dearanonymousfriend

Ramblings from a would be writer

Land that I love…

I am a flag-waving patriot.  I have said this before and I will repeat it again.  I love my country.  I cry each time I hear the National Anthem.  I cry when I hear America the Beautiful, I cry at each patriotic song I hear.  I admit it freely.  And, I am looking forward to tomorrow.  Inauguration Day.  A day that happens every four years.  A celebration of what the Founding Fathers fought for, dreamed of, worked for.  It’s a great thing to celebrate.

Tonight as I was thinking of the inauguration, I remembered the first inauguration I can remember.  I was five, just about to turn six.  I was in first grade at St Joseph’s elementary school.   The date was January 20, 1961.   The first Roman Catholic president was going to take the oath of office.

It was a school day.  In January.  In northwestern Pennsylvania.  A snowy, cold day.  I took my lunch to school, so that normally meant you ate in the lunch room in the basement of the school and then you went out onto the ‘playground’ which was the church parking lot and you froze for the hour while the nuns went to the convent and had lunch.

January 20, 1961 was different though.  The nuns wanted to see the inauguration.  Somehow they managed to have the kids who brought their lunch go home with those who didn’t.  We had an extended lunch hour.  I got to go home with a girl who has ended up being one of my oldest and dearest friends.  I took my lunch pail to her house and, along with my dried sandwich, I had a bowl of hot soup.  What a treat for me.  I got to take off my shoes and sit down on something comfortable and be in a home.  I will never forget it.  I sat in the kitchen and her mom talked with us and gave us fresh cookies.

We moved into the sewing room where her grandmother stayed and we watched the president being sworn in.  I confess that the only thing I actually remember is watching a bunch of old people on the television talk.  The best thing about it all was the actual cocoa I was drinking in the middle of the day.

The soup, the cookies and the cocoa took precedence over the President asking us not what the country can do for us, but what we could do for the country.  (My interpretation).

So, tomorrow, I will watch our new president take the oath of office.  I will feel pride in my country.  I know countless others do not feel this way, and that grieves me.  I have spent time living overseas.  During those years I missed being home.  Yes, I was on a base under an American flag and I was supporting my husband as he served this country.  But, I was homesick for our country.  It is hard to put into words the longing I had for home while I was there.  Home is more than a shelter you live in.  Home is the country you are born in.  It is the familiarity of a nation.  Yes, I have disagreed with much in the past few years, but, I respect the office of the presidency.  It is an office that deserves respect regardless of who it is sitting behind that desk.  Our founding fathers fought for the right for people to disagree.  They fought for the right to have a peaceful transition of power.  So, tomorrow, I will celebrate the freedom we have.  The freedom to cry tears of joy and pride over a national anthem.  The freedom to feel pride at a new president.  The freedom to pray for the former president, pray for his continued safety and for his rest from his service.

It has been a year of struggle for our country.  I pray tomorrow the struggles will start to calm down.  There will always be differing views and some loud voices raised on both sides, but, for me, for tomorrow, I am choosing to rejoice in America.  Rejoice in the fact that we can experience tomorrow, the swearing-in, the transition, the protests.  It is all American.  May God bless this country and keep it safe.

~ Cathi (DAF)

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My life could now be a sit-com…

I sit here writing, waiting for the timer to go off so that I can disconnect the little cleaner bug for the pool.  My pants are wet and I refuse to change them just yet as I know I will get drenched doing a simple task that takes hubby five minutes and takes me a half hour.

This is my life.  I was a Navy wife.  Toughest job in the Navy they used to say.  They were right too.  I thought nothing of checking automobile fluids, air pressure in tires, and filling tires with air.  It was nothing to trim the yard and even start a lawn mower.

I could fix, paint, spackle,  and do assorted chores around the house.  I was confident doing it.  I was tired, but, confident.

Then Hubby retired from the Navy.  He got his degree, he went to work, he took care of things around the house.  I didn’t have to do much.  Just clean the house, do laundry and make certain there were meals when we were hungry, and even then, there was take out and eating out.  Life was calm.

