The Battle of Stones River was fought from December 31, 1862 to January 2, 1863. It only lasted 3 days, however, in terms of Civil War battles, it had the highest percentage of casualties on both sides. More than 83,000 troops took part in the battle and there were 23,000 casualties. Families’ homes were destroyed. Livestock was killed. Murfreesboro, Tennessee’s economy was destroyed for decades to come. It was a very brutal battle.
If you didn’t know this was a battlefield, you would never imagine today that so much blood and so many lives were lost here. Many believe the battlefield to be haunted. There are accounts of loud explosions like a cannon being fired, mysterious soldiers appearing and then disappearing, the sound of soldiers marching and even a headless horseman. Some believe that there are literally thousands of spirits roaming there. It is said that the spirits don’t know they’re dead due to the violent nature in which they died.
The Slaughter Pen, which is Stop No. 4 on the battlefield walking or driving tour, was given its gruesome name because a third of the Union division and three brigade commanders were killed in the cedar forest there after Confederate soldiers took them by surprise. Most of the accounts seem to happen in this area.
The park is open daily from 8 am to 5 pm and is free to the public. You can tour by car, bicycle, or on foot. It is an excellent place to go hiking.
The Stones River Battlefield is one of only 32 military parks or national monuments in the nation preserving Civil War history and it is an important tourist resource because of that.
There are several re-enactments throughout the year. For a calendar of events and more information about the battle go to https://www.nps.gov/stri/index.htm
I pulled off the road and took this photo through my windshield for my cousin.
While wisteria is truly breathtaking to look at, it’s important to keep a watchful eye on it or it will take over everything.
As you can see in this photo this wisteria plant has traveled up this large tree and is getting close to those power lines.
Today marks 9 months since I quit smoking. That’s pretty huge for me considering I started smoking at the age of 13 in the school yard. I remember the day and the person who gave me that first cigarette. There are defining moments in everyone’s life. They’re called defining moments because for better or worse, they have an impact on our life whether we like it or not. I think anyone who has ever been held captive by this addiction will agree that smoking is for worse.
Of course, at the time, I was too young to know that this would turn into a disgusting and unhealthy habit that would plague me for decades to come. Back in the 1970’s people were just beginning to realize the devastating effects of cigarettes.
Aside from the health effects the cost of cigarettes has increased astronomically since then. My first pack of cigarettes cost .45 cents. Nine months ago I was paying almost $7 dollars for a pack every day. Do the math on that!!
Other than the two times I quit when I was pregnant, I have been a smoker. Pretty much every memory I have from my life includes smoking. Cigarettes became my old “friend”. They were there for me in good times and bad times. During the bad times, and there have been many, I smoked like a chimney.
I have friends that I would get together with on a Saturday afternoon and our sole purpose was to sit around drinking and smoking. If we went out to eat we’d have to pick a place where we could sit outside. We were hard core smokers. We would literally sit outside in the middle of winter with our coats on in the freezing cold just so we could smoke those cigarettes. We all had horrendous coughs and were constantly clearing our throats, yet we denied that the cause was cigarettes. We always blamed allergies.
As I grew older I began to loath myself for smoking. I’d wake up every day and swear that I wasn’t going to have a cigarette that day. By noon, I was back at it. My inner voice became a bully constantly screaming at me about how I was weak and a failure.
I disgusted myself. I hated that everything about me had the stench of cigarette smoke; my breath, my hair, my clothes, my car, my house. The nicotine was embedded in my skin. It was everywhere. I hid my habit from my dates, my employer, and my children. Although in retrospect I doubt I was fooling anyone. I didn’t like the way I looked when I looked in the mirror. I couldn’t tell if it was my imagination or not but I thought my skin seemed to have a grayish tinge to it.
So what was it that finally broke this hold that cigarettes had over my life? Nine months ago today, I went to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned. During my exam, the dentist performed a new procedure called a Cancer Screening. Afterwards, he came back in and spoke to me and said he’d had his staff make an appointment for me for the next day to see an Oral Surgeon. He told me not to get myself upset over this but he thought he saw a mass and just felt it was better to be safe than sorry. Now anyone with half a brain knows when a doctor makes an appointment for you with a specialist that quickly, that’s serious.
