Veterans Day, 2022

The photo in the header today is of my husband, my veteran, my best friend in life, the Babe, Dan Raabe. We have been married for 24 years, and I remember, on our first date, (blind date), he was most proud of his children, Blake and Tracy, and of his military service in the US Army, 1968-1971. That has always stayed foremost in my mind.

His children are incredible humans, and I’m blessed to be their step-mom. Their Mom, Sandy, died of lung cancer, in 2010. Three grandchildren grace our lives with them. So blessed, we are. Sometimes, we need to pinch ourselves at the thought of all the blessings we have, thanks to their life together. Sandy was my friend, too, and I loved hearing stories about the kids when they were little. I know the Babe still loved her and still felt responsible for their divorce. Like many couples, they married very young, and found ghosts of war haunted their lives when trying to resume their lives. Alcoholism claimed the Babe for awhile, and Sandy made a hard decision. He stopped drinking probably 30 years ago. They were able to become friends again, after a long time. I’m glad.

Many times, the subject of Dan’s military service arises. I’m proud he is the Captain of the Honor Guard at the VFW Post 2503 in Omaha. He’s been in over 8 years, many times juggling Honor Guard duties with his Quartermaster duties. Nothing is so quiet as the HG, at the National Cemetery in Omaha, Nebraska, firing the three volleys at a committal ceremony for a veteran. The eerie silence is so fitting, as it is hallowed ground, and a place of honor. It is where we both will lie some day. Another honor we’re blessed with.

I am learning much in the Intentional Peer Support class I’m taking every week. We’re skipping this week, but will resume next week. For some reason, now I’m drawn to learning everything I can get my hands on about PTSD and suicide. My Amazon and Goodreads searches probably look as if I am pretty depressed right now; nothing could be further from the truth, I want to learn about it, so I can listen to people whose families are in those difficulties. So we can devise a plan with them so we can lend support to them on their way to the blessings they deserve for their sacrifices.

There are a lot of military family, active duties and reserves, who are hurting right now. They hurt as Dan and Sandy used to. They may be hurting worse. Every family is different in its dynamics, communications, and the way they handle things. Many can improve. Many need someone to listen. That’s what Dan and I want to do with our volunteering efforts in the future. We are happy for what we’ve done, yet look forward to doing something directly benefiting our Veterans and their families.

The best thing any of us can do to thank our Veterans isn’t a free meal, free coffee, or free movie pass. The best thing we can do is be involved with them. Learn about them. Realize the sacrifices they made and continue to make for all of us. Later today, I’m meeting a family who called yesterday about the VFW food/clothing drive we’re doing again this year. They wanted to know if non-vets could participate. They have a five year old who drew a picture for a veteran and wants to deliver it to one today. How wonderful this family is! They get it. Volunteer. Be involved. It’s the best thanks we can give them.

And on behalf of a grateful nation, our thanks to all of them.

Veterans Day, 2021

Today is a day for our very special Veterans. All that we enjoy today is because of them and their sacrifices. The freedoms we enjoy are not seen in any other country. We are safer with them at the ready. They don’t think twice about it. Love of their country and freedom are what keep them at their posts. All six branches of the services combined create the well oiled machine that is the Military of the United States of America. Old Veterans would marvel at drone technology used today. I know my dad would. He’d want to work the darned things!

I’ve mentioned before the three photos my Grandma Jewell had in her living room. Each in a corner, either black and white or sepia finished, her three sons in their military uniforms. All handsome, young, trained, and ready to go. The patriotism the men of this era had is recounted in old war movies, songs, and the general mood of the times. Folks at home planted gardens to ease the burden of the grocery system at the time, so the troops would have what they needed. Mom recounted the shortages on toilet paper, soap, and other items like sugar. Everyone did their part. Could we do that now? I would hope, but many folks wouldn’t.

The message I took away from seeing those photographs subliminally at every visit sits deep in the fabric that is me. I cannot imagine life without that early exposure to the Patriots around me. All the men in our neighborhood and family served in the military. Of my three brothers, one was 4F, one not the right age during the draft, and one went to the reserves, at the time, the 915 Transportation Unit from Council Bluffs, Iowa. He would have gladly gone if called up.

