Welcome to Awakenings

Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Friday, January 31, 2014

A Sailor’s Dying Wish

By Jennie Haskamp

After signing my Pop, EM2 Bud Cloud (circa Pearl Harbor) up for hospice care, the consolation prize I’d given him (for agreeing it was OK to die) was a trip to “visit the Navy in San Diego.”

I emailed my friend and former Marine sergeant, Mrs. Mandy McCammon, who’s currently serving as a Navy Public Affairs Officer, at midnight on 28 May. I asked Mandy if she had enough pull on any of the bases in San Diego to get me access for the day so I could give Bud, who served on USS Dewey (DD-349), a windshield tour.

The next day she sent me an email from the current USS Dewey (DDG 105)’s XO, CDR Mikael Rockstad, inviting us down to the ship two days later.

We linked up with Mandy outside Naval Base San Diego and carpooled to the pier where we were greeted by CMDCM Joe Grgetich and a squad-sized group of Sailors. Bud started to cry before the doors of the van opened. He’d been oohing and pointing at the cyclic rate as we approached the pier, but when we slowed down and Mandy said, “They’re all here for you, Bud,” he was overwhelmed.

After we were all out of the van directly in front of the Dewey, shaking hands and exchanging pleasantries, Petty Officer Simon introduced himself and said as the ship’s Sailor of the Year he had the honor of pushing Bud’s wheelchair for the day. Unbeknownst to us, they’d decided to host Bud aboard the Dewey, not at the Dewey. And so they carried him aboard. None of us expected him to go aboard the ship. I’d told him we were going down to the base and would have the chance to meet and greet a few of the Sailors from the new Dewey. He was ecstatic. The day before, he asked every few hours if we were “still going down to visit the boys from the Dewey,” and “do they know I was on the Dewey, too?”

Once aboard, we were greeted by the CO, CDR Jake Douglas, the XO and a reinforced platoon-sized group of Sailors. To say it was overwhelming is an understatement. These men and women waited in line to introduce themselves to Bud. They shook his hand, asked for photos with him, and swapped stories. It was simply amazing.

They didn’t just talk to him, they listened.

Bud’s voice was little more than a weak whisper at this point and he’d tell a story and then GMC Eisman or GSCS Whynot would repeat it so all of the Sailors on deck could hear. In the midst of the conversations, Petty Officer Flores broke contact with the group. Bud was telling a story and CMDCM Grgetich was repeating the details when Flores walked back into view holding a huge photo of the original USS Dewey. That moment was priceless. Bud stopped mid-sentence and yelled, “There she is!” They patiently stood there holding the photo while he told them about her armament, described the way it listed after it was hit, and shared other details about the attacks on Pearl Harbor.

Bud finally admitted how tired he was after more than an hour on deck. While they were finishing up goodbyes and taking last minute photographs, GMC Eisman asked if it’d be OK to bring Sailors up to visit Bud in a few months after a Chief’s board. I hadn’t said it yet because I didn’t want it to dampen the spirit of the day, but I quietly explained to GMC Eisman the reason we’d asked for the visit was simple: Bud was dying.

I told him they were welcome to come up any time they wanted, but I suspected Bud had about a month left to live. Almost without hesitation, he asked if the crew could provide the burial honors when the time came. I assured him that’d be an honor we’d welcome.

Leaving the ship was possibly more emotional than boarding.

They piped him ashore. CMDCM Grgetich leaned in and quietly told me how significant that honor was and who it’s usually reserved for as we headed towards the gangplank. Hearing “Electrician’s Mate Second Class William Bud Cloud, Pearl Harbor Survivor, departing” announced over the 1MC was surreal.

Later that night Bud sat in his recliner, hands full of ship’s coins and declared, “I don’t care what you do with my power tools; you better promise you’ll bury me with these.”

He died 13 days later. For 12 of those 13 days he talked about the Dewey, her Sailors and his visit to San Diego. Everyone who came to the house had to hear the story, see the photos, hold the coins, read the plaques.

