I first published this post on November 11, 2013 and then again in 2015. As a tribute to my family’s veterans and all those many, many others, here it is again. Thank you for your service. We will remember.
In Canada, today is Remembrance Day. Today, we remember those who have given their lives to preserve the greater good, those who gave us what we have today.
Both my parents were veterans of World War II. My dad escaped from Dunkirk and later, in 1944, helped to liberate France and the Netherlands. He went all the way to Hamburg, Germany, before being sent back to England and to my mother.
My mother served in the British army as a radar operator during the London blitz. Her father, a World War I veteran, was a “spotter” who alerted higher command that enemy planes were coming across the channel.
One day, a fighter saw him and killed him.
Three of her brothers served in the army, one of whom was captured. He spent four years in a prisoner of war camp and was finally liberated in 1945. According to my mother, he was completely changed and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder for the rest of his life.
Another brother died during his service to the navy, and a third in France. A sister-in-law died in a bombing raid.
My parents worked hard while escaping attacks and facing every kind of rationing imaginable, to say nothing of the constant fear of death. This left them with an enduring determination that their kids would never face the same fears, privation, or responsibility. There had been no guarantees that they would be successful with the task they were given.
But they were successful. And we enjoy the benefits of that success today, a success written in blood.
In Canada, the following excerpt from For the Fallen is recited at Remembrance Day services around the country. Here, this recitation is known as The Act of Remembrance.
For the Fallen ~ Laurence Binyon
They shall not grow old, as we who are left grow old:
age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.
This photo shows a recent overcast day at a small lake just outside of Yellowknife. To me, the landscape is iconically northern-looking with much evidence of the Canadian Shield covered by short trees. Clear ice is also forming on this pond. Probably enough to walk on, but I wouldn’t take the chance yet.
And, one more shot of Yellowknife at night. I love the rising crescent moon and the distant clouds.
I felt very contemplative while watching this changing view.
Are there “pet” names in your life? Names that are perhaps more sour than sweet? Names that make you roll your eyes? Or worse, make you want to hurl?
I mean, I’ve been called names that, well, I can’t repeat here. Like, you know, twitface and frackwit. I can take those.
But what I really can’t stand are a lot of those so-called endearments. Or names that suggest I’m twelve. Or impart a sense of intimacy that doesn’t exist.
Dear store employees, don’t call me dear or sweetie or hon or honey. I don’t know you from a can of paint, so stop pretending I’m your granny. The one with an advanced case of dementia.
Just because I’m of a certain age doesn’t mean you can take liberties.
Likewise, don’t call me petal. I hate that. Or other assorted plant parts. Like flower, blossom or daisy. It’s interesting how no one gets called stamen or pistil. Who in the world wants to be called by the names of plant reproductive organs anyway??
Then there’s animal names. Kitty, kittykins, bunny, fluffy and poodle leap to mind.
I wouldn’t want to be called a tart, either. But I almost choked when standing in line behind a man who, while talking loudly on his phone, kept calling his significant other tart and tarty.
Hummm. I’m feeling tarty today. I think I’ll visit Victoria’s Secret and stand on a corner.
There are lots of other food names. Muffin, cupcake, cookie, pudding, sugar and tootsie. And what about shrimp roll or pumpkin? If you call me one of those, I might get out my extra large roll of duct tape and find a place to stick it.
I guess my point (other than the one at the top of my head) is that most of the time, these “pet” names are unsolicited. They get hung on you whether you want them or not. And oftentimes by people who don’t know you very well, or perhaps not at all. A store clerk once called a friend of mine “cuddles.” They did not know each other and yes, she’s a bit overweight. She left the store and never went back. What was that clerk thinking? Clearly, not much.
A few other choice monikers are sweet cheeks, baby doll, snookums, pookie and peach. Aren’t those lovely?
Eureka! The next time someone I don’t know (or barely know) attempts to reduce me to a single ridiculous word, I’ll fight fire with fire.
Waiter/ess: And what would you like today dear?
Me: Awww. Look at you, you snookums muffin. Now be a baby doll and get me a steak and salad. And petal sweetie, don’t forget to fetch me some extra napkins and some ketchup. Run along now. There’s a good little poodle.
Would that work? I mean, you have to start somewhere. What do you think?