29 May 2017
Today is Memorial Day. My family and friends have served in the military. Some have been lost in combat. For all those lost, we continue to remember their service to our country on this day. We adorn their graves to help remember and honor. We decorate our loved ones graves because plants and flowers begin to grow (and survive, as it stands in my NY hometown).
And THANK YOU to those who continue to serve.
During my travels, I see military personnel in airports a lot. If they’re not pre-occupied, I will step out of the way, trail off from my path for a moment, to thank them for their service. I don’t do this for me, and I have arrived late at my gate when I stop for a few seconds, but the plane is still loading; I do not care. I do this because they deserve recognition. They deserve a standing ovation. It’s respectful, and an act of good citizenship. I appreciate what they’re doing for our country.
Because of them, we feel safe flying around the globe, driving across state borders, going to concerts, football games, and more.
Because of them, I can sit on my patio in the mornings with a mimosa. I can sit on my patio in the afternoons with a glass of bourbon, strong-add ice; write, study, and feel safe in my home and backyard. I can sit on my patio in the evening with a steak- overcooked- potatoes not grilled up correctly, but, yet, I have my glass of wine…as I continue to write: this blog, tweet, revise my thesis, finish reading a novel, compile my poetry book, and have the freedom to take Duke for a walk any time I want.
THANK YOU AGAIN!
I feel it’s important to remember those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. I feel it’s equally important to take one minute out of our lives (again, we have our freedom) to thank those who continue to serve. As a civilian, I may not understand what they go through, especially when called for duty, but to stand up and volunteer to keep the U.S. safe and protected is a massive burden to carry…while being an honor.
Which leads into a different type of discussion because my literature class this term has been focused on 20th Century American Literature. It was not what I expected. We have been examining how literature, from poetry to fiction, has changed since WWI. Add in WWII, the Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Movement, the Beats Generation, and (now) Post 9/11. That’s a ton of information to consume and filter…especially as I am waging my own personal war; some of this shit gets too heavy for me. And I do not mean shit in a disrespectful way. We just finished The Yellow Birds, a novel by Kevin Powers, about the Iraqi war. Since I just finished a short paper on the unreliable narrator, I won’t go into my soapbox. What I can say, however, is the books chosen for the course, and the contents contained within, brings forth a new perspective on literature and its evolution over wars and movements. I was hoping for discussions about Gatsby; perhaps a tie-in from Victorian literature, but that was not the case. Instead, I battened down the hatches (here goes the clichés), braced myself, and rode the torrential waves and storms that came at me for the past 8 weeks.
Yeah. This is week 9. This is the official thesis revision week. Something happened at 12:15am, the turned into paper writing a 2am, and giving up by 2:30am (I think).
I began Memorial Day with an 8am hour-long conference/Skype call, but it was okay because it was with new and old friends. Any friends that enter my life these days are warmly welcomed. We had a good discussion, and ended with laughter. Although, I am curious to know how intimidated a male colleague, from another country, with zero understanding about American football felt as two women drove their own narrative about the game, fantasy football, the players we like, the teams we follow, and plans to attend an NFL game together…
Shall I put that into perspective for you again?
Females conversing about all aspects of the NFL. Male from another country with zero knowledge-asking for a short version about the purpose of the game, etc. (perhaps something less than the Cliff Notes version). Females talking about their favorite teams. Male caught in between two females being enthusiastic about the NFL. Male just shakes his head.
😊 This may be a long 5 months for him as we continue discussions leading up to a conference, and I begin to take over conversations at our committee meetings specifically involving football. Yep, just counting the days until the NFL season returns!
I have spent many, many mornings on the patio. Drinking coffee and writing in the morning. Writing in the afternoons. Reading mid-afternoons. Drinking wine and writing in the evenings. Reading/writing into the late evenings. Simply enjoying the crap out of a home that consumed my inheritance.
I have returned to work, but it is now short-lived. I will be taking a leave of absence again (my friend calls it a sabbatical! hah), through June. However, because I am still waiting for the perfect lemonade cocktail to be whipped up, I am looking at longer. For the first time in my life, I am only focused on taking care of myself; re-discovering who I am, who has been hiding behind glass walls, and who wants to break out. I may not necessarily have to decide on a set career at this point in my life, because I want to be the next mega-author, but I need a job that will help pay the bills, cover insurance, ensure extra biscuits, treats, and pay annual medical bills for Duke, and…make me happy.
This is my time, my year, my focus to get myself back into rebuilding a new system, and I dare anyone who wants to try to stop me!
We are free because our military protects us, keeps us safe. The next time you see someone in a uniform, take a few seconds out of your schedule, even as you are rushing to your next gate, to stop and thank them. Treat them to a cup of coffee if they’re behind you in the drive-thru of a coffee shop. A random act of kindness goes a long way, and we can sure use a lot of kindness these days. Lastly, keep remembering those who died sacrificing themselves for us to live in a world we have today.
Duke thanks our military, too!