My husband Dan served in Vietnam, many years before we met. It left him a haunted soul, like many of the young men who served there. My dad, after serving in WWII and Korea, told me once, “A jungle war is so different than a war fought in cities and towns. The mindset of the enemy is very different, too. The bottom line is, the enemy wants to kill you in whatever barbaric way they can.” He should know; he was in combat as a medic “aide.” They were on the battlefield, did not have weapons, and running to assess and aid the wounded. He was a surgical tech in the MASH tents of Korea. He saw the damages. And he was awarded two bronze stars. My dad, gentleman, loving father and grandfather, and quintessential bad ass. He was a quiet man, just went about his business, never wanting any attention. Many of our Veterans are the same way.

After having these experiences, it’s no wonder our troops have difficulty merging back into life at home. They are not the same as when they left. We need to find ways to help them adjust, and we need to adjust, too. Nothing is the same once they return home.

Recognizing that, we have an Art exhibit by Liz Boutin, and an information fair at the VFW Post 2503 today. The Post opens at noon, and we have lots of tables for you to visit with various agencies and groups for the Veterans. Guitars for Vets, Moving Veterans Forward, 22 Veteran Suicide Awareness Association from Council Bluffs, grief materials from Centering Corporation in Omaha, and some vendors. Come, have a great spaghetti meal between 4 – 7 p.m. and attend our Ceremony at 6 p.m. Corporal Daegan Page’s family will receive a special gift that was sent to us by a gentleman in Texas. I will share it with you tomorrow. It’s breath-taking.

Let us honor our keepers of freedom. Let us remember their sacrifices. We can never thank them enough.

WOW! It’s Wednesday Already!

I remember my doctor (A General Practitioner) when I was pregnant with my daughter, 1978. Life was busy with a husband who came home every day for lunch, a second grader, and a little guy who was nearly three and too smart for everything. I commented, “The time is just going so fast!” He told me, “The older you get, the faster it goes!”

Did he jinx me? Ever since that conversation, time goes faster every year. I often think of him and that conversation. He was a nice man, in addition to being a kind, good doctor. My Grandmother approved of him; when she and Grandpa had the Sundries Store on 24 & F in South Omaha, he was a cab driver to pay his way through medical school. He married into the Flynn family from our parish, and Grandma knew the Flynn’s quite well. How neat, but that’s how it was back in the day. My dad and his two brothers delivered prescriptions for people who were too ill to come get them. Everyone knew who my dad was. It was kind of neat, yet at the same time, it wasn’t. I was afraid to do anything wrong, because I thought he would know about it before I got home. My brothers did not have that fear. Must have been because I was a girl, and good old Catholic guilt made me overly cautious.

I spent almost all of today up at the VFW Post, helping get the raffles and information displays set just right. We’re in great shape for the celebration tomorrow, and I’ll have some wonderful photos. Some, I cannot share until after our program tomorrow night. I am truly in awe at how generous people are.

And about this time tomorrow night we will have served a whole bunch of spaghetti, sauce, and all the trimmings. We want to be sure our Veterans are told what they mean to all of us, and that we remember to tell them more than just once a year how important they are.

I like to see the stories and photos some of our members post on Facebook about their time in the service. The photos are of much younger men and much more innocent than they are now. We are all much less innocent than we were many years ago, and these folks lost their innocence abruptly. They stood for something bigger than themselves and for the good of our great nation. I commend them all. Thank God for our Veterans.

It is much later than it should be, and I need to stop for now. Thank a Veteran when you see one tomorrow. Thank you for reading today, and know I appreciate your time. Take care, and see you tomorrow. Be safe.

November 8-Grateful

Another day to have something declared as what I’m grateful for. So many things to count! The encouragement from my friends to continue writing has been very nice. Your friends who support you are good ones to have as you get your sea legs about you. I’m grateful for all of you!

