Day of Memorial (Jour des Soldats Morts au Champ d’Honneur)

Memorial Day

This week’s pairing is a Memorial Day tribute and, though France is known for its wine, this week we’ve made a change.

Given the famous Invasion of Normandy scene in this outstanding WWII picture, we thought the farm cider from Normandy would be much more appropriate for our pairing.

They don’t make much wine in Normandy, as the weather is too volatile. They are world-renowned for cider, however.  So we made the adjustment.

We are pairing Cidre Fermier Brut with Saving Private Ryan.

This beautiful, less-trafficked area of France is a great place to take the Normandy Cider route while you reflect on World War II.

This delicious, dry cider is produced in the Calvados department of Normandy. This is the same region that is home to the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial which appears in the opening and closing of this picture.

Possibly in some way you can participate in the joy the local farmers must have felt when they were liberated by the GIs and shared their cidre fermier with them to celebrate!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend !
(Jour des Soldats Morts au Champ d’Honneur)!

Death and Ascension

Dying and Ascending!

Ascension Day was celebrated on this day for centuries. It has now been moved to this Sunday so that more people will participate.

In the mid-1980’s as my grandfather (Pepere) faced his possible death suffering badly from emphysema, he had a great fear of dying. All of us have this terrible fear, if we are honest with ourselves. And the loss of breath itself is terrifying.

So, he would sleep in his rocking chair so that he might breath better. But the fear inside him was not subsiding. Then one night he had a vision, or a sense, something or Someone beyond himself that calmed this fear in a flash of insight. Somehow he was totally reassured that he could pass through the darkness in peace and that all would be well. And his fear ended.

He did pass away a short while later.

Ironically it was on this day, Ascension Thursday. I don’t remember the actual date, just the day. The funeral director said that Pepere had cheated the system and hitched a ride on the Ascending Jesus!

Of course, there are all kinds of things wrong with that theology, but not so completely wrong, really. I feel that he indeed ascended that day more than 30 years ago!

And every Ascension Thursday, whether they celebrate it anymore on that day or not, I see Pepere rising on those coattails, and it gives me comfort and joy to think about it. What a great gifted memory to leave with all of us!


Eye-Rolls With Love!

Is this rock music?


“Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes.” — Jim Carrey

Or vice-versa, this person behind you could be anyone…

The point is, we need those eye-rollers in our lives, desperately!!  They are our toughest critics. They’ve seen and heard EVERYTHING out of us. They’ve grown accustomed to our idiosyncratic goofiness. That’s why it feels so good when we make them laugh! Because it’s rarely achieved without great effort.

But that’s what’s so great about our loving eye-rollers. They make us that much better. They are our immoveable and many times unshakeable ROCK!

Make that rock giggle, though, and we know we are gettin’ somewhere!

So next time the person who’s got your back rolls their eyes at you, even if you just sense it from behind, thank ’em! And try harder!

The quote being supplied by a great comedian coupled with my goofy home life prompted me to use humor as the example. But I dare say that it’s applicable in all areas of life. Don’t you think?

Music Heals

Music Overcomes Dementia

This will be my simplest post.

You simply have to watch this short film on dementia and the power of music.

It may change the life of you and your loved ones in ways you cannot imagine. 

God bless them and you as well with the gift of music!

Please Check it out!

UnGrace – Broken Pots and UnLife

Broken Pots and Unlife

“Like a spiritual defect encoded in the family DNA, ungrace gets passed on in unbroken chains.” – Philip Yancey

Many people live as broken earthen vessels (pots) and experience unlife or a life that is little more than a struggle to survive.

This unlife is really not the direct result of financial poverty, but of emotional and interpersonal poverty. It’s more like a dark cloud that sits over a family for generations. 

I’m sure that you’ve seen it, if you have not personally experienced it. It can be caused by domestic violence, by alcoholism, by negativism, or more basically, by neglect.

So, how do we deal with this ungrace and unlife? I think the most straightforward way is by finding grace and life wherever we can and intentionally sharing it. It could be by smiling at someone, by lending a listening ear, by spending moments discovering another person, by sharing stories, by positive banter and humor. It isn’t really that hard to get started. It requires only personal presence and peace.

Roses in the Alley chooses to share this by building a community of art – pictures, film, stories and music.

Become a part of RitA and breathe life into unlife; infuse grace into ungrace.  Join us on Facebook or Instagram, and subscribe to our email. And tell us your story! Take the time to be a light to someone in the alley!


Lights in the Alley (Chicago 2016)

The Bugle Awakens!

Bugle of the Angels


The film and wine pairing for the weekend is Le Clairon des Anges with Awakenings.

The wine’s name translates to The Bugle of the Angels.

Some of my favorite styles of wine in the world are from the Rhone  Valley in France. And some of my favorite movies are of the platonic love variety, like this one.  Robert de Niro and Robin Williams make a great pair in this inspiring true story.

As an instrument, the bugle is most famous for its wake up call. The name of that tune is “Reveille”, french for “WAKE UP!!” The bugle has blared wake up to the troops for centuries.

Without divulging too much, there’s a great scene in this movie when members of the mental hospital wake up to their favorite melodies.  I will say that tunes that prompt the patients’ awakening are much more pleasant than the bugle’s blare the soldiers’ awaken to, but the theory still strikes the same chord…….

Music flat-out wakes us up.

Let the spice notes from this fruit-driven Cotes du Rhone enliven your senses while you watch Awakenings.  I hope you feel awake and alive after it!!