Thursday, November 13, 2008

Goodbye Uncle Lloyd

My uncle Lloyd died on Tuesday. I really loved him and I wish I could write better so that I could express how deeply sad I am at his passing and how much I'll miss him, even though we seldom spoke and saw each other every few years.

He was always (and always will be) larger than life to me. Having settled in the LA area after World War II, he would come to visit us in Cincinnati once a year when he came to the midwest for the Worldbook Convention in Chicago. It was always in the winter and we'd all go to the airport to pick him up. I remember how his wool overcoat (certainly only worn once a year for that trip to the land of the cold) felt on my cheek as I snuggled next to him in the back seat on the ride home. We would usually not even make out of Kentucky to come home before he and my dad would have a heated 'discussion' about some political or religious issue neither would ever back down on. Sometimes I think that confrontation was something they both looked forward to -- a verbal step back in time to being 'brothers' .

We'd go to Graeters and Lloyd would buy a pint of chocolate ice cream and ask for a spoon -- I'd just wait for the look on the cashier's face as the realization dawned that he was just going to sit and eat it all.

He always had a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face (and great dimples)! He had a beautiful tenor voice and I'd love to hear him singing scales as he got ready in the morning -- that always made Uncle Lloyd's visits real.

He'd send us See's suckers every Christmas and I can never see them without thinking of him.

Lloyd was one of the most passionately caring people I've ever known and was actively involved in the community well into his old age, working on Habitat houses and volunteering at food pantries. He was a champion of 'everyman' and every time he visited we'd hear about the new things he was involved in and the problems in the country he saw and most wanted to be solved. I have to admit that I got my first taste of Liberal thinking from my uncle Lloyd!

In my adult years he's always sent us lovely, long Christmas notes in beautifully hand-made and lettered cards, always signing them 'Lloyd Henry'. Each New Year's Eve we'd call him to say hi and catch up. I'm really going to miss that card and phone call this year!

Though he lived in California, he knew everyone we did (a strange thing to a little girl). He looked so much like my grandmother and my dad, yet he lived in an exotic place where Santa wore shorts and my cousins could go to the beach on Christmas day. He was one of us, but not exactly. When he'd come to visit and he and my dad & Ningle would talk about the people they remembered and the 'old days', I'd get a rare glimpse of my dad as a child and our family as a larger unit. Because he looked so much like them, having him around in the last twenty years was like having Ning and my dad back again long after they had died. With his passing, I feel like my last link with them is gone and I know that something precious has slipped away forever.

He was the only person in my family to call me Annie.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Never forget

At the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, the 'war to end all wars' was over.

This is the 90th anniversary of Armistice Day, now called Veterans Day. These days, WWII is becoming a dim memory, some people are even denying the Holocaust, and few people alive even remember WWI. Most people in America are totally unaware of the loss and suffering it caused worldwide, but especially in Europe. Last year, I quoted some great poetry about WWI, but this year I think I'll leave it to the images (don't worry -- no stacks of corpses) & numbers.

The United States suffered 57,476 casualties, Britain lost 703,000 and 1,663,000 were wounded.
Worldwide, both military & civilian, over 20,000,000 died and 21,000,000 were wounded.

We can't even imagine numbers like that and, God willing, won't ever have to again.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Remember remember the fifth of November

Happy Guy Fawkes Day!
(Made known to millions of Americans in the movie V for Vendetta)

Guy Fawkes & the Gunpowder Plot
Words of "Remember Remember" refer to Guy Fawkes with origins in 17th century English history. On the 5th November 1605 Guy Fawkes was caught in the cellars of the Houses of Parliament with several dozen barrels of gunpowder. Guy Fawkes was subsequently tried as a traitor with his co-conspirators for plotting against the government. He was tried by Judge Popham who came to London specifically for the trial from his country manor Littlecote House in Hungerford, Gloucestershire. Fawkes was sentenced to death and the form of the execution was one of the most horrendous ever practised (hung ,drawn and quartered) which reflected the serious nature of the crime of treason.

The Tradition begins...
The following year in 1606 it became an annual custom for the King and Parliament to commission a sermon to commemorate the event. Lancelot Andrewes delivered the first of many Gunpowder Plot Sermons. This practice, together with the nursery rhyme, ensured that this crime would never be forgotten! Hence the words " Remember , remember the 5th of November" The poem is sometimes referred to as 'Please to remember the fifth of November'. It serves as a warning to each new generation that treason will never be forgotten. In England the 5th of November is still commemorated each year with fireworks and bonfires culminating with the burning of effigies of Guy Fawkes (the guy). The 'guys' are made by children by filling old clothes with crumpled newspapers to look like a man. Tradition allows British children to display their 'guys' to passers-by and asking for " A penny for the guy".

Credit to:

Sunday, November 02, 2008

If there was ever any doubt that a dog can truly become part of the family, check out my photographic proof. Aunt Cathy, get ready for Turner to line up with the kids at Thanksgiving for his squirt of whipped cream!

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