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Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

BraveCompanionsI was looking for something to read; a book to pick up with a stand-alone chapter to pass an hour or so on my Independence Day afternoon. David McCullough’s” 1776″ and “Truman” were standing at attention as I reached for his “Brave Companions: Portraits in History”.  A bookmark with early scenes of Boston rested inside. It reminded me of the charming bookstore, Toad Hall, where I purchased “Brave Companions ”  on a trip to Massachusetts several years ago. Just what I needed on a slow, holiday afternoon.

I enjoy reading David McCullough’s books. His conversational style of writing brings historical characters, events and places alive.His unique voice and storytelling style often make me want to learn more. Be it about Harry Truman or the first year of the Revolutionary War, I always come away from McCullough’s books feeling a wee bit more knowledgeable about subjects I love.

So it was on this Fourth of July that I opened “Brave Companions”, surveyed the chapters’ topics,  landed on Washington on the Potomac, and took a brisk stroll with Mr. McCullough. We walked past historic venues and notable spots, with bits and pieces of the people and places and occurrences that make Washington, D.C. a remarkable capital city.

I finished the chapter, a fitting essay to read on this day, then I rested my eyes for a spell, thinking about my favorite Fourth of July. It was the summer we took our girls to D.C. for a family vacation. We did the touristy things one does in D.C., but the memory that stands clearest was how we spent the Fourth of July.  We walked from our hotel across the Mall and heard a dramatic early morn reading of the Declaration of Independence in front of the National Archives. We took the trolley to Arlington Cemetery, then to the Lincoln Memorial, several buildings of the Smithsonian, the Vietnam Wall . . . and walked and rode on and on, ending our day with fireworks on the Mall, the Washington monument looming above as if holding the colorful display for all to see.

It was nice to remember that Independence Day, appreciating Mr. McCullough’s words on the pages just read, and feeling grateful for what I have.

How about you? Have you read any history or historical fiction lately? Have you read anything by David McCullough?

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I slipped outside, without my cell phone, my camera, my notebook, a freshly brewed cup of tea balancing on a saucer, steam rising on this misty morning. I was walking toward the arbor, hoping not to spill. My eyes were on the piping hot tea in my cup, which reflected the overcast sky. The sky always seems to be overcast on Memorial Day. It is as if it is part of the tradition, honoring our heroes among the clouds, collectively shedding our tears.

I spent some time earlier, checking my emails, my blog, your blog, clicking “likes” on Facebook while simultaneously surfing the morning news on the television. It is easy to honor veterans from the comfort of home, not having to help a veteran put on her prosthesis or witness a friend dealing with the myriad of stress disorders veterans carry – or placing a wreath on a loved one’s grave.

I paused in my journey out back and said a prayer for those who have fallen.

As I stopped, I could see in the green vista more creeping Charlie and clover than grass. A woodchuck was nibbling on his morning meal. A doe was trimming the trees; an ever-changing browse line defining our little territory. A robin took her morning bath, me still in my pajamas, hoping the neighbors wouldn’t see me and I was keenly aware of the liberty I have, walking my little acreage on a misty morning in May, aware in equal measure of those who gave their lives in battle, gratitude in my heart, in my soul.

Memorial Day

Remember

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DSCN8157Sunday.

Mother’s Day.

One of those mellow days of love and recognition that seemed to flow slowly and deliberately into a forever memory.

After Sunday worship, we went to Jennifer and Jason’s for brunch. Egg strata, bacon, salad and Mimosa’s. As I sipped and savored, I remembered another Mother’s Day, more than three decades past, where a toddling Jennifer brought me breakfast in bed. On that long ago morning,  I opened my eyes to a wee darling saying “happy Mother’s Day Mommy” as she slowly settled a plate of breakfast in front of me.

I remember it vividly.

A dollop of strawberry yogurt with Cheerios on top, toast, and a few slices of hard salami on the side.

This year; mimosas, egg strata, salad, coffee and Kringles.

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On our way home, Tom and I stopped at Lilacia Park in Lombard, where it is lilac time. Though the skies were gray and it was cool, the lilacs and tulips were resplendent.

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I took too many photos. Everywhere I looked was color and contrast, statements of nature painted on every stem, beads of moisture clinging to petals and leaves, a concert of color singing all-the-more brightly in the absence of sun. You can imagine my bliss as I tiptoed among the tulips, my indulgent and supportive  husband at my side.

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Unknown`

“This we know: All things are connected like the blood that unites us.  We did not weave the web of life.  We are merely a strand in it.  Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.”

Attributed to Chief Seattle.

Cover image from Susan Jeffer’s “Brother Eagle, Sister Sky”.

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The house is quiet now. The pitter patter of little feet that ushered our grandchildren down the long hall,  through the kitchen, up and down stairs and stools and chairs and climb-upons that only children tackle have faded. The creaks and groans of the floorboards are just that; creaks and groans of an old house pushing itself back together again.

I feel a bit like a floorboard tonight, pushing myself back together again, creaking and groaning as I shift my focus from bustling granny, chief cook and bottle washer (remember that term?) to tackler of piles upon piles of this and that and the other; projects all that need some attention tomorrow.

In the quiet tonight, however, sated from a big Easter dinner, I’m feeling a tad like Peter Rabbit must have felt, soporific from overindulgence of food I don’t usually eat – with an extra helping to boot. I’ll just rest my eyes and reflect on family, both those now up north and those who were with us today, dining around our table, which also groaned and creaked with the weight of food and conversation and is just now putting itself back together.

I’ll just be still while the nearly full moon winks at me through the eyebrow window in our bedroom and I’ll give thanks for the joy of t0day and the promise of tomorrow.

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DSCN7733Something white caught my eye.  There they were, a generous mass of springtime, clustered on the ground as we were leaving Brookfield Zoo on Wednesday; snowdrops – and not the cold, wet, flakey kind!

The trees are starting to bud. The grass is greening. My daffodils are inching forward and many are showing plump, yellow tips. Best of all, there is a full chorus of spring peepers down the road in the little pond.

A walk in the Little Red Schoolhouse Woods had this little miss swinging her coat like a kite and her shadow skipping along the path,

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and this young lad hugged his Papa for a long, long while and then he explored the nature center.

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Today we will color Easter eggs and perhaps watch trains go by, as our Ezra really loves trains, and we will have some quiet moments as we reflect upon the gift of Easter.

Peace and  blessings to each of you.

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Whilst the Irish Soda Bread was baking and the corned beef dinner was  simmering, a few of my favorite Irish films came to mind, and I was wondering what some of your favorite Irish movies might be.

One that always sets me to laughing is Waking Ned Devine

Of course, there is The Quiet Man, which usually shows up in the these parts on St. Patrick’s Day, as it did again this year.

Evelyn is perfect for social justice and protection of children –  and a wee bit of angel rays,

 

and Finian’s Rainbow if just the one for song and dance.

The trailers are from YouTube. A few I couldn’t find but are enjoyable to watch include Da, The Mammy,  The Secret of Roan Inish, and Ryan’s Daughter.

While I’m blathering on about movies, I would like to mention the British import , Moone Boy on PBS? Have you watched it?

What are your favorite films of Ireland?

 

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