December 7, 2018
Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind.
John F. Kennedy
It is the anniversary of the bombing of Perl Harbor which began our entry in World War II. The passing of George H. W. Bush brought back memories of my childhood. Here is what I wrote about the experience years ago.
December 7, 2001
It was 60 years ago today, I was 6 years old and was visiting relatives in a small town in Illinois. My Aunt was coming home with her newborn daughter, my Uncle who was then a Colonel in the Army was home to greet the arrival of his new daughter. We soon heard the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor. We children were convinced that the bombs would soon come to us. My Uncle left for war the next day and we began to live our lives in a different world. We survived and even thrived. I think we need to give our children more credit than we do sometimes. We do not have to protect them from reality, reality will always find them, and if we do not demonstrate that we all have the capacity to rise above crisis we will have failed them.
December 7, 2004
Sixty-three years ago at 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time, a Japanese dive bomber bearing the red symbol of the Rising Sun of Japan on its wings appeared out of the clouds above the island of Oahu. 360 Japanese warplanes followed, descending on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in a ferocious assault. The surprise attack struck a critical blow against the U.S. Pacific fleet and drew the United States irrevocably into World War II. A hurried dispatch from the ranking United States naval officer in Pearl Harbor, Commander in Chief Pacific, to all major navy commands and fleet units provided the first official word of the attack at the ill-prepared Pearl Harbor base. It said simply: AIR RAID ON PEARL HARBOR X THIS IS NOT DRILL. Unfortunately war did not stop by the defeat of Japan and Germany. We have been to Korea, Vietnam, and now Iraq for the second time. It is tragic that young men and women continue to die because others have not found the way to peace.
At A War Grave
No grave is rich, the dust that herein lies
Beneath this white cross mixing with the sand
Was vital once, with skill of eye and hand
And speed of brain. These will not re-arise
These riches, nor will they be replaced;
They are lost and nothing now, and here is left
Only a worthless corpse of sense bereft,
Symbol of death, and sacrifice and waste.
Preparation for Parenthood
1) (Women) To prepare for maternity, put on a dressing gown and stick a beanbag chair down the front. Leave it there for nine months. After nine months, remove 10% of the beans.
2) (Men) To prepare for paternity, go to the local drug store, tip the contents of your wallet on the counter, and tell the pharmacist to help himself. Then go to the supermarket. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office. Go home. Pick up the paper and read it for the last time.
3) Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who are already parents and berate them about their methods of discipline, lack of patience, appallingly low tolerance levels, and how they have allowed their children to run riot. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child’s sleeping habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior. Enjoy it–it’s the last time in your life that you will have all of the answers.
4) To discover how the nights feel, walk around the living room from 5pm till 10pm carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds. At 10pm put the bag down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep. Get up at 12am and walk around the living room again with the bag, until 1am. Put the alarm on for 3am. As you can’t go back to sleep, get up at 2am and make a drink. Go to bed at 2:45am. Get up again at 3am when the alarm goes off. Sing songs in the dark till 4am. Put the alarm on for 5am. Get up. Make breakfast. Keep this up for 5 years. Look cheerful.
5) Can you stand the mess children make? To find out, smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains. Hide a fish stick behind the stereo and leave it there all summer. Stick your fingers in the flower beds then rub them on the clean walls. Cover the stains with crayons. There, how does that look?
6) Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems. First buy an octopus and a string bag. Attempt to put the octopus into the string bag so that none of the arms hang out. Time allowed for this: all morning.
7) Take an egg carton. Using a pair of scissors and a can of paint, turn it into an alligator. Now take a toilet paper tube. Using only scotch tape and a piece of foil, turn it into a Christmas tree. Last, take a milk container, a ping pong ball, and an empty packet of COCO Puffs and make an exact replica of the Eiffel Tower. Congratulations, you have just qualified for a place on the play group committee.
8) Forget the Miata and buy the minivan. And don’t think you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don’t look like that. Buy a chocolate ice cream bar and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there. Get a quarter. Stick it in the cassette player. Take a family size bag of chocolate cookies. Mash them down the back seats. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car. There! Perfect!
9) Get ready to go out. Wait outside the toilet for half an hour. Go out the front door. Come in again. Go out. Come back in. Go out again. Walk down the front path. Walk back up it again. Walk down it again. Walk very slowly down the road for 5 minutes. Stop to inspect minutely every cigarette butt, piece of used chewing gum, dirty tissue, and dead insect along the way. Retrace your steps. Scream that you’ve had as much as you can stand until all of the neighbors come out and stare at you. Give up and go back in the house. You are now just about ready to try taking a small child for a walk.
10) Always repeat everything you say at least five times. Go to your local supermarket. Take with you the nearest thing you can find to a pre-school child. A fully grown goat is excellent. If you intend to have more than one child, take more than one goat. Buy your week’s groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goats eat or destroy. Until you can easily accomplish this do not even contemplate having children.
11) Hollow out a melon. Make a small hole in the side. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side. Now get a bowl of soggy Froot Loops and attempt to spoon it into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane. Continue until half of the Froot Loops are gone. Tip the rest into your lap, making sure that a lot of it falls on the floor. You are now ready to feed a 12-month-old child.
12) Learn the names of every character from Barney, Sesame Street, and Power Rangers. When you find yourself singing, I love you, you love me” at work, now you finally qualify as a parent!
The argument you just won with your spouse isn’t over yet.
I learned a lesson in marketing from a man who bought an old boat, a trailer and a motor from me. “Thanks,” he said as he loaded them up. “I’m planning to resell them.”
Good luck, I thought. I had been trying to get rid of them for months. But when I ran into him a few weeks later, he’d sold everything.
“How did you manage that?” I marveled.
“I took out an ad: ‘Heavy-duty boat trailer with free boat.’ When the buyer came to get it, I asked if he had a motor. He said no. I told him I happened to have one in my garage. Bought that, too.”
The more you know, the more you know you ought to know.
My friend’s mother is a proper Southern lady and a passionate gardener who spends hours outside with her plants. In her neighborhood, where she has lived most of her life, no one has fences and every yard is open to the next.
Recently one of her longtime neighbors, an elderly man, moved away. “Are you going to miss him?” my friend asked.
“Actually I’m relieved,” her mother replied. “Now I can bend over.”
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
Management is not responsible for duplicates from previous dailies. The editor is somewhat senile.
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