" I think of those who, at recruitment or draft, write their name on a form as they register. They sign their name to a blank check that may require their very lives at time of redemption. Whether driven to the military by patriotism, duty or poverty, their signatures confirm a commitment that others can't or won't make.
A grateful patriot says, "Thank you."
I think of those who returned in silence, who weren't welcomed home, who mentally haven't taken their uniforms off because the wars rage on in their heads, still today.
A grateful patriot stands today with open arms and says, "Welcome home."
I think of those buried on foreign ground or in a hometown cemetery, with small American flags marking their graves, remembered by the others who served.
A grateful patriot says, "God, be with their families."
I think of veterans gathered at the Wallowa County Courthouse Memorial Day at noon who remember their comrades, with trumpeters echoing "Taps" while a few miles up the road American citizens are enjoying a day off from work. BBQ's and family reunions, fishing at the lake or camping- many don't "get" that the freedom to play this weekend comes from those willing to commit their lives through military service.
A grateful patriot says, "Freedom isn't free."
I think of my husband, Richard, who passed away from a
This grateful patriot wipes a tear from her eye.
It's been many, many years. Perhaps even 20. But something has happened that might indicate my mojo is back.
Back then I had shelves of blooming African Violets that I so enjoyed. My grandmother taught me how to start them from a leaf, how to water them (don't let water touch any leaves) and how to pinch off dead blossoms. I had a variety of colors, no two alike. And I would start some to give to friends.
After moving to Montana, the dry air and/or different lighting did not prove conducive to growing these flowers. A large part of being homesick was missing my violets.
A return to Mississippi six years later held the hope of growing African violets again. Nada. Grandmom tried to help me, but still no plants. So it wasn't the air or the lighting after all. It seemed that I had lost my touch and was very disappointed. Successfully growing them was a connection to my grandmother. We shared a deep bond throughout our lives.
Only a couple of months ago, I accepted with trepidation the gift of the above pictured plant from my friend Carolyn Dawson. Just leaves, tired from the long winter. On the way home I practiced my apology for the anticipated demise of this little treasure.
I entered the kitchen the other morning and found this:
"Oh! You're here!" I exclaimed. (Yes, I talk to my plants.)
They are thriving and my confidence is returning. I have experienced a lot of losses over the past 20 years, including Grandmom in 2004. I have often wondered if the energy of that sadness was affecting my relationships with violets. Since I've been living in Wallowa County, not distracted with family matters during this chapter of my life, I spend time letting go of old ideas and unfinished grief. And of all things, these little darlings are indicating my mojo has returned.
I couldn't be happier.
(I don't know the exact meaning of "mojo." I've heard the term often used in the context of "back in my game" or "return of positive energy" or "open again to good things." Whatever...it feels good!)
I admire my daughters-in-law immensely. These gals have three children: 2 boys and 1 girl, each. Each family has its own dynamic, operating on its own determined energy level.
One daughter-in-law has two boys, 16 months apart in age, who are 5 years old and 4, respectively.
I sent her this card for Mother's Day...
I realized this was more like a sympathy card, for I had raised two boys myself. However, my parenting days aren't over, for I am pet-mother to this little guy:
Anyone have any clothespins?
UNDAUNTED- not disheartened; not faltering or hesitating because of fear or discouragement; undismayed; intrepid.
Some other Wallowa Gals and I ate lunch at Mamacita's in La Grande, and I asked the waitress, "Show me your tattoo?"
I don't remember her name, but she's an EOU student. I smiled and told her I was proud of her.
Women around the world are undaunted, yet Wallowa Gals especially so. Our strength, courage and resiliency are manifested daily. School girls who overcome bullying. Young women who pursue a dream with a college education. Married women of all ages who hold the family together during storms of illness, addiction and alcoholism. Women who work outside the home. Women who stay at home with the harder job of being present to raise children. Women who do both. Women who fight and overcome breast cancer. Other women who support them. Women who volunteer in their area of interests and make positive things happen. Women in agriculture who run ranches or farms. Who support their spouse in high production yields and crop failures. The aging wife who is a caregiver for her ailing husband who now has dementia.
In the midst of this, a Wallowa Gal enjoys a luminescent rainbow after a storm. She finds a buttercup shining next to her woodpile. She talks to a chirping robin while she hangs her laundry on the line. She enjoys a picnic with another Wallowa Gal, then rushes back to her responsibilities. She gardens and shares her flowers and vegetables with the elderly. She finds time to quietly read a book when the children and husband are napping.
When I sit along Wallowa River where tumbled rocks obstruct the river's course, the mountain waters continue to flow around it. I recognize the spirit of any Wallowa Gal who holds the power of love and life and accomplishments while surging around any difficulty. Not because she necessarily wants to.
But because she can...
A 50-something woman comes home to a place she's never been before.