Long Weekend/End of Summer

I used to love when we would go back to school the day after Labor Day. A fresh, new path of learning, and getting to be with our friends. We’d been with a few of them all summer, riding bikes, playing “Bonanza,” and going to the library.

We were all big fans of the western that was very popular when we were kids. Yes, my friends Peggy and Karen will tell you I always had to have “Little Joe” be my boyfriend, Peggy liked “Adam,” and I don’t remember who that left for Karen. We’d spend hours, pretending to ride the Ponderosa, in search of cattle rustlers, gold miners, and wagon trains who crossed our land with sheep. Any cattle farmer will tell you sheep totally destroy the grass the cattle feed on. Or at least that’s what they said on “Bonanza.”

I see those shows now and think how very hard minorities had it in those times. The Chinese in California and the like were all laundry workers, maybe miner cooks, but servants nonetheless. We won’t talk about how the Native Americans were treated, much less described as savages. Horrible!

Whether you rode on the Wagon Train, drove cattle on Rawhide, or were a thrice-widowed rancher like on Bonanza, there were nuances of only white people should have this vast land and all it’s riches. I’m so glad we finally understand we are all created equally, and God’s earth is meant for all of us. We messed up with our assumption of superiority.

Yes, folks will disagree that we’re still not “there” and I know we’re not. We need to move ahead, not backwards. I was a high school kid in the late 60’s and know what racial tension is. I also know what the war protesters brought about. No war is a “good” war; we need to quit referring to it as “that awful war, blah, blah, blah.”

The damage our Veterans experienced lasts today; I’ve heard many stories from Veterans who were hurt mentally and spat upon. Talk about trying to adjust to society and life at home! The Babe has told me he was sent home alone. No de-briefing, no group going home. Him, alone on a commercial flight. They didn’t give you money or a ticket back then. He didn’t even know if he had enough money to buy a ticket. It hit him; for the last 11 months and 29 days, he was so focused on trying to stay alive on the DMZ in Vietnam, he knew next to nothing about life as a citizen of the United States of America. Frightening.

Lots of flashbacks, lots of bad dreams. I believe this led not only to his alcoholism but many alcoholics from Vietnam, Korea, WWII, and WWI. Morphine during or after surgery makes the nightmares start again, it’s on his list of meds he’s allergic to. Nearly every combat veteran I know who saw “Saving Private Ryan” had nightmares for awhile. It’s human nature. It’s in our need to survive. He stopped drinking over 25 years ago, and is a good man, full of love. Lucky me. He and Sandy, the mother of his kids, became friends after the kids were grown, she and I had a wonderful friendship, too. Again, lucky me. Cancer took her over ten years ago. So sad.

As you picnic, party, water ski, swim, and gather this Labor Day weekend, remember:

America was built on the working man and woman; celebrate their incredible achievements. And as you do that, remember:

It was a Veteran who fought for the privileges we have: Holidays to celebrate, freedom to gather, freedom to worship, freedom to declare all of us to be equal. We have a way to go, yes; we’ll get there faster since we are free to make changes to our society. Have a beautiful start to your weekend, and we’ll see each other tomorrow.

This is Thursday!

It’s a win when I know what day it is so far all day long! So far, so good. I’m not trying to make it any other day, and that may be because the Babe and I have meetings for the Post and Auxiliary later tonight. It is hard to keep up some weeks.

I read something this morning about keeping in the present, which adult children of alcoholics have a problem doing. It’s something many others do too. Coulda, woulda, shoulda. Judge Judy says that all the time. And she’s right. That thinking changes nothing.

“I coulda been a contender,” famously quoted in “A Streetcar Named Desire” film.

“I would have done thing differently,” me, looking back on my life, knowing what I know now.

“I Should Have Known Better,” by the Beatles.

The second one could be any of us. I don’t regret anything that has happened before in my life. I would have preferred the Babe been my children’s father. He is a wonderful stepfather and grandfather. If any of us knew then what we know now, we all probably would have had different lives, and wouldn’t be who we are right now. As I said, I don’t regret what I’ve been through during my time on this earth. I am who I am because of it. I was dumb, then smart, then dumb, etc., and so it goes.

