In Honor of Veteran’s on their Day-We are Here Because You Were There

To Honor All Veterans:


Today, I am thinking of my father, Ken Culbreth, who served in the Navy in Guam-at the end of World War II, I later helped him write a book about his experienes there along with collections of stories about their experiences in the Pacific Theater during that time.  My father passed away in August of 2014. It remains difficult to be unable to ask him to tell me more about his experiences.  There are so many friends and family who have served our county.  Among them,  my Uncle John Gardner, who fought through the worst of World War II from N. Africa to Uncle Harold Garland who was in England during WorldWar II, my Uncle Jack Garland who served in Hawaii during  World War II. There were those who served in Korea during the early 1950’s.Then there are all of my friends and family who fought in Viet Nam during the 1960’s and early 1970’s. I think of my husband, who served in Germany and many of the young men of the Post-Viet Nam Era who served around the world during that time.

I would like to honor my Great Aunt Bettie Rayburn Bryant, one of the first WAC’s to retire with more than twenty-two years service and her husband Howard Bryant who met and married her while in Germany right after World War II. So often the women who have served our country in many capacities are ignored.  I inherited my Aunt Bettie and Uncle Howards Photographs , Journals and Memory Books of their time in the sevice and was enlightened to the vast roles women have played in protecting our country and supporting our troops. Included in her memiors were [hotographs that she took of Dachau Death Camp near Hamburg, Germany when the remains of the camp still stood. A sign ouside a gate warns people  not to trespass, that a memorial to all who died here will be erected in ther memory.

There are those who kept our country safe during the “Cold War” era, and those who have fought for our country in recent years from  Iraq to Afghanstan and beyond, and continue to do so today.  Many members of our Armed Services have served  right here at home. Many have served during “peace times” at our Miliary Bases around the world.  I could not possibly mention all of the places these Americans have been, what they have risked, what they have lost or come home to live with.  All I can do is say, “Thank you!”  We are here because you were there. Bless you all!

I would like to share one personal experience that occured in my younger days.

My mother’s sister, (my Aunt Phyllis’s husband), John Gardner, didn’t want to talk about his days in World War II. I had heard my dad’s stories  about his days in Guam when the worst of the war was over and I couldn’t understand why my beloved “Uncle John” wouldn’t talk about his Army days during that time with me. One day, when I was in college, he took me by the arm and lead me to his back porch, motioning for me to sit down.

I saw the moisture in his eyes as he told me of fighting seven major battles and campaigns from North Africa to Germany, and showed me the silver arrows, gold stars and Campaign records to prove it. He told me about Gen. Patton riding in the tank that he drove, of having to pick up enough pieces of his friends to constitute “bodies” when the tanks in front and in back of him were blown up by the enemy. He told me of seeing Mussolini and his mistress hanging (upside down, I believe) when they drove one of the first tanks into a liberated Rome.

There were more gentle memories like seeing the “Leaning Tower of Pisa” , the once lovely country side of the lands they liberated, and so much more. Of course, by then I was crying, begging him to forgive me for opening up his wounds. He just put his strong, weathered arms around me, and quietly said ,”That’s alright, I guess I needed to get it out some time”-he took a deep breath and turned my head to look into my reddened eyes and dried a tear from my cheek. “Just don’t ever ask me to speak of this again,” he whispered as I nodded and mumbled, “OK.”

I kept my word. I was humiliated that I had opened those wounds that he had kept private for so long, yet I have always been proud that he chose me to finally open that box of unspeakable pain with. Though his widow has shared his Campaign Records and showed me the box filled with Silver Arrows and Gold Stars several times, I have always felt great honor in both his sacrifice and strength in sharing his story with me. He will always convey the meaning of “Hero” in my mind.

I ask you to join me in, again, remembering that if these brave heros had not been there, with lives and dreams in constant danger, we, the Americans who enjoy our freedom today, would not be here. If you get a chance, volunteer at a Veteran Hospital or Home.  Serve meals at Centers for our Veterans, listen to their stories, or respectfully remember that they may not wish to speak of the horrors they witnessed.  Never forget the sacrifices so many have made. Lastly remember the words of our National Anthem as we honor our Military, not just today but every day-while thinking of the words of our National Anthem, “Oh, say, will that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave, o’r the land of the free and the home of the brave!”

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Cocaine’s Daughter


If she could go back down that road,

and take a turn-the other way-

And find a place, a gentle face-

that made her smile, and learn to pray..

One more day, might find a way….oh, oh, yeah, but then…

She dries her tears, holds back her fears,

and faces night in troubled waters-

She’s cocaine’s daughter.

To laugh and run in morning sun,

through magic fields of waving clover.

Not blinded by the clouded sky,

She’d take a breath and start all over.

One more night, she tries to fight..oh, oh, yeah, but then…

She dries her tears, holds back her fears,

and faces night in troubled waters-

She’s cocaine’s daughter.

I try to hide, I’ve learned to lie,

though my soul is dead inside me.

I’ve tried to run, but cannot beat,

The hurt and pain that seem to guide me.

So, one more dawn, I sits alone, oh, oh, yeah, but then…

I dry my tears, hold back my fears,

Treading in those troubled waters,

and fight cocaine’s daughter.

