11 09, 2023

9-11 and Memory Triggers

By |2023-09-07T10:22:35-05:00September 11th, 2023|Holidays, Writer's Life|0 Comments

Triggers are sensory reminders that can cause memories –painful or happy – to resurface. Triggers can be anything from a holiday to a perfume scent to a loud voice.

Years after certain events, whether we were part of an event or not, anniversaries of events can trigger feelings.

Dates like these:

December 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor
November 25, 1963 John F. Kennedy Assassination
August 22, 1966 The University of Texas Tower Shootings
April 04, 1968 MLK Assassination
January 28, 1986 Challenger Explosion
November 9, 1989 Fall of Berlin Wall
August 31, 1997 Princess Di dies in a car accident
April 20, 1999 Columbine High School CO shootings

And, of course, September 11, 2001

Today is the twenty-second anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in New York City, at the Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania. Today we remember and honor those who died on that day and during the aftermath.

Memories may trigger for you as this day does for me. My husband worked in New York City for many years. Our photo albums are filled with pictures of the Twin Towers from our many trips to the city.

None of our before pictures can erase the scenes from what happened on September 11, 2001, or my fears that day. I couldn’t turn off the TV as the horrors unfolded.

If today triggers memories for you, too. Let’s remember this quote:


4 09, 2023

Celebrating Labor Day

By |2023-09-02T09:48:26-05:00September 4th, 2023|Holidays, Make Me Think Monday|0 Comments

Happy Labor Day!

Unlike most U.S. holidays, Labor Day is a strange celebration without rituals, well, except for shopping and barbecuing.

Peter J. McGuire, United Brotherhood of Carpenters founder, and Matthew Maguire, secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York, are considered founders of the U.S. Labor Day.

Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal in 1882 and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic. Workers agreed and staged a strike to get a day off work on the first Monday in September.

Twelve years later, in 1894, Labor Day became an official federal holiday though the bill did not give everyone a holiday. Only federal employees were authorized the day off by the law.

Over the years, emphasis changed from protests and demands and Labor Day shifted to honoring the labor movement and the social and economic achievements of all American workers.

Though the holiday has no rituals, addresses by union officials, industrialists, government officials, and others do receive coverage in social media, newspapers, and television.

Labor Day mostly signifies a three-day weekend filled with retail sales, an extra day away from work, and the unofficial end of summer.

Unless you work in retail then you’ll have some long working hours. Police, firefighters, nurses, and doctors will also experience heavy workloads because Labor Day is the second most dangerous holiday to drive on U.S. highways.

I’ll not be driving. I’ll be following Douglas Pagels’ advice.

“Sometimes it’s important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it’s essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow.”

Why not join me? Relax, grab one last hot dog, and slide down your rainbow beam.

3 07, 2023

A Couple of my Favorite 4th of July Things

By |2023-07-02T15:02:17-05:00July 3rd, 2023|Holidays|1 Comment

My first favorite thing is this family photo.

My very talented photographer daughter snapped the shot years ago when her two boys were young. You may have seen the image on a highway billboard or in an airport or a store ad.

Her boys running freely on the park path reminds me of the many freedoms we have in this country that are not granted in so many other places in the world.

Second, this very old Chevy commercial with its catchy tune. I don’t drive a Chevy, but I do love this song and think about the great country we live in every time I hear it.

Now flag Old Glory this 4th and hum the Chevy song while grilling a nice, juicy burger to celebrate America’s 247th birthday.

19 06, 2023

What is Juneteenth?

By |2023-06-17T18:17:20-05:00June 19th, 2023|Holidays, Make Me Think Monday|0 Comments

Today marks the third time Juneteenth will be observed nationally as a federal holiday.

Also known as Freedom Day, Emancipation Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Black Independence Day the date marks the day enslaved people in the United States learned they were free.

In case you’re wondering where the name comes from, it’s a blending of June and nineteenth.

Growing up in Texas, there were always celebrations on Juneteenth. According to Para LaNell Agboga, museum site coordinator at the George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center in Austin, Texas early celebrations revolved around the church with speeches and picnics.

As Black Texans moved away from Texas, the observances slowly spread.

But I must confess that as our family moved around the United States, I met many who had never heard of Juneteenth.

Or Laura Smalley, a freed slave from a plantation very near where I live now. Or, her story about how her former master went off to fight in the Civil War, and when he came home he never told his slaves what had happened.

“Old master didn’t tell, you know, they was free. I think now they say they worked them, six months after that. Six months. And turn them loose on the 19th of June. That’s why, you know, we celebrate that day.” Smalley’s 1941 interview can still be found on YouTube.

