I had dinner with a special group of people last night in a raucous restaurant, people who have become family over the years. Some of us connected to each other in this city because of the fact that we didn’t have family near, some of our group being the ones who do, but who accepted us as family initially because they supported the military but eventually because we all fell in love with each other.
I know, sounds odd, that particular use of the word love.
Yet we’ve left many such “friends who became family” throughout my husband’s career.
I’ve never outgrown my love of bulletin boards. I had one in my room when I was growing up and I continue to hang them in my home to collect the things that come my way and catch my eye as I move through my life.
Refrigerators count too. What ends up on them is a bit more transient, as they tend to collect things that I need to be reminded of in the near future so notes, etc. tend to go up and come down as events pass by.
The refrigerator in our new home has a wood front and isn’t magnetic. As a result, I hung a magnetic board in my back hallway so I could continue to enjoy the magnets I’ve collected over the years.
Growing up, I heard very little about my father’s participation in World War II but once I became a teenager and started learning about his life through the reading of the letters he and my mom exchanged through their courtship and through his time in the Army Air Corps, his pride in being a Veteran became apparent.
Click here to read an earlier post about those letters.
Little by little, through the years, I discovered tangible evidence of how important those years were to him and how he was shaped by them, resulting in a very evident patriotism which he passed down to his children.
When he died my brother mentioned in his eulogy that Dad was a collector of paper, discovered after we found box after box of letters, newspaper articles, and memorabilia in the form of not just those letters but programs, tickets, cards, photographs and yes, just about every cancelled check he ever wrote.
My thought process has gone down several rabbit holes as I’ve ruminated about refections this past week so bear with me. It’s a bit of a winding road!
The word reflection immediately took me back to this photograph….the one and only time I’ve used Photoshop to add a reflection to a picture, to alter the reality of what was in front of me.
Which took my memories back to the phone call that put us in motion towards this particular airplane at Tinker Air Force Base.
I was painting a wall at the time. It was the very last wall in the very last room of a home that we had bought in Virginia in 2004. After more than 25 years of marriage in which we had never been homeowners Jim had been assigned to the Pentagon for the fourth time and we were tired of paying other people’s mortgages so we had jumped into the market. Real estate was crazy back then. Jim was already there and working while I stayed behind in South Dakota until the school year ended. Homes were snatched up in a matter of days. I only saw the one we ended up with in photographs. When I finally arrived in Virginia I found it to be a house in a gorgeous neighborhood but it certainly needed some TLC…mainly in the form of stripping wallpaper and painting every single inch of the interior.
So I set to work.
I didn’t get atop anything this past week but I did do a lot of looking up and in one instance even though I was looking down, I found something that was topping an adorable little head so I’m pretty sure that counts!
First up is a serious of rose sculptures that grace the riverfront in my new town. They sit atop concrete bases which sit atop the Red River here in Shreveport and they never fail to draw me in. When paired with a beautiful cloud-filled sky they are exquisite.
People are often surprised to find out that I’m an introvert at heart. After all, I spend much of my life engaging people through my Instagrams and am often energized by learning people’s stories. Recently a high school teacher that I’ve kept in touch with for decades told me I was a connector.
And I really enjoyed hearing that. Because I have to work hard at it.
There was a time when I hated to call a pizza parlor to order a pizza and I often still have to talk my self into picking up the phone to make reservations or engage a stranger in conversation. I suppose all my years as a military spouse forced most of that out of me.
I’m an extremely connected person, through my photographs, through social media and through this blog.
I’m a big believer in traditions.
As a military family our surroundings changed constantly. Each move brought new experiences and ways to celebrate the Christmas season so things that happened within our family every single year were essential to defining our sense of home during the holidays…..homemade Chex Mix, the tree with the careful placing of ornaments collected over the years, watching It’s A Wonderful Life and White Christmas, making butter cookies and countless batches of english toffee, the sending and receiving of cards that connect us to people all over the world, the choir singing Christmas carols at mass, a house that glows with tiny white lights, both inside and out.
It’s just not this time of year without those things.
Except this year it’s all different.
Christmas is in storage.