To All the Cars I Drove Before

(With apologies to Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias)

(Verses 1 and 2)

To all the cars I drove before

The ones I sat within their doors

I’m glad they came along

Enough to sing this song

To all the cars I drove before

To all the cars that shared my life

The ones before and after “wife”

Muffler warranties unused

My back and neck abused

From all the cars that shared my life

(Bridge)

Though my intentions were sincere, and

Whether hit front, side, or rear

Another tow truck I would see

It’s tow chain dragging me

And the car that shared my strife

(Final Verse)

To all the cars that met their fate

And passed beyond Big Blue Book’s Gate

I pray such times stay few

Hope they ended then with you

And not this Delta Eighty-Eight!

 

 

 

Yes, now even the car has become a classic!

1990/abj

Seasonal American Pie

Having the additional ability to reason and therefore, expected to ably discern differences, man should routinely ask questions.  There is AS YET no harm in being inquisitive; despite what the current, myopic main media might imply, one should freely share and explore all variables of a topic.   While I wouldn’t attempt to read the intent of all the journalists behind the microphones, I would ask that we consider the source.

The US media have been fashioned from liberal arts and collegiate think tanks, many of which are anti-free market.  While there is no immediate harm in being compassionate and relegating a certain amount of the free market net earnings to community needs, the decision makers have grown power-hungry, therefore, less than honest with their philanthropic agendas.  And the main media have been quick to disguise underlying facts to oblige them.

The fiscally aware, i.e. the entrepreneurs and wage earners, are mindful that there are only SO MANY PIECES of the same American Pie…and more than twelve slices are needed in this 21st Century.  Twelve slices of tax payer money are rather thin and finite.  Not nearly enough to accomplish the compassionate missions of the most well-intended; the unscrupulous have yet to be fully vetted or, at the very least, have their microphones taken and discarded.

The competition continually competes for our dollars and rapt attention.    As some of the most benevolent people in the world, perhaps it is better for Americans to test the waters at the local watering hole.  Time to restudy that marketing travelogue…and make sure we are on board and our economic journey correctly remains in a free and open sea.

God Bless America —- and the ones who defend it at home and abroad.

CROCK-POT OPTIMIST

Written to the tune of Cockeyed Optimist from South Pacific, with my apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein.   I couldn’t help but toss a melting pot of ingredients into the crock pot during this political season, especially after listening to one endearing “movie tradesman” remind us of our roles…

 

WHEN MY VEGGIES ARE SPENT AND RATHER SORRY…

I COMBINE EV’RY LEFTOVER I’VE GOT

SO THEY CALL ME A CROCK-POT OPTIMIST

ADDING COLOR AND SPICE TO MY POT!

 

I GREW UP WATCHING MENTORS BRAG AND BLAZE NEW TRAILS

BLESS THIS GROUND IN ACCENTED ENGLISH TONGUES;

BUT BECAUSE I’M A CROCK-POT OPTIMIST

WHERE I WISH, I CAN CLIMB ANY RUNG!

 

I SEE THE RISING DEBT!  I FEEL OUR CHILDREN’S FATE.

SOLUTIONS SEEM BEYOND OUR GRIP

EVEN MOVIE TRADESMEN KNOW:  FREE MARKETS FEED JOBS’ FLOW

TAKE BACK THE HELM! LET GOOD TIMES RIP!!!

 

DO NOT THINK THAT THE OLD DAYS WERE THE BEST OF TIMES

OR THE WORST; THEN IGNOR OUR HISTORY

OF ONE VOICE, WITH ITS STRENGTH AND TO WHAT GREAT LENGTH

IT CAN SHAPE!  IT CAN BUILD!  IT CAN SHINE!

YES….. IT’S……….. TIME…

 

 

 

Pearl Harbor; some 70th Anniversary Reflections

Dear Readers:  This was composed in 2011 for the 70th Anniversary; I felt it appropriate to repeat it once again, as we who came after this day of infamy need to know our country’s history or be condemned to repeat it.

Bless our Veterans and Military Families and remember them year round! May God continue to Bless America and its people, among the most giving and caring on this earth. – Annette

 

Family history in our home was commonly categorized into three eras that everyone from the Greatest Generation on down ultimately understood: “before the war”, “during the war”, and “after the war”.

Like my mother, I always loved reading history.  Her passion for listening to others’ stories became mine also.  Mentors, neighbors and relatives related some tidbits from their personal experiences; other facts below were picked up from history lessons:

A young kid was working as a bag boy at a local market on the East Coast.  The news came over the radio:  Pearl Harbor had been attacked.  The young kid told his boss,

Well, we know one thing for sure: pineapples are going to go up in price!

Once this kid became of age, he joined the military, fulfilling a career in the Air Force.

