Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas 2014

Christmas 2014 was a total blast. Samantha, Jake and George came from Menlo Park. SAC II, Cheryl, Andy, Donna, Anthony and Hope came from Springfield. Melissa came from St. Louis. Mark, Daya and Ahmed came from Minneapolis. Heidi came from Smithville. Topekans were the Gs, Oma, Nancy and Bobby. A Christmas Eve group shot was miraculously organized.
In addition to battling the common cold, intrepid family members also battled to liberate the legion of Christmas presents that were imprisoned under our $5 tree.

Photos were taken of a bunch of smiley people ...
Mega thanks to all who who joined us for Christmas 2014.
Sorry ... I can't help but post one final shot of my wonderful kid and her wonderful kid.
Make that 2 final shots.
Merry Christmas 2014.

PS. As it ends up, Anthony actually IS taller than Granny.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

100 years ago in France

In December 1914, the world was at war. The German Army had marched though Belgium and had gained control of important industrial regions in France. British soldiers halted the advance along what became known as the Western Front ... a long line of trench warfare
that stretched from the North Sea to Switzerland. The line remained essentially unchanged for most of the war. The brutality of World War I was unparalleled due, in part, to the use of chemical warfare in the form of chlorine gas and mustard gas. Millions of people died. 
In the midst of this brutality, an impromptu peace broke out on Christmas Eve, 1914. German soldiers perched lighted trees on trench parapets and Stille Nacht was heard across the barren "no-man's land" between the trenches. British soldiers reacted by joining German soldiers in a Christmas Truce. Cigarettes and treats were shared. Songs were sung. According to some, a soccer game was played.
Books and articles have been written about the Christmas Truce of 1914. A few years ago, Helen and I saw John McCutcheon tell the story through his song, Christmas in the Trenches.
 While the Christmas Truce of 1914 might be considered a military embarrassment due to the blatant and open fraternization with the enemy, this 100 year old story offers me hope.