Uncle Bob’s Medals

His family all knew he had some medals. He’d showed a few to the grandchildren at times, even let them take a medal or two for their classroom “Show & Tell.”

After Uncle Bob passed away his children started sorting through their dad’s things and came across his old army kit bag up in the attic and found about ten medals. Curious as to what these represented, they wrote to the Dept of Veterans’ Affairs asking for information.

One of the medals, the letter said, was awarded to all soldiers who fought in World War II, and another was for those who saw battlefield action; several others were more common, too. But several of them were among the highest honors awarded by Britain, France, and Canada for courage in battle.

All those years and they never knew their dad was a hero! Why hadn’t they probed a bit more? Like most soldiers who fought overseas, Uncle Bob never talked about the War when he got back, so his family knew nothing of the battles he fought, the bravery he showed, his part in victories gained. That part of the family legacy is buried with their Dad.

I’m glad for the ones who did talk about being “overseas.” Our understanding is richer today for those soldiers and civilians who didn’t just forget it all, the people who shared their war experiences and gave us some idea of what they went through.It changed them in ways we who’ve only known years of peace can never understand.

We owe a debt to everyone who fought to make our country the free land it is today. Let’s appreciate what we have.

poppies

LEST WE FORGET

 

A Cordial Welcome

OH, FOR MORE HOURS TO WRITE!

Good morning to everyone reading this post — and I’d like to say a special hello and welcome to my newest Followers. I appreciate everyone who takes time to read my posts and hope I can provide content that interests and inspires you.

As you can see from the Menu above, I am a creature of many moods and hop all over the board with my topics and genres. And since a number of bloggers have stepped into the role of Prompt-provider left vacant when The Daily Post moved out, I’m getting half a dozen new suggestions every morning. (If you’re interested in checking some of these sites, you’ll find the links in my BLOG ROLL under Writing Help.)

Oh, for more hours in a day! — the universal cry of mankind with stuff to do. However, I don’t want to flood my followers’ In-boxes with posts; I suspect most of us don’t have nearly enough time to read blogs as it is. I know I don’t. And summer always adds extra things to my to-do list — including just being out there enjoying it. 🙂

One of the things I have on my plate today is a sewing project. I wish I loved to sew. Think of all the lovely clothes I could make for myself!

OH, FOR MORE FERVOR TO SEW!

I did love to sew years back. Now it’s a very moody thing for me: when I’m in the mood, I enjoy sewing. Otherwise it feels like a mountain I have to — and don’t want to — climb. I’d rather be reading! Do you have any things like that in your day, things you know you MUST do — but then you just hate the task if only because you HAVE TO do it?

Once in a great while, however, the urge to sew comes upon me and I’m enthused, eager to start. So I act upon it, praying I’ll get whatever it is I’m sewing finished before the mood passes. And right now I’m enthused about whipping up a lightweight cotton dress for the summer.

And I’ve been rewarded! First off, because I’m working out a new pattern, designing it on paper first, adjusting it for my particular size — and it’s coming together nicely. When you’ve had breast cancer, it isn’t always easy getting a pattern to fit well.

My second reward came yesterday as I was sitting at my machine pinning pieces together. I’d opened my widow and could hear the twitter – twitter – twitter of the swallows in the nest outside, above and just to the left of the window. It dawned on me that all that noise must be the babies getting active. I looked out and sure enough, two baby swallows were trying to poke their heads out, fussing like siblings do when both want the window seat.

Finally one pulled back and the other took a gander at the big world outside — and saw me through the screen looking up at it. For a moment we both eyed each other, then I went back to my sewing. Soon, soon, these little guys will be out exploring, or lined up along the clothesline just below the nest. I love this time of year!

OH, FOR MORE MOSQUITO-EATING BIRDS!

We actually have three active nests of swallows tacked to the house, and a pair of barn swallows who’ve made their own nest in our yard. We’ve been very hospitable toward swallows, since they eat mosquitoes by the ton every summer. After this summer I’m going to be even more so, because I’m reacting so much to mosquito bites these days. I get huge bumps that itch for almost a week and often leave a scar when they finally subside.

