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So, am I in one, I ask. I finally got plants and seeds into my Pot Garden, that was a month ago. Many thanks to my son-in-law Greg for the pots and potting soil. Gotta give credits where credits are do. I may need soil again next year.
I’ve not written a post for over a month. We’ve been in quarantine since 19 March. I’ve only gained 5 pounds. We have not contracted any virus. Well, there’s something to be thankful for. “O Lord that lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.” (William Shakespeare)
Stephen King had a great saying – “Don’t let the sun go down without saying thank you to someone, and without admitting to yourself that absolutely no one gets this far alone.” Seventy Seven years on this earth, thank you, thank you, thank you, I say!
We have a grandson in NY City, young, single, works for Viacom and has been by himself in a 600 square foot, 4’th story walk up eating Deli food since this all started. I’m guessing he spends his spare time cleaning. Never have I seen a single, twenty something guy, as neat as this. David, you’re amazing!
Granddaughter Samantha, Capt. USAF, stationed in Germany, living in the Netherlands says: COVID-19 has changed a lot, but it was sure nice to have half occupancy in the amusement park near our house. Valkenier is a very family oriented park and all kids are now old enough to ride. Mia counts as an adult and is able to partner up with Ana until she grows a few more centimeters.
Daughter Kathryn and son in-law Jeff are in the process of moving back to this side of the river. If all goes well with the VA and Bank they will be one mile away from us. Settlement is supposed to take place on 7/8/20.
Jeff has been working from home during this Pandemic thing. Kathryn has remained quite busy coordinating Population Health issues for PRMC. Jeff was out with Abby and Antwaine fishing recently and displays a nice Cat fish below.
Son Matt and daughter in-law Beth were to go to England to celebrate their 25’th wedding Anniversary. No, they didn’t make it, but they did celebrate.
Daughter Sarah and husband Greg took a few days off and ventured to the family Ski Lodge at Elk Mountain, Pennsylvania. Below is their wake-up and sunset views the past two days.
As for the Rooster and wife, we’re still crowing and cackling. We’re a bit more confined, aren’t we all. We did get out to dine at a local Brew Pub,Evolution Craft Brewing’s, Public house. It was outside dining at the time, but most enjoyable. The Mrs had the Johnny Burger and the Rooster had the Fish Tacos. All was consumed and washed down with a glass of Chardonnay for the Mrs and a Lot 3 for the Rooster. The good Lord graced us with blue skys and a gentle Eatern Shore Breeze. It doesn.t get much better than that. https://www.evolutioncraftbrewing.com/
Wow is all I can say, these times they are a changing. “Hey, don’t get too close.” Those words led me to think, it might be a good time to live in a cloistered society, or perhaps on an island in the middle of the Ocean. Son-in-law Jeff had that island experience during the month of February, while working in Koror, in The Republic of Palau at the American Embassy. While checking on the Covid-19 whereabouts yesterday, I learned there was not one case of the disease in Palau.
For the here and now Grannie and the Rooster are practicing self isolation, washing our hands and not touching our face. Daughter Sarah has been getting our necessaries while she’s out shopping. Today we received facial tissue, paper towels, green beans, and diced potatoes. A bottle of Cab and Chardonnay from the wine isle capped off the shopping list. Perhaps a toast at dinner time and thank you Lord that we are Corona free.
We visited a short time on the porch with Sarah, well separated mind you, but not for long. A temperature of 43f and blustery winds drove our visitor from the other side of the river away rather quickly. Thank you our middle child.
Should you be interested to learn a little about this island nation of Palau, check out the Embassy fact sheet @: https://pw.usembassy.gov/our-relationship/policy-history/
Tristan da Cunha
Courtesy of Wiki, should you want real isolation try, Tristan da Cunha (/ˌtrɪstən də ˈkuːn(j)ə/), colloquially Tristan, is a remote group of volcanic islands in the south Atlantic Ocean which includes Gough Island. It is the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world, lying approximately 1,511 miles (2,432 km) off the coast of Cape Town in South Africa, 1,343 miles (2,161 km) from Saint Helena and 2,166 miles (3,486 km) off the coast of the Falkland Islands.
The territory consists of the inhabited island, Tristan da Cunha, which has a diameter of roughly 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) and an area of 98 square kilometres (38 sq mi), and the wildlife reserves of Gough Island and Inaccessible Island and the smaller, uninhabited Nightingale Islands. As of October 2018, the main island has 250 permanent inhabitants who all carry British Overseas Territories citizenship. The other islands are uninhabited, except for the personnel of a weather station on Gough Island.