Yesterday was my son Nick’s birthday. Forty six years old, I can’t believe how the time has gone by. Nick was a smaller baby than Frankie was, but he got much taller and filled out in high school. The fact he has a 5 o’clock shadow at 5 a.m. after shaving is probably enough to say he looked much older than he is. Probably never got carded like his brother did. It’s over, and I’m glad to not have to deal with those days again. Nothing ages a single Mom more than having a child who looks much older than he is. I’m grateful those single Mom days are over. It was hard, but I’d still make the same decisions I did.

So many people we know have had some bad health issues; strokes, heart attacks, cancer, are all hard to recover from. We’ve seen cancer, broken bones, heart disease, a stroke, and a host of other issues. We are so fortunate we are still mobile, living independently, and having a great future ahead of us. The Babe is 71 and I’m 69. I told him the other morning, I hope we get another 20 years together. You never know; with God all things are possible!

I’m behind on NaNoWriMo. I loitered today instead of getting caught up. The Babe put it well. “Don’t make it a job.” Well, it doesn’t hurt to do it every day, to spread it out, but it felt good to sort of play hooky. I caught up on Yellowstone, (until the Babe got home and caught the end of the NASCAR Race), wrote some scenes out, and recharged. It was necessary.

Today, I need to catch up with posting all the info about Veterans Day at the VFW Post 2503. Resource lists must be compiled, then printed and copies made. Any posting about the events should be available for those who check the Events on Facebook to plan their week. Today will be busier than the usual Monday for sure.

Not sure what we’ll be doing Thanksgiving, but I think we’ll cook. Not sure if we’ll get a turkey, but I think it’s worth getting one, I’d even make it later if necessary. The traditional food is so full of carbs, what I may do is only make a very small dish of dressing, sweet potatoes, and veggies. I will make the normal amount of mashed potatoes, gravy, and dinner rolls. That should balance out all good, shouldn’t it?

Keto is hard during the holidays, but we started it last November, and lost a lot of weight before New Years. I will not gain it back this year. And I won’t next year. At this stage in life it is too hard to lose 45 pounds and I don’t want to have to do it again. I need to stay on top of it. Last year, we skipped all the goodies for the most part, and I have three pumpkin smoothies in the freezer. Will it be as good as pumpkin pie? Give me enough whipped cream and it will. Heavy Cream, Whipped, is allowed on KETO. They knew what they were doing with that one!

Hope your Monday is a good one. Take care, and let’s see each other again tomorrow.

Saturday in the Heartland

Hello, from the home office in Gretna, Nebraska. We are just getting started on today’s blog because we were doing some volunteer work for our local Veterans. The VFW Post 2503 is having a spaghetti feed on Veterans Day, and Veterans’ meals are free. It’s the least we can do. We are also having a coat drive for distribution to the homeless veterans in the area. We will purchase weatherproof boots, socks, sweatpants, hoodies, coats, etc. We want our guys to stay warm this winter, regardless of where they sleep. Help is available for them, and we hope more help is available soon, when COVID positive cases go down in numbers. We hate to see anyone out in the cold.

I distinctly remember, as a kid, we could not wear our winter coats until after November 1. It didn’t matter if it snowed, sleeted, or whatever, we couldn’t wear winter coats. Mom’s theory was we wouldn’t be used to the cold, and would be colder than if we’d waited to don the warmer coat. I do not understand if that’s correct or not. I just know it was our rule. I know we were freezing before we could wear the warmest coats we owned.

Photo by Nicolas Becker on

Mom probably figured she would do what her mother did. All Mom’s know best, right? Not so sure. Old wives’ tales abound in every family history, and who knows what is the right thing to do for babies and children? It seems no one asks Grandma’s opinion anymore. Some young women behave as if in the world’s history, no one before themselves have had a child. Truthfully, it’s just a vibe I pick up.

And the “No sleeping on their tummies,” edict, oh my gosh, we had our children doing that – and no one woke up screaming. In fact, we were told if a baby laid on it’s back after feeding, vomiting could be fatal, because of aspiration. Not so much anymore. I am astounded. Suffocating easier on their tummies? I would say only if you had a pillow-soft mattress for them. They are strong enough to turn their heads. They develop a lot of upper body strength from turning their heads from side to side. When did they decide this wasn’t good for them?

