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Monday, May 31, 2010

Attack on Gaza Bound Ship and Memorial Day Thoughts

An Israeli soldier trains his gun on the aid ship

Before I give you my thoughts I want to address what happened Memorial Day in the waters outside of Israel. The ambush of the head ship of the aid flotilla has made me very sad. I have always been a friend of Israel and only when they started to cause hardships to the people of Gaza did I rethink this whole thing. I have to protest the actions of the Israelis in attacking the aid ship. There are too many versions of this story out there so I am holding my judgement on what actually happened. But according to many people in the know the Israeli's started the whole thing by dropping commandos from helicopters. They say they only had paintball guns and collected knives, scissors, etc. from the people on the ship. They say they were met with activists who attacked them as they got onto the ship. This ship also contained aid workers and dignitaries from lots of countries including Turkey, the country from which it originated, and a nobel prize laureate as well. I have followed the attempts of this group to try to get through the blockade of Gaza and also on the ship they had all kinds of aid including playground equipment and pre fab houses for the people who lost theirs. As a result of this heinous act people are demonstrating here in the US and the ambassador of Turkey was called back to his country. Many people in the US have sent emails and phone calls to President Obama to keep him from seeing the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu and Obama has decided to cancel the visit. I am sad that the peace process is tabled again, though the UN is discussing the incident.and I am hoping that there will be sanctions voted against Israel. Israel needs to stop its blockade of Gaza and open up the borders there. Hamas has said they are willing to begin talks, but Israel is ignoring them.

Today was Memorial Day here in the US and because of my husband's illness we celebrated in a different way. Usually we either have a barbecue of go to one. Or sometimes we go out to barbecue place. Or maybe we go to a movie and then out to dinner. We did none of this. We watched people around our apartment house pool enjoy themselves from our own apartment, he took a brief walk and then we went out to dinner with my brother. We ate seafood, and actually it was a great dinner.:)

Anyone who has been reading this blog for awhile remembers my post about Lundy's and the revival of this incredible restaurant in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY. If you haven't you should read this so you understand our conversation. My brother and I shared steamed clams at a seafood place close to where I live in Stamford, CT and we talked about our experience as children with the old Lundy's. It's funny that both of us thought of the same thing at the same time.:) I always remember that place when I have steamed clams, because they had the hugest amount and they were always delicious. Before this we all pigged out on huge amounts of gorgonzola salad. This place has the most humungous salads. We ordered a medium and with five people there after we all had at least two helpings we still had salad to bring home.:) The steamers came afterward and we were still eating our salad. As I put the succulent little morsels into my mouth after washing them in the clam broth and dipping them in melted butter I closed my eyes and I was the nine year old kid again with melted butter smeared on her chin sitting in Lundy's with my parents.
Then I had a one and a half pound steamed lobster that was sooo sweet!!

But Memorial Day is way more than food. It is about remembering the men and women who fought and died for our country. When I was a little girl we used to go and watch the parade as it went down Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn where I used to live. I would watch as the old veterans from World War I, barely able to walk, would march by in their old uniforms. Afterward that night we would probably take a ride with my father in our old blue DeSoto to Coney Island and Nathan's for a dinner of a hot dog and maybe a chow mein sandwich. :) This was the beginning of the summer season for me. When we moved to Queens my mother joined Capri beach club and we would go there to welcome in the summer season. We had a cabana along with a lot of other families' cabanas that were set up in rows all over the beach club. Each one had two rooms. One of them was a changing room with a shower and the other was fitted with kitchen stuff and a counter.There was a separate shower room and bathroom area at the club. Each family brought it's own furniture to individualize them and in each aisle there was a sandy middle. There were two chaise lounges for each cabana and in the sand some people like my mother and her friends sat at folding bridge tables on folding beach chairs to play mahjhong and canasta. The club had a real beach, but they almost never went there. It also had two or three giant pools and a couple just for children. My mother and her friends almost never went in the water except if the temperature went up to unbearable limits. Then they would wade into the pool in the skirted bathing suits with a flowered rubber bathing cap that fastened under the chin. Sometimes she would go in without a bathing cap and swim without getting her hair wet. Women in those days had their hair done once a week and saved the style with hairspray. You didn't want to get it wet at all!

One year when my children were small we rented a bungalow in the Catskills and celebrated Memorial Day up there with a barbecue. Then my husband left to go back to his law practice and I was left in the country with a one and half year old toddler and a four year old.:) I used to bathe them in this big tin wash tub outside of our place. When we had decided I needed to get away for the summer it seemed like a good idea. But that night alone with my two children knowing no one I realized that most of the time I would be alone.

