And climb the stairs to the beach...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Perfect Winter Morn

It's about 7:00 in the morning. Ed left for work about a half hour ago, wishing me luck with the full day of preparations I have ahead of me for our Christmas visitors arriving tonight.

Ed's younger son Joe and girlfriend Caitlin are coming to spend a few days. They live way down in Wilmington, NC and are coming in time for the Pats game at 7:00 tonight. They'll stay a few days, help Ed celebrate his birthday tomorrow and head off to Caitlin's parents' home for a few days in South Carolina. We are really grateful that they are traveling all this way and can't wait to see them.

We have the tree all decorated, and it looks really nice. But the big job of putting out the many Santas I  have for the annual Santa count we do with the grandkids hasn't even begun. Along with the other decorations for Christmas, the Santas are all still in their big plastic bins on the back deck, waiting to be freed for their big day. But back to this morning.

The scene is set. It's beginning to get light outside. I bypass the timer and turn on the lights on the tree which sparkle in the still, shadows of the early morning, reflecting the green and red ornaments. Christmas music is on the Bose, Rosemary Clooney singing I'll Be Home for Christmas is on now. There's a loaf of cinnamon chip bread in the oven and the aroma is divine. I pour myself a cup of steaming black coffee in my favorite Salmon Falls blueberry basket mug and the anticipation is building. There's nothing like a little bit of delayed gratification to make something even sweeter, and I don't mean the cinnamon bread. And now I am ready to begin...

...ironing the table napkins.

There is very little I like about housework, which probably comes as no surprise to most people who know me. But ironing table napkins is my favorite of all chores.

I only started using cloth napkins a few years ago, at Ed's request, who liked the idea of taking them to work in his lunch. Since then, it has become a guilty pleasure to go look for them in stores like Homegoods, Tuesday Mornings, TJ Maxx, etc., to search out the normally-expensive-on-sale-due-to-limited-availability-or-odd-lots, etc. cloth napkins. As a result, I have drawers full of beautiful and plain, dressy and everyday napkins on hand.

We don't go through them that fast here, just the two of us, and so they pile up in the laundry and then in the ironing pile. Some don't really need to be ironed, like Ed's gingham ones that practically iron themselves. But some really do need to be ironed and they sit folded in a canvas bin in the laundry room until just the right moment.

Other things sit in the laundry room waiting to be ironed may never make it to the ironing board. Like the summer blouses I still have hanging by the dryer. They have been waiting months, but between you and me, they will probably just go in the closet in the guest room all wrinkly until next spring when they'd need to be ironed again anyway even if they had been put up wrinkle-free.

Now folding warm towels right out of the dryer comes close to the satisfaction I get from ironing my table napkins. The pile of warm fluffy towels right out of the dryer, in which, I admit, I do sometimes bury my face and breathe in deeply, is something to be proud of and looks very impressive. (Hint for everyone out there, if you want to make your significant other happy, just put a towel in the dryer for 10 minutes before you hand it to her/him as he/she exits the shower/bath. What a luxury!But I digress.)

However, the process of ironing the napkins is all of that and more. It's transcendent and spiritual and very therapeutic. First, I dampen them with a spray bottle of water, thinking about that shaker bottle my mother used to use. But now, with a plastic spray bottle from the Dollar Store, I spray them all at once so there is a chaotic pile of slightly dampened napkins, from which I get to choose. And I choose the white cotton ones first. There are more of them than the others and they offer a certain challenge that I like.

Being somewhat of a perfectionist, I really get irritated when folding fitted sheets or things that don't line up just so. But, after a few washings, inexpensive table linens do lose their squareness. It becomes difficult to "kiss the corners" as my Godmother instructed me when teaching me how to fold laundry. But, laying the clean, white imperfect napkin completely unfolded, flat on the ironing board, I apply the steam iron, hot and ready, first to the center and work my way toward the hemmed edges. The steam wafts up to meet me and softly comes a scent similar to Clean Cotton, Fresh Linen and all those other scents we pay for at Bath and Body Works or Bed Bath and Beyond. But those aren't quite the same because the warm smell of freshly laundered, damp cotton just can't be duplicated.

