Category Archives: America

Happy (Virtual) Easter

Easter 3 Covid-19 free pixabay 2020

Reminiscent of “The Brady Bunch,” stacked in boxes on the iPhone screen, my family’s smiling faces looked back at me on this Easter Sunday, sharing greetings and life updates and weather reports.

The weather reports were because we were, literally, stretched across the country from coast to coast: Richmond and Shenandoah Valley in Virginia … Nashville … Houston … and Los Angeles. Nashville had rain; LA and Virginia were cloudy and gray.

It’s a coronavirus Easter. With everyone sheltering in place as the worldwide pandemic continues, meeting online was a necessity at a time when our family members in RVA, Shenandoah Valley, and Nashville usually spend this time together and Skype with the others. This year we all were on the Facebook Chat session getting our family fix.

At an unusual and historic time when everyone is working from home, businesses are closed, many retail stores are closed, and we are encouraged to travel outside our homes only for groceries, pharmacies, and other essentials, many are talking of spending their days in their jammies (the running joke is, “I changed out of my daytime pajamas into my nighttime pajamas”).

If they’re like me, they’re saving a bunch on makeup. Why put on base, mascara, blush, eye shadow, and whatever else when there’s nowhere to go? Besides, my skin is breathing like it hasn’t breathed in a long time.

But today I found myself not only pulling out my makeup bag but also searching my closet for an Easter outfit to wear, and I even ran a brush through my hair. There are few occasions to get dressed up these days.

We are a cat family so the ones with cats brought them to the camera for all to see on the screen. Food, afternoon activities, and pending tornado warnings in Nashville and beyond were discussed. For me, it wasn’t even the conversation that mattered … it was laying my eyeballs on my children and their spouses, and my niece and sisters and brothers-in-law.

It’s a different Easter for everyone. In many places here in Virginia and around the country some are mourning family and friends who have died from Covid-19 … others have loved ones in ICU, or slowly recovering. On the front lines, health care workers are spending 24/7 caring for those affected by it all. Their Easters are different, too, and we cannot thank them enough for what they do.

As Americans, we will get beyond this. It will be a while … it will most likely take development of a vaccine (and that will, from what the experts say, a year or longer) before we feel safe going back out in crowds. But we will eventually get beyond it.

As for today, we are reaching out to our loved ones the best we can. And for many that will be a virtual Easter.

Remembering Singer John Denver on his New Year’s Eve Birthday

John Denver

Two months before his death, singer/songwriter John Denver wrote a letter to his mother on her birthday and told her, “I would not be the man I am, nor would I sing the way I do, nor would I have written the songs I have written without the influence and inspiration you have been to me. I want you to know that today there are hundreds, if not thousands, who join me in saying, ‘God bless the day that you were born.’ ”

Today is John Denver’s birthday, born on New Year’s Eve in 1943. John Denver — forever in our minds as the youthful, blonde-headed, wire-rimmed granny glasses-wearing troubadour — would now be a 76-year-old grandpa if he had lived. His daughter Anna Kate, 43, who lives in New Zealand with her husband Jaime Hutter, gave birth to a daughter, Daisy Eloise, on December 21, 2011.

Anna Kate’s brother and Denver’s son Zachary, 45, lives with his wife Jennifer in Basalt, Colorado. Anna Kate and Zach’s mother is Annie of the hauntingly innocent Annie’s Song fame who was married to Denver from 1967-1982, and still lives in Colorado. The birth of baby Daisy Eloise made her a grandmother.

Denver was tragically killed in October of 1997 at the age of 53 when the plane he was flying crashed into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California. In a sense, for me, the music died that day … but it lives on because his songs are still with us.

From his earliest music like the quietly simple Poems, Prayers & Promises to the fun and rowdy Thank God I’m a Country Boy and Grandma’s Feather Bed to the little known but one of my favorites to play on the guitar, Shipmates and Cheyenne the vintage-John Denver I’m Sorry, and later in his career the extremely personal plea, Don’t Close Your Eyes Tonight, John Denver has been my favorite singer-songwriter since 1969.

Perhaps it was his love of the Rocky Mountains that reflected my own love of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, or maybe it was his appreciation of the simple things like the outdoors, good friends around a campfire, and the power of music to heal a hurting soul, that drew me to him. Whatever it was, I rejoiced in his lyrics and guitar chords, and mourned when he died far too young.

