Sunday, February 24, 2008

Yankee Doodle Daddy

John S. Reiff

6 years ago my folks moved from my childhood home in Redford to Northville, Michigan. A railroad track runs through their new community and the two halves are connected by a bridge. My dad lives just over the bridge. And apparently he has been decorating!

This sight did not surprise me as we drove up to his house last September. My dad is all about the Flag. I'm pretty sure I knew how to fold a flag before I knew how to tie my shoes.

And it seems that my dad's patriotic display has been getting him all kinds of attention. Last summer, there was an article written about him in the local paper. I don't think we were in the door 5 minutes before he was showing me a copy. I would have put a nice link here for you but apparently the South Lyon Newspaper only has a 14 day archive. So carpel-tunnel be damned - here is the article:

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Veteran's flags fly proud at Crossing by Margaret Fogelsonger

From the time he was a boy, World War II veteran John Reiff has had a love affair with the American Flag. Reiff, who served in the 302nd Combat Engineers Company in the Pacific Theater, recalls walking to school through a small business neighborhood and watching as shopkeepers put out the flag for display. They did this daily. He also recalls that on Flag Day, his neighborhood was a riot of color with American Flags on display at all homes. In his classroom, the Pledge of Allegiance was not just a routine occurrence, but was explained by the teacher as to why they recited this pledge each and every day. From these experiences, Reiff internalized a love for the flag and an enduring appreciation for what our flag represents. He continues that dedication and appreciation to this day.

Fondly referred to as “The Flag Man” by residents of Northville Crossing Manufactured Home Community, where he has lived for five years, Reiff’s respect for the flag, and what it represents, is obvious. Adorning the bridge that connects the two sections of the community are more than 150 American Flags: one for each Michigan soldier that has died in the Middle East conflicts. Reiff explained that each month, the VFW in Redford sends him the names of Michigan soldiers killed in conflict. For each one, an American Flag is displayed. He said the best months are the ones where no names are sent to him.

Reiff began his active work on behalf of Old Glory one Flag Day many years ago. His daughter had a friend visiting who asked him why so many flags were being flown in his neighborhood. He realized that the young lady had no knowledge of Flag Day and what it represents. He decided to change that. He put together a presentation about Flag Day and the American Flag and over a period of time, visited every school in Redford explaining to students how our flag came to be and what Flag Day represents.

Reiff’s friends and neighbors often contribute money to help purchase his flags. Recently, one resident presented him with 5 dozen flags to help in his effort. And his display of flags on the bridge sometimes receives unique acknowledgement. This memorial day, four restored World War II planes that had done a fly over in Milford, flew over his house. Reiff’s wife Virginia watched as they flew over, slowly turned and came back low over the bridge. As they passed, all four tipped their wings in salute to the flags. She said it was one of the most amazing things she had ever seen.

When asked what the flag really means to him, Reiff replied, “It’s just a piece of cloth, but it has represented our Country for over 200 years. The flag remind me of the freedom, opportunity and privilege we all enjoy living in the United States. I believe that each and every one of us should revere the Flag and look at it with the highest respect.” Reiff shows his respect by taking the flags down every 10 days and inspecting them to assure they are still in good condition.

As he said, the flags must never be displayed in a manner that restricts their furl. For this reason, all of his flags fly freely and proudly as a symbol of one man’s dedication and respect for the Red, White and Blue.

While I don't remember the incident with my friend but I do remember him coming to my school and giving a presentation on the flag every year. He was so proud of this article and told me that teachers in the area were reading it in classrooms. A copy was sent to my Aunt Ellen in Sacramento and it started making the rounds in California too!

I went out with him a couple days later as he took the flags down for the winter. A week later my parents left for Florida. I'm sure a copy of the article went with them.

Pain, sweet sweet pain…

Yesterday morning, after dropping Kyle at baseball practice and putting Erin down for her nap, I did something wonderful – a full hour of yoga! This really shouldn’t be news. But the reality is that I haven’t done any yoga-proper since I became pregnant over a year ago. Oh yes, I am ashamed. But it’s not like I never did any yoga – I would stretch many evenings before bed – forward folds, gentle twists, a much modified child’s pose. But yesterday was the whole enchilada . Beginning, middle, end. Standing poses, balancing poses, twists, and a long Shavasana. It was glorious.

