Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sunday Song, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Merry Christmas, My Friend

Sunny - Hi 61 Lo 37 for Baghdad, Iraq
Sunny - Hi 59 Lo 31 for Qandahar, Afghanistan
Rainy - Hi 50 Lo 27 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Judy Garland

Something about this song... not just the melody, but the lyrics, and not just that... others have covered the song since... including my beloved Frank Sinatra... but there is an undercurrent of sadness and desperation in the voice of this young 20 something Judy Garland that no one else has been able to capture... not even when she sang this song in later years does it match the melancholy of this version... Maybe it was the time and place... 1943... Our country was at war on two fronts, everyone back home was making all kinds of sacrifices... Our young men were asked to do unthinkable things to keep the home front safe. The song appeared in a movie called Meet Me in St. Louis (one I don't have and would very much like to have)... The movie was released around Thanksgiving of 1944... some of the darkest days of World War II--- we had suffered 500,000 casualties by the time the movie premiered; the Battle of the Bulge was just a few weeks away; plans for an atomic bomb were well underway... Yes, the musical was set at the turn of the century with lots of wonderful songs... Margaret O'Brien stole every scene she was in... but the scene that makes my heart stop... Judy is obviously in period costuming... she is singing to Margaret... or wait... is Judy singing to young men in uniform far from home in harms way? Yes, I believe she is... They are 18, 19, 20, 30, 40 years old...our sons, our brothers and our fathers... Judy is expressing the sadness of those that can not be together this special time of year... They are our first loves, our fiances, and our husbands and they are cold and wet or maybe they are in a hot humid climate where malaria runs rampant... either backdrop... they are far from home at Christmas...

Remember our troops at Christmas. Raise a glass to them and bow your heads and thank God for them... ask Him to keep them safe.


The first time I read this, was many years ago. My
Uncle Charlie sent it to me. I tear up every time I read it.

Merry Christmas, My Friend

‘Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,
In a one-bedroom house made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney, with presents to give
and to see just who in this home did live.

As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand.
On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land.

With medals and badges, awards of all kind,
a sobering thought soon came to my mind.
For this house was different, unlike any I’d seen.
This was the home of a U.S. Marine.

I’d heard stories about them, I had to see more,
so I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor in his one-bedroom home.

He seemed so gentle, his face so serene,
Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine.
Was this the hero, of whom I’d just read?
Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?

His head was clean-shaven, his weathered face tan.
I soon understood, this was more than a man.
For I realized the families that I saw that night,
owed their lives to these men, who were willing to fight.

Soon around the Nation, the children would play,
And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year,
because of Marines like this one lying here.

I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone,
on a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.
Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye.
I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.

He must have awoken, for I heard a rough voice,
“Santa, don’t cry, this life is my choice
I fight for freedom, I don’t ask for more.
My life is my God, my country, my Corps.”

With that he rolled over, drifted off into sleep,
I couldn’t control it, I continued to weep.

I watched him for hours, so silent and still.
I noticed he shivered from the cold night’s chill.
So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
and covered this Marine from his toes to his head.
Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold,
with an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold.
And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,
and for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside.

I didn’t want to leave him so quiet in the night,
this guardian of honor so willing to fight.
But half asleep he rolled over, and in a voice clean and pure,
said “Carry on, Santa, it’s Christmas Day, all secure.”
One look at my watch and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi, and goodnight.

- Lance Corporal James M. Schmidt,
USMC, 1986

*** Lastly, there was no one more committed to our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines than Bob Hope... I have no doubt he is putting on a USO show in heaven...

(please make sure the Sunday song has stopped playing before starting this video.)

World War

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
Next year all
our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
Next year all
our troubles will be miles away.

Once again as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Will be near to us once more.

Someday soon
We all will be together,
If the Fates allow
Until then will have to muddle through somehow
So have yourself A merry little Christmas now.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Sunday Song, Kind and Generous

The Gratitude Campaign

Sunny - Hi 68 Lo 49 for Baghdad, Iraq
Partly Cloudy - Hi 60 Lo 41 for Qandahar, Afghanistan
Rain - Hi 49 Lo 39 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: Kind and Generous, Natalie Merchant

I have had Kind and Generous as the Sunday Song previously. It is a beautifully written song with a lovely melody. Natalie's voice is like no other.

I have Ophelia- but really need to get Tigerlily, her first solo album. I have it... on cassette... Tigerlily has the song Wonder... which I may have to play next week... The song is great, but what really gets to me is the music video that goes with it...


It's been a few weeks since I last posted an entry on my blog. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Ours was very nice. Michael and I had a houseful of family and Michael's cooking was superb.

