One Summer Day

 One Summer Day 

A young girl laying on the green grass 

Watching the clouds float by 

Dreaming little girl dreams

 

 

 One Summer Day 

A young girl running carefree  

Chasing after butterflies and lighting bugs 

Wishes upon the stars

 

 

 One Summer Day 

A young girl looking to the clouds 

Sees angels, horses and other things 

Enjoying the last days of summer 

Before the school bell rings once again 

 Patty Beggs August 2015

 

 


 

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The Song

Picture from pinterest
Picture from pinterest

The Song                                                                                                           {A short story by Patty Beggs 2015}

As Amanda was picking up the toys that were strewn all over the floor, a song came on the radio.  It was the song that would always transport her back to that summer.   

As the familiar song played in the background she remembered another time and another place where she heard that song.  Soon she was back to that summer of 1970, the summer she turned 16 and the boy who would steal her heart.   

School had been out for a few weeks as the summer routine stated to settle into summer time fun.  This was the summer at the lake where she would met Matthew. 

Matthew and his family had just moved into the military post where both of their fathers were stationed.  He looked a bit older than his 16 yrs, tall, confident with the deepest brown eyes she ever saw.   

As Matthew arrived to the beach area at the lake near the post where they lived, Amanda quickly invited him to join her and her friends.  As a special song played they all introduced themselves to him and eagerly offered to show him the ropes of the post. Joey would know all too soon what it would be like to be the new kid again, he just finished telling everyone his father was being transferred and this would be his last summer there. 

Summer continued on, Matthew and Amanda always showing up at the same places.  It seemed fate was throwing them together. It was inevitable that Amanda fell in love with Matthew. 

Joey had left soon after, followed by Ann whose father had been killed in Vietnam, her mother was moving her little family back home to Idaho. Reality set in to everyone there.  Especially to Amanda, along with her best friend Ellie and her two other friends Michael and Laura who just found out their fathers would also be leaving soon for a tour of duty in Vietnam.  A few days later Matthew found out his father also had orders.  It would become not only a long summer but a long year of uncertainty for Amanda and for those she care about.    

By the end of summer Amanda and Matthew were inseparable, bonded by knowledge that their fathers may not return. That special song soon became their song as they clung to each other for support in the months ahead.   

Matthew was with Amanda when she said good-bye to her father and she was with him when he said goodbye to his father. The next 11 months of watching the news and waiting for their father’s return would become unbearable.  During this time they found young love.  Their special song would be a reminder along with the ring Matthew gave to Amanda that summer for the promise of a young enduring love. 

Summer turned into autumn, then winter and soon spring.  Fathers were returning home and one day her own father came home.  The same day Matthew and his family got word that his father was killed in action. 

Soon after Matthew’s mother left the post and returned home to Pennsylvania and Amanda’s father was transferred to Washington state.  They wrote each other and spoke on the phone often.  Soon Matthew enlisted in the Army and Amanda went to nursing school. And at what always happens life got busy and soon they lost touch. 

Amanda never took off the ring Matthew gave her that summer, it was a constant reminder of a lost love and deep friendship. 

Matthew kept a picture of a girl next to him as he went from post to post a reminder of lost love and deep friendship.   

Every time a special song would play both Amanda and Matthew would think of how they found love in the summer of 1970. 

Years went by and Amanda got a new job at the Army Military Hospital where she once lived.  It would be there 10 years later that she will find love one summer afternoon at a lake. 

A young man, tall, confident with the deepest brown eyes she had not seen in over 10 years walked in, just as a special song began playing.   

As Amanda thought back to the summer day 45 years ago she felt the touch of the man who stole her heart in 1970, as he hugged her and sang along to the words. They had kept a promise of enduring love they made to each other all those years ago. 

Soon grandchildren came running in as the older couple continued dancing. In the midst of laughter and chatter from little children, they only saw the young lovers they were in 1970.

Memorial Day 2015

Memorial Day 2015Over the years Memorial Day went from being a day to honor our men and women who were killed in combat to honoring all of our loved ones who have died to a three-day weekend of picnic and family gatherings, signaling in the arrival of summer fun.