Face your self and brace yourself,

admit that cold and snow surrounds you.

It’s I, not she, not “us” but “me”.

Speak the truth, be strong and true.

It’s the only way, to learn to pray, oh, oh, yeah, but then…

I stand strong, I’m not alone,

I take a breath, God does the rest,

No longer trapped as cocaine’s daughter.

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Autumn Haiku

Asters dance as bees reap

Autumn’s last gift to the Gods

Of honey-of hope.


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School Memories from my Childhood

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School Memories from my Childhood


I would like to honor my fifth grade teacher for making so many positive influences in my life. What could have been a terrible for a rather lonely only child was made into one of my best years by this lady. She got a students mom, who was an art teacher, to come in and give us lessons. She taught us to love and memorize poetry, she spent extra time on music, singing and it’s beauty.

She taught us of our nations history and how fortunate we were to be in the United States and in one of the most beautiful, tranquil places to be found there. (Western North Carolina) I have always love her. My father almost died that year, I had surgery on my foot and was on crutches for two months, yet somehow, that year was one of my best!

She died when my 2nd child was a baby, and to my dismay, the article about her death said simply, “There are no immediate survivors”. I was crushed. All those years, I had lived within few miles of this lady and never told her how much she meant to me. Now, I would never get that chance. Sh died alone (or at least without family) and I could hav possibly made a difference to her, like she did to me.

I would like to pass this lesson on to my readers, Don’t wait to say, “Thank you!” or “I love you.”. Don’t neglect to tell someone when they do something that has influenced you in a positive way. Ms. Blackstock, I hope somewhere in Heaven that you know what a difference you made in my life. You made me feel like the most special person in the world and I am sure that everyone of your students felt the exact same way.

To you, I dedicate a few poems and stories:


A road like brown ribbon, A sky that is blue.

A forest of green with that sky peeping through.

Asters, deep purple, a grasshoppers all.

Today it is summer – tomorrow it’s fall!


The moon is round as a jack-o-lantern.

The trees are black and bare.

As we go walking with spooky giggles,

Through the chilled, ghostly air.

Who’s shadow is that on the haunted ground?

Who’s hiding behind that tree?

Oh, down the tree comes my bad, black kitten,

And the shadow is only me!

There were holiday poems and songs, songs and stories from all seasons, art lessons centered around the seasons and holidays, She made sure to include different religions and ethnicities in her holiday” poems, never making one more important than the others. Remember, this was in the 1960’s- it was not exactly a time known for teaching equality in such areas.

I believe that I still have my booklet from 5th grade tucked away somewhere. I remember singing the songs in school programs, learning to write stories and poetry myself and dreaming about being a teacher when I grew up. I will copy one song she taught us that we sang ina school program. I speaks clearly of what her goal was in being our teacher.

Let There be Peace on Earth,

Let there be peace on earth,

and let it begin with me.

Let there be peace on earth,

The peace that was meant to be.

With God as our Father, brothers all are we.

let me walk with my brothers, in perfect harmony.

Let peace begin with me, let this be the moment now.

With every step I take, let this be my solemn vow.

To take each moment,

and live each moment,

with pace eternally.

Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.

(A child would then step forward sing the song as a solo-it was very moving.

I believe that the most important lesson that I learned from Ms. Blackstock is that we never know how we may influence people or who we may have a profound effect upon. We should always try to make an influence that we have on a child (or adult) be a positive one. Let it be a building block towards what that person may become and, especially, to always let them smile when they remember us, even if they can’t remember our name.

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When You Are All Grown


I have loved being a mom for 40 years-

Six kids I have loved, , one so wrongly stolen.

Each time one of you has left my home

to go out into the world, a piece of my heart-

my “Mother’s Heart” has cried.

To have my little ones, love them,

see their eyes light up when they see me

was like a gift from Heaven to me.

To see you leave saw a piece of me wither away.

I wanted you to grow up and have a happy life,

butt it happened so fast-or not at all.

I want to feel you cuddled in my arms,

Hear your gentle breath as you sleep beside me.

No one told me that those difficult days with

noisy, messy, sleepless little ones would be missed,

That one day, you would be grown and I would be alone,

That your little laugh, your toddler smile would disappear.

I miss each of you, whether you grew up and moved on

or God took you when I needed you so much more.

Don’t forget that moms love hugs from grown kids too.

That they never get tired of hearing, “I love you.”

Forgive me when I’m sad because you have gone

even a short distance away. Minutes lost-tears gained.

One day, you will know how I feel and only then

will you see that your children grow so very fast,

But the need for their love, their smiles, their hugs,

never leaves, but only grows as you get older.

Share with me now, what I shared with you then.

Everything I have, my heart and soul, my love.

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Polyphemus moth update!

I have had three of the six caterpillars that made it into Cocoons hatch as of July 27th. First, two males,July 24th and 25th and finally a girl this morning, July 27th! Im not sure what Im goin to do if they mate,raising them is a lot of work and this brood will overwinter.  I have seen how ants invaded thier cage on my sunporch and know they cannot stay inside or they will hatch when food is not available. It is simply awesome to see these huge moths go through their entire life cycle!

male                                             female


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