30 05, 2022

Memorial Day and TAPS

By |2022-05-27T10:49:03-05:00May 30th, 2022|Holidays, Make Me Think Monday|0 Comments

On Memorial Day, I’m reminded of my days living on military bases and hearing TAPS played from the base speaker at the day’s end. We stopped what we were doing and stood at attention. The day had ended.

Hearing TAPS at military funerals always brings a tear to my eyes. I agree with Master Sergeant Jari A Villanueva, USAF:

“There is something singularly beautiful and appropriate in the music of this wonderful call. Its strains are melancholy, yet full of rest and peace. Its echoes linger in the heart long after its tones have ceased to vibrate in the air.”

There are no “official” words to Taps. These are the most popular and the ones that run through my head when the bugler plays.

Day is done,
gone the sun,
From the hills,
from the lake,
From the skies.
All is well,
safely rest,
God is nigh.
Go to sleep,
peaceful sleep,
May the soldier
or sailor,
God keep.
On the land
or the deep,
Safe in sleep.
Love, good night,
Must thou go,
When the day,
And the night
Need thee so?
All is well.
Speedeth all
To their rest.
Fades the light;
And afar
Goeth day,
And the stars
Shineth bright,
Fare thee well;
Day has gone,
Night is on.
Thanks and praise,
For our days,
‘Neath the sun,
Neath the stars,
‘Neath the sky,
As we go,
This we know,
God is nigh.

Today, along with the hot dogs, hamburgers, and swimming we associate with Memorial Day, let’s honor and remember those who have gone before.

23 05, 2022

Memorial Day and Weddings

By |2022-05-20T21:16:13-05:00May 23rd, 2022|Holidays, Writer's Life|3 Comments

I’m so excited that Memorial Day  is on May 30 this year. There’s a good reason.

That was the official date (1868-1970) until Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act to create three-day holidays and the last Monday in May became the day to celebrate Memorial Day.

An obscure fact I realize, but there’s a reason for remembering it. Many, many years ago hubby-dear and I chose Memorial Day for our wedding ceremony.

Back then we were financially strapped students from equally financially strapped families. Plus, time off from work for a wedding or honeymoon was out of the question. That particular year Memorial Day fell on Thursday, May 30 which meant an extra day off work for us and our families.

To save more expense, I wore my mother’s wedding dress, which she’d worn twenty-five years earlier.

My mother is in the dress in the picture top left. I’m in the picture below her wearing the dress, and the larger picture is our daughter in the dress for her wedding, twenty-five years later.

Every year Memorial Day changes. Celebrating our wedding anniversary doesn’t. This year, we get to honor family members we’ve lost in service and celebrate our marriage at the same time.

9 05, 2022


By |2022-05-07T06:48:25-05:00May 9th, 2022|Holidays, Writer's Life|2 Comments

Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother. ~Oprah Winfrey

I totally agree with Oprah. Yesterday we honored women in our lives.

I’ve been blessed with some motherly women in my life starting with the little four-foot six-inch Irish immigrant Oma Julia. Oma because she married into a strong German family who settled in Texas.

Next came her daughter Helen, the one who birthed me. I have another brother who was born over a decade after this picture was made. Sadly, I couldn’t find a picture of all four of us with Mother. (Note to self: Take more pictures when the family is together.)

Then Rose, the Mom-in-love I inherited when I married her son.

And last, but never least, my Aunt Bick, my other mother who always said, “The stork just dropped you at the wrong house.”

These three ushered me into the ranks of motherhood. All of theirs crowned me a grandmother.

And now I’m a great-grandmother with number three great-grand due any day. All our family can’t get together for Mothers’ Day celebrations. My children and grandchildren are scattered across the country. My mothers are no longer with us.

But thinking about my mothers always brings a smile. I hope you smiled too.

18 04, 2022

Where have Easter Bonnets and Easter Parades gone?

By |2022-04-17T07:19:52-05:00April 18th, 2022|Holidays, Make Me Think Monday|0 Comments

There wasn’t a single Easter bonnet at my church service yesterday. No Easter Parade. Not surprising. These traditions seem to have all but disappeared.

However, I’m guessing many of us have pictures like this buried in old photo albums.

Once upon a time, it was very important to have not only a new bonnet but a new dress for Easter Sunday too.

Why new clothes?

It’s said the early church converts wore white garments on Sunday to identify themselves with Christ. The white symbolized purity and newness of life. Following that tradition, people bought new clothes to wear on Easter. Often, at least in our family, that new dress was our only Sunday dress and worn only for church or special occasions.

Easter parades are a different story. Yes, Virginia, there was truly an Easter parade in New York City from St. Patrick’s Cathedral down Fifth Avenue from the 1870s through the 1950s.