Tristan da Cunha is a British Overseas Territory with its own constitution. There is no airstrip of any kind on the main island, meaning that the only way of travelling in and out of Tristan is by boat, a six-day trip from South Africa.
Cloistered Men and Women of the Catholic Faith.
Enclosed religious orders of the Christian churches have solemn vows with a strict separation from the affairs of the external world. The term cloistered is synonymous with enclosed. In the Catholic Church enclosure is regulated by the code of canon law, either the Latin code or the Oriental code, and also by subsidiary legislation. It is practised with a variety of customs according to the nature and charism of the community in question. (Wiki)
Have you ever thought of the cloistered world of a nun. Could this be another safe venue in our world? https://www.tipsonlifeandlove.com/self-help/going-inside-the-secret-world-of-cloistered-nuns
Life in the Netherlands
Sam, Zed, Mia, Ana, Dax, and Zoe
32 days 🎶into the unknown🎶
Positives – Zoe is potty trained, Dax has learned to ride a bike without training wheels, Zoe has learned how to ride a Strider bike.
Activities – Leprechaun trap, snow globes, virtual playdates, calming bottles, aquariums, bike rides, and invented numerous games on the trampoline (this one has been all Zed, and the kids love it)
Challenges – Still don’t know what I’m doing for dinner every night, have given barely any thought to my Master’s assignments, learning how my kids learn best, coordinating Zed and my work schedules, making sure we don’t miss school assignments for Mia and Ana, entertaining 4 very active kids who require social interaction from people their age
Grandson David in NY, NY
Stuck in a 4th floor walk-up in Lower Manhattan. The Rooster shall expond on this isolated lad in the next post. Hang in there David, down in lower Manhattan.
Connecticut Entertainment at son Matt’s house.
For some reason or an other when I saw the flower, I reflected back to 1967 and a song from that era sung by Scott McKenzie: https://youtu.be/bch1_Ep5M1s
How many of you readers were around with this 24 year old Marine at that time? “Welcome Home,” to all who know the meaning!
Scott left this world back in 2012 at the age of 73.
On this absolutely gorgeous day on Delmarva, I find my Shotgun passenger walking about his immaculate manicured lawn with his Grip ‘n Grab picking up Pine Shats and Pinecones that lie upon the ground. The Loblolly Pine has a habit of littering after a few windy days.
“Good morning Harrison.” I get a greeting in return, and my Monday companion returns to his present task. There appears to be no interest in ending this task. Harrison often becomes overly focused on a job or desire to accomplish the mission.
We chit chat about his morning trip to Physical Therapy at the M.A.C. center, where we might go today, or anything else he might wish to share. Nothing, just more pick-up-sticks with the Grab ‘n Go. Where will this day take us, I wonder.
With the 5-gallon nursery planter pot in one hand, the Grab ‘n go in the other, this man has a choreographed rhythm to his work. Slowly he makes his way towards the driveway and the P/U truck that will hall his days catch away to the dumpster at the nursery, where we first head each day on a trash rum.
Harrison’s wife, Sylvia, stands at the side door, and she mentions she’s got to get going and has things to do. “what did she say?” He asks. Yes, my friends, there are hearing issues here. The three of us have the same infliction, and this brings about some comical situations from time to time.
We gather the trash for the local dumpster, get a bottle of water each, hydration is essential, you know. Did you know we should each be drinking eight (8) glasses of water each day? Web MD has an easy to understand this concept at https://www.webmd.com/diet/how-much-water-to-drink#1-2
On this day, we head East to Georgetown Delaware, former V.P. Joe Biden’s home state. I must drop off my Tax info to the accountant. Georgetown has a neat tradition after an election year. There’s a great newspaper article on this if you care to read it.
Would it not be wonderful if our Congressional representatives in our nation’s capital could do this.
After our stop in Georgetown, we head toward Lewes, DE. Lewes is part of the round trip Delaware Bay, Cape May – Lewes Ferry. We grab some lunch at the local Cracker Barrel. What did Harrison eat, you might ask. Chicken and Dumplings with a side of Mac & Cheese. The chauffeur on this day had two Pork Chops, and sides of green beans, and Collared Greens. I had two of the greens. Why I got two I have no idea, I ate them both, however.
