Just the other day, I was lucky enough to take a long walk after work along the cliffs adjacent to a beautiful beach, designated as a state park, here in California. If one walks to the brink of the cliffs and gazes over the edge, one might notice the beach. The sand is a pale yellow that has been fashioned by the slowing eroding clay-based cliffs just adjacent to the beach that are slowly surrendering to mother nature’s fury. As you gradually gaze along the horizon, you also will notice the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean. With its never-ending movement and white caps that are formed as the crest of the waves yield to the gravity that pulls it down, one might also witness a few ships coming into and out of port. And if you keep moving your head from left to right, now gazing towards the north, you will once again a observe the faint silhouette of land jutting out into the sea all the while hearing the faint cry of seagulls in the distance and feel a gentle breeze that carries the sea mist that caresses your face.
|Photo © Jim Terry|
Of course, one of the first people I thought of was my mother. Vast expanses of an ocean view were always one of her favorite things to experience. As they say about mothers, “A mother is she who can take the place of all others, but whose place no one else can take.” There isn’t a day that doesn’t go by that I still don’t think of my Mom, her kindness, her love and her influence in my life… "thanks, Mom!”
I also thought of several of my ancestors and how they had loved and influenced me. My Grandma Hattie was always fun because when we would stay with her she would transport us into a magical world by telling us stories about leprechauns and fairies. She had a room in her home that was “off limits” because that’s where the “fairies and leprechauns” lived. We could only peer into the room at certain times of day if we wanted to try and catch a glimpse of one. To this day and because I believe in magic, I still believe that I had the one and only “leprechaun sighting” in my Grandma’s magical room. Oh and JFYI and because I now believe in leprechauns, I am going to totally disregard and discredit the fact that my grandma probably didn't want us in there because she had a lot of nice and breakable things that she didn’t want us kids to break! J
As I sat there, I also thought of my Grandpa Oliverson, Hattie's husband. I never met him because of his passing in 1965 at a young age. He worked for the civil service and was employed at the Toole Army Depot for twenty-four years. I have heard stories about his love of hunting and what a good man he was. Someday, I will look forward to knowing him even better.
I also thought about all of my relatives that have served our country, present and past, and how important their service is to me. My Uncle Paul who served in the Army was always a fun guy to be around. His love and dedication to his family also carried through to his service and commitment to our country which also found him participating in the Vietnam conflict.
|My grandmother's pendant.|
As I continued to sit there on that bench and enjoy my surroundings, thoughts of loved ones and story after story filled my mind that afternoon. As a young boy, I really never understood the Memorial Day holiday and I was always confused when I would see my Grandma cry when we would drive to Mink Creek, Idaho, year after year, to put flowers on my Grandpa’s grave. Funny how I “get it now.” It’s the sacrifice of others when acknowledged, that truly makes us better people. And whether that is one witnessing a loving grandmother placing flowers upon her husband’s grave in acknowledgment of the love and provisions he afforded his family or for the dedication or even the death of a serviceman or woman who serves their country, each and every sacrifice is significant.
So on this MEMORIAL DAY, enjoy your time, be safe, be happy, enjoy your family and friends, remember loved ones lost, be grateful for those that are serving our country and always remember, “Great achievement is born of great SACRIFICE, and is never the result of selfishness." ~Napoleon Hill~
♦ Hope you'll let us share your stories and photos here at our residence "In a Nutshell." Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.