Like all of you, we are staying mostly at home these days, and have found that simple, unexpected things sometimes brighten up the day.
Like receiving face masks in the mail. We had other masks but this batch made us smile. The masks were from a tailor who prior to the shutdown sold custom-made suits. The masks are well-made, the material used is comfortable, and on the front is written: “We’re all in this together.” And best of all, for every mask sold, a donation goes to the Coronavirus Relief Fund to support immediate and long-term relief and recovery in vulnerable communities during one of the most challenging times we have collectively faced. Getting a big box of toilet paper delivered also made us smile, but the masks were cooler.
You can order through this site: https://davidalanmasks.com
Like baking. Judy has been on a tear—cookies, scones, cupcakes, brownies. We take part of each batch over to our son, daughter-in-law and grandkids. The last delivery was blondies. Our grandkids had previously ignored blondies, but this time they became enthusiastic fans. We smiled hearing that they liked the blondies, which have always been a special treat in the family.
You can find Judy’s blondie recipe at: https://jzcooks.blogspot.com/2012/08/blondies.html
Like contributing to the Pittsburgh Food Bank. Like other places in this country, there are lots of people who do not have enough money for food, and the food banks have been overwhelmed. We have been making regular donations to the food bank, but on May 5 we made an extra donation. Bank of America had arranged to match all the donation for that day. When we lived in California, Bank of America was neither community nor customer friendly. It was a long time ago, but it gave us pleasure to help get the matching funds from Bank of America.
Like discovering Schitt’s Creek. Have you seen it? It’s a bit hard to get into, because the characters can be annoying, but the show becomes addictive. I’m in the fifth season and Judy is at the end of the sixth and final season. I watch at the end of the evening. It makes me laugh and leaves me relaxed.
Like having baseball to watch. Baseball is back. Not in the US, but in Korea. ESPN has begun broadcasting games from the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO). According to the articles I have read, the quality of the games fall somewhere between A and AAA minor leagues in the US. I went to State College Spikes games for many years, which were an A league team. Games were quite entertaining. The play in the Korean league is described as traditional, with lots of bunting and base stealing. There are some different customs, too. Bat flipping after a home run is fine, but spitting is not allowed. When I read that, all I could think of is the hilarious spitting scene in the movie Naked Gun. Games are broadcast live early in the morning, but rebroadcast in the afternoon. Here’s more information about the KBO.
Like having time to read. I have always been a reader, usually finding time at the end of the day or when on vacation, but now I can sit down with a book whenever I feel like it. I have read a lot of light, entertaining books—spies and sleuths mainly, but I also like history.
A few weeks ago I picked up a book that had been on the shelf for ages, An Army at Dawn by Rick Atkinson. It is the first book of a trilogy of the history of US involvement in North Africa and Europe during World War II, and I am now nearly done with the second book, The Day of Battle. Atkinson is a very good and engaging writer. The biggest surprise for me has been how inept many of the US and British generals were. They seemed to have learned nothing about tactics, but often just pushed ahead against heavily fortified positions. Didn’t any of them study the Civil War and Robert E. Lee? It’s always better to be on high ground than to try to attack from below.
We won the war because of the great courage and sacrifice of our soldiers, and because we could overwhelm Germany and Japan with our resources. For four years, the country built almost no new cars, but tens of thousands of jeeps, tanks, planes, ships, guns and so on. There was rationing, shortages, and other privations, but President Roosevelt’s leadership brought the country together and helped everyone accept the need to put all our resources into the war effort. It’s a big difference from today with people whining about not being able to do whatever they want, even if it means spreading the COVID-19 virus.
There is a quote I love in An Army at Dawn. During the battle for Tunisia in 1943, the chief of staff for the commander of the German forces wrote about the irrational demands being made by Hitler: “Hitler wanted to be stronger than mere facts, to bend them to his will. All attempts to make him see reason only sent him into a rage.” Does that sound a bit familiar to you?
I have now completed The Day of Battle. There was at least one American, Major General Fred Walker, who had studied Robert E. Lee. Walker was ordered to make one more frontal attack on a critical high point in the Anzio area of Italy held by the German army, Colli Laziali, after several frontal attacks had already failed. Walker laid awake that night wondering what General Lee would have done. He remembered that army patrols had reported there was an old cart path that led up the mountain that led up to unfortified areas between two German units. He convinced his commanding officer to attack up this path. The result was a breakthrough that led the German units to withdraw and contributed to the collapse of the whole German defense in that part of Italy.