View From Here
By Katherine Veno
This week’s random thinking deals with all of us girls. We are mothers,
daughters, grandmothers, nieces, aunties, step-moms, divorced, married,
single, and somewhere in-between. We are girls, and we are women, and we
deserve some great things!
We all need a good friend, and if we are lucky and are good friends to our
own friends, we have at least a couple of people we can really depend on.
I am not referring to acquaintances, fly-by-night buddies, but those who are
there when all the chips fall to the floor. I am speaking of the friend who
is there when you are at your worst, look terrible, feel awful, and act
crazy. The number one friend is one you can call at 3:25 a.m. If we have
this friend, we can cope with most any situation from men to money to death.
We all deserve love you can feel over the phone, even if it is from 1,000
miles away. We deserve to be loved. It is really all there is when
everything else is stripped away.
A single flower or a fresh bouquet of blooms once a week, makes any girl
feel special and reminds us of all the beauty around us we miss if we don’t
stop to smell the roses. Self-picked wild flowers will do just fine. Until
we learn to love ourselves, we cannot love anybody else.
All girls deserve a say in whether and when they become a mother. Everyone
is not cut out for maternal bliss, and time changes a lot of things.
A few days per year filled with flip-flops, tropical sunsets and the sound
of the waves against a background of steel drums. This can be manifested in
the back yard, but is best played out on a beach some place where the palm
Every girl deserves one good closet with organizers. College dorms don’t
have them, nor do first apartments, but as we age, a closet really is a gift
from the heart to ourselves or from somebody who built it.
A great bathroom is a prize. Candles all around, a glass of wine, music,
bubble bath, need I say more? Privacy is necessary for relaxation until WE
say it is time for any sort of company except the cat curled up in the
corner on a towel. No kids, no problems, no interruptions contribute to this
oasis of serenity. I can go into the sanctuary of a bath a complete monster,
and come out a princess. It really is magical.
And for those days when there is too much to do and only a few minutes for
ourselves? I want one of those rainforest type showers with cool tiles
underfoot and all around. Put a window in it up high and let the trees brush
against the glass. Put a big plant in there with blooming flowers dripping
with moisture, if there is room. Sigh. A girl has to have her goals.
The wonderful gift of a peaceful heart, and tranquility are things that
cannot be bought with money, or traded for by barter. A spirit surrounded
with the perfect stillness in which to breathe and listen is to be honored,
and sought after. When there is too much noise in my life, I have to dial it
down and reach for quiet. Recently I slept on a pallet under a giant oak
tree all afternoon. It was a gift to myself.
And finally, it is not a material wish we all deserve, but an emotional
letting go. Let it go, and let resentment, judgment, anger, bitterness,
pride and pain float away from our hearts and minds. Let the healing begin.
Put hatred aside and give the precious gift of forgiveness to ourselves and
then to others. We cannot start to live until we let go of, really let go
of, all that holds us in an invisible prison.
|Escapades of Emily
By Emily Gail Lundy
for Memorial Day...
It is difficult to write about war and those engaged in it. But America has
been defined by battle after battle, beginning with the American Revolution,
through world involvement, weeping through our own Civil War stories and
pictures, facing unwanted wars, called conflicts by some, and now involved
in trying to secure peace, in ways I do not understand or say much about.
It’s the individual that concerns me. What quality willingly leads a man to
join the military, train for a new facet of life, find himself in enemy
territory, witness a buddy killed beside him, realizing he could be the next
target. Not to mention sparse accommodations, accessories, food, family
contact and so much more I’ll never understand or even try to explain.
A hero is made (man or woman), mostly from acts carried out from instinct or
action one did not know he was capable of – like soldiers in war action by
saving the lives of fellowmen or doing something courageous no one else did
at the time. But “all gave some; some gave all,” all are heroes. A soldier
will fight to save the life of a comrade he may not really like.It comes
from pure bonding that can make survivors. This bonding cannot be captured
in words, but once home permanently, the soldier has to leave it and adapt
another way of life.