A little girl came home after school, saw the photo of a man in uniform on the mantle, and began crying… the photo was actually that of her uncle, her daddy’s younger brother, but he looked enough like her daddy to shake her little soul and make her believe: Daddy had gone to war!

Many women went to work in the factories; the iconic poster Rosie the Riveter salutes their contributions during the war years…

Military wives stayed behind, keeping the house and raising their young children…

Some men hunted and brought home extra meat for their own tables and their extended families’ tables as well…

Men too old to enlist left familiar workplace jobs, choosing to work “for the war effort”…

Scrap metal was collected…

Hollywood leading men and women either enlisted and/or made feature releases, using their notoriety to sell War Bonds for the War Department…

In addition to radio and newspaper, newsreels informed the public of the latest war news; Victory At Sea was one such news reel series…

Believing Loose Lips Sink Ships, cryptic messages, codes, and other safeguards were set into place and honored by all military and civilian citizens, including Hollywood’s movie moguls and newspaper journalists.

The neighborhood kid accidentally hit his little friend in the eye.  The eye quickly started to darken; he was obviously going to go home with one good shiner!  The neighborhood kid’s mother used a frozen steak from the freezer as an ice pack on the little friend’s eye and escorted him home.  Using a steak for a poultice! During  wartime?  The little friend’s family was in awe…

When his father was killed in a freak work accident on the docks, the only son was called home from overseas; he arrived home in time to attend his father’s funeral. In his eyes, he was one of the luckier ones, having only suffered some trench foot; but as he remarked, at least he came home alive and in one piece.

Some WWII Widows were fortunate enough to meet men who came home and were willing to raise their fellow brothers-in-arms’ sons and daughters…

A little girl walked out the door one day, telling her widowed mother that she was going to search “for a new daddy”…

Growing up in the late fifties and sixties, I dusted Mom’s mantel space which was often filled with family photos.  Those extras that were older but still cherished were placed inside a dining room sideboard drawer.  We could easily access these so pulled them out on occasion to view.   Professional wedding photographs, twenty-first birthday photos, and yellowed news clippings of friends in uniform were fascinating to read.

There was a particular uncle that we knew only from his wedding photo; he had been killed during the war.  We used to visit his grave and leave flowers.  Daddy was bothered and always uncomfortable about my uncle’s death, even mentioning that he didn’t believe the remains sent home actually belonged to his brother-in-law.

Mom was more pragmatic:  it didn’t matter…they belonged to a soldier. We would leave flowers always.

 

Talking Turkey

Our most American tradition – celebrating the year’s harvest and blessings – is once again upon us.  Thanksgiving is a holiday that Americans can historically claim as our very own. Does that mean that other peoples before us were ungrateful?  Not by any means.  But IT IS OURS, the one day on the calendar that evokes a melting pot of commonality, culture,  and deep emotions; encouraging a nation of immigrants to give official thanks for the many blessings and bounty we share in our land.

I submit that while holidays can be difficult at times, maintaining some or all of the family traditions can be especially comforting; let these rituals provide the familiar landscape wherein each of you can still participate, even if the role is slightly amended from years before.  If need be, add a new tradition. I suggest:

The “Talk Turkey” Challenge:

  • Give yourself permission to share a story that you’ve never told before; grandparents, this means YOU.
  • Encourage all ages to join in the conversation.  Keep the technology at a minimum (football games excluded)
  • Don’t pull rank; parents often do, then wonder why the kids never talk.  Embrace the ones around you; life is too short to let a minor grievance ruin the holiday camaraderie.
  • Allow a bit of silliness!  (Not necessarily at the expense of table manners, but you be the judge; lots of family stories evolved from dinner tables in past years; try not to shudder.)
  • Fight over the last drumstick; cajoling a sibling into a little childhood skirmish can be fun, especially if one or both parents or an aunt or uncle are still around to watch and laughingly reminisce…
  • Consider each new happenstance a future memory; find the humor in it and laugh together.
  • Look into each face around the table. Observe the personality nuances and mannerisms.  In as brief a span as five years, table personalities will change; children will grow, friends will leave the area; family branches will sprout afar.
  • Can’t travel to be together this Thursday?  Just wait until the next time you can all regroup!  The possibilities are endless!

Growing up, it was easy to take the Thanksgiving holiday for granted; November was a happy month, the start of the Holidays!  Some of us matured rather abruptly once we saw our president assassinated; we all remember where we were, who informed us, and the immediate days after when, as a grieving nation, we gathered that next week to celebrate Thanksgiving.  Many of us remembered only a little boy saluting goodbye to his daddy.

The old adage, Death has no age, was suddenly meaningful; it is this year for some whose  loved one will be missing for the first time this Thanksgiving.  The holiday season can be a particularly painful period.

The coming months present some economic challenges for many; some earners last year are currently unemployed and find themselves in a completely different scenario than the last time they hit the pavement.  Hitting a keyboard can be just as frustrating.

