sand

My youngest sister, Allyn Hadlock is in beautiful Puerto Vallarta, Mexico this weekend having a special birthday/Valentine’s Day holiday trip, lounging on the beach. It was a special gift from her husband, Chris. They have been married for 35 years, and Chris wanted to give his wife and valentine a special trip to celebrate. So this year they are sitting in 80° weather, while the rest of us are trying to keep warm in 23° weather. I would really be mad at her, if it weren’t for the fact that I think the trip was an awesome idea, and I can’t think of anyone who deserves it more. The trip is an all inclusive weekend, and so they are feasting on all the wonderful foods there are, and lounging on the beach and the pool, of course. What a wonderful way to relax.

Allyn has worked in the billing department in a medical office in Casper, Wyoming for some time now, and a while back when they reorganized, she was made a supervisor. She works very hard at her job, and this vacation was a welcome break. In her personal life, she is known as “Grandma” these days…a job she doesn’t take lightly. Her grandchildren love gong to see her, and the oldest two, Ethan and Aurora Hadlock often spend Sunday afternoons with Grandma and Grandpa. It’s a great time for everyone, and they never get tired of it. They also have Adelaide Sawdon, and Mackenzie Moore to round of the crew. Adelaide lives here and they get to see her quite often too, but Mackenzie lives in North Carolina, so seeing her takes a bit of planning. Still, those trips are precious, and they all enjoy them, and when it comes to seeing those babies, try keeping the grandparents away for long. For them, family is, after all, the most important thing in their world.

Nevertheless, being a grandma isn’t the only part of being a couple that is important. This weekend is a rest and reconnect weekend. Since the resort is all inclusive and the only place they have to be is the places they want to be. There is nothing to do but relax and enjoy themselves, and I’m really happy that they get to do this, especially when it comes to getting away from the cold Wyoming Winter that is still rearing its ugly head around here right now. I think that for Allyn and Chris the sun, sand, surf, and palm trees is just what the doctor ordered…a weekend in Paradise. Today is Allyn’s birthday. Happy birthday Allyn!! Have a great time on your weekend in Paradise!! We love you!!

Fallout_shelter_photoFrom the end of World War II, until the mid 1990s, the world was in the middle of the Cold War. The Soviet Union had developed atomic weapons, and they were threatening to use them. Tensions were high, because they were flexing all the military muscle they could. A common part of the administration was make sure that the people of the United States were ready for the very real possibility of an attack. The Eisenhower administration formed the Federal Civil Defense Administration (FCDA), later called the Office of Civil Defense, to instruct the people on what to do in the event of a nuclear attack.

On this day, October 6, 1961, President Kennedy urged the people of the United States to build bomb shelters, so they could live through the nuclear fallout in the event of an attack. I was a girl of just five years, in 1961, but I vividly remember seeing those fallout shelters and knowing that it was possible that the day could come when we might have to take shelter there. That is pretty scary stuff for a five year old girl, but it was simply the world we lived in.

Nuclear BombWhen I fast forward to this day and age, I have to wonder why some of the same precautions aren’t being put in place by this administration. We all know that Iran has nuclear weapons, and Russia, along with China, are beefing up their forces too. In many ways, the Cold War is in full force again, and no one seems to be reacting to the dangers. Maybe it is because we are getting used to the threat of nuclear war, but it still seems odd to me that there is not more preparation. Even I must admit that as a child, the fallout shelters were a source of unease for me, but now…even with the threat of nuclear war constantly in the news, I just don’t feel the same kind of concern…though maybe I should.

A fallout shelter was intended to reduce casualties in a nuclear war. It is designed to allow those inside it to avoid exposure to harmful fallout from a nuclear blast and its likely aftermath of radiation until radioactivity has dropped to a safer level. A basic fallout shelter consists of shielding that reduces gamma ray exposure. The most dangerous fallout has the consistency of sand or finely ground pumice, so a fallout shelter would not need to filter fine dust from air. The fine dust emits relatively little radiation. Concrete, bricks, earth, and sand are Fallout shelter signsome of the materials that are dense or heavy enough to provide fallout protection. Basically this shelter could be much like a tornado shelter, except that it would need to have a door that seals completely.