Today – I can’t move. And I couldn’t be happier.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

love thursday

It is what it is

Controlled Burn

Where have I been? In hell baby. Sure, a slight exaggeration – but last week kinda sucked. And it’s taken me this long to recover. You see, I was not built to be a stay-at-home mom. And what’s worse? Being a work-from-home mom.

Hey all you SAHMs – I’M. NOT. WORTHY!

Yes, Wayne’s World was on cable last weekend. Why do you ask?

Jen’s family was sick with the flu last week, so I had Erin with me all week. I would bring her to the office with me every morning for an hour or so and then work from home the rest of the day. Damn, I don’t know how you ladies do it. I suppose if that is your normal gig it would be ok, but it’s not mine. And by the end of the week I was a wreck. And Saturday morning while Kyle was having a small fit due to lack of food, I was hearing that little voice telling me to run away…run away…

So I did. In a round-trip kind of way. I sped down the freeway as fast as I could while listening to Soundgarden at an unhealthy volume. I eventually turned around, switched to the Pixies, and came home feeling much better. Then we ate cake.

She’s a 10!

…month old. It's true, Erin is now 10 months old. Crazy. She’s got 4 teeth on the bottom and the upper teeth are just starting to break though. She’s not walking yet – thank goodness. But I’m sure this is just the calm before the storm. She was pulling herself up to standing last month, but she seems to have given that up for Lent and I haven’t seen her do it in awhile. Other than that one time I looked at the baby monitor and saw her standing in her crib. Then she let go, fell backwards and bumped her head on the other side of the crib*. Yeah, that’ll teach her. If you’re not going to hold on – stay on your butt where it’s safe!

But she crawls like a little speed demon - her little tushie waving side to side. Quite funny. And when she really gets going, she swings her head side to side too! Which often results in her banging her head into something. Apparently it’s hard to see where you’re going what with the head motion blur coupled with your hair hanging in your eyes. Time to invest in more barrettes – it’s what a good parent would do eh?

*Girl's gonna be tall. She will sleep sideways in her crib, her head pressed against the bumper and her feet sticking through the rails on the other side. And yet at her 9 month check-up the Dr said she was only in the 70-75 percentiles for weight and height! How can that be? But her head circumference – in the 80th percentile. Ha! I knew that little pumpkin had a big head! So, when she starts whipping that melon around, watch out!

Next up to bat…

Kyle - who turned 11 on the 1st! And now he’s a man. Well, a mini-man. Ok, he’s still just a boy – skinny as a pencil and with hair like a girl. But he did something that can only be described as "manly" on the eve of his birthday. He removed his own stitches! (Yes, I know – it was only one stitch but ‘stitches’ just sounds better.) I was dreading having to spend another million and a half hours at the urgent care to take out that stitch, so I offered Kyle the $20 I would have spent on the co-pay if he let Chris remove it instead. Well, after first saying no, the allure of cold hard cash won and upstairs they went. And armed with a Swiss Army knife and some alcohol, Kyle performed his first medical procedure! I was impressed to say the least. Now we have a doctor in the family. Yes we do! Shut up!!

Now we just need to keep said doctor from prescribing himself steroids. Cause the boy is playing baseball! He started Little League last weekend and is very excited about it*. And apparently he’s pretty good even though he’s had no formal training. (Isn’t my child wonderful?) Coach says he’s fast and has good foot-work. I knew all that dancing around was a good thing. (I’m looking at you Chris!)

* His favorite thing seems to be his new 'cup'. Boys are weird.

Well it is an election year...

I guess I need to change my tag line. I can’t write in my man Zbigniew on my Presidential election ballot. And not because I can’t spell his name! He was born in Poland. So, until Ah-nold gets the constitution amended I’m S.O.L.

But you can do your patriotic duty and vote for me! Yes, in a fleeting (and probably foolish) moment of hopefulness, I have submitted another photo for inclusion in JPG magazine. See, over there on the right – click the picture and vote "Yeah'. If you vote for my photo and it is published, the sheer number of copies of the magazine that I will buy will single-handedly revitalize our economy. Vote for me! Don’t let the terrorist win.

Too far?