Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Real Patriotism

Patriotism may be expressed in a variety of ways. Of course, one way that comes to mind is serving in the armed services risking your life for the ideals of your country. There are many pathways to expressing patriotism. For example, being a viable contributor to our community whether that is through your chosen profession be that teacher, nurse, hair dresser, waiter, bus driver, or stay-at-home parent definitely is patriotic by helping the strength of our nation. 

Recently, I saw a sight that did not exemplify this concept. I saw something on the block where we used to live. A few houses down from our old home, an American flag was being displayed. Of course, displaying our Flag can represent a patriotic gesture. However, in this circumstance, I do not believe that is the case. Under this homeowner's Stars and Stripes was another flag. The second flag was black with the letters F and U plus the number 46.

Please understand I am not appalled by the implicated language nor by the lack of support for our current president although that disrespect for our elected leader is concerning. What I find troubling is that this homeowner chose to fly his political viewpoint under our symbol of democracy.

So on this day, where voting in the Indiana Primary demonstrates one facet of patriotism, let us endeavor to do the most we can to support the sacred ideals on which our country was founded.

To quote Abraham Lincoln

The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely, they will be, by the better angels of our nature.


Friday, May 21, 2021

 All's Well That Ends Well

 A few weeks ago, my husband, Miles, and I were disheartened to find a dead deer on our property. Apparently, the deer had been hit by a car while crossing the road in the night. The presence of a deceased animal is a sad event in itself. However, a dead creature the size of a deer presents other issues. Disposing of smaller animals like a squirrel or even a raccoon can be handled with a shovel. A deer, on the other hand, is usually too large for a homeowner to dispose. Unfortunately, this was the second deer during the past year that chose not to look both ways before crossing the road. The Public Works Department of the town of Merrillville picked up the first dead deer, which was very close to the road. 

When contacting the town Public Works, we were told that this second deer was our responsibility, After contacting three local companies that collect dead animals, we located a company, Illiana Wildlife and Pest Control,  that  provides this service. We agreed to pay the asking price of $400 to remove the carcass from our property. However, a strange occurrence transpired, the dead deer disappeared. You might be saying to yourself that the deer was not really dead. (That is not the case, The deer was lying there for several hours with oozing blood.) 

We are not sure who picked up our deceased creature. Perhaps, the Public Works Department decided to help us out anyway. Or perhaps, someone notified the Department of Natural Resources, the DNR carted off the deer. Maybe a passerby wanted some venison for dinner.

In any event, I was very dismayed to see another dead animal in our field this morning, I was worried that this was occurring at an unwanted frequency. First, we do not want carcasses in our yard. Second, we do not want the hassle of seeking removal services although everyone concerned was polite and well-mannered,

So back to today's dead deer, here is a picture. On a closer look, our dead deer looks much like an empty box. Whew!!!

Monday, May 1, 2017


Today, May 1, has been declared Loyalty Day by the current president. Other American presidents in other years have also identified May 1 as Loyalty Day. According to Washington Post reporter, Valerie Strauss, May 1 was originally proclaimed Americanzation Day in 1921. In 1958, Congress passed a law commemorating the day. Since then, presidents have made proclamations about the day.

Actually, this is the first that I have heard of a day commemorated to loyalty. For a variety of reasons, I have unsettled feelings about a day dedicated to loyalty. To me, the concept of loyalty has some drawbacks. Of course, being loyal to a friend or an ideal can be admirable. However, loyalty can be misguided when the friend goes astray or the ideal is misrepresented.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services lists these responsibilities for American citizens.
  • Support and defend the Constitution.
  • Stay informed of the issues affecting your community.
  • Participate in the democratic process.
  • Respect and obey federal, state, and local laws.
  • Respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others.
  • Participate in your local community.
  • Pay income and other taxes honestly, and on time, to federal, state, and local authorities.
  • Serve on a jury when called upon.
  • Defend the country if the need should arise.
Certainly, this list includes commendable goals for not only new citizens but for native born citizens as well. However, questioning the direction and viewpoints of those in power is a worthwhile and necessary pursuit to create the best government possible. To blindly accept laws and pronouncements by our leaders is to abdicate our responsibility,  

During the Viet Nam War at a time when many Americans opposed the war, pro-war loyalists would chant. "My country right or wrong" or "America love it or leave it." In the 19th century, Carl Schurz, German-born statesman had a different perspective in his adage, “My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.” On this May 1 and the days to follow, let us dedicate ourselves to keeping what is right about our country and to setting right what is wrong.