I fold the napkin in half, horizontally, noticing that the right hand corner of the top layer doesn't meet the same on the bottom layer. But, not to worry. A bit of an adjustment, ironing the fold to a crease as sharp as a knife, and folding in half once again, the short side is invisible and there in front of me is a perfect, warm, slightly damp square.

One by one, they pile up and soon I have a lovely, satisfying, pile of perfect white squares. Then, I take on the others, not so often used, but delightful to look at. They are more square and less of a challenge to be sure, but nonetheless, satisfying in their completeness and in their numbers. I even iron the gingham ones, just to prolong my meditative state.

And while I iron these lovely singularly perfect hemmed squares I start to think of Deepak Chopra's radio show yesterday, which I seldom listen to because it's altogether so bizarre, usually. But I think of how he believes that we are all connected, one big collective consciousness, like a bee hive. And I think I may understand his theory better now. And maybe that's why piles of perfectly ironed and folded napkins are so satisfyingly wonderful and seem to speak to me. It's all of these individuals that alone aren't that great, but when they're all done, in one collective pile of napkins, it's something to behold.  Finally I can make some sense of Deepak.

Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring is on the Bose.
The kitchen timer just went off and the bread is out of the oven, all beautifully browned and ready to sample.

My coffee needs refilling now. The mood is slightly broken, but I look at the pile of napkins and think about all those bins on the back deck waiting to be tackled. And I wonder...

...which one has the Christmas napkins in it?

Have a fabulous day!


Tuesday, December 07, 2010

When Holidays Collide


I don't know what is going on, but something happened to the month of November this year.  I have no idea where it went. It was as though I was knocked unconscious for 30 days. I remember changing the month on the calendar because orange isn't my favorite color, but I really liked this picture in spite of the color. But that's the last thing I remember with any clarity.
November by Janine Moore

I am sure that we had turkey at some point, and pie. And I have a vague recollection of going to Florida and of sending out birthday cards to the November birthday people. But I don't remember much else.
Tree is up. Boxes of ornaments outside on the deck.

Ed has been nagging me for a week to get the tree up but I kept resisting. "What are you talking about? I still have the pumpkin and the dead mums out front!" I finally gave in and we put the tree up yesterday, although it hasn't any ornaments on it yet. But in my own defense, I did begin the transition from Hanukkah blue to red and green claws on Maggie. She will look lovely by the time Christmas comes around.

She just has to shed one more blue nail before Maggie will be decked out for the season.

Our very thoughtful next door neighbor, Ron, brought us 2 Christmas CDs yesterday, just out of the blue. Wasn't that nice? We are lucky to have these folks as neighbors, that's for sure. Anyway, the CDs are great and they are peaceful and soothing and calming. In fact one is called Peaceful Christmas. No Ho Ho Hos or Grandmas Getting Run over by Reindeer on these. Just nice quiet instrumentals, great for reflecting on the season. Combined with the lighted tree and the poinsettias I bought today, I definitely felt the Christmas spirit starting to percolate.

Then Maggie started chewing on the poinsettias and as I chased her into the next room, I noticed the Halloween decorations still in the guest bedroom windows. That sort of blew the mood for the moment while I stood there shaking my head trying to figure out if I had blacked out for a month.

This evening, I changed the calendar again, albeit a week late. December already seems to be flying by. Only 17 days until Christmas. Sheesh! So, tomorrow, I will get rid of the pumpkin and the dead mums, find a place to hide those Halloween decorations and maybe finish my on-line shopping. I suppose we should decorate the tree now that it's up. Maybe Thursday, after I write my Henrietta blog. I am beginning to wonder if this will all be a blur by the time it's over or if I can figure out a way to live in the moment these next 17 days.

December by Janine Moore

A friend of mine once told me that you know you are getting old when Christmas seems to come twice a year. I wasn't sure what he meant at the time. But now that it seems like Halloween and Christmas come in the same month, I think I know what he was getting at.