For those of you with no clue what Greens are, here are two sites for you, one is a recipe, the other healthy eating attributes. Greens are a historically Southern dish.
Recipe for Greens – https://www.southernliving.com/recipes/southern-collard-greens
Health Benefits of Greens – https://facty.com/lifestyle/wellness/health-benefits-of-collard-greens/?style=quick&utm_source=adwords&adid=337424091997&utm_medium=c-search&utm_term=collard%20greens&utm_campaign=f-h-usa-health-benefits-of-collard-greens-desktop&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI0r6a1MCD6AIVx5yzCh0gQAM3EAAYASAAEgKqfvD_BwE
We would pass many large fields on this day, and my companion was in his glory. The fact that the sun shone brightly and the temperature reached 68f, 20C for those in the rest of the world. Will we ever join the rest of the world
We closed this day riding along the beach in Lewes with its condos and beach rentals on the bay. On our way out of the area, I spied a Jerky Store, the first I’ve ever seen. I’m a mostly a Keto follower, and Jerky is a great treat, of course I had to stop. So many choices, so little time. If you like Jerky, check out the web site for a Jerky sore near you. A new store opens in Ocean City, MD this summer.
I’m asked from time to time about the two Roosters that greet you at the top of the page. They are both ours, Amos is the Brown and Andy the white. They are gentle giants, protective of their five ladies and keep a vigil constantly for the ever dangerous Retailed Chicken-Hawk.
Where in the world is Jeff Berthiaume.
We are hoping he may be on his way home. With the rapidly growing Corona virus and Pandemic fears, we wonder, will he arrive home on the date scheduled. Jeff has been away the entire month. He’s made stops in Sydney, Australia, Wellington, New Zealand, and, most recently, the Republic of Palau. He’s had the opportunity to do a little fishing and send some photos. Thanks Jeff, I attach a few of them. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palau
Another hop across the Ocean.
The wife and daughter Kathryn flew the Atlantic to help Sam, Captain, USAF get through a rough week with the flu, Masters level paper due, Husband away on a deployment, and four wee ones, seven and under.
Thanks to the winds of Storm Dennis, my two ladies made what is usually a six-hour flight in under five hours. In contrast, those traveling in the opposite direction took as long as eight hours. Their description of what was a harrowing landing in Ireland, sounded like something I’m glad I didn’t have to experience. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storm_Dennis
Both Sam and her USAF Captain husband Zed are graduates of the USAFA. Sam is a Support Services officer, and Zed is a pilot. They are presently stationed at a NATO base in Germany and live a few miles away in the Netherlands.
The ladies survived their child care experience and arrived back home safely a week ago. The girls did get to spend twenty-four hours in Dublin, Ireland during a layover. Even in the heavy rain and wind at the time, they got to walk about the Temple district among the inversely pointing umbrellas. Rumor has it they also indulged in something called a Guinness, whatever that is. https://www.dublintown.ie/temple-bar/
On their return the girls arrived on time in Philadelphia, where I met them. Kathryn retrieved her car from the parking lot and headed south towards home. She would be at work erly on Monday morning. The wife and I headed north towards Staten Island, NY. We had a family Funeral Mass to attend the next morning for a deceased Brother in-law, Rest in Peace Mike. To say the little lady was a bit disoriented from the jet-lag, and sudden obligation, is an understatement. One week later, I think she’s back in the necessary time zone. When all is normal, she’s back quilting, that she has resumed.
We had just returned from this same flight route on New Year’s Eve. Six of us spent the holidays with Sam and Family in Garmish Partenkierchen, Germany. During that trip we touched feet or tires in Germany, The Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Lichtenstein and England. What goes around, and goes around, and goes around.
Next up for the little lady is a house sitting stent in Connecticut next month. The few, the proud, the Marines, have nothing over this lady and her endurance. Me and the dog will keep the home fires burning.
Sleep well my friends, the elections are coming up, vote early, vote often.
Semper Fi , theRooster
For the past five months, I’ve worked for a local Nursery. I spend two, sometimes three days a week as a driver and companion to one of the past owners. For the sake of this blog, I’ll call him HL. This man is the kindest and most pleasant man to spend a day with. I must also mention, he’s quite witty and shares a lot of history with me.
This is not my first rodeo doing this type of thing. Back in the late nineties, I was a driver and aide to the late James Brady and his wife Sarah. Jim was the Press Secretary to President Reagan at the time of the assassination attempt on March 30, 1981. I’ve written a blog in the past of one little tidbit during that time. Jim was another one of those people with a unique wit.