Juneteenth officially began June 19, 1865, when Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger and his Union troops delivered General Order No. 3, to the residents of Galveston, Texas. The order said:

“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.”

The next year, 1866, the now-freed slaves started celebrating, and the celebration has continued ever since.

One hundred and fifty-five years later in 2021, President Biden signed a bill designating Juneteenth as a federal holiday. Another 96-year-old Texan, Opal Lee is credited with successfully championing that legislation.

The Proclamation states clearly why we should celebrate the day:

“As we observe Juneteenth, we remind ourselves of the sacred proposition rooted in Scripture and enshrined in our Declaration of Independence:  that we are all created equal in the image of God and each of us deserves to be treated equally throughout our lives.  That is the promise of America that every generation is charged to keep alive.  While the opposition may seem fierce and the fire of conflict may be intense, the story of Juneteenth reveals that freedom, justice, and equality will always prevail.”

Today’s celebrations will include parades, concerts, and reading of the Emancipation Proclamation. Like most holidays, Juneteenth is seeing its fair share of commercialism.

Supporters work hard to make sure Juneteenth celebrators don’t forget why. Check here for events offered through JuneteenthFTW.

12 06, 2023

Father’s Day

By |2023-06-11T10:17:00-05:00June 12th, 2023|A Writer's Life, Holidays, Writer's Life|0 Comments

We will honor our father figures the third weekend of June. For some that father figure might be a birth father. For others, it’s a stepfather or a relative or friend that serves the father’s role.

Me, I’ve been blessed with three men who share their father’s love with me.

  • My father.

Daddy taught me how to fish, how to hunt, and how to dress out my bounty. He taught me how to build things, fix things, grow things, and cook things around a campfire. He taught me raunchy songs and words, then reminded me to always be a lady.


  • My beloved uncle—a Marine on Iwo Jimo when I was born—was a second father to me.

Uncle Dub taught me to shoot straight, with a firearm and with my words. He taught me the fun of antique auctions and the beauty of old things. He showed unconditional love in through my tough times and tough love when needed. He was a wise counselor.


  • I inherited my third father when I married his only son.

Rev. L. O., my preacher father-in-love shared his Bible wisdom and whetted my appetite for Bible study. And, best of all he raised his only son to be the best husband ever and a godly father.

I’m so thankful for having his son by my side as we raised our three children and now love and enjoy eleven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He’s been a vital force in all their lives.

My three daddies are gone now, which makes Father’s Day a bit sad for me.

I miss them but remembering all of them on their special day brings back fond memories and makes me smile.

10 04, 2023

Why Wear Easter Bonnets?  

By |2023-04-08T15:42:49-05:00April 10th, 2023|Holidays|0 Comments

I saw no Easter bonnets at my church on Easter Sunday. I wasn’t surprised. The tradition of wearing any hat much less Easter bonnets seems to have all but disappeared in today’s culture.

Once upon a time, it was very important to have not only a new bonnet but a new outfit for Easter Sunday too. I’m guessing many of us have pictures like this buried in old photo albums.

The practice of new finery for Easter Sunday originated in the early church. Converts wore white garments on Sunday to identify themselves with Christ. The white symbolized purity and newness of life and became a powerful and tangible way to signify the life-altering spiritual transformation that had taken place.

In the 19th Century, there was even an Easter parade in New York City from St. Patrick’s Cathedral down Fifth Avenue. An after-church cultural event primarily for the well-to-do who decked out in new and fashionable clothing, and strolled from their own church to others to see and be seen.

The official parade’s popularity declined significantly as people came to view the frolic in finery as an ostentatious display of wealth and beauty.

Irving Berlin’s 1948 song “In Your Easter Bonnet” from the movie Easter Parade renewed the popularity of wearing an Easter bonnet. That’s why so many of us have pictures like the one above of me, my sister, and my brother posed outside my grandmother’s house on an Easter Sunday morning after church.

Although the parade falderal of bygone days is no longer, you might see some Easter parade strollers if you’re in New York City some Easter Sunday.

Check out these fabulous Easter bonnets from the 2018 New York Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival on 5th Avenue, Manhattan near St.Patrick’s Cathedral.

20 02, 2023

A Strange Holiday

By |2023-02-19T10:45:56-06:00February 20th, 2023|Holidays, Make Me Think Monday|1 Comment

Today is President’s Day… or is it Presidents’ Day… Presidents Day… Or Washington’s Birthday as the Office of Personnel Management notes on its federal calendar.

All those names are used.