Have a great day and let me be the first to wish y'all a Happy Valentine's Day.


*I buy this art calendar every year, one for me and one for my friend Ruth who was the first one to buy it for me years ago. It's by an artist from Maine named Janine Moore. I think I did a blog about her once. Anyway, you can get one by clicking HERE. There are several choices by a few artists, but I love the flowers. They make great gifts, too.

*I buy this calendar every year for me and my friend Ruth who was the first one to buy it for me years ago. It's by an artist from Maine, Janine Moore. I think I did a blog about her once. Anyway, you can get them by clicking HERE. There are several choices on this site by a few artists, but I love the flowers. They make great gifts, too.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit and Catalogs Catalogs Catalogs

Morning Folks and Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit!

Ed and I returned home last night from 8 days of visiting relatives and friends in Florida. It was a whirlwind trip but we were able to see Ed's brother Bob and his wife Susan, in The Villages, Ed's sister Kathy and her husband George in Kissimmee, our friend Ruth in Sarasota and my Dad and Inez in Naples. Ed got in 3 rounds of golf, I did some shopping and we both got to Siesta Key beach for the day with Ruth.

We couldn't fit in all our Florida friends and fam, but we squeezed in what we could. I don't really want to talk about the food we ate all week. Let's just say we were thankful for it while we were eating it, but not so thankful this morning on the scale.

Something else that appeared in large numbers upon our return home, was 7 days of catalogs! Now, I do order a lot of things online but only occasionally from catalogs. And, I know that I have never ordered anything from half of the companies that send them to our home.

I guess I started to notice the catalogs building in numbers around Halloween. Could have been a little earlier. But come the beginning of December they all come crashing in like a Tsunami every week. They end up on the kitchen counter, precariously stacked, each one a different size prohibiting a neat pile, waiting for us to go through them. And they are slippery, making them unruly and unmanageable when they reach that tipping point. Do I stack them by size or by company? Always a problem. I don't want to throw duplicates away, even though I have 4 LL Bean catalogs, just in case something on sale in one of them isn't on sale in another.

I do like to look through Wireless, Brookstone, Plow and Hearth and all those gadgety ones. And I always look at the food ones like Figi and Harry and David, The Popcorn Factory and Dancing Deer, but seldom buy anything from those companies. This year we got one from National Geographic that looks intriguing. And a new one from The Red Box and Pajama Gram. Can't wait to look at that one! Fine Jewelry from the Danbury Mint is always a keeper. LL Bean, Land's End and Vermont Country Store are probably responsible for a good percentage of the pile. I guess those companies are headquartered in states with lots of trees.

But, some of them just go right into the recycling bin like Victoria's Secret. They never have very good sales and besides, I have all the thongs and teddies I need. I don't think most of my friends would want me to send them a bra or a pair of panties. (I threw that word "panties" in just for niece Joanna. She hates that word. And so do I. Let's see if she responds. That way I'll know if she's reading my blog.)

So, I bought these fabulous fabric bins that work really well in my laundry room to hide things like the Bounce and spot remover and all of Maggie's stuff. I can even hide my ironing in them on the shelf above the washer and dryer. Anyway, there's one size that works really well for these catalogs. And now, that's full to the brim.

I just don't know when we are going to get the chance to go through them all. I guess I will have to put them in a strategic location making them convenient whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Have a great day!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Genealogy Weekend

This past weekend I attended a Family History Expo in Atlanta. As some of you know, I have a mild addiction to genealogy, thanks to my good friend Rick who got me hooked about 15 years ago. Actually, I can be pretty obsessive about it. So, when I found out there was a conference just a few hours from here and that the registration was pretty inexpensive, I just HAD to go. It was every bit as informative as I thought it would be, too.

They had hundreds of workshops available and there were probably 50 or more vendors set up in the main exhibit hall featuring huge organizations like and to little companies that help you publish your family tree in fancy little books.

