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He held her hand and smiled. She looked a little confused but smiled back at him with the smile that still made his heart skip a beat. To him she was still the beautiful woman he had fallen in love with some forty years ago. How time flies he thought to himself. Has it really been this long? Where did the time go? He looked at her again, and for a moment he was transported back in time to the first time he laid eyes on her across the crowded room. Friends had encouraged him to go on a cruise to try to find his way after losing his wife to cancer and try to raise his two sons alone. He had kept to himself for most of the cruise just enjoying the peace and quiet of being alone. But this night he had decided to go to the top deck where in a ballroom under the starry sky people could be heard laughing and enjoying music and dancing. It was difficult at first, because dancing was something he and his wife had enjoyed. Then he saw her. She, like he, was alone and looking rather out of place in the romantic swirling throng of couples. She had on a simple blue gown, somewhat old fashioned, that flowed around her tiny body reminding him of a movie star from the fifties. She had blonde hair that curled around her face and there was a blush of sun on her cheeks and innocence in her eyes that made her look younger than her years. She sat with her hands folded properly in her lap and was also watching couples move around the dance floor with a wistful look on her

face.

 

“I wonder what she is thinking, remembering, longing for” he thought. Then, without realizing it, he found himself standing to his feet and moving through the crowd towards her, as if some irresistible force were drawing them together. She smiled shyly as he approached and extended her small hand. He swallowed hard. . .”May I have this dance?” he asked. She nodded slowly barely looking him in the eyes. This seemed to tell him she too had suffered some hurt or disappointment. He took her in his arms and they began to dance and as if on cue the band began to play “Strangers in the Night”.

How sweet the memory was. . . washing over him like a balm. Now here they were again sitting together in a crowded room but this one was in an Alzheimer’s unit in a small nursing home. His beloved wife now had very little memory of her past or even where she was. The anchor that held her in all of the confusion was his love. When he arrived each morning after breakfast she would smile as he approached her and say, “I know you.”

He would smile and say, “Who am I?”

She would reply with a shy smile, “Someone I love.” His name now escaped her, but her heart would never forget.

He would smile back at her and say, “That’s right, my darling, I am the one you love.” There they would sit for hours holding hands — very few words spoken, just being together.

Sometimes he would begin, without thinking, to hum the melody of their song, “Strangers in the Night,” and she would join him softly singing the familiar words. Then, there would be that moment, that ethereal moment when time and space were no longer relevant and the two of them would be locked in the memory of that first embrace, first dance, first moment when they knew they were lovers at first sight, in love forever.

It did turn out so right for Strangers in the Night. 

-Karen Moore

In May, 1951 I was sent to the Far East to fly jets in Korea. After a couple of months of flying missions from Tsuiki Air Vase, Japan, our 51st Fighter Group was transferred to Suwan Air Base, South Korea.

Our group’s mission was to fly as far north as the Yalu River in North Korea in order to destroy enemy facilities. We bombed roads, bridges, railroad tracks, tunnels, and yes, we machine gunned Ox carts. Don’t laugh; many of them blew up when we hit them with tracer ammo.

Our fighter group as equipped with the Lockheed F-80 “Shooting Star.” It was a single engine jet with one person. Each plane had six fifty caliber machine guns in the nose. Our planes had been modified so that we could also carry two 1,000lb bombs. On this day, we took off with twenty-four F-80’s flying information to out target just south of the Yalu River. When we arrived to our target just south of the Yalu River. When we arrived over the target, there was dense cloud cover and we could not see our objective. Out leader told us to “attack targets of opportunity” on our way home. (The F-80 could not land with bombs still attached to our wings.) Our four planes were all flown by “B” flight pilots. We always flew together and slept in the same two tents. “B” Flight was always expected to closely examine a main supply route in the western part of North Korea. On every mission we would patrol this fifty mile stretch of roads, rails, bridges, ect. We got to know it very well.

