DRUNKS OR HEROES?

My husband and I were standing at our living room window, watching a man walking down the distant road. The man lived nearby in a broken down house.  Every day he walked two miles to a neighborhood bar where he spent his time.

 

“Night fell, darkness hid the two from sight”

He worked at walking.

Stumbling, weaving, tumbling, falling…

Each night at dusk he headed home, deaf to traffic sounds.

 Reeling into roadside ditch, he lay upon the ground in bleak half-conscious stupor.

With effort, he crawled laboriously to the ditch’s edge, then worked at walking once again.  The man continued through his nightly ritual.

 A friend approached the sodden hulk;  bending down, he knelt beside the fallen man.  With steady arms, the friend began THE RESCUE.

 The friend was not a hero.  I was a bystander.  Though years have passed, the vivid scene remains.

 Whose life was changed?  Whose journey reached a crossroad?  Whose path was interrupted by a chance encounter?  Was it the man?  Was it the friend?  Was it me?

 What are you thinking now?

 Night fell. Darkness hid the two from sight.

 THE RESCUE had begun.

 [email protected]

 * * * * * * * *

Many years have passed since this incident took place.

 My husband and I were standing at our living room window, watching a man walking down the distant road. The man lived nearby in a broken down house.  Each day he walked two miles to a neighborhood bar where he spent his time.

 We didn’t usually see him traveling on the way to his daily destination. Nor did we see him when he was going home.  But this day, we saw him walking home.  As we watched, he staggered and stumbled, falling into the deep ditch beside the road.

For moments he was out of our sight.  Then, we saw him crawling out of the ditch and struggling to his feet.  Walking a few steps, he fell once more. Once more, he crawled up the side of the ditch on his hands and knees and attempted to stand.

 I became aware my husband had left my side. Now, in his truck, he was driving down our driveway toward the distant road.  I saw him stop at the place where the man was lying beside the ditch. Getting out of his truck, he approached the figure.

 Taking him by the arm, he helped the man to his feet.

 My husband later told me he intended to help the man into the cab of the truck, but he protested.  “I’m not clean enough to sit in your truck.  Help me into the back.  I’ll ride home there.”

 As this scene unfolded before my eyes, I was surely not aware it would be in my memory and my heart many years later.

 How many of us, including me, would leave the comfort of our own home to help a drunken, smelly man get safely to his home?

 This was a view of my husband about which I wasn’t aware.  Yes, he was kind, gentle and caring.  The scene I watched was more than that.

 The experience changed me.  Maybe it has changed you.

 At this stage of life it has become clear to me, we all need to be rescued.

Our Friend is on His way.

————–

 In later years, as we discussed the incident, facts revealed themselves about the man who was rescued.

 He was a veteran from World War 2.

 As years have passed, we’ve become aware of the experiences our soldiers endured during that time of war. 

They were too  horrible to remember.

 We now call it PTSD.

 It has been found, for some of the veterans, it is easier to drink away the memories than to relive them in their minds.

 In our village, there were three World War 2 veterans who spent their days at the same local bar.  The world called them drunks. Should we call them heroes?

 How do you feel about it?

memoriesaremadefromthis.com

SHE LEFT ME WITH A MEMORY…

Remembering Mary

They appeared just before the service began.

 He carried a small pillow under his arm. 
 I wondered why.

 Together they sat in the front pew, listening attentively.

 One Sunday, as the service ended, Mary’s husband stood to leave.
 The pillow he had carried under his arm now lay on the church pew
where he had placed it.It showed two dents from his hipbones.

 A World War 1 veteran,
 Don had been gassed during the time of his service
 to our country. 
He was frail and attentive and attended the worship service with Mary
 every Sunday. 

I would never have known Mary
 had it not been for attending the same church as she and her husband, Don.
She was a faithful worshiper

Together, the two entered the sanctuary each Sunday.

 Leaving quietly without conversation, 
they offered a nod and smiles
 to those who greeted them.

