Merry Christmas, Everyone!
Where have they gone?
Why, it seems like just yesterday when they were here
There was laughter and love
Games and hugs
And bedtime stories
Of giants and beanstalks
Jack Horner and Miss Muffett too
Taffy and arcades
A milkshake and some french fries
Why, it was just yesterday when my mother held me in her arms
While an aunt made faces
And funny sounds
Grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins
Yes, the cousins
All sizes, all shapes
Boys and girls alike
Playing in the old barn
Cowboys and cowgirls
Pretend horses and sticks for guns
Toy trucks, and wagon rides
Sometimes doing things we knew we shouldn’t
We were carefree
And worried not
Life was forever
Fireflies, hide-and-seek, and freeze tag
A new season
Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the new year
The tree, the lights, and the angel perched high above
The turkeys and hams and holiday treats
Presents, trees, and eggnog
There was laughter and love
Games and hugs
It’s mostly quiet now
As I often sit, thinking and wondering
Where have they gone?
My grandparents, parents, aunts, and uncles
It’s almost Christmas…
…and they’re no longer here.
This is the day we celebrate our country’s independence. Sure, we’ll enjoy cookouts, fireworks, watermelon, and fun in the sun. But there was a heavy price to pay for our precious freedom. So to those who served, and to those who still serve, we are forever grateful for the sacrifices you and your families have endured for us.
To the men and women who fought and died while serving this great country, please know that you’ll always be remembered as heroes and patriots.
Joe Bonsall of the Oak Ridge Boys sums it all up in the song he calls GI Joe and Lillie. Joe’s song is a story about his parents who both served in the military. It’s a love song. And it’s a song of hope and pride and happiness. It’s also a tale of sadness and tears. It’s the story of the backbone of America.
I’ve been on this earth for quite a while now, and I’ve never met anyone with a stronger love for this country than Joe Bonsall and his fellow Oaks—Duane Allen, William Lee Golden, and Richard Sterban.
Recently, Denene and I had the opportunity to enjoy a conversation with Joe during lunch, and it was a true pleasure to hear him speak candidly and lovingly of his family, his music career, and the good old U.S.A. Yes, he and his fellow Oaks are true Americans, through and through.
I invite you now to take a moment to listen as Joe and the Oaks perform GI Joe and Lillie. Also, please take second out of your day to remember the soldiers, past and present.
“So I can live
In the Land Of Free
Raise my kids
Live my dreams
There’s a price
Here is a very special video presentation honoring the Sacrifice made by so many so that we can live in The LAND of FREE.
*As always, my thanks to Joe Bonsall for his unwavering, faithful support of our men and women in uniform. Joe’s love of our country is, and always will be, an inspiration.
The Guinness world record for the largest gathering of people wearing swim caps was set in July of 2011, in Japan. The number was 546. Well, yesterday, on New Years Day, we crushed that number. That’s right (doing a little dance now) we toppled the former record when 2045 swim-cap-wearing folks stormed the beach beside the pier at Tybee Island. The rest, as they say, is now history.
What kind of people show up on a holiday weekend to break a world record? Probably not the average Joe, or Jane…
Bringing up the rear were…
The horn sounded and we’d done it. A new record was set and…
It was time for the Polar Plunge. The water temperature was a mild 55 degrees, with air temps hovering in the mid-70’s. Not very polar-like, but everyone had a blast.
Even a sergeant from the Massachusetts State Police drove down to take the plunge, in uniform.
Now, as promised…Denene and I wearing our swim caps. Another one for the record books.
Maybe I’ll wear the cap at the next WPA. Who knows?
2011 has been a year I’ll never forget. Lot’s of images, events, and memories that’ll stick with me forever. I truly wish I could say the year has been a good one. But I can’t, not at all. In fact it arrived with a knockout punch. Don’t believe me, well, see for yourself…
We’d barely turned the page on January when Denene took a nasty fall, breaking her leg in three places.
The injury was so severe that it required immediate surgery to install a heaping handful of hardware. Looks nasty, right? Well, it’s a bit worse than you’re imagining. Her foot is supposed to be pointing up instead of at a right angle. Yep, that’s her shin at the top. What a way to start our anniversary! So much for our big night out.
When Denene was finally able to return to work (in the wheelchair) I carried her from the front door to the car and drove her to the university, every day, where I stayed with her so I could roll her to her classroom so she could teach. I also played the part of errand boy until the day was over when we made the trip back to the RV (we still hadn’t sold our house in NC) where I carried her from the car, up the front steps, and to the couch. This went on for months.
After living in our RV for a year, we finally sold our house. Should have been a great day, huh? Oh, Nooooooo… We hired the “Movers From Hell,” who broke lots of things, had all new workers, neglected to tell us they only worked at night—all night—and, by the way, had never moved an entire house-load of furniture. Ours was their first packing job too, something else they failed to mention. Oh, and their truck broke down in front of our house at 4am, with the rear of the truck in our driveway and the nose of it on the other side of the street. The owner of the company decided to leave the large truck there until the next afternoon when he got off his day job as a hospital operating room technician—no sleep after working nearly 48 hours and this guy was going to work in an operating room. Not to mention no shower! Our neighbors were trapped until I finally called the police who made the guy call a tow truck to move the moving truck that, by the way, was loaded with our things.
Finally, I fired the clowns and hired another company (Mayflower), movers I highly recommend.
And the list goes on…
We’d been in Georgia for a couple of weeks and, during a thunderstorm, a large tree limb broke off and landed on my vehicle, crushing part of the passenger compartment.
I met my first thousand fire ants. Nope, not a single person bothered to warn me about these critters. One night I took our little dog outside so she could do her pre-bedtime business. It was dark, I couldn’t see very well (I was actually keeping an eye out for alligators and wild boars) and set her on top of a fire ant mound. Who knew? In a matter of seconds we were attacked and the only way we could get any relief was to jump in the shower. So, at midnight I’m taking a cold shower with our toy poodle.
And I absolutely must mention the night I took her outside and set her down beside a large rock. Well, after a couple of seconds the rock got up and walked away. No warning about armadillos either.
We finally bought a house on one of the coastal islands, and it’s a nice place. Really nice. But we’d only been in it for a few minutes when Hurricane Irene welcomed us to the neighborhood.
Then, just days after Irene moved up the coast, our beloved companion, Pebbles, left us. She’d been with us for nearly twenty years, so it was a tough goodbye.
And that brings us to the present. Should be smooth sailing from this point forward, right? I certainly hope so. Denene underwent surgery again last week, but this time it was to remove the plate and 15 screws from her leg. She’s healing nicely, and so are the other wounds we received from 2011.
But now we’re living in paradise. So what could possibly go wrong now?
After all, Sandra Bullock is almost our neighbor. And that’s a good thing, right?
Countdown to the WPA
The Writers’ Police Academy
Get to Know Lee Lofland
Lee Lofland is a nationally acclaimed expert on police procedure and crime-scene investigation, and is a popular conference, workshop, and motivational speaker.
Lee has consulted for many bestselling authors, television and film writers, and for online magazines. Lee has appeared as an expert on national television, BBC Television, and radio shows.
Lee is the host and founder of the Writers’ Police Academy, an exciting, one-of-a-kind, hands-on event where writers, readers, and fans learn and train at an actual police academy.
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