I have loved ones that have died, both my parents, my brother, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents and most recently my husband. But today is not about their memory, today is about honoring the memory of those who served their God and country and gave the ultimate sacrifice to form this nation, secure the Union, and to protect our shores from tyrants and dictators.

Memorial Day also known as Decoration Day is about our military members who never made it back home. Some are buried in graves their names never to be forgotten while others are laid to rest in unmarked graves – names long ago forgotten.

These men and women have protected our nation and our way of life for over 235 yrs. Today they are not only called upon to protect our country but to help those who are oppressed around the world also bringing relief of supplies and food to those in disaster areas. Most recently are the 6 Marines aboard the helicopter that crashed in Nepal bringing food and supplies to the earthquake victims.

Please take a moment today and remember those who lost their lives for this country and to uphold the peace around the world. Today I lay aside my memories of those that are close to my heart to remember the fallen.

To those who never grew old so we could –
May you rest in the peace of God
May your deaths never be in vain
May you never be forgotten
May you always be honored

In honor and remembrance to the fallen we salute:

Staff SGT Ryan Ostrom (my sons friend whom he served with at the armory and in Bosnia)
August 9, 2005. Habbaniya Iraq
PA National Guard Co B, 109th Infantry assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team
****************************
SGT Raymond Paul Kurtik (my husbands friend who he grew up with)
DOB 7-3-1949. KIA 7-7-1969,
7th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division, USARV in Vietnam.

*****************************
SP4 Leonard T. Bish. “Butch” to his friends. (my brother-in-law RJB friend)
DOB 11-18-46. KIA -5-16-67. Quang Ngai Province, Repbulic of Vietnam.
2nd Platoon, C Company, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division. “The Screaming Eagles.”

*****************************

Let us never forget – {add the name of someone you know who never made it home in the comment section}

Taps:
Day is done, gone the sun
From the lakes, from the hills, from the sky
All is well, safely rest
God is nigh.
Fading light dims the sight
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright
From afar, drawing near
Falls the night.
Thanks and praise for our days
Neath the sun, neath the stars, neath the sky
As we go, this we know
God is nigh.
Several later lyrical adaptations have been created. One, written by Horace Lorenzo Trim, is shown below:
Fading light dims the sight
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright
From afar drawing nigh,
Falls the night.
Day is done, gone the sun
From the lakes, from the hills, from the skies
All is well, safely rest;
God is nigh.
Then goodnight, peaceful night;
Till the light of the dawn shineth bright.
God is near, do not fear,
Friend, goodnight.
The other popular version, penned and harmonized by famed composer Josef Pasternack, is:
Love, sweet dreams!
Lo, the beams of the light Fairy moon kissed the streams,
Love, Goodnight!
Ah so soon!
Peaceful dreams!
Another set of lyrics, used in a recording made by John Wayne about the song, is:
Fading light
Falling night
Trumpet call, as the sun, sinks in flight
Sleep in peace, comrades dear,
God is near.

Happy Mothers Day Mom!

momThe past few months have been busy ones for me, but as I like to say, it has been a good busy.

So I am happy for my first day back writing to be about my mom.

I want to honor my mom for the remarkable woman she will always be.

My mom was a stay at home mom. She did have an outside job once when dad was unemployed and worked at a family run business, an Italian Bakery. They lovingly called her the token German since she was the only one not related to the owners.

For the most part like many women of her generation she stayed home to raise us children and to give her credit she never ran out of the house screaming! That alone makes her mother of the year.

When dad retired from the Army the recession of the 70’s hit and jobs were scarce so we lived off of his retirement often. But mom could stretch a meal and we always had plenty to eat. She kept house, kept us fed and clothed and kept the family together.

mom 1964 (2)She was a strong woman, stronger than I have had ever imagined. She was also a survivor. Although I was 22 when she died, she taught me how to persevere when all you want to do is give up. She gave to me the best gift I would ever need to get me through my own hurdles – her strength.

Life was not kind to mom, but she did not let it get her down. She kept a stiff upper lip and forged on ahead. I often wonder how she was in private, because if front of us kids she kept a brave front.

Mom was loving, kind and compassionate. She was often serious especially when life was difficult which was often, but she also knew how to laugh and sing. She had a lovely voice and when I hear her favorite songs I can still hear singing along.