HL’s son is now in charge of the nursery business. In the early twenties HL’s father immigrated to America from the Netherlands as a Bulb salesman. He got this whole nursery thing started. The nursery as it’s known today started in 1962 with the first propagation in one unheated, deep cold frame.
HL loves traveling about the Delmarva Peninsula, looking at land, specifically farmland, as well as historic homes and buildings. We’ve also gone to the Pokomoke Discovery Center, where we learned about River Otters and the Harriett Tubman Underground Railroad Historical Site.
A past Thursday found us at a long time employee’s Retirement and Birthday Party. The Company electrician was hanging up his non-conductive Electrical Plyers for a well-deserved cruise in the Carribean with his wife of 64 years, Judy. Kern was also celebrating his 84’th birthday that day and ending his 48’th year at the nursery.
So this old writer is still staying busy, gathering material, as he moves around the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia. Oh, and did I mention, HL buys lunch each day, there is a story in that process at most every meal. I’m thinking I’ll have to start a Gastro info blog from time to time. Have a great Sunday everyone.
Our eldest daughter writes an article periodically for one of our local newspapers. Some time ago I wrote an article in my WordPress blog about making your bed as a first thing to accomplish each day. That Blog included the speech by Navy Seal, Admiral William H. McRaven. His speech was delivered as the commencement address to the graduates of The University of Texas at Austin on May 17, 2014. This article tells you about those sheets you should use to make that bed. I hope you enjoy her article. Thanks Kathryn for making this an easy blog.
Florence Nightingale’s words help the healing environment
By Dr. Kathryn Fiddler
Saturdays at my house meant we had two choices: get up early, find your bike and get out of the house; or stay inside and clean with mom.
As often as we could, my brother, sister and I got up and out early, but a few times we stayed in and helped. We vacuumed, washed the floors, cleaned bathrooms and changed all the sheets. As much as we complained, changing sheets was our favorite part.
As a second-generation nurse, mom was trained to make a clean bed, and she made sure we knew how as well. She always said clean sheets were important to good health.
We would strip the beds and she would wash the sheets, then hang them on the clothesline to dry. Once they were dry, we would carry them to our bedroom.
The memory of carrying crisp fresh sheets to my room still makes me smile and brings me comfort. We pulled the sheets tight, made hospital corners on the ends and smoothed out the blankets.
Today I still relish my fresh sheets. I change them weekly and find great joy in slipping under the sheets in a freshly made bed.
Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing who was born in 1820, also believed in the importance of clean linens. While supporting soldiers in the Crimean War, she taught the nurses the importance of environment to healing.
She educated them on the healing value of fresh air, quiet surroundings, clean food, water and clean sheets. Her work led to reduced illness and death for British soldiers in the
war. Her work also inspired the training, for centuries, of nurses to come.
Today, 200 years later, the World Health Organization and the American Nurses Association has named 2020 the year of the nurse, in honor of the birth of Florence Nightingale, and in recognition of all nurses and midwives throughout the world.
Nurses are the largest group of healthcare professionals in the United States and have been named the most trusted profession for 18 years in a row.
Here on the Delmarva Peninsula, we have nurses in hospitals, in providers’ offices, in health departments, community centers, insurance companies, hospice, skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers, home health, veterans’ agencies and so many other places.
They have roles as mothers, fathers, caregivers, neighbors, spouses, and they support healthcare delivery and community outreach every day.
The skills, knowledge and roles of the 21st century nurse have all evolved since Florence Nightingale, but her philosophy of caring for the whole person and the value of cleanliness and disease prevention continues to be critical to good health today, and among our core values of nursing.
Dr. Kathryn Fiddler, DNP, MS, RN, NE-BC, is Vice President for Population Health Management at Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury.
Not long after my retirement from the CT State Police in the late eighties, my wife and I relocated to the Eastern Shore of Maryland and settled in the Village of Allen.
The home we purchased was originally owned Beverly and Laura Hitch, parents of Richard Beverly Hitch. Richard would be one of the missing crew aboard the USS Greyback, lost at sea off Okinawa on February 27th, 1944.
