Saturday, March 12, 2011

Life In The Fast Lane

I suppose my idea of life in the fast lane might seem very different from most people’s idea of it. When most people envision that statement, they think of rushing out to parties, clubs, dances, and other such social events. For me, life in the fast lane means a life filled with family, work, and responsibility. It means meeting yourself coming and going, because there is too little time in the day. It means staying up late in order to get the things done that didn’t get done during the rest of the day. It means using a little bit more gas, because I make extra trips to the homes of family who need my assistance. It means keeping my cell phone on and with me at all times, so that if I get that call saying that someone has fallen, I can go to them…even at 3:00 in the morning.

Sometimes I get weary, I’ll admit that, but I can’t say I would change what my life is. There is something to be said for being needed. It is rewarding to know that because of what you do, the life of another is made easier and better. Whether it is helping with my grandchildren or my mom and my in-laws, I know that what I do gives comfort and peace of mind. I love my family, and I enjoy nothing more than spending time with them, in any capacity.

Yes, I lead a very busy life. I work, walk, care for others, blog, Facebook, Twitter, bowl, read, spend time with family…basically I live my life. Yes, it is life in the fast lane, but I guess that is the only way to get into my life, everything I want most to have in it, and that is ok by me.

Friday, March 11, 2011

World War II

My dad joined the Army Air Force in March of 1943. The Army Air Force was a branch of the service that was pretty much unique to its time, and no longer exists today. Dad was trained at Miami Beach, Florida, Gulfport, Mississippi, and Dyersburg, Tennessee. He was then stationed at the 8th Air Force Bomber Station at Great Ashfield, Suffolk, England as a member of the 385th Bomber Group for the next 8 ½ months. Dad was the top turret gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress and also served as the flight engineer. At the time of his discharge, he had reached the rank of Staff Sergeant.

During his service, he took part in two major aerial engagements including the D-Day attack on Normandy and the England-Africa shuttle bombing of the Messerschmitt aircraft factories in Regensburg. He was decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross, signifying extraordinary achievement, courage, coolness and skill while participating is numerous bombing attacks on military and industrial targets in Germany and installations of the enemy ahead of the advancing Allied Armies in Western Europe, Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters, signifying his shooting down 4 German fighter planes, and two gold stars, signifying his part in two aerial engagements.

Another notable experience that my dad had during his career was when the plane was coming back to base after a bombing run, and the landing gear would not come down. My dad then hung upside down in the open bomb bay doors area, while being held onto by several men, and hand cranked the gear down, getting it locked just moments before the landing.

My dad rarely spoke of the war, and never thought of himself as a hero, but I know better, as did, I’m sure, the men he saved by making sure they could land safely. I’m so proud of you Dad!! I love and miss you very much!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Our Friend Marge

Today I went to the funeral of a long time friend of ours. It’s strange that you can know someone for a long time, and yet be quite shocked at the things you didn’t know about them. Marge was 90 years old when she went home, but she just never seemed that old. She was always full of life and very feisty. Everyone who knew her…loved her.

So the new things I learned about her today, is that she was in the Navy and this little tiny woman, who was no bigger than a minute, was trained as a mechanic in the Navy, and served as a mechanic in Hawaii. I can no more imagine her as a mechanic than I can imagine that I can sprout wings. I was shocked and amazed.

Now her love for bowling, gambling, bingo, and cards, were things just about everyone knew about Marge. In fact the bowling alley is where I first came to know Marge. She seemed always to be there. She did bowl a lot!! When she wasn’t doing the other 3 things she loved to do.

Another thing I didn’t know, and found very interesting, is that she moved to Casper, Wyoming by looking on a map when she decided she wanted to move out West. She came here by herself, made a life for herself, got married, and stayed. That is amazing. What great courage that shows. Most women would never even consider such a thing, and yet Marge not only considered it, but made it happen.

Isn't it odd how you can know someone, and not really know them. Yes, she was an amazing lady! And many, many people were blessed to have known her. And now she lives with Jesus, and we will see her again. So good bye for now Marge, til we all meet again.

Friday, January 21, 2011

My Uncle Bill

My Dad's older brother turns 89 years old today, January 21st. Uncle Bill has always been my favorite uncle on my dad's side. We didn't get to see him as much as I would have liked, but when he brought his family down to visit from Superior, Wisconsin, or whenever we went up there to visit, it was always very special.

My memories of our visits are too numerous to go into here, but one of the biggest is Cribbage. It was a game that my uncle loved, and I wanted to learn, so he taught me to play. We would play every time one of our families visited the other. We played for hours. I seldom won, because Uncle Bill was very good, and he didn't believe in "letting you win" a game. This made the victories very sweet. I would have known if he was letting me win, and I would have hated it. I learned the game very well, and I learned good sportsmanship, because you see he was a good winner and a good loser. When I won he made me feel like I had really accomplished something. We loved the game so much, that he even tried very hard to figure out a way to play by mail. That was back in the day before people had their own computers, so there were no online games. Try as we might, we never could come up with a workable way to play Cribbage by mail...unfortunately.

