Friday, October 22, 2010

Marine, Man, and Child

The streets of Byron, Illinois are lined with flags. Hundreds of full sized, beautiful, new flags.  I don't know how they got there or who put them there, but I do know why they have come to line the streets of our little town.  Today another flag will come to town, draped across the casket of Marine Lance Corporal Alec Catherwood.  Alec graduated from Byron High School in 2009, the same class as my youngest child. Yeah.  He was a young man, a brave young man who's goal was to become a marine yet, he was a baby.

This is not our town's first loss.  We lost Marine Lance Corporal Andrew Patton in a roadside bomb in Iraq a few years ago.  Another brave young man.  Another baby.  Byron is a small town, a really small town and when a tragedy like this occurs, we are ALL affected.  Right now, I am experiencing this as a parent.  I know many people in town whose children have joined the service and gone to war and shared in their worry when their kids are shipped out and the joy when they return home.

It is not my inention to get political here, but, as a parent, I simply cannot accept this loss without  commenting on all of our soldiers.  I recently saw a photo of several flag draped caskets lined up in the hangar after being returned to the states.  The cutline read: Can you tell which one of them is gay?  It could have asked if we could tell which one was democrat, republican, male, female, black, jewish, or ADHD.  The point is, it doesn't matter.  It doesn't matter.  They are all brave, they put themselves out there to protect our freedom and they are young men and women who belong to someone.  They are husbands, wives, fiances and, they are our babies.

 There is a pall of melancholy covering not only our town, but our surrounding towns as we prepare for Alec's return.  We are not only bringing home a marine today, we are bringing home; a friend, a fiance, a  son.  God bless the Catherwood's.  You are in our collective heart.  That's just the way small towns are.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Travels With Lucy and Ethel

During the "growing" years of our progeny and the humorously perceived youth of our spouses, my BFF Cindy and I created, participated in and cajoled our spouses into a number of "crazy" ideas.  When the phone would ring and BFF Cindy would ask for Dave, he knew he was done for and had already been signed up to do something (dress like a cowboy and square dance at a Hoedown, ride across the western region of the United States on a bike, or wear a powder blue ruffled tuxedo 2 sizes too small complete with a kleenex corsage, to name a few) he wanted no part of.  He called us Lucy and Ethel and if that follows, then when he knew he was going to feel like an idiot, he was Fred.

So, when I had my first orthopedic surgery, I was granted my first pair of crutches.  I named them, appropriately, Lucy and Ethel.  Lucy is the left crutch and usually leads with Ethel following dutifully behind.  I've had Lucy and Ethel through knee surgery, achilles surgery and now an ankleysomething or other.  So, when the rehab people came to give their spiel about mobile apparatus, I waved them away out of respect for Lucy and Ethel.  This ain't my first rodeo folks.

Yeah.  About that.  I made it out for about 2 hours Saturday night, was up and about Sunday for a time and was ready to take a double dose of pain pills by Sunday night NOT because my foot hurt, no!  It was because my shoulders, neck and forearms hurt so bad, the thought of standing up with crutches was reducing me to tears.  What a baby.

Not one to give in however, I went for a ride in the car to pick up a pizza on Monday.  Feeling spunky, I hopped up the two steps from the garage to the kitchen, tucked Lucy and Ethel firmly under my arms and fell, face first onto the kitchen floor. Lucy flew forward while Ethel had gotten caught on the door jam.  Apparently I swore rather loudly as I hit the ground but I was laughing and crying so hard by the time my husband (scared to death, I might add) got to me that he wasn't exactly sure what had even happened and he didn't think it was funny at all.

This morning, the Home Health Care people delivered a "knee cruiser" - sort of like a 4 wheeled trike where I can rest my casted leg on the padded part and use my good leg to make it go.  I can't lie, I feel like an idiot.  I think I'll name this one Fred.