This file contains all newsletters for May 2003

Monday, 26 May 2003


    It's Memorial Day! Wars seemed to be as remote as ancient history when I was growing up, although I do remember the end of the Korean War. Memorial Day was always the beginning of Summer. A day off from school. Most everyone in the neighborhoods in our small towns and cities in Massachusetts would turn out for the parades, eventually wending their way to the beautifully-kept cemetaries with huge oaks and weeping willows, duck ponds with ducks, geese and sometimes swans. The marching bands, American Legion, VFW and all the others would gather round the local politicians as they presented their speeches, sometimes in round, gingerbread-like victorian era bandstands. Finally, taps would echo from somewhere deep in the trees. For several years it was me playing the bugle. A long time ago. Now our troops are getting shot at in Iraq and Afghanistan just about every day, and a few here in Maryland have just buried. It's not just a beautiful day off anymore.

    Actually we did get to see the sun this afternoon, an increasingly rare occurrence here in Maryland. Some newscaster said that it was something like the 17th of April when we last had a sunny day. Everyone jumped on their lawn tractors and started mowing their lawns like crazy. Hey - we only have a small window of opportunity to do such things here. My grass was more than a foot high in the back yard. I was mowing until 9pm!

    This weekend I did get my upper and lower gardens completed. The "lower 40" (small garden at the bottom of the hill out back)was overgrown with weeds. Took me the entire day yesterday to clean it out and plant all the corn, squash, penguin gourds, watermelon, pumpkins, etc! But it is DONE! For years I've enjoyed gardening but I must admit that I wanted to quit around 2pm yesterday. I still like it but I want it done quickly! Getting old! I kept at it until 7:30pm by keeping my eyes focused a foot or so ahead of me, and nowheres else. Pull them weeds! Move up a foot. Pull those weeds! I'll bring in several truckloads of free mulch from the dump this summer and cover everything to a depth of about 8 inches or more (except where I put the plants). I did that in the larger garden two years ago and now have only a few tough weeds that pop up from time to time, and I kill them off with spray instead of backbreaking physical labor!

    The neighborhood is getting together next Saturday morning to spruce up the entranceway to our little community (8 houses). I'm making an early run to the dump for some of that free mulch, and afterwards I'll probably make a few more runs for my own gardens. I've added so many flowers, rose bushes, etc this year and I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of color. I planted three Manchurian Apricot trees about 4 years ago and I noticed that this year was the first time they bloomed. Then, surprise - I have hundreds of apricots growing on the trees too!

    One more week until we head west (2-6 June) to Fort Huachuca, Arizona.

All the Best!
Barry & Dale/Dad & Mom

Monday, 05 May 2003


    Happy Cinco de Mayo Day Everyone!! Actually, that's the date that Mexican forces defeated (are you ready for this?) the FRENCH, in the Battle of Puebla (1862). Mexico's Independence Day (which many people think is 5 May) is actually 16 September (1810). Aren't you glad I'm a history buff?

    Today the surgeon gave me a clean bill-of-health and said that I could start doing more strenuous activities. So I'll start working on the cellar again ;-) It's been two weeks since my emergency gall bladder surgery and boy am I happy that is over. 17 April was the night of solid pain and surgery on the 18th (Hey - that was Good Friday - talk about resurrection!)

    Of course I didn't tell the doctor that I've already been mowing the lawn and emptying those three grass catcher bags (one can only sit for so long, pasting snapshots into albums!). In the last two days I also planted 36 rose bushes!! Now THAT was a real job - dig, dig, dig! Hopefully that will add a lot of color to complement the green grass and trees in the front and back yard.

    Speaking of the cellar: I did finish the walls in Dale's second ceramics room (the one where she has the kiln). Only thing left there is to install a drop ceiling but I'm going to wait until I get the main (recreation) room completed first. I took a couple of digital pictures and will upload them soon.

    This week I have to make arrangements for another business trip (2-6 June). This time I'm heading out West to Fort Huachuca, Arizona. Tombstone is nearby, and the Mexican border is only an hour and a half's drive away! There are also a couple of Reservations in the area, so it should be interesting. A week later and Dale and I are off to England and Ireland. Busy month!

All the Best!
Barry & Dale/Dad & Mom