Wonderful Weekend

Despite being a day off on Friday’s tickets for Ugly Sweater Christmas Soiree, we had such a nice weekend. Everything from a 75th birthday party, to a play written by kids, to a quiet Saturday, to a cookie exchange and a baby shower today, with many, many hugs, good wishes, and memories in between. How blessed we are!

The Baby Shower was for a young lady we watched grow up at our last home. Jen and Tom lived across the street and over a couple houses, so we saw them often and visited as neighbors do. Their little girls (about 3 & 4 at the time), would walk their well-trained labs. There were these little blonde dolls, holding slackened leashes, with giant labs on the ends of them. Their dad (who followed closely behind) trained these dogs so well, you could take them anywhere, and the dogs never ran off, jumped, or were badly behaved. They were fun to watch.

Jayden and Caliegh, are typical sisters. Teasing, fighting, loving, and defending each other while growing up. And now, Caleigh is about to make her older sister an aunt. They are excited, over the moon, and so happy. This will be such a loved baby. I cannot wait to see photos. It was just wonderful to be with those girls and their parents today. I am reminded how exciting it is waiting for a baby. Caleigh and her husband are in the Army, and have until 2024 to serve. They will do just great. It’s nice to know how the girls are doing (and their parents) and keep in touch with them all. We are blessed to have such friends.

The Babe is at a cookie exchange today with other family. It is carrying on in the Riedmann tradition, now taken over by the Lackovic family. The Babe is representing us there this afternoon, as we needed to be in two places at once. It’s nice to keep up that tradition, since Louie passed away this year. There is a new little Lackovic, who is named Louie, after his great grandpa. How very perfect. Little fella has some big shoes to fill. He comes from good stock, he’ll do well.

Life always goes on, doesn’t it? It’s comforting to know that, isn’t it? The best any of us can do is adjust, and continue on. We are blessed.

As we get ready to celebrate the beauty of Christmas and the clean slate of a new year, the Babe and I are reevaluating a lot of things. While the ending of our time at the VFW, we are re-thinking a lot of things. Tomorrow is the first time for the Babe volunteering with Moving Veterans Forward with Ron Hernandez. We will be spending our time differently than before, volunteering directly to benefit veterans.

I will finish those quilts for the grandkids in Colorado. For the rest of the winter, we’ll spruce up parts of the house we’ve neglected for a while. I’ll get back to my kids book editing, and the re-organizing of my office/studio. The list is long, and will be thorough. Dust off the cobwebs and clear the closets. It’s time. And I look forward to all of it. We can only guess at how 2023 will unfold. None of us know. I know it will be filled with love. I know it will have some heartache in it. It always does.

Take care of yourselves; you longtime friends, you McGuigan Arts Academy kids, you folks from the old neighborhood, you folks expecting a new baby and new homes, you folks decorating cookies and raising your babies. You have all made us believe in life again. You all fit in our lives and give it meaning. We can only hope we do the same for you. Let’s travel this highway on the next leg, the next year. See you again tomorrow.

A Delightful Sunday

Sometimes you hear from people who you knew or knew of in a previous part of your life. The youngest son of a family from our neighborhood is on Facebook, and he friended me, after getting reconnected with my brother Tim. Long story, short story, I totally did not remember them having a younger son named Tom. I knew they had two older sisters, a brother John, who was a year older than me, and now I learn more and more about the family than I knew before.

Tom is a teacher and enthusiastic about it. He posts quite a bit about his students, the athletics, and positive thoughts. I feel blessed to have him as a friend. He’s offered quite a few words of wisdom when I’ve written about Mom and the challenges of elderly parents. What a nice man.

I planned to include the photo he sent me, a picture of the girls wrestling team members, who are beginning their season. Tom describes them as pioneers, and once he told their story, I have to agree with him. Unfortunately, I cannot copy or save the photo. And it’s just as well. I’d hate to share a photo their parents wouldn’t care to have me share.

We all know wrestling has been a sport for males. As Tom explains, the Olympics were at times a fight to the death. Not a sport for women, Tom says. He’s speaking from the point of view of being a gentleman, and I know his parents raised him to be respectful of women, protective of children, and to have his brother’s back. Right John? I thought so!

I’m glad to see these young ladies putting in the work and dedication to participate in a sport as females. It has become sanctioned by the Nebraska Schools Athletic Association. Bravo! I’d rather see girls wrestling each other than see a random girl wrestling on a boys team, against boys. Maybe that point of view is old fashioned, but it’s mine, and I will keep it until I’m convinced otherwise. And yes, I can change my mind, with new information.

It’s nothing new for women to have to fight for equality. There are still wages differences that are appalling. I was so fortunate, I worked in a technical industry, I/T, and you were judged at paid equal to your technical abilities, and performance of them. It was the most equitable system I’ve seen. The pay was not equal at ConAgra for I/T. I went from a clerical position to I/T, and wasn’t paid what men were. It was more than a clerical position, but not equal to the men I worked with. As I gained knowledge and skills, there was still a gap. When I changed to Mutual of Omaha, I received a 7K pay increase immediately, and was promoted to the next position up the ladder within six months.

These ladies at Skutt High school are being trained for adversity in their lives. It isn’t all just about sports now. They are learning some valuable skills for later in life. I hope they don’t have to fight their way through life, but they will most likely have a skirmish of two along the way. I’ve learned to fight, to skirmish, and to do what you need to. Most important, I feel if we want equality, we must do our part to be equal. We must work hard, we must be in the best shape, and we have to be able to carry our own load. No one but us should have to carry it when we expect to be equal. If we can’t, we don’t belong with the big boys. Equal means equal. It doesn’t mean a sub-standard candidate for law enforcement, the fire department, or military, where all need to give 100%. Someone ends up hurt or dead if they don’t give 100%.

No one ends up deceased in wrestling anymore, thank goodness. I told Tom when I was in high school, the only girl’s sport was tennis. I really thought tennis was for rich people. As Tom says, “There were no tennis courts where I went to play.” Nebraska did not participate in girls’ basketball back then, but Iowa did. I guess the boys played football and the girls were cheerleaders. Not like now for sure.

Tom talked a little about the neighborhood sledding down the alley my house was on. It emptied rather abruptly into F street, which was very busy. He mentioned my dad putting sand down at the bottom of the alley, in the snow, to make the sleds stop before reaching the street. My dad. What a smart man. Safety first! Bless his heart.

My day started today with a smile in my heart, thanks to Mr. Tom Bauer. Thanks, friend! It’d be fun to get the kids together from the ‘hood, and see how everyone is. There were a bunch of kids, it might be fun. I hope you had a great start to your Sunday. We’ll see each other again tomorrow, so enjoy today!