Veteran’s Day 11/11/18

I try to write a Thank You letter to the Veterans in my life, every year on this day…also on Memorial Day.

I also have to admit when I started writing these yearly notes, I did so from a place of “universal guilt”… a cousin to that instant feeling I have when I spot a traffic cop following me, even when I know I didn’t do anything wrong.

“something happening here…”

But I realized a few years back that though many of my generations’ brothers and sisters treated each other poorly…well, horrifically…during the conflict over the Vietnam War and its Veterans, I personally never threw pig’s blood at a returning soldier.

Like many of my peers at the time, I didn’t really understand who exactly to be mad at- the military vets, or those who drafted them.

“what it is ain’t exactly clear”

So I focused my energy on Peace instead.

I was that girl with a wreath of flowers in my hair, who shoved daisy’s into barrels of the guns of local law enforcement, clad in riot gear. Young men about my same age, I have to add, who were just doing their own confusing jobs.

“there’s a man with a gun over there”

In the 1990’s I tried to open my mind to a new generation of returning veterans, so badly wanting them to have a different experience than those brave men and women, drafted or not, returning from Vietnam.

And then 9/11 happened and did a permanent number on my heart and soul. It was the birth for me of a new level of awareness. People the world over were responding to “attack” event with such dark black or white hot absolutism.

That all coincided with my father’s death so his lessons to me as a kid naturally came rushing back with a warm, loving vengeance. I considered, for the first time really, what he had been trying to say.

There is always more than one way to look at something.

“nobody’s right and everybody’s wrong”

So now, if I say thank you to a stranger in a military uniform, or when I send out my gratitude, in a note or blog post, I feel no guilt. I still don’t like or understand war, but I have room in my head and heart now for many, many more ways to fight for peace.

And I am grateful, and deeply respectful for those who choose the military (and law enforcement) as their vehicle to accomplish that.

This year, my sweet James wrote the letter below to his family. He and his siblings have had a wonderful, daily tradition, thanks to their 96 year old mother’s deathbed request. She insisted that they all stay in touch, even though they have lived across the country from each other. The emails to each other, all these years later, is one of my favorite all- time uses of the internet.

James says I can share today’s note with you too. (I have altered it only to remove other people’s personal stuff.)

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Good Morning

Today, we remember those of us who have served and died in service to freedom of expression, religion and political choice. I must admit that I am distressed by the present political situation in this country and the direction we are taking. Having said that, I honor all men and women who have participated in protecting us and giving us the right to chose our lives in a turbulent world where such freedom is becoming less and less available. I have heard from the men I served with in Nam and am reminded of the quality of men I was lucky enough to have shared that experience with. 
I had a fun trip to the islands. He picked me up at the ferry landing. We did a couple of errands in town, then joined a group of men for
The Stand Up Men Against Domestic Violence
on the courthouse lawn to remind citizens that violence against domestic partners is not acceptable as a solution to personal problems. These men have been doing this every Friday for the past four years. They organized after a couple of domestic violence deaths on the island reminded them how prevalent this problem is in our society. Two deaths were recorded there in the past twelve months so it continues to be an important issue for those who suffer at the hands of their partners. 
You can read about this amazing group here:    http://safesj.org/sum/
These guys are truly Veterans of their own local “war” against domestic violence. And they deserve to be honored, celebrated!!
Afterward, we went home where we a nice lunch and we relaxed the rest of the afternoon. About five pm, started a fire in the fire pit and we sat around with an adult beverage until men began to show up for the poker game. By seven, there were eighteen men there. We adjourned to the poker tables and played poker ’til around ten thirty, then back to the fire pit for another round of chat before everyone trickled away for home. We cleaned up the poker mess before retiring sometime between twelve thirty and one am.
(I included the description of their gathering after because it demonstrates for me that there are many really wonderful men in the world, a message not so clear in the media these days. Their “Poker Game” has been a monthly tradition in this smaller community for around 20 years. They rotate the home where it takes place. They have what they call a “Party Bag” (different from a Gift Bag) where each person throws in some of the money they win (they play with quarters) and the money is used for things like replacing the worn out felt on their vintage poker table, or, get this, a nice night on the town with the wives! These guys also golf together, and once a year, they take the Poker Game to a beautiful mountain town many miles away, for a retreat weekend of golf and poker.
I love the men in this small town. I have witnessed several times over the years, how one guy can put out a call for help (or not put it out) and the rest just show up, barn-raising style. It’s just the way they live.
James ends his letter with:
We plan on accepting Applebee’s free dinner for Veteran’s this afternoon. My worker, John is a Navy vet so he’ll get a free meal too. 
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Am I lucky or what??
Again, thank you to all who served, men and women, who made the choice, regardless of their reason. It was a precious, brave and probably unbeknownst to you at the time, a healing decision to make for all of us.
There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware
I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
There’s battle lines being drawn
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind
It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
What a field-day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side
It’s s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away
We better stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, now, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
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One Gift Turned into Three

There is a whole HUGE category of people for whom MUSIC speaks way louder and more clearly than any amount of political discussion or rhetoric! Just ask any true Hippie or Flower Child!

MORE MUSIC!!

Here is a second attempt at re-blogging my friend Karuna’s post today.

