Monday, May 31, 2010

Doctor Lambed Kroner, Sonny "Pappy" Calta

Memorial Day 2010

Every year around this time he'd go to the cemetery to plant flowers next to the grave stones in the family plot. It was just something you did out of respect, a sense of duty felt, and in hopes that others would remember. It's not the only time he visited the family plot but at this time of year it was the time to see the graveyard full of fresh flowers, to see that the dead hadn't been forgotten. Not all the graves were decorated and he wondered if those there interred had been forgotten or if their families had died out or if all their offspring had migrated too far away to return just to decorate a grave.
He remembered going to visit the cemetery in the early 1950's with his aunt Nellie. In those days she called it Decoration Day. She always hoped that the lilacs would be at a their peak so that she could pick a couple huge bouquets to place in front of her father's tombstone. If not, she'd pick a bunch of flowers from her flower beds; tulips, irises, what ever was in bloom those last days of May.

She would explain to him with a certain pride as well as matter-of-factness that her father, his great grandfather, had served in the GAR and had fought in the Civil War. That that was why they decorated the graves every year; to remember the soldiers who had died in the service of their country in times of war. Even though JNL hadn't died in that war, in time it became tradition to remember any and all military veterans who had offered up their young lives in service of the USA. In those days his great grandfather was the only veteran laid to rest in that plot.
Today Doctor Lambed Kroner was decorating the plot that held not only his Civil War veteran great grandfather but also his Uncle Ed who served in WWI and his own father, a veteran of WWII. Just across the lane were the graves of his cousins who had fought in the Korean conflict. There were some years when he would decorate their graves too; if their grand children were too busy or perhaps just forgot.
Lambed wasn't really a doctor, but when he served his country as a Fleet Marine Corpsman during the Vietnam "war", he had been called "Doc" by his Marine Corps compatriots. Returning home from the battlefield there was no grand welcome from his fellow Americans that was usually afforded returning American warriors of previous wars and conflicts. No, his service and sacrifices were recognized with disdain. Of course his family was happy for his return and others from his hometown, who had also served, had extended that regard for their shared experience. He was welcomed and encouraged to join the local VFW and American Legion. But nationwide there was clearly an un-appreciation for members of the US military. And so , "Doc" moved on with his life and integrated himself into the mainstream, obtained an education, married, and fathered children. His Service to country was relegated to the far recesses of his memory and were not discussed except in the rarest of instances and then only with those who had shared the same service.
Why now, 45 years later, did "Doc" decide, on Memorial Day 2010, to try to remember his war service to his country? It has much to do with the changed American attitude toward Viet Nam veterans. He also feels that tradition in family and country are import and if the stories fail to get told then history will obscure what happened and we as a culture may lose a portion of our history. There is a feeling of obligation to educate his fellow Americans on what has happened to make this country the envy of the rest of the world. Nothing like America just happens by itself out of the ether. It came about because of the actions of it populace and we each are obligated to remember if we wish this great culture to endure.

"Doc's" memories are dimmed be infrequent recall and purposeful repressions. But the encouragement of his daughter who served with pride in the USMC during Gulf War I, his name sake son who served aboard the USS Carl Vincent during the same war and his youngest who demonstrated a reverence for service and history when he accompanied his dad to the cemeteries and battle shores of Normandy are the driving forces causing "Doc' to tell his story so that they will know and can pass it along.


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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

We are here to accomplish a task and we are.

What a vast, boundless life unfolds before us! Ordinarily, we spend all our time comparing and discriminating between this and that, always looking around for something good to happen to us. Because of that, we become restless and anxious about everything. . . . We are constantly pursued by anxious misgivings that something bad will happen. As long as we base our lives on distinguishing between the better way and the worse way, we can never find absolute peace such that whatever happens is all right. When we let go of our thoughts that distinguish better from worse and instead see everything in terms of the universal self, we are able to settle upon a different attitude toward life—the attitude of magnanimous mind that whatever happens, we are living out self alone. Here a truly peaceful life unfolds.

kosho uchiyama


Monday, May 24, 2010

Gone fishin'

Never been one for fishing; probably gone fishing 6 or seven times in my life time. Once when I was 10 or twelve, my grand dad from Indiana took me fishing on the Oswegatchie; don't think either one of us had much fun that day. Did catch a rock bass or two, that's all.