Mary was a tall woman.
 On Sunday morning, she was always attired in her Sunday best.

 In winter, a bandanna around her head
 saved her from the cold and rain. 
Old-fashioned rubber boots protected her from the elements
 when necessary.

 

Mary would never know the lasting impression
 she made on my life, and surely on the lives of others.
 Her faithful love of the Lord, deep affection for her husband and two sons, and respect for the flag of our country was a lesson for many if they would only observe.

She never served on a committee at church, but attended every meeting. Having no vehicle,
 she walked the distance to the meetings
 from her home,
 a mile away at that time.

 One special meeting was scheduled to discuss the building of a new church. 
It was held on a summer evening.
 We gathered in the basement of our old church,
 and Mary was there.

The idea of our small congregation taking on this large project had been discussed for some time.
 During a moment of quiet in the meeting,
Mary reached in her old worn purse, pulling out a wrinkled bill.
 As she laid  it on the table, she said,

“There’s your first dollar”.
 The project was underway.

One January morning, 
church services were cancelled due to a blizzard.
 It was dangerous to ask the parishioners to venture into the storm.

I felt warm and cozy 
as I sat in my living room
 watching only a few cars driving down the highway.

Then I saw Mary.

 She was walking toward church, 
carrying her Bible.
 The ever present cold weather scarf 
was tied under her chin.
 Her long wool coat now offered protection from the blowing snow.
 I felt ashamed.
 I didn’t live as far from the church as Mary.

 I had a car.
Mary was walking.
I was relaxing in my nice warm house.
 The scene has stayed with me for many years.

Recalling another dreary day, as I was driving home,
 I saw Mary walking in the heavy rain.
Carrying her Bible, she was heading toward home.

 I stopped to give her a ride and asked her where she’d been. 
“I was at a Bible study at the church”, she said.

 As she climbed out of the car in front of her house,
 the rain was increasingly heavy. Thanking me for the ride, she walked over to their flag pole. Carefully retrieving our American flag from the pouring rain,
she folded it, and took it into her home.

Mary’s  favorite saying was; 
“God knows all about it!”

Reverend Jim once commented,
 “If it were possible to ride into heaven on someone’s coattails, 
I’d choose Mary.”

 

I hoped that Mary would have enough room on those coattails
 for me.

“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble”
(1 Peter 5:5 NKJV)

Unattractive,

    Uneducated,

          Uninformed.

Not practiced at correctness,

  Mary lived her life     

One

Simple

Uncomplicated day

At a time.

Never indulging in self-satisfaction,

Nor pursued by dreams of personal success,

Her simple life was unadorned with expectations.

Knowing no pretense

Mary cast her lot

With God.

God first

Love

Worship

Prayer

Service

Family second

Love 

Prayer

Care 

Service

Country third

Love

Service

Prayer

Respect

No unexpected event

No shortfall

No misfortune

Could cause her simple faith

To waver.

“God knows all about it,” Mary would say,

With a countenance that displayed

Unflappable peace.

Her life was uneventful

Her faith unshakable.

Her example unforgettable.

Never doubting the unquenchable supply

Of God’s love and care,

Mary lived to the fullest

The abundant life

Of a saint.

Her legacy to those who knew her

Was a trail of unerring discipleship

On her way to eternal life with God.

March 31, 1996

copyright©2018

Photographs By Mary Anne Tuck

memoriesaremadefromthis.com

LETTER FOR A SOLDIER RETURNING HOME

The older you grow the greater is your responsibility toward life, society, and the two people who created you, your Mother and Father.

 

To Don..from Bill….

 

April 22, 1930 – February 24, 2017

Note: To be opened the last morning you are at sea on going home to the USA.

16 February 1953

Dear Don,

When I came overseas many moons ago, I was sent with a letter from my Mother.  In it she stated how on long voyages years ago, people were sent with ship messages. There was then an age of letter writing which seems to have passed, except for the ghosts that may rove the skeleton of some long lost ship.  There was then wind in the sails and the creak of the boards of the ship at night.  There could be heard the rustle of silk in women’s dresses.

