Singing and memories
Memorial Day, this week, reminded me of the special services we either watched on TV or went to and the "armed service medley." Dad was in the Army Air Corp, and so was his brother, which became the Air Force. He would always stand when the Air Force music was played - even when he had to hold onto his walker to be able to stand and stay standing. He usually only sang the first part of the first verse..."off we go...."
At one point he had to have surgery for blocked vessels (artery?) in his neck. We had to be at the hospital EARLY to get him registered. As usual he gave everyone a hard time but that is a story for another day. What I was reminded of this week, with the music, is how he was singing the Air Force hymn that day. The nurses had everything ready, the doctor had been in and talked to us, so they were wheeling Dad out to the surgery. As they were wheeling him out of the room and down the hall he started singing. Yup, you could hear him. "Here we go into the wild blue yonder...."
Thankfully the nurses thought it was funny. Like I say... Sometimes you have to laugh or you will start screaming!
I have told you how Dad shared stories, from the depression and WW II, with just about anyone who asked. He wrote many of them down - some of which I will try to share in the time ahead of us. Meanwhile one of the stories, in connection with Memorial Day, is about his brother George.
Uncle George was shot down, over France before D-Day, and reported as "missing in action." From the first part of June until the end of August, when Paris was liberated, the family did not know what had happened. The French Resistance found my uncle, a radio/navigator, and the pilot before the Germans did. How they kept the two men safe is a story for another day.
The story for today is this story is one our family knows. AND my aunt, the younger sister, heard from the family - in France - who had helped our Uncle (her oldest brother). Our aunt stayed in touch with the family for many years.
What stories can you share? What stories at least make you smile - if not laugh?
It is hard to believe but we are "officially" starting into summer this weekend. Memorial Day weekend means a number of things to just about all of us but one thing is that "summer" schedule seems to start. A lot of us are also able to enjoy the three day weekend BEFORE the summer schedule starts.
Meanwhile it is good to remember WHY we have the holiday. Dad used to share some wonderful stories - especially how he and mother were married on a three day pass. We learned our uncle, his older brother, had been shot down over France (before D day) and rescued by the Resistance. There were a lot of stories they DID NOT share but there were quite a few they did. Are we asking about the stories? Are we asking for them to share what they can? Are we showing the love and support they need TO share the stories?
This weekend is a time to remember that while "all gave some".... "Some Gave ALL." It is a time to remember, to share, maybe even cry but also to laugh.
Sometimes, when we are traveling, there are a lot of memories to go with the traveling - a specially if there is a special celebration involved. Sometimes the memories are sad - either because of the reason for the travel OR because someone is no longer a part of the traveling. Sometimes the traveling is for a celebration which brings back good memories and laughter.
This weekend I have been traveling to celebrate a grandchild’s graduation from high school and the next’s child’s finishing his associates degree preparing to start into the last two years of college. (NEXT year the second grandchild will graduate from high school.) Celebrating these “ending” events, while encouraging the future events, brought back a lot of memories.
The biggest memory was of traveling with Dad and the time we came to celebrate my then oldest (first) grandchild’s first birthday. It was pretty exciting. I had even finishded a “family tradition” quilt by said birthday - pretty special for me! The laughter came as my son asked my Dad to play ping pong. He thought 30 something would be able “beat” 80 something. Dad ran him all around the ping pong table! Dad creamed grandson! Then Dad explained he had been the 2nd in ping pong in his high school - second to Dad’s big brother.
Yes, some memories are sad - but we celebrate the love they had for us and the Communion of the Saints. But there are also the memories of the laughter shared!
"Thou shalt NOT fall" was one of Dad's favorite sayings. He used to tell people he thought it was the 11th Commandment. The interesting thing is he didn't start saying this until after I fell cracking my ankle - it wasn't "quite" broken but close enough to require a brace and using a walker. Dad and I would take turns with the walkers. The one going to the kitchen, able to bring things back, got the walker with the "seat" on it.
What got me thinking about this is how often in the last couple of weeks I've told people about "not falling!" It happens pretty regularly depending on where we are. Where there are uneven sidewalks, unexpected steps or trying to cross uneven ground. In each case people will ask me "what did you see?" To which I reply "where I was putting my feet." I also will share about NOT falling and how Dad started saying it.
And....in case you are wondering..... Yes, I fell while on my recent vacation. I glanced up at the wrong time and caught my food on the uneven sidewalk. The bad news is I fell (with several interesting bruises to show for it). The good news is I was able to get back up BY MYSELF. You have to laugh or you will start screaming!
So.... from personal experience, and following Dad's advice.... "Do NOT fall!!"
Thanks for the memories!
I am sitting here watching the wind blow the tree branches around. It is getting windier as we progress into the afternoon. "They" are telling us it will be blizzard conditions soon and last until Thursday morning. "They" are also telling of other major storms through out the country.
