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Grocery Store Poppy — Memorial Day, 2008

As a kid growing up in Abilene, Texas, I recall those times with Mom or Dad would come back from the store with a little plastic, red poppy they had received for making a donation to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. That was, of course, the Memorial Day weekend. My father would wear that little poppy on his suit Sunday morning, although it was years before I really understood what the little flower represented, and that the artificial poppies were made by disabled vets.

As I understand it, the significance of the poppy and the rememberance of faithful veterans killed in action goes back to the Great War–World War I, although Memorial Day (which was called Decoration Day at one time) as an event goes back to the Civil War era. When American troups were lost to enemy action and disease in Europe during the Great War, they were buried in Flanders Fields, where they take their rest to this day.

I’ve been told that poppies only grow on soil that’s been broken and turned, as in the preparation and use of a grave. This was the inspiration of one of the greatest poems ever written to the memory and dedication of our uniformed heros past. It was written by John Mcrae in 1915, but it fits today, more than ever:

 

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders Fields

 

Take up our quarrel with the foe;

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies blow

In Flanders Fields

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James D. Sutton, Psychologist    www.docspeak.com

 

 
 

  

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May 26, 2008 Posted by | adversity, family, Inspirational, patriotism, Special Occasions, Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Gift of Love

Jim Gentil, my very talented friend in Austin, Texas, sent this piece in a recent newsletter. It’s a great example of just how much we should love and care for our children. I reprint it here with Jim’s permission, and encourage you to visit his website: www.JimGentil.com

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“Can I see my baby?” the happy new mother asked.

When the bundle was nestled in her arms and she moved the fold of cloth to look upon his tiny face, she gasped. The doctor turned quickly and looked out the tall hospital window. The baby had been born without ears.

Time proved that the baby’s hearing was perfect. It was only his appearance that was marred. When he rushed home from school one day and flung himself into his mother’s arms, she sighed, knowing that his life was to be a succession of heartbreaks.

He blurted out the tragedy. “A boy, a big boy . . . called me a freak.”

He grew up, handsome for his misfortune. A favorite with his fellow students, he might have been class president, but for that. He developed a gift, a talent for literature and music. “But you might mingle with other young people,” his mother reproved him, but felt a kindness in her heart.
The boy’s father had a session with the family physician. Could nothing be done?  “I believe I could graft on a pair of outer ears, if they could be procured” the doctor decided. Whereupon the search began for a person who would make such a sacrifice for a young man. Two years went by. Then, “You are going to the hospital, son. Mother and I have someone who will donate the ears you need. But it’s a secret” said the father.
The operation was a brilliant success, and a new person emerged. His talents blossomed into genius, and school and college became a series of triumphs. Later he married and entered the diplomatic service. “But I must know!” He urged his father. “Who gave so much for me?  I could never do enough for him.”
“I do not believe you could,” said the father, “but the agreement was that you are not to know . . . not yet.”

The years kept their profound secret, but the day did come . . . one of the darkest days that ever pass through a son. He stood with his father over his mother’s casket. Slowly, tenderly, the father stretched forth a hand and raised the thick, reddish-brown hair to reveal . . . that the mother had no outer ears.
“Mother said she was glad she never let her hair be cut,” he whispered gently, “and nobody ever thought mother less beautiful, did they”?
Real beauty lies not in the physical appearance, but in the heart. Real treasure lies not in what that can be seen, but what that cannot be seen. Real love lies not in what is done and known, but in what that is done but not known. 

 

Author Unknown

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James Sutton, Psychologist       www.docspeak.com

May 12, 2008 Posted by | adversity, family, Inspirational, Parents, Self-esteem | , , , | 1 Comment

What’s Happening in YOUR House?

Since we as a nation have been struggling with the sub-prime loans crunch, high cost of gasoline and an overall slow-down in the economy, there’s been a lot of talk about the role of government. Is it doing enough? What else can be done?

Good questions all.

I was recently reading Tom Brokow’s latest book, Boom! Voices of The Sixties. In the book he has this quote from Barbara Bush, former First Lady. She said this during a 1990 commencement address at Wellesley College.(Incidentally, 25% of the graduating seniors had signed a petition protesting her appearance.)

Barbara Bush said:

Maybe we should adjust faster; maybe we should adjust slower. But whatever the era, whatever the times, one thing will never change: Fathers and mothers, if you have children, they MUST come first. You must read to your children, hug your children, and you must love your children. Your success as a family, our success as a society, depends NOT on what happens in the White House but on what happens inside YOUR house.

I can’t add much to that.

James Sutton, Psychologist   http://www.docspeak.com

 

May 4, 2008 Posted by | family, Inspirational, Parents, Self-esteem | Leave a comment