Calm until a month ago.  Now I am digging out that old, rusty and dusty Navy wife persona.  She is really dusty and rusty.  She hasn’t wanted to be brought out of retirement.  She was happy sitting in the dark recesses of my memories where she looked heroic.  After yanking her out of the corner, I find she is a bit testy!  She grumbles and isn’t near as strong as she once was.  Her upper body strength is shot and her hands aren’t as nimble as they once were.  Plus, her language can be a bit coarse.  I really didn’t remember that part!   On the whole, I think she may have sat too long.

I reflect on all of this on the heels of learning that instead of two more weeks of hubby being immobile we still have another month.  After that month, any thought of physical therapy is another six weeks out.  This really doesn’t bother me, except, I knew that the old Navy wife was going to rebel.  She was hoping she would be recalled for only a few days, seems now, that she is going to be back in service for a while.

Right before I started writing this post, I remembered that I had not disconnected the hose to water the garden.  I  turned off the spigot, remembering ‘righty-tighty, lefty -loosy’.  I then went to where two hoses were connected together.  I waited a few minutes to get the residual water through, then turned the one hose to the little off position, bent close to the ground (as Hubby has suggested) and proceeded to disconnect the hoses.  It was like standing over Old Faithful.  Water gushed up enveloping me in a shower.  Glasses dripping, water in my ears, up my nose, and all over.  I changed my shirt to start to write and sure enough that one got drenched when I finished pulling out the cleaner tool from the pool.  I had followed Hubby’s directions, I had left one end of the connecting hose in the pool and was disconnecting the cleaner when the loose end squirted up and out of the pool, not the way it was supposed to happen.  I fixed it and we didn’t lose too much pool water through the hose, but, still, I was soaked, again.

I laugh at myself often these days.  That is, when Navy wife isn’t in my mind telling me that the situation is hopeless….  I forgot she can be a bit of a downer at times.  Still in all, my life has become a sit-com.  People would sit and eat bowls of popcorn watching me, having a good laugh.  I know six months from now, I could join in with them, that is after I once again retire Navy wife and get on with relaxing.

So, now, once more in dry clothes, I will close this out and go fold some laundry.  This isn’t exactly how we planned our summer, but, we figure there is a plan and a purpose in this.  God has a reason for everything, and although I can get frustrated and frazzled, the underlying truth is this, we have each other, we are healthy (well, except for his knee and tendons), we have a beautiful home, a loving church family and neighbors and we still serve a God who has everything (even me dripping wet) under control.

Thanks for stopping by tonight, I appreciate you.  DAF (Cathi)

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Family…

A couple of days ago, I had this thought go through my mind.  It was my nephew’s birthday and I was thinking how much I missed him and wished I could just sit and visit with him for a few hours.

I thought about how I should write about family.  Then I didn’t write anything.

Today my cousin shared a photo on Facebook of my mother’s family.  It was a memory that was shared and I looked over all the original comments and read the new ones.  There was a theme across the comments, that all wished we had known them better.

This is what I thought to write about earlier this week.  How, as families, we don’t take the time to learn, listen and get to know one another.

When I start to think about such things there is a hurt in my heart.  It is like being homesick for something unknown.  A hurting to reach out and hug or touch or laugh with someone who is no longer near or close.

I married young.  I lived overseas.  Phone calls were expensive and you just didn’t call.  Letters helped, but those only went so far.  You can write so many pages and then your hand dies, the writing goes weird and you give up.    I can remember writing letters to my aunts and uncles, not often , but through different seasons.  I corresponded with one of my mother’s brothers for several years until he passed.  I got a glimpse into his personality and a bit of what he thought about.  I always looked forward to those letters.  And, then, they were gone.

Another nephew’s birthday is tomorrow.  He is the oldest of the next generation.  I was living overseas when he was born.  I didn’t get the birth announcement until he was almost a month old.  I bonded with him immediately.  My heart sang whenever I would receive a new photo of him.  I didn’t get to see him until he was almost four.

I didn’t get to see my nieces or nephews often.  Living on the west coast prevented us from just dropping in for a visit.  I look back with regret that I didn’t get to see them.  I didn’t get to see school plays or see how they were growing.  But, likewise, they did not get to know me or their cousins, my daughters.

It is true, that military families make their own ‘families’ and this is a huge comfort and help.  I could not manage without my family that are not related through blood.  They have shared in life events that my blood family could not be present for. But, that is another post.

