Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Sandhill Stroll

Kaleidoscope of Sound: W

Bill said, "This song is really about an elderly couple that had a tragic ending. However, it has a rebellious meaning for us. It's our road trip song."

"The Way"

*Please remember to leave your comments or questions for Bill. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A Date with an Alien

I have been invited to join Eli of Coach Daddy for his monthly, by invitation, 6 Words post. Thank you, Eli. I am honoured. Each month, Eli poses a question. We can respond with only six words. Eli then reveals all of the answers in one blog post at the end of the month. Today is that day.

Eli's question for May is, If you had to take an alien to the best place on Earth, where would you go?” 

I knew immediately. I would want to share my own, very favourite place on Earth: Brockway Mountain, at the northern tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

When I first visited the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I felt like I had been there before. The more I saw and experienced there, the more I felt like I was coming home. Our first visit to Brockway Mountain literally took my breath away. I felt like I was supposed to be there.

Many of you have read my poem, “Brockway”. I have shared it before; it is posted on my Poetry page. I cannot find better words to explain how I feel about Brockway Mountain. For that reason, I will share it again.


Take me back to where strong winds blow
while eagles soar high, with nature below.
Take me to the mountain, far up north, 
where lakes meet sky, and legends pour forth.
Take me where man and beast live side by side,
where there is no fear, and peace can reside.
I need to know there are bears and deer,
and that they, like I, have a right to be here.
I want to see where wildlife lives,
where nature not only takes, but gives.
I want to be where ancient trees grow,
where the autumn sun makes the mountain glow; 
in spring and summer the trees are green,
and winter snow is deep and clean.
I want to be where beauty astounds,
where singing birds are natural sounds,
where lighthouses call the sailors home
from Gichi-Gami’s evening gloam.
I can go back only in memory today,
but my spirit lives there, up on Brockway.

~McGuffy Ann Morris

So, Mr. Alien, Behold: Gichi-Gami’s majesty from Brockway Mountain!”


Tears of silent saints,
                        a cleansing of the sinners,
            fresh rain brings new dawn.

Poem: McGuffy Ann Morris
Haiku #334

Shared with:
Five lines or less
inspired by the word prompt

Kaleidoscope of Sound: V

Bill said, "Chet had a style that was easy going. He focused on playing each note with perfection and feeling. It was never a contest to show off, or play fast, or try to impress others."

Chet Atkins

*Please remember to leave your comments or questions for Bill. Thanks!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Never Forget

SSGT James Michael Ray

On Memorial Day, I always honour our fallen military heroes. I pay special attention to SSGT James Michael Ray. Some have asked who he is to me, personally. This is his story and why he matters to me.

I was in ROTC for four years. I take our military, patriotism, honour, and my duty to God and country very seriously. I respect it and all that it represents. I feel gratitude and devotion to all who have served to preserve my freedoms. I enjoy these freedoms because of their military service.

I have two Vietnam POW/MIA bracelets for the same soldier. In my youth, I obtained was a POW/MIA bracelet for SSGT James M. Ray through a veteran’s organization. Many years later, I felt compelled to find out more about him. I have visited the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall, twice. Finding his name (both times) moved me to a flood of tears.

The Internet was not an option at that time, so I wrote letters to numerous veterans’ organizations to learn more. I was referred to others, links in a proverbial chain of red-tape. Finally, I found his family, and was able to correspond with his stepmother. She sent me a bracelet that was made by SSGT Ray’s own family. She told me who he was to his family. She told me about their Jimmy.

SSGT James M. Ray
POW/MIA 3-18-68

James Michael Ray was born November 10, 1949. He lived in Woonsocket, Rhode Island at the time of his voluntary entrance to the United States Army. He joined the Army at age 17, after being told by the Marines that he was too young to join at age 16. The son of a U.S. Marine veteran, Jimmy felt a strong sense of duty to his country.

SSGT Ray was captured by the Viet Cong on March 18, 1968 during military intelligence maneuvers. An ambush included a rocket-propelled grenade that landed near the position of his unit in South Vietnam. His country of detention is listed as Cambodia. He was subsequently held in several jungle prison camps, moving frequently. It is believed that at one point he tried to escape, but was re-captured only to be tortured and starved.

Records prove that prisoners were kept in chains. At night, they were locked in underground pits. They were moved often to various prison camps throughout the jungle. Malaria and dysentery were common illnesses among prisoners, and often fatal. At capture, Private Ray was believed to be about 165 lbs. At his last sighting, his weight was estimated to be about 95 lbs.

