Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Saturday, May 18, is designated as Poppy Day in my town this year.  American Legion veterans with bouquets of red paper poppies will be posted at just two locations.  Donations are accepted for a poppy, as always, and used to buy small gifts of appreciation given to our veterans housed in nearby hospitals and nursing homes.

Poppy Day is my special day to remember American history and our veterans who shed their blood to ensure my American freedom.  As I grew up, World Wars I and II veterans were posted all over town collecting donations to support our veterans.  Add Korea, Vietnam, Granada and more middle East conflicts to the list of wars to which our veterans have been called to duty and shed more of their blood.  Personally, I've added Benghazi, Libya and our four recently murdered patriots to my Poppy day list.

Do you know of the Flanders fields' poppies?  Chemical warfare was used on our troops.  Lt. Col. John McCrae was a Canadian soldier, physician and poet.  He tended both Canadian and American soldiers, wounded and poisoned, in his small tent at the edge of a field where those who did not survive were buried.  McCrae's friend Alexis Helmer was killed 2 June 1915; McCrae performed the burial service himself. That evening as the doctor stood looking over the grave sites, he memorialized the scene in his poem, In Flanders Fields:

     In Flanders fields the poppies blow
     Between the crosses, row on row
     That mark our place, and in the sky
     The larks, still bravely singing, fly
     Scarce heard amid the guns below.

     We are the dead.  Short days ago
     We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,   
     Loved and were loved, and now we lie
     in Flanders fields.

     Take up our quarrel with the foe.
     To you from failing hands we throw
     The torch; be yours to hold it high
     If ye break faith with us who die
     We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
     In Flanders fields.

Poppy seeds, usually dormant, having been disturbed by rumblings of war, military vehicles, bombings, bloodshed, shovels and graves, were roused to put down roots and send up blooms - so fields of poppies, bright red poppies, bloomed as far as the doctor's eyes could see - becoming a symbol of the horror and bloodshed of war.  Remember - and buy a poppy!

Nancy yTe \

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


People say 'love you' more freely than in the olden days.  No, it wasn't a commonly used phrase.  How nice to end a phone conversation saying 'love you' instead of just 'good-bye' or end a letter with 'love you' rather than 'Yours truly.' 

One generation ago, to hear the simple words 'love you' was rare.  Can you imagine returning home from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, having been away a year or two or three and your father greeted you with a hand shake - no hug, no embrace, no 'love you.' But, that's how it was! Change came slowly.  Nothing good came from Vietnam but I think the ease with which we say 'love you' began with the Vietnam 'peace' and 'love' advocates.   

Perhaps we are too quick and not always sincere saying 'love you' yet it is more valuable than no acknowledgement.  Hearing these words took my friend Ralph by surprise when it came at the end of a wrong number phone call - and added real joy to his day.  Said sincerely to spouse, children, siblings or friends, the words convey pride, hope, respect and encouragement.  Even my WWII husband and brothers did, by the end of their lives, learn to hug their friends and say 'love you' to their children with a degree of ease. That was an adjustment more huge than their grandchildren can imagine!  

My life has been comforted by hearing and saying 'love you.' I do not automatically go beyond courteous words (I am from those olden days) but there are people I do especially want to share them with. There are times when even the most delicious greeting card is not adequate to the person. It takes a pen in hand to convey real sentiment. Blog, text and tweet just doesn't do it.

Perhaps the pendulum has swung too far in the 'love' direction with male chest bumps and female 'kissy-kissy.'  I view both as insincere and stupid...  If you want someone to feel more loved, just tell them the good things you are thinking about them, bake their favorite cookies for them, share your time and relax with them - just because you care. 

Have you ever wondered why people keep hand written letters?  They say 'love you' in terms more powerful than the words. Ask anybody, soldier, father, student or lover the value of a letter - especially one memorializing their affection with pen and ink.  
Love you, Nancy yTe \