Football Weekend at West Point

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Last weekend I was  visiting a graduate, now retired , LtC Karen Ward. I was invited to spend the Saturday helping with the Rotary Club selling food to benefit the suffering the  people of Haiti.  I got to pop in several times see some of the game, the corps, and the mules.

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The security was very tight.  I had to send the  information on my license , a week in advance for screening . The Corps of Cadets sit together and civilians are not allowed to get close. Karen said, “Imagine the celebration by terrorists if they  took  out a huge group of future Army officers!” MP’s were walking around with very serious looking machine guns.

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Such spectacular color  even in  this late season.

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On football Saturdays, there is a parade but though one was schedule, the rain prevented it. I am sure the cadets were not disappointed but the parents who were visiting for Parent’s Weekend were.  I guess, though, nothing disappoints them  because of the time they spend their children.

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These are Plebes, or first year cadets who along with academics, leadership classes, and military science  have lots of  physical activity. I heard recently that in just a few years, 70 % of the eligible men and women will not be able to pass the physical fitness and weight requirements for the army.

The video below is  so much fun to see in person.  The helicopters didn’t fly on Saturday, either,  due to the inclement  weather.   Such a surprise  for first time visitors to see the ball be parachuted from a helicopter  to  start the game.  It is a  thrill no matter how many times you see it!


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Indian Drum Music














Indian Tasha Drum





Music and dance are a huge part of India and of Indian people. Just see any Bollywood film!   I saw this group perform last night at the Troy Music Hall with its world famous acoustics.  The expressive musicians showed their delight at the sound in the hall with happy smiles.

The audience, which was strongly Indian, experienced the tranquilizing sound of various   Indian drums from diverse ends of India featuring these classical percussionists.

An amazing fact is that there is no written music.  They know each others’ instruments  and after hours and hours of practicing, they know each  others’ playing The whole evening is a total jam session.   They are constantly communicating by looking at each other and counting  for rhythm with an unique clapping. While featuring the different drums,   they would alternate the melody and rhythm.  Pretty special and unusual.

The Sitar musician was trained by the world famous  Ravi Shanker.

I shared with my friend how totally Indian this all is. . . . the music welling up inside them and the total creativity of the process.

A few hours of a taste of India and memory of that incredible place.





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Polio to Paratrooper Paperback – August 27, 2016

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George Bowler Tullidge III was an ordinary “All-American” boy who chose to serve his country as a member of the 82nd Airborne, 507th PIR during WWII. George jumped in the early morning hours of June 6th as part of Operation Overlord. He was to find himself engaged in battle with German forces around La Fier Bridge near St. Mere Eglise, France. George was wounded during the battle, died a few days later and was awarded the Bronze Star for Bravery. This is his story as told through eyes of his grieving mother, supplemented with many letters from George as well as his comrades. Among his possessions that day was a booklet his mama had given to him prior to his leaving for basic training. In that booklet were words of encouragement that she had borrowed from many sources including the Bible. After George’s death, his mama published that booklet as “A Paratrooper’s Faith”. This booklet is still being published today, by George’s sister and distributed to all who ask. The proceeds from the sale of Polio to Paratrooper will be donated to organizations that support our armed forces.

This book was originally written for each member of our family for George’s story and life to live on.   Now, I am the last member of the immediate family. My son, Christian, loved hearing about his uncle George from his Oma. This has been a dream of his, to publish this story, similar to many other brave men who went to war. We hope that this book will inspire, comfort, educated, and  thank our heroes from the Greatest Generation  !

We also have a website  where you can ask for a free copy of A Paratrooper’s Faith .


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Volleyball Player Steps Up

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This is Marina Garcia who unexpectedly stepped up to sing the national anthem when the sound system failed before her volleyball game.  She is an inspiration and leader.

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Color in the Park




This is one of the colorful autumn  days for which   Upstate New York is known. I took it on my walk around the park a day or two ago.  Today is similar with clear blue sunny sky  with blazing colorful  trees. One difference is that  we had our first frost last night and the morning air is 37 F.  Oh well, the moderate temperatures  can’t last forever.  Today , we are finally going apple picking as the long 6 weeks of David’s painful back has finally  cleared up.

It will be a satisfying Saturday !