Men and women were probably doing just as we do today if given the opportunity.  That is, jumping from bunk to bunk.

 Right now, right at this living moment, I am writing this on the usual, sunless, dull, German day in the office of the captain.

In time, all our importance melts away, and yet as a part of history we remain an important factor in time.  The way you live, the love you have for life, the love you have for others and the understanding of them, the love you have for a woman and your unborn children are of great importance.

Whether you are ever known as an individual, it is the way you are which makes the “To Be” of a better world.  Now you are nearing home to the land that I love so deeply.  I would want to clain that land in a deeper way than you can in your youth.

Someday you will know what I mean.  Someday you will know that the earth in a bog swamp when you are out duck hunting is the cleanest mud in the world.

 Don’t ever forget that part of your life which you spent in a foreign land.  There were circumstances you did not like. They have helped to keep that mud as clean as it is. Sometimes Don, I hope you are looking at that lost land where you like to lose yourself.

You’ll find the air just a bit sharp.  You will like the smell that time of year.

Whether it is summer, fall, winter or spring, just breathe deeper because you are alive.

 God is in Nature and you are close to it and to Him.  In college it would be called Pantheism. I’d rather call it the awareness of Don knowing Don.  You can call it whatever.  It doesn’t matter what you call it just so you remember that when it happens and it will.

 The sea where you read this is deep.  Your feet will soon touch shore. Right now you are pipeline and lost.

 

Soon the inevitable pattern will establish itself.  You will be a civilian with all the responsibilities of one.  To drive safely, to love right, to build a home, and to vote are small and important things.  To be aware when you’re on a hunting trip

that you are the greatest being God ever made is imprtant too.

That’s about all I have to say, Don.

 

This is my shipboard letter to you with the exception of one thing.

The more you grow the more you will become aware of this.

The older you grow the greater is your responsibility toward life, society, and the two people who created you, your Mother and Father.

Your friend….

Meade

 

 

April 22, 1930-February 24, 2017

* * *

My husband, Don, passed away in 2017.
In going through his special drawer for saving things important to him,
 I found this letter. 
I didn’t know his friend “Meade”.
 I don’t need to know.

Although we shared 62 years of marriage, 
I didn’t know Don as a soldier, when he was newly discharged from the service.
 He would have celebrated his 87th birthday in April of 2017.

 His great respect for God, family and nature never ceased.

I hope you enjoyed this special letter

from “Meade”….

copyright©2017

Photographs By Mary Anne Tuck

 

https://youtu.be/TO3wNNZE9tk

Willie’s rendition of this song spoke deeply to me at the loss of my husband. I hope you enjoy the beauty of the melody and words…

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PEARL HARBOR

Tenth Grade English Composition
 1951

Mary Anne Whitchurch

December 7, 1941

 On a cold, grey morning

when the fog had yet to rise;

The seagulls made a flutter
 like a bird of paradise.

The waves were as a rose vine
 coils in an arbor,

Thus began the day
  Japanese bombed PEARL HARBOR.

The sun had yet to rise that day, 
December seven.

Dawn had just receded 
to another day in heaven,

When from the sky a frightful noise
 came booming from the guns.

Now in the place of clouds and sky
 had come 
The Rising Sun.

Their guns were all ablaze.
From the air there came a shrieking of bullets whizzing by to find their targets,
 quickly streaking.

The planes upon the ground 
were shattered as they stood.

For the men to take their stations,
would of course, have done no good.

The people who had lived at PEARL HARBOR
 were not spared.

Families of the fighting men 
were sadly not prepared.

A couple that had risen right at dawn
 to walk for pleasure

Were shattered,

killed by bullets 
which were made for such a measure.

A moment quickly passed.
  The air was filled with death.

