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

INDIANA: LAND OF THE HOOSIERS

I have often wondered how the people of Indiana got the nickname “Hoosiers.” There are MANY theories how it came about. Here is one of the more “colorful” stories: There was once a contractor named Hoosier employed on the Louisville and Portland Canal. He preferred to hire laborers from Indiana. They were called “Hoosier’s men” and eventually all Indianans were called Hoosiers. If you want to know more just Google “how people from Indiana got the nickname Hoosiers.” 😉

Since COVID, I haven’t seen my older sister much in the last 2 years. Jack and I decided to stop in Spencer, Indiana, on our way back from the northeast states and visit. Peggy, has lived there most of her married life. Peggy and her husband, Ed (whom she met when she attended Indiana University in Bloomington), have been married 47 years. Ed grew up in Indiana, so I guess that makes him an original Hoosier!

We stayed at The Retreat at Hickory Hills campground a little north of Spencer, IN. Peggy called and wanted us to experience their Apple Butter Festival. Also, she wanted us to see her twin granddaughters (Abi and Emma), who are seniors in high school, in the marching band, march in their final Apple Butter Festival parade. We were able to extend our stay for a few more days. 👏👏👏

The whole family was there to cheer on the Owen County Marching Band right in front of Peg and Ed’s home on Main Street.
Several of us made signs.
It was a really HOT day, so the band didn’t wear their full uniforms.
They’re identically twins; PLEASE don’t ask me which one is which! 😉

We went to McCormick’s Creek State Park one day for their annual BBQ & Blues Music Festival. Both the BBQ and the music were great. Another day we went there and met up with the whole Hines crew for their monthly Family Game Day. They had rented a pavilion, and we had delicious food and a wonderful visit with all of Peg and Ed’s kids, grandkids, and extended families. If you’re in the area, McCormick’s Creek State Park is Indiana’s very first state park and a beautiful place to visit.

Another place we visited was Cataract Falls, the largest water fall by volume in the state. The falls were actually pretty close to our RV park, so Peg and Ed came up to visit us at the RV for most of the day. Cataract Falls was really a beautiful place with the added bonus of an old covered bridge over Mill Creek. It consists of two sets of waterfalls separated by about 1 mile. Both falls consist of a series of drops. The total height of the Upper Falls is approximately 45 feet. The Lower Falls is about 30 feet.

Peggy and her husband, Ed.
Here we are on the covered bridge. L to R: Jack, me, Peggy, and Ed.

When we returned to the RV we played cards and visited. Later that afternoon we decided to build a fire even though it was a hot September day. We wanted to roast marshmallows and make S’mores. They were SO good!

Ricky and Lucy wanted to help Peggy play cards.
Lucy stayed and helped Peggy.
Getting ready to the start the fire even though it was 90+ degrees! 🤣
Finally! Enough hot coals to roast the marshmallows..
Time to put all the ingredients together!
Time to eat S’mores!!

Another thing we did that week was eat out a lot. Two of our favorite places were Hill Top Restaurant and Millgrove Country Mart and Cafe. Hill Top is closer to Spencer and is a really nice place. The food there is DELICIOUS and they serve all the sides “family style.” Millgrove is north of Spencer and north of our rv campground in a small community known as Quincy. We ate brunch there one morning. The food was fantastic and the service was superb! HOWEVER, Our favorite place was Owen County Winery.

L to R: Me, Jack, Robin (Peggy’s oldest daughter), and Peggy.

We played more cards, laughed until our sides hurt, and truly had a wonderful time during our week in Indiana. It was SO good to reconnect with my wonderful sister!

From Indiana we headed back to Missouri for two months of visiting our parents, family, and deer season (of course!).

So for now ….. “On the Road Again!

Betty

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