My Uncle Bill converted an old bus into a "motor home" for his family to travel in. Man, that was something! We loved to ride around in that, and since it would hold us all, it was the mode of transportation when our families got together. I remember one time, when we cousins were little, and we had gone for ice cream. There were about 5 of us little kids, including his youngest son, Jimmy eating at the table in the bus. Uncle Bill said, "The first one who spills, gets to lick it up." Well, it took about 1 minute for Jimmy to spill his ice cream...on the floor. So Uncle Bill, choking back a laugh said, "Well, lick it up." Jimmy turned several shades of green, and started to get down from his chair. Uncle Bill yelled through his laughter, "Eeewww, don't lick it up!!!" A very relieved Jimmy, watched as his dad cleaned it up. We all thought it was the funniest thing...including Jimmy, who was a big kidder himself, and always loved a good joke. (Jimmy passed away February 1, 2006, from Mesothelioma, and I will always miss his humor).

I remember one time when I was about 11 or so, my dad, my uncle and I were going somewhere while we were there. It seems like it was to a cabin he owned, but I really don't recall for sure. As kids, my sisters and I had been allowed to sit on Dad's lap and "drive" the car...or steer while he worked the pedals...something you can't do these days. I asked Uncle Bill if I could do that, and he said, “Sure.” So I was sitting on his lap "driving" and the car started to drift toward the ditch. I said, "Uncle Bill, the car is going toward the ditch!" His response was, "Well, you better get it back in your lane then." He was so nonchalant and I steered it back on the road. I learned to keep the car on the road that day. I'll never forget it.

My uncle has always loved genealogy, and it is he who sparked my own interest in it. He has traced our family back many generations, has many photos, letters and other family memorabilia that he has collected over the years. I have learned so much from him about my heritage. I will always be grateful to him for this fun, and challenging hobby. I'm still looking for more family information.

My memories of Uncle Bill will always be fond ones, of life in a very different time...a time I will always miss a little. Happy birthday Uncle Bill. I love you.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I have moved

To my followers, I have moved my blog to a new site and I would love to have you follow me there. My new site is I hope to see you there.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Being Judgemental

I read a tweet made by someone I follow on Twitter today, and started to consider the reasons we are judgemental. "When you judge others you don't define them, you define yourself." author unknown.

This quote started me thinking about why people judge others. We have all been guilty of it. Sometimes, I suppose it is because we are insecure in our own skin, so we judge others to make ourselves feel better. I often wonder if this is really where bullying comes from. I don't think bullies just hate everybody for no reason, but rather because they don't much like themselves. They bully because it makes them feel like they are bigger or stronger than others. And the "targets" they choose are always smaller and weaker than they are, so they are judging these people to be of inferior strength, and therefore in a position to make the bully feel better about themselves.

Another reason we judge, is because we have a preconceived idea of what people should be in order to fit the mold we are trying to place them in. This may or may not be intentional. In our jobs, we sometimes judge people to see if they fit a mold for a product we are trying to sell them. Other times we look at someone who is, say waiting on us in a restaurant, and cringe because they look different than we think a waiter or waitress should. Maybe we are right in these judgements and maybe not, but are we too quick to judge.

I know there are times when we need to judge others, if only for our own safety, but when we choose to allow our judgement of other people to define who we are in a negative way, we begin to see others only from the negative perspective of humanity that we carry inside of us. If we assume that all people who look or act differently than we do, are bad...then what does that make us?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Accepting People For Who They Are

Many people had yesterday off to celebrate Martin Luther King Day. As I was relaxing at home, I thought about the differences in people. We are all very different, and most of us would agree that being different is a good thing, but sometimes those differences can be very annoying, to say the least. When people don't share your core values, and each one feels that they are right or justified, arguments can ensue. Both parties can feel very strongly about their beliefs. So what is the solution?

Well, there probably isn't a solution that will be accepted by both parties, and I think we have to accept that. Sometimes we must agree to disagree, but along with tolerence, I believe we must have equal respect for the feelings of others. We all say things not knowing that they are hurtful to others, but I think that when we know they are hurtful, we should make our best effort not to say or do those things around that person. Does this violate free speech? I don't think so. I think it only adds compassion to free speech. Choosing not to say or do something in the presence of certain people so they are not offended. Is that really so very hard? It can't be made a law, except our own personal law, but it can be so easily practiced. I don't mean to say that we all need to tip toe around, just be somewhat aware. And on the other side of that coin, just because someone says something that offends you, doesn't mean it was aimed at you. A cute little saying in the movie "Miss Congeniality II" has always stuck in my head. It goes like this, "Everything is not about you!" How very true that is. In this "me, me, me" world, I think we have forgotten that little fact.