Richards mother, Laura Hitch would at one time turn this home into a Boarding House. It’s been said on Sundays past, you could smell the fried chicken cooking on the stove as you passed by on Allen Rd. Laura Hitch was often seen on the overhanging roof sweeping Sycamore tree bark as it shed each year. I would soon do the same after we moved in. We, like Laura, would entertain the public a year after moving in, turning our home into a Bed & Breakfast.
It is my and other family members belief, along with guests, who have felt the presence of others in the home. We have always thought that presence was Laura Hitch herself. Now that the resting place of Richard has been located, I can only wonder, was he there with us also? Ghosts, Spirits? Stay tuned, sometime soon I’ll expound on these super natural meetings.
Just last week after the Grayback was located, our town Scribe, Melissa Bright sent out the following email to the Village Mailing list. With her permission I attach that email. Melissa, you need to start a Blogging life.
Dear Allen Family – because Allen IS FAMILY –
Today we honor all veterans, but on this day there is news about a specific Allen veteran. Richard Beverly Hitch, son of Beverly and Laura Hitch, and brother to Thornton Hitch, was lost at sea during WWII aboard the submarine U.S.S. Grayback, where he served as an Electrician’s Mate 1st Class.
Today there is a report that the Grayback has been located. All these years, it was unknown where it lay. Recently, a Japanese amateur researcher discovered a single-digit error in the latitude and longitude of where it was believed the Grayback went down. Using this information, the Lost 52 Project, which hunts for missing ships, found the Grayback in June off the coast of Okinawa, where it went down on February 27th, 1944. The Grayback was on its 10th mission, and was among the 20 most successful subs in the U.S. Navy in terms of enemy ships destroyed. It is reported that her career was ended that day in February when a 500 pound bomb made a direct hit on her conning tower.
When these lost ships are found, they are usually considered hallowed ground, the final resting place of the sailors who went down with them. There has been no mention of any attempt to recover remains.
If I can get away from work for a few minutes, the church bell will ring at 11:11 a.m. this morning. There are markers in Richard’s memory, Punchbowl, the National Cemetery for the Pacific in Hawaii, and also here in Allen with his family, under the cedar tree in the Eastern end. At At 5:30 this evening, we will lay flowers at Richard’s marker in the Allen cemetery. Anyone who is interested is invited to come.
Richard was 28 years old when the Grayback went down. Here is his photo from Findagrave.com:
Here is a story on the finding of the sub: https://www.whio.com/news/national/submarine-missing-years-discovered-off-japanese-coast/od5azFCGi1dfhCismb7N3L/
There are two Find a Grave pages for Richard, one for each memorial site: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/35050802/richard-beverly-hitch
Throughout my life, I’ve lived in quite a few places. South Jersey was my home for the first eighteen years. In case you don’t know, everyone in New Jersey lives near an Exit, that Exit is off either the NJ Turnpike or the Garden State Parkway. Some folks way up north will quote an exit off I-80 which runs E to W from the George Washington Bridge to the Delaware Water Gap bridge at the Pennsylvania line.
So, after that bit of geography, the better part of my early years was spent close to exits #3 & #5 just off the NJ Tpk. And Exit # 4A off the Garden State Pkwy. Thanks to the United States Marine Corps, while stationed at the Earle Ammunition Depot in Colts Neck, NJ, I also lived a short distance off Exit #8 of NJ Tpk.
After graduation from high school, the Marine Corps moved me about to assignments in South Carolina, North Carolina, Washington, DC, New Jersey, Japan, and California.
I married my wife of 54 years while in the Marine Corps and upon discharge we resided in northern Maryland for a year before moving to Connecticut and ultimately a career with the Ct State Police, retiring in 1988.
Upon retirement, the little woman wanted to relocate to the northern Maine coast. As for me, I was looking to travel south to the Gulf Coast of Florida. We wound up compromising and found the Delmarva Peninsula and the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
We were Yankees no longer, we now live below the Mason – Dixon line and are Southerners. There is a lot on conjecture as to the exact placement of those markers. Some folks locally say Mardella Springs has an original marker, others will tell you Delmar is the line of demarcation. In either case, we’re about 20 some miles south of that infamous line.
So, for the past 31 years, we’ve lived as Southerners. During that time, we’ve met some characters along the way. For this story, I’m calling the featured character Charlie.
Charlie lived in on a small wooded plot in a small trailer just off the main road that ran from Allen to Trinity, MD. This was not a terribly long stretch of road, only 3 1/2 miles to the old Trinity Church cemetery near our present home. Every Christmas and Easter someone comes by and places plastic flowers on two or three of the grave markers.
