Monday, April 26, 2010


It only took a fall. A broken hip. Then everything changed.

Now, my mother-in-law is transitioning from independent to assisted living. As we have cleared out her apartment and moved her to a new place, we have stumbled upon tokens of a lifetime of memories.

As part of the greatest generation, my mother-in-law has lived through the Great Depression, has been a wife to a soldier before, during, and after World War Two and mother to baby-boomers. Since late 2008, she felt compelled to write down some memories of these, which have enjoyed many visitors in cyberspace:

Cherry Blossoms
The Great Depression 1929 - 1945
The Great Depression 1929 - 1945 Part Two
World War Two - before, during, and after
Memories of Japan

Thoughts of the brevity of life bring me to the following poem I wrote 30 years ago ... and it seems like yesterday when I penned this one.

On Mortality

Moment by moment
A blur in the mind
Time slips away
Where none shall find

Come back! Oh, days,
Which long have past!
Hold to a moment,
Which flees so fast!

That which was done
Shall ever more be
A shadow that only
The mind can see

© August 1980 S. K. Smith

As this 92 years old lives out her latest chapter, I am comforted by this blog post: Why You Aren't Dead Yet.
The best is yet to come.
The following Psalm is for all ages as we transition through the various stages of life:

O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works.
Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.
Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, who hast done great things: O God, who is like unto thee!

Psalm 71:17-19 (King James Version)

Photo courtesy of Handprint

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Shot Heard Around the World - 235 years ago

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

So go the first verses of Paul Revere's Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

On April 18, 1775, it is unlikely Paul Revere cried out, "The British are coming!" as the American colonists at this time considered themselves British subjects and such a warning would only confuse them.

The following day, April 19, 1775, the battles of Lexington and Concord would the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War.

The phrase "the shot heard around the world" comes from Ralph Waldo Emerson, whose grandfather fought in the Battle of Lexington and Concord:

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.
from Concord Hymn

Today, this phrase that has come to represent historical incidents throughout world history.

As for summing up what happened 235 years ago and the start of the American Revolution, The Shot Heard Round the World- Schoolhouse Rock shows it best:

God bless the patriots who gave us America!

For more information: Lexington and Concord
Timeline of the Revolutionary War: 1754 - 1788

photo from : "Minuteman" Statue, Concord, MA

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Titanic Voyage - 98 years ago

It took her three tries. That's what my grandmother had told me. Finally in 1913, she immigrated from Austria-Hungary to America.

First try, Grandma got scared and turned back at the Rock of Gibraltar. Next time in 1912, she tried to board the Carpathia. She could not afford first class. No way would she go in steerage. Second class was all sold out.

If Grandma had made that trip on her second attempt, what a story she could have told. That particular voyage on that ship was the one that rescued the survivors of the Titanic.

Many movies have been made about this ill-fated voyage of this "unsinkable" ship, such as:

Titanic (1953)  provides a powerful last scene.

A Night to Remember (1958) - a film about the final night of the RMS Titanic

The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964) - a musical about one of the Titanic's most colorful survivors

Titanic (1997) - a box office record breaker

Survivors allege that the musicians on the Titanic played "Nearer my God to Thee" to calm the passengers while the ship was sinking. This hymn sung by the passengers and crew in the 1997 film version conveys how quickly our focus can change when we realize we are about to step into eternity. For those perishing, social standing and wealth, or lack of it, suddenly seem unimportant.

The Titanic set sail on her maiden voyage, April 10, 1912. It hit an iceberg close to midnight on April 14. It sank over two hours later in the early morning of April 15. Of her 2,228 passengers and crew members who set sail, only 705 survived.

This happened 98 years ago.

For more information: check out Titanic Facts


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Welcome Home, Troops!

In my neck of the woods, the men and women in the Army National Guard, who have spent the last year in Iraq and Kuwait, are coming home.

In the cities, I see businesses display marquee's and signs:

Welcome Home, Troops!


Thank you, Soldiers!

American Flags, yellow ribbons, and appreciation signs are displayed along the streets, on fences, in windows, on bulletin boards, or are hung from buildings.

I am so thankful for the internet, where I can find sentiments that I find hard to put in words or in pictures.

One such website has created this wonderful tribute:


photo from US Army Soldiers