While no concrete date is known for SSGT Ray’s death, it is officially listed as November 30, 1969. Vietnamese records released in 1973 list SSGT James Michael Ray as having died in captivity, probably late in 1969. When a prisoner became ill or died, he was taken away and no details were given. SSGT Ray was last seen alive by a fellow soldier who knew him, and had been held with him at that time.

The Ray family never gave up in their search for answers. They wanted Jimmy to come home, no matter what had happened. He deserved to come home to the country that he had loved and served. They held onto hope for decades.

Nearly forty years passed before the family decided it was time to honour their loved one in a memorial place. They felt it was time to accept the government findings and official reports that he would not be found. Family members and fellow soldiers who served with SSGT James M. Ray gathered around a white stone marker bearing his name in Arlington National Cemetery on September 7, 2007, for a final memorial service.

As of 2017, there are 1,616 Americans that are still unaccounted for in Vietnam. Included in that number is SSGT James Michael Ray. This is why SSGT James M. Ray matters so much to me. It is also why he should matter to you. Never forget. 

Kaleidoscope of Sound: U

Bill said, "Joe Cocker was a true professional. His vocals and the arrangements of his songs were amazing. It is especially nice to hear a live recording that has the quality of a studio recording."

"Unchain My Heart"
Joe Cocker

*NOTE: Bill has caught up on commenting after a very long week on the road.
Please check out his previous posts N-T for his responses to your comments!
Please remember to leave your comments or questions for Bill. He will answer. Thanks!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Kaleidoscope of Sound: T

Bill said, "I had to find a spot on this list for Albert. He passed in 1993, about the time I discovered him. I never heard this song until recently, but liked it immediately. He clearly had his own playing style, which is called "ice-picking". But, his singing came across as very warm and personal."

"Too Many Dirty Dishes"
Albert Collins

*Please remember to leave your comments or questions for Bill. Thanks!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Sands of Time

Mae never felt comfortable celebrating her birthday. It seemed like much ado about nothing. Still, she couldn’t help but feel nostalgic when the calendar reminded her of the day.

Mae was alone since Rudy had passed away. The kids were all grown, with lives of their own. Everyone was so busy these days. There was just no time to spend together anymore.

Mae felt her birthday was just a time to reflect on the past. Looking through old photographs, one caught her rapt attention. The beach! It was always a favourite family vacation spot.

Closing her eyes, Mae could feel the soft breeze and smell the fresh air. She could feel the warm sun and sand, too. Mae could even hear the laughter of children. They were all there, again. Together.

A gift to herself. Through tears, she whispered, “Happy birthday to me”.

Story: McGuffy Ann Morris
Word Count= 146 words
Image: The Storyteller's Abode

Shared with:
Flash Fiction/Photo Prompt,
100-150 words inspired by photo

Kaleidoscope of Sound: S

Bill said, "He's a hotshot, a show off and a control freak. But, he's amazing. So, its all good."

Brian Setzer

*Please remember to leave your comments or questions for Bill. Thanks!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Snowball Forever

My heart broke when I received the email from Ellen of 15andmeowing today. Snowball had lost her battle. Like Ellen, I can be superstitious when my furkids are sick. So, we prayed.

Each time we lose a furry love, they take a piece of us with them. They leave a hole in our hearts that no one else can fill. Now, there is another furry angel, because Snowball has received her special wings. 

Snowball was blessed to have been safe in the home of Ellen and her hubby for as long as she was. Their love for their furkids is unconditional. Ellen does so much for cats and their people. She is a blessing to all who know her. Please visit Ellen to show your support as she grieves Snowball's crossing. 

This one is for Snowball...she will be loved and missed...forever.

Friendly Fill-ins: Week 55

We are happy you are here for another week of friendly sharing! As always, you can find the fill-ins here and at each Thursday. On Fridays, we post the linky for sharing. The first two fill-ins are always provided by Ellen. The final two statements are offered by myself. You are welcome to answer in the comments, but if you link up, even more people can share!

Thank you for being here today. I appreciate your friendship, your time, and your comments. I know that life is busy, and time gets away easily. So, thank you for being part of my journey and sharing yours with me. 

Please check out my "58 Things"post today. I share some things about myself that you may or may not know. It took a lot of thought to come up with this list to share. I invite you all to take up this birthday challenge on your next birthday. If and when you post it for your birthday, please make sure to let me know. I would like to read the things that you share. 

Have a safe Memorial Weekend. It is the unofficial start of Summer. Enjoy your loved ones, free time, and gatherings. Please, do remember to take a moment to honour those who died in active military service. We owe them so much respect and gratitude. They earned it.

