Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day

 We went for a walk on the Ventura Pier this evening, the evening before Memorial Day.  Flags were placed all up and down the pier - it really was quite a beautiful sight.

Now for a story to help us remember this very important day ...

It was raining “cats and dogs” and I was late for physical training.  Traffic was backed up at Fort Campbell, KY and was moving way too slowly.  I was probably going to be late and I was growing more and more impatient.

The pace slowed almost to a standstill as I passed Memorial Grove, the site built to honor the soldiers who died in the Gander airplane crash, the worst redeployment accident in the history of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).

Because it was close to Memorial Day, a small American flag had been placed in the ground next to each soldier’s memorial plaque.

My concern at the time, however, was getting past the bottleneck. Getting out of the rain and getting to PT on time.

All of a sudden, infuriatingly, just as the traffic was getting started again, the car in front of me stopped.  A soldier, a private of course, jumped out of the pouring rain and ran over toward the grove.

I couldn’t believe it!  This knucklehead was holding up everyone for who knows what kind of prank.  Horns were honking.  I couldn’t wait to see the butt-chewing that he was going to get for making me late.

He was getting soaked to the skin.  His BDU’s were plastered to his frame.   I watched as he ran up to one of the memorial plaques, picked up the small American flag that had fallen to the ground in the wind and the rain, and set it upright again.

Then, slowly, he  came to attention, saluted, ran back to his car, and drove off.  I’ll never forget that incident.  That soldier, whose name I will never know, taught me more about duty, honor, and respect than a hundred books or a thousand lectures.

That simple salute --- that single act of honoring his fallen brother and his flag --- encapsulated all the Army values in one gesture for me.  It said, “I will never forget.  I will keep the faith.  I will finish the mission.  I am an American soldier.” 

I thank God for examples like that.

And on this Memorial Day, I will remember all those who paid the ultimate price for my freedom, and one private, soaked to the skin, who honored them.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A windy Santa Barbara beach walk with Nana (and Emily)

We decided to visit Nana one Saturday and went on what turned out to be a very windy beachwalk.  Nonetheless it was a beautiful walk.

Another one bites the dust ...

One of our baby avocado trees has gone to Avocado Tree Heaven ... someone sadly decided to run the stop sign across the street from our house today and ended up taking out one of our baby avocado trees (just a little over a year old).  I came to find out this afternoon that the person ended up being arrested for DUI as well as child endangerment.   And, all around 10 or 10:30am!  Now, I'd say that's not the way to start a 3 day weekend.

That sad little stick sticking out of the round used to be our avocado tree filled with leaves ...
but alas no more :-(

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mostly Matthew ...

Just a bit of this and that (yup, mostly Matthew) ... Matthew as the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, and then with a moustache just for fun for the Cast Party!

Shaking the Ventura Mayor's hand when he received an Honorable Mention for a poem he wrote in response to the picture below.

Shooting targets with his BB gun ...

And, reading with Tiger ...

Monday, May 10, 2010

A wonderful Mother's Day weekend in Monterey!

Yes, it was absolutely wonderful.  We spent Mother's Day weekend in Monterey at the Best Western Monterey Beach Resort (thanks to credit card mileage!).   We had business to deal with on Friday (AND I got to spend some time with wonderful friends in the evening), but then on Saturday we had the WHOLE day in Monterey!  We hit Toasties (our favorite breakfast place) in Pacific Grove for the 2nd time on Saturday morning (we ate there on Friday morning too), went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and ate at The Thai Bistro II!  Yum yum!  It was a day that seemed to go on forever, but in a good way.  Sunday was spent packing up and heading to Hollister for church, then driving to Clovis for a short visit with Ellie Belly Jelly and then heading the rest of the way home.  Here's just a few pics from our weekend ...