True to his word, GMC Eisman arranged the details for a full honors burial. The ceremony was simple yet magnificent. And a perfect sendoff for an ornery old guy who never, ever stopped being proud to be a Sailor. After the funeral, the Sailors came back to the house for the reception and spent an hour with the family. This may seem like a small detail, but it’s another example of them going above and beyond the call of duty, and it meant more to the family than I can explain.

There are more photos, and I’m sure I missed a detail, or a name. What I didn’t miss and will never forget, is how unbelievable the men and women of the USS Dewey were. They opened their ship and their hearts and quite literally made a dream come true for a dying Sailor.

They provided the backdrop for “This is the best day of my life, daughter. I never in my whole life dreamed I’d step foot on the Dewey again or shake the hand of a real life Sailor.”

Without question, it’s the best example of Semper Fidelis I’ve ever seen.

Jennie Haskamp is a Marine Corps veteran who was fortunate to be adopted by a Pearl Harbor survivor after her first tour in the Corps. She’s an accidental tourist of sorts, keeping her friends entertained with anecdotes and photos, while she continues college and decides what she wants to be when she grows up. Follow Jennie’s personal blog here.

The Facebook Time Machine

I posted an article earlier today about Wintertime vs. Winter Time. Not long afterward I discovered a site via Scoop.it that fits the topic of time perfectly. Facebook will celebrate its 10th birthday next month. It has become a worldwide phenomenon where some people feel it is as much a necessity as breathing. While it does have it merits (maybe a few), not sure it is really all that important. My opinion, of course.

Mark Zuckerberg set up thefacebook.com
at Harvard on February 4, 2004 (Picture: AP/File)
Have you ever wondered just how much time you spend on Facebook? Just thinking about it on a daily basis without adding it up over an extended period of time may not lend itself to seeming like very much time at all. You might be surprised!

Facebook says its 1.1 billion users each spend an average of 17 minutes on the site every day, so click on the image below or here to find out how you compare.
Facebook Time Wasted
When I equated my daily time on Facebook, my first thought was I am so glad I am NOT wasting my life away on Facebook! Yippee! That excitement was short lived. I did some additional calculating to only find that since joining Facebook in 2012 my average time is 16.994 min per day. That is the baseline for the figures in the graphic above!

NOTE: Facebook, you just may have to go bye-bye! Life is too short and time too precious to wile it away for ... really, what purpose? 

Check it out for yourself...then, be your own judge!


Gear up for Ice Cream for Breakfast Day!


First Saturday in February is...

Ice Cream for Breakfast Day

Wake up early tomorrow morning in anticipation of a very unusual breakfast! You may have a busy, busy day ahead but this is one day you do NOT want to skip breakfast. NO cooking involved, NO soggy cereal, NO burnt toast, NO runny eggs...you get the picture!  Fill up instead on a hearty bowl of ice-cream, enjoy your favorite ice cream sandwich, sip on an ice cream soda, have a sundae or even a banana or pineapple split! YUM! YUM!

That’s right – Ice Cream For Breakfast Day does away with wheat, corn and wholemeal breakfast foods in favor of frozen creamy treats. If you do not have any ice cream in your freezer, a trip to the closest grocery or convenience store is definitely in order!



For once, ENJOY your breakfast to its fullest!

NEXT on the calendar...click HERE!

Wintertime vs. Winter Time

January 31: the 31st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. With 1/12 of the year gone, 334 days remain until year's end. Winter is in full swing with visions of hope for an early spring buzzing around in our heads. That implies already looking ahead wishing time away so we can pack up boots, heavy coats and jeans replacing them with flip flops, tee-shirts and shorts. 

Time can't hold us down but moves us forward, keeps us on our toes and immerses us in memorable scenes of the past, present and future. It is our best friend, often our worse enemy. We have too much time on our hands, not enough time to do the things that need to be done or just barely get by as time flies without warning.

