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Sunday, December 25, 2016

PEACE AND LOVE CAN COME FROM SMALL GESTURES



Christmas Eve has always held its magic for me for my family always celebrated Christmas then with the opening of gifts and a then we ate sumptuous dinner. The next day on Christmas was a day spent together and one of reminiscing along with relatives that would stop by.

But in 1980 a woman that lived up the street from me named Chris, called me and said she had an idea and asked if I’d participate. Her idea was for everyone in the neighborhood to place white bakery bags with sand in them on each side of their driveways and put a lit candle inside but just on Christmas Eve. She asked if I would call my nearby neighbors and I gladly said I would; she called the rest and the rest involved three streets. That phone call came three weeks before Christmas and gave us all time to purchase bakery bags, sand and candles. None of it was costly.

All of us lived close to a hardware store, a bakery and many places to buy small candles. Everyone I called thought it was a great idea and looking back, everyone that Chris called thought so as well.

The day before Christmas Eve that year, came a cold snap and it was so cold outside that it made anyone’s teeth shake. The supplies for the luminaries were ready at my house and the next night it was bone chilling. I will never forget going outside with my then-husband, my two young sons and the supplies and of course, they wanted to put sand in each white bakery bag and so it was back in the house to retrieve two huge spoons.

Sand was shakily put in each white bakery bag by small gloved hands, while my then-husband and I placed a small white lit candle inside each bag. Our driveway was illuminated on both sides and it was one glorious sight.

But even more glorious was to look up the street about half an hour later and see nothing but glowing white bags in rows of two as far as you could see. As no one then had very few outside lights, it made our neighborhood aglow. Chris’ idea had worked its magic for it made all of us feel connected all the more: The lit bags shone bright and created a feeling of peace and love.

Every year thereafter, we took Chris’ idea and lined our driveways with the sand filled bakery bags and lit candles. With the advent of some young couples moving away and new neighbors moving in, the idea slowly faded into near oblivion but Chris still did it as did other neighbors including me. And then like all good things, it came to an end sadly.

Looking back, her idea was not costly but the feeling those lit bags gave out was one of oneness and I miss it. The neighborhood changed and changed, Chris passed away and now no one does it. Peace and love can come from small gestures and come this Christmas Eve, rest assured I will line my driveway, as I did in the  past, while hoping others do the same.

One idea can make things magical as Chris’ did and it’s time to carry on her tradition all over again. She gave us much that Christmas Eve and it will never be forgotten and I owe her.


Sherry Hill
Published today in my local paper


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

AND HE SAID "I WANT A DRUMSTICK!"



Until the age of 11, Thanksgiving dinner was always held at my grandparent's house and the anticipation of it was hard to suppress
for the table was beautifully set but it was the food that all of us looked forward to devouring.

Those that sat down at the huge mahogany table with its linen tablecloth were my parents, me, my mom's sister, her husband and their two children [my cousins,] my grandfather [my grandmother was like forever coming and going out of and into the kitchen throughout the entire dinner] and numerous relatives that would just stop by--to eat of course.

My cousins were a boy and a girl; I was two years older than my male cousin and four years older than my female one.

And so imagine three men sitting around a huge table and one boy when the turkey was placed on the table and the question was asked "Who wants a drumstick?" I kept quiet for I certainly didn't want one and would never but my male cousin whined and whined until my grandfather, the turkey carver, gave in and handed him one. After that it was a toss up between my dad and my uncle as to who would get the other drumstick and believe me, they were civil if the other one didn't get it for there would always be next year.

As for my grandfather, he despised dark meat and would never say he wanted a drumstick and my mom, aunt,grandmother, my female cousin and I most certainly didn't want one either.

Year after year my male cousin would whine and whine until he got a drumstick disregarding the fact that it would leave his dad no chance of getting one but in reality, my dad and his dad were civil about it all--they took yearly turns.

It's funny how such a memory can come back to me for that was so long ago. Of everyone that sat at the table yearly only two are left--my female cousin and me which is in itself sad, but come Thanksgiving, trust me neither of us will say "I want a drumstick" but someone will. It's inevitable.