For us ACOA, it’s a matter of boundaries. Just like other issues we have, this relates to boundaries. You have to keep past in it’s own area. Otherwise, it overcomes present and future. I used to carry things forward, thinking it would help protect me. It didn’t. It only served to make me miserable. After my kids were gone from home and two moved out of state, it was hard for me not to be depressed. At 48 or so, I thought my life’s purpose was over. Raising kids wasn’t the only thing I could do with my life, but I didn’t know that then. No prior life experience allowed me to comprehend that, take it, and run with it.

Struggling can help build character, and boy, has it. So has learning to set boundaries. I’m still learning, and can guarantee you, if you are just starting to set boundaries, people are probably not as happy with you. The ones who are angry aren’t able to manipulate you anymore. True stuff. They weren’t your friends, anyhow. Or your true family.

Boundaries should also be honored by the one setting them in order to work. If you cross over, just to be nice, a good sister, or the fun dad, you’re telling everyone you’re not serious about the boundaries. If you don’t honor your own boundaries, why should anyone else? Your example matters.

The future is spotless. Nothing is wrong or right with us. We get to decide that. Live your own life. Now. Don’t look back, you’re not going that way! You may need to learn self-care so you can prepare for your future. I know myself well enough now, I’m certain if I’m over-tired, hungry, or can’t figure something out, I need to put it away, have a protein snack, and go to sleep early. It’s a necessity.

If you are still working for a living, you may think you have no say so how you spend your time. While you do have to do the work you were hired to do, it is up to you if you do it with joy, glad you have a career, or if you are curmudgeonly about it, groaning and complaining all the way. Many people would be thrilled to have your job or career. Gratitude helps us find more for which to be grateful. Good things will come your way.

It is still quite frigid out there. Make sure you dress warmly if you’re out where it’s cold. Spring is in the future! Thanks for reading. See you tomorrow.

Happiness and Freedom!

Yes, today is a new national holiday. We haven’t had one named since the 1980s when we added Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. He was a great man of peace and freedom. And now, we have Juneteenth. Communication was terrible in the days of the Civil War, and word had not made it to the great state of Texas about the freeing of the slaves. That or the owners refused to communicate that message.

However it happened, I just read on June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger, who fought for the Union, led a force of soldiers from Galveston, Texas. His mission was to deliver two very important messages: The Civil was over, the Union won, and his troops were to enforce the end of slavery, which was declared by Abraham Lincoln several years earlier. Unfortunately, not all slaves were granted the freedom they so justly deserved. No human should be a slave to another.

The South did not want to free their slaves. They still mistreated them and defied the law. Things did not improve for many years. We still have a way to go. We still have a way to go for freedoms for women and LGBQT people, too. It is not a single group that still fights for equality. No group, however, should have more rights than another. No one should lose their freedoms, either.

We will get there. We have to. To survive as the greatest nation in the world, we need to achieve what we were seeking when we all immigrated to America. Freedom. And from that freedom comes gratitude, tolerance, kindness, and love. We help each other. One group doesn’t support the other, but we teach and provide guidance. That’s what we do.

I get pretty upset with people who hate our flag or automatically think, “they are racist,” when they see her wave, in all her majesty. It is current, representing our growth from thirteen British colonies, who fougt the Revolutionary War. They won their freedom from the Brits. Glad we didn’t grow to 50 colonies! We would have no religious freedom, we’d mostly be the Church of England, pay outrageous taxes to the Crown, and no one would have blinked when Harry and Megan decided to live here.

The America I grew up in is not here anymore. That is both good AND bad, really. Good because of medical breakthroughs, and the wars we have fought, the freedoms we’ve regained. Could you imagine if Hitler hadn’t been stopped? Could you imagine if North Korea or China ruled our world? There would be no protest at all about our flag, and no angry one-hit-wonder Grammy award winner grousing. Too bad they feel that way. I believe they’re in the minority because of their opinion. Not because of their color.

The bad part about this not being the America I grew up in anymore is the farmers are not respected anymore by a lot of folks. Neither are Blue Collar workers. In the 1980s, the nation lived by the mantra, “You can make more money sitting down than you can standing up.” The computer industry boomed. You know what? You still need mechanics, skilled carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and a plethora of other trades. We need them. We always have. Add to that cooks, bakers, chefs, and those who prepare the food you go out to eat often through the week. When we were kids, we went out rarely for dinner. There was no McDonalds. We went to a restaurant my parents loved, and we ate spaghetti, which I’m sure was the cheapest thing on the menu. It was very special because we didn’t do it very often.

