Sunday, July 26, 2009

Big and Little Things

Sometimes the big things in your life are really little things. Take for instance the arrival of my great-grandson Nathan. While he's almost nine-months old and I've never seen him, I did receive a photograph of him at the age of six-months. Better late than never and isn't he cute? My daughter, his aunt Jen, reports that he is the most pleasant baby she's ever seen and she has quite a history with babies.

Nevertheless, receiving this photo was overwhelming for me. We just don't get to visit family so we keep in touch with emails, telephone calls and once in a while, real photos that I can hold and touch and show off. All our kids and grandchildren are scattered over several states and since we are unable to travel and they are so busy just taking care of their own lives, this is such a blessing. We receive photos by email but even printed out, they just aren't pictures. So, the pride just took over and I had to share this event with all of you. Here's Nathan and his proud Daddy, Andrew.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy Fourth of July!

Yesterday was the Fourth of July…our country's birthday. If anyone watched the celebration in our nation's capital you can't have missed the patriotic excitement on the face of Barry Manilow as he belted out those wonderful songs.

As the camera swept over the crowd this enthusiasm was echoed from face to face. If there were a million people on the National Mall there were two million flags. Big flags, little flags stuck behind visors, waving from the tops of hats and clutched in the hands of folks from senior to the tiniest child. It was a display that was so moving the fireworks almost seemed an anticlimax. In fact, I really felt that they were not only there for the music and the fireworks but because they truly wanted to be in Washington to celebrate this country for what it truly is. Forget the problems, they will be fixed. They were there to exhibit the patriotism that is inherent in every true citizen.

I guess my patriotic ardor comes directly from my parents. They were two of the most avid citizens this country has had. My mom and dad never missed a chance to impress upon my sister and me the value of our citizenship. You see, my parents came to this country in 1930, the height of the depression. They didn't come from poverty or bad government, they came from England. I guess it's the reason they came that makes the difference. They chose to come to America. They could have gone anywhere in the world, or stayed where they were and had a wonderful life. But the call of our freedom, our liberties, our basics were what made them travel across the pond to New York City. Daddy was well educated and perhaps that was what eased him into a job when many didn't have them. After he had established himself, he sent for Mother and they settled into what they truly believed was paradise. They couldn't get over the freedoms; everyone could come and go as they wished. The citizens were generally happy and helpful no matter what their situations. Daddy had established a bank account where his salary was deposited each week. I think the bank was Bank of America but it wasn't the huge conglomerate of today. Anyhow, one evening Daddy came home from work and told Mother their bank had failed. They turned out their pockets and purses and tossed the bills and change onto the bed. That was all they had. But that didn't daunt them, they just started over again. They couldn't wait to explore every nook and cranny of the city and surrounding country. They marveled at things like the Automat and the street vendors. I don't know how many times they visited the Statue of Liberty but I do know that my sister and I went half a dozen times, at least.

It was after my sister and I were born the real exploration of America began. We never missed a museum, a historic place, a battlefield, a post along the roadway that announced some little piece of American history. We were instilled with a deep regard and love for everything American and that feeling hasn't left me. I get goose-bumps when they play the National Anthem, or when a marching band goes by playing a patriotic march. I feel like crying when I see service men and women because it is for me that they have sacrificed so much.

My parents spent the next 53 years loving, learning about and exploring this wonderful country they chose. They passed this legacy on to me and I am forever grateful. You see the difference between them and us is that to us it's a given, to them it was a gift. I try never to forget that.