Pete, now at peace, was one of these soldiers. A respectable plumber in
another town, he had fought in World War II in a long stretch with no
breaks. Once he and a comrade walked across a field. The comrade stepped on
a land mine and disintegrated before his eyes. Another time Pete rode in a
jeep with a friend, the driver. An enemy sniper shot the driver who died
instantly. Pete commandeered the steering wheel to safety and went on, but
never forgot. He was recognized as a hero for capturing 30 German soldiers
alone in a crumbling building, holding them until support arrived. Pete’s
medals were displayed then, protected in a glass-front box hanging on his
living room wall. What did he do the day he was free to come home, the war
over? He plowed 40 acres in that north part of his farm a few miles from his
No one knew where Uncle Mickey kept his three medals, one a distinguished
“thanks” from France because as a bombardier in WW II, Mickey was part og
the mission to liberate the country. A Yankee who married my dad’s sister,
he and she both were water-sking, rock hunting, and dancing late in their
60s. They went to all military reunions possible. When this old soldier
died, his family found his cache, a box hidden under a loose board in the
floor. He was buried in his uniform, medals attached, then detached and sent
to his godsons in Pennsylvania. Mickey spoke little of the war but taught my
brother and me multiple constellations he knew in the sky. He found postal
employment here and did not return to live in mining country, where his
parents and siblings lived.
No, the veterans I’ve met have said little about war experiences, or maybe
some remembered time will spill out such as acts of benevolence the
nonfighters gave to Americans in war-torn countries, wounded, hungry, caught
in parachutes in trees and gotten down - dangerous and secretive acts of
unarmed people who acted out of compassion over loyalty.
A neighbor here has ridden as a Patriot Guard Rider,crossing the country
many times (as well as his wife following in a vehicle with other women)
from California, dipped into Texas, ridden north to meet thousands of riders
from the South, then on to Washington, D.C. with Arlington Cemetery an
important destination. Thunder Roll has become a battle cry of memory for
veterans. On May 30, throngs in our nation’s Capital await the roar of miles
of motorcycles described by one reporter as the “loudest silence.” Riders
dress in dark conservative clothes with the American Flag waving from the
My neighbor fought in Vietnam on three missions. He was injured several
times; metal plates ride inside his body, his mental scars are kept
secretive. He took his brother’s place for his last assignment explaining
this brother would never survive. This all came to pass, and the brother
called Douglas still lives; his brother drowned in Texas years later.
Douglas still rides with the Patriots when called for human, unarmed
barriers between funerals and protesters, to funerals themselves so no
veteran is buried alone, in cemetery drives as support for the fallen, or
for many other requests.
When Douglas finally came home, landing in Houston, he was surprised to be
told not to dress in uniform. He learned quickly of the taunts, spits,
rotten objects of attack from his own people as he walked a plank to touch
free soil. We try hard to make up for that era now, but it has to be written
somewhere for future readers to know. This war was terrible, but horrendous
punishment and degrading awaited those soldiers who disobeyed. And with a
different setting, forgotten at home perhaps, mindset can lose reality of
In home attacks, the messenger took the most blame; many who fought in
Vietnam suffer in various ways forever.
Of course, I saw Onslow (Onclow) Airheart but never really knew him. He led
our town’s parades, in his uniform, fought in a war as he was told, bringing
home medals upon medals. LIFE Magazine in its salute to the 20th Century
mentions Audie Murphy and his “most” medals ever received. Then the
information tells of another man from Texas, who had one medal less.
I wrote a letter to LIFE telling them of Onslow Airheart of Trinidad and
listed some information. LIFE’s return letter stated it had no need for the
information at that time. One distinguished modern writer anguishes over the
permanence of Memorial Day when flags fly freely, especially in burial
I personally knew a young soldier in Dessert Storm who could not let his
mother know his place of duty. He did send a tape with gunfire in the
background that put the war in better perspective and turned all other noise
If given a choice in this country, few would choose war. Peace is a
beautiful quality in homes, neighborhoods, and between nations. But we are
promised wars upon wars until the end of time because of evil acts,
irrational enemies, territorial conflicts, persecution of one’s brothers,
As Americans, we must learn more about wars our brothers are in, care more,
love more, do more from our place of security. I’m ashamed of myself. The
quality I sought at first must be “fortitude” with all its definitions.