Memorial Day Pass It On

John Is My Heart

By Frank Schaeffer of the Washington Post

“Before my son became a Marine, I never thought much about who was defending me.  Now when I read of the war on terrorism or the coming conflict in Iraq, it cuts to my heart. When I see a picture of a member of our military who has been killed, I read his or her name very carefully. Sometimes I cry.

In 1999, when the barrel-chested Marine recruiter showed up in dress blues and bedazzled my son John, I did not stand in the way.  John was headstrong, and he seemed to understand these stern, clean men with straight backs and flawless uniforms.  I did not.  I live in the Volvo-driving, higher education-worshiping North Shore of Boston I write novels for a living. I have never served in the military.

It had been hard enough sending my two older children off to Georgetown and New York University. John’s enlisting was unexpected, so deeply unsettling.  I did not relish the prospect of answering the question, “So where is John going to college?” from the parents who were itching to tell me all about how their son or daughter was going to Harvard.  At the private high school John attended, no other students were going into the military.

“But aren’t the Marines terribly Southern?”  (Says a lot about open-mindedness in the Northeast) asked one perplexed mother while standing next to me at the brunch following graduation.  “What a waste, he was such a good student,” said another parent.  One parent (a professor at a nearby and rather famous university) spoke up at a school meeting and suggested that the school should“ carefully evaluate what went wrong.”

When John graduated from three months of boot camp on Parris Island, 3000 parents and friends were on the parade deck stands.  We parents and our Marines not only were of many races but also were representative of many economic classes. Many were poor. Some arrived crammed in the backs of pickups, others by bus.  John told me that a lot of parents could not afford the trip.

We in the audience were white and Native American.  We were Hispanic, Arab, and African American, and Asian. We were former Marines wearing the scars of battle, or at least baseball caps emblazoned with battles’ names.  We were Southern whites from Nashville and skinheads from New Jersey, black kids from Cleveland wearing ghetto rags and white ex-cons with ham-hock forearms defaced by jailhouse tattoos.  We would not have been mistaken for the educated and well-heeled parents gathered on the lawns of John’s private school a half-year before.

After graduation one new Marine told John, “Before I was a Marine, if I had ever seen you on my block I would’ve probably killed you just because you were standing there.” This was a serious statement from one of John’s good friends, a black ex-gang member from Detroit who, as John said, “would die for me now, just like I’d die for him.”

My son has connected me to my country in a way that I was too selfish and insular to experience before.  I feel closer to the waitress at our local diner than to some of my oldest friends.  She has two sons in the Corps.  They are facing the same dangers as my boy.  When the guy who fixes my car asks me how John is doing, I know he means it.  His younger brother is in the Navy.

Why were I and the other parents at my son’s private school so surprised by his choice?  During World War II, the sons and daughters of the most powerful and educated families did their bit.  If the idea of the immorality of the Vietnam War was the only reason those lucky enough to go to college dodged the draft, why did we not encourage our children to volunteer for military service once that war was done?

Have we wealthy and educated Americans all become pacifists?  Is the world a safe place?  Or have we just gotten used to having somebody else defend us?  What is the future of our democracy when the sons and daughters of the janitors at our elite universities are far more likely to be put in harm’s way than are any of the students whose dorms their parents clean?

I feel shame because it took my son’s joining the Marine Corps to make me take notice of who is defending me.  I feel hope because perhaps my son is part of a future “greatest generation.”  As the storm clouds of war gather, at least I know that I can look the men and women in uniform in the eye.  My son is one of them.  He is the best I have to offer.  John is my heart.

“Faith is not about everything turning out OK; Faith is about being OK no matter how things turn out.”
Oh, how I wish so many of our younger generations could read this article.  It makes me so sad to hear the way they talk with no respect for what their fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers experienced so they can live in freedom.   Freedom has been replaced with Free-Dumb.  Please pass this on . . . .

Two Roads, a Recipe & a Re-Blog

I published this blog one year ago today. While I prefer to bring you new content I think this is worth repeating.

Memorial Day

As always this page is dedicated to my son, but today my father, too. The two best heroes any girl could ask for.

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Before we get to the food let’s just take a moment to reflect on what the weekend is really about. God bless America, our fallen Veterans and their families. I hope you are gathering with your dearest friends and family this Memorial Day weekend.