This post is for my family, my sisters, my brother-in-laws, my nephews and my nieces.  I want them to know that with all my heart, I love you.  You have each etched deep within my heart, your own place.  These are the places I hold dear.  They are filled with conversations we have had.  They are filled with photos of your life that you have posted or shared, or on that rare occasion, I have seen.  We may not know everything about each other, but that does not matter.  For, you are my family.  You are my blood relations.  You will always be in my heart, my thoughts and prayers.  I am proud of you.  Your accomplishments make me beam.  Your sorrows prick my heart and I hurt for you.  Your laughter makes me laugh.

I had a brief conversation with my oldest nephew a couple of years ago.  He was rushing to see his nephew.  He said he hated not being closer to him, that he loved him so much and just wanted to be near him.  He was being honest with me and I was able to look him in the eye and tell him I totally understood, for that is how I felt about him.    At that moment we understood each other in a way we had never before experienced.  I think of that moment often.

These thoughts have been on my mind often the past few weeks.  I needed to let my family know how precious they are to me.  It’s good to let those you love know they are loved.  Too often we are preoccupied with our own lives and we forget that family may need to hear from us.  So, to my nieces and nephew who may read this, Yes, I am that old weird aunt that still hugs on you and cries when she sees you, but, I will ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS love you and be here for you.  Thank you for making my life so much fuller because of you.

Thanks for stopping by, DAF (Cathi)

 

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Memorial Day…

This weekend is the Memorial Day weekend.  A time where there are picnics and sometimes parades.    My Facebook feed has been filled the past few days with memes of Memorial Day.

It is true that this weekend marks the beginning of summer, of course it does, it is the end of May and June is next, the schools are out and the weather is increasingly warmer and the calendar is in order, May, June, July, August, the summer months.

People do use this weekend to mark the time to start the onslaught of potato salad, baked beans, deviled eggs and grilling out.  I think they would do this even if it was not a three-day weekend here.

Yes, there are mega-sales in all the stores.  Retailers, given a reason to grab money will use any three-day weekend to draw crowds and move merchandise.  It’s a given.

The notices on my Facebook feed remind everyone that Memorial Day is different from Veteran’s Day, and Armed Forces Day.  A part of me is glad to see that people are aware of the difference, but, there is a part of me that looks at those memes and says, “Well, duh!”.

Maybe this is because as a child we were taught that there was a reason for Memorial Day.  Maybe because we were the generation born after WWII, with our parents still having the memories of that great war fresh in their minds that we knew this day was a somber reminder of those who gave their lives in order for our lives to be secure.

Growing up in the midst of the Viet Nam war made an impression on me.  Each Memorial Day my dad would take us for a walk to a cemetery for the Memorial Day ceremony.  A time where there were old men speaking in hushed tones, a gun salute, bugles playing.    This all crept into my heart and resided there.  There was a reverence for those who had fallen.  This also made me wonder why I felt like the war in Viet Nam was not getting the same rep.  I confess there were often times after seeing the newspaper and television reports that I could agree with the protestors.  The draft was a huge topic growing up.  I had mixed feelings on that until, as a senior and dating my hubby that I realized he could be drafted.

Hubby and I talked about the draft all the time.  His friend had a number that was below number 25, he was certain to be called up.  Hubby’s number was in the 300’s.  About that time, the draft was ended.   His friend stayed home.  Hubby enlisted.

To many people, it appeared that hubby served in peace time.  A time where there was no danger, no difficulties.  But, for the first 15 years of his enlistment, his commanders would recommend that they not wear their uniforms off base, as military was not accepted.  There were still too many harsh feelings concerning the Viet Nam vets.  I was always proud of the uniform he wore.  I was proud of the job he did.

My personal belief is that each generation has a duty to recognize and respect those who have served.  I also think that the term ‘peace-time’ is a fallacy. There is no such thing as peace when each country has a military to defend its borders. The men and women who choose to serve this great country of ours deserve respect.  They are going places and doing things most of us would not do.  The military does not question, they go.

I have a picture of my dad and his brothers all in their uniforms during WWII.  They stand together proudly, it is a wonderful picture.  They were a sampling of the brave men who defended us during that war.  They are all gone now, as many of their generation are.

