Saturday, November 10, 2007
But today is the parade in San Diego honoring our Veterans.
My family has only a few veterans: a couple of multi-great grandfathers who served in the Revolutionary War, great great great grandfather Elijah Spriggs who served in the War of 1812, a great great grandfather Franklin Beamon who served in the Civil War, grandfather Matt Stein who served in World War I, my father Carl Dustin who served in World War II, and Bernie's dad Hal who served in Viet Nam, and a nephew, Michael Falvey, who served in the Gulf War.
I do hope that will be the end of it...I'd rather we never have another generation who needs to go off to war.
I also hope there will always be someone in our family who is willing to defend our country in times of need.
Today's parade will honor San Diego's Veteran of the Year.
This year, like a few other years, that Veteran is my Dad.
You know how proud I am of you and all you've done to assure that Veterans receive the honor they are due.
Sorry the pictures of Dad while he served in WWII are a tad blurry, they are the best I could get from a jpeg off the web.
Dad served in the Navy, in the Atlantic Ocean aboard a Destroyer Escort. Recently he has agreed to write his memories down in email form.
Every week or so I get another chapter. Last night a chapter arrived about a dog he found and brought aboard ship.
Sometimes when we think of war, we forget there are the most ordinary of days, where young men fulfill their duties while mostly dreaming about a life without war.
To close today's post, I am copying his latest email to me. I hope you will find a glimpse of what a Veteran to be was like when he was in the service as a young man.
FORGOT SOMETHING ABOARD HERZOG.... (note: the name of one of the ships he served on. jill) SEVERAL DESTROYER ESCORTS HAD PETS, USUALLY DOGS. ONE DAY WHILE ON
LIBERTY IN THE PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD I WAS MINDING MY OWN BUSINESS WHEN A CUTE LITTLE DOG ABOUT THE SIZE OF A TERRIER CAME UP TO ME WAGGING HER TAIL. I CAN'T REMEMBER EXACTLY WHERE THIS HAPPENED, MAYBE IN A PARK. I PETTED HER AND SHE WAS REALLY SWEET TO BE SHOWN ATTENTION. NO COLLAR AND NO ONE WAS AROUND OR WALKING HER. SHE FOLLOWED ME FOR A FEW HOURS. ACTUALLY I COULDN'T GET HER TO "GO AWAY." SHE WAS SO FRIENDLY I DECIDED I'D TAKE HER BACK TO THE SHIP AS THE SHIPS MASCOT.
ONCE ABOARD NO OFFICER OR CREWMAN THAT OUT RANKED ME TOLD ME TO GET HER OFF THE SHIP. MATTER OF FACT EVERYONE FELL IN LOVE WITH HER.SHE NEVER MADE A MOVE TO LEAVE THE SHIP BEHAVED HERSELF AND DID HER "JOBS" ON THE END OF THE FANTAIL. MOST OF THE TIME ROUGH SEAS WASHED IT OFF. IN CALM SEAS THE DECKS WERE HOSED DOWN EVERY MORNING. THERE WAS PLENTY OF MEAT SERVED SO FOOD WAS NOT A PROBLEM. EVEN GRUMPY CAPT FYFFE DIDN'T SAY I HAD TO GET RID OF HER. SO I KEPT HER! NAMED HER "TRINIE" AFTER TRINIDAD. .WHEN THE SHIP LEFT TO GO ON PATROL SHE WAS ABOARD AND BECAME REALLY POPULAR WITH EVERYONE BUT WOULD STAY MOSTLY WITH ME AS I WENT ABOUT DOING MY WORK AND STANDING WATCHES. SHE HAD SMOOTH FUR MOSTLY WHITE WITH TAN AND BLACK AREAS.
SHIPS HAVE VERY FEW STAIRWAYS AS YOU NOTICED ON USS SLATER IN NY. SO I ACTUALLY TAUGHT HER TO CLIMB VERTICAL LADDERS. SHE WOULD STOP AND PLACE HER PAWS OVER THE RUNGS WHEN THE SHIP ROLLED TOWARD HER AND CONTINUED TO CLIMB WHEN IT ROLLED AWAY FROM HER. JUST LIKE SAILORS DO. SHE DESCENDED THE SAME WAY. I GAVE HER BATHS, HAD A BOWL OF WATER ETC. I CAN'T RECALL IF SHE SLEPT IN MY BUNK BUT I DON'T THINK SO. I ALSO CAN'T REMEMBER HOW MANY PATROLS WE MADE BUT IT SEEMED AT THE TIME I HAD HER THE SHIP WAS CONVOYING BETWEEN RECIFE AND TRINIDAD.