Even today, I still hang onto every word as he sings the words to This Old Guitar, the love song he wrote about the 1910 Gibson guitar his grandmother gave him at the age of 12, and how it so very affected the path his life took. He closed his concerts with that song … an ode to his grandmother and his life … and anyone who has ever played a musical instrument understands the attachment between artist and instrument.

His story-telling wasn’t limited to the music. He had a charming way of presenting intros to songs by sharing personal experiences. Who can forget his Dancing With the Mountains video skiing Aspen Mountain? Watching it reminds me of skiing the Aspen mountains with my sister in that part of Colorado years ago. Denver was an excellent skier, and he knew the trails on Aspen Mountain like the back of his hand, something that is readily evident on the video as he actually “dances” down the slopes.

When my husband, sister (who lived in Denver at the time), and I attended his Red Rocks concert outside Denver on July 5, 1982, Denver shared his experience of traveling to China and looking out at the night sky half a world away. Annie, he realized, was back home in Colorado seeing the same moon and stars, and so he wrote the song Shanghai Breezes“The moon and the stars are the same ones you see/ It’s the same old sun up in the sky/ And your love in my life is like heaven to me/ Like the breezes here in old Shanghai.”

But it was too late for John and Annie … their divorce was underway even as he sang that summer night in the shadow of the magnificent Rocky Mountains.

The magic of his concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater was captured for a television special. We were sitting on the third row right in front of the stage in seats we had staked out at noon for the night concert after standing in line for the first-come, first-serve outdoor seats.

We watched as Denver and the band ran through the sound check at mid-day, and we partied the afternoon away in the Colorado sunshine with fans seated around us. It was a sold-out event, and we twenty-somethings were excited because it was far out! (For those too young to remember John Denver, far out was his signature saying.)

Amazingly, on a whim, I found the Red Rocks concert on YouTube. Ah, the beauty of the internet … all these years later, and there it was for me to listen and drift back in time and remember a wonderful concert that started before sunset and lasted long into the night under the stars in that magnificent Colorado sky. It was magical … a moment in time, a memory that lasts to this day. The entire audience was mesmerized by John’s singing, and hung onto every word, singing along with this Pied Piper of folk music.

The songs and interviews with Denver from the Red Rocks concert are divided into five videos: Part 1 (Take Me Home, Country Roads), Part 2 (Seasons of the Heart), Part 3 (Thank God I’m a Country Boy and Annie’s Song), Part 4 (Calypso), and Part 5 (Perhaps Love, written as a love song to his fans).

I heard him sing in the Coliseum in Richmond, at Carowinds in North Carolina, twice at Wolf Trap Theater in Vienna, and at Red Rocks. How sad we can never again sit and listen as his personality and talent take us away for that brief moment in time while he shared his life — his highs and lows, heartache and joys — through the lyrics of his songs.

On this day that would have been his 76th birthday, it is amazing how much we all still miss John Denver….

President George H.W. Bush: 1924-2018

George H.W. Bush 9

 

“Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro, and I are saddened to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear Dad has died. George H. W. Bush was a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for. The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for 41’s life and love, for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for Dad, and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens.” –Former President George W. Bush

As I sit in the early morning darkness with only the glow from the Christmas tree to keep me light, I’m reflecting on the life of President George H.W. Bush who passed away last night at the age of 94. A few thoughts as the news settles over me….

A good man is gone. He outlived his beloved Bar who preceded him by seven months.

In an age when the GOP appears to have lost its way, and when civility and decency continue to decline, the loss of #Bush41 is felt even keener. As a friend noted, “The morning dawns a little dimmer today. George H.W. was the graceful, strong, calm and loyal conservative – a rarer and rarer breed. Now belongs to the ages….”

It’s not a total surprise. President Bush was 94 years old and had been in ill health in recent years. Still….

I walked to the bookcase and took out one of the books about the Bush family, whom I have admired for all the reasons today’s politics grates on my last nerve.

The former president’s book, “All the Best, George Bush: My Life in Letters and Other Writings,” was given to me Christmas 2000 by my then fifteen-year-old son. President Bush, a prolific communicator, left a treasure trove of letters and notes to family, friends, colleagues, and people he met along the way.

