I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, November 11, 2012

What a week that was

Leaves outside my door
Does anybody else remember a TV show that was called "That Was the Week That Was"? I remember it very well, but I'm not sure why. I just learned from that link that it was originally a BBC program in 1962-63 with David Frost, and then it came to the US in late 1963, running for the next two years. I remember it as a satirical and rather amusing take on the previous week's news. Since I was a young, impressionable woman at the time, I must be remembering it because it was so novel. I wonder what the program would have done with the past week.

Election Day last Tuesday I watched the returns coming in and since I expected that the polls were accurate, I presumed it would be very close. I spent the evening changing the channel between Fox News and MSNBC, and as you can imagine, I observed very different reactions to the results. As a lifelong Democrat, I was very happy that things went the way they did, but I began to get a little uncomfortable with the over-the-top reactions from both sides.

We are a very divided country, and I felt bad for my Republican friends and family, while still being very glad to see that many issues that mean a great deal to me have been upheld by a majority of the populace. The fact that we will have twenty women serving in the Senate next year is really groundbreaking, and every one of the men who made remarks about rape was defeated. Women stood up and voted their conscience. Even I had an opportunity to vote against one of them here in Washington state. That said, it's time to move on to governance and stop with all the recriminations and gloating. Please. I had to unfriend a couple of people on Facebook because of some really hateful remarks.

Moving on to the rest of the week now. It's Veterans Day here in the United States and Remembrance Day in Canada and the UK. I have so many veterans in my own life, and I would like to take a moment to remember and thank them. I have one of these flags displayed in my living room, in a very nice box. It was presented to me by my son's Commanding
Officer at his military funeral. Although he did not die in combat, it didn't matter: he still received a flag with three spent shells folded inside, representing Duty, Honor, and Country. Chris' birthday was yesterday, so he has been very much on my mind. He has been gone for ten years now, and the pain and suffering that I had to deal with then have become a memory, and those things I remember about Chris are now softened by time. But he will always be my son and will always be present in my heart. I was hoping he would visit me in a dream, but it's been a while now since that has happened. I still miss him. I will always miss him.

My father was in the Air Force, and I have so many memories of him in uniform. He was such a wonderful man and was only 62 when he died of a heart attack. Now that I am pushing seventy, it seems like he was so young when we lost him! He entered the military as a young enlisted man and retired as an officer, holding the rank of Major. When my niece Allison (who is a Lt. Colonel in the Army) was promoted to that rank, she asked my sister Norma Jean and me to be present to take my dad's Major leaves off her uniform and replace them with her Lt. Colonel leaves. It was a very moving ceremony, and in some ways my father was there with us. Allison is still in the Army and has been to Iraq and Afghanistan several times. We are all grateful for her coming back unharmed!

My nephew Joseph (Joey to me) has been in the Army for several years and continues to serve. My brother Buz was in the Air Force, and I'm sure I have several other nieces and nephews whose service I am forgetting, but I plead old age for not remembering exactly. So you can see I have plenty to be thankful for today. My childhood was spent living on military bases, and my first husband was also in the Air Force. The military has shaped my life in many ways, so today I can look back and give thanks for my wonderful family.

I finished my jury duty summons by being excused from serving, although last Monday I had to report and go through an orientation session. There were many more prospective jurors than were needed. While we were receiving our briefing, one of the two trials was dismissed. I was among those told to call back that evening to see if we might be needed later in the week, but when I called I was told my jury duty service was over. Perhaps next time that I'm called I will serve on a jury. It became obvious to me that the lower your juror number is, the more likely you are to be on a jury. Mine was 358, so there was little chance I would serve.

The weather has turned really cold, and a brisk wind made it seem much colder yesterday. I wandered around the dwindling Farmers' Market after taking a walk with the Fairhaven walking group and then headed home. Smart Guy cooked up the wonderful organic veggies that I bought at the market, and I settled in to watch a couple of my favorite shows I had missed during the week. We've got cable, and On Demand gives me a chance to view those shows without having to remember to record them, as we did in the old days. At one time we had tapes of previously recorded shows; how much the world has changed in just the past few years. Nobody has tapes any more or owns a VCR! Even DVDs are going away, as everything is becoming available through other means.

Yes, life moves on, things change, and our world continues to evolve. But what a week we just went through! This coming Friday I will fly to Texas to be with my family and celebrate Thanksgiving together, along with my sister Fia's 50th  birthday and my 70th. Norma Jean will be there, and I'm looking forward to seeing her in person. Since we talk on video chat several times a week, she said she would hold a picture frame around her face so I would recognize her! Have a wonderful week, and I'll be checking in next Sunday from Texas. Until then, I will be sending you lots of warm fuzzies.


