Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My kind of woman...

Okay, I'm still flipping through the 100's of old photos. I wish I was doing it on a projector with the whole family so that I could be asking "who is that?" "When were they there?" etc. I have SO many questions.

This photo especially brings up a lot of questions. It is a picture of my mom, I'm guessing around 1960.

The most obvious question is "who goes fishing in a freaking skirt?" But the answer is pretty obvious, too... I guess my mom did... what a surprise. But I have other questions... what did she use for bait? What does it feel like to reel in a bass that big? Who taught her to fish?

But the very biggest question of all... what happened to the woman who would go fishing alone in a skirt and catch a trophy size largemouth on a cheap Zebco reel?

(I miss her)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Lessons from a photo album

Recently one of my cousins found some (photo) slides that belonged to my grandparents. For you that don't remember slides, in the 40's to the 60's, many people used Kodachrome film which produced film POSITIVES, not negatives. Instead of printing them on paper, they were delivered in little cardboard frames which you put into trays and viewed them using a projector. Holidays meant that someone would haul out the projector and screen and we would all view everyone's slides. So, when my cousin found and scanned some of these oldies, I couldn't wait to see them. And in reviewing them I learned some things, which I'll share with you.

1) Though we probably take 1000's more pictures than we used to, we don't look at them like we used to. When is the last time you looked at your own photos, much less someone elses?

1b) Looking at old photos is more fun in a group where you can say "remember when...."

2) Our parents, grandparents, and even our great-grandparents used to be young and active. And in a blink, we are old and feeble. Remember that EVERY DAY.

3) Though they didn't have "time-saving appliances" they had time to have fun-throw parties, dance, laugh and drink. Sometimes excessively (at least mine).

4) I enjoy looking at these old photos, even when I don't know some (or all) of the people in them.

5) No matter how well exposed, no matter how beautiful, no matter how perfect, I don't care about the vacation photos with no people in them. Even the ones where I knew where they were taken.

6) No matter how poorly exposed, no matter how blurry or crazy, I love the pictures of people I know having fun. I like remembering that their lives were (at least sometimes) filled with joy.

7) My family left a legacy- a biography of their lives in these photos. What will my decendents learn about me (about you) from our photos?

photos- all taken around 1955-60 near Lesterville, MO. Top, my grandmother, Lorraine Pershall. Next, a jeep ride with my grandfather driving and my grandma all the way in the back with their dog, Pal. I have no idea who anyone else is (though that one lady looks CRANKY) The last photo, starting from the left, my grandmother with a haircut I'm sure she hated, Margaret and Harold Baker (owned the general store in Lesterville), unknown lady with a beer, then Margaret Ludwig (my grandma's cousin and the best pie baker in the world) and her husband Henry.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

An editorial...

On the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month of 1918, the terrible slaughter of the First World War came to a formal conclusion. The day we now commemorate as Veterans Day is the quintessential American holiday, growing to honor all of America’s veterans at the urging of a shoe store owner in Kansas. In the almost 100 years since an assassin's bullet took the Archduke Ferdinand on a bridge in Sarajevo, the US military as proven to be an elite fighting machine. In Europe, Korea, Viet Nam, Afghanistan, Iraq and more, our soldiers demonstrate their greatness. But when the fighting is over, we Americans close that door and move on, often forgetting about those brave men and women that fought on our behalf. It isn't that we are no longer proud, it is that our lives move on... and isn't that the ideal end to the fighting? Isn't that what they are fighting for? That we all go on and live in peace, forgetting the violence, the atrocities, the pain, and the suffering. Isn't that the conclusion that our soldiers are working toward when they build the schools and the hospitals? When they re-build the bridges and carry in supplies? Perhaps what makes our military the greatest on earth is not only what they destroy, but what they build. And they make us forget, and cause us to move on.