Here are my completed fill-ins:

1. My idea of roughing it is no restroom facilities, no showers, no electricity. That is how we used to camp out when I was growing up in Texas. We went on camping and fishing trips often. Those are happy childhood memories!

2. I never get sick of talking about happy memories that Bill and I have shared over the years. We have been married thirty-six years in June, so there are a lot of happy memories. Many of them have critters in them, naturally. The stories do get retold often, too.

3. My youth taught me the essential things that I would need in life. I watched others and learned what not to do. I also learned about the kind of person that I wanted to be. I am thankful for lessons learned by watching and listening. History does not have to repeat itself.

4. My "golden years" are being charted as I head toward that sunset. I don’t want more stuff, just more happiness. I know what I need and what is important. My needs are minimal. I have learned that for me, less really is more.

~May you always find happiness in what you have!~

Now, it's your turn. Please link up with us here. Or, you can answer in the comments.

58 Things

Today I am 58. With that in mind, I was challenged to share 58 things about myself. (Thank you, La La in the Library.) Since I don't celebrate my birthday, I thought this might be an interesting way to reflect. I did put a lot of thought and feeling into this project. So, in no particular order, I share these fifty-eight things about myself. 

1. I was born at 12:01 A.M. 

2. I am an old soul. 

3. I am a first-generation Northerner. 

4. Growing up, I went to eleven schools. 

5. I am a realist.

6. I have an acute, often dry, quirky sense of humour.

7. I often use my sense of humour as a defense mechanism.

8. I am a voracious reader. 

9. I have arachnophobia. *augh*

10. I have severe claustrophobia.

11. I come from a long line of storytellers. I use mine for good, though.

12. Writing is how I sort through thoughts and feelings.

13. Without cats and dogs in my life, I feel incomplete.

14. I converted to Catholicism at age 18.

15. I contemplated joining a convent.

16. I believe in the supernatural and mysteries of faith.

17. I am a Peanuts fan, especially Snoopy and Woodstock.

18. I wear blue jeans (exclusively).

19. I wear a lot of tie-dyed clothing.

20. I am a Muppet fan, especially Kermit.

21. I love to fish on a lake.

22. I have a solid moral compass.

23. God is my anchor, always.

24. I was in ROTC for four years (and excelled).

25. I have handled and used an M16 rifle.

26. I am a lifelong Bette Davis fan.

27. I was a vegetarian when I was ages 17-20.

28. I am completely at home with nature.

29. I choose words carefully because of their power.

30. From early childhood, I have been very intuitive.

31. I withdraw when I feel overwhelmed.

32. I believe in karma.

33. I did not cry as a child because I saw it as a weakness.

34. I love and use old rosaries.

35. I have witnessed the magic of the Aurora Borealis.

36. I believe there is hope in a sunrise.

37. I think a sunset is proof of survival. 

38.  I believe in divine providence.

39. Autumn is my favourite season.

40. I feel God in the stars and moon.

41. I believe in angels. 

42. My favourite days are cool, cloudy, and rainy.

43. I feel a deep respect for trees.

44. Clouds inspire me.

45. I both love and fear storms.

46. I first drove a car when I was twelve years old.

47. I got my driver’s license at age twenty.

48. I was a passenger in two near-fatal car accidents, at ages 18 and 19.

Age 20

49. I am an incessant deep-thinker.

50. I love flowers, bees, and butterflies.

51. I am more comfortable with animals than I am with people.

52. I have had exotic pets, but do not advocate owning them. 

53. I know I am a dork and am fine with that. 

54. I have a very active inner child.

55. I am a very private person.

56. I love the colours green and blue.

57. I have an exceptionally good memory (a blessing and a curse).

58. I am an active hugger. *Hugs*

~Thank you for being here today!~ 

Kaleidoscope of Sound: R

Bill said, "Fate is a mysterious thing. Waylon was a bass player for Buddy Holly. He gave up his seat for the Big Bopper, "The Day The Music Died". Waylon went on to become one of the best country singers of the 70's and 80's."

"Rose in Paradise"
Waylon Jennings

*Please remember to leave your comments or questions for Bill. Thanks!
It may take a day or two, but he will answer. Please check back for a response.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Fill-in Statements: Week 55

Every Thursday, Ellen of 15andmeowing and I provide the fill-in statements. Please come back on Friday, when we post our answers with a link-up. Learning about each other and making friends is what it is all about!

Here are this week's statements with the blanks:

Week 55: May 26, 2017

1. My idea of roughing it is _____________.

2. I never get sick of talking about ____________.

3. My youth                              .

4. My "golden years"