blessings, childhood, connections, coping, courage, faith, family, friends, healing, honor, memories, moments, perseverance, photography, road trip, strangers become friends

Lisa…

I only met her once.  She had long ago married into the family that I loved in my childhood, and had recently fallen in love with again despite the 60+ year absence.  On Sunday I attended her memorial, her celebration of life.  And with four generations of family present it truly was a celebration.  Hearing everyone from her granddaughter to her sister speak of her love of reading and love of family, I saw that I would have enjoyed knowing her. But she was gone too soon.  She was a special part of this special family, and I saw that she will be missed.  And remembered.  It was a privilege to have been included in this day.

This celebration was held at her brother’s house, and when I arrived I was concentrating on seeing/meeting this large group of people that I had never met.  It was after I’d been there a few minutes that I began to notice the house itself. The low plaster and beamed ceiling as you walk in, and the seven (I think) fireplaces, one in every room. Turns out it was built in 1724, and as much of the original as possible is still present.  When necessary improvements had to be made, such as in the kitchen with it’s loft overlook, the original wood that had been taken out was used to build any new cabinets, etc.  It’s completely obvious that this house has been loved.  And it may not be an exaggeration to say that George Washington slept there.  His 2nd in command married the daughter of the home owner back in those old days, so it’s entirely possible.  Though someone mentioned that considering all the area houses making the claim that George Washington slept there it would seem George may have slept around a bit.  As we left we were talking about what a nice memorial it had been, which may be why I forgot to take the outside shots I had intended to take.

beams

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a second look, finding my way, Heros, history, honor, memories, perseverance, photography, road trip, travel, Uncategorized

More stops along the way…

Yesterday I stopped for photos at the Veteran’s Cemetery that I’ve been passing in my travels here in New Hampshire.  The row upon row of headstones are so moving, so many lives cut short, so many sacrifices made.  But when I noticed an elderly woman struggling up the curb with her walker, on her way to honor her husband, or father, or son, I felt ashamed to be thinking in terms of the nice pictures I hoped to take, so I cut that visit short…05-24-19NHVetscemeteryThen I decided to stop at Daniel Webster’s birthplace, having passed the turn-off several times without stopping.  He is a favorite son of New Hampshire, for good reason.05-24-19DanielWebster05-24-19DanielWebsterhouse205-24-19DanielWebsterhouse105-24-19DanielWebsterhouse305-24-19DanielWebsterbeeThere was no sign announcing a turn-off for the last place I stopped yesterday.  I had glimpsed this little structure soon after I arrived here but had no idea where it was that I’d seen it.  I was mad at myself for not stopping that day, so of course I had to stop when I spotted it this time.  I feel as if I’m intruding when I stop for pictures sometimes.  But when you put a sweet little structure like this one out by the side of the road I have to assume that you intended for it to be noticed and appreciated.  And I did both!05-24-19glasshouses305-24-19glasshouses05-24-19glasshouses2

Heros, honor, photography, soldiers, weather

Honoring our heros…

I’m so thankful that a photographer friend suggested we go to the Memorial Day ceremony at the Florida National Cemetery.  It was to be held rain or shine, and we prepared for the worst, but the weather was kind to us and it was a beautiful day for a very moving ceremony.

That it was a day of flags was obvious as soon as we entered the property.  The road was lined with flags, all gently moving in the breeze.  But as we followed the twists and turns of the road to find the parking area as we took each turn we saw field after field of grave markers, each of which were graced with a flag.  Volunteers had placed those flags the day before, and as they did they read each and every name of our deceased heros aloud.  And they did this in weather that was anything but kind.

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Flags of each state also lined the seating area.  As the Hernando High School band played a medley of all the services theme songs the veterans in the audience were asked to stand to be acknowledged, which was the first time I teared up.5-28Memorialday2The riderless horse was another emotional moment.  And as the cavalry, provided by the  Pasco Posse, marched we were treated to bagpipers playing Amazing Grace.  Yes, emotional.5-28Memorialday3Soon it was time for the 21 gun salute.  Which is extremely loud when you have a front row seat, so to speak.  I can see the smoke from the guns in this photo, it’s faint but it’s there.  Taps was played next.  A lone bugle, beautifully played…5-28Memorialday5

I’m ashamed that it took me all these years to attend a Memorial Day event.  As the daughter, wife, and mother of veterans there is no excuse.  It was a very emotional and moving sort of day.  And as I’m writing this I hear the rain pouring down.

