In Honor, In Memory

Someday, when the lion lies with the lamb and neighbors everywhere love their neighbor, we humans will no longer need soldiers.  But on this day I call to mind all those ancestors and relatives who died serving a greater cause; all those who witnessed the horror of war, returned home and lived their lives with grace and courage; and all those who set out today, on my behalf, to defend and protect our nation’s freedoms.

  • Abia Minor                    Pennsylvania                  Revolutionary War
  • William Rowlett             Virginia                         Revolutionary War
  • John Bradford               Virginia                           Revolutionary War
  • William Wills Green       Virginia                           Revolutionary War
  • John Pearson Minor     Pennsylvania                     War of 1812
  • Greene Dodson            Virginia                          Civil War
  • Ira Sayles                     New York                         Civil War
  • Anderson Strickland     North Carolina                     Civil War
  • George Strickland        Virginia                             World War I
  • Sidney Strickland         Virginia                               World War II
  • Clifford Strickland        Virginia                               World War II
  • Michael Strickland        Alabama                             Vietnam War
  • John Minor                   Pennsylvania                      Vietnam War
  • Michael Hanlon *         Pennsylvania                       Currently Serving

This Friday we stop to remember the courage and sacrifice of these Americans, and the support and perseverance of their families.  Thank you.


*My daughter’s childhood friend since Kindergarten, expected to be deployed in Afghanistan early 2012.

Originally posted here on Memorial Day 2011.

Stocking Up then Taking Stock

I live behind the mountains, just one of the ridges that form the Appalachain Mountain Chain.  On the other side of my mountain — Bunker Hill — lies the greater Wyoming Valley, subject of a piece on tonight’s NPR All Things Considered.  Wilkes-Barre and its sister community, Kingston, have been evacuated.

Susquehanna River from Rt. 309, northbound

Residents have carried pillows and blankets, toothbrush and medications, along with a few cherished photographs to higher ground. Businesses have sent employees home and locked their doors.  Nursing homes have relocated dozens of residents to open hospital beds.  Schools hold evacuees instead of students.

I am high, and dry, and will remain so even if the Susquehanna breaks through the sand bags and levees, and I can house anyone who finds themselves without shelter or food. So I filled my truck with fuel, and my pantry with dry and canned goods.  I added milk and eggs to my refrigerator shelves, and several pounds of chicken and beef to my freezer drawers.  Extra water was purchased and back up batteries stashed with freshly packed flashlights.

Four Fifteen at the Levee, by Ross

Folks are glued to their radios and televisions and websites; we are waiting for the announcement that our river has crested and is receding.  We all wait, safely gathered on some higher ground.

Higher ground.

For this I am grateful.

Orange Sulphur in the Garden


Walking through my garden, lens in hand, my mind works in pace with my feet -- thoughtful, observant, humbled.

Mapping My Ancestors: Vintage Photo Postcards of Southwestern Pennsylavania


1906 GREENE COUNTY PENNSYLAVANIA ROAD MAP. Citizens National Bank of Waynesburg, Pa. Copyright 1906 Round Table Press. Accessed July 21, 2011 on Harold Cramer's website

There’s a Bear! WHERE? Over there!! : A Has nothing to do with anything Post


I am certain that my great-grandparents are finding my heart-pounding excitement incredibly amusing.  But we in suburbia do not get wild beasts bigger than woodchucks or more troublesome than rabbits.  So the sighting of the resident Mama Bear, reported to be parenting two cubs, is a source of glee and concern.  Birds call frantic alerts.  Parents hustle little kids off swings.  Deck-bound neighbors share amazed exclamations and lawn-cutting husbands are alerted to potential company–after a few documentary shots.