I”m going to put the main song I want to pass on directly in here, in case the re-blog doesn’t work again, but do visit her sight also. She always has great, beautiful, inspiring stuff there.

https://livinglearningandlettinggo.com/2018/11/02/one-gift-turned-into-three/

 

Living, Learning and Letting Go

A friend just sent me a link to this video. I loved it.

I decided to listen to another one of his other songs. I loved that one too.

Then this video caught my eye. It wasn’t by Keb’Mo’ but I also loved it!

Thanks Vani… for being the person who led me to this string of gifts.

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SongLyricSunday 10/28/18 theme–Give/Giving

I’ve posted this song before and probably will again as it is still one of my favorites.

Years ago, I used it as the centerpiece for a mixed CD I made for a group of my very best friends…when we had all become estranged over an unfortunate, and apparently irreparable conflict.

I thought I was being so creative and took a big chance reaching out as I really believed the music might help us heal someday.

I don’t know if they ever even listened to it…but I rarely give up. After all, it’s only been 15 years….

My Thanksgiving (I put my favorite line in RED)

by Henley, Lynch, Winding

A lot of things have happened
Since the last time we spoke
Some of them are funny
Some of ’em ain’t no joke
And I trust you will forgive me
If I lay it on the line
I always thought you were a friend of mine

Sometimes I think about you
I wonder how you’re doing now
And what you’re going through

The last time I saw you
We were playing with fire
We were loaded with passion
And a burning desire
For every breath, for every day of living
And this is my Thanksgiving

Now the trouble with you and me, my friend
Is the trouble with this nation
Too many blessings, too little appreciation
And I know that kind of notion, well, it just ain’t cool
So send me back to Sunday school
Because I’m tired of waiting for reason to arrive
It’s too long we’ve been living
These un-examined lives

I’ve got great expectations
I’ve got family and friends
I’ve got satisfying work
I’ve got a back that bends
For every breath, for every day of living
This is my Thanksgiving

Have you noticed that an angry man
Can only get so far
Until he reconciles the way he thinks things ought to be
With the way things are

Here in this fragmented world, I still believe
In learning how to give love, and how to receive it
And I would not be among those who abuse this privilege
Sometimes you get the best light from a burning bridge

And I don’t mind saying that I still love it all
I wallowed in the springtime
Now I’m welcoming the fall
For every moment of joy
Every hour of fear
For every winding road that brought me here
For every breath, for every day of living
This is my Thanksgiving

For everyone who helped me start
And for everything that broke my heart
For every breath, for every day of living
This is my Thanksgiving

This song is from the album “Inside Job”.
PS If you by any chance want the playlist from that mixed CD, let me know in “comments”. It is a great one for grieving when relationships of all kinds change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Song Lyric Sunday Theme for 10/28/18

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VJWC (VJ’s Weekly Challenge) 10/22/18- theme River

Here’s my entry for VJ’s weekly challenge, River. Her’s is great and worth a visit!

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #20: River

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I ran away from home when I was just a kid…I mean, a LONG way from home.

Left my beaches and my ocean in San Diego, and headed east in search of peace.

Ended up in Natchez, Mississippi, and lived with relatives I thought could save me.

I guess they did, but not how I had hoped they would.

I lived in Natchez throughout high school, learned very hard lessons about education, religion, music, politics, and friends.

Left there in search of my adult home, and for people less confusing. In the deep South, they were, and still can be, the most warm, open, loving, giving people you will ever meet…and some are also historically and genetically predisposed to be filled with hate and prejudices. Dual Realities.

But that river. She really gets under your skin and draws you back and back and back again. And I’m glad she does because without her pull, I never would have ended up with the love of my life, James. Natchez was his San Diego.

So we go to visit as often as we can. Ol Black Water, indeed. (sound track for your visit to THE River.

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James is home here

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a 3 brothers reunion at the River

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Water_(song)

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #20: River

LensArtistChallenge#16-BIG Can Be Beautiful Too 10/21/18

I love photography that shows how much ones perspective (assumptions) can change simply by comparing one photo of something to another photo of the same thing. The following four photos are each one half of one of those comparisons. These are the half that show how beautiful BIG can be.

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These next are from our Epic Roots Road Trip last summer. We visited the HUGE remains of an antibellum home North of Natchez, Mississippi, called the Windsor Ruins. While walking around and through these ruins, it required some seriously imagination-stretching to be able to see just how big and beautiful this mansion must have been.

http://www.mdah.ms.gov/new/visit/windsor-ruins/

 

On the same trip, I was really moved by the beauty of these big boulders at a rest stop, of all places. I couldn’t help but consider how in the world they all ended up in the precarious positions they were in. And the color of that big southwestern sky…very different from the more rare and much deeper blue of our northwestern skies.

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And you might have to stretch to see any beauty in my beloved big bugs! It took me a while but now, to me they are amazing and gorgeous!

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You can read their story here:

Walking With Intention Day 20 by Kathie Arcide

 

(The Featured Image at the top is a big beautiful bridge over the big beautiful Mississippi river, from Natchez to Vidalia, Louisiana.)

 

https://travelsandtrifles.wordpress.com/2018/10/20/lens-artists-challenge-16-big-can-be-beautiful-too/comment-page-1/#comment-33896