Sunday, January 19, 2014

January

January has never been my favorite month of the year - nor is it now.  Christmas has been dismantled and put in the spare room until next year.

The weather is cold and windy and not friendly.

There are no really good holidays in January, until you get to the end of the month and my friend's birthday.  That is always a great day because, for two whole weeks every year, she is an entire year older than I am.

The best part about January is that it only lasts for 31 days and then we can be through with it for another year.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Your mom was right!

Yesterday, our high temperature was 19 degrees.  It was also the day that I chose to do the "Angel Tree" with CJ.  This was our 15th year - he was 2 months old the first year.

As we were getting dressed in the morning, I stressed the importance of layers.  I told him that it was important to dress, not for the mall, not for the car, not for the restaurant, but for the 4 hours that you were stuck in the cold waiting for help to come when your car broke down or you were in an accident or they closed the roads.

He gave me the look.  Y'all know the look, especially those of you who are around teenagers at all.

I got dressed.  I put on my knee high socks and my panties.  I put on my thermal long johns and pulled my CuddleDuds top down over them.  I put on my pants and then my long sleeved shirt.  I topped all of this off with a vest.  I was toasty.

We shopped and, in the mall, I shed the vest.  I was a little more than comfortable most of the time that I was indoors and just less than comfortable when I was out in the -2 degree windchill.

We finished our shopping, met up with his mom, had lunch together and took the child home.  I was driving my child back to her vehicle so she could go to work when I related to her my earlier conversation with her child.  She agreed with me completely, adding the peanut butter and cat litter to the list of winter necessities for any vehicle.  We discussed the fact that, when stranded, you cannot count on your vehicle's heater because you will either run out of gas or, if in snow drifts, will carbon monoxide yourself to death.

We got to the mall, she got in her vehicle and I continued on my way.

Fast forward about an hour.  My phone rang and it was Julie, laughing, waiting in the cold on the side of the highway for the tow truck to come.  She had a flat tire, got out to change the flat and discovered that her new (to her) pickup had no spare!  She was laughing, though, because she was, although stranded and about to be late to work and about to be several hundred dollars poorer, warm.  She was warm.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Miserable Failure

I failed miserably at posting every day in November.  I was fairly successful, though, at being a good mom to a sick kid and a supportive spouse to a husband who had oral surgery.  Evidently, I cannot nurture people and blog at the same time.  All in all, though, I'll choose living people every time.

It is December now and I put up my tree today.  It is a new tree because last year my pre-lit tree lost 1/2 it's lights.  I really like my old tree.  I am sure that in time, I will like my new tree as well.  I am just not, as y'all know, a fan of change.

Change, however, is what makes growth.  As long as I continue to grow, I continue to live and I continue to learn.  It's all good.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I was looking up quotes today for my 5th grade class to use Wednesday night.  We will be making Thanksgiving cards to go in the baskets which will be delivered on Sunday, the 18th.  I found a couple of things that will probably work but what I really found were a number of quotes that made me think.

I always think of Thanksgiving as one of the two American holidays.  Fourth of July, of course, is this other.  I do realize that Canada also celebrates Thanksgiving but, according to all that I have read, their celebration is more in line with the harvest celebrations of Europe than with the New World.

The first quote I read was this:  "On Thanksgiving Day we acknowledge our dependence."  Mr. Wm. Jennings Bryan, a noted orator and politician of the late 19th and early 20th century, said that.

He was right.  On Thanksgiving Day, we do acknowledge our dependence.  We acknowledge our dependence on God and give thanks for His mercy and blessings.

On the Fourth of July, we celebrate our independence from Britain.  We celebrate our freedoms, particularly the freedoms of speech and religion.  We celebrate the freedom to dream - and to achieve.

And, in a nutshell, there is the dichotomy of the U.S.  We just need to remember to put our dependence on God above our independence from everything else.

Monday, November 11, 2013

A piece of local history


I copied this, part and parcel, from the local media.  I copied it last year and never posted it.  It seems especially poignant on this Veteran's Day, which is also the weekend that St. Mary's parish in Umbarger celebrates their traditional sausage festival this year.

