Thankful For The Week

Last week was a busy one.  One word that would sum up the week for us is “family”.

My niece, Donna, and her son, Connor, were here from Texas.  We visited with other family members, ate (a lot), drove out in the country (a lot). We also had a private family memorial for my late sister (Donna’s mom), June.  We took pictures, but I didn’t think to ask permission from everyone to post them.

We had Thanksgiving breakfast (yes, I cooked: alert the media) around the new/ old family table.  Marshall mentioned how appropriate it was that Donna and Connor were here for its “christening”.

table2 10-20-2015 6-26-57 PM

As I was preparing today’s post, I looked back on some photos of Donna and Connor’s previous visits.

Here’s a picture from 2008 of Marshall and Connor.

connor and marshall 7-11-2008 7-26-22

And the same two guys last week:

marshall and connor 11-27-2015 10-40-48 AM

The first time I met Connor – in 2005. He was three.

connor 3 years old

And, again, a picture taken last week. He’s now 13.

db and connor 11-26-2015 12-06-19 PM

Donna’s birthday was yesterday, but, while they were here, we celebrated early: with a birthday biscuit.

donna and db 11-27-2015 10-09-40 AM

Our emotions ran the gamut last week: anticipation (of their arrival), joy, sadness (at June’s memorial AND when Donna and Connor left for home), but through it all, we were thankful.

~These Days Of Mine~

On Their Way

Next week, I’m taking a little blogging break. You see, we have family coming in from out of town for the week.  And we’re going to be busy visiting, hugging, talking, taking pictures, hugging some more, talking some more, and taking more pictures. And eating.

So, today I’m wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving and sharing with you one of my favorite “thankful” quotes:

“Give thanks for unknown blessings, already on their way.”
— Native American saying

jones creek 11-3-2015 5-43-57 PM

~These Days Of Mine~

Wordless Wednesday

swan vignette 10-20-2015 6-00-35 PM

~These Days Of Mine~

The Beauty

Our weather has been so nice recently.  The low humidity has made for beautifully clear skies. So I decided to share a few of my favorite photos of late.

Sunrise at home a couple of weeks ago.

sunrise and trees 10-30-2015 7-24-36 AM

Amazing reflections at the marina just after sunrise yesterday morning.

marina reflections 11-15-2015 8-05-08 AM

On a recent trip to the Outer Banks, Motor Man and I were amazed at all the contrails. We always enjoy our rides on the beach, but having such a pretty day was a bonus.

contrails over beach 11-12-2015 2-58-11 PM

Returning from the beach, we drove through the tiny village of Duck and stopped to get this picture of an anchored sailboat at sunset.

catamaran at duck 11-12-2015 5-17-34 PM

I had finished writing this post last night, when I read one just published by my blogging friend, Beth Anne (It’s Just Life).  In her post, she mentioned the tragedy in Paris, but wrote that, in events like that, she looks for those helping the ones who are hurt. Although there is much evil in our world, we need to remember that everything isn’t bad. She has hope, and she chooses to focus on the good.

After reading her post, I wondered if, subconsciously, that’s why I decided to post photos of clouds, sunrises and sunsets today.  Perhaps, without even realizing it, I chose to share a little beauty, in contrast to the sadness of recent events.

~These Days Of Mine~

More Family Treasures

This week’s Veterans’ Day observations brought to mind a couple of family treasures discovered during the auction we attended last month.

The first is a photo of my mom’s brother, Bennie, who was a soldier during World War II.

uncle bennie soldier 11-12-2015 9-28-12 AM

Uncle Bennie was a prisoner of war for some time, but along with another soldier, was able to escape past a sleeping guard. I was told as a young child that he didn’t like talking about the war, so I never learned the details of his experience.

A copy of that photo was in a basket of family pictures that I brought home from the auction last month.  The picture wasn’t new to me, but the treasure was found when I turned it over to look at the back:

back of uncle bennies pic 11-12-2015 9-33-13 AM

That is my grandmother’s (Bennie’s mom’s) handwriting. I’m guessing, by writing” from Mother” at the bottom that she was sharing this picture with another of her children. (Interesting that it appears to be a postcard.) How special it must have been for her to receive this photo from  her son so far away from home.