He was known for his maturity and straight-forward approach to life, lessons learned from his mother who taught him to put others first and help others feel better about themselves, to be humble, and to serve and not expect to be served.

As the day unfolds and tributes to this great public servant continue, perhaps Americans will pause to reflect on the decency, character, and respect represented by President Bush, who urged that we be a kinder, gentler nation.

“There could be no definition of a successful life that does not include service to others.” –President George H.W. Bush

Addendum….

As I reflect more on #Bush41’s passing, my memory just flashed back to late 1990s when my sister, who lived in Austin, called to share news about her new job. She knew what an admirer of the Bush family I was so she said I may want to sit down to hear the news. Then she announced that she was going to work as speech writer for my hero.

“George Bush?” I asked incredulously. At that time George W had not been president so everyone referred to the first Bush president as George Bush.

No, she responded … George W, the current governor of Texas. That was okay … he was also my hero and went on to become president, only the second father-son team to do so in the history of this nation.

Cover photo from the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum

Cross-posted at BearingDrift.com

Happy Thanksgiving from LynnRMitchell.com

Thanksgiving 2

“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”
— Charles Dickens

LynnRMitchell.com extends Thanksgiving greetings with gratitude to our readers for continuing to make us a statewide voice in the Virginia conservative online news and opinion websites. We wish you a joyful day with family and friends as America pauses to give thanks for the blessings we all enjoy.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Seventeen Septembers Later

9-11 18 North Tower collapse

Please join us over at Bearing Drift as we remember September 11, 2001 — the most tragic day in American history.

Where were you on that day? Some share their stories.

Meanwhile, a timeline is playing out during the day, posted on Bearing Drift in real time as events unfolded that fateful day, with links also posted on Bearing Drift’s Facebook page and Twitter @BearingDrift.

As I noted this morning on my Facebook page:

It’s been seventeen Septembers since the horror of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Those too young to remember can never understand the feelings of the many who lived through it. This is a day to remember and reflect.

The toll on 9/11: Nearly 3,000 people died as a result of hijacked aircraft flown into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and Flight 93’s crash into a Pennsylvania field to prevent the same tragedy in the Nation’s capital.

First responders who perished included 340 firemen and 60 police officers.

First responders who rushed into the dust and debris are now suffering from respiratory and other illnesses.

On this anniversary my thoughts always turn to friend Philip Lynch, a retired New York police officer who was part of the 9/11 rescue mission at the Twin Towers and who moved to Augusta County over a decade ago. His thoughts on a day that still affects many:

“Since then 9/11 first responders have cancer at a rate 15 percent higher than their peers. Many responders have other ailments. Some have PTSD. Some have lost their sense of taste or smell. Some have developed other problems such as dependence on prescription drugs, or alcohol to deal with the stress, and survivor guilt.”

Phil adds, “Please remember those who have been on the frontlines in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pennsylvania, DC, and NY.”

Never ever forget.

Happy 4th of July From the Mitchells

For years Mr. Mitchell and I have hosted Fourth of July picnics, some small and some that were larger. One year we had over 100 guests — family, friends, and neighbors — in the back yard celebrating America’s independence. Here’s a look back….


What is the 4th of July without American flags? They were in abundance.


Relaxing and taking photos before guests arrived.

Alex puts up flag over grilling area.

Flags, flags, flags.


The grilling area ready for
100+ guests … three grills, three cooks,
100 hotdogs, 100 hamburgers, 100 Italian sausages.

* “SWAC House” coined by Yankee Phil in his post about the cookout

Previous posts:
SWAC House* 4th of July blast … part 1
SWAC House* 4th of July blast … part 2
SWAC House* 4th of July blast … part 3
SWAC House* 4th of July blast … a Marine in Iraq: “Freedom Isn’t Free”
4th of July = flags, flags, flags
A Look Back at 4th of July Parades, Cookouts at SWAC House

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell

Tagged , , ,

Former First Lady Barbara Bush’s Health Declining

I gravitated to the bookcase this afternoon and pulled out the 1994 memoir written by former First Lady Barbara Bush, her smiling face on the cover looking back at me as I fanned through the pages of photos from Bush family highlights throughout the years.