Through the ups and downs of my parents marriage, mom taught me the value of being a supportive wife and a loving mother without me knowing it. I was going to be a career woman, marriage and children was not my plan. I am thankful God had other plans for me!

One memory of mom is from when we were living in New Jersey and I would go shopping with her. We would walk to the neighborhood Italian market (when you walked in the smell of all those Italian cheese’s would hit you with an a wonderful aroma!), then the butcher and maybe a few other errands before making a trip to the Jewish Bakery for either Kaiser Rolls or Bagels, eating them on the way home.

When  my son was just born I will never forget seeing my mom visit me at the hospital to see her second grandson. She never thought she would live long enough to see any grandchildren and my sister and I both gave her grandsons she adored. My biggest regret was that my children never had a chance to know her love.

I miss so many things about my mom, her German accent for one; although she swore she did not have one! When Tom passed away I missed her advice and her encouragement.

Mom like dad died way to early – she had heart disease and her big loving heart gave out when her kidneys failed at the age of 57. She once told me she injured her kidney in an accident when she was young and when I would ask her she never elaborated. When I think of the horrors she most likely went through at the hands of the Russians my imagination gets the best of me.  She would often tell me about her younger days, but very seldom talking about her life during the war.

On this Mother’s Day I want to celebrate a woman who lived, who loved, who raised a family and who survived many battles and trials and much heartache.

Happy Mothers Day Mom – I thank God you were my mom if even for a short time.

these lilacs are for you!

lilacs

Christmas & New Years Blessings

GE DIGITAL CAMERAAll my best laid plans to do a weekly advent devotion for Christmas were dashed when I came down with a sinus infection and eventually a bad case of the flu.

After starting antibiotics for my sinus infection I was elated when I felt normal and energetic. That lasted for 3 days. When wham – I was hit – bulls-eye, with the flu. So for the past two weeks minus a few days I have been sick. But as I say, “tis the season to be jolly, to be merry and to be sick”!

Alas, we must all take the good with the bad. Yes, I have been sick for nearly 2 weeks and in bed for 4 days, that is the bad, but the good is I have a great family doctor, a job that I can take adequate time off to recuperate, family and friends that care for me and brought me not chicken soup but Christmas cookies – now those are friends! My daughter was even in the kitchen doing most of the Christmas meal preparation while I rested and enjoyed the sounds of Christmas music playing or watching the Hallmark Christmas movies.

GE DIGITAL CAMERAI even had time to put together a puzzle – anyone recognize it?  Yep, I admit it I am a “A Christmas Story” watcher.  We watch it every year on Christmas Eve after church and then again Christmas morning as we open our presents. 

So, at this time I would like to wish all of you and your families, a joyous and wonder-filled Christmas season of the birth of our Savior and a healthy and God inspired New Year.

 

 

Christmas Cookies Anyone?

386741_2668163541909_324005759_nThis is the first Christmas I will not be baking cookies. When my mother was ill my sister and I took over some of the baking and that is when I found my love of baking Christmas cookies.

The year my mother had her first heart attack dad bought the Tastykake Christmas cookies and they eventually became a part of our Christmas cookie tradition growing up, the box they came in right next to moms delicious cookies. My mothers favorite to bake were butter cut out cookies and peanut butter. We were no Martha Stewart or I guess in my day it was the Galloping Gourmet when it came to decorating. But we had fun. We never used icing, instead mom used a egg yolk mixture and then we topped it off with an assortment of sprinkles and candies. There were more types of cookies she would bake and we would always help – eating the broken ones or the ones that were burnt around the edges.

404543_2760139881260_50935956_nAs I got a home of my own I added Butter Drop Ins, Angel Pillows and Santa’s Whiskers to my cookie collection. I would store cookies for weeks until Christmas using all the proven techniques to keep them fresh.

As the children grew they ate them as fast as I could bake them. We would also give away containers full of cookies. One year I took them out to the ambulance company that came and helped me after I passed out. Then there were the years I shipped them to my  husband and son when they were deployed. Over the years my kitchen became a bakery filling my home with aroma of fresh baked cookies.

