Thursday, January 21, 2021

Throwback Thursday

Because this will always crack me up.
(Gabe, Daria, and Claudia, Fall, 2019)


Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Unless You Become As Little Children...

You're Going to Miss a Lot of Funny Stuff

Our two resident families (Michelle and Cathy's) came over last night after Chloe's baptism so we could have a little celebration of the great event. In heaven they were singing in joy before the Heavenly Throne for a new soul made perfect before God; on earth the closest we could come was dinner and dessert in the company of some of Chloe's greatest earthly admirers. Toward that end, I was standing at the stove dropping dumplings into a big pot o' chicken soup, when I heard our little Ella (Michelle and Ben's three year old) giggling and snickering -- at this:



Never underestimate a child's point of view, my friends.

It's a good guarantee that you won't take yourself too seriously.

The world is here. Not on CNN.

Monday, January 18, 2021


 Added January 14th, 2021

The first child of our seventh child, third daughter, Catherine, and her husband Louis. Our newest grandbaby, we now have more grandchildren than children; Chloe is number eleven, and she is just simply precious. Baptism this afternoon! Welcome to the world, Chloe! Can't wait to welcome you into God's family later!

Friday, January 15, 2021

Sepia Saturday: "U" is for Uniforms

Doesn't everyone love a man in uniform?  For most red-blooded Americans, there's a
response of admiration and respect for the military bearing and spit-spot gear and regalia -- especially in full dress! A man in uniform implies a certain commitment and command, and for some of us that proof of virtuous masculinity, unapologetically displayed in public, is a beautiful thing. We can at least hope that the man lives up to the uniform! But if the symbolic factor doesn't appeal to some, I think most would have to admit at least an aesthetic appreciation. It's all in a range of perspectives that has probably varied over the centuries and from place to place, but I do think that just for pure grandness and attention to detail in a world that is stubbornly casual, a man or woman in uniform garners respect -- even if it's grudging.

My Uncle John, early '50s?
Our family photo album is peppered with several generations of military men in several
branches of the armed forces. You can't miss them! They jump right out at you, our men in blue -- and khaki -- and olive drab -- and camo. They make su proud. And like almost nothing else, a military career implies stories -- history, general and personal. Most military folks participated, in one way or another, in world-shaping events. If the pure handsomeness of a military mugshot doesn't stop you in your tracks, curiosity ought to. I know almost nothing, for instance, about my Uncle John's military career, but coming across his photo, I can't help but wonder! He was so handsome! But where was he stationed? What was his specialty? How long was he in the Army?  Knowing his basic bio, I'm thinking he was active in  late WWII or maybe the Korean War, and doing a quick research on the patch on his arm, it looks like he was 101st airborne (correct me if I'm wrong, please!) If he was a pilot, though, I never knew about it. I know the basics and the outcome of that conflict; I wish I knew our family's part in it, too!

My grandfather, mid '40s?
My grandfather (Uncle John and my mother's Dad) was a Coastie. The famous family history is that he won a medal of honor, saving the lives of sailors trapped below deck when their ship was blown up by the Nazis in New York harbor during WWII. How cool is that? And how many Americans know that even happened, right? For morale purposes most of these attacks so close to home were kept quiet at the time, but not all. In less than seven months during 1942, 233

US ships, including merchant ships and tankers, were sunk off of US shores and in the Gulf of Mexico,
most in American waters in the Atlantic. As recently as 2019, the US Department of Environmental Conservation was working to extract the remaining oil from a British Tanker (The Coimbra) from its wreck at the bottom of New York Harbor. Over 2 million gallons of oil were lost, and 36 men died in the German U boat
attack. The explosion rocked nearby buildings and the resulting wall of flame was visible for miles -- so this is one German attack that the government couldn't hide from the people! At any rate, the lesson here: don't ever get too comfortable, thinking the enemy cannot approach our shores. My grandfather could have told you something about that! 

It looks to me that, in the picture above, my grandfather's wearing the now-defunct "dungarees" that were worn for work in the Coast Guard and Navy up until the 1990s. His cover (the word for a military hat) looks like he was an officer, doesn't it? But I have no idea what his rank was when he left the Coast Guard. (I need to see if my Mom remembers!)