Winter time is slow time. Slowing down to drive, pausing for a hot cup of cocoa, stopping to warm by a fire. It is time indoors more than outdoors, without searching within. Without the blossoms of springtime within thoughts of a balmy sunny day! 

Winters come, winters go. They will always be a part of the cycle of life beginning a season of dormancy awaiting rebirth. Mosaics on frozen ponds and lakes stretch outward in all directions, cracks and crevices revealing life thriving underneath. One tree hangs on to its leaves while others stand barren baring scarred limbs naked to the earth and sky. Gone are the plush and green replaced by shades of gray often covered in blankets of white.

Thus, we live the Winter with thoughts of "I can't wait until Spring arrives?" When wintertime arrives, do we simply wish away the winter time?

Animation of snow cover changing with the seasons
Source: en.wikipedia.org

Wintertime vs. Winter Time

Winters of the past
Aged not forgotten
Images frozen still
Long ago begotten

Time within winter
Slowed to a crawl

Breaths unlabored
After toils of Fall

Winters of the present
Snowy fields impart
Stormy times ahead
Yet stillness of heart

 Time within winter
 Spans hours inside
 Hopes and desires
Lay calm fireside

Winters of the future
What truly lies ahead?
Without needless worry
Living the moments instead

Time within winter
Ensues time well spent
Without a single moment
Wond'ring where time went

Wintertime, any time
Past, present, future
Build upon images
Visions that nurture


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Masked Rider of the Plains

This Day in History: January 30, 1933

“Hi-Yo Silver — A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty Hi-Yo Silver … the Lone Ranger! With his faithful Indian companion, Tonto, the daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains led the fight for law and order in the early West… Return with me now to those thrilling days of yesteryear… The Lone Ranger rides again!”
Not sure about you but I just love learning trivia facts about the heroes I grew up idolizing. This one is really special - The 'masked rider of the plains' known none other than The Lone Ranger. My fondest memories rely on my observances via television and the movie screen of his fighting injustice joined by his trusty steed, Silver, and his loyal Indian scout, Tonto. Of course, that is not how he got his start.

Farmer Listening to Radio, 1933.
Records of the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture,
1839–1981, Record Group 16, National Archives.
It was on this day, January 30 eighty-one years ago when The Lone Ranger debuted on WXYZ (Detroit) radio station. Yep! He made his first "appearance" on a radio show! His character was based on a former Texas Ranger. The book "The Lone Star Ranger" by Zane Grey had been dedicated to Texas Ranger Captain John R. Hughes in 1915. Some believe the original character was inspired from experiences of Capt. Hughes. Others think the character was based on US Marshal Bass Reeves. In either case, the show was a hit!
Behind the Scenes at the Radio Station
There are many hallmarks that have followed The Lone Ranger well into the 21st century. Remember the music? The William Tell Overture. Once established there wasn't any other musical score that would ever take its place. It became iconic. Then, since we are in the days of the wild, wild West, there were definitely guns involved and the Lone Ranger's shot silver bullets. Also notable because of Western modes of travel overland there was the need for a horse. Not just any horse. This horse was a white stallion.

(Introduction for The Lone Ranger radio broadcast – listen HERE)

Keep in mind we are still talking about a radio program. There was no wide open range or even live horses. Just sounds...sounds presented as authentically as possible as though you were there. The voice of Tonto reflected a mono-syllabic tone of a Native American with his most memorable word being "kemosabe." The Lone Ranger was portrayed by Brace Beemer from 1941 until the show’s final episode in 1954.

Clayton Moore as The Lone Ranger and Silver
Source: en.wikipedia.org
Jay Silverheels as Tonto
Source: findagrave.com
A face was finally put with the name when the show transitioned from radio to television. A couple of Lone Ranger serials were released by Republic Pictures in the late 1930s. It was throughout the 1950s when The Lone Ranger television series (1949-57) made the "masked rider of the plains" an American institution. It became ABC network's highest-rating show throughout the decade. While geared more to children, the show was equally enjoyed by adults!

Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels played the Lone Ranger and Tonto, respectfully, in all eight seasons of the television show, as well as in both the 1956 and 1958 feature-length movies. The Lone Ranger was revived in the 21st century with the making and release of a new version.
How does the Armie Hammer/Johnny Depp version measure up? 

Doesn't look anything like the Lone Ranger and Tonto I grew up knowing and loving. Guess I will just be content with my grandfather's radio hero and my own memories!
 “To have a friend, a man must be one; all men are created equal; and everyone has within himself the power to make this a better world. God put the firewood there, but that every man must gather and light it himself, a man should make the most of what equipment he has, that ‘this government of the people, by the people, and for the people’ shall live always, that men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number.” (The Lone Ranger Creed)

Related Article

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

National Baseball Hall of Fame

This Day in History: January 29, 1936
1936 (dedicated June 12, 1939)
Cooperstown, New York
Source: en.wikipedia.org

Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet. Ah-h-h...the American Classics. One of which, baseball, is the story in the forefront for this day in history. Focal point: Baseball Hall of Fame

Cooperstown...pure Americana. The spirit of Cooperstown...baseball! It is in Cooperstown, New York where one will find the Baseball Hall of Fame. It serves as the central location for the history of baseball in the United States and so much more. Surrounding the hall of fame is the motto "Preserving History, Honoring Excellence, Connecting Generations." 

It was on this day in history, January 29, 1936, the U.S. Baseball Hall of Fame elected its first members. Those initially honored in Cooperstown . . .
Plaques of the "First Class" of inductees":
Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner and Walter Johnson
Source: en.wikipedia.org
Christy Matthewson (August 12, 1880 – October 7, 1925) nicknamed "Big Six", "The Christian Gentleman", or "Matty" had more wins than any pitcher in National League history.
Babe Ruth (February 6, 1895 – August 16, 1948) nicknamed "the Bambino" and "the Sultan of Swat" was both an ace pitcher and the greatest home-run hitter to play the game.
Ty Cobb (December 18, 1886 – July 17, 1961) nicknamed "The Georgia Peach" was the most productive hitter in history.
Honus Wagner (February 24, 1874 – December 6, 1955) nicknamed "The Flying Dutchman" was a versatile star shortstop and batting champion.
Walter Johnson (November 6, 1887 – December 10, 1946) nicknamed "Barney" and "The Big Train" was considered one of the most powerful pitchers to ever have taken the mound.
Bits of Nostalgia: Within its history exists both myth and legend as to who invented the game of baseball. One story places the title on the head of U.S. Civil War hero Abner Doubleday in Cooperstown. The story proved to be phony bologna. However, baseball officials were eager to capitalize on the publicity and marketing of a place of honor for the games greatest players, thus, gave their support. So it was to be...a museum and hall of fame in Cooperstown, New York for the game known as America's favorite pastime. 
Three years later – on June 12, 1939 – the Hall of Fame building officially opened. To mark the occasion, Time magazine wrote:
"The world will little note nor long remember what (Doubleday) did at Gettysburg, but it can never forget what he did at Cooperstown."
The Doubleday Myth has since been declared that which it is, "The Myth." Yet, it has grown so strong the facts will never deter the spirit of Cooperstown. There are references to baseball games in America dating back to the 1700s. Alexander Cartwright has been officially declared the 'Father of Baseball' developing rules in the 1840s that are the basis for the game today.

 Life, hot dogs and baseball
Hot apple pie topped with ice cream
Ah-h-h-h! Those American classics
Sad day had their visions not been seen!

Awakenings ©2012
Sharla Lee Shults

Related Article:

National Baseball Hall of Fame

The Lost Spirits

The official page of the Matinecock Indian Tribe
of Long Island, NY
Today is a quiet day...a co-o-o-old day so definitely a day to stay inside simply enjoying the warmth of hearth and home. Just finished reading The 12-ft Teepee by +Marilyn Armstrong (featured below) and thought I would take some time to visit blogs I am following. How surprised I was upon coming across The Lost Spirits @A Misbehaved Woman

What better topic to revisit than that of the American Indians? 