Our flight leader, Capt. Miner, saw a place where two railroads met. This was a good place to destroy with our eight 1,000lb bombs. In dive bombing, one airplane followed closely behind the plane ahead. As the four of us were well lined up on our dives, our second pilot, Lt. Tabazinski’s plane blew up in a huge fireball. My wingman was Capt. Long. We circled the explosion to see if Tabazinski had been able to eject. As we turned, Capt. Long radioed to me that he also had been been hit and lost his engine.

I immediately turned toward a large bay where there was an air-sea rescue seaplane circling. It was positioned so that it could rescue downed flyers. As we glided toward the water, Capt. Long suddenly turned left toward land. I asked him why he wasn’t going to ditch his plane in the bay. He said he was going to dead stick in a rice paddy. (A dead stick landing means landing without power.) I followed him down and saw a huge geyser of muddy water as he skidded across the rice paddy.

I had to leave, as I was so low on fuel. I was worried that I couldn’t make it to a friendly field. I landed at the first field that I came to. My airplane “flamed out” as I turned off the runway.

I admit that I found it very hard to sleep that night with those two empty cots across the tent. Out intelligence services reported the next day that Capt. Long was uninjured in crash landing. He had stood up and raised his hands in surrender to some North Korean farmers. They shot him in the head.

– Lt. Col. Harold Hadder, USAF Retired

Living the first ten years of my life on a farm at the edge of a small town in Ohio, gave the best of two worlds, neighbors just across the street, next door, down the street, etc., school to where I could walk with the other neighborhood kids, roller skate in nice weather, plus living on a farm with chickens, pigs, and a dairy. There was a big lawn with lots of gardens and fruit trees.

Some of the best memories are those of the senior citizens who were a part of my life at an early age. (My extended family of relatives all lived in Pennsylvania.) Mrs. Schoffter* lived outside of town but just a short distance down the gravel road, easily walked. Her son was an engineer of a train that regularly puffed through the edge of our town. Evidently Mrs. Schoffter knew his schedule. If I was there at the right time, we would go outside and wave. Her son would wave and blow the whistle.

Mrs. Keiffer* lived across the street, catty-cornered. The earliest memory of being in her home was when my brother was born. I was taken there to stay overnight for that process. I remember lying on a cot upstairs, sobbing, not a happy time for either of us. There were other times. Memories include Mrs. Keiffer telling me of the son who died young after having some surgery. He was ready to die, planning the songs he wished used for his funeral. I would go over there just to amuse myself. I remember playing paper dolls on the floor in her home. She was a seamstress and every fall and spring she would make a dress for me for the season and church dresses. At that time patterns were shown in the newspapers. I would choose one, take the picture to Mrs. Keiffer; she would make the dress just by looking at the picture.

After we moved to a farm in the country, our family went back to visit Mrs. Keiffer. One time I went alone, just me. The neighbor boy, Edgar, and I had fun sitting in the empty fish pool, burning holes in a piece of paper with a magnifying glass. Mrs. Keiffer must have had to keep us busy doing something.

Mrs. Sowner* lived next door. She did not sew; she played the piano and taught me how to play the piano. Mrs. Sowner was diabetic. I watched her give herself shots of insulin in her hip. Later she died. That might have been the first time I had the experience of seeing someone in a casket. The casket was in their living room with a lacy net over the open casket. I can see it yet in my mind. The Sowner’s had an open lot/lawn on the other side of the house surrounded by maple trees. That was a great place to play with the leaves on the ground in the fall.

Mr. and Mrs. Lissey* lived next to the Sowner’s. Mr. Lissey had a large garden that extended to our pasture that was behind the houses on our side of the street. He grew little yellow pear tomatoes. As a child, I thought they were the best things. I think I spent a good bit of time there, also. I was a gadabout as a child to the exasperation of my mother. Mrs. Lissey gave me scraps of fabric to make clothes for my doll. I enjoyed that, my introduction to sewing.