Looking toward the morning sky, 
only clouds were left.

The sun had risen in the east; 
its bright light showed a flood

of red, red streaks 
upon the ground,
 now sadly stained
 with blood.

The stillness in the morning air 
seemed empty, 
dark and chilling.

A group of planes had quickly come. 
 Their one intent was killing.

The second world war began.
 With it came the strife

for families

of the men 
whose fate it was 
to lose their life.

PEARL HARBOR was the turning point 
in nineteen forty-one.

It was to bring a mask of death 
for five long years to come.

The seventh day of every month 
we pause 
and should remember…

The Japanese bombed PEARL HARBOR
on the seventh of December.

* * * * * *

I’ve often wondered at the intensity of thought
 of a 16 year old girl, (that was me),
 considering the awful event of PEARL HARBOR.

This was written in 1951.
 The event had happened only ten years earlier.
 Although it seems to us in 2018 
as only a point in history, 
it was very real to a teen-ager 
in those days.

The war had been over for 6 years at that time.
 It remained fresh in the minds of our people.

The men and women who served in the war, 
some  of whom are still with us today,
 can never erase the images 
of  horrors they witnessed
 during their time of service to our country.

December 7th is a date to remember.

If we cannot remember what happened on that date,
investigate the history books.

It must never happen again.

***

copyright©2018

Photography by Mary Anne Whitchurch Tuck

memoriesaremadefromthis.com

IT ISN'T THE GAME – IT'S THE WAY YOU PLAY IT!

We are the most respected nation in the world.
We have no need for “factual” propaganda 
if such a thing exists.
* * *

Who’s On First?

A Masterpiece For The Taking

Musings of a Homemaker-Houghton Lake Resorter

(1963)

Some of our most respected state senators 
conduct endless filibusters.

A few have ended in deadlocked debate
 over an outer space, 
government controlled, 
space communications network.

  Russia continues to bombard us 
with undeniably 
magnificent advances

  in the current space race.

 We are content to ignore, as much as possible,the daily reports of peace talks. 

  America is lacking 
in the mastery of space.

In comparison to the USSR,
 we panic.

We are disbelieving, angered and bewildered, 
 faced with a  grim fact. 

The industrially backward nation of Soviet Russia 
 has beaten our free, democratic society

 in such an important area;
 space exploration.

We’ve listened, read and watched
with mounting dismay, 
the multi-orbital flight

of two,
 now world renowned,
 Cosmonauts.

All but forgotten 
is this remarkable achievement 
Russia has accomplished.
All but forgotten, 
in favor of a race
 to be first.

This has become an obvious, 
  overlooked  habit,
 of America.   

We become so involved in the GAME
 we lose sight 
of the objective.

How discouraging to feel , 
after decades of war,
 this unrest between nations.

There is now the imminent danger
 of a contest
 for the control of space.

America is on the verge of discoveries in space
 about which no one is certain. 
The possibilities 

may be unknown; 
beyond comprehension
  to the science community.

Understanding the complexities of space 
is impossible 
for the average person.

The intricacies 
of securing good personal and community relationships, 
are right at our fingertips.
We know how to achieve them.

The country would profit 
from renewing our personal, 
community
 and neighborhood

relations.

A trip to the moon is not needed
in order to renew them.

 We are a free people. 

There is a need 
to spend more time
 improving our own planet.

There is a  need to restore 
a people to people
 togetherness and care
 network.

Such restoration 
is important to our nation.

An ocean was crossed to find America.
The United States of America 
 have always searched 
to find the better place, the better way.


We are the most respected nation in the world.

We have no need for “factual” propaganda 
if such a thing exists.

* * *

* * *

2019

There I was at the age of 28,
 worrying about Russia.
As a country, we couldn’t accept the fact, 
Russia had won race to the moon.

Where did I find such strong feelings of country,
 while facing responsibilities of raising three young boys
 while caring for a home and husband?