My thanks to the Washington Post article, "May 1 is ‘Loyalty Day’ in America. Here’s Trump’s view of the day — and Obama’s.",  by Valerie Strauss, May 1. 2017. Thank you also to my friend, Gene Coleman, who taught me Schurz's timeless quote.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Grandma Gray

This is my maternal grandmother, Orpha Jane Gray, daughter of Pamelia Conger and William H. Brown. She was born on December 4, 1871. I am not sure how old she is this picture, but I like to think that she was 75 as I was born on her 75th birthday. My middle name is Jane after Orpha Jane. (She always said that she was glad that my parents did not choose to name me Orpha too.)

Grandma Gray was a smart lady and a teacher. Although her teaching career must have been short-lived, as woman teachers had to resign if they married. She and my grandfather, John Milton Gray, were secretly married on August 13, 1891.

Orpha and John had eight children, Mina, William Howard, Rollin, Orpha, Ida Blanche, Samuel, Sarah Margaret, and Laura. Daughters Sarah and Orpha died at a young age. Even though eight children was probably common for that time period, I remember Grandma telling another relative about these many births. She exclaimed that she got pregnant every time her husband hung his pants on the bedpost.

Grandma Gray lived with our family for several years from the early 1950's to the early 1960's. She and my mother, Laura, both strong-willed women, did not always see life from the same perspective. Although they did not have sustained arguments, each woman voiced their opinions on a variety of topics.

Since my mother worked outside the home, Grandma occasionally helped with household tasks. She baked a wonderful lemon meringue pie and delicious homemade noodles. Like many woman of her age, she crocheted and sewed.

Grandma was a religious woman her entire 97 years on this planet. Life for Orpha began as a Calvinist. She worshiped most of her life as a Methodist as her husband, John, was a Methodist minister. In her nineties, Grandma became an Episcopalian in order to worship with our family.
When she was confirmed at Trinity Episcopal Church, my mother bought her a maroon dress. She told us that she always wanted a red dress, but her mother, Pamelia, said that ladies of the evening wore red. Apparently, Calvinists were conservative dressers.

Politically, Grandma was a Prohibitionist. This probably was partly due to the time period that she grew to adulthood and her religious background. Moreover, maybe this was due to the presence of alcoholism in her family. As a child, I was allowed to enter the voting booth. I watched Grandma pull the lever to vote for a straight Prohibitionist ticket. On November 22, 1963, I remember telling Grandma that the president had been shot. She expressed great sorrow although admitting that she did not agree with Kennedy's policies.

I wish that I could tell you more about Orpha Jane Brown Gray, but like many grandchildren I failed to ask Grandma about her life when she could tell me.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Good-bye Margaret

Molly and Margaret 2012
My big sister, Margaret, died last Sunday, October 16, 2016. Her death is a profound loss not only to her family and friends but to the entire planet. From a very early age, Margaret was a talented young girl. Like our father, Byron, she demonstrated proficiency at art. She won prizes for her pictures. One of her pictures from high school was used as an ad on the Fort Wayne city buses. Additionally, she was an excellent student. I believe that she was placed in a reading class above her grade level.

As a young girl, Margaret demonstrated athletic ability. I can remember Margaret playing baseball with some boys in an empty lot near our home. Even at one point, Margaret aspired to be a professional baseball player on Fort Wayne's home team, the Daisies. But alas, the Daisies last game was in 1954.