When our son moved out of the house and life got busy with jobs and other commitments I only baked the families favorites and started to buy German cookies and Scottish shortbread that are now easily available. What is Christmas without the traditional Lebkucken, Christmas Stollen, and Scottish Shortbread that melts in your mouth?

9693_4837674018315_186367325_nOur daughter loves to bake as much as I do, but we are both finding out bakery cookies are just as good! So now we go to Wegmans and stock up on German Lebkucken, buy our favorite cookie – Oreos with the red stuffing and choose a few Christmas cookies at our favorite bakery. We are also blessed with my sister who still loves to bake and will bring over our mothers Butter Cut Out Cookies and friends who will not have me go without cookies.

Although I have never met a cookie I did not like I am at that age where I have to watch what I eat. And with my biggest cookie fan no longer here to enjoy the delicacies I bake, I find it is time to lay aside my baking sheet and wooden spoon – for now. I am sure once grandchildren bless my home I will once again fill my home with the aroma of cookies baking.

405158_3610376136635_1392016750_nSo now what do I do since I am not baking? Glad you asked…now my life is filled with craft and sewing projects. Instead of a messy kitchen table I have a messy craft table. The aroma of baking cookies has been replaced by the aroma of my Scentsy Warmer that fills my home with Christmas Joy.

What is your favorite thing to do for Christmas, is it baking, cooking, or crafts?

Thanksgiving Traditions

Norman-Rockwell-Thanksgiving-thanksgiving-2927689-375-479Here I am getting ready for the second holiday season without Tom. In 35 years of marriage we have only missed two wedding anniversaries, two Christmas’s and one Thanksgiving and one New Year. Not bad for a military wife, but then he only served active duty for part of our marriage before serving the rest of his career in the PA National Guard. Lets face it, although I am proud of the National Guard and all the work they do in their states and across the sea, it is a lot easier being married to a weekend warrior then a full-time soldier.

In that 35 yrs we have made some new traditions while keeping some of the old traditions. When I was growing up we did not have many old family traditions.  Coming from a military family and a grandmother with “itchy” feet my father’s family was thrown to the four corners of the earth. My mother being from Germany never celebrated Thanksgiving so it was a new experience for her. My father was raised in the depression had a very difficult life so I always thought it was his dream to have the traditional Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving.

Dad would always buy the biggest turkey, no matter how tight the household budget. He would cook everything in that turkey including the bone for his turkey soup. To this day I cannot eat stuffing, turkey soup or homemade gravy after I helped him one Thanksgiving – he literally used all the “extra’s” that come with the turkey, for flavor he would say, but that did not encourage me.

Now mom on the other hand was not a turkey connoisseur , I can still hear her say why do we have to eat turkey? But always wanting to become American she adapted. I am sure dad taught her everything she needed to know to make the best roast turkey this side of the Atlantic Ocean. She never did understood the concept of eating turkey only once a year. I always assumed they compromised for Christmas by having ham instead of turkey or the Christmas goose.

There is a clip in a movie “Avalon” which is a movie about Polish Immigrants that reminds me of my mother. Change the accent to German and I can almost hear my mother say “I don’t understand this holiday…we don’t eat turkey all year why do I have it eat now”.

movie clip ~ I will never understand this holiday

So our Thanksgiving holiday was a table filled with all the traditional Thanksgiving Day foods and our family of 5 would eat leftovers it seemed for weeks, although I am sure it was only days afterward.  My sister and I would normally argue over who was to wash or dry the many dishes dad left for us.  Dad would say you can tell a good cook by how many dishes and pots he used…well if that is true, then my dad was a master chef!

Tom comes from a traditional American family, big dinner of turkey and ham, tables filled with food that everyone brought, family gathered around, cousins running all over the place, along with a kids table, I am sure. He was amazed when I told him I was not that fond of turkey. Poor guy did not realize he was not going to have turkey for Christmas, ham would become our  traditional Christmas dinner. He never complained as long as he had his homemade pumpkin pie, his favorite holiday pie. Being newly married and wanting to impress him since he said his mother never made homemade pies I made my Aunt Marty’s pumpkin pie from scratch…from then on I would bake all my pies from scratch using love as my secret ingredient. For 35 yrs, we would have pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and one year I surprised him and made him one for his birthday!