There was one vendor who has developed this little system where a plaque is attached to headstones. When you see one of these plaques, you aim your smartphone at it and it sends all the information about that person to your phone. This can include all your family tree information, photos of the deceased and who they are related to in that cemetery as well as family memories or whatever information the loved ones have loaded into the system. Click here to see their Web site.I thought that was kind of neat, although I am not sure it will catch on.

The classes included everything from Blogging to DNA research to searching for people using tax records. I didn't get to go to the DNA one, but the tax records one was cool. Census information is a basic resource for genealogists, but they only took them every 10 years. Taxes, on the other hand, are assessed every year and those records tell us where the people were between census years and even more information like how many cows they had. I got some valuable info on how to go about getting information on our Scottish ancestors which I have already started to use. I also attended two different classes about looking for Civil War ancestors.  If there are Civil War soldiers in your ancestry who were eligible for pensions or whose widdows were eligible you can write for your ancestor's pension files and find out all kinds of things about their lives after the war including medical information. If they didn't survive the war, there are sometimes personal effects available, like letters from home. One fellow found there was a pocket watch in his ancestor's effects that he was able to recover. How intriguing is that?

My new friend Suzette and her husband Bob

I also met some really nice people. One woman I met who, along with her husband, owns and operates a commercial bee keeping company in GA. Her name is Suzette and her ancestors are from France, surname Ouellet. Probably at some point related to our Willett roots way back in the 10th century or something. We have emailed a few times already. Click Here for Suzette's Web site 

Some folks I met were even from New England. At dinner Friday night where I first met Suzette, I also sat with one couple from Springfield, MA and another woman named Suzanne who now lives in Florida but was from Manchester, NH her whole life. But there were plenty of southerners and lots of folks from Salt Lake City, too. All obsessed as I am. Maybe more so.

Bridget's Website. Click here.
Another class, right down my alley, was given by bestselling author M. Bridget Cook, who recently appeared on Oprah with her book which she co-wrote with a woman who was the daughter of a serial killer. She also recently published a book telling the story of a former neo-Nazi and how he turned his life around. It tells of his journey that leads him from a leader in the skinhead culture to working with the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Tolerance. I bought both of her books and had a nice chat with her about writing. She was also the keynote speaker for the Friday banquet. She has quite a story herself and had some great suggestions about making your family history an interesting read.    

c. 1953 Suzie, Chuckie, Johnnie, Larry, Valerie
And the highlight of the weekend for me fit right in there with the Family History theme. I had dinner with my cousin John Hammack and his wife Shelly who only live a few miles from the conference location. I haven't seen John(ny) in 40 years! He looked the same as he did the last time I saw him. John is my Dad's sister Edith's son. His wife Shelly is lovely and we hit it off right away. We are going to make our visits much more frequent. I feel like we have a lot of lost time to make up and since they're only a couple of hours from here, it should be easy!

With Thanksgiving coming up, all y'all who are visiting with your folks and grandparents have a wonderful opportunity to ask them questions about their families. And if you do, write it down!
How I would love to have both of my grandmothers and grandfathers around to get more stories and find out about their ancestors. So much information is lost now.

M. Bridget Cook said to us during her class that we should think of each person in our family as 'a library on fire'. All those stories and all that heritage must be rescued before it's too late.

Have a great day and a Happy Thanksgiving!


Saturday, October 30, 2010

October 30, 2010

Morning Folks! I have been silent for a long while and I do apologize. No excuse, inspiration and opportunity never seemed to line up properly.

I recently finished up a fabulous writing class at UTC (University of Tenn, Chatt). It was a class on Proprioceptive Writing, something I'd never heard of before I read about it in the course brochure. Perhaps some of you have heard of it. I know my friend Kitty has. It is kind of hard to describe unless you know where the term originated.

