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.


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

Friday, November 8, 2013


My laptop, which is on the oldish side, has recently stopped being reliable.  I believe, when I am being a conspiracy theorist, that the computer companies plan this "Autumnal Assault" so that we will all buy new computers at Christmas.

I intend to do my level best to disappoint them this year.  Here's hoping that I am successful!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Doctor's Offices

Today, we went to the doctor to see about Julie's head and how it is trying to simultaneously explode, implode, shatter, and melt.  I love these doctors.  We saw Allen, who is the ultimate history-taker.  He does not ask a lot of questions.  He asks a few questions and then waits while you answer and you never notice how closely he is listening and watching and noticing.  When the interview part is done, he puts his hands immediately on the most hurtful part and makes plans to fix it.

They sent Julie home today with some medication and an appointment for the 18th if the medication does not work so they can do a "procedure" during which they will block the nerves in her head.

This is not a cure.  There cannot be a cure since we are not sure what is wrong.  This will, however, make her quit hurting which, to be honest, is the only thing I care about right now.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Playing Hooky

We were talking last Wednesday night about lies and lying and liars.  I was, when I was a child, a very prolific liar.  The time I told about, however, was once when I told the truth - and how VERY angry it made my brother.

When I was in first grade, my brother was in fifth and we both went to St. Rita's, home of the maroon plaid uniform.  I don't remember why Richard didn't want to go to school that day but he didn't and, since we walked to school together, if he played hooky, I had to play hooky.

So we did.

It's not easy to hide out in a small town when you're wearing a Catholic school uniform.  We managed, mostly hanging out in creekbeds and small groves of trees.  It was a very long day and I was a very whiny, demanding, obnoxious compatriot.  I liked school.

Anyway, it got to be after 3:00 and we could finally go home.  We did and all the way home, my guilt grew and grew and grew and my fear of eternal damnation grew and grew and grew.  The first thing I did when I got home was to tell my mother what we had done.

The rest of that day was not pretty.

Facing Sister Marie Emile and the Mother Superior the next morning was not pretty.

It was, however, far prettier for me than for my brother.

I did not play hooky again while I was at that school and I graduated from 8th grade there.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


I did not have a topic for today.  I was just going to throw something together when I got home from work.  Then I spoke with my daughter who, unbeknownst to me, has been ill for the last several days.  Ill as in emergency rooms, hospitals, doctors, IVs, and all manner of stuff, a lot of it in another state.

I will yell at her later.

She is still not well.  The last doctor said something about "occipital neuralgia" and sent her home with some meds.  She is still not well.

I called my pain doctor from my one and only, thank God, bout with sciatica a couple of years ago.  His earliest appointment was in 3 weeks.  His appointment clerk took my name in case they had any cancellations or reschedules sooner.

We see the doctor at 1:00 tomorrow.  My boss was very understanding about my needing the time off and my co-worker, bless her heart, is coming in 4 hours early so that I can be with my child.

I am clothed in God's grace.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Fun Monday - favorite plant

Evidently we are all feeling nostalgic.  I suggested we (the group of us who all blogged almost daily about 6 years ago) try to at least blog once a day for the month of November.  So far, so good.

Enter the SwampWitch (Swampy to those of us who know and love her) who has decided, as long as we are going to blog again, to resurrect Fun Monday.  Fun Monday is a cinch.  Someone suggests a topic and we all post a picture of whatever the topic is.  No words necessary but words are always appreciated.

Swampy's topic of the week - favorite plant, inside or out.

I do not have a green thumb.  I did manage, for over a year and a half, to keep alive the peace plant that my friend, Vicki, gave me when my mom died.  It finally succumbed a couple of weeks ago.  This is the planter it lived in next to the blown glass baby harbor seal.  "Don't make me hit you over the head with a baby harbor seal!"

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Lazy, lazy Sunday

I had two regular days off this week and a holiday for a total of 3 days in a row.  I cannot remember the last time this happened.

Here is a list of what I accomplished:

Yep, that's right.  Absolutely nothing!  Oh, I did the requisites; laundry, dishes, church, catechitical training.  Aside from that?

Hope your days off were as stress-free as mine were.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Obvious Truths

Last week, I discovered that some truths that I hold to be self-evident are evidently not that crystal clear to other people.

On Wednesdays, when I get off work, I drive to Amarillo, pick up CJ and drive back to Hereford so that he can go to Faith Formation and I can teach it.   We are not in the same grade.  Then, after class, I drive him home and then drive myself home.

The Wednesday before his birthday and his mom's birthday, we stopped at WallyWorld on the way home so that he could buy a gift for his mom and I could get cards and wrapping paper and whatnot.  We shopped, we checked out, I paid, and we left the store.

As we were walking to the pickup, I mentioned that the amount that I was charged seemed off to me - that it didn't seem like enough.  It was, by this time, after 9:00 and I was still a couple of hours from home.  I told Bubba that I would check the receipt later and off we went.

A couple of days later, when I ran across the receipt in my purse, I did remember to check it.  I had assumed that the clerk had overlooked a card or only rung up one thing of wrapping paper or something like that.  I was wrong.  He did not ring up the two movies that we had purchased as gifts.  No problem.  An easy problem to rectify and I did so.

By the way, it is much easier to return something to WallyWorld than it is to pay for something that you no longer have with you.

I was amazed, when telling this story to friends and acquaintances and my fifth grade class the next Wednesday, how many people did not come to the same, to me, obvious solution.  The only person who made the leap immediately, without thought, was my child.  I was amazed by how many people saw this as a boon, a gift from the gods, so to speak, instead of an honest mistake that, however honest, still left me in possession of two movies that had not been paid for.  I have never knowingly given anyone stolen property as a gift and I still have not.

No great lessons in this post.  I am just kind of disheartened at how many people that I thought I knew, I didn't.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Maple Leaves

I have been as remiss at downloading photos as I have been about blogging.  This is from October of 2010 at the Amazingly Fun Farm corn maze.  There have been enormous changes since then, the most obvious being the height of the boy and the length of his mother's hair.  I will attempt, during this month, to provide photographic evidence of this.

I love autumn.  I love the cooler weather.  I love the comfort foods that make your house smell like your mom's house smelled.  I love living in an area where there are actually trees that change color.  I grew up in northern California.  We had holly trees that didn't change.  We had evergreens that didn't change.  We had oak trees that turned a yucky brown and cluttered the yard until my brother or I was forced to rake them.

Ah, but the Wagner sisters, who lived one street over and 1/2 a block down, had maple trees.  They had three maple trees that grew in the dirt between the sidewalk and the street.  Their house was on the main road up to Deer Park School so all of the walking schoolchildren, needing colored leaves for their autumn projects, would seize upon whatever leaves had fallen or whatever leaves they could reach.  I was fortunate.  I was tall and my brother was even taller.  We always got leaves for our projects and my mom made sure we always asked the Wagners first.
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