Dee said...

Dear DJan, your posting today brought up a number of topics that I could rumble and chatter on about because I find myself full of opinions! But I'll resist and simply say that I, too, am a lifelong Democrat and am pleased with the election, but that I hope the Democratic Party does not view it as a mandate.

Everyone--the Tea Party reps who signed that "no-tax-raises" pledge, all Republicans, and all Democrats must bring compromise to the negotiating table. Quite frankly, it's the Tea Party that worries me the most. They seem recalcitrant.

The military has never been part of my life. My father was blind in one eye and so wasn't drafted for World War II and my brother was too young for the Korean War and too old for Vietnam.

But I've known men in the military and find myself welling up inside when I think of their sacrifice. Being deployed so often as many of them have in the last 11 years seems to me superhuman.

And I believe that our government must do everything--EVERYTHING--it can for military families. We must do something so that health care and benefits and jobs are all there for these men and women returning home after their stint in hell.

And to that I can add only, let us pursue peace.

MissDazey said...

I am voting this blog post my favorite of the day. Thank-you for the sincere and honest story. Angels on you and all who are remembering Veterans today.

Rubye Jack said...

I remember That was the Week that Was quite well also. It was funny and it was so good because it said things like they really were. I don't think it would be tolerated well today. Ha.

My father was a career officer also, and the Army a big part of my childhood. I can't imagine what my family life would have been like if my family had not had that structure.

Your story about your son is a very touching one and I'm happy the military gave you the flag to honor him and in memory of him.

Winter seems to be coming into Oklahoma today. Leaves are falling and there is that special stillness in the air that is so refreshing and rather invigorating. Take care my friend.

Linda Myers said...

My father was a military officer, in the Marine Corps, and I've lived in many houses. Maybe that's why, as a mature grownup, I've lived in my current house for 17 years and have no plans to move. It's nice to have put down roots.

I just received my certification as a mediator. I wish I could go to Washington and volunteer my time to help minds and ears open up.

Rian said...

"...it's time to move on to governance and stop with all the recriminations and gloating."
I definitely agree. Let's move on. I too have read some 'nasty' stuff on FaceBook... and it's not helping anything. We need to pull together and not apart.

and here's wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving in Texas, DJan!

Jackie said...

Remembering your son Chris, your father, your niece Allison as she is still serving our country, your nephew, Joey, your brother Buz and your other relatives whose service is beyond measure to us all...thank you to all of your family members, Jan.
May today be a day that we can remember those who served and are serving so that we can hold elections without fear of repercussion, have freedom of speech to voice our opinions and our differences. Thank you to all of these men and women.
My Daddy (who is now 86) served in the U.S. Navy in WWII. He was in the invasion of the Philippines aboard the USS Appalachian. He was also in Nagaski and Hiroshima after the atomic bombs were dropped. He talks very little about his time during the war. I'm sure that he has seen things that we cannot even begin to imagine. It is for these brave men and women's service for which I am humbly grateful. Words will never be able to express how I feel. Thank you to all of them...from the bottom of my heart.

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

That Was The Week That Was (TWTWTW) was cutting-edge in its time. I wonder whether it would seem tame today. I, too, am a lifelong Democrat and I was so relieved and happy with the results. I'm not surprised by some of the bitterness after the fact, but I hope those elected will rise to the occasion and show how they can work together. Save travels, and enjoy your time with family!

Friko said...

Dear DJan , TWIII was a huge hit here and is still held up as an example for satirical news shows.

We have no connections with the Military now; there was only my husband’s adopted son who became a Marine and is still suffering the trauma of lying among the corpses in Northern Ireland now. The grandchildren aren’t interested, although one of mine briefly flirted with the idea of enrolling. I am glad we talked him out of it.

You are right, hasn’t technology changed our lives. For the better, I think. I wouldn’t want to go back to the dark ages before we had smart phones and everything else we have. (Not that I have everything myself - old ladies don’t need half the stuff that’s available, I would hardly have an opportunity to use it.)

Mel said...

I'm oddly hopeful that our government will rise above the petty and work for a future best for all.

My family is full of veterans too, and it fills me with pride and wonder to think of their sacrifices.

I hope you get that dream you're hoping for soon. I keep wishing for a dream with Dad in it that isn't so poignant or sad.

Your leaf photo is wonderful. So is this post. Thank you.

CrazyCris said...

I know how you feel about having to delete people from Facebook because of their political vitriol DJan. I've been trying really hard to keep my cool because I have had 2 contacts who are so, so... argh! Let's just say the Tea Party probably seems to centric for them! Unfortunately they are one of my uncles and a cousin (father and daughter) in Virginia and I can't just sweep them away. Basically we've all just ignored them these past several weeks... not one of their horrible posts got a like or comment by anyone.