As I understand it, Proprioception is what we all have that allows us to know where the parts of our bodies are in relation to each other. For example, we know that our hands are at the ends of our arms, but it is also what makes us aware that we are upright and what allows us to right ourselves if we lose our balance. It is a connection between the mind and our body in motion or at rest. It allows us to grasp the glass on the table without thinking about it. We trust that our hand will get to the glass and when it does, it will know the right amount of pressure with which to grasp it.

Anyway, in this writing practice it's about training and then trusting the mind to get to the heart and connecting the two. It is very therapeutic in that you dig down into the story by asking the Proprioceptive Question (PQ) over and over again. "What did I mean by ___? For example, if I write "It is a great day today" and I ask the PQ "What do I mean by great?" I might say it is sunny and I am feeling fabulous because the root canal I had on Thursday isn't causing me any pain. The more you ask the question, the deeper you go. The practice is done in 25 minutes sessions, called "Writes". You light a candle and put on Baroque music and just start writing on blank unlined paper. It is amazing where these Writes took me. In our class we had to read them out loud after we finished them. Fellow students were not allowed to comment or judge in any way. The instructor commented only on suggestions as to where we might go from there or if we were going deep enough into some story. Never any comment about the writing or language. Just about how we could get deeper into it or that we were "getting" the idea of PW. The idea is to find a precipice moment in your life or within a story and figure out how you felt before it or after it. Get inside it and remember who you were and what you felt at the time, always turning toward it, emotions recollected in tranquility.

It was fascinating.

I loved it and will take another class with this instructor if I get the chance. It's a great way to get warmed up to write, and like trusting your hand when it reaches for the glass, you have to trust that you will get to the real nuts and bolts of a story regardless of how badly something is crafted. Here is a sample of one Write. I hope Dad doesn't mind that I included him because it's a little personal, but don't forget, it was written from a 5 year old's perspective. Many of the Writes my classmates and I did were about our families of origin. It's inescapable.

Looking at home movies from 1956, my brother Chuck's first day of first grade, I zero in on the black eye that I can still feel. What do I mean by "I can still feel?" Maybe it's because the other night in the dark on the way to the bathroom I walked into the armoire door that I had left open and my brow bone still hurts as I rest my head on my hand while I write this.

That movie shows me looking quite cute, I think, in my pixie haircut and green knitted sweater, made by Grandma Waters, the B Grandmother. What do I mean by "B" grandmother? Anyone with two grandmothers has an A and a B Grandmother. My other grandmother was clearly the most important female in my life and was the A Grandmother. Grandma Waters was the only one who knew how to knit, though.

But, the black eye I had gotten the night before this movie was taken during a game of Blindman's Bluff, something I found hard to say back then. It was a tongue twister and it made my Dad laugh when I mispronounced it. But that game of Blindman's Bluff was one of those wonderful memories of my Dad playing with us, when it was just the two of us: Chuckie and Suzie. Sisters Cindy and Becky hadn't yet come on the scene.

Mom wasn't in the living room with us. I think Dad was supposed to be keeping us occupied while she did something in the kitchen. Maybe she was making my brother's lunch for his first day of school. Why do I think that? I guess because it was strange for us to be "occupied" with Dad after supper. Usually, he'd read the paper or something and we'd occupy ourselves. I don't remember my mother after supper. Ever.

This particular night, Dad took off his necktie and tied it around my head, covering my eyes, spun me around a couple of times to disorient me and set me off to find my brother. I took off toward his voice and walked right in to the corner of the console table. Bang! Five years old and exactly the same height as that table.

I hated that it happened. What do I mean by that? I hated that it ended the game. I remember that it hurt, but I was more disappointed that it ended the game, the mood, the fun. What do I mean by disappointed? My Dad was a celebrity in my eyes and I felt so special when he spent time with us. What do I mean by a celebrity? He worked long hours and we didn't see him as often as we would have liked, but he was also the handsome prince who rescued me from the wicked queen. He was fun, and though it was a rare treat, when we were together like this there was always laughter until my mother came into the room. What do I mean by that? Well, of course I cried because my eye did hurt and my mother came flying into the living room to see what happened and she just lit into my Dad.