It’s been told that Charlie, back in the day, as they say down here, once was a store owner. Some kind of malady occurred in his life that caused him to give up the store and live a life of solitude., thus the trailer in the woods.
Charlie could often be found in the local country store sitting on an old wooden milk carton under a big fan. Charlie would be talking about the past with the store’s proprietor for the better part of a morning or afternoon, especially in the summer. You would always know when Charlie was there, his dog Brownie would be lying outside awaiting his return. Inside the store, lying about somewhere, was the resident Collie, Chief. He was the companion of the store owner and resident historian, who we shall call Butch.
When we first moved to Allen, since named Eden by the Federal Government and Postal people, there was no trash pickup or mail delivery. The post office was part of that general store and the Post Master or Mistress as in this case just happened to be Butch’s mother and he most often referred to as “Mother.” She went by a slew of names depending on who she was referring to her at the time. I always called her “Yes, Ma’am.”
Often while depositing trash at the “Transfer Station” one might run into Charlie. Growing up in New Jersey, we called them “Dumps” and would always make a “Dump Run” when making a deposit. I guess down here I just made a transfer, stuff to be used by someone else, I guess.
At times Charlie could be found conversing with the manager of the Dump, his name was Slim. Slim was there from opening to closing, watching over the three dumpsters, two for household trash, one for metal. There was no recycling back in those days, just household trash and NO construction materials were allowed. You were in big trouble should you transfer building Materials. Those had to go to the big Dump in Salisbury where you were weighed and had to pay a fee.
Often times, Charlie’s dog Brownie could be found in one of the dumpsters, looking for some munchies he was. You always had to examine before making a drop into the bin. There was a rare occasion when Charlie himself could be found in a dumpster. More than once this writer had to hold up the throw of a bag into the bin for fear of injuring a dog, stray cat or Charlie himself.
I would spend a lot of time chatting with Slim and Charlie from time to time. Slim was always up to date on what was biting on the hook in the local waters. With no Barber Shop in town, the Dump would often be a place to keep up with the local goings on, along with the Post Office and General Store of course. That old store made the best sandwiches I’ve ever tasted.
At one point in the past, old Charlie showed up at the Dump with a second dog. This dog was also brown. I asked Charlie what the dog’s name was, Charlie responded, “Brownie II.” How simple and appropriate I thought.
As time passed, Charlie appeared one day at the Dump, and the elder Brownie was not with him. I asked where the old dog was, and Charlie responded, “dead.” I wondered what happened? I asked Charlie and he replied, “Metalosis.” Not familiar with the term I asked, what is Metalosis? Charlie kinda chuckled and said, “The metal in the bumper of the car that struck him, what done it.
Life, South of the Mason Dixon Line, with the Rooster.
A blogging friend’s husband from down Carolina way, sent me a condensed version of a great undertaking by the folks in North Platte, Nebraska this past summer. I looked around as I often do and found this old article from the Wall Street Journal. All credit goes to Bob Greene, and the WSJ and, North Platte Telegraph for this content. Be you Red or Blue, here’s a feel-good story for you.
A Soldier Never Forgets North Platte
When service members pass through this small town in Nebraska, the community comes together to thank them.
293 Comments By Bob Greene July 22, 2018 4:01 p.m. ET
Community and service members in North Platte, Nebraska. Photo: Stephen Barkley/The North Platte Telegraph
‘We were overwhelmed,” said Lt. Col. Nick Jaskolski. “I don’t really have words to describe how surprised and moved we all were. I had never even heard of the town before.”
Col. Jaskolski, a veteran of the Iraq war, is commander of the 142nd Field Artillery Brigade of the Arkansas Army National Guard. For three weeks earlier this summer, the 142nd had been conducting an emergency deployment readiness exercise in Wyoming, training and sleeping outdoors, subsisting on field rations. Now it was time for the 700 soldiers to return to their base.
A charter bus company had been hired for the 18-hour drive back to Arkansas. The Army had budgeted for a stop to get snacks. The bus company determined that the soldiers would reach North Platte, in western Nebraska, around the time they would likely be hungry. The company placed a call to the visitors’ bureau: Was there anywhere in town that could handle a succession of 21 buses, and get 700 soldiers in and out for a quick snack?
North Platte said yes. North Platte has always said yes.