The only time we did not have turkey was for our first Thanksgiving, we had chicken. This was before you could buy turkey breasts or smaller turkeys. I would start baking my pies the day before and instead of homemade stuffing we had stove top. Although I do remember the first time I made homemade stuffing I burnt it…don’t ask me how, I followed the directions and sticking to my convictions I used store-bought broth instead of making my own.

It is time to make new traditions but keeping the many happy memories of the past Thanksgivings.  I remember my parents, my brother and Tom with tears, laughter, and smiles. My traditions are not like the Norman Rockwell pictures or from what is shown in holiday movies.  But like how all traditions are started, both my old and the new ones my children and I will make together, they all start from the love I have for them.

My children and I will still have turkey with all the trimmings and instead of pumpkin pie this year I am making a pumpkin roll. Instead of football it will be watching all the traditional Christmas movies, “It’s A Wonderful Life”, “White Christmas”, It Happened On Fifth Avenue”, “Christmas in Connecticut” and to keep things silly “A Christmas Story”. 

What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition? I would enjoy hearing about all the different ways we celebrate, including my Canadian friends.  For my friends across the world, do you also celebrate a thanksgiving holiday?

Fall Is In The Air

My White Dogwood Tree Oct 2013 It won’t be long until my Dogwood is this bright and colorful once again

Autumn. Don’t you just love the smell of the weather change? “Fall is in the air” my dad would say when the temperatures begin to change.

Although autumn doesn’t start until Sept 21, for me it starts with the first day of school. My children are grown now but it doesn’t stop me from feeling the excitement of seeing back to school supplies, children shopping for school clothes and the memory of a class room on that first day. Do you remember the smell of the first day of school?

With the coming of September I welcome the change from the slower pace of summer to the hustle and bustle of church and school activities.

It is interesting how each season has its own distinct qualities.

Winter is a time to curl up with good books in front of my fireplace (it is an electrical one but still a fireplace!) while enjoying a hot cup of British blends teas. Winter is also a good time to get caught up on all those sewing projects I have lying around. Who can resist that first snowfall that blankets our world?

Spring refreshes my world with hope as I watch earth’s slumber awaken with the signs of spring; new growth, spring flowers, baby bunnies and all of the birds returning from their southern journey. Spring is also the opportunity to indulge in spring cleaning as I clean out my closets and freshen up the house. Don’t you love the smell of the house that has just been scrubbed with Pine Sole as the window curtains flutter in the spring breeze?

Summer is set aside for vacations, working around the house and lazy days on the deck. The dog days of summer brings relaxation and enjoying good old-fashioned southern ice tea in front of my air conditioner. Who can remember laying down on the grass, watching the clouds float by and daydreaming of your future?

Oh but Autumn ~ my favorite time of year. The air is not only cooler after the lazy hot days of late summer, but it is brisk, fresh, and clean. Our mountains come alive in the colors of autumn, gold, russet, brown and orange. The smell of chalk boards and freshly copied paper from an old mimeograph machine permeates my mind. To this day I still enjoy buying new clothes in August and enjoy opening up a new notebook just waiting to be filled. Who remembers the anticipation of the first day of school?

Today as an adult my routine in Fall takes a different direction. Instead of getting ready for school, I prepare for committees and activities after a restful summer. My office is also busy as the committees of the Presbytery return from their summer breaks, new pastors move in and other pastors move on. The Presbyterian Church is also ready to start-up doing what they do best – helping others.

And that is where the next chapter in my life is taking me ~ helping others ~ as I anticipate the new challenges God has called me to.

I will be serving on a mission committee at church. We will have our first meeting next week as we find ways to help those in need both locally and in different parts of the world.

Then there is my term as the Historian for the Presbyterian Women of the Synod of the Trinity. This year I will also serve not only as Historian but on their mission board. In addition I will also be undertaking the job of webmaster of their webpage. This is a story for a different time, because I did not see that one coming and walked right into volunteering to take over! But it is a challenge I welcome and will enjoy. I look forward to working with the person who set it up. (If you are reading this A.T. I thank you for this opportunity)

The biggest challenge has been to accept the responsibility of a Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) group leader. I have been in leadership for a few years but not as a group leader. We had our first class night and God has blessed me with a wonderful group of ladies. I look forward to not only seeing where God will lead me but where He will lead the class as we study about Moses together.