Disturbing, however, is the fact this story is not totally past history...it is tied to history, yes, but it is also right here, right now, in America, in New York City.

The official page of the Matinecock Indian Tribeof Long Island, NY
More than likely you are familiar with the Iroquois, Mohawk people, Mahican (aka Mohican), Akwesasne (as a Mohawk Nation) but have you ever heard of the Matinecock and Montaukett tribes? Being unaware of these tribes myself enhanced my curiosity and desire to learn more. Like so many Indian tribes, they are still in the healing process with scars that run deep as they try diligently to preserve their tradition, honor and dignity.

Without further ado, here is their story as a documentary...heart warming and heart wrenching...

The Lost Spirits is a documentary following the lives of a Native American family living in Queens, New York. In recent years, many conflicts have plagued their tribe and stirred up controversy within the town. It began with the removal of their family cemetery to build a road in the 1930′s. The artifacts and burial items mysteriously went missing. The acres of land they used to own was snatched by the government for back taxes, and the remaining land is landlocked by the surrounding owners. The Barron family, members of the Matinecock and Montaukett tribes, could never seem to get their voices heard. This film is to show people who they are, what happened in their lives, and the future of American Indians in Little Neck, New York.

Read MORE about Montaukett Indian Nation who 103 years ago, were declared by a New York State Judge as being “extinct.” Guess what? They are still here!

Be sure to visit Rebecca Taylor McFarland @A Misbehaved Woman. In her own words,
Ageless, timeless, mysterious, wandering Child of The Universe. Residing in the barren desert town of Lost Causes, NM - much to my distress & dismay. I like to share bizarre bits of news mixed with a hefty dash of snark. There is never much rhyme or reason to what I post & no way to predict what mood might strike my sun-soaked brain so you'll just have to go with the flow or find another arroyo to hike in. Whatever tickles your tarantula. 

At the beginning of this post is mention of my just finishing the reading of The 12-ft Teepee by +Marilyn Armstrong. Your first thoughts might be of an American Indian story perhaps about the teepee, an Indian's humble abode. Not exactly, but certainly is reflective of Indian life...a life of survival

In the story, Maggie is a victim of an abusive childhood that has left its share of scars running deep much like those of the Indians. The healing process is slow, but possible, as scenes unwind amid an atmosphere of hope. Her salvation: the building of a teepee, a place of solace, a place of warmth away from the cold, painful memories. Cold in the sense of uncaring, painful from physical abuse.

Marilyn Armstrong has a remarkable sense of humor which she intertwines throughout her book. What obstacles did Maggie face that led her to attempt building a teepee? What obstacles did she face in building the teepee? After all, the Indians were nomadic, they had to be able to put up and take down their teepees quickly.  So, how hard could this be?

Maggie's past is laced with tough decisions, some of which led to positive results, others not positively directed. The paths crossed, the lessons learned, the camaraderie gained will have you crying as she tries so hard to be accepted and laughing as she attempts to build the easy set-up, take-down dwelling place of the Indians.  

Marilyn never leaves
home without her camera!
Order a copy today, available in paperback and on kindle. You will not be disappointed and definitely pleasantly entertained with the adventures and people she meets along her path of survival. Visit Marilyn @Serendipity where you can become lost in her words of wisdom, humor, photography, book reviews, author interviews, Americana, nature, pets, and so much more! Don't forget, that's...


Marilyn Armstrong – Finding Intelligent Life on Earth


Kansas: We're not in Kansas anymore or are we?

This Day in History: January 29, 1861

Kansas, the Sunflower State

List of US State Flowers: www.ask.com

The nickname "Sunflower State" calls to mind the wild flowers of the plains of Kansas. Also, nicknamed the "World's Bread Basket," the great state of Kansas leads our nation in wheat production; has given us leaders in politics, aviation, and sports, and fuels our Hollywood image of the Wild West (Dodge City). The state motto of Kansas is Ad astra per aspera (To the stars through difficulties).