On this spring Sunday afternoon, an official statement was issued from the office of former President George H.W. Bush about his wife:

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fbush41%2Fposts%2F10155454335598225&width=500

Barbara Bush. What a lady. Ever gracious even while being a rock who anchored her family to reality amidst their wealth, she wielded a wit that endeared her to the nation.

Her book dedication gives a glimpse of this remarkable wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother: “To faith, family, and friends; and to George Bush who taught me that these are the most important things in life.”

Indeed. Their love story began when they were 16 and 17 … and it continues to this day, as noted in an April 4, 2018, story in USA Today:

It’s been decades, but Barbara Bush is still very much in love with her husband.

The former first lady wrote about former president George H. W. Bush in a note for the spring edition of Smith College’s alumnae magazine.

“I am still old and still in love with the man I married 72 years ago,” Barbara Bush wrote in the life updates section for the magazine.

In the Preface of “Barbara Bush: A Memoir,” she wrote:

“George Bush knows how I feel. He is the hero.”

And in an earlier paragraph of the Preface, Mrs. Bush noted:

“I also note that we seem to weep a lot in this book. We are an emotional group and rather like a good tear or two. Please also notice that we cry when we are glad and when we are sad. Love brings a tear. Friends bring a tear. A smile, sweetness, even a kind word brings a tear.”

There are probably some tears today with the sad news of Mrs. Bush’s failing health, even as she is wrapped in prayers and love. Thinking of the entire Bush family at this difficult time….

Challenger 32 Years Later … the Nation Tuned In To See a Teacher In Space

The STS-51L CrewHas it really been 32 years since the Challenger shuttle exploded in mid-air? Seven lives were lost, the tragedy was caught live on TV, and Americans were shocked at the disaster that had taken place in front of their eyes.

Space launches had become so routine to most people by the time Challenger came around that it rarely caused much excitement. Indeed, on that fateful day of January 28, 1986, it was cold and wintry in rural North Carolina, just as it was cold at the site of the launch in Florida. At home with my one-year-old son, I remembered the NASA launch was taking place that morning so turned on the television to see how it was going.

TV cameras scanned the spectator stands at Cape Kennedy where family and friends of the astronauts watched, full of excitement in anticipation of the launch that included Christa McAuliffe who was there as part of the Teacher in Space project. Millions of children across the nation sat in classrooms watching and waiting for the launch with expectations of experiments and lessons during the journey from the teacher in space. One of those students was Brian Schoeneman, Bearing Drift Editor-in-Chief Emeritus (see Remembering the Challenger).

Continue reading

Remembering Singer John Denver on his New Year’s Eve Birthday

John Denver

Two months before his death, singer/songwriter John Denver wrote a letter to his mother on her birthday and told her, “I would not be the man I am, nor would I sing the way I do, nor would I have written the songs I have written without the influence and inspiration you have been to me. I want you to know that today there are hundreds, if not thousands, who join me in saying, ‘God bless the day that you were born.’ ”

Today is John Denver’s birthday, born on New Year’s Eve in 1943. John Denver — forever in our minds as the youthful, blonde-headed, wire-rimmed granny glasses-wearing troubadour — would now be a 74-year-old grandpa if he had lived. His daughter Anna Kate, 41, who lives in New Zealand with her husband Jaime Hutter, gave birth to a daughter, Daisy Eloise, on December 21, 2011.

Continue reading

Tagged , , ,

10:28 a.m. … 9/11: World Trade Center North Tower Collapses

10:28 a.m. North Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed 102 minutes after being struck by Flight 11.

LynnRMitchell.com remembers 9/11 … may we never forget.

Tagged

10:07 a.m. … 9/11: United Flight 93 goes down

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” — John 15:13

The heroes of United Flight 93 were ordinary Americans who reacted in extraordinary times. On a hijacked airplane heading toward Washington, D.C., possibly targeting the White House or the Capitol building, and with the knowledge of what had already occurred that morning with the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, passengers took matters into their own hands.

Ordinary citizens became heroes in their attempt to overtake the Muslum terrorists who had pirated the plane, and crashed it into the countryside of southwestern Pennsylvania.

I have written before of my special connection to Flight 93. My sister, a member of the George W. Bush administration, was at work in the White House that day. If Flight 93 had hit Washington as had happened in New York City and Arlington’s Pentagon, our family could have been one of the many mourning a lost one.

