Did you ever wonder why veterans hand out poppies to raise funds during the Memorial Day holiday? I guess I never thought about it, but now I know. During WWI, the Germans shelled the trenches in Flanders, Belgium with chlorine gas. A Canadian army doctor named John McCrae survived the shelling. He treated he wounded and buried the dead. He later noticed poppies growing among the graves, which inspired him to write “In Flanders Fields”, which is reproduced below.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below
We are the Dead.
Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Out of horror, beauty blooms.
Dads are usually thought of as these mythical beings that can fix or do anything. It seems that there is nothing beyond their ability. Then, one day, you become a Dad yourself. That is when you discover the big secret about Dads. There is no book, no manual, no instruction sheet that covers all the situations you are going to have to deal with. There is only past experiences and common sense. Things that you swore when you were growing up you would never do to your children…things you swore you would always do. Then you work all day, come home tired, and are faced with children that don’t understand how tired you are. They want you to play, or read a book, or do something; anything with them. Or they misbehave, and you have to decide whether a punishment is deserved, or required. There is no right answer; only the best answer you can come up with at the time. And then you pray you are making the right decision, or at least the decision that will do the most good, or the least harm. And then you realize your Dad went through the same struggles, the same need to come up with answers in a test that has no solutions. The same need to deal with demanding children when he was tired, or sore. It is a realization that brings new respect and admiration for all the times he played with you, or read to you, when what he really wanted was to just sit down and relax.
As I said, there are no right answers. Only answers that you know you will have to live with the rest of your life.
Why do people say this? Have your cake and eat it too. They say it to mean something that is not possible. Don’t you have to have cake before you can eat it? It seems to me that if you wan to eat cake, first you have to have it. Maybe we should say “Save your cake and eat it too”. That would make more sense. Maybe it’s the consumption part that is confusing the issue. Let’s try it with money. Save your money and spend it too. See, now that is not possible. Have your money and spend it too. How can you spend money if you don’t have it first? Oh, wait…that’s not a good argument because that seems to be the only money congress knows how to spend!
Thanksgiving is a change of pace holiday. There are no gifts under the tree, no fireworks, no eggs to find. There is food, and more food, and then some more food. And there is family. Brothers and sisters and parents we don’t see often enough. There is yelling, and teasing, and laughing. And there is love. All the things a holiday should be, with none of the distractions. Some people say you can’t go home again. For me, it happens every Thanksgiving.
There are some words I like because they are just cool sounding words. There are some I like because of what they mean, their definition. One word I like for both reasons is homunculus. It just sounds cool. It means a tiny fully formed human. Some people used to think that a homunculus was involved in conception. Instead of sperm, a homunculus was injected into the female and just got bigger during pregnancy. I am assuming they thought they were VERY tiny, or considerable screaming would have ensued. But my question is this: what is the phrase to express my enjoyment of the definition of a word? I enjoy it definitionaly? Nope, not a word. You would think it would be definitively, but that word is already taken. Someone should have asked around before just grabbing a good word like definitively and then using it wrong. I would petition to have it changed, but I think the costs involved in changing all the dictionaries would be prohibitive.
Speaking about badly defined words, what about figuratively? I enjoy that woman figuratively? See what I mean? Someone has been taking all these good words and screwing them up!
If everyone in the northern hemisphere jumped up at exactly the same time, should they count to three, then jump when they say jump, or count to three, say jump, THEN jump? Someone should really figure this out or it could screw up the whole thing.