Don’t Forget to Remember

Photo courtesy of Beverly & Pack, flickr.com

“In the future when your descendants ask their fathers, ‘What do these stones, mean?’ tell them . . .” – Joshua 4:21–22 NIV

When three of our grandchildren were on different ball teams (plus one of them umpired), hubby and I were at the Punxsutawney Little League Fields just about every evening. After the sixth game in four days, I told Dean we should park our camper at the ball field.

Back then, the Punxsutawney Little League complex was almost a second home to us, as we spent many a summer afternoon and evening there when our youngest played baseball. Five well-maintained and lighted ball fields for Minor League, Little League, Senior Little League, what we call the “Teener League” field (VFW), and girls’ softball, are located beside Mahoning Creek. 

Each ball field is named for someone local. Some honor those who have devoted much of their time to maintain and improve the fields and the league. Two fields are named as memorials.

The Little League field is called the “Billy Titus Memorial Field,” named after a Punxsutawney Little Leaguer who was killed in a farming accident. 

The VFW League field, the Rich Kuntz Memorial Field, is named for SP4 Richard Lorraine Kuntz, who was killed in action in Vietnam on February 5, 1968, six weeks before his twenty-first birthday.

My grandson once asked me, “Who was Rich Kuntz? Why is the field named after him?” Since I’ve spent half a lifetime at the fields and know the stories behind the names, I was able to tell him. But it got me wondering: How many people drive right by those signs or even say the name of the ball field and don’t realize the significance?

Memorials are built and named so we won’t forget, so those who come after will learn of the sacrifice of the Vietnam soldier, the love a little leaguer who never got to play Senior League had for the game. 

This weekend we observe Memorial Day, a day set aside to honor and remember our military men and women who gave their lives in service to our country. 

Some died in action, some went missing in action and never were found, some died a slow death after they came home and tried to resume a normal life. Some are still alive, but they will never be the same. 

Sadly, these holidays that are set aside to remember and honor those who have stepped to the plate for our country are too often perceived as simply a day off work, to relax, catch up on things, feast and frolic. 

While there’s nothing wrong with any of those activities, let us not forget to remember why we observe Memorial Day.

On the way to the ball field, there’s a grassy field beside the road that’s covered with U.S. flags. Each time I passed it, more flags waved in the breeze. Then one day I slowed down to read the sign. Passersby are invited to place a free flag there in honor of a veteran.

I didn’t have time to stop then, but I made a special trip to that field and placed flags in honor of my loved ones who have served. 

What about you? What are you doing to remember this Memorial Day?

Thank you, Lord, for those who gave themselves to serve, protect, and defend our country. Let us never forget the sacrifices they made. Amen.

Read and meditate on Joshua 4.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea for the Seasons © 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

What Is Love Made Of?

Dean and me, Spring 1973

And now I will show you the most excellent way. – 1 Corinthians 12:31b (NIV)

DH and I don’t do Valentine’s Day. For some reason, it’s never been an important event on our life calendar. 

Oh, I tried to make it an event a few times. One year I cooked up a special dinner: roast beef heart and pink mashed potatoes, a meal we endured only once. A greeting card never seems to say what I want it to say, even when I make the card myself. 

Perhaps it’s that what I feel for my husband of forty-nine years goes beyond words. 

Me and Dean, December 22, 1973

And I think the forty-nine years has a lot to do with it. 

In the early years, I looked for what I could get in the relationship: companionship, love, support, a listening ear, sympathy. What I got was a man who worked ten- to twelve-hour days five days a week, provided firewood, fixed things (an unending job because something always needs fixed), and built me a house. He’s been a good father to our three children—a softy, I always called him. But his softness balanced my harshness. 

I’ve never seen him angry—upset a few times, but never angry. Even when I tried to pick a fight, he never took the bait. And he’s always supported me in my dreams. I dedicated my second book to him with these words: “To the man who fixes dinner, washes the dishes and clothes, dusts and vacuums, shops for groceries and puts them away, does the ‘kid runs’—the myriad of daily tasks considered ‘women’s work’—so that I could have the time to write. To the man who told me that he felt God’s will for his life was to free up my time so I could follow God’s call for my life.”

And whether I decided to go to work outside the home or quit the job I had, he’s always supported my decisions. 

Although he used to “suggest” ways my cooking could be improved, he’s always eaten everything I’ve made, even when I couldn’t. Proving he told the truth when we were dating when he said, “I was in the service. I can eat anything.”

When the nest emptied, he still looked for ways to help the kids out—as a handyman, car repair guy, and consultant. Whenever they called, any time of the day or night, he was available to them. He still is.

But we’ve learned to do things for us too. We’ve set aside Friday night as our date night. Homemade pizza and a movie. Before he retired, he rarely made it through the movie. I heard his soft snores around nine. I didn’t even bother waking him up to go to bed. It never worked and he didn’t even remember. I just kissed him on the forehead and turned off the TV, knowing he’d get to bed eventually.

I used to feel sorry for myself when he neglected to say “I love you” every day. But—don’t tell him this—I’ve come to realize I don’t need to hear it. I see it—in the tired lines around his eyes, in his now white beard, in the increasing stoop of his shoulders, in the slower pace of his steps. I hear “I love you” shouted from the stack of firewood by the wood stove, from the packages of venison and vegetables and berries in the freezer, from countless items that he’s fixed so we wouldn’t have to spend the money for something new. The walls of the house he built are his arms around me day and night. 

“Saturday’s Valentine’s Day,” I said one night a few years ago as we sat at the supper table.

He looked up. “What do you want to do?”

I smiled. “Nothing, really. I’m such a homebody anymore.”

He smiled and nodded. I knew he felt the same way. After a fifty-eight-hour week, all he wanted was a good supper and a soft couch.

“We never did do Valentine’s Day, did we?” I said. “I wonder why.”

We ate in silence for a few minutes. Then it hit me.

“Because with you,” I said, warmth coursing through me, “I have Valentine’s Day every day.”

Dear God, You gave me the perfect life companion. Not a perfect man, but the man perfect for me. Thank you. Amen.

Read and reflect on 1 Corinthians 13.

Dean and me, August 2021

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea for the Seasons, © 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.