Planning Ahead

A friend of mine recently posted on his Facebook page what I believe to be his own eulogy. I’ve known the man for thirty plus years and I know he is fighting cancer for the past ten. Later, another friend told me he is in hospice care.

With that in mind I am preparing for my own demise be it in the next five seconds or five decades, I think I have found the perfect tombstone inscription, except I would plagiarize the words and exchange the name and photo with mine. Let me know if you agree.

Dear Senator Burris

 Dear Senator Burris:

My Flag Flies Everyday

    Congratulations on passing the single largest social legislation bill in the history of the country. I am sure you are proud that this bill will be a part of your legacy. You should also be proud of the fact that you and your fellow senators disregarded the will of your constituents. You will also carry the bankruptcy of the United States to your grave as the real legacy.

     You purchased your seat in a somewhat questionable manner, and now you have convinced me that you did it to support a president whose sole agenda is to change America into a socialist country.

     I cannot believe a single word of the letter you just sent me regarding all the benefits of the bill because I am convinced that you did not read it, nor, do you have the intelligence to understand it even if you could read.

     You can convince me that the health care bill is a good thing for the country by contributing the proceeds of your retirement benefit from the Senate to pay for the program. Surely, you believe in the re-distribution of wealth do you not? Or, is that a concept you believe only if the wealth belongs to someone other than yourself?

Respectfully yours,

Grumpa Joe

Legacy Book

Barb At 30

Barb At 30

Memories evoke emotions. Today, I scanned a series of photos. All of them brought tears to my eyes. The emotions stirred deep as I viewed my Barbara as a bride, young mother, and grandmother. I actually screamed at her, “why?” It doesn’t help, it won’t bring her back. The scream merely let me vent an emotion that is long over due.

Her prayers and poems did the same. She saved every poem that she thought was beautiful, or conveyed her own thinking. Some of them were insights into her future. Others were directed at me and the kids expressing her love. I scanned a bunch of them. Her five year anniversary is nearing, and I want to give each of the children a “Legacy Book.” The book will contain her favorite poems, prayers, and the journal she kept while going through chemo-therapy twenty-nine years ago. I will add the photos of her as a child with her parents, and as a young nurse. I’ll include Barb’s geneology in the form of a family tree. The information will be spotty since only Aunt Marie remains from her family. At ninety-three, Marie’s memory is not what she would like it to be. 

Barb’s children and grandchildren need to have this memento of her. The love she conveys to us in her clippings, and writings is real. She loved us in life, and she left us with many reminders of how much she loved each of us. I hope the book has the same effect on the kids as it does on me everytime I work on it.

This Thursday,  July 10, Barbara would have celebrated her seventieth birthday. Instead we will celebrate her fifth birthday into the kingdom of heaven. There is a special mass for her Thursday, and I will attend. It is one way to be near her again.

 I will present the Legacy Book to the kids a month from now on the anniversary of her death.

Not a Grass Farm Anymore

Grumpa Joe Looks at FlowerSo many things to write about so little time or desire to do it. Memorial Day was spent quietly. A walk in the early hours, followed by breakfast then a trip to the Breidert Green for the VFW Program. I’ve lived in Frankfort for seventeen years, but this is the first Memorial Day Service I attended. I was drawn to the program to hear my two beautiful grand daughters play in the band. The flag was lowered to half mast followed by the invocation. The Hickory Creek Tiger Band played three numbers, The Star Spangled Banner, America the Beautiful, and a third number that I don’t recall. The mayor read the names of all known service people currently serving. After, a Veteran read the names of all the deceased vets from Frankfort. The VFW color guard gave a twenty-one gun salute. Three members of the Tiger Band trumpet section played taps in echo fashion. It brought tears to my eyes. Even though I avoided serving, I grew up with WW-II, Korea, Vietnam, and now Iraq. In between those there was the Bay of Pigs, Lebanon, Grenada, and some that I’m sure I have forgotten.

I drove the girls home and chastised my son for not being at the service. He was busy painting his garage door.  

The rest of the afternoon, I spent trying to barbeque some chicken breasts. I say tried, because I ran out of gas on my grill. I had to use a roaster oven to finish. Thank God I paid the electric bill. Peggy and I ate a late lunch. We cleaned up then sat on the patio.  We listened to the sound of the waterfall. A pair of mallards waddled through the yard trying to find a path around us to the bird seed. Finally, we went in to let them enjoy the seed. I’m hoping they are in a family way and will bring their young to the pond. Wouldn’t that be a joy!

This evening, I re-boxed some golf balls for shipment to Iraq. After that I took a baby step to sort through Barb’s favorite poetry and prayers for the legacy scrapbook I am assembling. Another baby step went toward getting my bike ready for the road. In years past, I would have had fifteen hundred miles logged by now. This year I’m struggling to get started. I figure a baby step toward making the bike ready will get me to take the next step, i.e. bring it up from the basement.

Wow its warm. It is our first warm day, and I have every window open and all the fans running to stay cool. Even this laptop is adding heat to my discomfort.

Tomorrow, I will bring the bike up after breakfast. In the afternoon we will shop for more flowers. With all of the trees, shrubs, and perennials we planted around the pond last week, the yard is beginning to look like a real garden again. Goodbye grass farm.

Jun-e-or

Grumpa Joe Looks at FlowerFinally, I printed volume three of my memoirs titled “Jun-e-or.” I began writing them seven years ago. I thought it would be great to document my earliest childhood memories for my grand children. I scibbled every memory I could into a tablet by hand, recalling FDR declare war on Japan, riding home with Dad in his new -used car(1929 Buick Special). I stood on the front seat next to him and looked out the back window over the top of the seat. As I wrote each vignette, more memories surfaced until I had recorded over three hundred. The next step was to have them converted to the word processor. I talked my good friend Judy into doing this for me. What an angel, she did it without changing a thing. The final step was the hardest. I had to clean up the grammar, and make the stories sound interesting. 

I published Volume One and presented it to my children and grandchildren for Christmas 2006, Volume Two came in 2007, now Volume Three. It is not completed yet, because I still want to insert art and family photos to enhance the text, and to make it more meaningful to them. Finally, I will bind the book with a nice cover and it will be finished. The three volumes complete my story up til hIgh school.

 My next work will be called “My Love Story.” I want to leave the kids with the narrative of how Barbara and I met, fell in love, and began our life together. This story will end with the birth of our last child. I figure the kids can begin their own stories from that point on.

Here is a sample vignette from Volume Three of “Jun-e-or, Recollections of Life in the Ninteen Forties and Fifties.” 

POOPER SCOOPER
There were many street vendors such as the ice man, the milk man, and others. They used horse drawn wagons to carry their wares. The horse often dropped a load in the middle of the street. If Mom spotted a pile within a couple of houses to either side of ours, she’d shag me out to pick it up. I shoveled the pile into a bucket. It was lousy duty, but I did it. Mom used the manure for fertilizer. Before she did, she aged it for a long time. Fresh manure is too acidic to use. It will burn the vegetation that it’s used on. Aging it cuts the potency. Aged manure is excellent in the garden.
  
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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