My Dad, with his Dad, right around 1950
My Dad, now, was a Navy man, and we have many photos of him in his officer's uniform, especially his service khakis, but it's the shots of him as a young enlisted in his bell bottoms and iconic sailor hat that tickle me. And he always looked so handsome in his Navy dress blues. The biggest tale he had to tell, as a communications officer (CWO4), was the quick round trip he made aboard ship on the way to the Bay of Pigs during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October, 1962. If you know your history, you know it was a pretty hair-raising deployment that turned into a big sigh of relief -- and it was the closest my Dad ever came to being in conflict during his long military career -- except, of course, when at home with us seven kids.

Officer Dress Blues
I think this commemorates when he
made Chief Warrant Officer.

Enlisted Dress Blues
Dad aboard an aircraft carrier he served
aboard in the mid '50s.

All brushed and polished and at their very best in their enlisted Dress blues.
My Dad with his buddies meeting Pope Pius XII in the mid-fifties.
(I've shared this one before, but I just love it, so have to pull it out again.)

Cpt. Paul Davis, USMC
with my favorite accoutrement,
our granddaughter, Lilly
The next generation of military men photos to be found in our family album feature our son, Paul, formerly (if you can say that) a United States Marine Captain. I grew up a Navy brat, but I'm not shy about admitting (especially since the Navy and the USMC are connected at the hip) that the Marine Corps dress blues are, to me, the most impressive of all military uniforms. I'm Paul's mom and I've  had to stop myself from instinctively saluting when I've seen him in his dress blues. It's a stunning  uniform in its simplicity and dignity! There's so much history and attention to detail in this sharp uniform, too, that you can't help but appreciate once you know a little about it. Here are just a few details:

* The gold buttons worn on the dress blue coat feature one of the earliest Marine Corps emblems -- the eagle and anchor with an arc of 13 stars -- and have been a part of the uniform since 1804, making them the oldest military insignia in continued use.

* In 1868, the current emblem of the Marine Corps -- the eagle, globe, and anchor -- was adopted. The eagle represents our proud Nation, of course, the globe represents its worldwide presence, the anchor connects the Corp to its naval heritage and its ability to access any coastline in the world. 

* The saber that is a mandatory feature of the dress blues, is the oldest weapon still in use by the U.S. 
military, and the Corps has two that may be worn as part of the dress blues. Of these two, one is the Mameluke-hilted sword, that honors Lt .Presley O'Bannon, who in 1805 marched 600 miles across the North African desert to capture the Barbary Coast town of Derna, where the American flag was hoisted for the first time over foreign soil. This is the battle mentioned in the marines' Hymn: the shores of Tripoli."

* It's also a part of Marine lore that the blue of the uniforms connects them to their Naval roots, and the red  trim is in recognition of the Marines who served aboard the Bonhomme Richard, the famous Revolutionary War ship commissioned by the French and captained by John Paul Jones. The red stripe on the seam of each trouser leg honors the Marines who fell in the Battle of Chapultepec during the Mexican War of 1847.

* The "quatrefoil," the ornate, cross-shaped braid on top of the Marine cover, allowed them to be distinguished from the enemy  by their own sharpshooters high up in the ship's riggings. The standing collar is the remnant of the original high collar made of leather worn to repel swords strikes to the neck -- thus, the origin of the term Leathernecks.

(More on USMC uniforms here! Quick info on Navy uniforms here! Army here! Airforce here! Coast Guard here! -- and Space Force!)

No doubt whatsoever, there is equal history and interest regarding the uniforms of the other branches of service, and I've barely breached the tip of the iceberg regarding the several types of service uniforms for different tasks and levels of formality in each branch, not to mention the differences in military women's uniforms (which would be a fascinating thing to research!). To avoid writing a book, though, I narrowed the conversation by chiefly referring to the uniforms I personally know and love because they stand so tall in my mental photo album. It's a fascinating topic, regardless! God bless all our family Veterans, living and who have gone to their reward. And our respect to all Military personnel and all Veterans of all services always.

Now, for the most fun a history buff can have on the internet, run over to Sepia Saturday to find Untold Riches of the letter U in history this week!

Wednesday, January 13, 2021


 I’ll Tell You How the Sun Rose

A Ribbon at a time –
The Steeples swam in Amethyst –
The news, like Squirrels, ran –
The Hills untied their Bonnets –
The Bobolinks – begun –
Then I said softly to myself –
‘That must have been the Sun!’

-- Emily Dickinson

Claudia, Cecilia. Her Mother, Michelle, was our first little girl after four boys -- and she was our first sunshine. (Because if you call boys "sunshine," you might get decked.) So, here's Claudia, one of 13 rays of sunshine, one of nine granddaughters -- as of tomorrow... Stay tuned. 