As for me? I am grateful and extremely happy to wake up in America every day. I always have been and always will be. Many brave men and women served under this flag to ensure we get to wake up under the flag of freedom. You will hear no complaint from me or the Babe. Have a great day, today, this Juneteenth. Be grateful. Be Kind. We all need it. Be happy as a baby who giggles from their toes on up. That’s happy! See you tomorrow!

The Truth and Nothing But the Truth

Cartoon character Garfield is quoted as saying; “The truth shall set you free but first it will make you miserable.” I would modify that to say, “YOUR truth shall set you free but first it will make you miserable.” Yes, I’ve been miserable by my truth; my first marriage was never a good one, I lied to myself about everything and was not one to raise my voice and say, “This isn’t right.” I went along to get along. People were shocked when the Ken and Barbie of the neighborhood split up.

Denial is powerful, especially when your world is small. You may have few new friends, your friends are family, if you don’t have a job or career. You live in an old neighborhood, with retired folks who are your friends. I would see how unhappy their lives were. They complained about their spouses, living or dead. Is this what life is? I couldn’t believe it. I was so unhappy, I rarely smiled. “This can’t be right,” I thought.

Yes, the Babe and I are far from perfect. But we are perfect for each other. We are blunt but not hurtful with each other when things aren’t going well. Yes, the truth hurts sometimes. We check ourselves and learn from the kerfuffles of living with another human. Isn’t kerfuffle a great word? I heard Judge Judy say it, It just isn’t used that much. It’s a commotion or fuss, especially by conflicting views.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

Humans often want their own way. I find myself tamping down disagreement; not to “go along to get along,” but to check my ego and realize two people live here, and we both should be able to decorate, garden, whatever we want to do. My truth now is pick my battles. The Babe does the same. It’s called being a grownup. It’s also what you do when you love someone. It’s part of being a couple. Equality in marriage is possible, and it’s wonderful. It’s now part of my truth. And the Babe’s.

If you embrace the truth you find a way to deal with whatever problems are around you. You have to make decisions that may hurt. Change and growth do indeed hurt. Rejecting the old truth for the new real truths creates room for growth. It’s scary and exciting at the same time. The insights you gain help you dissect your current life and learn the skills to make the hard choices. With choice you begin to have a voice. We talked about Choices and Voices this week if you missed it.

Don’t get me wrong; I had to experience life as it was for me in order to learn and grow to where I am now. My soul is satisfied with life. I loved the part of my life when I was a Mom. My kids were the best job I ever had. They grew and left! No one told me what life would be like without them. I also knew I couldn’t keep them from having their own lives. Letting go of them was painful. And now, I’m learning how to fill that void. Writing has opened my eyes and given me a clear direction of how I hope to spend my next thirty years or so. Lord willing, of course!

It’s a warm but very windy day today. The Babe and I are both working on projects today. I love it when we’re both here, doing our own thing. He often comes in my office studio and announces, “Break time.” We both stop, sit down and have some water or other beverage, and talk. I enjoy that so much. Sometimes the break lasts all afternoon, but that’s OK. Whatever we’re doing, it’ll still be there tomorrow. I’m hoping it’s less windy downstairs on the patio. I can listen to the rest of my Kid Lit training. Then Cartney McGuigan (my illustrator), and I will conquer the Kid Lit World! We meet again in a few weeks, so I have some work to do – after I learn what to do! Busy and productive is always good!

BTW, Happy Birthday to Cartney! She turned 18 this week, and the world is now before her. She has a sound plan to begin. I’m excited for her. This young woman is considering all of the possibilities before her and planning how to get there. This is how life should be approached, my friends.

Thank you for reading today. You know how I appreciate it. Have a beautiful spring-like day today. Hope you’re not dealing with the wind, too! It’s brutal. Our new flag is snapping in the wind. What a great sound, though. The sound of our freedom. God Bless America, and all of us! See you tomorrow!