The community welcomed more than 700 service men and women, North Platte , Nebraska, June 18-19. Photo: Stephen Barkley/The North Platte Telegraph
During World War II, North Platte was a geographically isolated town of 12,000. Soldiers, sailors and aviators on their way to fight the war rode troop trains across the nation, bound for Europe via the East Coast or the Pacific via the West Coast. The Union Pacific Railroad trains that transported the soldiers always made 10-minute stops in North Platte to take on water.
The townspeople made those 10 minutes count. Starting in December 1941, they met every train: up to 23 a day, beginning at 5 a.m. and ending after midnight. Those volunteers greeted between 3,000 and 5,000 soldiers a day. They presented them with sandwiches and gifts, played music for them, danced with them, baked birthday cakes for them. Every day of the year, every day of the war, they were there at the depot. They never missed a train, never missed a soldier. They fed six million soldiers by the end of the war. Not 1 cent of government money was asked for or spent, save for a $5 bill sent by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The soldiers never forgot the kindness. Most of them, and most of the townspeople who greeted them, are dead. And now, in 2018, those 21 busloads from the 142nd Field Artillery were on their way, expecting to stop at some fast-food joint.
Photo: Stephen Barkley/The North Platte Telegraph
“We couldn’t believe what we saw when we pulled up,” Col. Jaskolski said. As each bus arrived over a two-day period, the soldiers stepped out to be greeted by lines of cheering people holding signs of thanks. They weren’t at a fast-food restaurant: They were at North Platte’s events center, which had been opened and decorated especially for them.
“People just started calling our office when they heard the soldiers were on their way,” said Lisa Burke, the director of the visitors’ bureau. “Hundreds of people, who wanted to help.”
The soldiers entered the events center to the aroma of steaks grilling and the sound of recorded music: current songs by Luke Bryan, Justin Timberlake, Florida Georgia Line; World War II songs by Glenn Miller, the Andrews Sisters, Jimmy Dorsey. They were served steak sandwiches, ham sandwiches, turkey sandwiches, deviled eggs, salads and fruit; local church groups baked pies, brownies and cookies.
Mayor Dwight Livingston stood at the door for two days and shook every soldier’s hand. Mr. Livingston served in the Air Force in Vietnam and came home to no words of thanks. Now, he said, as he shook the hands and welcomed the soldiers, “I don’t know whether those moments were more important for them, or for me. I knew I had to be there.”
“It was one soldier’s 21st birthday,” Lisa Burke said. “When I gave him his cake, he told me it was the first birthday cake he’d ever had in his life.” Not wanting to pry, she didn’t ask him how that could possibly be. “I was able to hold my emotions together,” she said. “Until later.”
When it became time to settle up—the Army, after all, had that money budgeted for snacks—the 142nd Field Artillery was told: Nope. You’re not spending a penny here. This is on us.
This is on North Platte.
Mr. Greene’s books include “Once Upon a Town: The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen.”
Today it is raining cats and dogs as a big front moved east across the Delmarva. This has been a good opportunity to catch up on blogs I follow on three different sites, WordPress, Google, and Medium. I’ve mentioned previously that I’ve been keeping a Journal for a number of years, it will now take on a different look as I encompass some of Barry Davret’s ideas.
Each half hour I get up and take to a 40 step walk, ten times through our downstairs. Two rooms, Living/Dining combination, and a Bedroom. We also have a bathroom on this level. Yes, small by most standards and a big step down from our 3500 sq/foot previous home. We do have an Annex of 900 sg/feet that is also a guest house.
Upstairs there is the Sewing room where the quilts are put together, a bedroom where the quilts are laid out, my Office and another full Bath. We also have a loft, attic, garret, whatever is your pleasure. When the Grands were Wees we would throw the lot of them up there to sleep. “Go TO SLEEP”!
See, much like that daily documenting, things are stimulating memory. I’m just doing it here in the Blog. So, here you go with a couple of sites to pull up. Especially take a few minutes for https://medium.com/@Barry.Davret/how-an-experience-journal-will-turbocharge-your-daily-writing-and-ease-your-anxiety-9e1961eb3ec3
“A life worth living is a life worth recording”. Jim Rohn
Jim Rohn, the philosopher who has left an indelible legacy of time-proven principles says:
How An“Experience Journal” Will Turbocharge Your Daily Writing And Ease Your Anxiety by: Barry Davret
All You Need Is A $2.00 Notebook and 15 Minutes Before Bed.