Which got me thinking of past storms, past memories and some of the stories Dad and I would talk about. Like the time, right after my divorce, when I told people "back" where I had lived I was really trying to be sympathetic but it was 70 plus degrees in the hill country of Texas. Later that same day a "norther" blew in and the temp dropped 40 degrees in a few hours. (I never bragged about the temps to people 'up north' again!) Or the storms Dad and I talked about, as we were checking the supplies to make sure I didn't have to 'fight' my way to the store, and of how Mom ALWAYS had a two week supply on hand. Dad even told me of the snow storm the day he was born (April 20th) that made his mother (my grandmother) have to stay in the hospital "extra" days because she "couldn't get home." And they lived in St. Paul!
So...... Memories...... A nice cup of tea, some praise music playing, knowing the supplies are here for food, knitting and quilting. Then the memories....... Another time of laughing...so we don't start screaming!!
How many times, especially this winter, has that been your reaction? As we watch the news, every day, and see what is happening around the world we can also have this reaction. As we see, on the news, the storms hitting, from the west to the east coasts, we can have this reaction. As we sit in our own homes, thankful for the food and supplies, we can have this reaction. And...as we "again" check on family, and loved ones, affected by all these storms we can have this reaction. We can also be VERY thankful for the people who help to clear our "spaces" so we can get "out."
Dad and I frequently said these same words to each other. Usually when one of us was having difficulty with something - like technology. We were blessed to have people who would help "dig us out" so the weather wasn't "usually" what caused this response. I can remember a couple of winters, however, when schedules kept getting changed, and worship services cancelled, because we couldn't "get out." Even those of us that lived "in town" were not able to get out. IF we could get out we probably shouldn't BE out - which usually got this reaction.
At the same time, like I've said before, Dad and I always had plenty of food, liquid and things to do. So... yes, I do have food, tea, coffee, fabric, yarn, projects and even snacks to last me. It is, however, another one of those times when we need to laugh. Otherwise we sill start screaming!!
All the "winter weather" we have been having has caused some interesting re-arranging of schedules and discussions. When the weather, and the roads, are clear it is easier (much!) to get out to visit and have meetings. We usually end up talking about the roads, which to avoid and how soon they will be cleared. Thankfully, at least where we are, the power has stayed on AND the plows have been able to get through. I know it hasn't been that way everywhere.
One discussion I had, recently, was about the "lift" chairs. The person I was talking to didn't understand the need for a battery -- after all it "powers" you to a standing position and is plugged in. I pointed out the need for power by telling about the time there was a "hurricane" where I was serving as a pastor. I know they don't call them "hurricanes" in the upper Midwest but 95+mph winds in the south, with rain, ARE called hurricanes. So I think of it as a hurricane.
There was no way Dad could safely get to the basement so we stayed away from the windows. He sat in, you guessed it, his lift chair. And, yes, we lost power. It was only out for about 15 minutes. When it came back on he got up, out of the chair, went to the bathroom, got food and something to drink and came back into the living room. Did he sit in my recliner? NO!! He sat back in his lift chair. When we lost power, again, it was for several hours. I don't remember how long he had to sit in his chair. I do know there was NO WAY I could have gotten him out of his chair.
My sister got him a "battery back up" lift chair after we had this little problem. So...of course....we didn't loose power again. It is one of those things you have to laugh or you start screaming!
When you think of "snowed in" what do you remember? Being out of school? Snow days of playing in the snow and building snow forts? Do you remember if there was food enough? Did you pay attention to what the adults were doing to be prepared? I can remember my mother always having enough food for at least two weeks in the house. I can also remember the first year I was married and having to go to the store EVERY time the storm was starting because we were NOT prepared.
We are getting a "winter storm" (okay they are calling it a blizzard) where I live. It got me to thinking of the times Dad and I were snowed in. We always had plenty of food, even if one of us had to "stop" to fix it, and things to do. Dad was always reading, writing or working on his computer. He was quite willing to let me read or quilt. He loved to ask me questions as soon as I started knitting -- especially if I was trying to count! Thankfully, with snow plows and snow blowers, it only took a couple of days until we could be out safely.
So..... were you prepared for this storm? Do you have things to do? I have several projects for "when I get snowed in" which MIGHT even get looked at. I do have plenty of food, coffee, tea and fabric so staying IN will work. All of which helps us to laugh, and maybe even enjoy, being "snowed in!!" instead of screaming!
I'm not sure how but we are in the middle of February and moving quickly into Lent. The problem is this can mean the schedule is getting even busier. So I repeat the question..... where is your 'focus'?
I was at a meeting, recently, where it was pointed out we are frequently "gazing at what is happening" and "glancing at Christ." It was pointed out we need to be "gazing at Christ" and "glancing at what is happening." This is so true for all of us but especially for those of us who are care givers. This is one of the reasons for the F O C U S of the logo!
There is a lot going on in the world - virus spreading, political, church changes AND we have our care recipients. We need to keep our focus - Fixing Our eyes on CHRIST Uniting for Strength.
So....... where is your focus?