Memorial Day

As I returned home from a grueling trip late Sunday night, my headlights caught the red, white and blue of small American flags planted at the end of each neighbor’s driveway… courtesy of another neighbor whose husband passed away from a military illness. Thus is the beginning of my Memorial Day weekend.

Annual Memorial Day Flag planted in my driveway by kind and generous neighbor.

Annual Memorial Day Flag planted in my driveway by kind and generous neighbor.

When I moved here years ago I was surprised with this annual tradition. Now my heart warms as I watch the flag flutter in the breeze. Memorial Day… a time to reflect on the men and women who died so I could live free.

All across America, in rural towns and large cities, everyone stops for a moment to pay tribute… then party hardy as this is also the official beginning of summer fun.

I spoke to a woman this year who commented she is appalled by all the parades and pomp and circumstance surrounding this holiday. She believes this day should be marked with quiet services and placements of ribbons on the grave sites of our fallen, and that is all. She hides in her home the rest of the day, refusing to attend any parades or cook burgers on the grill. How sad.

My Memorial Day was spent attending a small hometown parade in Farmingdale, NJ with a friend. In an effort to arrive before the streets were blocked, I left my house early. As I sat at a red light in the center of town I watched as a wreath of flowers was placed at the foot of a monument in honor of our fallen warriors. A rather large semi-circular gathering stood in silence as a dedication was made. The crowd quickly dispersed to ready themselves for the more important task of getting ready for the annual parade.

Signs posted through out the town making room for the Memorial Day Parade

Signs posted throughout the town making room for the Memorial Day Parade

I drove to my friend’s house and marveled at the sight.This entire town was decked out in red, white, and blue… straight from a movie set!! Flags, streamers, bows… you name it. If it was red, white, blue or any combination of these, it was flapping in the breeze or plastered on cars, doors, and fences.

At 11:30 the streets were already lined with chairs and coolers, the streets were being closed off, and swarms of people were milling around talking and laughing waiting for the 1:00 start. Side streets were filled with band members, fire trucks, military personnel, floats, bag pipers, and kids… all lining up for their placement in the parade. Electric sparks of excitement filled the air.

The parade began with another dedication to our service men and women, and a prayer for their safety in current conflicts. Military Color Guards presented the flags, as a State Police Officer atop a mighty horse saluted, and the entire town recited our Pledge of Allegiance… followed by the singing of our National Anthem. And so it began!

Town members saluting as Memorial Day parade begins

Town members saluting as Memorial Day parade begins

I was fortunate to be standing across from the Grand Stand and was able to hear the commentary as each passing group and float was presented to the Mayor and other dignitaries. Each one had a dedication to our Military and a Thank You to the volunteers and paid members of local Police and Fire Departments for their service.

Standing under the shade of a very old tree, I surveyed the crowd and wondered… Isn’t THIS what Memorial Day is all about??? Isn’t THIS what earlier generations fought for??? Gave their lives for??? For future generations to be gathered together and celebrate with laughter and smiles without the fear of being bombed, shot, thrown in jails or camps for speaking their minds??? Of course… thanks to them these parades can be repeated across America with no fear of retribution.

I think the woman who hates these parades and all the fuss would think differently if she actually attended one, and sat near the Grandstand.

I am glad we have a day specifically set aside to remember these brave and unselfish souls. So to that I say… Happy Memorial Day!!! I understand a lot of others don’t agree with my glee… and I am sorry for that. I am not being disrespectful, nor making light of the serious circumstances for the holiday. I am simply showing my happiness and appreciation for what they provided for me.

Thank you Farmingdale, NJ for showing me how a small rural American town celebrates in style!!! And THANK YOU to all the men and women who fought for the freedom I have (and sadly take for granted) today. For without you… I wouldn’t be the person I am today… Happy and Free!

 

 

 

Quilt of Valor Under Way

Last month I announced my commitment to produce 4 quilts for donation to Quilts of Valor… an organization presenting returning warriors with a hand-made quilt as a small token of thanks for their service. You can find that post HERE… along with the links to Quilt of Valor and Houses for Patriots.

My plea of help was graciously answered by two high school classmates!! We have chosen a design, I am drafting the pattern, and a shopping trip for fabric is planned.