I REMEMBER THE NEW GUYS WHO CAME ABOARD HAD TO KISS HER ON HER MOUTH DURING THEIR CROSSING THE EQUATOR "POLLYWOG TO SHELL BACK" ORDEAL. I THINK I WROTE THAT I CROSSED THE EQUATOR 14 TIMES. MORE ABOUT THAT COMING UP.
AFTER ONE CRUISE THE SHIP DOCKED IN RECIFE. ALTHOUGH SHE HAD NEVER WENT ASHORE BEFORE SHE DID. NEVER SAW HER AGAIN. MAYBE ANOTHER CREW TOOK HER ABOARD.
ONCE TIME IN RECIFE I SAW CAGES OF BEAUTIFUL BIRDS OUTSIDE A SHOP. A PET STORE. SMALL BIRDS, NOT LIKE PARROTS, BUT GORGEOUS! IRIDESCENT COLORS. ALL THAT ATE FRUIT. ORANGES, BANANAS, AVOCADOS ETC. I THOUGHT JUNE (his then girlfriend, he married her after the war, she's my mom) WOULD LOVE TO HAVE THEM.
SO DUMMY LIKE I WAS I BOUGHT FOUR AND A CAGE. TOOK THEM ABOARD WITH A SELECTION OF FRESH FRUIT KNOWING THE SHIP WAS COMING BACK TO RECIFE IN 20-23 DAYS. MY HOPE WAS WE MIGHT GO THE THE STATES AND I WOULD SHIP THEM TO JUNE. LOOKING BACK...KINDA STUPID IDEA. THIRD DAY OUT AT SEA THE SHIPS PHARMACIST MATE 1ST CLASS SAW THE BIRDS AND RAISED HELL WITH ME FOR BRINGING BIRDS ABOARD. "THEY CAN SPREAD DISEASES TO THE CREW! GET RID OF THEM!" I TRIED TO TALK HIM INTO LETTING ME KEEP THEM UNTIL WE GOT CLOSE TO SHORE ON THE RETURN TRIP. WE WERE AT LEAST 150 MILES AT SEA. HE THREATENED TO "PUT ME ON REPORT" SO I HAD TO RELEASE THEM. I STILL HOPE THEY MADE IT BACK TO THE COAST.
If you have a Veteran among your family, friends or acquaintances, be sure to take a moment and thank them for their service.
And tell them that you are glad they made it home.
Friday, November 09, 2007
It usually arrives after a call saying it is on its way.
I check the front porch several times a day while I wait for the delivery.
I dare say I am the only one in blogdom that gets this kind of shipment.
(Picture above is from the web. It isn't theirs, but theirs looks like it, only more robust.)
I love how orange the fruit is!
I love how persimmons taste!
I'm rather glad that I am the only person in the family who does love the taste.
Well, actually, my dad loves them too. He was the one who introduced me to the joys of eating a ripe persimmon years and years ago, when I was a child.
We used to delight in finding one or two in the market, waiting for the persimmon to "turn," or ripen, and then we would pull off the little green leafy crown, scoop out the syrupy inners, pour on a dash of milk and sprinkle with a dusting of powdered sugar and dig in.
Or not so yum if we miscalculated the ripeness.
There is hardly anything in the world more chalky bitter than an unripe persimmon.
A chalk like coating forms on the tongue and it seems to take forever to lose the alkaline flavor.
Unripe persimmons taste a bit like aspirin.
Yeah, now you know what I mean.
You're the best!
Thursday, November 08, 2007
On Tuesday morning I made Lovella's friend's blueberry scones for breakfast, and Bernie, Barbara and I lingered over breakfast, knowing our time together was drawing to a close.
A Christmas fund raising craft show, a few sights around town, a couple of DVD movies and a bowl of pop corn was just the ticket for all of us.
Mostly it was a time for a Mom and her son to be together as friends, to talk about family and adventures, and life in general.
And to learn a few new tricks on a new computer. Barbara is learning computer skills like a champ.
That is what faithful orange cats love to do best.
(By the by, the tip of his tail is resting on a large fungus that has sprouted out of the side of the decaying stump. The stump is a remnant of a hackberry tree that was harmlessly felled by Hurricane Rita.)
I've learned that even tiny things, like spiders and flowers often have special beauty that I can not see until I take a picture and enlarge it.
