What’s Going On
Yesterday was Memorial Day. I’ll write more about that later.
On Saturday, our neighbor, James, hosted a cookout in his back yard. Children, dogs, and puppies ran hither and thither, adults chatted, played cornhole, and ate themselves into a food coma.
It was delightful!
I sat there in a lawn chair, with my hat low over my eyes and remembered similar events from my childhood. I miss those days with all the cousins running and hollering. The adults sitting around talking about the past.
The rest of the weekend was spent moving furniture, rolling up rugs, and binge-watching war flicks on Turner Classic Movies.
Last night, Marie and I decided to take an additional mile walk. We’re building up our stamina for our trip to the UK in August.
That’s when we captured this shot of this year’s baby owl. Every spring we’re treated to the hooted call, ”Who cook’s for you?” at all hours of the day. Owls are very vocal day and night. I love it and this was our first sighting of this year’s owlet.
As we stood below the telephone wire looking at him or her, it kept swiveling its head from one to the other of us. Momma and Daddy owl were nowhere in sight, but I’m sure they had their eyes on the little one.
All-in-all, the end to a perfect holiday weekend.
Covid Note: I continue to be exhausted. I have no idea how long this after effect lasts. I’ll keep you posted. The Richmond community is RED on the state map. At least a half dozen people at church are down with the disease. We’re back to wearing masks inside the church.
Y’all be safe, this rascal is not done with us yet.
Writing is moment to moment trying to find the truth. – Lin-Manuel Miranda
I’m featuring myself this week. Here I am with my summer face, sans whiskers. I invite you to click on the link and watch my story Pawpaw’s Monkey.
It’s my oldest, and most favorite story. My momma’s daddy told it to my daddy one night while they were waiting for my momma to get dressed and come down stairs. Them my daddy told it for years, as have I.
Pawpaw and Daddy told it to entertain. I tell it, not only to entertain, but to make the point of how important it is to tell or family stories. I hope you enjoy it.
After attending Auburn University, she graduated from the Medical University of South Carolina, in Charleston, South Carolina.
Then she completed three years of pediatric residency training at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas. Next, she completed three years of neonatology fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.
Dr. Landers practiced academic neonatology for fourteen years, serving on faculty of two medical schools, and private practice neonatology for eighteen years. While caring for patients full-time in private practice, she served as a speaker for the Texas Department of State Health Services.
She was also the Medical Director of the Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin and served on the milk bank’s board of directors.
Additionally, she served for six years on the Executive Committee of the Section on Breastfeeding for the AAP.
Together with her husband, Dr. Phillip Berry, she raised three children, one son and two daughters. Her family resides in Austin.
Yesterday morning, Marie and I got up with the sun and drove downtown to the Virginia War Memorial.
When we arrived; we were the only ones onsite. But as we strolled the grounds, a fellow started cleaning the reflecting pool around the statue, Memory, and then folks started setting up for the events scheduled for later in the day.
Then a group of runners arrived. For the last ten years, the six of them have run the 3.8 kilometers from the WWI Memorial in Byrd Park, colloquially known as The Carillon. Then after paying their respects, they run back uptown.
Somewhere among my papers, I have a newspaper clipping of my Pawpaw and my Nanny Wine standing with a floral wreath at the base of the statue that dominates the memorial.
She’s named, Memory, and there’s an eternal flame and a metal budvase at her base. Yesterday morning, the vase contained a single red rosebud.
I snapped the few pictures here, making sure to record my uncle’s name etched in the glass.
He was Momma’s oldest brother; my pawpaw’s namesake. He was killed during the landing at Sicily in 1943. A German artillery shell hit his landing craft. His remains have yet to be identified. Although, the Army reached out to us for Mom’s and my DNA shortly before she died. They are still testing the remains working to bring our boys home.
Should they succeed, a plot awaits him beside his momma and daddy here in Richmond.
I enjoyed our neighbor’s Memorial Day weekend gathering Saturday, but I missed the family stories. I tell people all the time our children need to hear the stories of their people. But we old people need to hear them, too. I know I find strength in my family’s stories. Stories of overcoming adversity. Stories of joy and sorrow. They remind me that time heals, and that time also flies. They prod me to make hay while the sun shines. They urge me to leave something behind as lasting as the houses my father built.
I was reminded of two events.
One was that on the day he was assassinated, we were sent home early from school. Being sent home early would have been a cause for celebration, but that was the Friday I was scheduled to read the 23rd Psalm in our weekly assembly. I missed that opportunity, and my name never come up in the rotation again. Reading the psalm was a fourth-grade honor. Losing the President was horrible, but what stuck in my 9-year-old mind was my personal loss.
The second event was his inaugural speech. “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” That has been my life-long beacon.
I’m glad my last thought on that subject wasn’t my immature loss, but his legacy.
Then I ended the evening watching a documentary about the new version of Stephen Sondheim’s play Company. It’s entitled, “Keeping Company with Sondheim.” I encourage you to see both the documentary and the show.
Today’s quote comes from an interview with Lin-Manuel Miranda in the film.
Don’t lose your family’s stories. Take time to remember them. Ask the old people to tell you their memories. Ask the young people to tell you their memories. And then make time to share them with one another.
If we forget our stories, it’s as if they never happened. If we forget our ancestors, it will be as if they were never here.
I’ve shared a piece of my Uncle Oliver’s story here today. May his name be a blessing.
I’d Love to Hear from You
Stories are humanity’s most powerful tool.
I’d love to hear some of yours.
You can share with me at: [email protected]
Til next time,