Sadly they represent a certain tendency (like the Tea Party) to see everyone else as "the enemy" and you can't compromise with the enemy! So I'm worried Obama will once again be blocked from getting much done by the extreme Republicans in House and Senate. I'm just praying the more moderate Republicans will be willing to break ranks and cross the aisle. And that the Democrats will tend them a hand and give them a reason to cross. All this sticking to your guns BS only belongs in an old John Wayne movie, not in a modern democracy that has a lot of issues to fix! :o(

As for Nov-11th, I've had little to no experience with the military, other than the fact that both my grandfathers served (US grandfather in WW2, Spanish grandfather died during the Civil War). I once considered joining the Air Force (in High School I was invited to apply to the Air Force Academy) but decided against a military life, and chose to come study in Spain instead. I admire the people who choose it though, it takes a lot of courage to do so! One of my US cousins is married to an officer in the Army, and we worried for her when he was sent to Afghanistan. Fortunately he came back unharmed to meet his beautiful little daughter. :o)

Anonymous said...

Hope you have a great trip. It will be nice to see your siblings again.

Rita said...

I remember that show--as far as I remember liking it a lot. I was 12.

My dad was a Navy man, but he couldn't enlist until toward the end of WWII. He was stationed in the Philippines for a while, I know. He never talked about it much. We had kids we knew killed in Viet Nam when I was in high school...and ones that came back and were never the same. Just as they are coming back now.

I agree--they put their lives on the line. They deserve better treatment when they return and some assistance. War is so horrible. You'd think, as a species, we'd get tired of the cost and the aftermath.

I still have a VCR! And cassettes! LOL! But then I am a digital dinosaur who has been drug into the new world of electronics little by little--and I hang onto some old ways by my fingernails. ;)

Have a good time!! :):)

Red said...

For you it's an understatement that it was quite week. Anniversaries of losses are always heavy times. I had not realized that you lost Chris around Remembrance day.
Have a great Thanksgiving with your family.

Linda Reeder said...

DJan, I really enjoyed today's post, as usual. Yes, it was quite a week for politics in this country. I think my nephew unfriended me. He is very conservative, a newly certified member of the Army special forces, and I have exchanged challenging comments with him. I think the loss on so many of his issues made him draw in, and he doesn't want to hear from us "wrong thinkers" anymore.
I do have trouble with young people being so narrow in their thinking. We have a lifetime to get closed minded. Youth should be a time to explore all ideas.
But that also hints at my military conections. I have family who have served, or are serving, and I especially appreciate the sacrifice many have made, including the families. I do think there are many ways of serving our country and our fellow human kind, though, and I am not so enamored with warfare, which is the purpose of the military. I like that there were Veterans For Peace marching in the local parade here.
I am excited for you and your upcoming trip to Texas, to see family, for thanksgiving, and for your big birthday. I hope you have a great trip.

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

One never gets over the loss of loved ones. Yes it's been quite the week for you. That Chris has his BD right before the holiday makes it all the harder.
It will be nice for you to be with siblings for th Thanksgiving time. I lost my brother years ago and sis and I know have an annual summer trip. The rest of the year is fairly quiet. Her life is so very different from mine.
That you are excited to meet up with Norma Jean makes me smile.
Glad that you allow me to share these moments of your life with you. Thank you for that.
As for those elections all I can say is I'm glad for its outcome. I rather dreaded how the world might be had it not been so.

Trish said...

I hope Obama gets us out of afghanistan before 2014. I don't understand why we're there, what we hope to accomplish. It's a useless war, rather like Vietnam. Women did speak up in this election and they tipped it in obama's favor.

A good week, for sure. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Donna B. said...

Hi DJan...it's been way to long, but I had to stop in to say HI and to send you a hug...

I remember that show....and I could not agree more about being glad the election is OVER! I too am very please with how it ended, but the process always upsets me. I had to unfriend or remove feeds on both friends and family....in addition, I had to turn off the ringer on our land line! Being a swing state, we were getting 10-20 calls a day from 7am to 9pm DAILY!!!

I too honor the Veterans. Our youngest son graduated from Marine boot camp and training and is now in Virginia for INTEL school. My Dad just turned 92 and still a proud Marine despite his Alzheimer's. My brother also was in the 82nd Airborne.

I honor Chris's memory with you and send you special heartfelt hugs...You amaze me.

I am hoping we can finally do some face time in January. My oldest daughter is expecting their 3rd son in April and my youngest daughter is getting married in July. Lots going on...

love you my friend...

Anne said...

A wonderful post. When you get back from your Thanksgiving trip let's get together for lunch. I will be in B'ham every Wed for a painting group or you could come to the island.