Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Remembering on Memorial Day

Memorial Day
It's always interesting to me that people don't seem to know what Memorial Day is all about. From decorating family members graves to barbecues, we often lose sight of the fact that the this day was set aside to honor U.S. military personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. 

For the second year in a row our community chose to remember by having a parade, and I was proud to participate again. Led by residents on bicycles (the first of whom was a veteran), the decorated golf carts followed as the parade wove its way through the neighborhood. Patriotic music played, and residents lined up in their driveways to cheer us on. It was heart-warming to see all the flags on display, and to see the community come together. It was our chance to show that we understand that freedom is not free.

Memorial Day Parade

Sunday, May 28, 2023

A First Mother's Day

Mother's Day flowers

We were able to spend Mother's Day with our son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter. It was a year of firsts, as Megan celebrated her first Mother's Day and I celebrated my first Mother's Day as a grandma. What a special time!

On the day before Mother's Day we went to a winery, and Baby W was as good as gold. Then on Sunday Andy surprised us with flowers, and the guys made us a nice steak dinner with all the trimmings. The kids also gave me a Grandmother's Journal. It contains a lot of questions about my family tree, childhood, teen years, adulthood, marriage, birth of my son, etc. I have been enjoying the thought-provoking questions. I try to answer a few every day so it is not so overwhelming. Hopefully my granddaughter will enjoy reading through it some day. How I would have loved to read about either of my grandmothers, in their own words!

We were able to spend several days with the kids, and it is so wonderful to observe the changes in the baby each time we visit. We are hoping that they will be able to come and see us next month.

Monday, May 22, 2023

Voices from the Past

Elmwood/Pinewood Cemeteries
Saturday we attended Voices from the Past at the historic Elmwood/Pinewood Cemeteries in Charlotte. It's an event where volunteers tell the story of one of the interesting characters from Charlotte history at their grave site, dressed in period clothing. Because we are not from this area originally, we thought it would be a good opportunity to learn more about the people who once called Charlotte home. The event had been rescheduled from its original date in April due to rain. Because of that, not all of the 28 re-enactors were available but we probably listened to around 20 of them.

Elmwood was one of Charlotte's first cemeteries, and it opened its 72-acre plot in 1853. Many of the Who's Who of early Charlotte are buried there. It included Pinewood Cemetery, a segregated African American cemetery. There were two separate entrances, and until 1969 a chain link fence divided the cemeteries. Now they appear as one cemetery.

The event was well-attended, and we very much enjoyed the stories. The re-enactors did a fabulous job of staying in character. The most interesting was a clown, who stood at the grave of John King. King was part of a circus that was in town in 1880. The elephant he cared for crushed him. The circus moved on, but King was buried in Elmwood. His stone has an elephant carved on it.

John King's grave

The most memorable was Randolph Scott (1898-1987). He left Charlotte for Hollywood, and became a famous actor. While he appeared in a number of genres, he is mostly identified as a star of western movies. The man who portrayed him was just fantastic!

Randolph Scott's grave
Jim and I enjoy walking through cemeteries and looking at the artistry involved in the mausoleums and headstones. We are happy to learn of these historic cemeteries here, and will definitely go back when they are less crowded and we can spend time wandering around.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Professional Pickleball in Charlotte

The PPA North Carolina Open was held for the second year in a row in Charlotte last month. As in the previous year, Jim and I decided to volunteer at the event. Unfortunately the PPA cut out some of the benefits of volunteering this time around, such as no included lunch and no free access to the venue except on the day or days you were volunteering. We liked our volunteer positions last year, and those were only available on Saturday - the semi finals of all events, so a good time to be there. I worked in the VIP section, which was right by Championship Court. I made sure all people in the section had the correct arm bands on, and made sure they had enough to eat and drink and answered questions. It was a great group of attendees, so I was mostly able to watch the pros play.

Jim was down by the Championship Court ensuring that people who had purchased court-side seats had the appropriate arm bands and a place to sit. From last year's experience we knew that they had oversold the seats and Jim had to deal with angry folks who couldn't find a place to sit. That was corrected this year, and there were no problems.

For Sundays finals we had purchased court-side seats. We arrived very early to make sure we would get a good seat, and that ended up to be a good move. Between Saturday and Sunday we met and talked to many of the pros we watch on t.v. or YouTube, and it was quite a thrill for us. There is just something about being able to see them play in person, and the Charlotte audience is very enthusiastic and appreciative of the PPA having one of their tournaments here.

Last year we hosted two pros at our house, but neither one was coming to Charlotte this year. Though I had put it out that we were willing to host, apparently there was a problem at the tournament in Florida recently with misbehaving female pros at a host's home, so the PPA is no longer reaching out to people to arrange housing. That is too bad, because we had such a great experience and were hoping to repeat it again. Hopefully our guys will come back next year!

North Carolina Open 2023