Now we will begin to see those who served and fought in Viet Nam  start to dwindle in numbers.  Hopefully they will finally get the acknowledgement that they answered a call, they served when it was not popular, and some of them returned to a nation that was not grateful.  I pray that those who were lost in this war get the respect and honor they deserve.

Yes, Memorial Day is a day that raises many questions for many people.  Today, this weekend, there will be families who will receive a phone call or a knock on the door with terrible news that a loved one has been lost in action.  It is for these families, like generations of families before them , that we stop on Monday and remember.  We need to solemnly stop and remember why we can laugh and swim and picnic and eat a full meal in peace.  We can swim and go to the beach and not worry.    We can live in this country because of the men and women who gave their lives for ours.

I know this has been a soap-box post from me, and now, I will step down from it grateful  for what I have because of those who gave the ultimate gift.  DAF

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Taking a Trip Back in Time…

We transferred back to the states in spring of 1979 from Japan.  We had lived there three years and it was one of the best places we had lived.  We met friends, we started our family, we became Christians there, and we grew up there.  I call those years my ‘college years’ as I never went to college and I spent the years in Japan at the age where I could have been studying in school.

We moved to Maine in early June of 1979.  Hubby worked sixty miles from where we lived.  He got up early (and I did too),  and after cleaning the house and doing chores, I felt lonely.  I knew people, but, it was early in our tour there so I had not discovered the joy these ‘new’ people would bring to my life.

One morning I was moping around the house missing my friends from Japan.  I was lonely and miserable and was crying off and on.  I was in the United States, people spoke my language, but I felt out-of-place.  I wanted to go back to Japan.

That morning, as I cried and prayed, I felt like I learned a lesson from God.  It was like He showed me a scrapbook.  This scrapbook was filled with pictures and mementos.  The lesson learned was this, the people and experiences I had in Japan would always live in my heart and mind.  They were like a scrapbook I could open.  I could remember and enjoy the memories, but, I could not live there, I needed to focus on the present and where I was.

From that time on, I have often thought of that lesson.  I have tried to live my life, focused on the present.

Today I have opened that scrapbook often.  My sister posted a picture of the first house she lived in after getting married.  It was the home where she started her family.  I looked at the picture and thought of the laughter we had when we visited there.  I remembered my oldest daughter taking her afternoon nap on the hammock that used to hang on the front porch.  I smiled and thought of several other memories of that time.  She had found the picture of the house on the web and that got me thinking of finding some of the places we have lived.

My first thought was to go to Japan.  I ended up finding a blog with pictures of the area we lived in Japan, Nagai, or Admiralty Heights.  It was wonderful!  Immediately, I was transported back in time.  Seeing the wide roads in the housing area that were actually airstrips for the Japanese airforce  in World War II.  We could see Mt. Fuji from our living room windows and our bedroom window.  That was our view each day, seeing the sun rise and the sun set with that magnificent mountain always in view.  Seeing the pictures brought back the memories of the people there.  Thanks to Facebook, we have been able to be in touch with one another again.

Finally, I realized that a year ago today we moved our furniture into this house.  I posted that picture and then said, I never want to move again.

As I thought about that, I chided myself, for being so adamant.  We do not know what the future holds and saying things so definitive puts a box around your life.  If I had not had a spirit of adventure 41 years ago, my life would have been so different.  I could not have written anything in this post.  For, my world view would have been vastly opposite of what it is now.  Each of our lives is an adventure and journey.   We all have scrapbooks in our minds filled with moments that our memories are made of.  The adhesive may be yellowing and lifting off of photos that are fading, but those memories are still clinging there.

I have been so blessed in this life.  Starting out from a small town in Northwestern Pennsylvania, I have traveled and met some incredible people along the way.  I have smelled things I could never had imagined.  I have seen sights I didn’t know existed.  I have been so blessed.

There is a quote from the movie Hook that is a conversation between the old Wendy and Peter that goes like this:

Granny Wendy: So… your adventures are over.

Peter Banning: Oh, no. To live… to live would be an awfully big adventure.

I have had an awfully big adventure and I am waiting to see what is next…  Thanks for stopping by today,  DAF (Cathi)

 

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When the past knocks on your door…

Life is weird.  Very weird.  You have a life and you go through it day by day.  Some days blur into another and yet you just keep going.

