Saturday Morning Thoughts

VFW Post 2503, where the Babe is Quartermaster, did something they’ve never done before last night. They held their first ever Friday Fish Fry! It was a huge success, given that many Churches in the Omaha cancelled their Fish Fry’s because of COVID. We took the plunge and had a great turnout. It was so nice to see a crowd, complying with mask-wearing mandate, coming together for a meal.

As I watched the people, it occurred to me all this virus has stolen from us. I saw families with teenagers, families with young children, and older couples. The Babe worked in the kitchen, and I didn’t see much of him all evening. I saw people who were guests of the Post, members of the Post and Auxiliary, and prospective new members. It was great.

The good thing is this 89 year old VFW Post is trying new ways to expand it’s membership. We are trying new events. We are remodeling the building, and it’s coming along nicely. The North Room, the larger of two event venues, has new flooring where the old tile was. The carpeting is too expensive to replace, so a super-thorough cleaning will be the finishing touch after painting is complete. We’ve ordered new wall sconce fixtures and installed them. We have ordered matching sconces for the South Room, also. Those will be installed during the last phase. Below are photos of the Fish Fry and some of the remodeling.

The Bar will be repainted and the ceiling tiles will be replaced as well. Carpet cleaning is in order for there, too. We’re going to lighter, neutral colors. Grey is the new beige, right? Sprucing the place up for our 90th birthday celebration next April will give the aging members a chance to see their traditions are being carried on for the next generations of Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Sometimes, an elderly lady recounts her experiences with the Post and Auxiliary. The place was packed every Friday night long ago. They sponsored a lot of dances, charitable events, fundraisers, Poker Runs, Raffles, and even purchased flagpoles in honor of a member who passed away. If you are near the flagpoles, there is a plaque in honor of Don Steiner, purchased by his wife, Sherri. It’s a place to go and remember. Sherri donated money for all the flagpoles.

There is also an area with Memorial Bricks, each purchased by members and friends. I purchased a group of them, honoring my Grandfather, Father, and two uncles, who were in WWI, WWII, and Korea. They are placed together and I am proud to see them. Two others I purchased for an Uncle (a Veteran and Omaha Police Officer), and one for the Babe, who served in Vietnam. All the bricks have memories attached to them, unseen to the naked eye. But the people they represent live on in our hearts.

Through the years we have met children of folks our ages. The now grown “kids” talk about the fun they had playing shuffleboard, bowling machine games, and cards. It would be nice for the Post to be a place like that again. The more good memories kids have, the better off they are. So are we. Make some good memories today. Do it every day, and it becomes a habit. Before you know it, your life is filled with joy.

Thank you for reading, I appreciate it so much. More tax work today – a nap won out yesterday! I look forward to our next visit tomorrow. Have a beautiful day. Be Safe out there!

Sweet Saturday

The Babe and I made a loosely woven plan to make this home look festive. His part in it begins with he-man stuff; getting the boxes upstairs from the basement. I will decide to change stuff up from the other Christmases in this home. Buying a new tree last year was a great idea. It is “ours,” and only our memories will reflect in it. Sometimes, I get a hung up on the losses our family had around Christmas time. My dad died on December 7, 1988. That Christmas was one for the ages. It was the first holiday without him. I hated it. Mom had my Frankie sit at the head of the table where Dad always sat. He deserved to sit where his best friend sat for his whole seventeen years of life.

Flash back further, and on December 24, 1963, when I was twelve years old, our Grandpa died of a massive heart attack. Christmas Eve! I’ll never forget it. We weren’t with mom’s family, one of my little brothers was sick so we stayed home. Between 5:30 and 6:00 p.m. The phone calls. Mom yelling at us to pray. Scrambling to get our rosaries. My brother and I walked to Church for our Midnight Mass duties; him an altar boy, me in the choir. It was hard to sing that night. I just wanted to cry.

Our family never gathered at Grandma and Grandpa’s house again. We didn’t get to stay with Grandma anymore; she learned to drive at fifty-nine and got a job. Later, our Aunt Judy had a gathering, but my mom and we didn’t go. The other siblings had their in-laws over. It always felt empty after that.

And then, a Christmas eve in 1996, saw the Babe come to my house with dinner fixings. He handed me a small bud vase. “Here, this is for you.” He walked away . I felt something metal on the ribbon. It was a ring. My daughter and her boyfriend grabbed my hands and silently squealed with excitement. I went into the kitchen.

“What is this?” I said.

“Would you marry me?”

“It would be an honor to be your wife.”

And it still is. And forever will be. We are so lucky to find each other in this crazy world. If none of the dreams I’ve ever entertained come true, the one of having someone truly love me has come true. That is what I choose to celebrate this Christmas and every single one we have left together. It is the best gift in the world, and I cherish it. I once told Dan’s mom, “Every day is Christmas with Dan.” She smiled. It’s still true today.

Yes, we disagree on things. We’ve always asked each other, “Is it really worth fighting about?” Nothing is at this point in life. We save it for important stuff. And nothing is that important to have stress in your life. We complement each other. We support each other.

We laugh a lot. We need that now and always. Find things to laugh about. Free up your hearts for love. We have both learned to let each other in. And that is so worth it. It took a long time, but it was worth the ride. Trust is hard, and we must earn it. I trust in him. He trusts in me. The best gift ever opened with our eyes each morning.

I thank you for reading. Hope to see you again tomorrow. It’s a nice, sunny day at the Home Office in Gretna, Nebraska. Make the most of it. Make the best of it. Be Kind. Be Thoughtful. Be Courteous. Be the one who makes someone else smile in their heart. Have a beautiful day.