finding my way, Florida landmarks, honor, photography, special effects, sunset

Wandering in Dunedin…

I had taken plenty pictures of the sunset, and it was fading anyhow, so I started wandering, drawn by the lights of the various shops just up ahead.  I have tail light trails in the photo above, and the ghost of a car that I ought to remove but will drive myself nuts trying.  I prefer to wonder who was in that car, and where they were going.  I hope they had as much fun as I did that night.  3-24oldbaycafe3-24gotlobstahIt started with the Old Bay Cafe, and then Got Lobstah?  Unfortunately I didn’t get to try a lobster roll, my cousin says they have the best ones he’s had outside of Massachusetts.  And I continued on from there.  I love that they honor our veterans in Dunedin.  I know a couple of heros, something I’m sure that they would deny, but they are though…3-24defendingfreedom3-24dunedin3-24baskinrobbinsAll I can say about this one is that I clearly need to consider perspective when I’m taking pictures.  Blame the parked cars and close quarters.  Maybe the shop itself was crooked because when I try to level one thing then something else is off…3-24dunedin2

history, honor, learning, moments, photography, soldiers, The Booksville Raid

The Brooksville Raid…

The Brooksville Raid was a Civil War skirmish that is re-enacted in Brooksville every year, and is said to be the biggest Civil War re-enactment in Florida. It recounts the landing of 240 Union troops at Bayport on July 1, 1864. Those troops then marched to Brooksville, pillaging and destroying plantations in their wake. The Confederate defenders skirmished with them, and sent to Tampa for help, but there never was an actual battle. The union troops did what damage they could and returned to Bayport and from there returned to Ft. Myers.

Charley liked to call it “the war of Northern aggression”, but then he fancied himself a southern boy. We went to the Brooksville Raid in 2013, and watched the battle but didn’t venture into the Union and Confederate camps at all. I’m not sure that we knew they were available to tour. Sunday’s photo meetup at the Brooksville Raid started when they opened the gates at 9 AM. It was to our advantage to be there so early so that we could take photographs without crowds in the background. Walking the camps went a long way to helping to imagine what a soldier’s life may have been at that time. I overheard a re-enactor explaining to another photographer that his great-grandfather had left the farm at 15 years old, and fought for all four years of the Civil War. He became a re-enactor to honor his ancestor’s service.

Once I had toured both camps, and watched the artillery demonstration there were still two hours to kill before the actual battle was going to be fought. I took pity on the dogs who would be needing to go out, so I didn’t stay for the battle itself. But I had it on good authority that the South was going to win this time. They do two re-enactments, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. I looked up the information on the raid because I was told that since the Union had won the skirmish on Saturday, the Confederacy would win on Sunday. That seemed like rewriting history until I read that I wasn’t a battle as much as a series of skirmishes. Charley was on my mind the whole time I was there. He would have been pleased to see the South prevail.

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blessings, courage, honor, memories, moments, photography, responsibility, soldiers

Remembering, with gratitude…

 

Several years ago I was traveling to visit my mother in MA, and was changing planes at BWI airport in Baltimore, and as I waited to board my connecting flight I heard a commotion several gates from where I waited. I looked to see what was happening and saw that an Honor Flight had arrived and the passengers, elderly veterans all, in matching tee shirts, were being wheeled off the the plane and through the airport. I heard applause begin and soon the terminal was lined with people, applauding and thanking these men for their service. It was such an emotional moment, and I was taken by surprise by the tears that were streaming down my face. I thought of all the times I’ve waited in the grocery store while an elderly gentleman blocked the aisle, and how we would be impatient with the elderly drivers we encounter on the streets here in Florida. It astounds me that these same men did in fact go off to a war, and endured things which we can’t imagine, and did so as young men who probably were not young at heart when they came home. If they were lucky enough to come home at all. Not many WW2 vets are left, we should treasure them. and all our vets.

Wars have changed, but the horrors that our vets see still changes them. We owe so much to the men and women who serve.

I was looking at the photos in my laptop and came across these. My cousins and I pooled our photos online several years ago, after we realized that we were now the older generation in the family. These photos look to have been taken on at my grandparent’s house. Was one of the brothers leaving, were they celebrating a return? All the brother’s, and brother-in-law, did return from the war. But seeing them all as the young men they once were, with their mother and sister, looking care free at that moment when chaos was taking place in the world, makes me both sad and proud. Everyone probably has similar family photos, with stories to go with all of them. We baby boomers owe them our lives, literally, since they endured and came home to raise their families. God bless them all.

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