Another time my friend Donny and I went fishin' down behind the lumber yard and I caught a salamander. Didn't have much fun that day either.

Took each of my kids fishing once or twice just to introduce them to it. And went fishing with my brother-in-law once too. Still, it was more perfunctory than enjoyable. Oh, and just so you know, my grandfather and my brother-in-law are inveterate fishermen. My middle son likes to fish and he's been real good at teaching his daughters how to have fun baiting hooks and catching bass off the dock in the good ol' summertime.

There is one fish tale in my past that gets told quite often when sittin' 'round just jawin' and chewin' the fat. Twenty-five years ago or so, on one of our trips down to Myrtle beach, my good friend Jimmy and I decided to take one of those deep sea fishing charters, and my son rel II decided to come along too since he loved to fish. We got up early and stopped at a local McD's for sausage and egg biscuits for breakfast.

We left port on what I'd say was a pretty good size fishing boat around 7 or 8 am. There were easily 30 or more guests aboard. The sea was relatively calm with those easy rolling waves 4 foot high or so. After our first stop proved fruitless, the captain decided to move to what he thought might produce a better result. As the boat slowly rocked over the waves I could feel the rumblings of seasickness begin in the pit of my stomach. Then that tell tale sign; the bicarb tasting salivation filled my mouth. But I was determined that this old sailor was not going to embarrass himself by heaving his guts over board. And after a few minutes the feeling of impending upchuckedness subsided. Jimmy says, "you OK?" "Yup ", says I, "it's just a simple matter of mind over matter. "

'Bout that time, number one son decides to go below and lay down, bein' that he's beginning to feel a little peaked hisself.

After a bit, the second spot also producing no response to the chum used for bait, we start chugging along to another spot that the crew says is sure to produce some results. A dozen or so of us are leaning on the rail of the port side feeling the breeze from the bow when of a sudden, without warning, the contents of my stomach surfaced and projected out of my mouth with incredible force, was picked up by the wind and impelled into the ear of my aft side neighbor which was inducement enough to cause her to commence barfing over the side.

I, embarrassed to high heaven, thought my friend Jim was going to die of apoplexy while rolling on the deck laughing so hard I wondered how he could catch his breath.

Needless to say, the rest of the cruise was anti-climactic; we caught no fish.
I no longer eat sausage biscuits from McD's or anywhere else for that matter.
I've never gone deep sea fishing again.
Jimmy, God rest his soul, I think is still laughing up in his heaven.

And more over, I once again apologize profusely to the lady whose ear served as a catcher's mitt for my partially digested breakfast.
-for more and more creative Magpie Tales, troll over here and drop a line in the old fishin' hole and listen to the magpies.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Monday, May 17, 2010

Blue Willow

Dishes in our house abound;
From days of yore until today,
An assortment will be found,
In various display.

China -cupboards over flow,
Kitchen shelves we fill.
Saucers in a greenhouse
Or on the window sill.

We have Mikasa from Japan
For all those special days;
Like Christmas and Thanksgiving,
And PFALTZGRAFF everyday.

William Sonoma's blue on white,
Fleur de lis is currently where it's at.
Imported wine pichers are used
When friends stop by to chat.

You might say my wife's a dish
Collector/magpie and all-
We never eat off blue willow,
It just hangs there on the wall.

Magpie Tales can be perused by clicking here.