Thanksgiving will arrive just the same. This season, keep our fellow countrymen in prayer.  Choose how to make Thursday one of the sweeter Thanksgiving Days in recent memory.  May we forever feel a depth of gratitude for the lives and goodness He has bestowed upon each of us.

Rejoice! Celebrate! Praise God! Lastly, may God Bless America.

Lenten Observations

On occasion, I see a bumper sticker or recall something that triggers the stories, adventures, and experiences I encountered as a public school kid in a Bay Area parish serving over two thousand families.

For instance, during every Lent, I gave up chocolate chip cookies.  After a few years, I stopped.  The odds of Big Sis baking her out-of-this-world chocolate chip cookies during Lent to my mother’s serving her perfectly edible, liver and onions with the piquant gravy over mashed potatoes were 7 to 1!  Statistics aside, I got tired of the Brat giving up the liver, her angelic countenance supporting the sham that she alone could pull off in front of Mom.  And my parents were surprised when this daughter excelled as a Thespian in her senior year?

In all fairness and upon examination, most any child who was fortunate to survive parochial instruction was indeed well-educated and well-rounded.  Penmanship, Latin lessons, and some fantastic art graced the walls in the church school halls.  Parochial childhood friends even received sex education; it was similar to the well-accepted course content for fifth and sixth grade level students we received in our public elementary school.

Of course, we neighborhood girls compared notes, and I realized my instruction was lacking some of the specifics she’d learned; for example, the dangers of wearing patent leather shoes with skirts.  Obviously, my sister and I were at a slight disadvantage, only attending Saturday Catechism or Friday afternoon instructions. Some practices were never fully discussed or explained.  For example,

  • Why Catholics didn’t believe in Evolution.  The Brat made the mistake of asking this during one Friday afternoon session; Mrs. G, the lay teacher, was not pleased, and my sister realized too late she would not be excused on time; not a good note for the coming weekend.
  • There was the time that Brat and Peebody found a wounded animal in the church property drive.  When asked by the church staff what they were doing, Brat explained they were administering the Last Rites. Again, she found out that it didn’t pay to be candid.
  • Typical Sunday morning conversation with Daddy:

Can we go to the dumps with you today?
Go to church with your mother. It’s good for you.
Will you drive us?
You can walk; it’s good for you.
Yes, Daddy.  But the next Sunday you go to the dumps, can we ride in the truck with you?

No response; Daddy knew better. The decision would be dependent on Mom’s affirmative response the next time a Sunday dumps run came around.

Where does the Church find ashes for Ash Wednesday?  Why must the statues be covered each Lenten season? Would church ceilings really collapse if wayward parishioners attended Easter Mass? Didn’t anyone else find the closed confinement of a confessional scary?  An inquiring mind wanted to know.

I was serious enough; often, too much so.   Finding a creative slant or imagining the manmade link to an otherwise, very solemn religious subject remains an impetuous flaw of mine.  It is both delightful and therapeutic to have been blessed with the gift to think quickly; to find the irony and humor in child-like assumptions of innocent, misguided thoughts.   This gift calms my soul and lightens my normally serious heart.

So, I confess to taking full advantage of any opportunity to reap a giggle or two…and I’ll play to audiences from one to one hundred (those are individuals, not ages).

It is for good reason that I gave up confession long ago…

Political Passionist

My principal in elementary school must be rolling over in his grave.  Today, the Pledge of Allegiance is not necessarily a daily routine; few school children across our nation can recite it.  Some districts suggest that replacing older, thread-worn flags isn’t in the budget, so they do not exist in all classrooms.

But for the children attending Laurel Elementary in the fifties and sixties, the Pledge was recited daily and immediately followed by our principal Mr. K’s favorite song, “I Love You, California” at each and every assembly.  We all groaned but we sang it loud and clear, never once realizing what made this song so great.  It was years later before I fully realized the song’s importance.  Mr. K was a veteran of World War II; in his eyes, we children had good reason to sing about the wonders and fullness of our Golden State.

FOOTNOTE; MAY 2017

Dear Readers:

These are two veterans’ organizations that serve our military families past and present that I am particularly fond of!  One is Honor Flight which transports WWII,  Korean and now also Vietnam Vets  to Washington D.C. to visit their respective war memorials.  The other is Veterans Airlift Command, a group of volunteer pilots who transports our current wounded military members’  families to the hospital (often several hundred miles from home) in fully modified planes to accommodate the loved ones and, upon release, their very own hero or heroine in perfect comfort!

Our service men and women serve year round and their needs are greater than the traditional May and November months in which they are traditionally remembered; please give WHATEVER you can, WHENEVER you can, to an organization of your choice.  Remember that within any gift in any form you share, the smiles are free…

the FrogHavenLady xoxox