Regardless if I buy school supplies or office supplies or if I purchase clothes for work instead of for school I will always anticipate the new challenges that autumn brings.

What do you look forward to in autumn?

Favorite Children’s Song

Mannheim school 1For some reason this week – it is probably with school starting, that I was reminded of when I was in the First Grade and the first two songs I learned.  You can say they are my favorite because whenever I hear it I am transported back to the DOD (Dept of Defense) Mannheim Elementary School in Mannheim Germany where my father was stationed.

The two most things I enjoyed was learning to read and singing songs.

I can hear my mother as she sang with me.  To me she had the most beautiful voice in the world as I think of her singing German folk songs and the songs from the hit parade.

What is your favorite song from childhood? 

Frere Jacques

Frère Jacques, frère Jacques
Dormez-vous, dormez-vous?
Sonnez les matines, sonnez les matines
Ding-dang-dong, ding-dang-dong

Are you sleeping, are you sleeping
Brother John, brother John
Morning bells are ringing, morning bells are ringing
Ding-dang-dong, ding-dang-dong

Author: Unknown

London Bridge Is Falling Down

 

Remembering Dad

Dad and PattyFather’s Day ~ 2014

Before I was born my father had wanted to name me Patrick,  assuming I would be boy.  Since my brother and sister were already named for his father and closest sister, he wanted to give his next child a name he always liked.

After I was born there was a uproar about my name though. My father decided Patricia would be just as good a name as Patrick. Besides he had always liked the nick name Patsy. But my grandmother had wanted to name me Elizabeth Grace after her little girl who died in infancy.

We all know who won the argument and I was called Patricia. The story goes that my grandmother had come up to help my mother before and after I was born. After it was decided on what my name would be she got so mad at my mother and not only refusing to talk to her, she would not even hold me. Actually I have a picture somewhere of her holding me with a scowl on her face.

My mother told me that she was alright with the name Elizabeth, it was the middle name that had her in a tizzy. Grace…such a pretty name right?

My mother just in this country for a little over 1 year, was still learning the English language, thought my grandmother wanted to name me Elizabeth “Crazy”. She thought Grace was the word for crazy! Of coarse my father loved to tell the story and would add, “little did we know the name would have fit Patty perfectly”! Once my mother understood she told me she always regretted the misunderstanding of not realizing why the name meant so much to my grandmother.

My poor mother, although she was blamed for me not being Elizabeth Grace, it was in fact my dad who put his foot down and wanted his Patricia. I quickly became Patty, although I was never told why I was never called Patsy.  On occasion he would call me Patsy, and I might add he was the only one who was allowed to do so. He did not call me that often, but when he did it was always with a joke, a smile and a twinkle in his eyes.

He died suddenly when I was 14, four days after his birthday. I never had the chance to speak with him adult to adult, or ask him about his life as a young boy leaving home to help support his mother and sisters. When I started to learn about World War II in school he would fill in the gaps from the history books, teaching me “what the history books would not”. Those were some of the best talks I had with him.

Dad saw things during his tour in Europe in 1944-1945 that we will never be able to comprehend. Those things had haunted him all of his life. He never again found the peace in his life that was lost on the battlefields of Belgium and the Rhineland.

Growing up we had good times and bad times. Through it all we knew we were loved. I had the privilege of having him for my father, although I only knew him for such a short time.

He was far from perfect; he was a man who lived through many difficulties, being a young boy during the Depression, he had left home to support his family. He also witnessed the horrors of the brutality of what one man was capable of doing. Some of the problems and trials were of his own choosing, yet he was a gentle man, a caring man, and a man of courage. Dad was just a troubled soul – trying to find his place in this world.

Dad held many jobs one of his first jobs as a young boy was with the CCC.  After that he also worked a short time with the Ringling Brothers and Bailey Circus, if memory serves me right he told me his job was to help set up the tents.  He was a diesel mechanic and a draftsman. But his most memorable career would be his service to his country for 25 years, with the United States Army.

And that is how I like to think of him. As a soldier and a father who loved and cared for his family the best way he knew how.

Happy Father’s Day Dad ~ “Sarge”!

dad 1