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Throughout the years of my relatively short existence I've developed and/or taken up diverse hobbies and interests. Two that one could easily say have been life-long interests are reading and sports/exercise.
This weekend past I started reading a book titled "Mosses from an Old Manse" by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I've forgotten where I might have gotten the clue to order this book but for sure one might determine that it was from some reading or suggestion from the myriad of Internet pages I peruse in a day. There is a nagging thought in the far back recesses of my tortured mind the idea that a quote somewhere enticed me to investigate the above mentioned book.
Within the first few pages I was transported back to my third grade classroom with Mrs. Grey and the reading of an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson. I may as well have been reading a foreign language, since, while I recognized perhaps 50% of the words, and knew that 100% of the words were English language words, I failed to catch the gist of what was being imparted on the page or within the essay. You may know that Emerson and Hawthorne occupied space in the same community and at the same time in America's New England. I'm led to believe then that this style of writing was in fact a reflection of how people conversed back in those "olden days."
At some point in my formative years I recall reading the Scarlett Letter, a novel of modest success written by Mr. Hawthorne and I do not remember the reading as a slogging exercise. Be that as it might, I found the first two short stories of "Mosses" to be laborious to read and had to reread most sentences more than once to discern the meaning therein.
As a life-long reader I don't shy away from reading material that may be difficult to make my way through; having read as diverse a collection from the meanderings of William Buckley to the "Peanuts" cartoons of Charles Shultz.

I find the challenge of reading this collection of Hawthorne's short stories as vigorous as doing a session of the exercise program recently introduced to the, ever searching for new stimulus, American public called P90X.
Think of a contemporary author such as Sidney Sheldon or Robert Ludlum.
The comparison is likened for me to the difference between P90x and Richard Simmons's "Sweatin to the Oldies."

That being said, reading Hawthorne is a study in expanding my usage of our language and so I will persevere.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My gal SAL, strolling the highways and byways in Lowe's with grandpa.


Monday, May 10, 2010

There was no gardening for us this weekend past because we traveled to Niagara Falls to spend the Mother's Day weekend with Jacob, Kristy, & Sophia to help Kristy celebrate her first as a bonafide mother.
Sophia had /has the croup but other than a husky cough and snot running out of her nose she didn't seem to notice. She changes everyday and although Kristy does a marvelous job of taking and emailing weekly photos, there is nothing like being up close and personal with the little munchkin. She is very aware of her surroundings and is much more interactive than even she was last Easter. She smiles easily and is a joy to behold.
The weather was more March like than what you'd expect for May. There were snow flurries Sunday morning when J. went to the donut dunkin shop for coffee and breakfast orders and the wind was so strong and gusty on Saturday that I had to buy suction cups for my shoes to keep from being carried air born.
The grass is long enough to warrant buying or renting a herd of goats. The grass keeps growing regardless of the weather. J. was hoping that a frost would slow it down or kill it off so all he'd have to do is hay it. Ah, the joys of home-ownership.
There's more to tell but as usual the clock moves faster than my typing and so I'll have to sign off so as to make my way to the new job in the same place. That's another story.............


Sunday, May 09, 2010

With this pic
to pique our muse
Eye chose this verse
hoping to amuse.

There's not much
That eye can say
Without resorting to Cliché.

This bauble of sentiment
Along with matches, canes & nails,
Was posted to the Internet
For Willow's prompts to Magpie tales.

If this poem leaves
You glassy eyed
Click right HERE
to be Magpied.


Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Yesterday I once again took on my Merlin personna and let the genie, SEVO, out of his bottle to work his magic.
It would seem that I'll start this day in my Merlin robe at least for the first two cases on my schedule.
Safe journey little ones, safe journey!

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Monday, May 03, 2010

Away two weeks
On the errands of life.
Returning to new weed growth,
Peas popping up,
Lilacs gone by.
And you?
You sit smug
In your crystal cave
Beside your lava splash,
Never changing,
Only gathering:

for other takes on the prompt, visit Magpie Tales HERE.