“My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

Today is a pretty day with lots of sun. It is warmish at 44˚. My plans for today are simple: change my bed and take a shower then maybe nap from the exertion. I don’t even have a full load of laundry yet. Yesterday I took down ornaments from the tree near the driveway, unplugged all the extension cords and then put everything down cellar, but the lights themselves are still on the fence and deck. I am saving them for another day. Wow, something to look forward to say I sarcastically.

My house is being cleaned. Nala is barking and trying to eat the vacuum. Henry barked like a crazy dog when my cleaning lady rang the bell but has since settled on the couch. His work is done until the mailman stops his truck at my mailbox. That will send Henry into a frenzy.

When I was a kid, my mother always prepared breakfast for us so we would be fortified for the walk to school. I remember the oatmeal, the lumpy oatmeal, on winter mornings. Sometimes I added sugar and milk while other times it was maple syrup. I also loved cinnamon toast. When it was a cereal morning, a box of Rice Krispies and a box of Cheerios were on the table. I never chose the Cheerios.

My father joined the navy during World War II the day he turned 17. He had already graduated from high school. His mother had sent him to school at 4 just to get him out of the house. My father was a signalman. I don’t remember how old I was, but he taught my brother and me Morse code. We used to darken the upstairs. My brother and I were in one room while my father was in another. Using his flashlight, he’d send us messages in Morse code. We’d answer him with our flashlight. I don’t remember Morse code except SOS and the four opening notes of the movie The Longest Day which were the opening bars of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Morse code for victory, dot-dot-dot-dash, or three short clicks and one long. It was played on kettle drums which was the dramatic opening of that movie. V for victory became the leitmotif for the Western Allies (I had to look up leitmotif, a new word for me).

For a long time, I knew I wanted to join the Peace Corps. When the recruiter came on campus my junior year of college, I was front and center to listen. His description of his experiences cemented my Peace Corps wish. I applied in October of my senior year then I suffered through the waiting game. In real time it wasn’t a long wait, but for me, it felt like an eternity. I received a special delivery letter in January inviting me to accept an invitation to the Peace Corps. I accepted immediately. I was going to Africa. I was over the moon.

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4 Comments on ““My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.””

  1. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat,

    Today is mostly cloudy with a high temperature of 78°.There are some thunderstorms to our north and east. The big storms for us should start later tonight around ten.

    Every dog we ever owned fought the vacuum cleaner. They never figured out that it was an inanimate object that wouldn’t harm them. I assume in a dog’s mind a loud vibrating sucking device must be a demon from the under world. 🙂

    My father was drafted shortly after my parents married in June of 1941. My father served in the Army MPs at Ft. Dix, New Jersey. He was medically discharged after 19 months. He told me that when he first went onto the rifle range, he scored very well with several bulls eyes. When the Sargent complemented him on his marksmanship, he quickly realized being a sharpshooter was a one way ticket to the front lines. His next several and subsequent shots never hit the target again. 🙂

    During the Vietnam War, a friend of mine went to Naval Aviator school after graduating from college. The young aviators were promised that the one who graduated at the top of his class could pick his choice of airplane. The Admirals assumed that the top graduate would chose a fighter squadron flying fighters. My friend chose the P-3 Orion. That’s a four engine turboprop submarine hunter based on a Lockheed airliner, the Lockheed Electra. His commanding officer tried to convince him to go with fighters. His reply was that he wanted to be an airline pilot.

    I never bothered to learn Morse Code. All the navigation stations transmitted their identifiers in Morse. However, the identifier is printed on every navigation chart and if I could read, then I could identify a navigation aid. Of course Mayday is three dots, three dashes and three dots.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      It was a bit chilly all day though the sun stayed around. It will e a cold night. That is typical Cape Cod weather.

      My first boxer Shauna and now Nala are the only dogs I’ve had who hate the vacuum cleaner. One time my mother was baby-sitting Shauna at her house. She started vacuuming and Shauna attacked. Somehow the vacuum sucked up her tongue. My mother immediately turned it off, and the dog was none the worse for the experience.

      My father’s ship was sunk, and he was in the water a long while. He ended up in a hospital in England. He was only 17. He had wanted to enlist at 16 after he graduated, but his mother wouldn’t sign the papers so he waited.

      My father being a signalman had to know Morse Code. I never think of three dots, three dashes and three dots as mayday. I learned it as SOS.

      • Bob Says:

        When you declare an emergency over the radio via voice communication, you repeate, “Mayday, Mayday, Mayday”. Urgent situations are transmitted as, “Pan Pan Pan” repeated three times. SOS is the Morse code version.

      • katry Says:

        I’ve heard Mayday, Mayday, Mayday, but I never knew about Pan, Pan, Pan

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