Tuesday, June 4, 2024

I Love a Parade

The annual Mount Holly Lantern Parade is in October, but the lantern making crew here at Imagery has already been working since the beginning of April on ideas for our entry. This year's theme is "The Fantastical World of Flight." Our small brainstorming committee came up with lots of ideas. Since we are in North Carolina, the Wright Brothers immediately came to mind. But we felt that was too obvious. We tossed around Dumbo, Casper, the Jetsons, Aladdin, Tinkerbell...

We have a large number of volunteers who, while they may never come to help build the lanterns, love to walk in the parade. So we wanted something that could involve a number of walkers. We also take great care to engage the children on the parade route, because they are so enthusiastic. Having minions and 101 Dalmatians in the past were big hits! We have taken first place in community entries all three years we have entered, so we feel some pressure to do something bigger and better.

lantern construction
We finally settled on Santa, his sleigh and reindeers. The sleigh will be five feet in length, and each reindeer four feet in length. We are also building lantern gift boxes, lollipops, and probably candy canes to really make a statement. Down the road we will ask the parade organizer if we can be the last entry in the parade. Just like in the Macy's Parade, we feel Santa should bring up the rear. Who cares about Christmas in July - we have Christmas in June going here!

Friday, May 31, 2024

What is Memorial Day?

Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery
Every year when Memorial Day comes around it is amazing to see how many people do not truly understand the significance of the day. Most commonly they seem to think it is the time to thank all veterans and/or those currently serving in the military. In fact, it is a day to mourn and remember all the U.S. military personnel who died while serving in the armed forces of our country.

That distinction made me wonder about whether my 3rd great-grandfather Andrew Hungler should be honored on Memorial Day? Andrew enlisted in the US Navy in August of 1864, where he served as quartermaster on the USS Milwaukee. The ship supported the Union forces during the Mobile Campaign as they attacked the Confederate fortifications defending the city of Mobile, Alabama in early 1865. On 28 March 1865 the Milwaukee struck a mine and later sank. All of her crew members were rescued by the USS Kickapoo.

However Andrew came home from the war later that year as a cripple. The cause was listed as rheumatism, which they said he contracted on the ship. There are extensive medical records of Civil War soldiers, and they show over 160,000 cases of acute rheumatism, and acute rheumatic fever was known to be the main cause. Heart damage from this disease is common, and indeed Andrew succumbed to heart failure in 1869. He had been bedridden from the time he came home from the war.

So my question is, on Memorial Day do we honor our military men and women who died as a result of their time in the service? It seems to me that we should as in Andrew's case he would not have gotten rheumatic fever had he not been on a ship during the war. But the answer is no - Memorial Day is only for those who died during their service. I'll honor his memory on Veteran's Day instead.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Battle of the Oldies but Goodies

Cresswind versus Imagery
Last Saturday the pickleball club at Imagery participated in a tournament at Cresswind, another 55+ active adult community in the Charlotte area. This is the second time we have played there, and it always such a fun time. They have four permanent pickleball courts, but their tennis courts are striped for pickleball which gives them eight additional courts. We have never hosted them because we just have two permanent pickleball courts. We can only add an additional four pickleball courts by taping out the two tennis courts here. 

The weather was perfect with blue skies, light winds and temperatures in the mid-70s. The clubs were broken down by sex and skill level. We played the same team two times, for a total of six games. It was competitive and fun, and my partner and I won four of our six games. Our two losses were to the same team, and they went on to win our division, so we felt pretty good about our performance.

At the end of the day, we all just love the game of pickleball. We are blessed at this stage of our lives to be able to participate in the sport, have fun, and make new friends. Pickle on!