Archive for the ‘Holiday’ category

HARD WORK – UNCERTAIN RESULTS

July 8, 2017

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Saturday night;  the Week of Fourth of July celebrations and remembrances is ending. My house tonight is quiet and cool,  and I’m finishing a book that takes place during the Revolutionary War.  *

The American Rebels were fighting for  personal Liberty,   and for that they needed to be a free and sovereign nation,  independent of foreign influence.

It was not the Libertie  of the French Revolution that would soon kill their king and set up a powerful State governing force, a revolutionary government more ruthless than any monarch had been.

And it was not the  “Liberty”   motto,   the war cry that inspire some  revolutionary men with dreams  of unrestrained freedom, even yet today.

These first Americans understood Liberty to mean the right to make choices for your own life and to have the freedom to carry out the responsibilities that those choices required.   Nowhere in “Liberty”  was success mentioned;  only the promise that you could work as hard as you wanted to,  to possibly gain a measure of success.  For yourself.   As you defined it.

From Mr. Cornwall’s book:  “Liberty isn’t  heaven, Sam,  it isn’t a blessed reward.  People will still die in sorrow and in poverty when they have liberty.   It’s simply only the freedom to choose your own life, and no one promises you success.”

 

Fireworks

Someone in the neighborhood is setting off fireworks now,  probably for the last time this summer.

I’m glad for the sounds.   It’s a good ending to this Fourth of July week;  a good reminder that we still have something to hope for and to work for.

 

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.*  (Redcoat  by  Bernard Cornwall.)

FOURTH SHORTS – 3 Birthday Time

July 4, 2017

FOURTH OF JULY!

Happy Birthday — well, to our daughter!

cake

She shares a birthday with our country – and always celebrated her birthday with parades,  picnics, and fireworks.   What a fun date for a birthday!

ballet shoes

…She’s grown up to be her own person, now:  wife, mother,   a professional in business, a vice president of North American Operations for . . . something, actually.   But along the way we watch her learn how to read and write,  navigate her way through  “schools,”  and develop a few hobbies.

 

We’ve had many days of car-pooling to sports games, gymnastics  track practice,  orchestra practice,  and always . . . ballet.     Ballet classes,  ballet rehearsals, and ballet performances.

Ballet

Today,  out in the High Sierras,  she is hosting a huge deck party on the lake;    the one where you invite your friends – and their children.  And people seem to be having a lot of children nowadays!

Though they could,  there won’t be time for snowboarding this year.

Happy Birthday,  Daughter!

 

 

 

D-DAY – COOPER AND OUR YOUNG PEOPLE

June 6, 2017

D-Day:  The Sixth of June.   1944.     Lest we forget.

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Some of you know Cooper is my grandson.   He’s a typical six-year-old;  he plays and swims and skis and kayaks and white-water rafts (down the beautiful and rather tame Truckee River)  and he golfs and he takes dance lessons and he plays violin, he’s just discovered reading —  and he appreciates some good red balloons!

Cooper aNd bigred balls cr

That’s his home, on Donner Lake,  California.

He can do all those activities  BECAUSE   American   young people did this:

DDay arricing

 

16, 17, 18 . . . 20 year olds  . . .   24,  30, 32,   38 year olds . . .  and every young man in between arrived on those Normandy beaches for an impossibly difficult mission.

 

Not everyone made it to the beach:

dday dragging

Up and over, right into German artillery – firing at them.

DDay hump

So many died.   I don’t think they’d want us to forget their story.

Because our young people in uniform do things like that,  Cooper can remain safe and play and learn . . . .

 

 

We MUST make sure our young people are taught this, once again.  

 

AN “ORDINARY FAMILY” SALUTE ON MEMORIAL DAY

May 29, 2017

Memorial Day is for honoring those who lost their lives as they defended our country.     But in addition,  I’m thinking about all those who served in the military and  risked their lives,   willing to die for us.  

Flag don't tread

I thought I had always faithfully acknowledged Memorial Day here at the Spruce Tunnel throughout the years,  but a quick check of the archives shows me that I missed a few.

