The Lens Artist photo challenge this week is to share images of the cold. Winter hasn’t fully hit where I am.The high temperature today is expected to be 55°F (13°C), which means I can’t really get good cold pictures right now. Instead, I’m pulling a few out of my archives.

Here’s a really old shot of a visitor in my back yard doing some last-minute stocking up for the season.

A squirrel sits on a tree branch, eating berriesThis boulder on the campus where I taught wears its winter coat well.

A large boulder atainst a brick wall, partly buried in a snowdriftThe holly outside my door, with the red berries popping against the green leaves and white snow.

A holly bush with dark green leaves coated in white snow, and a scattering of bright red berriesFinally, my husband, my hero. Before we both retired he worked for a company in another state, telecommuting each day from our basement, but he still got up early in the snow to clear the driveway before I left for my own commute.

Looking down on a figure using a snowblower to clear several inches of snow off a driveway, as snow continues to fallPosted in response to Lens-Artists #73: Cold, with thanks to Tina for posting this week’s challenge.

ON ANOTHER NOTE: Starting in January 2020 I’ll be posting only on my official author website. If you enjoy my content, please start following me there: I value every one of my followers, and I hope to see you over there!

Memorial Day 2015

Flag  We Remember

In the US, Memorial Day is a time for honoring the heroes in our armed forces who have protected and defended us over the years. My father was one of them. He interrupted his electrical engineering studies at Georgia Tech to serve in WWII. A childhood injury to his left arm made him unfit for combat, but the army needed all hands, so he worked as a radio man in the communication tents during the re-occupation of France after the Germans were pushed back out. He would joke about how easy he had it in the army, but there were no easy posts in that fight. His service was as necessary as anyone’s, if less physically demanding.

My father told two stories about his time in the army that I remember. One took place during the cross-country march to Paris after his ship landed. The trip took several days, with hundreds of men from different units tramping along through the French countryside. My father became ill rather suddenly from what was most likely the flu. At one rest stop he sat down on the doorstep of a small country farmhouse and basically passed out. The rest of the troops moved on without realizing they were leaving a man behind. When the French couple opened their door and found an unconscious American serviceman on their stoop they took him in and cared for him until he was well enough to contact his unit. For years after the war he and the French couple exchanged letters.

The other story was about his time in Paris. As the Germans took over the country, the French burned their fields and destroyed their stores so that the Germans couldn’t have them, and the Germans destroyed whatever was left as they retreated from the Allies. Food was severely limited. The American soldiers, however, were well-supplied. My father and his buddies went to breakfast every morning and ate eggs, toast, ham, and fresh fruit. Actually, they mostly took the fresh fruit and stuffed it into their pockets. As they walked through the streets of Paris they would drop apples, oranges, and pears into baby carriages for the French families they were there to serve.

Both of these stories carry the same message for me. Even in the midst of war, people can reach across the barriers of language and culture to care for each other. My father’s compatriots are called the greatest generation, but I think people of any generation can do the same if called. We all have the greatness in us. Let us remember that on this Memorial Day, and all try to be the heroes we can be.