Thinking of Our Veterans This #MemorialDay

Memorial Day graphic

I’m thinking about the men in my family who served our nation on this Memorial Day.

Two of my ancestors fought for the Union during the Civil War: one from Pennsylvania (my dad’s side of the family) and the other for West Virginia (my mom’s side of the family.) Both were wounded, one at Gettysburg, the other at the Battle of the Wilderness.

cannons

Memorial Day dates back to 1865, shortly after the end of the Civil War, when people in both North and South put decorations on the graves of those who fell in what is still the bloodiest war in American history. The holiday was called Decoration Day before the name was changed to Memorial Day.

My dad volunteered for service in World War II in August of 1942. He first tried to join the Navy as a Seabee, but was turned down for being underweight. He never was a large man, maybe 5’7″ tall. So he went across the hall to the Army Air Corps and enlisted. (He always said that in those days, the Army would take you if you could see light and hear thunder. He was quite the joker.) He worked on the ground crew of the bombers keeping the sights adjusted so the bombs would hit their target. He served first in North Africa and then in Italy.

My brother joined the Air Force right out of high school and served in the Pacific area as the Korean War was ending. I still have the doll he sent me from the Philippines.

In 2015 and again in 2016, I visited the Normandy landing beaches and the American cemetery in Colville. Learning about the D-Day landings and then seeing the rows of crosses really hits home the tremendous sacrifices made by our Allied soldiers that day. The experience is moving and humbling.

American cemetery

Grave markers at American cemetery, Colville, France

Wishing you all a joyful and meaningful Memorial Day.

Linda

Monet Country: Lovely Giverny #TuesdayTravels

Tuesday Travels
The last stop in Normandy was in Monet country, the lovely village of Giverny where lived and painted in his extensive gardens. I know you’ve all seen his water lily paintings. Well, this is where he painted them. Rebecca and I wore print tops (not quite matching) in colors that reminded us of Monet’s paintings.

Monet actually had two gardens, the water garden and the more traditional Clos Normand. We started in the Water Garden with the large lily pond.

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And the Japanese bridge. Of course, everyone had to have their pictures taken there. The bridge appears in a number of his paintings.

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We had a lovely, warm, early autumn day to explore the grounds, and I was amazed at the array of flowers still blooming. These are just a few of the pictures I took.

flowers

Monet garden

When we’d had our fill of the gardens, we toured his large pink house with green shutters. (Interesting color choice.)

Monet home

Monet’s home

We saw a number of his paintings on display inside, but most in a room where photos were prohibited. I did snap some pics in the colorful dining room and kitchen, and I decided I wanted a yellow kitchen at home.

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After a stop in the gift shop, we had lunch at Les Nympheas, a small restaurant on the property. We dined on the patio, relaxing and enjoying the pleasant day.

Les Nympheas

Les Nympheas Restaurant, Giverny

Afterwards we strolled through some of the shops, including one lovely little shop with scarbes and bags and other items all with Impressionist images. Rebecca made some purchases, and I would have, too, but I was literally running out of Euros and still without a credit card. Damn pickpockets.

After Giverny, we drove to Paris, happily going against the traffic. The Friday afternoon getaway was in progress, so traffic going the other direction was quite heavy. At a comfort stop, I picked up a bag of cheese puffs made with Emmental cheese. They were really good, better than the US variety, and with no yellow residue on my fingers. I also loved the Innocent kiwi smoothies sold in the Marriott.

Swiss cheetos

Emmental cheese puffs & smoothie

When we arrived back at the Paris Marriott Rive Gauche, I was quite relieved to find my new Mastercard waiting for me at the concierge desk. Thank you, Bank of America!

That night, we had our farewell dinner at a restaurant in the Latin Quarter, complete with wine and entertainment–an accordionist (how French) and a guitarist who thought he was a comedian. He did a lot of mugging for the crowd and flirted with the ladies. Alas, I have no recollection of what we ate, except that it was good.

Next week, Versailles.

Linda