(In fact,  one end-of-May entry recorded my  incursion into dinosaur territory where, after wandering around, lost for a few hours in the Utah/Colorado desert I finally came out  feeling like an idiot but happy to be alive and uninjured  That was 2013.   I guess I wasn’t thinking of Memorial Day at the time.)

I’ll try to make a thorough list this time.    (We have a small family.)

My Grandpa, one of the crew of the USS Utah, serving in World War One.

SAMSUNG

The USS Utah,  dashing through the Atlantic –   (I must have inherited some of his experience;  I love to be on the prow of a big sailboat, plunging through the waves (on the Great Lakes.)

SAMSUNG

Grandpa was under threat  by German U-Boats, but he did come home.  The USS Utah sailed to Pearl Harbor where she bravely did duty – as target practice, until in 1941, the Japanese finished her off —

Utah down

My uncle was stationed there in Pearl Harbor in the ’40s, an MP in the Marines.   I wonder if he watched or thought of his own father’s ship being blown up.   Would like to have a photo of him . . . .

My own Dad,   Marine Corps –   18 years old.

MARINE

Hubbie’s family contributed their loved ones too.    Two sons from one family.   Finnish family.

First, Aaro Ikkala.    Sailor, serving on board the USS Aulick,  which has the distinction of being the first plane ever attacked by a kamikazi pilot.    Not everyone on board died.   Aaro did.    We have his Purple Heart.

In the days when the Internet was new and its usefulness was exciting,  Hubbie put together a wonderful tribute to the men on the USS Auulick,  even contacting some of those who had served with Uncle Aaro and remembered him.

Hubbie also put together this “genuine” replica of the Aulick which had been attacked in Leyte Gulf, Philippines:

USS Aulick

I wonder what went through Hubbie’s mind as he glued together all the tiny little pieces  . . .   We actually have the official navy report – of the gruesome details.

Hubbie lost another uncle in the next war,  the Korean war; his name was Arthur,  brother of Aaro.

Arthur Ikkala's Newspaper Article

I got quite a weird feeling in me today as I went through these old papers.   “Col. Ikkala”  looks very, very much like Hubbie at that age.

Next, for us, came the Viet Nam war –

My cousin.    Army.      It was a different kind of war:

Drew

This is a later picture, still in uniform.    Still “Proud to be an American . . .  ”

Drew in Uniform

He’s “family.”     I look at him and see my Grandma’s face.

And then Hubbie has two nephews,  West Point grads,  served in Desert Storm and whatever the next military endeavor was.   Flew  Apaches.

Apache

I’ll update with photos when I wake up my old, old computer which has their photos.  One of them patrolled around Babylon –  yes, the desert fortress city of Nebuchadnezzar  and his wannabe descendant Saddam Hussein who was in the process of restoring glorious palaces in Babylon.

We’re an ordinary family, some of whom left factories and mines and farms  (and high school) to defend our country –– to defend their families and our American way of Life. When they were done,  they returned to their factories, mines, and farms . . . .

Mem salute

Thank you, guys.

Trump Honors

America remembers.    Americans still honor all of you.

COLUMBUS DAY AND MORE

October 10, 2016

Clarifying the Story:

 

col-3-ships

So,  the national celebration of Columbus Day  (October 12)  is  moved this year to October 10th so that there can be a three-day weekend.

Fewer and fewer know the story of the journeys of Columbus to the New World.  Four or five journeys, I think.    Might be hard to look up the real story of faith and courage and intellectual curiosity that has inspired people for centuries.  You’d have to look it up in older books, before the Global-Socialists got ahold of American education and inserted a false narrative into the story of Columbus.

The Old Broad beats the red, white, and blue –

False history.jpg

You must, now, accept the false narrative that European Whites are bad, bad, bad.   We are told we should be ashamed and embarrassed about our past — and we, today,  must make amends, and apologies — and that isn’t enough –  we must make “reparations”  to people who live hundreds of years ago!

This is an intellectual fad,  but a very destructive one.

Modern “presentations”  of the story of Columbus will not tell you the reason that a new trade route to India and China had to be found.  (The savage Muslim pirates had cut off trade routes to the Middle East and the East.   Tens of thousands of Christians along the Mediterranean coastline were being kidnapped and enslaved or forcibly converted.)