Yes, our welcome mat is out to all swallows. And wrens. I’m really enjoying hearing wren songs from various spots around our yard every morning. And on that note I’d best end this ramble and get back to my sewing before the mood passes again.

🙂

RAGTAG Daily Prompt: HOSPITABLE

You Just Never Know…

by Edgar Guest

None knows the day that friends must part.
None knows how near is sorrow.
If there be laughter in your heart,
don’t hold it for tomorrow.
Smile all the smiles you can today;
grief waits for all along with way.

Today is ours for joy and mirth;
we may be sad tomorrow;
then let us sing for all we’re worth,
nor give a thought to sorrow.
None knows what lies along the way;
let’s smile what smiles we can today.

From his book A Heap O’ Livin’
published 1916 by the Reilly & Britton Co

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Reblogged from my former poetry blog,
Swallow in the Wind — Sept 2013

Personal Note:
Our new internet server is in place, but I’ve decided to go with my gmail address for awhile and see how that works. A slightly different e-mail address may show up in my replies to WordPress bloggers, but folks can contact me at christinevanceg @ gmail.com.

Hope you’re smiling, singing a song, and having a good day in spite of the woes common to us mortals.

Flowers & Rainbows

Early Morning Rainbow Spotted

“What is so rare as a day in June…” and all that.

This isn’t a sunny day at all, but the rain clouds that rolled over yesterday afternoon were and are welcome. They’re still hovering, but when I looked out first thing this morning I saw the tail end of a rainbow hanging just under the cloud bank in the south.

Yesterday was the “Year-End Picnic” at our private (parochial) school. Activities started about 1:30; we went over at 3pm to watch and partake of the fried chicken and salads supper provided at 5:30. We were all thankful that the clouds didn’t come over until after all the fun and games. And supper was well timed weather-wise; we were called to partake at 5:30pm and the rain didn’t start until after most of us had eaten. But then it definitely DID start.

The timing of this rain is great for crops and such. Even my little excavation. I have begun digging up a long-neglected flower bed I’d made years ago in our lawn. While I was dealing with my leukemia I let it go; now it’s choked with mats of quack grass roots. I’m trying to get those out and not kill the peonies planted there and the soil has been powder-dry.

I’m thankful that I finally have the energy to work at this project. I’ll have to be diligent with this task all summer, too, seeing as quack grass roots go deeper than I can with my spade and will be popping up whenever they get the chance.

Speaking of pests, I saw oodles of tiny grasshoppers yesterday. We’ve had a number of cool, wet springs and the hopper population has been decimated from what it was when we moved here ten years ago. But it looks like we’re heading into a dry cycle again, so we’ll likely have to contend with them this summer.

Heads Up re: Important Change in Communications

We’ve been having a fair number of problems with the internet service cutting out and/or being very slow. Yesterday Bob decided to sign us up with SaskTel as our new provider; they’re coming this morning to install a tower on our roof and get us set up. Hopefully SaskTel will provide more reliable service than what we have now — which sometimes cuts out for hours when we have thick cloud cover.

So as of this afternoon I’ll have a new e-mail address or two! I’ll probably send a note to folks in my current address book to let everyone know.

I don’t know if this will mean a temporary disruption in my blogging, as all my present communications are coming and going via Xplornet. But any of you who wish to contact me can do so through christinevanceg @ gmail.com. Maybe once I’m settled at my new address I’ll install one of those ‘Contact Me’ widgets.

Daily One-Word Writing Prompts

Since WordPress has ceased sending out their daily writing prompt, several sites have sprung up to supply what folks are missing. Judy Dykstra-Brown has posted links to a half-dozen and is interested in hearing if there are more. Click here to see her list.

Curiosity

Curiosity quote

On April 1st, 1899, thirteen-year-old Christina Young recorded the following in her diary:

Sara Murphy and I came near catching it today. She is one of my chums, but she lives one and a half miles from here. We sit together in school.

The teacher was standing with his back to our seat and we were seeing how close we could come to his back with a pin without his knowing it. Sara had the pin almost through his coat, and I didn’t hardly know I was going to do it, but all of a sudden I gave her arm a shove.