Being a military family we have lived several places.  When we were married 16 months we moved to Japan.  Japan was a phenomenal experience.  We met a group of people who impacted our lives in so many ways.  We are in touch with many of the people we met there.

There was one couple that we met.  They were a bit older than us and we sort of looked up to them for some wisdom and guidance and just friendship.

After Japan we moved to Maine and from there to San Diego.  In San Diego we were able to reconnect with several of the friends from Japan.  They had all left the military and settled in San Diego and hubby and I were transferred there.  We were a bit apprehensive in going to San Diego and seeing people after three years, but we swallowed hard and proceeded to go.

One family we stayed with when we arrived in California and had such a great time.  Our families are still very close and in fact, I am awaiting a phone call from her now.

There were other families though, that the reunion was not quite the same.  One being the older couple we had met.  The reunion was cold and a bit brusque.  We were confused by this and did not understand it.  But, we continued and tried as we could to rekindle the friendship.

The trouble was this couple was in the throes of getting divorced.  It was like family getting divorced.  It tore a seam in a group of friends that had been knitted together in a foreign country.  We had become a functioning group, a family, while we were all stationed together.  The divorce pitted friends against friends.  There was nothing anyone could do except watch and look and try to make sense of it.

So, eventually the remainder of us took our sides and chose to not discuss it.  Friendships were patched together and some were completely knitted back together.

Hubby and I took her side.  It’s not like we chose randomly, it was truly after much talking and praying and trying to remain like the Swiss, but, I accepted to be an attendant at her wedding and that put a wall up in some topics of conversation.

Since that time we have totally lost contact with her.  Priorities and life and growing up got in the way.  I hardly think of her most of the time.  I wouldn’t have today, except, in the mail today was a large envelope from some friends… those ones we stayed with?  The one I am waiting a phone call from?    In the envelope was a letter and card from him.  That long ago friend.

I see it as a letter from a person who has realized his mortality.  We are all getting there and some days it hits us more than others.  So, hubby and I read the letter together.  We looked at one another and merely said, “HMMM…”  .  We shared a look and he went back to work on his computer and I have mused to myself about the letter.

We now have a choice to ignore this letter or write a return letter.  It’s not like we dislike this person.  He is nice enough and I am certain he means well.  Time, age, distance and wisdom all bring to question whether it is a worthwhile thing to go back.   So, I sit here, thinking and pondering the value.  Time and nostalgia can dredge up things that are better left buried and covered.   I guess there are times when the past knocking on the door is a wake up call to stay in the present.    Just some thoughts this cold winter day.  DAF

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Long Distance (S)Mothering….

The mother of Little Miss, my oldest daughter, is 2450.92 miles from me.  We are on the opposite sides of this country.

This presents its challenges.   The love of her life is away now, serving this great country of ours.  It is his job, his privilege, and his duty.  I understand this, as I am a retired military wife.  This also sucks.  Especially when you have a six month old.

I have tried since he is away to chat online with her daily.  We Skype so we can see her and talk with her and the baby.  Last night, we were able to Skype with her, Little Miss, and her step daughter who is 8 years old.  We had a good visit.  We gooed and cooed with the baby and I made faces with her step daughter.  It was all fun and games.  We blew kisses and hung up.

My evening was continuing for about another hour.  My phone rang and on the other end of the phone was my daughter.  The one I had just Skyped with.  I hear her voice.  I know something is up.  “Mom, how do you know if a toe is broken?”  This is always a good way to start a conversation.  My mind immediately raced.  Okay, I thought, it won’t be Little Miss, she is too little for anything like this to happen to her.  I was right.  I then asked who the toe belonged to.

My daughter eked out a painful, “Mine.”   I take a deep breath.  Okay, I can do this.  I ask the right questions.  What happened, what does it look like, can you move it, are you in great pain, are your neighbors home?  I ask her to take a picture of her foot and send it to me.

Now, I am not a nurse.  I do not own a  medical license.  The only credential I have are the stretch marks and grey hair that show I have survived motherhood.

I look at the picture of her feet.  The first picture was of both of her feet.  I thought that was smart so I could look at an uninjured foot along with the injured one.    I show hubby the photo.  We look at it and say, it may just be a good stoved toe.