We are now in the throws of the hustle and bustle of Christmas. We did our "Power Shopping" trip last Sunday-- so we are finished... I have 90% of the inside of house decorated and unfortunately have not started on Christmas cards... I make them by hand and send out about 70 cards... so, I'm a tad panicky about that., I have to wrap all the gifts too... and then get all the out of town gifts mailed by hopefully next Friday. I love to gift wrap as much as I enjoy making cards. So... I have a busy couple of weeks... like everyone else. So, that brings me to my point. Be sure to take time out and ENJOY the season. It is a wonderful time of year. Michael and I had a great time last Sunday shopping. Smile and thank the sales help... as we get closer to the 24th... they will look more and more haggard and "pinata-ized" (just made up that word). Trust me... if you smile and hum while shopping... you will enjoy yourself... take it from someone that absolutely hates crowds (and in recent years, started getting a little weirded out in large crowds)... your time will be much more enjoyable... look... you know you are going to deal with long lines and kids that don't know how to make change, parking issues, bad weather, and folks that have some serious bah humbug attitude... Remember the reason for the season... remember why you are out and about... spread some Christmas cheer and smile...

Today, we are going to the matinee production of A Christmas Carol at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. It is a wonderful annual production of that classic story. I have seen it once before and simply loved it. This will be Michael's first time- but he actually asked to see it... His favorite Christmas movie is Scrooge starring Alastair Sim and by far in my humble opinion the best depiction of Charles Dickens most humbug character.

A few weeks ago, I was traveling on business and was attempting to make a connecting flight in Philadelphia... My flight from Cincinnati arrived late, so I was making the mad dash to my next gate. As I was weaving in and out of the clusters of people, I saw a soldier standing at the counter of a gate. I continued walking, but then slowed down and retraced my footsteps and went up to the soldier- looked at the attendant to allow me to interrupt and clasped the soldiers hand and thanked him... As I recall... I said... "thank you so much!" Then the craziest thing... he thanked me! Wha??? I left that counter smiling and feeling stupid.... was that the best I could come up with?... Here is this guy... just coming home from Iraq or Afghanistan or Germany or somewhere that wasn't home.... and this was the best I could do.... I'm so goofy. We continued on, my manager a couple paces behind me... walking down the corridor another soldier... I stopped in front of him.... reached out with both my hands and held his hand in mine... His hand was cold and rough... He looked lost. I looked him in the eye and said the same words to him. "Thank you so much!" He held on to my hand and said, "Ma'am. That was nice. Thank you." He thanked me! Again... crazy... thanking me! He called me ma'am... I am officially old enough to be called ma'am... ugh. We continued walking towards our gate and my boss said... "How do you do that? Walk up to strangers and do that?" I stopped and looked at him- smiled--- I distinctly remember thinking, I need to smile... Rob says I can be scary and intimidating if I don't smile... I apparently have some sort of look I give, so I smiled and said, "Feeling weird and awkward for 10 seconds is the least I can do compared to the sacrifice these guys have made." Oh, when we got to our gate, our flight had been canceled. So I am particularly happy that I did stop and thank those young men. Had I not, I would have thought about that for the next 7 hours as I waited for my flight. Instead, I had the pleasure of sitting in the airport for 7 hours........ reading a book, having a complimentary lunch and dinner on United as well as a couple of complimentary cocktails on my company and the realization that life is all about perspective. It was good day.

Then by coincidence by boy Kyle sent me a link to The Gratitude Campaign. This is the coolest thing yet. It doesn't cost a dime and anyone can do it. Watch the video - be sure to stop Natalie before playing this. Join the campaign.

If you are seen thanking active duty or veteran or police officer or fireman... it makes it easier for the next person to do it... give it a shot... your Holidays will be that much more meaningful...

Who can forget this commercial from Budweiser? I dare you not to cry.

One other thing... I have received an email a few times-- it suggests you send some cards to "any soldier" at Walter Reed Hospital. Although this is a great suggestion, unfortunately, this year you will be wasting your time and postage. I had been doing this for the past few years and last year I had 6 of the 10 cards I sent returned to me... In February, I received a postcard from Major General George Weightman stating for security reasons they could no longer accept mail, care packages or donations sent to "Any Wounded Soldier". Although this is unfortunate, there is still time to show appreciation... go to my sidebar and click on the "Support Our Troops" button. There you will find organizations where you can show your support and appreciation. Remember there will be a lot of men and women in harms way Christmas. Don't forget them.

Blogs and Links to Check Out This Week:

To learn more about this campaign visit: The Gratitude Campaign

Have a great week everyone!