Jezebel Salsa

Jezebel Salsa

Let’s continue on this path of Two Roads and A Recipe. This week we are making salsa. Not just any old tired tomato salsa, but Jezebel salsa. Jezebel??? Yes, Jezebel. You may have heard of the old southern Jezebel sauce typically served over cream cheese and crackers. It is a combination of pineapple preserves, apple jelly, dry mustard and horseradish; a favorite at church suppers and Jr. League cookbooks. My salsa is a fresh pineapple version of that sauce made easy and delicious with the addition of Saucy Mama Apricot Ginger Mustard. It packs a sweet heat that really compliments the pineapple and other fresh ingredients. This salsa is perfect served with grilled pork tenderloin marinated overnight in Saucy Mama Pacific Rim Ginger Dressing or if you want to travel a different road and just hungry for a snack….go ahead and try it over cream cheese and crackers.

spread a cracker with your favorite soft cheese and top with some fresh Jezebel Salsa

spread a cracker with your favorite soft cheese and top with some fresh Jezebel Salsa

And/Or

Have a great cook-out this weekend

Have a great cook-out this weekend

Jezebel Salsa

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1-cup small dice fresh pineapple

1 tablespoon Saucy Mama Apricot Ginger Mustard

2 scallions, chopped

1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon, seeded, minced red serrano or jalapeno pepper*

4 fresh mint leaves, chopped

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

In small bowl, combine pineapple and mustard stirring to coat pineapple with the mustard. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Serves 4.

*for those who don’t like heat use red bell pepper

Saucy Mama and fresh ingredients are a perfect combination

Saucy Mama and fresh ingredients are a perfect combination

 

Two Roads, a Recipe & a Winner

Memorial Day

Before we get to the food let’s just take a moment to reflect on what the weekend is really about. God bless America, our fallen Veterans and their families. I hope you are gathering with your dearest friends and family this Memorial Day weekend.

Jezebel Salsa

Jezebel Salsa

Let’s continue on this path of Two Roads and A Recipe. This week we are making salsa. Not just any old tired tomato salsa, but Jezebel salsa. Jezebel??? Yes, Jezebel. You may have heard of the old southern Jezebel sauce typically served over cream cheese and crackers. It is a combination of pineapple preserves, apple jelly, dry mustard and horseradish; a favorite at church suppers and Jr. League cookbooks. My salsa is a fresh pineapple version of that sauce made easy and delicious with the addition of Saucy Mama Apricot Ginger Mustard. It packs a sweet heat that really compliments the pineapple and other fresh ingredients. This salsa is perfect served with grilled pork tenderloin marinated overnight in Saucy Mama Pacific Rim Ginger Dressing or if you want to travel a different road and just hungry for a snack….go ahead and try it over cream cheese and crackers.

spread a cracker with your favorite soft cheese and top with some fresh Jezebel Salsa

spread a cracker with your favorite soft cheese and top with some fresh Jezebel Salsa

And/Or

Have a great cook-out this weekend

Have a great cook-out this weekend

Jezebel Salsa

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1-cup small dice fresh pineapple

1 tablespoon Saucy Mama Apricot Ginger Mustard

2 scallions, chopped

1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon, seeded, minced red serrano or jalapeno pepper*

4 fresh mint leaves, chopped

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

In small bowl, combine pineapple and mustard stirring to coat pineapple with the mustard. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Serves 4.

*for those who don’t like heat use red bell pepper

Saucy Mama and fresh ingredients are a perfect combination

Saucy Mama and fresh ingredients are a perfect combination

Now for our Saucy Mama Give Away. The winner is: Danielle!!!! Please choose 3 of your favorites from the list below and email me your address. I will forward the information to Saucy Mama. Congratulations and thanks for hanging out with me here.

–    Chipotle Mustard
–    Backyard Brat Mustard
–    Smoky Garlic Mustard
–    Champagne & Honey Mustard
–    Apricot Ginger Mustard
–    Tarragon Lemon Mustard
–    Dijon Mustard
–    Hatch Chile Mustard
–    Dill Mustard
–    Creamy Garlic Mustard
–    Spicy Garlic Wing Sauce
–    Jamaican Jerk Wing Sauce
–    Orange Habanero Wing Sauce
–    Honey BBQ Wing Sauce
–    Hot Wing Sauce
–    Lime Chipotle Marinade
–    Cracked Pepper Marinade
–    Sweet Heat Marinade
–    Parmesan Garlic Marinade
–    Sesame Ginger Dressing
–    Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing
–    Pacific Rim Ginger Dressing
–    White Balsamic and Honey Dressing
–    Poppy Seed Dressing
–    Miso Orange Dressing
–    Four Leaf Balsamic Vinaigrette and Marinade
–    Honey Dijon Dressing
–    Creamy Horseradish
–    Zesty Cocktail Sauce