I became intensely involved in the state of the world,
 the politics of this country,
 and

the need for person-to-person communication.

The future seemed far away.
 The present weighed heavily.

Perhaps my interest in politics came from my Dad.
 His interest was strong.

 My intense interest at twenty-eight
 was put aside

until much later in my life.

By the time I reached sixty,
  Dad had passed from this life.

A renewed interest in politics,
 much like Dad’s,

 had once again
 intensified.

Yes, I know 
we cannot ignore the state of this present world.

 Over the years

I have not changed my mind.
It all begins with “people”.

And now, I would add 
“Faith”.

copyright©2019

Photography By Mary Anne Tuck

2019

NEVER FORGET THAT DAY-September 11, 2001..

A large plane had flown into the World Trade Center in New York City
 and completely disappeared. 

 

A DAY TO REMEMBER

           I wanted to feel the comfort of shared grief.
 “The quilters were a blessing to me.”

Let me explain…

Standing before the television,
 getting my last look at the news
 before beginning the day,
 I couldn’t comprehend the scene before me.

A large plane had flown into the World Trade Center in New York City
 and completely disappeared. 
 Smoke and flames were billowing out
 at a point six stories from the top of the building.
 The remnants of the plane had not appeared on the other side.
 It didn’t make sense.

I knew I wasn’t watching a video or a re-run.
 How could this have happened?

I called to my husband who was working outside. 
“Come in here and look at this.”

As we stood together before the television,
 another large plane appeared 
and flew into the second tower, 
not emerging on the other side,
 causing an explosion of smoke and fire.

As the day progressed,
 a tower collapsed and disintegrated into the ground 
sending unbelievable amounts of soot and smoke 
racing through the narrow streets.

Hundreds were running away 
in an effort to escape the terrible scene.

 An event, which I have never viewed,
 although I know it was captured by cameras,
 shows thousands of people
 jumping from the fire in the buildings 
to their deaths on the ground.
  I cannot bring myself to look at it.

 

It was reported that 400 police officers and fire fighters 
were killed
 while attempting to rescue as many as possible
 from the blazing buildings.
 These brave men led many to safety.
 They are heroes. 
This is America.
 Tragedies such as this don’t happen here.

As the day wore on,
 I couldn’t draw away from the sight
of the events before me.

 I felt fear and a heavy sadness
 for what was happening in New York.
 How could anyone
 living in the United States of America
 believe this could be possible?

Thousands of people had gone to work that morning,
  never to return to their loved ones. 
How do we accept such an event
 except through fear, confusion and sadness.

 

Later, as the hours passed,
 a report was given that a passenger plane was down. 
Flight 93, had crashed and disintegrated 
in a field in Pennsylvania. 
Forty unbelievably brave passengers attempted to take over the plane. 
 All were killed as they tried to retrieve control from the terrorists.

 

We remember them as heroes.

 

A report was given about a fourth plane
 with 184 passengers aboard 
which had flown into the Pentagon.
 Many were killed.
 The scenes before me could not be denied.
 It was reported Fight 93 had been destined
 to destroy the White House.
 Because of the actions of the passengers
 the plane had crashed 
into an empty field.

 

That night
 our church, 
which will hold 300 people,
 held a prayer meeting. 
Every available place was filled.

 This was the beginning of a new awareness.
 There are people who hate us because we exist.
 They hate us so much, 
 they willingly die
 in order to kill as many of us in this country 
as possible.

 

I felt a strong need to reach out to people far away,
 wanting to feel the comfort of shared grief. 
How could that be accomplished?

My recently developed  hobby of quilting 
had led me to discover
  a program on the Internet 
designed for exchanging quilt materials.

 Choose a listed name and address,
  send twenty-four two-inch pieces of material 
in a variety of colors.

They would be sown into a quilt. 
I should send my material to them
 and they in turn 
would send theirs to me. 
 Along with the material,
 the guidelines suggested also sending
 a little note about myself,
 where I lived 
and briefly about my life.