"I told you not to play that game with those kids!" she screamed. "Now look what you've done!" I actually thought there was something wrong with Blindman's Bluff because he was in so much trouble for having played it with us. What do I mean by "something wrong"? I thought it was sinful, I guess. My mother used to say that gambling was a sin and was not allowed in our home and I just thought card games were fun. I think at that moment I was a little confused about why Blindman's Bluff was prohibited, never thinking it was dangerous, really. 

That was the first time I remember defending my Dad against my mother's cruel remarks. What do I mean by that? My mother often angrily berated him in front of us and he said very little in his own defense. That night, I remember speaking up and  insisting that it wasn't his fault;  that I walked into the table myself and my mother shouldn't blame him. But, she ignored me and continued to yell at my Dad while he held ice on my head.

I just wanted to console him and let him know that it was okay and I wasn't blaming him at all. I guess I frequently put the feelings of others ahead of my own in that way when I was growing up. It was hard to feel anything when a mother's feelings had to be considered first. What do I mean by that? My mother raged much of her life, leaving no room for my feelings. My energy went into diffusing situations and redirecting her wrath away from her victims: back then, my Dad or older brother Chuck. I wonder why I ended up taking on that role? What do I mean by that? I always felt such sympathy for my Dad. He would try to kid with Mom and twirl her around dancing to a song on the radio and she'd push him away, angry that she'd been interrupted from whatever she'd been doing. Or he'd be singing with us and she'd complain that he should be taking out the trash or something. Poor guy. He was just trying to make things fun. But it was as though she resented any fun he would be having, especially with us, and it made me want to cry.

And remembering that night of Blindman's Bluff makes me smile, of course, but it reminds me of those times I felt I needed to protect my Dad from my own Mother and it makes me want to cry today still.

After I read this Write out loud, the instructor actually told me it was "wonderful", which made me blush a little. Then she asked 'why do we all take on roles in our families and why do we all as children feel we have to protect our parents or other adults in our lives?' This instructor was so good because she gave us little suggestions about future Writes along the same lines or small details she thought we should explore more. But also because her comments made us all realize that our stories are all unique yet the same. The human experience is just. fascinating.

So, see, it was therapy! And at only $150 for 18 hours it was a bargain!

Have a great week and why not try to do your own "Write". You never know where it will take you.


Friday, July 02, 2010

Morning Folks July 1, 2010

It is a gorgeous day here on Cape Cod this morning, the first day of our Independence Day weekeind. The sun is shining, it's in the 60s and headed up to the 80s. Really a perfect summer day on the Cape and I am feeling blessed to be here, for sure.

On Wednesday, Ed's sister Kathy and I went to see the US Marine Battle Color Ceremony which was dedicated to the men and women from Cape Cod who lost their lives in the war. I sometimes feel like things military evoke confusing emotions from this child of the sixties. But the truth is, no matter how I may feel about any particular war politically, the sacrifice that our service men and women make on our behalf and the respect and ceremony that the military gives their own, is well-deserved and for me always moving. It brings back that homegrown patriotism that resides in the deepest part of my being.

At the ceremony yesterday, locally known former State Police Sergeant, and also former Marine, Dan Clark, began by singing some of those old patriotic songs we learned as kids, God Bless America, America the Beautiful, It's a Grand Old Flag, and so forth.

And although I have seen it done before, it's always moving when each veteran who served is asked to stand as the official songs from each of the branches of service are sung, including the Merchant Marines' song Heave Ho, My Lads, Heave Ho. It was particularly fitting for that song on the Cape, as there are so many ties to the sea here and there were a good number of Merchant Marine vets who stood. A Coast Guard jet flew low over the crowd on cue having come from the Coast Guard base nearby, another group well represented in the audience of several thousand when he sang Semper Paratis, the Coast Guard Hymn. Click here and turn up your speakers

There was a group of chairs reserved for the Gold Star Families, those who had lost family members in the war. The largest contingent from a young Marine who lost his life just about a year ago who lived in the town the ceremony took place. There were 10 of these young people who lost their lives, 3 of them were from the small community of Mashpee alone. Their photos were displayed nearby. The families were greeted before the ceremony by many a uniformed Marine, who came to speak to them individually or in small groups of 2 or 3. Some offered a salute, some a handshake and some were offered hugs. From high in the bleachers these Marines looked like big, strong muscular men. Up close, later, they were really just boys and I wondered how the mothers felt as they embraced these broad shouldered young men, so like the sons they lost.