Sherry Hill
© Sherry Hill
2016
All Rights Reserved




Sunday, September 4, 2016

TODAY IS LABOR DAY IN THE UNITES STATES AND CANADA BUT IT MAY BE A DIFFERENT DATE IN YOUR COUNTRY



Labor Day is a day to celebrate the workers of our country or perhaps yours. In the US and Canada, it is celebrated on the first Monday of September. Some people consider Labor Day to be the unofficial end of summer but ah it’s really not for summer has several more weeks to go here in the United States.

In the late 1800’s there was a movement to honor and celebrate workers. This movement was promoted by the Knights of Labor and the Central Labor Union here in the US and the first “Labor Day” parade was in New York in the year 1887--organized by both unions.

Oregon was the only state that officially made it a federal holiday; it wasn’t until President Glover Cleveland designated it as a federal holiday in 1894 for all of the United States but there were only thirty states at that time that celebrated it as a federal holiday.

Later on all fifty states here celebrate Labor Day and it is a federal holiday. In Canada, it is called “Labour Day” and is celebrated on the same date as it is here in the United States—the first Monday in September.

Perhaps where you live it is called “International Workers’ Day” and you celebrate it on May 1. Other countries have decided upon their own date for a workers’ celebration and perhaps your country is one of them. For whatever reason, it is a time to celebrate, lay back and enjoy the day for many but there are those such as hospital employees or the like that must work on this day despite it all.

Enjoy your own Labor or Labour Day; if you’ve had your International Workers’ Day, you know it was a day of rest from work. It took a long time for union workers to fight for a holiday for most everywhere and to them we should be grateful. And so if today is your Labor Day try to take some rest and enjoy it for at least you have a day off from work.

Sherry Hill
©Sherry Hill

All Rights Reserved

Friday, September 2, 2016

SEPTEMBER

I cannot believe that it is September at all for just yesterday it was June or so it seems. The older I become, the faster the months seem to whiz by and it leaves me wondering what happened to all of them. No sooner do I put my fall things outside does it become close to December. It wasn’t like that when I was little and onward: Months seemed to drag by like watching the hands on a school clock which never seemed to move at all.

Summer’s last hurrah is still here with us but it goes by too fast and fall seems to want to hurry more each year. And in between it, September seems to be fighting for its short lived life. 

Why can’t September linger just a little longer? It’s a month that has been celebrated in poems, songs and movies but it isn’t now and does that mean that others feel it passing by too fast as well? I can’t help but think that they do too. It’s also a month of the start of football games as well as many other events that so many look forward to with much excitement.

Commercialism in stores doesn’t help matters much for right now not only do Halloween items abound but so do Thanksgiving ones. And both mean that within a matter of weeks, Christmas items will be staring at all of us and it’s just September! I haven’t put my fall things outside yet but feel the rush to do so for I know darned good and well that it will be November in a flash.

Not long ago I thought of combining all months into one big display to put outside and why not? The months just fly by and no sooner has September left us, when all of a sudden it’s Easter. But I know if I were to do that someone would take a picture of it and I’d be a laughing stock and so I nixed that idea really fast. Still it does linger in my mind because putting seasonal things inside and outside takes its toll on me and it seems as if that’s all I get done.

I remember older people telling me that time passes by too fast when one gets older and I didn’t believe them but I sure do now. They were telling the truth.

But as for September might as well enjoy its brief stay for that is what it has become: Brief. Really I liked it a lot better when I was younger because it was endless and it wanted summer to stay just a little longer while pushing fall into the background.

Did commercialism make it go faster? Partly is the answer and partly is an age thing where everything goes faster and there’s no stopping either at this point and no going back but oh I wish it would slow down because September is special. It’s the month that my now grown younger son was born as well as too many memories of school starting when I was young and then when I became a teacher for school used to start in September.

I can only say to enjoy this quickly paced month while you can: I intend to for what will seem like within minutes, it will be gone. Dried leaves are appearing on my sidewalk and in my yard, days are getting shorter and whoosh this month will leave us and much too quickly. September—couldn’t you stay just a little bit longer? And if this month could answer, it would say “No because I am rushed.” Well true words there for it is.

Sherry Hill
© Sherry Hill

All Rights Reserved

Friday, August 12, 2016

THE DAY MY COUSIN GOT TRENCH MOUTH

There was no way of not knowing that my uncle liked to drink on the weekends. I’d been around him enough as young girl to notice that: He was married to my mom’s sister.  And I spent a lot of time at their house in St. Albans for my parents and I lived there as well and our house was pretty close to theirs.