The teacher jumped about a foot high, and turned around and brought his strap down BANG on the desk. We were pretty scared, but he just looked at us pretty sharp for a minute, and then turned around quick and didn’t do a thing to us. We behaved after that.

 

Catching Up With Ourselves

Good morning, everyone! It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything about our activities so for those who are interested, here’s a brief review of the past week’s comings and goings.

Spring has come to our land for sure. The woods around us are getting greener by the day, more of our summer-nesting birds are showing up every day. Our neighbor told me about seeing orioles a few days ago; they’ve since been over to visit our trees too. Yesterday she saw a hummingbird at her feeder. I’d been planning to get out my feeders so when I heard that, I cleaned out our two feeders — for hummers and orioles — and hung them outside yesterday evening.

Our farmer neighbor seeded the fields around our acreage yesterday while Bob mowed the grass for the first time.

Last Friday morning we left for an overnight trip to Moose Jaw. We stopped for dinner en route and drove out to the Belle Plaine area, east of MJ, to visit an elderly friend who was Best man at our wedding. Joe’s 91-years-old now and somewhat crippled by arthritis, needs a cane, but his spirit is as vital as ever. He’s kept going all these years, refusing to let arthritis immobilize him. This week he was loading up and hauling about 20 head of cattle to the Swift Current market, about 150 kms away. He’s finally giving up feeding cattle.

We drove through Belle Plaine, the town where Bob and I met. He ran a grain elevator for UGG — a company that no longer exists— while my folks bought the local café when I was thirteen. Needless to say, things have changed a lot, especially in the past 20 years. We had trouble figuring out what was what anymore; the café ha disappeared completely. And how can fifty years go by so fast?!

We saw a small herd of antelope on the way to Joe’s home, and I spotted a group of cormorants at a dug-out right near Belle Plaine. This dug-out was made when we lived there, when dirt was needed to build the overpass over the train tracks. So it’s quite a large body of water and there were a number of waterfowl.

We had supper with Bob’s cousin Dennis and wife; in the evening we met my sister Rose for coffee at a Tim Horton’s. All of these live in Moose Jaw.

We stayed night at a motel across the street from Crescent Park and the Public Library + Art Gallery. All day Saturday we attended a writers’ conference at the Library. Met a few people we know and heard various speakers, including a retired Regina police officer. He spoke about how a homicide investigation is REALLY conducted. As you can imagine, he detests all the nonsense shown on TV cop shows. Two other speakers were romance writer Ellie Lynn and mystery writer Gail Bowen.

We came home Saturday evening and attended church as usual Sunday morning, then were invited to our son-in-law’s folks for an extended family Mother’s Day dinner: their three children who live here and in-laws like ourselves.

Tuesday morning our son-in-law and daughter very kindly drove us back down to Moose Jaw to attend the funeral of Bob’s cousin Julia. She’d celebrated her 94th birthday in early February; in the funeral service we heard how she’d enjoyed a long, love-filled, productive life. Her five children have all done well and their descendants seem to have, too.

After the funeral we met and visited with my sister Donna for half an hour or so. It’s been too long since we last connected! I last saw Donna — and only to exchange a quick hello — at our nephew’s funeral at the beginning of Sept 2010. She’s been living in Regina for years and only moved back to Moose Jaw last summer. Hopefully we can connect more often now.

When we got home Tuesday evening around 8pm, we all noticed how much the trees around our yard had greened up just while we were gone. And they’ve continued to leaf out in yesterday’s heat.

Today is cloudy and cooler — and we’re off to Saskatoon later to have coffee and a gabfest with several other writers who live in this area. We’re only about eight who like to touch base now and then — but try to find a date and time when everyone’s free!

Tomorrow we’ll stay home and catch up with some work that’s been neglected while we gallivanted. 🙂 Now I’ll end my “catch-up” post with this short poem by an unknown writer:

The slightest word of comfort
to help us on our way,
the slightest smile from someone
to brighten up our day;
the slightest act of kindness
to lessen care and such
all these cost so little,
but they mean so very much.