Memorial Day memories

I’ve spent a little too much time in the Way-Back Machine this week, thinking about my Dad who died 25 years ago May 22; it was the Friday before Memorial Day. Quite a bummer, to say the least, and I try not to take myself back to those times for too long, just stopping by to look at who I was, who was my family, and how we survived our grief. Even before that, back in 1967, my Grandpa Eaton died just before the Memorial Day week-end, just as our family was moving to California; it was another horrible time, but a more ancient memory that doesn’t quite evoke the sadness of losing my dad.

Seventeen years ago, on this week-end, we attended the beautiful wedding of Michael and Jessica–such a happy memory!

Back in the 90s we had a pop-up camper and Every Memorial Day week-end we were out in the woods, first years down at Barkley Lake, then moving up to Harmonie State Park, taking along the kids friends and meeting up with Our friends in their campers.

Since the kids have grown up we’ve not had a tradition, though we hit up the cemeteries every few years. Last year we visited the graves of some ancestors who hadn’t been visited since my great-grandmother died — her grandparents and uncles– but I didn’t find her mother and father. Now I know where to look (2 different cemeteries, actually) and I want to make a trip over there, but not today. What we formerly called “Decoration Day” and was supposed to be for all the dead has morphed into a holiday to honor our veterans. Nothing wrong with that, but I think I’ll start a Day of the Dead tradition this year and seek out the ancestors’ graves in November. These pictures are from last year…

My Mom and Dad are in a mausoleum over by Helfrich Park Golf Course and I change their bouquet frequently, marking the seasons and holidays. They are due for their “Patriotic” bouquet, but I’m going to wait and take the Jr kids with me later this week.

Coincidently, I did some time travel to my high school daze this week, too. A gentleman DM’d me on FB to ask if I had gone to Harrison, something anyone could know, so I was skeptical. I checked out his profile and could find nothing that triggered a memory, though his profile pic is a young-him and he’s good-looking, so I should have noticed… but he seemed safe, so I answered. I’ve strained and still haven’t been able to remember him, but he’s really a nice guy and we chatted away. Seems he’s a UCC minister, retired, but we all know that pastors never really retire, so he’s still preaching. He posted this on his FB timeline, and I’d like to share it with you:

This is my Pastoral Benediction for Sunday morning, written by the 19th century Swiss moral philosopher Henri-Frederic Amiel. I wish it for all of you:

Life is short so we do not have much time to

gladden the hearts of those who travel with us.

So be swift to love,

Make haste to be kind,

And go in peace to love and serve the Lord

posted by Robert Walker, my new imaginary friend…

I wish I’d said that…


Mother’s Day Greetings

I’m having a weepy-kinda-miss-my-Mom Mother’s Day.  I don’t always feel so sad on this happy day…wait, yes…yes, I do.

Mother’s Day kinda sucks without a Mom, even when your adoring children are fawning over you.  It’s okay, even fine, to stop a moment and let a few tears flow as you remember her….

Mother’s Day Memo
            Remembering Ida
by Anita Pulier

Breathe in her scent,
thumb through food stained pages,
touch her buttery finger prints.

Remove her little notes
on more garlic or less wine,
place them in your jewelry box

in case they contain
secrets, it’s time
to find Mom’s clues.

Bow your head to
this unique holiday offer
of sensory overload.

Recall family dinners crowded
around an orange banquette
curving around a Formica table,

kitchen walls
strewn with flowered wallpaper
insisting on cheer.

Allow a moment to grieve
the loss of unconditional love.

Pour a nice cup of tea,
open the Times online,
place the cursor
on the world you live in now.

“Mother’s Day Memo” by Anita S. Pulier from The Butcher’s Diamond. © Finishing Line Press, 2018. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

Hug your Mother, if you can.  I’m going to pour a nice cup of tea…


happy mothers day


Looking Back…

Another year done gone…

No matter how well you’ve left the Past behind, Christmas to New Year’s Day will bring the Ghosts back.  We remember the Christmases when we were kids, when our kids were kids, when our kids’ kids were kids…  We remember the Disastrous, the Magical, and forget the mundane…  We count our years and our lbs. and compare them with Other Celebrations…   We Wonder just how we got this Old…

And we tell ourselves what a Great Life we’re Living.  We look through our pictures and reassure ourselves that we are Still Going Strong…

I’m ready to put 2018 to bed now, sending it out with Hoppin’ John and Old Crow.  We’re planning on starting the festivities on London Time, about 5pm here at Sonnystone, so I’ve got to get…

But should Old acquaintances be forgot and never brought to mind?  I think not.

For Old Time’s Sake, I’ll drink a cup of Kindness to You!  And another to You…and You…*


*You know who You are…

First December Post

Casey had a birthday last Friday, his 64th.  I usually post something mushy about him, so if you are interested in knowing just how much I appreciate him read here and here and here ….just go check all the November archives!!!

