Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Carrying Light Into The New Year

I can't believe it is 2018.  I started this blogging thing at the end of 2012.  My mom had died that year and even though she told a lot stories of her young life and mine, I realized no one had actually written them down.  There are a few stories here and there that others have recorded but not the kind of details I would have liked.  She didn't want to be voice recorded so consequently some of those events will be lost after my sister and I are gone.  Before he passed away, I made a point to give my dad some opportunities to tell about his WW II days.  He did a great job with that,  but he didn't remember the details of his childhood like my mom did.  Although my life was not as hard and tragic as moms, I just wanted to tell some things of my past and present life for future generations.  In 2013 I wrote 304 blogs, but last year there were only 48.  Many things in my life repeats itself or my opinion changes so there isn't as much to write about these days.  I used to make hard covered books of the blog every six months but with a change in the Blurb website I used, I haven't been able to do that easily.  With the new year starting, I need to remedy that situation.

My mom grew up with nine brothers and sisters.  She was the 2nd youngest and had a brother 5 years younger.  He is the only one still alive.  Their mother died when my mom was only 13.  She had to grow up fast.  Christmas was very sparse.  They got an orange or maybe a harmonica, but they loved each other and spent time together singing and playing music.  Christmas involved the special country school program.  Mom said her dad dressed up as Santa and came to the school at the end of the program.  She said they were so naive and believed so completely, that she didn't even know it was her dad.

Gift giving these days is very different.   When I was a child Santa and my parents saved everything we needed for Christmas.  They would wrap up underwear, socks, shoes and winter coats as gifts.  We would get a few toys and they would always be a surprise, but I have written about that before.  Now I get a list from my grandkids and that is what they get.  If I deviate off the list, chances are they already have it or it was on someone else's list.  People buy what they need, when they need (or want) it.  We don't wait for much.  I don't make a list and truthfully I don't need gifts anymore.  I have everything I need.  However, again this year  I was surprised with some truly thoughtful gifts.  Last year the same thing happened, I got really special gifts from my daughters and my sister.  It makes me feel guilty for not putting more thought into the gifts I give.

One of the surprises I got was from my sister and her husband.  They knew we took our first trip to New York City this year.  http://www.thecabincountess.com/2017/10/our-visit-to-big-apple.html  I loved seeing the Statue of Liberty.  She sent me a beautiful "Carry Light" charm.  It symbolizes carrying a little light of peace, love and unity in these hard times.  The front of the charm is an exact replica of Lady Liberty's torch.  Over 30 years ago the Statue of Liberty was restored.  The hundred year old copper supports and the iron frame were replaced with stainless steel.  The original copper was saved and some was commissioned to make jewelry.  This is from the website.  "Every charm in this collection boasts a wealth of meaning.  Front and center is an exact replica of Lady Liberty's torch, crafted from Liberty Copper.  The message "Carry Light" is located at the top of each charm to remind yourself or someone else to ignite a flame that inspires the world.  Finally, the three stars in the front of the charm stand for peace, love, and unity, while the rays behind the flame are a reminder of the radiant light that Lady Liberty's message carries.  On the back of each charm there is a replica of the shape of Fort Wood, which is the pedestal on which Lady Liberty stands, and a circle of 50 stars that, of course, represent the 50 United States."

I really appreciated this very special and thoughtful gift.

Another special gift came from my son-in-law.  I posted the photo on Facebook for everyone to see.  Most people know how I enjoy watching the progress of the Whooping Cranes.  Luckily I live a few miles from where they were costume raised and lead to Florida by ultralight aircraft.  Funding has been eliminated for this but now they bring in young costume raised birds and help them acclimate to this area without much interference.  This year there were seven birds that stuck together and hesitated to migrate.  They even showed up in our pond with a bunch of sandhill cranes, but when it was time for the sandhills to migrate, the young whooping cranes didn't leave.  Ultimately they had to split up the cranes into small groups and relocate them to encourage migration.  Other Whoopers from years past return to this area each spring.  Hopefully a few of these young colts will find their way back here.  Because I like the cranes so much, my son-in-law made me a cutting board out of Black Walnut and engraved it with the image of a crane.

From one of my daughters, I received a Scandinavian cookbook and supplies for making lefse.  Lefse is a Norwegian flatbread made from potatoes.  I grew up in Stoughton, Wisconsin which actively celebrates Norwegian heritage.  I did not learn to make lefse the whole time I lived there, but perhaps I will now.  I am part Danish but Norwegian is pretty darn close.  A trip to Chicago is being planned by my other daughter.  I am excited to go to the big city with someone else to guide us.

Christmas isn't about gifts, but I realize I am very lucky to have such caring thoughtful people in my life.  Many people aren't nearly as fortunate.  I can only hope that I can pay it forward when I have an opportunity and Carry some Light.