Memorial Day is the holiday set aside to remember the men and women who gave their lives while serving this country. To say thank you for their supreme sacrifice.
Because parades and gatherings are cancelled this Memorial Day weekend, retired Air Force bugler Jari Villanueva and CBS News “On the Road” correspondent Steve Hartman are asking buglers and trumpet players across the country to stand on their porches this Memorial Day at 3 p.m. local time and play “Taps.”
The rest of us can pause for a moment to remember the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice serving this country as well as all the victims of the coronavirus pandemic while maintaining social distancing guidelines.
If you’d like to dust off your trumpet or bugle and sound the call, click here for directions on how to participate.
If you’re not a bugler then perhaps you can play a version of Taps from YouTube like this one.
The newest arrivals to our duck pen really seem to enjoy the “duck pond” (i.e. kiddie swimming pool). Since we built the duck pen in the front corner of the chicken yard, I can watch the ducks swim from my kitchen window. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen so I get to see the ducks often.
At least once a week I empty the “pond” and refill it with fresh water. This is the ducks’ favorite day. I stand outside to get a better view of them in the clean pond.
Ricky is always the first to get into the water. He is the oldest duck and I call him the daddy duck.
When he is in the water, no one else comes around. Ricky doesn’t share.
The younger ducks are content to play in the puddle created by emptying the “pond.”
After Ricky has finished playing in the water, the rest of the ducks can take their turn.
The younger ducks are much better at sharing. They are not so good at social distancing.
These gladiolas are from a special friend’s garden. They were so gorgeous I couldn’t resist taking a picture and using it as a background for this week’s quote.
About the quote
I found several people named Celeste Barnard in my web search. The quote came from a Country Living magazine that only identified the author by name. So Celeste Barnard, if you see this, please let me know these are your words, and I’ll add a short bio.
What I liked about the quote was that it reminded me of my friend who brought this lovely, lovely bouquet of gladiolas. The amazing thing is she grows these beauties in her yard. She’s such a lovely person to fill my world with beautiful gladiolas and books she passes on to me.
I enjoy working jigsaw puzzles. And word puzzles, but jigsaw puzzles are my brain sorter for plot issues and escape from reality.
Working a puzzle, I can focus on fitting all the pieces together and when it’s finished, I have a lovely picture. Usually.
Didn’t happen this year. Not with Mary Engelbreit’s Puzzle A Girl’s Best Friend, which I love putting together for Mother’s Day every year.
All those black and white squares on the frame were my downfall. If my grandson weren’t here while his college is shut down for the pandemic, I’d never have finished.
At one point I took out the tape measure to confirm the side measured 20 inches. I decided maybe pieces had gone missing in the last move.
I took the sides apart and started again multiple times. By the fourth time, I was extremely frustrated.
Enter grandson with sharp eyes and nimble fingers. He got the frame together while I worked the middle, which with all the similar colored patterns did not prove much easier.
With Mother’s Day three days away, the middle was finished and only the floral border between the inner picture and the black and white edge remained to connect.
Grandson had a major project due, so I was on my own. A piece would fit the black and white edge but not connect to the middle pieces. Happened not once but several times.
I pulled the edge apart and reassembled. Still the floral border pieces wouldn’t connect.
Mother’s Day and the puzzle still not finished, I admitted defeat and, threatening to throw the puzzle away, went to bed. Next morning, I found this.
Grandson had flipped top and bottom edge pieces and finished.
I’m not throwing the puzzle away. But I’m not messing with edge again either.
I didn’t cheat and leave them connected when I took the puzzle apart, though I was very tempted. I coded the backs of all the edge pieces then stored them in their own little bag in the puzzle box. Next time, I’ll know which border pieces belong on which side.
Maybe I’ll work the puzzle again next year. Maybe not. Grandson won’t be here. I’d be on my own. But, at least, I won’t go blind trying to connect the pesky frame.
When Beekeeper Brian and I were first married, we lived on the second floor of an apartment in Houston. I clearly remember standing at the bottom of the stairs one day with a basket of laundry completely terrified of a grasshopper on the stairs. I stood there until it hopped away and then I quickly ran up the stairs and into our apartment.
Fast forward almost 33 years and I now think nothing of scooping a cockroach out of the chicken waterer or walking through the bees on my way to the chicken yard. What brought about this transformation?
