Monday, May 25, 2009

Smiles Forgotten, Smiles Lost, Smiles Found

Many congrats to Robin, who won the free copy of Kim Lenox's So Still the Night. Robin, email me your address at and I'll drop it in the mail.

I can only assume (and hope) from the quiet activity in the blogosphere this past weekend that my American Vortex readers were out celebrating Memorial Day weekend with more than just mattress sales and Ball Park franks. Last year, I had the honor of turning an old, forgotten box of photos from boot camp and the Korean War into a scrapbook for a very special veteran. This man has had a hard road. Very few times do I remember him smiling or showing emotion. On the day I presented it, he cried. I get it now in a way I never got it before. Seeing him standing on a tank, youthful and vibrant, arms linked with his gunner or enjoying a cigarette with his buddies laughing about some secret lost to everyone but them helped me see him in a new light. Sadly, I think his army days are the only true happiness he has ever found in life. He keeps the dark, leather-bound book, hidden compartment in the back for his medals and dogtags, by his favorite chair. I'm told he looks at it daily. He is my window into Memorial Day, and he is why I Tweet to ReMIND today.

Here's a peep at my birthday cake yesterday:

Okay, just kidding. But who wouldn't want a fondant Sawyer and Dharma beer to help them usher in the next year?

Since May is passing in a blurr, cram-packed with celebratory rites of passage for those around me, I offer up my new favorite blog-indulgence: Awkward Family Photos. It is the laughable humiliation we all share. Be sure to go back several pages to see the true comedic morsels.

Have a great Monday, everyone!


Pamela Cayne said...

First--congrats to Robin. You're going to love Kim's book!

Second--happy (belated) birthday to L.A.!!! And I'd find it difficult to even cut into that cake. It's too amazing to eat.

Thanks for the wonderful post about the veteran. Those old pictures really bring it home, don't they?

Charles Gramlich said...

I've had some folks tell me taht they were never so alive as when they were in the war.

Robin said...

I won? Yay! Thank you!!

Happy belated Birthday, L.A.! Best wishes for a wonderful year! And I'm wondering, how do you cut that cake?

I hope you're having a great day, and god bless all our troops.

Todd Wheeler said...

Happy B-Day and thanks for the post. Saw a local parade and memorial service, but also had that dog. ;-)

Sherry Davis said...

Happy (belated)Birthday! Have you decided on your "adventure?"

Can't wait to find out what it is :)

the walking man said...

Well thank you very much L.A. for another wonderful time suck. Now I am happy there are no family photos from my past.

It was a good thing you did for your unsmiling matter which war (although Korea was especially brutal) being a veteran is something every one of us remembers as a special time, rarely rivaled by much that comes after it.

And finally hope you had a good birthday but I notice there is no candle count on the cake...afraid of an out of control fire?

Sandra Ferguson said...

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday, dear LA, Happy Birthday to you!

Sorry you weren't with us on Saturday . . . I'd certainly have bought you a piece of cake.

Fun post and hey, where did you get my family pictures from? Folks just don't realize that those goofy photos could show up anywhere.

The first pic of the pregnant woman reminds me of a recent conversation regarding tatoos. One of the teachers I know gets a tatoo after each baby she delivers. Her reason? She wants something permanent on her body to remind her of the event. Um . . . maybe this teacher needs to check out this photo. Most pregnancy comes with their own permanent tatoos.

Can't wait to see you.

laughingwolf said...

seems i missed your b'day, lam :(

hope it was grand!

will check out the rest of the pics asap :)

L.A. Mitchell said...

@Pamela...thanks for the good wishes. certainly seems the case with my Vet.

@Robin...thanks...and yeah! Let me know if you don't get it within a day or two. I mailed it Tuesday.

@Todd..thank you. Sounds like you had a great Memorial weekend :)

@Sherry...{{hugs}} Not sure, but you can be there'll be a blog post. With visuals ;)

@walkingman...glad you enjoyed the link. And my candle-count is not alarming just yet. Just enough for an impressive glow ;) if she needed one more reminder her body didn't give her already! was amazing..thank you :)

Marilyn Brant said...

Congrats to Robin--yay!!
And L.A., very belated but sincere birthday wishes. Hope it was wonderful :).

Vesper said...

L.A., I hope you had a wonderful and very happy birthday, and I'm sending you hugs and my very best wishes. :-)

The cake looks wonderful...

Thank you for the link. :-)

And last, but not least, I'm very touched but what you said about that veteran. It makes me reflect upon life, its randomness, its fragility...

Barbara Martin said...

Happy belated Birthday, L.A.! All the best over the next year in your writing.