On the tenth anniversary of that tragic day, the crash site outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania, was formally dedicated as a permanent reminder of the courage and spirit of the Flight 93 heroes. President George W. Bush, in office only nine months when 9/11 happened, unexpectedly became a wartime president that day with a determination to protect the American people. He and Mrs. Bush attended the 2011 commemorative events, met with the families, and took part in the ceremony.

Forty extraordinary Americans … my family will forever be grateful to the men and women of Flight 93 and their families for the heroism and sacrifice made that day.

Flight 93 had heroes on board….

Todd Beamer – “Let’s roll!”
The 32-year-old Oracle Corp. account manager from Cranbury, N.J., was believed to have helped lead a passenger attack on Flight 93 hijackers that prevented the jet from reaching its target, possibly the White House. Beamer spoke to a GTE operator on the plane’s phone. His final words — “Are you guys ready? Let’s roll!” — have become a rallying cry for the war against terrorism. Beamer and his wife, Lisa, had two sons. His daughter, Morgan, was born in January of 2002. Beamer played baseball and basketball in college and loved coaching youth sports. President Bush, in an address to the nation, praised Beamer as “an exceptional man.” Today, the Todd M. Beamer Foundation aims to help kids deal with trauma and learn how to make choices.

Thomas E. Burnett Jr.
Burnett called his wife, Deena, to tell her about the Flight 93 hijacking and said he and other passengers were “going to do something about it.” Burnett, 38, of San Ramon, Calif., was senior vice president and chief operating officer of Thoratec Corp., a medical research and development company. His wife and three daughters moved to Arkansas afterwards to be closer to her parents. The new Thomas Burnett Family Foundation plans to provide endowments for children’s bereavement camps and leadership scholarships at selected universities.

Jeremy Glick
Glick called his wife, Lyz, after terrorists took over Flight 93. She patched the call to a 911 dispatcher, who told Glick about earlier attacks in New York. Glick told his wife some passengers had taken a vote, and “We’re going to rush the hijackers.” Glick, 31, of West Milford, N.J., had been a collegiate judo champion at the University of Rochester. His older sister, Jennifer, is president of Jeremy’s Heroes foundation which is devoted to helping people build character through sports. The foundation has supplied sneakers to kids in Chicago and paid for 20 children in Washington to attend a soccer camp.

LynnRMitchell.com remembers … may we

Tagged ,

9:45 a.m. … 9/11: White House Evacuated

9:45 a.m. The World Trade Center had been attacked an hour earlier when airplanes hijacked by terrorists flew into both towers … Pan Am Flight 77 had flown into the Pentagon … and now United Flight 93 was being followed on radar flying toward Washington, D.C. No one was aware of the struggle going on inside that aircraft as passengers, aware of the earlier terrorism attacks, vowed to storm the cockpit and avoid whatever disaster the terrorist pilots had in mind.

The White House was evacuated at 9:45. Employees were urgently directed by Secret Service to leave the building and, as the evacuation was under way, it was stepped up as shouts told them to get away from the White House and Old Executive Office Building as fast as they could. Women took off their shoes and ran in their stocking feet out the White House grounds and onto the street and down the sidewalk. One of them was my sister.

Flight 93 would go down at 10:06 a.m. taking the brave souls with it who prevented further national tragedy.

LynnRMitchell.com remembers … may we never forget the herorism of those on Flight 93.

Tagged ,

9:03 a.m. … 9/11: South Tower hit

9:03 a.m. New Yorkers and television viewers nationwide watched in horror as a second airplane hit the south tower of the World Trade Center.

LynnRMitchell.com remembers 9/11 … may we never forget.

Tagged

8:46 a.m. … 9/11: America is under attack as Plane Flies Into World Trade Center

8:46 a.m. It began with first one tower followed by the second of the World Trade Center hit by commercial airliners. America was under attack.

After pilots and crew members of American Airlines Flight 11 were overpowered by terrorists, the plane crashed into the North Tower. It was the first terrorist act of what would become the worst attacks ever on American soil, a day that would continue to see strikes on our nation three more times as the morning unfolded.

LynnRMitchell.com remembers 9/11 … may we never forget!

Tagged
The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

LynnRMitchell.com

Virginia politics and more