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Posts tagged ‘inspiration’

A Personal Face to the Date Which Will Live in Infamy: Dec. 7, 1941

On December 7, 1941, my beautiful, kind, and brave grandfather was in Pearl Harbor, far from his Indiana country upbringing.

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My handsome grandfather hamming it up in Pearl Harbor (on the left)

Before that infamous day though, the men — and their gals — enjoyed some downtime in tropical Oahu.

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Hubba hubba: My grandmother, or the little island girl

My granddaddy was a Lieutenant aboard the USS Montgomery, a destroyer located near the entrance to Pearl Harbor when the bombers attacked. The ship wasn’t fully crewed, but it managed to depart to sea immediately, due to its location. The Montgomery eventually received four battle stars for World War II service.

Later in WWII, my grandfather took part in the Pacific Theater — ironically, in the area where I grew up, the Kwajalein Atoll — contending with the high seas of the South Pacific and kamikaze pilots.


USS Montgomery, my granddaddy’s first post — caught at Pearl Harbor

Photo Courtesy of NavSource Naval History

He eventually became Commander of the USS Shea, another destroyer. During periods of the war, the Shea was in constant engagements with Japanese aircraft. At one point, all communications were lost. To imagine being on a listing ship, with so many dead and dying fellow men, your communications completely lost, out in the vast empty waters of the South Pacific… This is what I think of when I meet veterans today.

In 1954, the Shea took part in the atomic tests conducted at Eniwetok Atoll in the Marshall Islands (my stomping grounds). Regardless of these feats, my grandfather remained the most gentle soul till his death at an excruciatingly young age — I’m convinced due to the close exposure of radiation. To this day, 32 years after his passing, he remains my guiding force. James Walter Reed led his crew with an inherent gentleness and strength — a combination so very rare to the human species.

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The USS Shea, my granddaddy’s Commander post

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Commander Granddaddy visits the officers of the USS Shea in 1953

Both he and my grandmother are now laid to rest at the breathtaking Arlington National Cemetery. May this day continue to live in infamy, and never be forgotten — may the heroism of so many always be remembered. And may these days of remembrance serve to teach us lessons of loss — and futures of peace.

And finally…. Early happy birthday to you (tomorrow, the eighth), granddaddy.

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Grandmommy and Granddaddy in San Francisco, during a lucky break: LOVE.

Birthday Brother!

As much as I know he’ll be over-the-moon thrilled (YAYAY!), Happy, Happy, HAPPY Birthday to the kindest, sweetest, most wonderful brother a girl could ever hope for in this life.

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I still wear boots nearly every day, just not quite as hip as these…. Me and baldy.

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Old-school Hipstamatic in Florida? California?: There seem to be a high number of images in which I’m smothering my little brother….

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Two island kids (“Kwaj Kids”) visiting the Blue Ridge Mountains — EXCITEMENT!

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Dragging brother out to the boardwalk — about as NATURE as he gets! And, more smothering.

Sunbeams Forever

I don’t usually delve into personal issues, but I had to honor her. And I won’t harp on those sad, unfortunate souls who dumped her in a sparse Florida field abutting alligator-infested lakes, to fend for herself. There are many of these, and I’d rather not give them the power of my words — I’ll bestow that upon the efforts of the rescue groups and individuals doing so much for the abused and abandoned animals of the world, in countless ways. Rather, I’ll thank whoever abandoned her, for bringing us together. Confused, starved, covered in filth, and physically broken — but still desperate for human affection.

She quickly grew to thrive in the alpha role of the household, not thoroughly appreciating the new rescues, but always maintaining a calm, steady, and queenly presence…. “You know, death in the animal world isn’t seen in the same morose light as death in your world. Just let them be; they’ll make their ways fine and dandy on their own,” she seemed to say, in her haughty and gorgeous half-Maine Coon self. Of course, if they came to me, I couldn’t ignore their plights.

But on the first day of the glorious month of June, I bid farewell to my little princess after 17 years — how old she was exactly, I’ll never know. Nineteen? Twenty? She was fully grown when we pulled her out of that overgrown field; an abandoned housecat surviving major injuries during her fight for survival, including broken legs — which we thank Cosequin and Adequan for their help in easing her pain — but which would prove to be too much at the end of her long life. And after surprising everyone, in beating diabetes and stalling kidney failure (with the help of insulin and natural treatments) — the final straw would prove to be a stroke or brain tumor, creating mental confusion, a personality shift, and even more pain and weakness to her already damaged legs — quickly prompting us to make a most loving decision. It never gets easier. They’re a part of our family, and it’s our responsibility to honor them in these most precious moments, as quickly as possible. I’m ever-grateful and thankful for my vet, who makes house visits to perform this final transition, in the comfort of the animals’ surroundings.

My darling girl, Puss-puss, may you forever bask in sunbeams, pouncing freely on objects unawares. And while there may now be more space on the bed (“perpendicular” was her favorite position), I thoroughly expect your expansive and ethereal self soon enough…. As fellow bloggers Pat Bean and Whitebird so perfectly re-quoted recently:

 “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” —Dr. Seuss

✿ ♥ ✿ ♥ ✿ ♥ ✿ ♥ ✿ ♥ ✿

Love is life.
All, everything that I understand,
I understand only because I love.
Everything is, everything exists, only because I love.
Everything is united by it alone.
Love is God, and to die means that I, a particle of love, shall return to the general and eternal source. —Leo Tolstoy

Princess Puss

Princess Puss

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