I’m not really sure. It is either growing older (and wiser) or living on Miller Farm where there are an abundance of critters.
In any case, it serves me well to be less afraid of creepy crawly things.
A couple of weeks ago, I was weeding in the succulent bed around the mail box when I felt something crawling on my foot.
I have overcome my fear of most things, however, I have a healthy respect for fire ants. I thought I might be on the menu for lunch that day.
I quickly removed my shoe to discover…a small rough earth snake.
I watched him for a minute then decided he was unhappy in the gutter so I gently picked him up and put him back on the dirt. He quickly burrowed to safety.
There was a point in my life when I would have hurt myself trying to get away from that snake. Then I would have refused to check the mail ever again for fear of another snake encounter.
Life is much calmer for me now. I’m thankful for that. The world seems to have more and more things of which to be frightened. I just chose to be fearless.
May means flowers. Maybe not if you live in one of those states where you’re still getting snow, but down here in the South gardening shops are buzzing with home gardeners picking out their blooms. Flowering trees are showing forth their glory.
Magnolia are budding and I love Magnolias. If I were a tree, I’d be a Magnolia.
Their flowers are so dramatic and showy—a welcome a sight after a dreary winter. Their leaves so waxy and green. Mine was magnificent this year.
Seeing those pink buds made the world feel new again. Interestingly, the magnolia tree’s origins go back millions of years. In fact, dinosaurs may have nibbled on them.
There are so many varieties besides the fragrant white blooms associated with southern plantation homes. This chart from Martha Stewart Living magazine shows the variety and beauty of their blooms.
Thinking about magnolias also brings to mind the original 1989 version of Steel Magnolias, a movie worthy to be part of your watch list during these quarantine days.
It’s has a cast of magnolias – Dolly Parton, Julia Roberts, Sally Field, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah, and Olympia Dukakis. A group of actresses as varied as the Magnolia blooms and strong enough to survive the challenges of the script with zinger comic one-liners.
The story’s set in a small town beauty shop in Louisiana. Not much has changed in southern small towns, trust me. It’s a funny and heartwarming story of life, love, and loss. Sorta like this Corona virus time we’re living in.
The dark moment comes with Sally Field’s brief monologue when she asks God “Why?” The question we’ve all been asking since 2020 began.
Steel Magnolias is a humorous and dramatic picture of a southern woman’s world. They work and cook and sew and mend and fight and make up. They get their hair and nails done. Well, they did before the virus struck and will again someday. Just ask one.
And when tragedy, or a pandemic virus, strikes, they have the strength and the character to smile through their tears and go on.
They’re magnolias. They laugh a little and cry a little and keep on keeping on. Their roots go deep, maybe not to the age of dinosaurs but deep and strong.
Everyone’s computer has hung up at one time or another. That little circle just whirls and whirls and whirls. It’s easy to make the comparison to this pandemic stupor.
Our days whirl and merge. We wait and wait and wait for normal to return, for our lives to reboot.
There’s relief, when the circle on the computer screen stops whirling, and the computer starts up again … but there’s also worry. Will it happen again and need to be unplugged and rebooted? We can’t predict.
The pandemic quarantine is loosening in some places. That reboot causes worry. Could we end up back in total quarantine again? We don’t know.
Is a return to a pre-COVID19 is even possible? We don’t know that either.
We hope and pray for the best. While stuck in our new world, in our pandemic stasis, we get up each day, put one foot in front of the other, and do the next thing.
We take care of whatever task is next, whether it’s mindbogglingly mundane or breathtakingly scary. And then, after that, we do the next thing, and the next.
My next thing was releasing a new book, my first romantic suspense.
She’s a forty-seven year old widow who views life with rose-colored glasses while raising her grandson after her only child and his wife die in a suspicious car accident.
He’s thirty-four, a divorced, overly cautious ex-cop, who manages her shipping company. A cartel’s bomb killed his twin sons. He trusts no one.
Mysterious threats about Evie’s grandson begin to fill her email inbox at the same time drugs show up in a company shipment. When the nanny she hired against his advice disappears with the toddler, they uncover a web of lies, murder, and drug smuggling in her company.
Searching for the toddler tests their trust, even as it binds their hearts.
Pre-order Seeing Clearlyhere for Kindle and here for Nook.
What’s your next thing? Mine is be writing the next book.