To be honest, we did have our Newfoundland, Flash, with us so I wasn't completely alone, but I still had to watch him. He was wonderful with the kids, but he had an awful problem later in the summer. We had a skunk that was interested in the trash cans outside each bungalow. Flash would like to taunt this skunk and he would chase it away. But one night the skunk got Flash and he got skunked. Yeeeeowwww!!!!!! If you have never been near a Newfoundland who was skunked you are very fortunate. With all of their hair this is a giant problem. It required a generous amount of tomato juice poured over him and then rinsed and baby shampoo. Finally after several applications of both the tomato juice and shampoo we deemed him cleaned. However I didn't let him into the bungalow for nights until all of that awful combination of skunk, tomato juice and shampoo had dissipated. Poor Flash was always so sad to be outside and I missed him terribly, but no one could breathe around him.:)

Also, Flash loved water and he would go for a swim in the pool anytime he could. The owners were worried that his hair would clog the pump and I tried to keep him out, but he would jump in anyway any chance he got.:) In fact, any time there was any kind of deep water around he would jump into it. We took him to a state park where there was a natural pool and he jumped in. We were kicked out because of that.:)

How did you spend your Memorial Day? Please leave a comment here and let me know.:)

One more thing before this post ends. On my last post I had these cute pictures of a mother swan and her babies. I wrote a poem about this and wanted to share it with all of you:

Ways to Keep Sane

Take a walk alone along the shoreline
Admire the tall spires of sailboats
nestled in their berths waiting for the
wind for their glide onto the smooth water

Walk leisurely down the boardwalk hearing
the faint calls of birds
Feel the sun warm your bare arms and the
breeze moving your curls over your forehead

Stop at the railing to wonder why a woman
peers down at the mud flats to examine
what she is observing and see the scene
that in one moment melts your heart and heals you.

See their fluffy brown feathered bodies tiny as pebbles
as they stay close to their mother, a pristine white long
necked black billed swan. Watch as they waddle onto the mud
Mother never looking back, but aware of the two balls of fluff behind her

Watch their journey as they march in line toward the
wide expanse of this finger of Long Island Sound
As proud mother swan moves them ever so slow
looking straight ahead, yet always aware of her two babies

Continue watching as she reaches the water and they tumble into it,
Their tiny bodies already able to glide along with their mother
Seeing at one point they feel more confident and duck under
splashing with the abandon of the innocent.
copyright 2010 by Barbara Ehrentreu

Until the next time thank you to my readers and to any new readers. We are getting closer to finding out the cause of my husband's hypercalcemia and will see the doctor tomorrow.


  1. 上來打聲招呼,祝你一切平安! .........................................

  2. Hi Barbara, loved your poem. You might have missed your calling. Our memorial day was quiet. As we've aged, we tend to see our friends less often and that makes me sad.

    Memorial Day is a strange holiday for me. For while I respect the sacrifices our brave men and women have made in the name of freedom, I don't always agree with the wars which caused their deaths.

  3. Penny!
    So glad you could get here.Thank you for leaving your Memorial Day experience. I sort of feel the same way if you read what I said here. I have mixed feelings too, because I have always hated war and violence, but I do want to honor the people who fought for our country. It's a bittersweet experience, I guess.

    I'm glad you enjoyed my poem.Thank you for kind words. I've been writing for years and just recently started doing it more regularly.

  4. 德慈美玉 ,

    Thank you for visiting. If you speak English or could translate your comment next time I would appreciate that. I am not sure exactly what this comment means, but thank you for commenting.:)

    Discouraged is the beginning of shake and shake the failure of neighbors - translation

  5. A nostalgic and sweet post.

    A taste or smell can trigger childhood memories in a flash. Music does that for me too.

    Memorial Day was fun for us. We stayed in a cheap motel on the beach. One night, and two days of great weather, good food and relaxing....well for the most part with three kids!

  6. Hi GUYS,
    It's always good to see you here. Glad you liked the post. Spending the holiday at the beach sounds terrific! Hope your kids are old enough to appreciate and remember this experience.

    Yes, tastes and smells as well as music can evoke memories and when I started eating those steamed clams with my brother and we reminisced about our father and how he used to eat steamed clams and how he ate them my mind went back to those earlier experiences. As I was writing about Lundy's I even heard the sound of all those diners and waiters. Restaurants don't sound like that anymore.

  7. AngelicF,
    Thank you for visiting and for your thoughts.:)

  8. 曾文詠
    Thank you for visiting and you are right. People should pursue knowledge and virtue. Excellent statement.d

    People can not live like animals, but should pursue knowledge and virtue

    Please come again.


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