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Bob Dylan

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Bob Dylan wins Nobel Prize for Literature!   What  unexpected news breaking this morning.  The gravely voiced troubadour and philosopher  wrote and performed as the conscious of the 60’s. He was influenced and inspired by the legendary  folk singer, Woodie Guthrie.   His favorite themes were pro-civil rights justice and anti- war, specifically anti-Vietnam war of the   60s and 70s.   Today at 75 years of age, he is still a voice for causes of justice and especially for the those of us who were touched by his words and voice.  He is still  touring and performing almost nightly.



“Blowing in the Wind,” and “Times They Are a-Changing” are two of my favorites.

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Beggars, Monkeys, Rickshaws, and Indian Generosity


This is one of my favorite posts.  I have continually  been touched by the kind, gentle, generous spirit I experienced over and over in India!  ( published first March 2013) 

From day one in India , we have had a love/hate relationship with the rickshaw/tuk-tuk.  It is cheap transportation…$0.20 for one way to Cept University. The most expensive rides have been $2.00 and  we are still alive after 45 days.  Cheap, safe? What is the hate side of the story?  Well it scary, that’s what.  Rickshaws going in all directions. Yes, the wrong way. Cars are on the left side (thank you British) and  rickshaws squirm in and out and sometimes on the wrong side of the wrong side traffic! It is a lot like Mario Cars video game but it is real. I told David I would never criticize his driving again…a promise I hope I can keep. I mostly close my eyes and pray. Not a bad idea in any circumstance. Please watch the video on YouTube of crazy rickshaws in Varanasi. There was no footage taken in Ahmedabad, and Varanasi was the worst, crazy traffic I have seen. Here is the best of the worst! Notice auto as well as man pulled rickshaws. In Ahmedabad, there are none  of the people-powered ones. They are a throwback to ages ago, yes from the British. (Crazy Rickshaw Ride in Varanasi India)

Now I want to tell you four short tales of rickshaws and drivers, along their daily drives on the roads of India.

The first tale was weeks ago, shortly after we arrived.  A strike was called for drivers to protest for 72 hours because of  the rise in fuel prices.  This  price rise would increase the minimum  they had to  charge and theoretically they would have less business. I was going with a visiting Canadian professor to NID, National Institute of Design.  We noticed there were fewer rickshaws, and fewer who would stop, and NID is way across the city. Finally, a young man stopped for us. We entered and he said, he would have to take us by a back route to avoid the strikers. He said he was saving money for college, warming the hearts of two visiting teachers.  As we reached our destination, and exited to pay the driver, suddenly three thugs ran up as we stood  right there paying and started pounding on the small rickshaw driver.  Skye, her student, and I started yelling, “Stop, stop,” and after a few moments they ran off as quickly as they had appeared. The driver was badly shaken but not badly hurt. As we entered the grounds, we looked back to see him sitting with his head on the wheel, not driving away.

One morning, I was catching a rickshaw on my own.  A beggar women approached and started patting me as she pulled on my sleeve. This is quite distressing to me and what she  wants. But everyone says not to give them money because it goes to someone they are begging for. This seems to be true because we have given beggars food left over from dinner that we had parceled for them, and after taking the food, they still ask for money.  The driver said something to the old woman and she moved up next to him. He took a coin from his pocket and gave it to her. It reminded me of the “poor widow’s mite offering” from the Gospels and how that pleased God.

The third tale happened one night David and I were returning from dinner. We had gone to Souk for some hummus. The ride was uneventful and we got out to pay when the driver replied to David’s inquiry of the price, “No charge Uncle, welcome to India!” We were very touched at his gift to us, given from the goodness of his heart… caring for strangers.

The last story happened just a few days ago. We had arrived at the end of our lane and David was paying. The driver said, “No, too much,” and returned 10 rupees to David.  He had inadvertently given the driver 30 rupees instead of the requested 20.

If you watched the video, you saw images of the poverty in India. Many of these drivers work for someone else, while some have their own rickshaw.  Gas is $6.00 a gallon. They are squeaking by, I imagine. There is a rising middle class as evidenced by the TV commercials, but these drivers are not part of it. Blessings for these four men who were kind beyond the call of duty, honest, caring, and friendly to a woman from far, far away.


I took this picture of the huge male monkey resting on a scooter in front of the Jain Temple in our neighborhood!  The monkeys’ erratic behavior kept us always on the look-out for unexpected photos!

This  Is Incredible India !  TIII

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