Modern tellings of the story will also  insert tales of   greedy and violent intent and even “genocide” and against the Caribbeans Indians,   who have received a total makeover in modern books,  obscuring the fact that by the 16th century the Caribbean Sea had become home to warring tribes who killed and enslaved and . . .  ate …  each other, and were rapidly dying off from warfare,  diseases,  and human sacrifice.

Stick to Columbus for a moment.     He was not an evil, greedy,  violence-prone leader of a murderous expedition out to conquer unsuspecting, innocent indigenous people!  He was a Catholic gentleman with an interest in sailing uncharted ocean waters because he had a belief that it was possible to sail far enough west to find India, where much of the desired trade goods had come from.

I’ve studied history for many, many decades and have never found any serious writings or teachings that the world was “flat.”   Or that “if you sail too far, you’d fall off the earth”!  That didn’t come about until the so-called “Enlightened”  people began to re-write history with the purpose of making the Medieval World (i.e., the Catholic World)  sound ridiculous.  *         Another deceitful intellectual  fad.

Columbus:   I have his captain’s log.    Not the Starship Enterprise,  but the Santa Maria  Logs:    Contemporary writings,  “as they happened,”  and so I can say:   Don’t let the Old Broad in the green dress in the cartoon beat you down until you submit to her ideology. 

 Be free to look at the whole picture, the good, the interesting, and the bad. 

Here’s a start:      In 1537,  it came to the pope,  Pope Paul III,  that the explorers were finding a “new type of human,”  with a culture very different from Europeans.   So different were they that the question was raised whether or not they were fully human.  They certainly were savage and dangerous.  When the question came to Rome,   Pope Paul issued a decree,  binding on all Catholics, about the matter.  It was called Sublimus Deus.

You can read it today (in English, if you like).   It was one of several similar decrees, but in this particular one you will find  that the Church opposes the enslavement of indigenous peoples and opposes the destruction of their culture.  

“The said Indians and all other people who may later be discovered by Christians, are by no means to be deprived of their liberty or the possession of their property, even though they be outside the faith of Jesus Christ; and that they may and should, freely and legitimately, enjoy their liberty and the possession of their property; nor should they be in any way enslaved; should the contrary happen, it shall be null and have no effect.” —Pope Paul III, “Sublimus Deus”

Later, similar decrees EXCOMMUNICATED any conquistador,  colonist,  governor,  or explorer  that abused and subjugated the “Indians.”      **

Again,  the story of Columbus is an inspiring story of faith and courage and the desire to solve a common problem for  his native Europe.    Children should know the basics of Columbus’s voyages.  Then older children should be told of some of the complexities of the issues raised by finding new societies.

And adults should be able to ponder the lessons that can be learned from exploration and pathfinding  and developing relationships with people who are different from you.

The Truth truly does allow us to be free to think!

HAPPY COLUMBUS DAY!

bar-dissolve-er

“COLUMBUS DAY AND MORE”:   Today,  October 10,   is also the Feast Day of St. Francis de Borgia – the saint that sits so heavily on my shoulder.   Among his many achievements was to assist Rome in defining and clarifying what the missionary policy should be towards the indigenous peoples that were being discovered.

His directions were in line with the papal decrees of the time,  and he outlined the method of caring for and instructing native people, as well as practical means for improving their physical conditions.

 

bar-dissolve-er

. *   (Anyone who lived along the seacoast could see that when a ship approaches land,  you will see the tip of its tall sails first, then more of the sails, and then finally the boat.   People in the Middle Ages were not blind.   Nor dumb.    Especially when the works of the Greek scientists and philosophers became known and studied,  it was common knowledge that the earth is a globe — that revolves in the heavens as other planetary bodies do.  Long, long before Galileo came around,  the scientists, working under the auspices of the Church,  were speculating that the earth revolved around the sun.   They didn’t have the mathematics, yet, to explain the motion of heavenly bodies — but neither did Galileo in his time!)

. **   Examine the crewmen on the ships captained by Columbus.   Where did he get his crew from?  What kind of men were they?     (They were no more Catholic in thoughts or actions than were the native peoples they came across in the New World. )

Killing of the indigenous people, enslavement,  destroying their cultures,   all this was ANATHEMA.     You’re OUT of the Church, unless you stop and repent.

