#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller
The Vigil Keepers

It’s almost trite, because it’s been true so long. Freedom isn’t free. People have paid for it, for over two centuries now, with life and limb, heart and blood, hopes and dreams. The things we enjoy every day of our lives, folks, have been bought for us, by the brave ones.

The soldiers. While we’re going about our normal, day to day lives, they’re out there making sure we’re safe.

During the Viet Nam conflict, there were factions in this country who blamed the GIs. They called them names, spit on them, burned flags in ‘protest’. The incredible cowardice and ingratitude of this made me ashamed–never of my country, or of the soldiers–but to live within the same borders as people who had so little compassion and sensitivity, let alone gratitude.

Now, you see ‘Support Our Troops’ bumperstickers and magnets on so many vehicles. That heartens me. Whatever our feelings about the war itself, the soldiers are serving, giving up years out of their lives, often far away from their loved ones and the place they hope to come back to. Some of them won’t make it back at all, others will bear the mark of conflict for the rest of their lives.

Count your blessings. You’ll probably find you’re pretty well off, all in all. You can protest. You can dis the President. You can even burn a flag. (But you’d better not let me see you doing it. :) ) You can go where you want to, vote as you please. You don’t have to wait hours in a long line for a chance–no guarantee, just a chance–to buy bread. We have so many blessings, in fact, that we take them for granted.

When you see a soldier, thank him or her.

And while you’re at it, thank the soldiers of other generations, too. If it hadn’t been for the World War II vets, God only knows what Planet Earth would be like now. Hello? They saved the world!

So, to all those who serve, and those who have served:

THANK YOU. From the bottom of my heart and the core of my soul, thank you.

Moose Visit

Yesterday, while I was writing away, word reached me that there was a moose in the front yard. I’ve seen several, since moving here, but it’s a sight I never get tired of. I dashed down to look, and there was Bullwinkle, just across the driveway, nibbling at my red willow tree. Mooses, it seems, love red willow.

The horses were on high alert, heads high, ears forward. Only Banjo, the young colt, was fearless enough to venture forward to get a better look, and he soon changed his mind about making friends with the new kid on the block. Bernice, Yorkie extraordinaire, barked up a storm–“Mom! There’s something in the yard and it’s BIG!”–but wasn’t eager to make its acquaintance either.

When I was a child, there wasn’t a moose within 500 miles of Spokane. Now I understand there is a herd of about forty in the area. It is heartening to me to know their numbers are multiplying. Not that long ago, bald eagles, too, were almost gone. I see them often now, especially at the lake house. Magnificent.

I’ll be in Ellensburg tomorrow, at Jerrol’s Book Store, from 2-4. My brother, Jerry, his wife, Anna, and their three beautiful children, Jerome, Chyanne and Sydney, live nearby, so I’ll get to see them. Definitely a perk! If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by.

Around 1541, the present state of Texas was called Tejas, a Spanish version of the Caddo word meaning “allies.”