lot of lessons this past few days. Was fighting till the end with a last arrow a 10. 
            
Tomorrow morning at 11:20 am I shoot Mixed Team Round with my teammate Michael Lukow! We will make a great team! Go USA!”

There’s an 11 hour difference from my computer to Kinga’s playing field.  So while I’m fast asleep tonight, she will be making her way toward yet another challenge.  And no matter what the final score, she’ll always be a winner in my book.  Because she tried. 

UPDATE:  Kinga and fellow team member Michael Lukow also competed as a Team.  They were, as Kinga put it, "retired by Poland", who took the match.  Still proud of our girl!