 

I received exchanges from every state in the union
 including one from Israel.
 Eventually there were enough squares
 to make a full sized quilt,
 covering both sides with the material received.

Opening each package
 I felt warmly connected to these women
 I would never meet. 
 I felt strengthened
 knowing that their hands
 had prepared the material, 
which I now held in my hands. 
 The quilters were a blessing to me.

 

Each message I received now resides in a folder, for remembering friends unknown.

 

I was sixty-six years of age.
 My life
and thousands of others,
could never be the same. 

 We must not let the evil existing in the world 
change us as persons 
or as citizens 
of the United States of America. 

The events of September 11, 2001 
have been burned into the minds
 of those of us who witnessed it.

 

To many of our youth,
 September 11, 2001,
 is only a piece of history.
 It may be likened to the story of the First World War, 
Viet Nam, or the Korean War.
 The difference is
 this happened in the United States of America
 in the twenty-first century. 
It didn’t happen 
under the leadership of George Washington
 or Abraham Lincoln. 
 It didn’t happen 
when Theodore Roosevelt or Harry Truman 
held the office of president.
 It happened 
under the administration 
of the forty-third president of the United States of America,
 George W. Bush. 

To President Bush, 
in office for less than one year,
 fell the responsibility of dealing with a people who hate us.
 These are people 
who consider our very existence
 to be an affront to their god.
 It fell to our president
 to comfort
 many who were frightened and grief stricken.

This isn’t the world in which I grew to adulthood.
 Could I have imagined
 a foreign nation taking the lives of 3000 people
 on a fair September morning in New York city?
 Would I have believed 
I would be a witness 
while standing before a television in my home
 as it was happening? 

 The answer is no.

We must NEVER FORGET September 11, 2001.

 

 The memories remain vivid 
on September 11, 2018.
 Sadness comes quickly.
I WILL NOT FORGET.

copyright©2018

Photography By Mary Anne Tuck

memoriesaremadefromthis.com

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN

The county fire trucks were blowing their sirens
as they slowly drove along the parade route.
The driver in each truck waved happily to the crowds
as they passed by.

 MEMORIAL DAY

2015

MEMORIAL DAY in our town is a special occasion.

Standing beside the highway

we awaited the moment when the parade would come into view.

 It’s an exciting time for folks, young and old,

to celebrate the lives and service which many have given

for our country.

We could hear the high school band playing

several blocks away

as they announced their arrival.

We heard the foot tapping music of the parade,

God Bless America

and I’m Proud To Be An American.

 The county fire trucks were blowing their sirens

as they slowly drove along the parade route.

The driver in each truck waved happily to the crowds

as they passed by.

People dressed in clown suits walked on either side of the highway,

giving candy to the children

who were enjoying the fun.

Each and every road leading to the main highway

was blocked off by law enforcement

until the parade had passed.

This year, the highway near the library

was our place to watch the parade.

Next to us, a young Mother and her two little girls

waited excitedly for the moment when the American flag and the high school band 

would pass directly in front of them.

little girls watching clydes coming

I could hear the young woman softly advising her daughters

to stand on the curb until the parade was in view.

She told them,

“When the American flag passes by,

stand quietly with your right hand over your heart,

face the flag until it has passed.”

(And she showed them, which hand was the right hand,

and where one’s heart is located.)

She didn’t know I was listening, but I’m pleased that I was.

Through the years,

and especially the last few years,

I’ve found that certain moments can bring me to tears.

This was one of those moments.

I’m sad that we may have forgotten the need

to teach our young children

respect for other people,

our country’s flag, traditions and beliefs.

We’ve somehow overlooked the responsibility of passing these legacies

to the children of future generations.

The quiet young Mother and her little girls left a lasting impression on me.

MEMORIAL DAY

God Bless The USA

copyright©2017

Photography By Mary Anne Tuck

memoriesaremadefromthis.com