Monday, May 28, 2012

A Memorial Day Rerun

It was May 5th in the year 1868 and by the ruling General Order 11 (General John Logan pictured above) Decoration Day was instituted to honor the fallen dead of a recent war. In the South it goes by many names, but Mama always called the Civil War "the Late Great Unpleasantness". It didn't change anything in her mind about the validity of the war (and BTW the war she missed by about 50 years) but the concept of brother fighting brother was unpleasant, you see. Southern women had begun to lay flowers and ribbons, nosegays and scraps of paper with words of love on the graves of their fallen loves. Husbands, brothers, sons...there was no official holiday, it was just something they did until there was an official holiday. General Logan apparently took notice of this allegiance to the fallen and so a holiday we still celebrate was born. Through the years Decoration Day was changed to Memorial Day and every small town began to hold celebrations with parades and flags and marching men from every branch of the Military proudly walked in it...some old soldiers (with uniforms smelling of mothballs, taken from attics everywhere) current Military men and women, heroes from World War II up thru the current war in Iraq will be honored this year. Something I have noticed, being of the VietNam era, is that we honor our heroes more vigorously during war than peace. It's more than the typical barbecue holiday it usually is. War is at the forefront of everyone's minds and so we pray for our Troops...we pray for the war to be over and everyone to be home and safe with their loved ones. I don't say Happy Memorial Day, because when you think about it, there's nothing remotely happy about it. My grandmother, Nancy Douglas, read "In Flanders Fields" to us when we were little. She read it with much emotion and often had tears in her eyes. I am sure she was always thinking about her beloved Martus (Douglas) who had died on the soil of France after barely disembarking from the troop ship that had carried him there. The words are as moving and meaningful now as they were when first written by a young Canadian Officer named Lt John McCrae, MD. Of course it would be a Doctor who would take note of the carnage that war leaves behind. Take a moment to read it and feel its power. And remember all those who shed their blood to make us the great Nation we are and always will be, because of three simple words. We the People.

In Flanders Fields By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) Canadian Army

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow

Between the crosses row on row

That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch;

be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep,

though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

And so we celebrate another Memorial Day in our future...God Bless our Vets

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Well Traveled Cat

Her mother was a fierce hunter who prowled the gardens like her panther ancestors.  She crawled on her belly after field mice and stalked snakes with stealthy finesse.  Until she didn't.  We found her lying in the garden with the dead snake nearby.  She had fulfilled her destiny and met it at the same instant.  We didn't know what to call her because she had been tossed out at our place several weeks before and she had not told us her name.  So she was buried  in the garden with a mound of stones to mark her passing.  That evening we heard a pitiful mewling coming from the garage.  Mac checked around and sure enough, there nestled in the hold of the cinderblock  ship lay a tiny barely week old kitten.

We at first called her Cinderella, for obvious reasons.  But she soon taught us her name.  I made her a formula that did not agree with her at all.  Calling Dr Lawhon I explained that we were fostering a new born and were experiencing projectile vomiting after each feeding.  He recommended we put her on Pedialyte immediately.  What a valuable piece of information this has proven to be over the years. 

Having planned a trip to Alabama that July 1996, we packed up the baby and all her supplies, portable litter pan included and headed off to Selma to be in time for the Olympic torch to pass through that historic city.  Gizmo as she was now known, was 9 weeks old and still taking her pedialyte straight up.  She was bossy and cantankerous, loving and dependent, agile and boneless in her acrobotics.  She was loved as we have loved all our feline companions and then some.  She made us laugh and she entertained Mac's family with her antics.  Even though we had brought her kennel with us, she was allowed the run of both the Grandparents and her Aunt Ginger's.  She had been from South Carolina through Georgia into Alabama.  She went as far as Mississipi and North Carolina.  All before she was a year old.  She loved to travel.

 She also loved her dogs, two shelties named Duffy and Ripley.  She tried to slip into the back yard with them every chance she got.  One night she was successful and we didn't know.  The next morning we discovered that she was missing.  We called and called her name both inside and out.  We scoured the fields and called the neighbors.  Mac haunted the pound, going there several  times a week for over a year.  We posted her as missing in the Chronicle for 3 months, put up posters of our Gizmo sitting in my dolls house and still searched the fields and woods.  One day a lady called me.  She told me that they had found Giz several months back and that her daugter was wrapped around her heart, and Giz was wrapped around hers.  She had no intention of returning her, just wanted to relieve our minds, to let us know that she was okay.
We cried.  Although knowing she was perfectly fine helped, it didn't cause us to miss her any less.  It pained us that Gizmo had taken yet another trip, this time without us.  I hope that she is still with her new family and that she is still the apple of her little mistresses eye.  Our little world traveler deserves only the best.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Kindle Kindle Who has a Kindle

Everyone knows that I am an avid reader ( I nearly said rabid reader which is not far from the truth).  I love the ink and paper of books, the new smell of freshly printed paper and the tightness of the bound book.  I love the oldy moldy smell of books  long out of print but miraculously in my hands, sharing the story of men and women long gone told by an author now somewhere on another plane of life.  I fought the idea of a kindle every year since it's appearance on the scene.  This past Christmas, Mac ignored my every argument and ordered me one as a present.  Lucky girl, me. 
This past April 17th, I had a very serious operation on my foot called a Pantalar Fusion.  My left foot was so destroyed by RA and prior fractures that I was walking on the complete side of the outside of my foot and in pain so constant that I learned to live with it.  I didn't enjoy it, just learned to put up with it.  After seeing several doctors who could offer me no hope, I was finally seen by one who is visionary at worst, a miracle worker at best.  Dr Thomas Joseph of the Camden Bone and Joint office did not sugar coat it nor offer me false promises.  He told me he knew what was wrong, he thought he could fix it, but that I was still in danger of amputation.  Well.  I knew immediately that I had found the doctor for me and that I would put my trust in him absolutely.  Which brings me back to my kindle.  I find that I must lie on my back with my foot balanced on every pillow that I could find.  It must be above my heart and I am to put NO WEIGHT on said foot.  A boring life such as no human has ever been cast into.  I had ordered several books for my kindle (25) had checked a few out of the library (10) and gotten some for absolutely free (19).  I was set.  Already having read the library books I took delight in several of Dean Koontz's books....the Odd Thomas series has entertained me these past two weeks.  The new one is due out and I have preordered it.  I also reread The Dome by Stephen King.  Now the original book is well over a thousand pages and must have weighed at least five pounds.  I can not imagine holding that in my hands looking up at the printed page.  Had I dropped it I was sure to suffer a concussion.  But my sweet little Kindle only weighs a few ounces and I can read for hours.  I am content to lie with my foot above my heart and entertain my overactive brain.  I am trying not to think about the several nails and rod now holding my foot perfectly straight...I only think about what to read next.  Now I have been up to long and must go and assume the position.  I have a new Dean Koontz book to while away my hours called "A Big Little Life" about his and Gerda's beloved fur daughter, the late Miss is proving to be a delightful read .  I have not only my favorite author to thank for my sanity but also the aforementioned Dr Joseph, my new hero...