Memorable Memorial

American-Flag-Wall-ArtOn this reverent of days in the United State of America, let us honor those who have died in wars on land, on sea and in the air.

But let us not forget those who fell on September 11, 2001. They too have served in a war, been part of a bloody battle for freedom and righteousness.

Let us remember the women and mothers who went to work that morning. Kissed their husbands and babies and boyfriends goodbye and never came home. The young men fresh from college or business school or working their way through the trenches, climbing to find the real war was in a building 101 stories up. That the only certain relief was to jump.

The seasoned gentlemen who thought they had seen it all.

The ones who perished in an instant because they went to work that day.

They were not on a battlefield, on a ship or in a barracks. They were not on a plane or a military instillation. But when called to duty, they fought.

They fought valiantly and without hesitation. They were warriors and soldiers in the war against our country and our way of life.

A war not of their choosing.

But they fought until the end.

They are heroes.

Let us always honor them.

Let us never forget them.

Now, more than ever.

Blessed Memorial Day to all our beloved dead.

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THE FUN PART

This is the fun part.

The reward for missed dinners, laundry baskets around town full of smoke laden shirts, dirty rugs from boots caked with mud, sore backs, sore muscles and smoky, blood shot eyes.

Besides the obvious gift of coming home at all, its one of the few thank you gesture they receive. Even though they don’t do it for the recognition, it is appreciated when the community stands up and says thanks.

The first parade of the season is at the Apple Blossom Festival – and I was there again to get it all down.

Upgrading to a video camera this year, it was fun to sit and wait among the crowds. Record breaking attendance this year is the result of a boring and bleak winter season, everyone was just happy to get out of the house. Where is a better place than at a parade? Unseasonably cool for May, we were glad it wasn’t raining.

The Apple Blossom Festival is like every other festival in americana life. When I was a kid, it was known as the Fireman’s Fair – but the name is only that – just a name. The feelings it evokes are universal.

The carnival came to town as well, right on schedule. Sandwiched between the high school parking lot and a small plant further down the road, the area became the magical place of rides, the giant ferris wheel, and cotton candy. The aroma of funnel cakes (our personal favorite) filled the air, amidst the call of barkers and game keepers. The clickity clak of the betting wheel and pipe organ music in the background, was only the backdrop for the festivities at hand.

Picking the Apple Blossom Queen and her Court was done earlier in the week, as this festivals goes for seven days! They sit upright in their chauffeured convertible, waving and cheered by adoring parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends. Part of the parade of four fire companies, bag pipes and high school bands, they are pieces of the spectacle yet to come. So are the fife, drum and bugle corps, jazz companies and scouts. I smile as I watch them pass by, all heads held high, tandem in step by step.

They are there, young and old, beside me on the sidewalk, and I search the faces in the crowd to see a neighbor or someone from church. No one I recognize, for this is still a large community and I have yet to see an 1/8 of it all.

It doesn’t stop them from searching my face either, and its a nice surprise when someone introduces themselves.  You’re from…..? they start and I realize I’m standing next to the postman, and a cashier from the local IGA from down the road.

Popcorn and candy vendors line the streets, and I found my new friends the fudge makers. They smiled in recognition and waved hello. Other tents set up to house t-shirts and flags clogged the road, as well as pottery and jewelry, standard sale items at any festival.

When it came time for the Town Supervisor to stand at the podium, all was quiet as he thanked the men and women in our armed forces, those who could not be with us today, and those who would never be with us again. The applause was deafening when the parade of military crossed in front of us.

Handsome and crisp in their uniforms, they are part of the battalion that fights here at home, the firefighters who face harms way whether by land or on the water. 

Yes, this was the fun part, marching in a hometown parade.

I’m sure there were good luck lady bugs somewhere that day.

But I think most of them were at a parade.  

 

George & Bob Stories – Boys is Boys, Cats is Cats

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George and Bob were brothers.

One was older than the other.

But I forget which one.

One day Bob saw the neighbors cat Tuesday sitting outside on the window sill of his house.

I wonder how he got up there?  Bob thought to himself.

As if reading his mind, Tuesday picked his head up, jumped down off the ledge and ran around the side of the house.

I wonder if I can do that?  he thought again to himself. I bet George would know.

Bob ran through the back door and into the kitchen, where he saw Mommy doing the dishes. Mommy (whose name was Madeline) was always doing dishes and folding laundry. George was sitting at the kitchen table, eating Lucky Charms cereal for breakfast.

George saw Bob running into the kitchen.  “Look Bob, a four leaf clover!” he said showing Bob a spoonful.

“Never mind that, George” Bob said. “Do you think you might be able to jump up to a a window like Tuesday does without falling down?”

Mommys ears perked up while standing at the sink, but she didn’t say anything.  She had visions of her two boys throwing themselves against the window.

“Huh?” George said as he stuffed another spoonful of pink stars and yellow moons into his mouth.

“Do you think you could jump up on to the window ledge like Tuesday?”  Bob’s face was turning red.  It only happened when he was getting frustrated.

George gave a couple last chews before swallowing. He looked at his brother and thought about what he asked him. Finally he answered.

“Yeah. I could.  I guess. But why would I want to?”

Bob thought about his answer before he said anything. Mommy was curious to see what he would say.

“Well, just to see if you could, that’s all!”

Just then Francine, their little sister, walked into the room. She had been listening while sitting on the floor in the hall way, changing the diaper on her baby doll.

“Let boys be boys and cats be cats” she said in a calm voice.

Bob shook his head. Who asked her anyway? “You’re a dummy Francine, you know that?”

“That’s enough Bob” Mommy said, turning away from the sink. “Go outside and let your brother finish his breakfast and apologize to your sister.”

“I’m sorry you’re a dummy, Francine!” he said laughing as he ran out the back door.

Francine looked at mommy, shrugging her shoulders. Her brother was silly sometimes, but she loved him anyway.

“You know that Bob loves you very much, don’t you Francine?”    275413SDC[1]

Yes, she thought.   “Even though he doesn’t know how to say it sometimes.”

“Thats right, sweetie. Sometimes he’ll just say something stupid instead.”

Sometimes boys are boys and cats are cats.

And that’s the story of George and Bob who are brothers.

One is older than the other.

But I forget which one.

© 2003 Eileen Loveman