Beside the older residents of the town, there were other children. Donna and Mary Ellen and I sometimes got together for dress up. Donna had an older sister who had wonderful grown up dresses, high heeled shoes, plus make-up. Playing dress-up with my mom’s clothes was definitely dull compared to the times we had dressing up at Donna’s house. The down side was getting rid of the make-up before I went home.

Edgar had a wonderful electric train that was set up every Christmas. It was a treat to spend time at his house to see that. Edgar also had two marvelous story books. I coveted those books. When I had children I bought those books and enjoyed reading the wonderful stories to them.

There were several other boys close by. We played soft ball in an open lot across the street from our house. Seems there was always something going on in a small town. If I managed to get a penny in some way, I could walk uptown to the grocery store for a small bag of assorted candies. What fun that was. Those were the days.

– Ruth Martin

To use the word Love, we must clearly see what Love truly is.

The meaning of Love is described in God’s Holy Word in I Cor. 13:4-8.

“Love is patient, Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres and “Love Never Fails”. (NIV)

Jesus is our example of Love. John 15:13 tells us “Greater Love has no one, than to day down one’s life for his friends.”

Over 2000 years ago Jesus showed us what the word Love is all about.

He is our example, no greater Love was ever bestowed to man!

He ministered to the lost, He taught us the way to eternal life, He set us free, and as “Jesus“ did, we also must show His example of Love every day.

Truly LOVE is an action, not just a word!

– Claire Hershey

Captain William (Bill) Phillips, USAR-Armor, served a combined nine years active duty and reserves — from 1958-1967. He and his wife, Nancy moved from Waynesboro into one of the villas in December.

Bill states that he is a veteran of the Cold War, the Berlin Wall Crisis, and the Cuban Missile Crisis. His service included six months active duty and seven and one-half years in the reserves. Most of his reserve time was with the 80th Division in Richmond. Bill is a graduate of the ROTC program at Richmond University.

A Dickens of a Tale

February 10th, 2014 | Posted by David Brenneman in All Posts | Just for Fun - (0 Comments)

It was 170 years ago this month that Ebenezer Scrooge and “Bah! Humbug!” became part of our holiday fabric. Charles Dickens published A Christmas Carol in 1843, and even though it has been around for ages and adapted to film well over a 100 times, there still may be some things you don’t know about the classic novel.

For instance, Dickens wrote the novella, had an illustrator create drawings, published the book and had it in bookstores in six weeks. He began working on it in October and it went on sale on December 17, 1843, just in time for the holidays.

Dickens’ regular publishers did not care much for his short holiday tale, so Dickens did it all himself including editing and printing, binding and advertising. He kept the price low so the masses could afford it. He hoped to make 1,000 British pounds from the printing, but because of the low price he insisted on charging he ended up losing 137 British pounds; an estimated loss of $667 in U.S. dollars at the time.

Though he is a central character, Tiny Tim’s exact illness is never revealed. Literary scholars speculated that he had rickets, but others suggested he may have had a kidney ailment.

Nevertheless, the scene in which Tiny Tim dies during the visit of the Ghost of Christmas Future was perceived as so sad to 19th century Londoners that a critic at a public reading of the story in 1868 said the handkerchiefs that came out following Tiny Tim’s demise looked like a snowstorm inside the meeting hall.

And perhaps the most amazing fact about A Christmas Carol is that ever since Dickens scraped together enough of his own money to share his morality tale with the world, it has never been out of print. That is a 170-year publishing streak.

But it’s no wonder that Dickens’ story has become such an important part of many folks’ holiday traditions, whether through an annual reading or screening of any of the multitude of film versions. My favorite is the original 1951 British film Scrooge starring Alastair Sim, released that same year in the United States as A Christmas Carol.

My first recollection of the film was in the early 60’s, watching with my parents, brother, and sister. Today, though I can almost repeat each scene verbatim, I am still moved by the film’s message of hope and forever reminded of the true meaning and spirit of the holiday season.

God bless us everyone!

-Kathy Moran