Sunday, May 27, 2012


Memorial Day.  An excuse to shop? A day off  from work or school?  Watching a band and eating yummy food at a downtown festival?  It's all of the above, but the main reason for this May holiday, signaling that summer will be here soon, is remembering.   Specifically, remembering our nation's fallen military men and women. 

Originally called Decoration Day, it was established before the end of the Civil War to honor the men and women who died in service of our nation.  Many small towns lay claim to having  been the first to celebrate a specific day, but over time it was officially proclaimed a holiday on May 4, 1868. It was marked by decorating graves, holding parades and attending picnics big and small.

In 1915  Moina Michael  wore a red poppy to honor those who died in war, and the idea took hold. Before too long the tradition of buying and wearing poppies spread, even to other countries.  The proceeds in some cases went to widows and children orphaned by war.

In ensuing years the original meaning has been lost and we now combine our remembering to include anyone close to us who has passed away.  We still decorate graves and hold special parties with red, white and blue flags flying, however the parades and community-wide celebrations are fewer, and in some places, non-existent.

In an attempt to return to its original intent, a "National Moment of Remembrance" was introduced in December, 2000 which asked that we all pause at 3:00 p.m. wherever we happen to be to remember those in the military who died to keep us safe.     Carrying it further, some are even behind a movement to return to the original day of observance, perhaps a specific day such as May 30, no matter what day it falls upon.  Their argument is that a three day weekend can be seen as a distraction with its multitude of activities,  rather than as a way of focusing on one important thing  - remembering those lost to us who were  trying to keep us from harm's way.

This year, for so many of our military's young men and women who made the "supreme sacrifice", we need to do more than take a minute at 3:00 p.m. to remember them.   As a nation we need to make sure that their deaths were not in vain, and live our lives in a way that brings honor to that sacrifice.  In the meantime, we can also show we care by our actions. We can say "thank you" or  give small gifts to everyone we see in uniform.  We can volunteer in military hospitals.  We can invite them to our homes for a good home-cooked meal.  We can put them in touch with possible employment opportunities.  In other words, we can give back to the living and injured an attitude of love and appreciation, while also remembering those no longer with us.

 So at 3:00 tomorrow, take a few minutes to reflect on those who have died so that we can be safe, and what that means for you.  Then take a few more minutes to think about those in the military, away from their homes and loved ones, and think how you can show them you care.  Surely it's worth a few minutes time in the lives of us all!

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Today we held a bridal shower for  Liz, my future daughter-in-law,  at our Sandy Point beach house.  It was a champagne brunch for twenty-four women and the day was sunny and warm.  Guests were seated at decorated tables  on the water side patio, and garlands of pink flowers with white fairy lights festooned the walls above the buffet, which was prepared by another daughter-in-law, Jackie.
Presents were opened with the expected oohs and aahs, and daughter Jonelle busily made a bouquet  from all the ribbons. Click on the words "made a bouquet" to learn about this and other bridal traditions.  Because of time honored stories, Liz was careful  about unwrapping the presents, since the number of ribbons broken  are supposed to predict how many children the future bride will have.  And of course jokes were made about how many would be acceptable with respect to future motherhood.
Typical shower games were played, but one activity was worth sharing.   The women were asked to share advice for the new bride on 3 x 5 cards.  Here were a few of those "words of wisdom."
1.  Always make up and never go to bed mad.
2.  The best advice is to love, nourish and have peace.
3.  Laugh it off.
4.  Take 3 deep breaths and shake off the small stuff...and remember, it is mostly SMALL stuff.
5.  Communication and compromise are important.
6. Don't sweat the small stuff (toilet seats, clothes on the floor, etc.)
7. You catch more bears with honey than you do with vinegar.
8. You trained for a wonderful career.  Don't let anyone talk you out of it.  Always be able to work, to be independent, and to have your own money to spend.
9. Have unconditional love, fight fair, and always make up after.
10. Develop special hobbies and adventures that are shared together exclusively.  This will bond your relationship with each other and your shared memories will last forever.
11. Create your own family traditions.
12.  Promise to be kind to everyone you meet and know.
13. Act like your husband is always right, then do it your way when he is not looking.
14. Having two cars and two TVs is a good thing.
15. During the hard times (fights) pause and remember how rare true love is and how blessed you are to have it, then tell each other you love them.  Don't go to bed angry.
16.   Keep your guy on a short (yet fashionable leash). 
We all smiled knowingly at each other as the cards were read and I wondered  how many felt as I did - that being a woman is pretty special. I don't think men spend much time listening to advice from their buddies unless it has to do with getting certain basic needs met.  On the other hand we,  the so called weaker sex, shaped by the journeys  of those who went before, can spend hours talking about life's problems,  solutions, second guessing, multi-tasking, and handling whatever life throws our way. I think we are  wise, strong, clever, resourceful and resilient. Like the song lyrics from The Flower Drum musical say, "I enjoy being a girl."   
Many of us at the shower were mothers, which adds additional depth to the female psyche.  For those and for mothers across the world I say Happy Mother's Day.  May you enjoy the day, knowing that your children, whether near or far, will have you in their thoughts.