With no official name, it’s hard to know how or what to call the holiday and it’s a grammar nightmare. The apostrophe is everywhere.

Sometimes there’s none, i.e. Presidents Day. Sometimes the apostrophe is placed between the last two letters as in President’s Day. Sometimes it’s after the last letter Presidents’ Day.

Then President is used as plural or singular.

To most people, the day is when banks and federal employees have a holiday and retail stores run sales.

Back in my day, we celebrated two presidential birthdays in February on their actual birthdays –George Washington on February 22 and Abraham Lincoln on February 16.

The 1971 Uniform Monday Holiday Act changed all that with the creation of three-day weekends and designated the third Monday of February to honor all presidents, past and present. That blurred the day’s meaning from the original purpose.

You’ll also notice Presidents’ Day never falls on either Washington or Lincoln’s birthdates or any of the other four presidents’ February birthdates—George Washington, William Henry Harrison, Abraham Lincoln, and Ronald Reagan.

Strange holiday, I say.

Whatever you call the holiday and however you choose to write it, enjoy the day.

Maybe do a little reading. Check out my author page for some excellent book choices.

13 02, 2023

Origins of Our Valentine’s Day Traditions

By |2023-02-05T10:37:10-06:00February 13th, 2023|Holidays|0 Comments

judythe morganFebruary 14 is second only to Christmas for gift-giving and sweet treats. A day for romantic dinners and homemade crafts. Both holiday celebrations began with religious roots. Similarities end there.

Historians can’t establish the exact origin but do trace how traditions have evolved over the years. The beginnings of Valentine’s Day are not the stuff of romantic plots. The origin is, in fact, a bit bloody.

Earliest traditions

According to, the holiday’s origin might predate Christianity with the ancient pagan festival of Lupercalia and the Roman festival celebrated in the middle of February that included feasting and pairing off partners.

Lupercalia was filled with debauchery, blood, and sacrifice. The hide of a sacrificed goat would be cut into strips, dipped in blood, and slapped around women. It was believed the ritual would make the women more fertile in the coming year.

Lupercalia was eventually outlawed in the 5th century when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as St. Valentine’s Day.

The Romans pagan celebrations ended when they embraced Christianity, and their holiday evolved into one honoring St. Valentine.

Who was Saint Valentine?

The most accepted account of St. Valentine says he was a priest arrested for defying a Roman decree that forbade soldiers from marrying and executed when he continued to wed lovers in secret. Problem is, according to NPR, Emperor Claudius II of Rome executed two different men named Valentine on February 14 (in two different years), contends St. Valentine was an imprisoned priest who fell in love with one of his visitors and wrote letters to her signing off with “From your Valentine.”

Both accounts have romantic undertones unfortunately neither can be officially verified.

Add the fact that the Catholic church recognizes multiple priests named Valentine and all we can say for sure is Valentine’s Day was named for a martyred priest.

From honoring a priest to current traditions

Jack B. Oruch says our modern-day traditions are thanks to the 14th-century English poet Geoffrey Chaucer.

An English professor Oruch concluded that Chaucer was the first to associate St Valentine with romantic love. Before Chaucer’s “The Parlement of Foules” and “The Complaint of Mars” there was no significant written record linking romantic tradition to St. Valentine’s Day.

By the mid-18th century, giving small tokens and handmade notes to friends and lovers on Valentine’s Day became common practice.

The 19th-century Industrial Revolution enabled printed Valentine’s Day cards.

Then in 1913, Hallmark Cards began mass-producing Valentines and the rest is history.

7 12, 2022

Pearl Harbor Remembrance

By |2022-12-06T10:10:17-06:00December 7th, 2022|Holidays, Wednesday Words of Wisdom|0 Comments

Today is the 81st Anniversary of the Pearl Harbor Attack, the day known as a Day of Infamy.

Long before I was born (and probably before most of you were born) on this day in 1941, Japanese fighter planes attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor near Honolulu, Hawaii.

The day after the surprise attack Congress approved President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s request to declare war on Japan with only one dissenting vote.

Then three days later, Germany and Italy also declared war on the United States. Congress reciprocated. America had finally entered the fray known as World War II.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.” Our national history (and many of our personal histories) changed that day forever. Fathers, husbands, boyfriends, sons, and daughters went off to fight the war. Brave soldiers who answered the call.

My father did.

My uncle did.

So did my father’s sister.

Let’s take a minute this Pearl Harbor Day to remember those men who Tom Brokaw duped the Greatest Generation.

Men who willingly gave their all to provide protection and security to our nation and the world.

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