Times change. I remember once my mother-in-law said not to hang wallpaper in the babies’ room, putting my arms up would cause the baby to strangle on the cord. I asked her, “Well, should I stop hanging clothes on the line, too? Haven’t women always done that? I think I’ll be fine.” She meant well.

And what will be the next trend? Not for me to guess. Young people just don’t discount Grandma’s offer of help or advice. It’s not all bunk. Sometimes you have to trust your gut, you’ve carried that baby in your body for nine months, who should know better than you? We have all survived our novice mothers. Thank God for that, and for the advice of a knowing Grandma or Great Grandma.

Photo by Pixabay on

What is on your plate for the rest of the weekend? We are just hanging out with our pups and talking. It was an early start this morning, and a very productive day. Tomorrow is a Post breakfast, so after we attend that, come home tomorrow in time to clean our windows, and mow the grass/leaves before it turns into winter again. Just in time is good. And pick another order from Walmart for groceries. Time to dig in again with Keto, we’ve had a hot dog on a bun today, and shared a bagel for breakfast, I need to mix up a breakfast casserole for next week, and make some keto bagels to get back on track.

Thank you for reading today, I appreciate it. Be Kind. Be Aware. Be Courteous. The Election is over. Mr. Biden is the winner. Congratulations to you and Ms. Harris. I pray for your success as the two most powerful people in the world. Cherish the trust we have placed in you. Take care of our great nation. Pray for guidance from above. Let our trust in your leadership be just. And please, make your decisions for the good of our great nation and good people. God Bless You Both, and God Bless America.

Long May She Wave!

Love my Veterans

What I remember about Veterans Day as a kid was about the Armistice which ended WWI. From Wikipedia:

The Armistice of 11 November 1918 was the armistice signed at Le Francport near Compiègne that ended fighting on land, sea and air in World War I between the Allies and their opponent, Germany. Previous armistices had been agreed with Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Once I started high school in the fall 1966, Father Vernon announced a moment of silence, at 11:11 am, on 11/11, and every classroom was quiet. We understood what it all meant. And we respected it.

Now, in present times, we have a kid in You Tube saying kids shouldn’t know about WWII. It’s too traumatic. Life is traumatic at times. Everyone needs to learn to deal with it. Period. Yes, even little kids. Life isn’t touchy-feely. It will eat you up and spit you out if you do not know to cope with the harsh parts of it.

As the Vietnam War dragged on, I was appalled at how the veterans were treated. It was very wrong. This era may have been when as a society, we began to consider respect a thing of the past. I believe we quit having respect for those who keep us free, those who serve and protect as first responders, and those who are elected to lead our great nation. Can you disagree?? Yes, and you should do it respectfully.

We have many veterans my extended family. My dad and his three brothers all served. A few years ago, I purchased memorial bricks to be placed around the flagpole at the Benson VFW Post 2503.

From the far right, my Grandfather, Father, and two Uncles. The family served in WWI, WWII, and Korea. Proud of them all.

A few years ago, I petitioned the Army to receive my dad’s medals. Two Bronze Stars. We never knew.

Veterans Day isn’t about free meals, it isn’t about a sale at JC Penney or Nebraska Furniture Mart. It is about those who
who served. Those who came home and those who did not. Those who came home and settled into mundane lives, all the while thanking their God that they returned home. Those who returned home but are still fighting a worse war because it is a war within themselves.

The Band of Brothers and Sisters extends through all branches, none are omitted. The example of their brotherhood is amazing. They are always there for each other. When you have entrusted your life to another soldier, you can say you are comrades, brothers in arms.

God Bless all of you. And may God continue to bless America. What do you think of on Veterans Day? Leave a comment, like the blog post and my site, and you will be entered to win a $50 Visa Gift Card. Drawing on December 1, 2019. Thank you for reading and see you tomorrow!