One of Margaret's other athletic talent was ballet. She took lessons at the Fort Wayne Ballet. I remember one of her performances as Buttercup in the H.M.S. Pinafore. At one point, she planned to be a ballerina; however, she was quite tall and thought that her stature might inhibit her success as a ballerina. Even though, ballet was not her professional field. She did dance for many years as an adult.

In high school, Margaret kept quite busy. She was president of her high school sorority. She was in the National Honor Society, was active in Speech and Debate, performed with the Ripplettes, an aquatic ballet team, and worked in an award winning division of Junior Achievement. Upon graduation, Margaret was the Class Poet. As a special honor in the Fort Wayne schools, Margaret was selected as the top senior English student having her name etched on the North Side High School English Cup.

After high school, Margaret went to the Indiana University Medical Center to study nursing. After graduating with the a baccalaureate degree in nursing, she worked at Riley Children's Hospital as a psychiatric nurse. This was the beginning of a long career as a nurse. She did earn two masters degrees and a doctorate. For many years, she taught nursing classes at various institutions ending her long career at Bellarmine University.

Although a busy professional, Margaret was a kind and thoughtful family member.  She was married to Jerry Dean Miller for 54 years. Margaret and Jerry are parents to a wonderful, compassionate daughter, Cynthia Louise and grandparents to two handsome, brilliant grandsons, Joshua and Nicholas.

When Margaret's parents, who had retired to Naples, Florida, became too ill to remain in their own home, Margaret, the loving daughter, insisted that Mom and Dad move to Louisville. During our parents stay in Louisville, Margaret was their advocate and friend. She kept them company and ran various errands for our parents while working.

My sister was also active in other ways. For many years, she was a Girl Scout leader and served as the president of the Kentuckiana Girl Scouts. In addition to being a nurse and professor, Margaret was president of the Kentucky Nursing Association. In this position, she was instrumental in a law that promoted the career of nurse practitioner.

During her adult life, Margaret was also quite active in the Episcopal Church. One of the ways she served the church was serving as a camp nurse. In addition to regular nursing duties,  she taught classes at camp. She also went on a mission trip to Honduras with daughter Cyndi and grandson Josh.

My sisters and I sometimes joked about who was the tallest. In reality, we were probably of equal height, but Margaret's active life did make her seem mighty tall. She has certainly cast long shadow.  Although Margaret is no longer with us in body, her life has made an impact in so many ways on so many people. Good-bye sweet sister, I love you.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Love Your Selfie

Today's Fun Monday challenge is about us, "tell us a little something about yourself AND post a selfie of yourself sticking your tongue out. Let's be silly!"

Let see what should I tell about me. I am a wife, mother of two men, grandmother of four sweet grandchildren, and a retired science teacher. I have lived in Indiana all of my 67 years, the first twenty in Fort Wayne and the other 47 here in Lake County. I have recently been called a flaming liberal, which is an epithet that I can embrace.

I enjoyed my years of teaching and am learning to enjoy retirement. I like wildflowers and spend time trying to identify and to photograph various species. Some of my time is spent volunteering. I tutor at a local elementary school, and I am active in an organization called Coats for Kids (and families). 

As most grandparents feel, our grandchildren are some of the best blessings of old age. Our four children live about two and half hours away from our home, but my husband and I try to spend as much time as possible with our childrens' children.

Although I do not think that I am particularally vain, I am not wild about the selfie picture. I tried to smile while sticking out my tongue. In any event, here is the picture.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Out the Door

Oh, happy day, Fun Monday has been resurrected. Our task for this Monday is to show the scene out the front door. Our door is new as some intruders decided to kick-in the old one. on November 5, 2013.

Outside the new door is our front porch. Beyond the porch is an old pond that my husband and I converted to a planter. The dried plants in the planter are a chrysanthemum and some marigolds from last fall. Although the temperature is warm today, spring is making a late arrival to northwest Indiana.

Fun Monday is now on Facebook. Check it out join in the fun.