We write back and tell her what we think may have happened.  (Like we would know…)  I then tell her that most people I know who have broken their toes usually end up just having it wrapped.  I tell her I really don’t think that there is much to do for a broken toe.  A broken foot needs a cast and possible surgery.  A toe…   well, in my medical opinion….  (Yes, that and a few dollars will buy you a coffee at your favorite shop).

So, thus began a 24 hour session of (S)mothering her.  I tell her to put ice on the toe.  20 minute on, 20 minutes off.  I tell her to elevate it.  I stress the importance of her staying off her foot.

She went online to see what needed to be done.  Since it was a Friday night, all the neighbors were out.  She was in the house with a six month old and an 8-year-old.  My mother’s heart and mind went into overdrive.  I offer to wake friends and have them come and get her.  I have a list of friends I know that would love to hold the baby and others who would drive her to the emergency room.

I suggest everything I could think of.  Hubby, meanwhile keeps reminding me of her age and her ability to figure this out for herself.  He is worried, but he is also confident that she can handle this.

In my mind, I am in a panic that my baby girl hurts and I can’t be there to kiss it and do something!  Anything!  Get her a cup of tea.  Make her toast.   Prop up her foot.   Anything.

I finally stopped chatting with her and let her get on with her evening.  It was a painful evening for her, but she survived.  I am proud of how she has handled it.  Today, the verdict was in, it’s broken.  It hurts.  But, she will get better.

Meanwhile Little Miss is working on her first tooth.  So both of them are in pain and miserable and me?  Well, I really dislike not being able to (S)mother her up close.    Isn’t there a time when you stop worrying about your kids?  I noticed a few more gray hairs today…  soon I will no longer have gray highlights, it’s just going to be all white!

Thanks for stopping by… DAF

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Remembering…

When hubby was towards the end of his Navy career, he attended a course taught by a former Naval pilot.  It was a course that meant  a lot to my hubby, as he was chosen to carry out the subject matter in the course into his command.  He did it well.

When hubby retired from the Navy, he set out to find his next career.  Before he went back to college, he was contacted by the retired Navy pilot. He had watched hubby’s career.  He knew when he was retired.  He offered hubby a place in his consulting business.  He was thrilled that hubby was going to college and told him that they would work around his schedule, but, he definitely wanted him to work with his group.  It was a wonderful venture.  Hubby learned much from this man and a friendship grew.  He was instrumental in introducing hubby to the company that he eventually worked for after graduation.

The pilot’s name was Gerry.  We received a letter today from his wife.  Gerry died in late November.  We saw them before we moved, and in the past two years, we had lost contact with them.  We knew something was wrong.  This year I sent another Christmas card to them and a note expressing our love and concern for them.

The letter today was a short one and a very sad one.  Since then, I have spent my time remembering Gerry and his wife.  They were the most fascinating couple I have ever met.  She is the epitome of graciousness.  She is intelligent and fun to be with.   They owned a sailboat and often in the summer we would get a call to go sailing.  Gerry was older and so, hubby would take over the helm and guide the boat across the water in San Diego.  We would have ‘snacks’ , a bottle of wine, crackers, cheese, fruit.  We would laugh and catch up and talk about Navy life.  Gerry’s wife would recite poetry from memory.  Long poems, beautiful ones.  We would be enthralled.

After sailing, we would head to their home and have dinner.  Take out from a local restaurant.  We would sit on their patio or in their home and we would continue the evening.  The pace was always slow, the conversation quiet, and the laughter, well, it was the way laughter is supposed to be.

I know the next couple of days will be filled with memories of Gerry.  He was one of the best!  A fighter pilot in Viet Nam, a decorated officer, and a true gentleman.  Our lives were enriched in knowing him.  Hubby lost not only a mentor and friend, but also a father figure.  Rest in peace my dear friend.  I look forward to catching up in eternity.     DAF

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The Women of Winter Harbor…

This week I have thought of the people we have met in our married life.  Being military, we have met so many folks and have had such a full life of being with people we never would have known if we hadn’t had being in the military in common.

The one group that stands out the most is the women from our tour of duty in Winter Harbor, Me.  We lived in military housing there, which was a blessing to everyone.  Winter Harbor is part of the Acadia National Park area and it is a beautiful spot to live.  The view of the Atlantic is one that etches itself to your heart.  You are never the same after seeing it.

