It is a beautiful day because you stopped by for a visit.


To Decorate or Not 

Years ago, I was in Cincinnati days before Christmas for a Board Meeting of a special Program
I was a part. I know how to make the best of a dime when it comes to travel. My Dad’s Aunt,
a wonderful fun loving woman lived in that City.  Two blocks of that street were my Dad’s relatives. 
Dad’s Aunt and a slew of Cousins would travel and stop in NJ to visit me.
When I knew I’d be in Cincinnati, we’d plan ahead.  They’d pick me up at the airport.  For
days we’d visit with the relatives.  We’d shop in a special fabric store I was surprised to see in
Cincinnati.  I’d only seen one on my trips to Sacramento visiting family in California.  I went
bonkers in that Cincinnati store. I guess you can tell I sew.  I was put on their customer list. 
The mail would come; I’d get on the telephone and order whatever and give up the plastic
Never did I have to question the quality of their goods.
That December visit was over and I was taken to the site of our Board Meeting.  So many
times had my Aunt and Cousins been there, they were greeted by name.  We’d leave each
other with hugs and kisses and , “See you next time.”  Never would we say “Good bye”.  I’m
happy we had our days together.  I’m the only one still alive. 
That December meeting ended with a nice luncheon on the Twenty-Third.   My plane was
not to fly until five.  A dear friend at the meeting site but not on the Board volunteered to
take me to the airport, but give me a tour of the City’s wealthy neighborhoods to see their
holiday décor.
I won’t give you their names but those two families are known for their soap and cleaning
I was shocked to see these understated mansions with just a wreath on the door.  One
had really broken their budget with a wreath at every window hanging from a red ribbon.
Another house had the wreath on the door with a big red bow and a single electric candle
in each window.
One house was over the top.  It had the wreath on the door and had decorated the wrought
iron gate frame that held the power box for the vehicle entry. That frame had one string of
mini-lights glowing in the daylight. 
On the way to the airport as we left the rich neighborhood and passed through the lower
economic neighborhoods, the more we saw of all the stuff available and sold by the stores.
I call it all “yard clutter”.
My friend’s open question that had no answer, was, “I wonder if, these people have their bills
paid and food for the table for more than one day?  When will they be able to pay off their electric
bill for all the stuff we are seeing?”
That drive and his words have never left me. Yes, we arrived at the airport save and sound.
I decorated for Christmas once for my late Darling.  He traded duty with some Navy guy with three children. 
He “forgot” to tell me. He said it was a last minute thought and I’d understand.  He’d be out of the Marines
and we’d be home with our “little dolls”.  [I could not get angry with him.]  I ate Christmas dinner with Darling
on the USS Wasp.  I left him and returned home and looked at the tree as wasted time and money, but the
love for him overrode the irate thoughts in the recesses of my heart. 
Darling came home just after midnight, looked at the tree, and unplugged the lights.  He prepared
for bed.  I heard the water flowing in the bathroom.  Morning came soon.  He thought he was
to roam the house in his robe.  No way.  He’d forgotten we had been invited to an early Hanukkah dinner
at one of my co-worker’s home. 
Yes, that was a new experience for my Darling.  I gave an early excuse to leave.  Darling was
exhausted.  He needed some sleep.  When he awoke, it was time for him to return to the Wasp.
The only tradition, I follow that was in our Family from Mom’s experience.  Always leave the
outside light on for Christmas Eve.  We never know who may ring our bell for help or to bring us a Blessing.
I know that the one who puts up all the decorations is the one who takes that stuff down and
packs it away.
My denuded oak tree with its silver moss and Yellow Ribbon is solar lit all year long. It has five clear lights.
Now it has three large solar orbs that rotate in colors.  Decorating takes a full thirty seconds.  I will expend a
bit more time to un-decorate because, I’ll remove the batteries and pack all away.
Celebrate the Season as your heart dictates.  
Patricia Barbee ©  2013

The Pledge of Allegiance

For those born after 1960, we kids stood tall every day in school to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States.  We had to learn “under God” that was added under President Dwight David Eisenhower’s Administration.  We thought that was super.  We girls were international in our school.
We did not know anyone who did not recognize a higher power, known by God or another name. We did not feel we were hurting anyone’s feelings because we all felt special with those two words. It also reminded us “someone” else was keeping an eye on us.

I’ve not been in a classroom in at least eight years.  Recently I learned, that the Pledge of Allegiance is no longer said in class.

So we wonder why we have trouble in the schools and skirmishes in other parts of the buildings or campus grounds.

Pride is not taught in school.  The children have no idea of etiquette so they don’t know how to use cutlery.   I should say knives, forks and spoons because that means the parents don’t know either. They probably never heard the word "cutlery".

We girls loved the parades in Boston commemorating anything and military parades were the best.  The soldiers, old, young, retired or still in service that marched past us, tall and strong.  We stood a little taller because of them.

We’d hear stories of World War Two, before many of us were born.  The Korean Era we knew but were too young to understand.  We could find Korea on the Mercator Map or classroom globe.

We knew Berlin and Germany were divided.  Our first act of volunteerism was packing small Red Cross gift boxes for girls our ages.  Mom made me spend my own money.  I bought a toothbrush; a can of Colgate tooth power; a pair of socks and a small pack of “jacks”.  I hoped the girl would know how to play the game.  All of us added a sharpened pencil and a bit of paper.

People came to the United States to be free.  In their Citizenship Classes they knew the Pledge of Allegiance. 

I was one of the witness/sponsors for a woman I met at church and married to an Army man.  To witness her giving up her French citizenship to be an American was something to see.  We celebrated with a late lunch.  She was speechless.

We need to find people with spines to represent the caring citizens of every community.  We need to give the school boards fair warning that the children need to be led by example.  We don’t need teachers with sagging trousers or super-miniskirts.  

Most people in this country chose to be here because of their parents or grandparents.  They chose a Country that believe in God after shoving the Native People or First Persons off their lands.

The least the people of today can do is remember to honor those who have died for this Country and stand tall when they recite the Pledge of Allegiance. 

I personally do not see that one has to have the right hand over the heart. My word is my bond.

Some cannot raise their hands because of physical problems.  Some cannot stand because they left their body parts on foreign soil to give all the right not to say the Pledge.  What price have YOU paid?

Patricia Barbee © 2013


An OPEN LETTER to businesses having sales on Veterans' Day and Memorial Day. I will do my best to encourage all I know to boycott your business those days.

YOU have not stood at Arlington National Cemetery by the bier holding the Love of one's life.

You have not heard the volley rounds of gun fire.

You do not have some of the brass empty bullet casings, once warm when handed to you.

You have not heard Taps played over your Beloved.

You have not received the tri-corner folded flag with words of "Thanks from the President and a grateful Nation....."

You have not had the Chaplain escort you away from the burial spot.

You have not left your dreams as they are lowered into the dirt of Virginia.

You have not sat alone at your dining table because the Best Half of your life was Killed in Action.

Yes, he gave you the freedom to be the fool you are and the 363 other days of the year, you'd never say, "Thank You" for your husband's service to our Country. Here's a ONE percent discount card for life. That is the least we can do.

Patricia Barbee (c) 2013