The smaller than an apple seed sized spiders that spun such lovely orbs in our front garden proved to be one such surprising beauty.
The comical leering smile that I found on the back of the spider was such fun; having the same spider turn from ghostly white to pumpkin orange was a trick that I would never have noticed if I hadn't paused to take a snapshot.
A few weeks ago I decided to take up the suggestion to post pictures online to share with readers of our local section in the Houston Chronicle. I posted two pictures. Each week the Chronicle staff selects one or two pictures to publish in the paper; last week it was the picture I took of a slumbering dragonfly by Lake Houston.
Today I read the whole paper before remembering to look at the local section.
And was both surprised and delighted to see yet another of my pictures on the front page.
As Bernie said after my first picture: "So when do you get paid?"
If happiness was the pay check, I think I just cashed the check.
(Click here to see the spider picture as it appeared on my blog awhile ago. Click here to see the spider while it was white. The spiders have moved on now, there are no more webs in the front garden. And the big yellow spiders in the woods? There was only one was to be found to show Barbara. I never thought I would miss having spiders around, but somehow, with these guys, I do.)
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Why they got that slogan instead of Houston I don't fully understand.
After all, we've got The Orange Show, and The Art Car Museum.
Below: Two of the Art Cars that were on display while Bernie, Barbara and I were out and about on Sunday.
(It is against the law to have open containers of alcohol inside a vehicle. Nothing on the books about open containers on the outside of the vehicle. The above modification works within the letter of the law!)
No need to worry about car washes leaving swirl marks on the car finish when you finish your car's finish like this!
The museum houses which ever cars the owners feel like not using for a bit. You can see more art cars in one year's parade here.
It is fun.
So...you may be asking what exactly is Houston's unofficial motto?
The heat. The Humidity. The Hurricanes. The Flying Cockroaches. The Mosquitos. The Traffic. The Construction. The Sprawl. The Refineries. The Ridicule. The Pollen. The Air. The Billboards. The Flooding. The Image. The Property Taxes. The Short Springs. The Long Summers. The Pot Holes. The No Mountains. HOUSTON: IT'S WORTH IT!"
That's MY town!
Monday, November 05, 2007
Ever since we moved to Houston I've been seeing and reading about The Orange Show.
I'd say to Bernie "Hey, let's go down and see The Orange Show this weekend," and he'd say "huh?"
I'd would then once again explain that it is a famous tribute to oranges, or maybe it was a tribute to the color orange, I wasn't really clear on what it was all about, but that even our daughter Laura had seen it listed on a map at an airport somewhere.
It was WELL KNOWN!
We should go see it!
Not a very compelling argument, I admit.
Since Bernie's mom was visiting us, Bernie suggested we go see a nursery he had been reading about. I countered with the idea that we could *also* go see The Orange Show.
I even looked up the address.
Good old Bernie gave in. He punched the address into the new phone's GPS system and away we went.
It meant a trip past down town, and then into a somewhat questionable neighborhood where GPS isn't even available. But before long...we were there.
Pretty cool, huh?
And it would only cost a buck per person to get in!
Oh, what a joy to discover I had chosen wisely when I chose to wear it for this occasion!
This was the first sign.Really, I actually still do not have any idea about what the show is all about.
The facts behind the show are that a man name Jeff McKissack who was born in 1902 and spent the Great Depression in Florida thought oranges were very important. He got a college degree, wanted to work with Thomas Edison, (who declined the opportunity) served in the military for six months, went to Columbia University, went to beauty college, had a worm farm and worked as a postal carrier, AND had a vision for The Greatest Show Ever...The Orange Show!
Using materials he found as he worked as a postal carrier, he created this... show...on the land across the street from his house where he had the worm farm originally.
He never married, but loved to dance, felt that eating three oranges a day would cause you to live to be 115 years old. He died in 1980...at 78 after suffering from a heart attack right there next to the boat. Oh, and in case you were wondering...no, he did not do drugs.
For some reason he seemed to like frogs too...
A picture of Jeff McKissack.
You can read more about The Orange Show here, and come along for a few moments via Bernie's video here.
Feel free to sing along with Bernie if you want.
And if you ever come visit us here in Houston...well, I don't know. I guess we could go there again.
It is a really cool place to take pictures.
(Didn't get you fill of The Orange Show with just this post? Check out Bernie and my photos on a slide show here. Now at least I understand why photography classes head there so often.)
That's all for now...hope you have a wonderful and orangy kind of day, wherever you are!