"They suffered the humiliation of defeat and capture, the death of five countrymen during internment, the loss of years of their lives and months of debilitating hunger, but on Saturday, four of the “Herefordiani,” – former internees of the Camp Hereford prisoner of war camp -- returned to the site of their imprisonment to rededicate the chapel constructed in memory of their dead.
The return to Hereford was especially poignant for Angerilli Adrino, who as a young lieutenant worked to construct the chapel in the waning days of WWII, knowing that when he and the thousands of other Italian POWs were finally repatriated to their homeland, five of their comrades – Pvt. Innocente Ortelli, Lt. Evaristo Fava, Cpl. Pierluigi Berticelli, Capt. Renzo Banzi and Sgt. Giulio Zamboni – would not be returning home with them.
The chapel now sits in a neat little space, surrounded by shoulder high milo, off a dirt road in Castro County, joined only by the base of the camp’s water tower as the only visible reminder that there was ever a prison – formally known as the Hereford Military Reservation and Reception Center -- at the site.
Adrino, now 91, was joined by Ezio Luccioli, 91, Giuseppe Margottini, 80 – who, because of lying about his age to enlist, was, at age 16, the youngest POW interred at Camp Hereford, and Fernando Togni, an Italian Marine captured at Anzio.
All four, because of their status as “non-collaborators” – loyalists to Benito Mussolini who refused to switch allegiance to the King of Italy after Italy’s fall to the allies, were assigned to Camp Hereford, which was considered “the end of the line” for non-cooperative Italian POWs.
The camp, which consisted of four compounds spread over 165 acres, was located largely in Castro County, but identified as Hereford because of its proximity to the small community about 5 miles away.
The four former POWs were joined on their visit by Italy’s Under Secretary of State Roberto Menia and the General Consul of Italy Cristano Maggipinto. The return to Hereford was also documented by Italian film and television crews.
A fifth Italian POW, Vincenzo Centofanti, who was captured in Ethiopia and interred by British forces in a number of camps throughout North Africa, also participated in the rededication ceremony.
POWs who signed documents disavowing their allegiance to Mussolini after Italy’s surrender in September 1943 were often returned to active duty and assigned to service units, according to historic accounts of the era, while the “Nons,” or “Mussolini men” as the non-collaborators were referred, were interned throughout the war, and as in the case of the Hereford internees, for a number of months after the end of hostilities.
The first POWs arrived at Hereford on April 3, 1943 and the last prisoners left on Feb. 7, 1946. Hereford was the second-larges POW camp built in Texas, and at its peak, held 3,860 prisoners during August 1943.
Adrino, who was captured in May 1943, was initially sent to a POW camp in Missouri, where he was afforded the chance to disavow his loyalty to Mussolini. Because he refused, he was transferred to Hereford.
On Friday night, during a press conference held at Hereford’s Best Western motel, Adrino, through an interpreter, said he was “very taken” with his experience in Hereford, “and still remembers the barbed-wire fences and barracks.”
Adrino, who has made several return trips to Hereford, professed that his only bad memory of his internment was when their U.S. Army captors suddenly cut rations to the prisoners to what Adrino referred to as a “600 calorie a day” diet.
The exact reasons for what the POWs referred to as “La Fame” or “the hunger,” vary, as do the actual amounts of ration reductions, but most accounts say the cut in POW rations occurred about the time of the end of fighting in Europe, when atrocities such as the concentration camps were discovered, but more importantly, when U.S. POWs were freed from their encampments in a highly-emaciated state, whereby military officials and civilian leaders called for the reductions of rations to POWs in America.
When asked if any POWs ever considered attempting to escape Hereford, Adrino answered first with a guffaw and a grin: “Everybody, everyday,” he said, adding that he himself had been involved in a tunnel escape attempt that discovered by their American guards about the time the tunnel had cleared the fence line. Equipment used to dig and support the tunnel, he said, was purchased by sales of prisoner-made alcohol that was sold to their U.S. guards, Adriano said.
History records there were at least initially successful escapes from the prison, but no prisoner actually evaded capture for long.
The goal, Adrino said, was simply “to get out.”
With the end of their imprisonment nearing, Adrino and several other POWs constructed the 10x10 chapel in just a matter of two weeks labor. At approximately the same time, another crew of POWs began work painting murals and creating woodcarvings at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Umbarger.
The work at St. Mary’s was completed in just six weeks – all of which occurred months after the final surrender of the Axis powers.
Following the rededication ceremony Saturday, the former POWs and their entourage dined at the Hereford Country Club before driving to Umbarger to tour St. Mary’s.
Vincenzo Arcobelli, president of Comites to Italians Living Abroad, representing Italians living in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas, said the rededication effort at the chapel couldn’t have been completed without the assistance of labor and commitment of the people of Deaf Smith and Castro counties.
The effort, he said, “was to promote and protect a part of American and Italian history.”
Arcobelli, like many of the dignitaries who spoke at various events, took care to explain that while many of the Hereford internees were there because of their refusal to disavow their former leader, it was, for them, a matter of pride and honor, not political belief.
“They were soldiers,” he said. “It makes no difference if they belonged to one political party or another. They were soldiers, and men of honor.”
Menia, the highest ranking Italian dignitary, said the Hereford POWs “kept their own dignity and their own honor. They were soldiers of honor, not soldiers of fortune.""

Sunday, November 10, 2013

my little town let me down

I love this town.  I have since we moved here in 1990.  I seldom hear anything or see anything or know anything about this town that disheartens me.  It is a very comforting and warm and embracing community.

This week, I am disappointed in my town.  I am disappointed in the residents of this town and of this county.

Tuesday, November 5th, was election day.  In Texas, there is also early voting, which was available from the 21st of October until the 1st of November this year.  According to 2012 statistics, there are 19,360 residents in the county.  There are roughly 9,000 registered voters in the county.

The items on our ballot this November were 9 Constitutional Amendments.  There were no local races or bond issues or anything like that.  Just statewide constitutional amendments.  You know, the amendments that affect each and every resident of the State of Texas.

We had a 5.9% voter turnout.  Less than 500 of those roughly 9,000 registered voters could be bothered to exercise their civic responsibility to their Country and their community.

We must do better.  We must provide a better example for our children.  We must care.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

what do you say?

Manners.  I love manners.  I love knowing, when my mind is in a whirl and my heart is breaking, that manners will at least enable me to function.  I am a huge believer in teaching children please and thank you and holding doors and not interrupting and all of those other things we learned in kindergarten.  I believe in practicing these things until they are as automatic as breathing.

My question today is how do you teach manners to an adult?  I know someone who is my age or thereabouts.  This person is educated and, I am sure, considers herself to be courteous.  She is - to other adults.

A child in her presence, when asked to perform a task, is expected to perform said task.  When the task is done, there is no acknowledgement unless, of course, it is done improperly.  This person is not related to me or I would just tell them to get their head out of their nether regions and be polite.

So, how do I achieve two things?  First, I want this person to be aware of how cold and distant they seem to the very people that they love.  Second, I want the child to know that her efforts are appreciated, that her efforts are noticed, and that not everyone is critical of every thing.

Thoughts?

disclaimer:  for anyone who knows us, this is obviously NOT about my child.  Her manners are impeccable.
 
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