Quilt of Valor design

Quilt of Valor design

This all could not have been possible without the generous monetary donations received by an ANONYMOUS DONOR (Really! I honestly have no clue as to who dropped cash into my mailbox marked for the quilt) and TREATS BY EILEEN (read about my meeting her at Barnes & Nobel HERE).

Bonus points to Treats By Eileen! Her donation arrived via Priority Mail in a box filled with treats!!! Oh so yummy!!! I loved her newest creation… Pink Salt Chocolate-Cashew-Craisn Granola… O!M!G! Delicious! One thing I forgot to mention in my blog post about meeting her was… her comment that her being successful and loving what she does… allows her the freedom to donate to causes near and dear to her heart. I am THRILLED beyond all joy she chose my commitment to Quilts of Valor as a worthy cause. Thank you Eileen!!!

Treats by Eileen

Treats by Eileen… Donation for Quilts of Valor AND treats!!! Oh my!

Thanks also to my anonymous donator. I hope you are reading this post because I want you to know I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You were the first to donate and got this project off the ground. Thank you for believing in me and supporting my dream.

I will never forget the generosity of strangers… and the helpful hands of my classmates from many years ago. Together we will do some good and spread love and warmth to those who served our country and fought for our freedom.

Happy Memorial Day everyone!!!

Whooshers!

Do you know what a WHOOSHER is??? I’ve been one for the past 2 years… and never even knew it. There’s even a website just for us ‘whooshers’… who knew???

Whooshers are a person known to have not only the annoying ringing in the ear/s… but an additional pulsating whooshing as well.

Whooshers.com

Whooshers.com

I thought the incessant ringing was going to drive me over the edge… but the pulsating high-pitched sound is even WORSE. At least it is possible to ‘tune out’ the ringing from time to time and get a bit of a rest. The whooshing however disrupts your concentration and commands you to pay attention to it… every few seconds!

Most ‘whooshers’ report the sound keeping beat with their pulse. Not me. Last week I was able to count 5 beats between the whooshes. In the evening it dropped to 4 beats, then again in the morning climbed to 6 beats. Today??? No whooshing at all… just the ever-present ringing.

Ringing in the ears, known as Tinnitus, is quite common… especially as we age. The best advice doctors can give after an exhausted round of testing is simply “Learn to deal with it”. I’m trying to ‘deal with it’, really I am.

Having Tinnitus is not life threatening. There is no cure. White noise, hearing aids, earplugs, ear drops, and such have no effect on the ringing at all. Some people have tried acupressure, yoga, meditation and essential oils… all with no long-term relief. Learning to live with it seems to be the best method.

In addition to Tinnitus, the hearing in my right ear is slowly fading. Things I used to enjoy, like listening to music, going to the movies, and watching TV are becoming annoying. Amplified sound reverberates in my ear canal causing me to leave the theater. TV comes through muffled to the point of missing punch lines and important news items. Listening to music isn’t so horrible, yet the high pitch of the ringing in my ear competes with the instruments to make the experience less than thrilling. It’s not a volume control thing… increasing the sound isn’t helpful. It’s more of an interference thing… like a blockage.

Being social is also becoming more difficult. I have always been happiest in a group of no more than 6 people at a time… yet now that number has dropped to 2 people. I become agitated and uncommunicative in anything larger. Unless of course it’s a room with hundreds of people… then I am in my glory!!! No one expects you to hear anything in a group that large!! Plus the din masks the ringing!!! Woo! Hoo!

Each day I see my world getting smaller and smaller as I retreat into myself. Quilting, reading, typing, and painting are my ‘go to’ hobbies. Although enjoyable, they are solitary and confining. As I mentioned earlier… I’m learning to deal with it and this course seems to be working.

Getting old is not for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of effort to constantly make allowances for new situations.

Book Expo America Here I Come!

I just signed up to attend the Book Expo America in NYC this month. Why is this so exciting? Head on over to my Unique and Novel site to find out why!!!

Book Expo America

Book Expo America

*Yes, I run another website, which to be honest has not received much attention lately. However… that is about to change. I have finally decided on a direction and will post to it weekly. It’s all about BOOKS! I will tell stories about the authors, publishers, readers, book clubs and so much more. Book reviews, unique gifts, affiliate links, and other recommended bloggers and sites will be showcased. Join the fun!!! Head on over to www.uniqueandnovel.com and sign up to follow… or check out our Facebook page!

Woo! Hoo!