The military housing was divided into four different sections.  There was a group of apartments on the base proper.  These were incredible apartments being made into apartments from a mansion.  They were ornate and lovely.  I was in one once.  They were reserved for the officers in charge.

Another section was known as Capehart.  This was a group of  Cape Cod style homes.  These homes were for the chief petty officers and the officer families.

The other two sections were simply called “New Fund” and “Old Fund”.  Pretty self-explanatory.  New Fund housed the junior enlisted families, Old Fund was the senior enlisted.  We lived in Old Fund.  A duplex with a tiny front yard and a back yard overlooking the Cape homes.  Hubby and I used to joke that we were ‘above’ those people.

Each place could stay separate except for another part that was a binding tie.  The base chapel.  We were active in the chapel along with a dear group of families.  The families were from all the housing parts (except the apartments).

This group of people in the chapel became our family.  We did things together, we shared our lives.  The women became dear friends.  A bond was formed that has withstood the test of time, distance, joys, sorrows.   Little did we know that sitting in same kitchens in base housing, sipping tea and eating whatever kind of sweet available, we were joined together in heart and spirit.

We were the only family ready to avail to one another.  Our birth families were miles away and without the convenience of laptops or cell phones, we only communicated via letters or the occasional phone call.  The people in housing became our emergency support system.  We watched kids while there was a run to the emergency room with another child.  We tucked kids into bed for one another, we became the surrogate aunts and uncles.

The women of Winter Harbor are still close.  We know what is going on in each other’s lives.  We share memories of the times together.  We still laugh and cry together.   They are precious and dear to me.  I just said good-bye to one of these dear women a few minutes ago.  She and her husband stopped by on their way home from a vacation.  We stayed up late talking and catching up.  We laughed and shed a tear or two.  We clasped hands and just remembered.  We talked of the other women and smiled and remembered with fondness the times together.  The time sped by and they are on their way home, and we are filled with the joy that comes from this relationship.

These women are a gift to my life.  We have always said we were more than friends, we were family.  Little Man’s Nana is one of these Winter Harbor women.  We are truly family now and it seems this bond is complete now.  I tucked my son-in-law into bed while his folks were out one night, I watched him grow for a season of his life.

It is a wonderful gift and bond and for this part, I am so thankful for the time that we lived there.  That is where I met the rest of my family.

~ DAF

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Searching for Happily Ever After…

Hubby and I are on a quest of sorts…  We are in the process of finding our forever after home.  Being a military couple, we have had our share of moving.  Granted, we were at one place for almost 28 years, but, we did have one move during that time. This is hopefully the last time we utter that four letter word.  It is a painful word and one we dread.  MOVE, is a mighty word.  It makes me tired just looking at it.  But, move, we will be doing this year.  Where?  That is our question also. This week, in celebration of our 40th wedding anniversary, we have set out to start our quest for this home. Today, we drove around the upstate part of South Carolina.  As we drove around I thought of what I was seeing out the window.  (Now, mind you, I gave in and actually had two glasses of a forbidden substance for me… I caved and had sweet tea)  Some of my readers, well, one in particular (you know who you are!  wink, wink…) know the effects of sweet tea, me and a closed in-car.  I begin to bounce off the seat, and I start to talk, fast.  I start to laugh at anything, and I make off-hand remarks.  Hubby threatened to put me in the back with the dog and have him be his navigator, but he didn’t follow through on his threats. What we did see was beautiful countryside.  Rolling hills, fields, small towns, and many interesting homes.  We saw some lovely large churches, and some cute little churches that looked welcoming.  There were cemetaries everywhere.  We commented that either there were many cemetaries in the area, or we kept going around a very large area of tombstones and we were seeing it from different angles. Several places were burned.  They looked like chimney fires.  One that struck me was a burnt pile of debris.  There was a man sitting by the ruins.  He was looking out over the site.  My heart was touched as I thought (and obviously am still thinking) about him. The day was filled for me in silent prayer.  Prayer for that man.  Prayer for the area.  Most of all, prayer that we will, Lord willing find the place He wants us to land.  A place to put down roots that need a place to grow.  A place that is not a temporary fix, but a place to grow old in.  A place to see not only the landscape mature, but see us, as a couple, a family mature and age. Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate your visit.   DAF

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