Concrete was the most often used building material of fallout shelters, with walls at least 12 inches thick. The required shielding could be accomplished with 10 times the amount of any quantity of material capable of cutting gamma ray effects in half. Shields that reduce gamma ray intensity by 50 percent include 0.4 inches of lead, 2.4 inches of concrete, 3.6 inches of packed dirt or 500 feet of air. I suppose the main concern for most of us the difficulty building one of these shelters, Nevertheless, that is exactly what President Kennedy urged the people to do, and what many of them did do. It was terrifying stuff, and it makes you wonder what is wrong with people who would even consider detonating one of these nuclear bombs.

The Lunch PailWhen my girls were little, they rode the bus to school, and of course, ate their lunch at school too. As a kid, we only lived 5 blocks from school, and since Mom didn’t work then, we went home for lunch. In days gone by, the kids walked into town to school. There was not time for them to come home for lunch…only the town kids could do that. You wouldn’t think that these situations have much in common, but the thing they do have in common is the lunch container…so to speak. When my girls were little, their first lunch box was the Strawberry Shortcake lunchbox. They loved it. And every year after that, they got a new lunchbox, because as we all know, a first grader can’t have a Strawberry Shortcake lunchbox. That is totally not cool. By the first grade you would need something cool, like Care Bears or My Little Pony. The right lunch box made that first day of school, and the wrong one, ruined it. Ok, maybe it wasn’t quite that serious, but we all Strawberry Shrtcake Lunchboxknow that for a kid, very specific things mattered in school.

Things were a little different in the old west, as well as in the early 1900’s. Fancy lunchboxes didn’t exist. Instead of a lunchbox, the children took their lunch to school in a lunch pail, and it was really a small pail. I remember watching the Little House on the Prairie shows and seeing the girls bringing their lunch to school. It seemed so primitive…like taking their lunch in the same container they might just as easily have played in the sand with. I don’t know if they purchased the pail for the purpose of taking their lunch to school in, or if the pail was purchased with something else in it, and then used for lunches when it was empty, or just how it came to be a lunch pail. Who thought of that idea? Was it someone, who like me, tries to find a use for things that just look like they are too good to throw away, and maybe something could be made from them? In researching this thought, I found that often the Lunch Pail 2children would try to create a lunch pail out of the containers that biscuit mix came in, so I guess that kids have always wanted a fancy lunch box.

From what I read, the lunch box used to be a kind of low status symbol too…at least in the working world. The worker who carried his lunch was viewed as someone who could not afford a hot lunch at a restaurant. Thankfully that isn’t the way it is view now, because I know a lot of people who bring their lunch to work. For most of us these days, it is more a way to eat healthy, and avoid the fast food places. So in that way, I guess the status symbol has taken on a whole new meaning.

When you are on vacation, the idea is to relax and enjoy yourself, but all too often, there are so many things to see and do that you find yourself needing to go back to work to rest up. I have been on many of those trips. I can’t say I haven’t enjoyed my trips. I have been blessed to have gone many places, and I have many wonderful memories from my trips. Still, I must say that not all of them have been relaxing.

As a caregiver, who also works full time…when I can stay at work full time, I have a lot of stress in my life, and sometimes what I need the most is to relax…even if only for part of a trip. Today was that day. The drive from Mississippi to Florida was beautiful, with splendid views of the Gulf of Mexico. The green trees and lush grass were calming to my soul.

The time spent at the beach, however, was the best of all. We walked barefoot through the sand, which is really crushed sea shells, and laughed about the fact that is squeaked as you stepped in it. Then we laughed at the little birds who were eating something at the water’s edge. They would run out there when the water receded and then turn and run away from the next incoming wave. Their little legs were moving as fast as they could possibly go. Then they would look back at the water as if to scold it for interrupting their dinner. They were just so funny!! I only wish I could have been quick enough to get a picture.

We walked along the water’s edge, letting the warm Gulf water run over our feet. The breeze was gentle and warm. It was so relaxing to just enjoy the sensations of the water and the salt air. We stood in the water, laughing about the way the water made our feet sink into the sand,and trying not to fall down as a result. Then we found a place to sit in the sand, and we sat relaxing for quite some time. There is just something about listening to the waves crashing into the beach and the gulls squawking above that is somehow peaceful.

We talked very little. It didn’t seem like that kind of a moment. It was a time to sit and quietly reflect on the trip we had taken, and the beauty of the Gulf water around us. We watched the waves coming in and waited to see if they would finally make it to our feet. Bob found a sea shell that the waves washed in, and we watched the sea gulls trying to steal fish from a pelican.

Finally, we picked up our sandals and the sea shell and made our way back to the car…relaxed and contented, and grateful for the day God had blessed us with. It was a perfectly beautiful, amazingly relaxing, wonderful kind of day.

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