The Drum and Bugle Corps performed first and it was fabulous. They wore bright red jackets, white hats and trousers and the late day sun, low in the sky, bounced off their brass buttons, belt buckles and instruments. They did complicated steps and formations all the while playing their instruments. It was really well done and fun to watch.
I kept my eye on the two playing the cymbals. They made their way around the band, inserting themselves in their assigned spots in a kind of slow motion, almost as if they were sliding into position. Everything synchronized as they did their own choreography apart from the rest of the group.

After the Drum and Bugle Corps performed, the Silent Drill Platoon took the field. Thousands of people hushed and listened to the sound of  hands grasping rifles, with bayonettes attached, making a unique metalic 'clacking' and rattling followed by the dull thud of white gloves slapping their thighs, all in unison creating rythms that were almost melodical; many sounding like one, a choirmaster's dream. I couldn't take my eyes off them as they twirled these guns in front of them, shouldering them, presenting them, firmly setting butt-ends on ground, pushing forward, pulling back, aligned with their legs, at times lifting the guns by one end and flinging them in the air to each other, catching them, twirling them, shouldering them and returning to parade rest, all done with such precision and timing in the hushed late afternoon. The sounds and the sight so foreign to me, but fascinating and thrilling to watch. 

Near the end of their performance, the Drill leader of the group walked past the line of Marines in review and stopped at one Marine. He began a slow and almost surreal sequence of moves, at times seeming to caress this weapon, before he tossed it to the Drill leader. The Leader caught the rifle and put on his own display, slowly and meticulously repeating what the Marine had done and then proceeded to fling it behind his back and over his head and back to the Marine. Then he made his way down the row and repeated it with another Marine, only more impressive this time. The Marines all stiff at attention, even when in motion. I loved it!

Finally, the Color Guard came in, and the Drum and Bugle Corps played the National Anthem. Then, the family members lined up as the entire detachment, Drum and Bugle Corps, Drill Team and Color Guard, paraded in front of these families for review.
 It brought tears to my eyes as family members stood together, some at attention, some holding hands, some with their arms around each other.
So sad. So Sad.  

Sadness was a big part of what I felt. But, there was a strong feeling of Patriotism and pride as well. Individual sadness, but collective pride. I don't know if it was the huge flag that flew overhead, the uniforms, the music, the Marines or what, but I was left with a feeling that it's time to be proud to be an American again.

There were many, many people from my Dad's generation in the bleachers around us. Dad was the one in my life who taught me about Patriotism, and about standing up for Old Glory and hand on my heart when she passes by. Not many from my generation or younger do that anymore. But at this venue, everyone did. And many openly wept when early in the programThe Battle Hymn of the Republic was sung by the State Trooper, the audience joining in. Some wiped away tears when they played taps at the end of the ceremony, something that moved me as well. And some welled up when the keynote speaker, a woman officer, a graduate of Dennis Yarmouth High School, upon whose field this all took place, spoke about her tour in Afgahnistan and how her mother had sent her a bottle of sand from one of her own Yarmouth beaches when she complained about the sand over there. She spoke about meeting a reporter from Washington DC who had been embedded with the troops and had been on a plane as it flew the body of a fallen soldier home, a soldier who was from the Cape. And I found myself deeply touched when she closed  her remarks by asking the audience to remember these fallen men and women from Cape Cod and the sacrifice they made for our country the next time we heard the cry of a sea gull, or heard the ocean waves or smelled beach roses.

I think that's what I'll be doing today.

Have a wonderful 4th! And God Bless America.

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