That tradition is attributed to Irving Berlin’s song titled In Your Easter Bonnet from the 1948 movie Easter Parade

People, in new and fashionable clothing, strolled or rode in carriages down Fifth Avenue 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. These days you won’t see a single person strolling down the Avenue on Easter Sunday.

I agree that Easter Parades are a little over the top, but tradition is important. Now that the little ones are grown, I miss hiding colorful eggs for them to find.

What Easter traditions does your family still share?

14 03, 2022

Nothing like Irish music to Put Ya in a St. Patrick’s Day Mood

By |2022-03-11T05:55:46-06:00March 14th, 2022|A Writer's Life, Holidays, Make Me Think Monday, Writer's Life|0 Comments

St. Patrick’s Day brings all things Irish out around my house, even more so than usual. We feast on Irish stew and soda bread and start our day with scones. The air rings with Irish music.

But traditional Irish music isn’t limited to St. Paddy Day. You’ll often see a bit of toe-tapping going on around here. I could listen all day. And often do.

Music is the heart of Ireland. Whether the fiddler on a corner in Dublin or the man on the country lane blowing his Irish whistle or a late-night session at the local pub, you’ll find toe-tapping, hand-clapping music everywhere. Our visits to the pub sessions were the highlight of all our trips to Ireland.






One night, as a session broke up a native Irish speaker leaned over to me and said, “Ah, I tell ya, it was great music, ‘twould make the water stand out in ya eyes.”And indeed, tears did sparkle in my eyes that night. Nothing is more wonderful than the combination of traditional music and dancing.

Every visit to Ireland should include an Irish evening of traditional music, song, and local dancers. We still talk about our long-ago visit to Bunratty Castle’s Irish Evening at the Corn Barn.

Here’s a commercial video describing the event. I promise it will put you in St. Patrick’s Day mood.

14 02, 2022

Words of Love are in the Air

By |2022-02-14T06:35:15-06:00February 14th, 2022|Holidays, Valentine's Day|0 Comments

Today’s a romance writer’s favorite day. In case you need some love words to use before the day is gone, let me share a few of my favorite quotes and check back on Wednesdays all through February. I’ll be sharing other quotes in memes you can use.

  • I have never met a person whose greatest need was anything other than real, unconditional love. You can find it in a simple act of kindness toward someone who needs help. There is no mistaking love. You feel it in your heart. It is the common fiber of life, the flame that heats our soul, energizes our spirit, and supplies passion to our lives. It is our connection to God and to each other.    -Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, The Wheel of Life
  • “kisses are a better fate than wisdom.”              -e.e. Cummings
    (I love any of e.e. Cummings words. Mostly I love that he doesn’t capitalize words.)
  • “For twas not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart.
    Twas not my lips you kissed, but my soul.”     -Judy Garland
  • “Love and magic have a great deal in common. They enrich the soul, delight the heart. And they both take practice.”     -Nora Roberts
  • “Love is the force that ignites the spirit and binds hearts together.”   -Unknown

Lastly, no list of love words would be complete without “How do I love Thee?” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning,

Enjoy this Peanuts version.


7 02, 2022

Why Valentine’s Day?

By |2022-02-02T15:54:51-06:00February 7th, 2022|A Writer's Life, Holidays, Valentine's Day|0 Comments

Soon many people will be exchanging cards, candy, gifts, or flowers with their special “valentine.” Why do we do that?

Valentine’s Day is named for a Christian martyr Saint Valentine a real priest who lived in 270 A.D. and provided Christians with sacraments outlawed by the Roman Empire such as marriage and ended up in prison.

Saint Valentine is said to have cut hearts from parchment, giving them to the soldiers and persecuted Christians to “remind them of God’s love and to encourage them to remain faithful Christians.”

On the evening before his execution, he wrote the first “valentine” addressed to the daughter of his jailer and signed the greeting “Your Valentine.” And thus began our custom of giving cards and reminders to loved ones on February 14th.

The Greeting Card Association estimates as much as $933 million will be spent on cards and gifts this year. One billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year.

Esther A. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” used “scrap” to make elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons, and colorful pictures. The American Antiquarian Society in Worcester holds a large collection of her valentines.

I have a personal ephemera postcard collection. While not as elaborate as Ms. Howland’s, I love the way these cards speak of romance.

If you don’t want to spend money on cards or have the time to make a card. You can always express your love with these “signs” from Signing Savvy, the online American Sign Language Dictionary.

Moi, I’m not shy about romance or telling the ones I love how much I love them on this special day. My Valentine cards are in the mail.

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