Widowed

I have posted this before, but in light of Veterans’ Day I thought it would be nice to post again.

Widowed

Lightning flashes as Kitt Raynes sits on her beat-up porch swing, listening to the rain pelt down on the tin awning. “You were born in the middle of a thunderstorm, you know?” She glanced down at the sleeping baby in her arms and gently readjusted the pink blanket to fit more snugly. “I still can’t believe your here with me. Charlie, I miss you so much.” Tears she held in for so long, now flowed freely.

On the seat next to her sits her husband’s best friend and a member of the Casualty Assistance Calls department. Mark and a Navy Chaplain arrived on her doorstep a little over a week ago with the news of Charlie’s death. The loss of her soul-mate had sent Kitt into labor, before she could even process the idea of being a single-mother.

Charlie Little Raynes was born as thunder clapped at 2345, one exact day from her father’s death. Named after the father she will never meet, and will attend her first funeral before she is even a month old. “Kitt, are you sure you can do this? I think everyone would understand your absence and it really isn’t the best place for Charlie Little.”

“Mark, I love you for being with me through all of this but Charlie’s unit is going to be there…and his parents who don’t even know about Charlie Little. I have to go, for them and myself. We need to support each other and I have to have this closure.” Kitt said as she wiped the river of tears away. “I just have one request, seven gunmen. My great-grandfather only had three. Every shot was another stab to my heart. Three shots are better than seven.”

“Yes ma’am, I have all seven boys ready to go.” He pulled Kitt closer to him as they watched the storm in silence for the rest of the evening.

Memories

Everything we do or see in life either creates a memory or reminds us of past. Scents, sights and songs can trigger happy moments with loved ones and bad times between friends. What is your happiest memory? Or your saddest? I bet there is something that would trigger that memory.

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Juicyfruit gum and pipe tobacco remind me of my great-grandpa. He always had a pack of gum in the front pocket of his overalls. The pipe tobacco was for his smoking, which great-grandma didn’t like. My earliest memory of him was when I was about one, he was trimming a tree in the backyard. I was on the back porch, about six feet or so off the ground, and wanted to be down there with him. One of the railing slats I was holding onto came loose, and I fell. I fell to the bottom of the stairs where a concrete slab caught my fall. Cracked my head open enough for six or seven stitches.

The rest of the time, was happier. The smell of fresh cut grass reminds me of how he would drive his Indian lawn mower everywhere. He would take it to town instead of driving his car, unless he had to take grandma with him. He had a little trailer that he would hitch up to the mower and drive me around with him.

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My worst memory of him, was the day of his funeral. He served in the army during WWII, so it was a military funeral with the bugle and 21- gun salute. For the years I couldn’t hear taps being played without breaking down. The sound of three gunmen, firing rounds was the most torturous. Each shot was another stab in the heart and another realization that he was really gone.

He was buried with the rest of our family, and one thing I always remember doing with him on memorial day was visiting his mom’s marker. She never had a headstone, just a metal placard marking her place, and grandpa would always put flowers down. As his funeral ended, I wandered off to visit her because he couldn’t. I felt that I needed to, because I knew it was important to him and the others wouldn’t.

I miss him very much, but it’s the little things in life that keep me remembering. Like right now I’m chewing juicyfruit and remembering his hugs.

#Musical Monday Review: Mulan

Overview: Ancient China is under attack and Mulan’s already battle worn father is drafted into the army again. Foregoing her duty to marry a man of great honor, she cuts her hair, dons her father’s armor and with the help of her ancestral guardian, she joins the army. Under the name Ping, she trains to become a warrior and defeat the Hun’s. Once her captain is certain the troops are ready, they set out to meet his father and instead find a burning village and his father dead. Following the Hun’s path, there is an epic battle where Mulan saves the day. However, she is struck in the chest and her secret is out. Her ruse is one punishable by death, but as she saved her captain’s life, he spares hers and leaves her on the mountain. Not quite as dead as they seem, the Hun’s pop out of the deep snow and head for the capital. Mulan observes this and heads off to warn her friends. They do not believe her, because she is a woman and are attacked. The emperor is taken hostage as everyone is sealed out of the palace. Using skills taught in training, Mulan gussies up the boys as concubines and sneaks in. Underestimating them, the guards are quickly disarmed and the emperor is saved. Mulan kills the leader of the huns and brings great honor to her family.

Opinion: This is the second Disney movie where the girl doesn’t have to be rescued by the man. In 1995, the first Disney Princess movie to do this was Pocahontas (Mulan came out three years later), before this girls were being taught that they had to be rescued by a man in order to survive. Mulan taught us that we could be just as strong and independent as men. Mulan also teaches us that no matter what the laws are, you should always do what is right. Her father was slightly disabled and would not survive another war, but because he had no son the honor of fighting was on him. Mulan felt it was right to take his place, but that would never had been allowed in this time period.

Favorite song is “Make a Man” where Shang is singing about making men out of the worthless boys he was sent to train.

“Honor to Us All” gives great insight to the time period and what the expectations were of women.