I also found another familiar photo in the basket. These are my grandparents (Bennie’s parents).

grandma grandaddy 11-12-2015 9-28-12 AM

And again: another poignant message on the back:

back of grandma grandaddys pic 11-12-2015 9-31-43 AM

Obviously, Grandma had included a copy of this picture in a care package sent to Uncle Bennie during his time in the service.

We all probably feel the same when we look on the back of a newly discovered old family photo: we’re either going to be excited to see information there – or disappointed if it’s blank.

Although I’m always happy to have any old family photos, seeing my grandmother’s handwriting on the back of these, and knowing the circumstances, make them even more special.

~These Days Of Mine~

A Soldier Is Home…

In honor of Veteran’s Day, and in memory of Motor Man’s Dad, a World War II vet, today I’m sharing a post I originally published on May 6, 2013.  Back in 2013, I was blogging every day, and had no ideas for the following day’s post….until Pop began writing on that paper napkin.

Last night, as we often do on Sundays, Motor Man and I had dinner with his parents. Although we always offer to help with dishes, his parents prefer that we just visit and insist on doing the dishes after we leave.

Motor Man and I cleared the table and sat back down to chat. We noticed his dad had taken an ink pen from his pocket and was quietly writing on the corner of a napkin. Motor Man asked: “What are you figuring, Pop?”. His dad replied: “67 years ago, I left France.”.

(A little background information, some of which I may have shared before. Motor Man’s parents {Mom and Pop} were married on June 6, 1942. She was 15, he was 20.

mom pop wedding day 6-4-2007 8-22-52 PM

Two years later, in the months before Motor Man was born, Pop was drafted and sent to boot camp in Texas.

Once boot camp was over, en route to New York for the trip overseas, Pop managed a quick visit with his wife and two-day old son (Motor Man).


On to New York, where Pop boarded the Queen Mary, being used as a troop ship, and sailed overseas to defend our country during World War II.)

Back to last night:

Pop is a man of few words, so I jumped at the opportunity to ask questions. I learned that it was May 6, 1946, when, after completing his service in World War II, Pop left France headed for home.

pop as soldier_Snapseed

Sketch of Pop, done by a fellow soldier during WWII

I took out my cell phone and began taking notes. Pop, who made the rank of Corporal, sailed from France on the “Wheaton Victory”, arriving in New York on May 15. (I researched and found that the Wheaton Victory was one of 550 Victory ships mass produced by six shipyards in the U.S. from February 1944 through November 1945.)


SS Wheaton Victory (internet photo)

According to Pop, the soldiers were wearing their “OD’s” (olive drabs), and Ike jackets.  From New York, they went on to Ft. Meade, Maryland, where they were issued new uniforms.

Pop then caught a ride to Richmond, Virginia with another soldier, whose parents had come to meet him and take him home.  From Richmond, Pop took the bus to Newport News, arriving home late at night on May 19. His wife knew that he was due home soon, but had no idea exactly when to expect him. (I’ve often said I would love to have been a fly on the wall when she answered that knock on the door.)

It’s easy to understand why May 6 is a memorable date in Pop’s life; he was heading home.

home of the brave 5-5-2011 7-56-12

Thanks, Pop. Job well done.

We lost Pop on September 18, 2013, at the age of 91.  He was always proud to have served his country.

~These Days Of  Mine~

The Kitties Have Spoken

Sundae and Gypsy have spoken, and their message is loud and clear: they feel they’ve been neglected recently here on These Days. (I think their actual words were: “horses, schmorses”.)

So today is kitty day here on the blog.

Although I have many photos of Sundae, she doesn’t always photograph as a cute kitty.  I’m not sure why that is: perhaps she had to become street smart in her former life.

One evening last week, she was in my lap, under her blankie (a blue throw). My cell phone was nearby, so I slipped back the throw and took this picture.  Now, THIS is a sweet kitty face, my little green-eyed lady..

sundae 11-3-2015 9-08-25 PM

As for Gypsy,  she has a new game. Although we bought her a nice, new, soft “kitty tunnel”, she still prefers the empty Edelbrock intake manifold box.  And her new game involves that box and a kitty toy I bought her at the dollar store.  She prefers the simple things in life: an empty box and a $1.00 toy.) It’s amazing how quickly she heads for that box so we can play this game every time I walk in the office.

Well, hopefully now we’re back in favor with the kitties….

~These Days Of Mine~