This year’s celebration involved the traditional gifts of underwear and socks, but instead of a flannel shirt I found a shirt just like the one I gave him 10 or 15 years ago, the one that is really ragged now, though it pops into his clothing rotation every so once in a while.  I don’t imagine he’ll actually toss the old one, but I can sneak it into the rag bag soon.

After piano lesson on Saturday, Olivia and Samantha came over to put the decorations on the tree for us…

I’ve been shopping and I still need to do more shopping and it’s awfully tiresome.  I do make friends standing in line, and always chat up the cashier, so it has its fun moments.   When I got down my Christmas-y clothes this year, it was sad and pathetic, so I’m on a quest for some Holiday togs.  This week-end is Olivia’s Piano Recital at EMA and in just a week we’ll be flying into NYC for our Christmas celebration with the Jose’ Family, so I must have all my frocks in a row.

I’ve traced my genealogy about as far as I can go using the free library version of MyHeritage, so I decided to sign up for a 2-week free trial.  It’s true that Ancestry has a larger database, but I see many of my family folks are on MyHeritage, so I think that’s the way to go.  Except…I don’t have time for it right now.  I think it’s going to make a great January hobby…

I’m within 1 book of meeting my goodreads challenge for the year, cruising through some old-time mysteries by the likes of Dorothy L. Sayers and Josephine Tey (thanks, Sippora!)

I managed to write for an hour every day in November, but I can’t brag about how much I accomplished.  I’m stuck in the middle of the beginning of the Grandmother story, so I left it and did some editing of some old stories I’d forgotten about.  I found a poem that I wrote on our trip to Brown County and it wasn’t too bad, so I fixed it to  good.  Overall, I think I’ve gotten a habit going…just in time to break it for Christmas..!  I don’t think I’m good for routine much longer than 30 days anyway, so I really don’t mind at all…



The Thanksgiving Edition 2018

I started in on Casey as soon as we turned the calendar into November:  What do you want to do about Thanksgiving?  I don’t feel like cooking this year.  Should we take a trip?  We’d better figure out what to do before it gets here, ’cause I hate just it when a holiday becomes just another day…

You see, we have no regular tradition to celebrate the 4th Thursday in November.  Back when everybody was still alive, we blithely went from one big meal to another, savoring the kind of cooking that is the stuff of legend.

In the years since Melissa moved to New York, we’ve bounced around, even visiting for the Macy’s parade a couple of times.  She hasn’t been home at this time of year for at least a decade now and isn’t in New York, either.

The Regional Oirachtas, a very big deal to an Irish Dancer, takes place in Philadelphia over the holiday and that is their tradition now.  Michael’s wife still has a grandma who lives up in Dale, so they always go up there with her family.  That’s an evening meal, though, and I have occasionally done up the turkey-dressing thing for them at lunch.

So it was that I found myself going into a rather bitter rant at the dentist’s office Tuesday.  All the poor girl did was ask what our plans were and I announced that my theme for Thanksgiving was “blank Thanksgiving”…I carried on a little ways about not having any family to celebrate with, not liking to have to make so much food for just us…She suggested a turkey breast and I sort of snapped at her that it sounded like a TV dinner…I went on that not every family was a Rockwell painting, when I caught myself, moved by the crestfallen look on the face of my sweet little dentist.

I’m a pro at turning it around, so I changed my vibe to Every Day is a Day to Be Thankful, and I’m thankful for you all…and I thanked my way out of the office, beaming gratitude throughout and into the waiting room…  When I got to my car, I gave myself a stern talking-to…

Just what is this all about?  Are you sabotaging your own happiness?  Why the griping and complaining?   I won’t take you through my entire process, but it was clear that I needed to plan a Thanksgiving Day Celebration, and my favorite part of Thanksgiving, the part that has always been a constant as I’ve forged through the day, is the Macy’s Parade.   And what’s the best part of the parade?  When the Real Santa and Mrs. arrive at the end.  So what do I need?

I need a little Christmas Now…  With that song as my theme, I swept in and announced that we’d be having a little Thanksgiving Day luncheon, Wolf’s BBQ and some sides;  that Olivia and Samantha would be spending Wednesday night so that we could get up and watch the whole parade together;  that then we would haul out the holly and put up the tree before my spirits fall again…

So That’s what we are Doing!!!

We’re up to catch the Parade, eating cinnamon rolls that PawPaw baked, drawing pictures and singing songs….  Who could ask for more?  I can, so we will facetime Emma and Eliza later and I can watch the kids share the cousin love.

After Mr. & Mrs. Claus have arrived, we can start the decorating…   I’ve been playing We Need a Little Christmas on piano, but remembered a small part that is only in the musical, Patrick says something like, but it’s a week before Thanksgiving…and The Great and Wonderful Auntie Mame says…

Well, once I taught you all to Live Each Living Day…

Live Every Day like it’s Thanksgiving Day…

Live Every Day like it’s Christmas Day, too, but maybe not so much tinsel…