I went home and of course I obsessed over it. How could I do this to myself? Yes, my life had problems but I still had so much I wanted to do and see. I didn’t tell my children because I didn’t want to worry them needlessly. I cried to my dog, Lucky. He seemed to listen.
The next day I got up and made my way to the Oral Surgeon’s office. They were all so very kind and sensitive. The surgeon came in and examined my mouth and said I was fine. Phew!! What a relief!! When I got in the car I cried like a baby.
I haven’t touched a cigarette since that day. I quit cold turkey. I had escaped unscathed this time and that was it for me. Me and my “friend” were going to have to part ways. It was hard in the beginning to not reach for that cigarette but I’d remind myself of how much harder surgery and chemotherapy would be. I loved looking online every day and seeing how my body was progressing during those early days.
I had to put an end to my Saturday afternoons with the girls. That didn’t go over too well at first but eventually they became supportive.
It took a long time for the nicotine to get out of my system and let go of me. It didn’t want to let go. It played mind games with me. There were days when I didn’t feel so great and I would think that I’d feel better if I could just have a cigarette. I wondered if I was always going to feel this way. I questioned my decision to quit.
Then one day it just happened. I can’t pinpoint the moment or the day. It was so gradual. My energy slowly returned to me and so did the color in my face. I don’t have that cough any more. I don’t think about having a cigarette with my morning coffee or after eating any more. Days go by where I don’t think about cigarettes at all.
It’s a miracle!
I’ve always loved waking up early on a Saturday morning. There’s just something so peaceful about the world at 5am. Even Lucky, my dog, doesn’t want to be bothered following me around this early in the morning. People are home in their beds sleeping on Saturday mornings so there’s no rush hour traffic. Just me, the birds and my coffee.
This is the best time for meditating and giving thanks to the universe. It’s when I get to feel at one with nature. The air is cool and clean and I love taking deep breaths in between sips of coffee. This is when I get to nourish my soul. The new day holds promise and I can do with it as I please. Or I can do nothing at all. This time and this day belong to me.
I savor the moments as dawn begins to break and the sky begins to light up. It makes me feel a little melancholy. Soon the world will be waking and my quiet time will be intruded upon by lawnmowers and cars driving by. I hear a rooster cock-a-doodle-doing which makes a dog start barking. It has begun.
This happy little girl left us one year ago today. She was 13. If ever there was a gentle soul, it was Lollypop. Just saying her name made me smile.
Lost this little troublemaker in 2015. Kitty Boy was also 13. He liked to hide behind a wall and wait for one of the dogs to walk by and then jump up and scare them. It was the funniest thing to watch.
And now there’s one. Lucky will be 15 in June. Another troublemaker when he was a puppy! So playful, lovable, loyal and faithful.
Time passes quickly. Everything in life changes. Love the ones who love you.
1947 – I love the way everyone dressed back then! It seems like it was such a classy time. That feature photo was taken at a club in Manhattan. Reminds me of a photo from “The Shining”. I just love the way the men have on tuxedos and the women are wearing corsages. My parents are on the left in the back. So young and beautiful!
There’s something so bittersweet in seeing your parents in their younger days. This photo was taken in Astoria, Queens, New York. My mom, Catherine, and my dad, Joe, just 22 years old here. This is the same year they were married.
They met when they were 13 years old. For my mother, it was love at first sight. For my dad, not quite so much. She was a tomboy at 13 and as she told it, he would literally cross the street to the other side if he saw her coming. He wanted nothing to do with her. That didn’t stop her though. Luckily, she had my uncle Joe in her corner. She stopped dressing like a tomboy and uncle Joe would invite her along when he did things with my dad. In this way my dad got to know her. The rest, as they say, is history.
They married on September 7, 1947. They had what was called an “Italian Football Wedding”. As you can see there are trays and trays of sandwiches. It is my understanding that during the course of the wedding, someone would yell out, “Hey, I need a ham sandwich”, and someone would hurl one across the room to him like a football. They said it was a blast and everyone had a wonderful time!
Life just seems like it was simpler back then. I’m sure it wasn’t and they had their problems. Just glad to have these priceless photo treasures.
Tennessee Miller Coliseum