A JOB WELL DONE BY AN AMERICAN PATRIOT

It has been twenty years since our youngest son enlisted in the Navy. Mike felt an urgent calling to serve his country right after 9/11/2001, as did many Americans. Just like most parents, we felt the usual fear of our son being placed in harm’s way, but we also felt very proud of him.

So, off he went to boot camp. Next he attended aviation electronics school followed by SERE training in Maine (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape). Then he became an aviation electronics specialist on the E6-B Mercury that flies for the Navy. After many years of doing that job, he decided to go back to school and became a flight engineer on the same aircraft. Through the years he worked hard, advanced through the various ranks, received numerous accommodations, and finally became Chief Petty Officer. Before we knew it, twenty years had flown by, and, at the ripe old age of 39, Mike decided to retire.

The Navy set his retirement ceremony for Friday, December 3rd. This worked out really good for us because we were planning to be at their house for Thanksgiving. We just extended our stay for another week so we could attend. My sister, Lisa, and her husband, Rob, brought my 91+ year old dad from St. Louis to Oklahoma City to attend the ceremony.

The Navy’s retirement ceremony is quite impressive. The retiree is in charge of and makes all the decisions regarding the ceremony. Mike chose and arranged for everything: who would be part of honor guards and presentation of flags, the main speaker, who would sing the national anthem, who gave the opening and closing prayers, and who would speak or read the traditional “Old Glory” and “The Watch.”

Here are some of my pictures from the ceremony along with a few captions.

All ready to go.
The shadow box and solid oak chest for all of Mike’s Navy uniforms and memorabilia.
This was our retirement gift to Mike. A friend of his made it, and I must say the craftsmanship is impeccable.
Mike leads the “Arrival of the Official Party.”
Parade the Colors.
Our oldest son, Jeff, sang the National Anthem and did a wonderful job.
Guest speaker and mentor to Mike, Edward J. Primeau, USN (Retired).
Presentation of Awards by CAPT Jessup.
Passing the Flag Ceremony was completed while “Old Glory” was read. It was a quite moving ceremony.
As the flag approached the end of the line, Mike joined the line.
Finally the flag is passed to Mike, and he …..
….. walks over …..
….. and presents it to his mom – ME! Talk about an emotional moment for me. I felt so honored and proud. Then I thought about those moms and wives who have received a flag folded like this under more sorrowful conditions. However, I was filled with love and respect for this son who served his country so honorably.
Mike’s wife and children also received special recognition and awards for their sacrifice and service in supporting Mike’s career.
Mike gave a WONDERFUL retirement speech. It had the appropriate amount of sentiment, humor, memories, and encouraging advice for those younger Naval personnel in attendance.
Mike prepares to be “relieved of the watch.”
This friend of Mike’s did an EXCELLENT job reciting “The Watch.”
Being relieved of the watch.
First, Mike exits through the honor guard.
Mike returns to escort his family through the honor guard.
All the family in attendance: (L to R) Jack, Betty (me), Jeff, Kylee, Mike, Jennifer, Jackson, my 91 year old dad (Gary), and my sister and her husband (Lisa and Rob, who brought my dad down from St. Louis).
Just foolin’ around after the ceremony …..
….. trying to look tough. Maybe these are a couple of future Navy officers.

What an incredible ceremony! If you ever get a chance to attend a Navy (or any military) retirement ceremony, I would suggest you go. You won’t regret it.

So, for now ….. “On the Road Again!”

Betty

RVing and the COVID-19 Virus: Is There Light at the End of the Tunnel?

I know that you all have probably thought that I have dropped off the end of the earth. It has been a long time since I posted anything. I am sorry about that.

This post will probably NOT be the most interesting post I’ve ever written. Therefore, I feel the need to occasionally post some “fun” photos for your viewing pleasure. 😉

Ricky and Lucy are always playing.

When October 1st came around, we left our good friends, Darrell and Malia, in Wisconsin and headed back to Missouri. We spent about seven weeks in Missouri visiting family.

When the time came, many of the “guys” in the family met at the farm in Thayer for deer season. The wives had some much needed “down” time; well, at least I did! When you live in an RV, time alone is a rare, precious commodity. While in Missouri, we enjoyed time with our parents sharing meals, watching TV, and playing cards, of course!

This is the new, homemade deer stand. It is huge!

Look how BIG it is.

This is our grandson, Jackson, enjoying the deer stand’s protection from the cold wind.

While in the STL area, Ricky and Lucy were old enough to have their surgeries so there would be NO puppies. Of course, they had to wear the “cone of shame.” They actually did pretty good adjusting to the cones while still chasing each other around my dad’s house.

Around mid-November we headed south to Foley, Alabama (warmer weather). We chose Foley so we wouldn’t be too far away to return to see family for Christmas. Foley is about 10 miles from Gulf Shores, AL, and the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico. We’ve been in this area several times before, so we really didn’t need to “go exploring.” We walked along the beach numerous times and had a relaxing time.

This COVID-19 virus thing has really changed the way people do their RV/camping now days. Everyone is cautious and stays at least six feet away. Five o’clock Happy Hour is not so happy anymore. Most places have indefinitely suspended planned, group activities. People are still very friendly, but it’s just NOT like it used to be.

I was beginning to think COVID had gotten the best of us all. However, with the first vaccines being given recently to healthcare workers, I think we can reach “herd immunity” sooner than later! There just might be light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel! 👏👏👏

I am happy to report that Jack and I have avoided this virus, and we hope and pray we can continue to do so. For the most part, all our family, on both sides, have been fortunate to avoid it. I’m sad to say that we’ve had friends who have gotten it. Some had SEVERE symptoms and will have a lengthy recovery time; others have not been so fortunate and have passed away. 😢 We have been greatly saddened by each call we have received informing us of COVID infections and deaths. May God help us all to stay healthy and get rid of this virus! 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

We did make a “shortened” trip for Christmas Day. We went to Edmond, OK, to see our youngest son, his wife, and our grandkids. Our oldest son decided not to come because he would have to fly to get there. He didn’t want to risk being exposed to COVID on the plane and passing it on to us. Also, we did not make our usual “rounds” in Missouri because we didn’t want to risk exposing OUR 90+ year old parents if we picked up the virus. It was definitely an unusual Christmas. Here are some photos of Christmas Day.

Jade (left) and Kylee (right).

Jackson (in the background) and Mike’s wife, Jennifer (foreground).

Jade

Kylee and Finn, their little Maltese.

Jackson

Our two sons: oldest, Jeff, is on the phone screen and youngest, Mike, is in the foreground.

Our annual family Christmas photo: COVID style!

On January 1st we headed to Florida in order to get further south, visit with some dear friends (after we isolated for the appropriate number of days), and see our oldest son. We will be here until April 1st. Hopefully, we will be doing some visits to outdoor places, so I can blog about them.

So, for now ….. “On the Road Again!”

Betty

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