I knew my parents knew that he drank; they even knew that his brothers did as well. But he never drank on a work day or evening—he saved drinking for the weekend.

My aunt and uncle had a son and a daughter: I was two years older than their son and four years older than their daughter.  For some reason on a hot summer Saturday I was in my uncle’s car:  Two of his brothers were in the front seat and my male cousin and I were in the back. I was nine and he was seven: He kept pinching me and I kept telling him to stop it but it did no good; even my uncle knew that his son was doing that and hollered at him to quit. Didn’t work.

The day was as hot as all get out and at that time no car had air conditioning—you just suffered and prayed that the car windows were rolled down. And they were.

My uncle pulled up in front of a bar that was near a movie theater that I knew really well: I had seen that bar but certainly had never been in it that is until that moment. He parked the car, I watched his brothers get out, my cousin get out and so I followed them all inside. It was almost pitch dark inside with a few lights scattered here; the long bar had a lot of lights behind it and bar stools were in front of it.  My uncle and his brothers sat down on stools as did my cousin so I figured I’d better do the same.

They ordered cold beer and Cokes for my cousin and me. That cold Coke was wonderful to drink and most of mine was gone; I looked over and he was not drinking his Coke but was drinking some leftover beer out of a bottle that had been left by someone on the counter. I heard my uncle scream at him but it didn’t do any good for my cousin kept drinking out of someone else’s beer bottle. Seemed about an hour or so that we were in there and luckily it wasn’t far from my aunt and uncle’s house. Of course my uncle and his brothers had glass beer bottles in the front seat and were drinking out of them.

How was I supposed to know that was illegal? But it wasn’t illegal to take kids in a bar at that time:  I’m not sure if I ever told my parents that day what had happened but the next day I would have to tell them because that was the day that my cousin got trench mouth. My aunt called my mom and told her that his lips were so big that they were turned inside out! She went into hysterics, called the local doctor and jerked him into the car so my mom told me and he was given some kind of medicine.

It wasn’t nice to think but I thought that it served him right for pinching me all the way to that bar and not minding his dad. I’d never seen anyone with trench mouth until I saw him that Sunday evening. His mouth was so big that it went up to his nose and seemed to stretch across his entire face.

As he was prone to do, he had a crying fit and although I’m sure his mouth hurt, I reasoned that he should never have drunk from someone else’s half empty beer bottle. Both of my cousins [as well as me] had been taught to never drink from someone else’s bottle or glass and seeing him made me realize why we had been taught that lesson.

And I had to explain to my parents how he got it and where we were which did not go over well for let’s just say that was the first and last time that my uncle ever took me into a bar with his brothers and with his son.

And trust me, I was terrified of getting trench mouth for seeing my cousin with it was a horrid sight but don’t blame me when I didn’t feel sorry for him—he did it to himself I reasoned as much as a nine year old could. And he didn’t listen to his dad. Of course my uncle could have gotten off his bar stool and taken that bottle away from him but he was pretty far gone beer-wise and was more interested in his own drinking.

Maybe my cousin wanted to be like him and his uncles. Who knows? His mom was furious at my uncle for taking us there in the first place and even more furious at her son.  All I know is that he had a horrid case of trench mouth and that was the first and last time I ever witnessed it for I never saw another person get it --other than my cousin.

Sherry Hill
©Sherry Hill 2016

All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

MY LATEST AMAZON KINDLE E BOOK "A MAN NAMED MIKE"



Sometimes a story comes into my mind and I can't let it go which then leads to my having to either write it or make it into a book. Sometimes my E books are lengthy while other times they're not.

This latest book ,of the three I've written in several weeks, is non-fiction: It really happened. It's told in the narrative by me. Perhaps I could have done it a different way and yet regarding Mike, it had to be that way.

I noticed yesterday that there is now another author with the same name as mine--it's even spelled the same. Hopefully, you will look at my profile and realize which books are mine and not hers.


This is my latest E book and the title is: "A Man Named Mike"


https://www.amazon.com/MAN-NAMED-MIKE-Sherry-Hill-ebook/dp/B01K2E5JS6/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1470788774&sr=1-4&keywords=sherry+hill#navbar


Thank you for looking and I sincerely hope that you find time to read this short book.

Sherry Hill