Today, many of us will remember the fallen at Fort Hood and wonder how this could have happened on American soil. Some will debate whether it was an act of terrorism and the dead and wounded will be called "victims." But I believe that they are casualties of war, the same as those that lost their life in Iraq or Afghanistan. And during that gun fight, Sergeant Kimberly Munley became a member of our military and became a veteran, entering into a war zone. (Thank you Kimberly for your service)

Today, the same as in 1775 when the forefathers of our nation established our Marine Corps, we need a strong and dedicated military. We need to support and remember them, even in times of peace when it is easy to forget. If we do not back them, support them, and honor them, we may all be called upon, like Sgt. Munley, to BECOME one of them and fight for our rights here, on our own soil.

Especially today, thank our veterans. Share a word, a hug, a thought, a prayer. If you feel so inclined, donate or volunteer for one of the many veterans organizations that help them. But at least one day a year, do not forget-REMEMBER.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Birthday USMC

For those of you that are not aware, United States Marine Corps was founded on Nov 10, 1775, and Marines still celebrate this date today, after 234 years. Today, all around the world Marines will gather to hear a letter written in 1921 by Major General John A. Lejeune, Commandant of the Marine Corps, ordering Marines to take a moment every year to honor the birthday of the Corps. At many of these gatherings, there will be a cake, and by tradition, the first slice of cake is given to the oldest Marine present, who in turn hands it off to the youngest Marine present- symbolizing the old and experienced Marines passing their knowledge to the new generation of Marines. However, in some of the gatherings today, there will be no cake. Somewhere today a Marine is keeping peace in Iraq or searching for an enemy in Afghanistan and won't get the opportunity to share in this tradition. Nevertheless, he will likely take at least a moment of his day in honor of the Corps and the men and women that have his back.

Thank you for your committment to our country and to the Corps, and I pray that next year you are well, and able to celebrate again.

(From Major General Lejeune's letter, November 1921)

"This high name of distinction and soldierly repute we who are Marines today have received
from those who preceded us in the corps. With it we have also received from them the eternal spirit which has animated our corps from generation to generation and has been the distinguishing mark of the Marines in every age. So long as that spirit continues to flourish Marines will be found equal to every emergency in the future as they have been in the past, and the men of our Nation will regard us as worthy successors to the long line of illustrious men who have served as "Soldiers of the Sea" since the founding of the Corps."

God bless you.... carry on.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

On the 11th hour...

...of the 11th day of the 11th month, the guns fell silent and peace began its return to Europe.

"These noble Americans are our sons and daughters. They are our fathers and mothers. They are our family and they are our friends. They leave home to do the work of patriots -- and they lead lives of quiet dignity when they return. Today we send a clear message to all who have worn the uniform: Thank you for your courage, thank you for your sacrifice, and thank you for standing up when your nation needed you most." - George W. Bush, Nov 11, 2008

Saturday, November 7, 2009

November Sunshine

I took my three furry kids outside for some autumn photos in the pretty November sunshine. Their personality always shows up in the group photos. Maggie is always poised ready for the next command. She is always looking for her next job. Mopsy is only looking for the cookies, and Jake, sweet boy, just wants to be with me. So I was a little surprised when I lost his attention during my impromptu photo shoot. I should have realized that the one person he loves more than me was home from school.

I can't blame him though... I miss her too and was just as happy to see her.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

From Hell to Hero

I just got an email about a rescue Pitbull named Gunny that has been entered in an online poll for "World's Most Amazing Dog." His owner has created a video about his life and you can see it on youtube:


What touches me the most is the reminder that Gunny is not all that uncommon and that there are others, just like him, waiting to be rescued. And if his situation was not already sad enough, there are communities all across the country that want to ban people from owning dogs like him because of his breed. Even here in the St. Louis area, there are communities that have banned "bully" breeds, causing one local citizen to put a bumper sticker on her car saying:

Stop Breed Specific Legislation
Do we really want a law that says race predicts behavior?
(I wish I had the guts to put this on my own car)

Anyway, after you are done watching the video, if you want to vote for Gunny (I don't even know what he wins... dog food for a year or something like that) you can vote at:


Whether or not you vote for Gunny is unimportant. But if you care about him and others like him, don't keep that to yourself. Tell your legislators how you feel. Let Gunny's story serve as a reminder to you to speak up and lend a hand.