Obedience to the decrees of the Church?     The pope and good church officials of the time could no more  “control”  the conquistadors than the pope of today can control some of our very “uncatholic”  and personally immoral supporters of sodomy and abortion that we find in the US Congress.

All a good pope and good church officials can do is define what the church teaches and to propound church teachings.       The choice to obey lies with individuals.

 

 

MEMORIAL DAY MAJESTY

May 30, 2016

Just want to put some Memorial Day thoughts up here.  I’ve done it the traditional way many times before – honoring my family members who have served in the Armed Forces.

This time I’ll get a bit . . . philosophical.

EAGLE

Prettiest picture I could find today.  The bald eagle.  Our national  emblem.   Our majestic bird.     Head bowed.  Claws folded.

Of course, that’s an anthropomorphism,  but sometimes it’s useful to see ourselves in others.        Part of “majesty”  is being humble enough to gratefully acknowledge things greater than ourselves.   We hope our nation, we hope our people, we hope we ourselves can aspire to majesty.

Certainly,  the honor and duty and self-sacrifice of our soldiers, sailors, and marines who have given their lives to defend our country are also part of the majesty that describes our great nation.   And all of us:  knowing what’s right and wrong;  doing our duty;   willing to work and to sacrifice for a higher cause — we all make this nation great.

And a big salute to you who salute our Fallen Heroes:

Bikers

I love these people who make up Rolling Thunder.    They’ve inspired me from their very beginnings in 1988.    They remind us to think of those who are Missing In Action, dead or alive,    as well as those who are known to be dead.

It was odd to comb the news sources yesterday and today and find only photos that show a few bikers at a time.   They’ve been arriving in Washington D.C.  all week!  And there are most likely more than a half million of them!   Their parade from the Pentagon building to downtown Washington D.C.   took more than four hours of solid bikes,  four across the lane, to complete.   That’s a huge number!

Their patriotism:  majestic.   Their dedication to our country:  majestic.        The honor given to our military:  majestic.    Their sheer numbers – representing all of us who can’t make it to our nation’s capital this year:  majestic.     Their manifest love for our country:  majestic.    They  are honest, decent citizens,  living normal, honest, decent lives:  majestic.

We can all  be that eagle.    Humbly acknowledging a  great country that is worth defending.

 

 

 

JANUARY 6 – BEGINNING THE END

January 6, 2016

The “end of Christmas,”  that is.

Good-bye reindeer in my front yard.  Hope you haven’t kept too many neighbors up in the night with your bright lights.

SAMSUNG

 

I woke up sometime in the middle of the night last night;  opened my eyes;  and my vision was filled with  Christmas tree lights.  I don’t know where my “consciousness” was as I was sleeping there near the tree,  but when I opened my eyes,  it was as though I was coming into this world and seeing these lights for the very first time.   They were utterly beautiful!  Each little light bulb was a separate brightly colored gem.

(No photo would do justice to the deepness of the more-than-beautiful lights….)

I think I told myself,  “Oh,  it’s so pretty!”    Like I had never seen them before.   The sensation of delight lasted for a very long time (until I fell asleep again.)   How lucky to have been sleeping just about ten feet away from the lighted Christmas tree!

I was aware that I must take it all down, now, on January 6th.   Epiphany.   the Wise Men have arrived.

I took a walk last night too –  freezing cold.   Our winter weather is here.  I saw the same neighborhood Christmas lights as before,  but this time the snow surface was frozen hard and shiny.

SAMSUNG

Looked like Santa was on a lake.   Last chance to see him.

SAMSUNG

My hands were getting numb from the cold,  but it was worth it —  kind of sad to think the season is over;  last chance to see the snowmen until next year — at least I hope this family decorates so well again.

SAMSUNG

Time to put away nearly all of my own Christmas decorations.   It is the “twelfth day of Christmas”  now.

Twelve official days to think about the Incarnation of the Son of God.   (He made the Light.   He turned the Light into physical, material atoms.  Could He not visit us by making use of His own physical world?  Sure He could.)

Incarnation –   In-carnated.     Enfleshed.    With a fleshly, carnal body, like we have.   So we could see with our own eyes what God is like;  what He says;  what he does;   what He wants Love to be;  and coming with a job to do for us.    Hope!     And a smile on our faces.