Aerial America: Kansas
There's more to Kansas than its wide-open spaces and endless skies might indicate. It's where aviation pioneers took flight and civil rights heroes fought back. Where Laura Ingalls Wilder documented life on the prairie and a fictional young girl dreamed of a life "Over the Rainbow." It's also home of the first battle of the Civil War and the ongoing collegiate basketball war between Wildcats and Jayhawks. Enjoy this soaring tour through the Sunflower State.
Would Kansas become a free state or a slave state? That was the question when Kansas was open to settlement in 1854. The area was a hotbed of violence and chaos in its early days as forces collided, giving it the name Bleeding Kansas. Abolitionists eventually prevailed and on January 29, 1861, Kansas entered the Union as a free state. It is the 34th state to be accepted into the Union of the United States. Modern day Kansas is one of the most productive agricultural states with high yields of wheat, sorghum, and sunflowers being produced annually.
Kansas is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States.
Kansas State Flag
The state flag of Kansas (adopted in 1927) features the Kansas state seal
centered on on a field of dark blue. The seal depicts the history of Kansas and
the figures representing pioneer life. Above the seal is the state crest -
a sunflower (official state flower of Kansas) resting on a twisted
blue and gold bar that represents the Louisiana Purchase.
Kansas State Seal

 Western Meadowlark photo by John and Karen Hollingsworth:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Kansas State Bird: Western Meadowlark
The western meadowlark was designated the official state bird of Kansas in 1937. The Western Meadowlark is a familiar songbird of open country across the western two-thirds of the continent. The western meadowlark is often seen perched on fence-posts in grasslands and agricultural areas singing its distinct 7-10 note melody (their flute-like song usually ends with 3 descending notes).
Kansas State Flower: Wild Native Sunflower
Fast Fact:
When a Kansas state lawmaker attended a rodeo that was out of the state in the late 1800s, he noticed something that surprised him: other Kansans wearing sunflowers to identify themselves as being from "the Sunflower State." Inspired by this, George Morehouse returned home and filed legislation to make the sunflower the state's official floral emblem.
In 1903, the wild native sunflower, also known as the common sunflower, became the official state flower of Kansas. (Interestingly, less than a decade earlier, lawmakers had unsuccessfully called for the eradication of the "noxious weed.") In their legislation, lawmakers praised the sunflower as a symbol of the state's "frontier days, winding trails, pathless prairies" as well as the state's present and future.
For the State Symbols of Kansas click HERE!

"Home on the Range" was originally written as the poem, "My Western Home" in the early 1870s by Dr. Brewster Higley. Once set to music by Daniel E. Kelley, a friend of Higley, the song became a favorite among pioneers and cowboys. Its words and tune quickly spread across the United States.
The song was later revised by David Guion, who is often given credit as the song's composer. In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt claimed it to be his favorite song. Because Higley had written the song while in Kansas, and because the song seemed to so fit the state, the Kansas Legislature chose it as the state song on June 30, 1947.

"Home on the Range" is commonly regarded as the unofficial anthem of the American West. It is often performed in programs and concerts of American patriotic music. The song has been used in countless movies and shows, being sung by everyone from Willie Nelson to Porky Pig.

We're not in Kansas anymore
or are we?

Tallgrass is swaying within the prairie
do you feel the breeze?
Eastern hardwood forests
house nature's winged legacy in their trees

Regal Fritillary male nectaring on Beebalm (Monarda fistulosa) Photo by Jim Mason
 Regal butterflies tap prairie violets 
nectaring at flowers 
 Moments end in disputes
or chases in nuptial flights for hours
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
 Thousands of waterfowl and passerines
reflect unique birds indeed
Ruby-throated hummingbirds
satisfy solitary souls in need

 Bison roaming within this landscape
no longer doth run free
 Instead graze on grasses
Behind fences of captivity

We sure may not be in Kansas

then again we just may be
Either way the prairie calls
"Buzz right on over, come see me"

©2014 Awakenings
Sharla Lee Shults