When You're Working on a Project

...and people are looking over your shoulder.

 No Pressure.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Those Moments

When you try to impress the girls...

And it doesn't work.

* William with his youngest niece (to date), Dominic and Monica's youngest, Clara Bernadette. 


Monday, January 11, 2021

Poetry Corner

Filed under: Poems that you read twice. Or three times.

The Convert

After one moment when I bowed my head
And the whole world turned over and came upright,
And I came out where the old road shone white.
I walked the ways and heard what all men said,
Forests of tongues, like autumn leaves unshed,
Being not unlovable but strange and light;
Old riddles and new creeds, not in despite
But softly, as men smile about the dead

The sages have a hundred maps to give
That trace their crawling cosmos like a tree,
They rattle reason out through many a sieve
That stores the sand and lets the gold go free:
And all these things are less than dust to me
Because my name is Lazarus and I live.

*Second time understanding "Lazarus," right?
 Now try a third time, understanding the title of the poem...

Simple Woman Monday

What I'm seeing... A sunny day finally! Every day for the past week has been foggy, cloudy, drizzly, and gray. Bleh. Nice to see blue sky today!

What I'm hearing... The house is perfectly quiet right now, except for Dawsey snoring on my knee here --- and Dan's desk chair occasionally rolling on the wood floor in the library. I just finished listening to a Catholic Family Podcast about Rock and Roll. Our son Kevin's venture, you can find these on YouTube (at least for the time being -- I think he's phasing out of that platform and moving over to Podbean). Really good stuff, though, and I don't say that just because he's my son. Good, informative stuff and great to listen to while I go around doing my chores. Conversations about some of the most practical points of interest of our day, interviewing priests and topic experts from all walks of life. He's just getting it started, so do please run over and give him some support! You can find him here.

What I'm wearing... Grey middy skirt; striped olive green, mustard yellow, and rust orange knit shirt; grey sweater.

What I'm thinking... Goodness gracious. I don't know what to think these days! The international rumor mill is whirling like crazy! Remember the windmill in the old cartoon, caught in the gale of a storm, flying and flying around -- until, with a violent last swing and crash, it just *busts* -- and then the wind blows out, the storm fades away, the sun comes out -- the bats go back to roost and the birds begin to  refeather their nests. (I had to go find it, now that I'm thinking about that old cartoon; Here it is if you want to watch it, too!) Anyway. Things seem kind of bleak right now, I'm thinking, but rumor mill is bound to bust and the sun will come back out. Maybe not the way we expect or when we expect it, but it will.

What I'm learning...  Duolingo. Deutsch. Bet you can guess why. Also pondering getting a ham radio license...

What I'm hoping... That  I can get my roots "touched up" at our neighborhood salon this week -- and not have to deal with mask wearing. (Ptooey) Last time my girl was definitely in the masks-are-ludicrous camp, but if it endangers her license now that Iowa laws have changed, she might have to insist, regardless of her personal beliefs. In which case (sigh), I may have to suck it up for her sake... But I don't like it one bit.

What I'm working on... Getting my house back in order after the busy Christmas/New Year's extravaganzas! It's amazing how organization disintegrates when everyone's busy partying and playing and eating and half the people, even when they clean up, don't know where things go. (sigh) It's all worth it, though. And I'm used to chaos.

What I'm planning...  I have a statue hospital full of projects I hope to get working on this week -- as well as the pedestal that we're renovating for the new statue of Our Lady of Lourdes that I got for Christmas. And the boys finished the first step (the flat black first coat of paint) on the faux-tin ceiling panels that will go over the "bar" area in the pub. I get to do the next step (the copper color). At some point I will do this. Probably not this week.

Quote I'm pondering... "Half an hour's meditation a day is essential -- except when you're busy. Then a full hour is needed.' - St. Francis DeSales 

A picture thought for today...

Our Revelers, a few seconds into 2021
Taking the photo: Michelle, and, L-R: Grandpa Davis, Nicole, our grandson Gavin, and Paul, with Gabe right behind Nicole; Monica and Dominic, with Monica's sister, Philomena right behind them; Louis and Cathy, with goofy William leaning in; Dan behind Ben, with Daria, Ella, and Claudia -- Yes, they stayed up until midnight! Where am I?  Konked out. I like to bring in the new year rested, personally, myself. (Yeah. I know. But I'm not a "party pooper." I'm more a "party avoider" -- or at least a "late night party avoider." I like sleep.)