Two armies faced each other in winter camps across the Rappahannock River. The fighting in December had gone very badly for the Union as they tried to take the Confederate position at Marye’s Heights. Friends and sometimes family had been killed, and the Southern town of Fredericksburg was largely left in ruins.
For months, these two enemy armies went about their business on opposite sides of the river. During those long days and nights, they weren’t firing cannons anymore, but they were sending out volleys of music to lift their soldiers’ spirits. Each side had its patriotic songs. Often they had the same tune but different words, and each side would sing and cheer their own bands.
On those winter nights, they might close with a special tune. One that everyone sang the same words to: “Home, Sweet Home.”
When Philip and his brother Francis were small boys, their knightly father and beloved mother were slain in front of them. The enemy soldiers were about to do likewise to the children, when a monk from the neighboring priory intervened, promising God’s wrath would descend on the soldiers should they continue their slaughter of innocents. The soldiers stood down.
For such was the power of the Church in the 12th century that even bloody-minded men-at-arms would take heed of a religious man’s words.
The man in this photo might need a caregiver's help, or he could be the primary caregiver for a family member. Thousands of families open their homes to chronically ill and simply lonely family members. It's a gesture of love and commitment, but caregiving can bring emotional hardships as well as rewards. Even the most loving relatives can feel burned out after months or years of providing care in their homes.
The Owl and the pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl and the Pussycat is a funny sort of poem indeed and only one of Mr. Lear's many nonsense verses. Anyone who would travel along with a Pobble who has no toes or take a sail in a sieve with the blue-handed Jumblies is welcome to be a friend of Mr. Lear.
More than 150 years ago, life was turned upside-down for residents in our communities. Stafford County was occupied by Union troops. Fredericksburg changed hands many times between Union and Confederate and was the scene of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. Spotsylvania County had the battles of Spotsylvania Courthouse, the Wilderness, and Chancellorsville. Thousands of men encamped and fought here. Many died here. Our state—even just our own area—has some of the most fought-over ground in the country.
If you love comics and want to be entertained, you really need to check out Christopher Irving’s (words) and Seth Kushner’s (pictures) Leaping Tall Buildings: The Origins of American Comics. It’s a bright and brilliant introduction to the people who brought stories of brave deeds to American audiences through their work. Here’s a snippet from his sketch on Will Eisner (The Spirit):
It takes three sets of people—the president, the judges, and the Congress—to make our government work. If the president does something wrong, it's up to the judges and Congress to hold him accountable. If laws are made by Congress that people think are not really fair, the judges can strike them down, or the president can choose to veto them before they become laws. Supreme Court judges are appointed by the president, but they usually stay on long after the president has left office, so as time passes we have a mix of different political views.
The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, and a certain Sunday is just ahead. So, what are you getting that amazing mom for Mother's Day? You don't have to spend a lot, but you do need to remember her in a special way. If you have brothers and sisters, or at least a very loud voice yourself, you can serenade your mom as you bring her breakfast in bed. Look here for songs for little ones. Older kids might want to check out Rise Up Singing, a group song book with the words to lots of old favorites.
Not a singer? Time to get crafty and make her something to treasure, or you can give her coupons for treats mothers love. Sometimes the best way to celebrate Mother's Day is to spend some time just with her, sharing a book that the two of you will enjoy.
Kids have a big advantage when it comes to picking strawberries because they grow close to the ground. With just a little know-how, you can be a berry good berry picker.
Tips for picking terrific berries:
-Break the stem about a half an inch from the top of the berry.
-Don't pick berries that are mushy-soft, nibbled on by insects or birds, green or pink
-Don't pile your berries in a big bucket. Strawberries are heavy and have delicate skins. They can get bruised if they are piled thick, one on top of another.
-Keep your berries cool, either in the shade or the refrigerator.
-Don't wash them until you are ready to use them.
-If you are going to eat your strawberries right away, you can go picking any time.
-If you need your berries to last for longer, try to pick in the morning or in the early evening when it's cooler.
-Wear a hat and sunscreen so you don't become red as a berry yourself.
-Strawberries taste wonderfully good and are high in vitamin C, which helps your body heal, resist infections, and keeps your bones, gums, and teeth healthy. There are lots of ways to enjoy strawberries: in muffins, jam, salad, salsa, and simply by themselves.
Summer's here at last. The pool's open. The weather's scorching hot. What could be better for an afternoon treat than a big bowl of ice cream? A big bowl of ice cream and lots of friends—that's what! Read on for frosty facts and tasty treats.