With the One God like that,  with so much effort to show Himself to us,  wise people respond with gratitude and gift-giving.

Giving gifts

But I’m not that wise;  not wise enough to “make a list”  of things that I could give to show my dim understanding of the Incarnation . . .    That’s why we’re told the only thing we can do is to give Him our “all” — give to Him all that we are.

I don’t even quite know how to bring that about,  but I know He is pleased with our efforts.   Twelve Days of Christmas?     That’s hardly enough time for a proper show of joy and gratitude!

And now it’s over.

The Church doesn’t end the season completely until February 2nd, of course,  but this first phase is ending.

It’s the beginning of the end of this year’s Christmas.   Time to look forward,now, into this unknown New Year.

 

WE DON’T LIKE BEING MOCKED

December 11, 2015

At least I don’t,  and the people I know don’t like being made fun of,  being mocked.   But mockery can be a powerful tool, so this is a photo-rant against such mockery:

The ongoing programmed invasion of the Third World, non-Christian cultures into the First World, Christian-influenced cultures – with the intention of breaking down the First World Christian-influenced cultures –  will continue on in the near future.

I don’t know what the outcome will be.  I’m a historian.  I’ve seen civilizations come and go.   I’ve seen what happens when good people “do nothing.”   I don’t know if there will be enough people today to rise up and defend their own cultures.

But I do know that good people who are defending their lives have been mocked.    We have been told by an  anti-American leader  that we, the American citizens,  are “afraid of women and three-year-old children.”  Remember that?

We are afraid to let these little guys “immigrate” into our country:

I  5 yr old

Okay,  he might be a little older than “three years old.”

 

 

Palestinian-girl-stab

Well, okay, that’s a pretty big knife.   She might be older than “three years old ”  too.

 

But how about another children’s class with  teddy bears and cute stuffed animals?

muslim-kids-animals

The video had been “removed” —  i.e. censored — off the media,  but the accompanying article described a class in which very small children were being taught how to hack off the heads of all kinds of “cute little stuffed animals.” And some  were “three years old.”

How about the “moms”?

Mom

 

Nothing to fear there?      There are moms;  such moms.

Ask the ladies:

Islam ask the ladies

The “ladies”  come with papers.  That proves they’re friendly, right?.

(Headlines today:  “ISIS found with passport-printing machines.)  Or as the media said, “may have.”    They  don’t want to scare us too much.

Or you can ask the Muslim-friendly leaders if we have anything to fear:

The three islamists

And you’d better know who the Muslim lady in purple is.  She rules the one who was placed in the office of the American presidency!

Do we have anything to fear?  You can ask the guy in the middle who is bowing really low —  oh, never mind.

O bowing to many

Can’t ask him.  He’s the one who mocked us in the first place.

This is the season of Advent.   We look to the coming of this planet’s Messiah,  the first phase of it and the second, final,  phase.  We hope to understand more during each annual remembrance.

The Bible, both the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament  indicate that the Babe in the Manger had come down from Heaven as a conquering Warrior, into this Land of Doom,  this Land of Destruction,  and He will defeat all that has given us reproach and ruined us. *

And the Word of His mouth is like a two-edged sword.

I asked my class this morning to design a new kind of Christmas card . . .

We had a good laugh.

But we were not mocking.

{Advent}

 

  *     (see Zephaniah 3:14-18  and Wisdom 18:10-15 and Hebrews 4:12)        “Do not fear, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. 17The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory.

 

 

 

 

 

A NOVEMBER PAUSE

November 27, 2015

A brief pause for all of us  . . .

praying man silhouette

 

. . . .   a brief time to give thanks to Our Creator.

 

May the Giving Thanks have been a good one for you.

 

THE POPPY FIELD

May 24, 2015

By an interesting coincidence,  the poppy is a flower given to Our Lady on this 24th day of May.

There is a spiritual quality that is associated with the poppy,  but I think on this Memorial Day weekend,  it’s good to look at a   distantly related association with the poppy,  one you may be familiar with.    (After all,  American school children used to memorize and recite this poem in school — in honor of those who died for us.)

In-Flanders-Fields