Friday, March 28, 2008

A pleasant surprise

We previously had expected some of our RV friends that had made plans to come through town this month to visit us. Due to some late winter weather and other considerations both couples elected to stay in southern Arizona longer than usual and then head north, bypassing this part of the country. So, it was a great surprise when we received a call from Lew Anderson last night saying that he and Dottie were in Amarillo, Texas, and were headed our way, on their way to visit family in Wichita, Kansas.

They pulled into the Oklahoma City Elks Club, where they are parked for the night, this afternoon. We picked them up a little later and headed to our favorite steakhouse, the world famous Cattleman's in the Stockyards area. After dinner we took a tour of our fair city. Went to Bricktown, the entertainment district that has been built up from the old brick warehouse district east of the downtown area. As we were walking around the outside of our new baseball park, one of the finest Triple A parks in the nation, one of the gate attendants allowed us to slip in an look around even though they were admitting fans for an exhibition game between the Texas Rangers and the Chicago White Sox. We finished off our tour with a visit to the Oklahoma City Federal Building Bombing Memorial. Although the bombing of that building took place in 1995 this was my first time to go down there. It was not as hard to visit it as I was afraid it would be. That may be because we were there after the inside museum had closed and we just strolled the outside grounds.

Tomorrow morning Lew and Dottie will head out for Wichita. We had a good visit and really enjoyed this surprise.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The start of a new adventure

We are still home bound for another couple of months or so. I've decided I need to do something besides sit at the computer all day so I've volunteered to help at the Military Welcome Center at Will Rogers World Airport here in Oklahoma City. I started my first shift tonight in a "training" capacity. Next Friday morning will be my first shift of actually working at the Center.

Will Rogers World Airport is the major airport for the Oklahoma City area and is serviced by many of the major airlines. The other airport in the OKC area, which is a general aviation airport, is named after Wiley Post. Both Will Rogers and Wiley Post were world famous Oklahomans but I've always wondered about naming airports after people who died in a plane crash.

The Military Welcome Center is operated by the YMCA and is a great service to our nations heroes. Most of the people coming through are new Army recruits on their way to basic training at Ft Sill, a little over 80 miles southwest of OKC. The Center also caters to service members who are coming through the airport between flights or awaiting transportation to one of the many military bases located in Oklahoma after returning from leave or arriving on new orders. The new Army recruits come from all over the United States and arrive with a single backpack, a set of orders and a very scared look on their face. They are hosted in the Center until the chartered bus takes them to Ft Sill. We have buses leaving at 6:30, 8:30 and 10:30 each evening but only the new recruits are allowed on the buses since they are funded by the Military Entranced Processing Stations (MEPS). Last night we only had nine people come through, three on each bus. Today they expect about 135 to be coming through.
The Center has several large sofa's, a wide screen TV with DirectTV, computer terminals, games and books available to the service members. Additionally, they have cell phones available if the guys want to make a quick call home to let the folks know they arrived safely. The local Pepsi distributor has put in a large cooler and keeps it stocked with soft drinks. The YMCA provides other drinks, such as juice, Gatorade and teas, available in the cooler. They also purchase snack items and each evening they have Domino's deliver pizza to feed the service members and volunteers.
This welcome center is a pleasant place for our warriors to stop and relax before continuing their journey in the defense of our country. It is an honor to serve these young people and, in our own little way, let them know we appreciate what they are doing. Remember, freedom is not free. If you are able to read this blog entry then you should thank a teacher. If you can read it in English, thank a military service member.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

RV Trip--Short but fun

Well, our time "back on the road" was short but fun. We continued through this past weekend with our RV Club the Birds of a Feather at the Cedar Valley RV Park in Guthrie, OK. We awoke Saturday morning to a fine meal of biscuits and gravy provided by our camp hostess for the weekend, Judy Burks. (Each time the group has a scheduled weekend meet one of the member couples is assigned duty as Host/Hostess. Their job is to coordinate with the RV Park prior to the group arriving, see that there are donuts and coffee on Friday and Saturday mornings, and insure clean up of the party room that is usually provided by the RV Park.)

Our weather had been very good on Thursday and Friday with temps in the 70's and plenty of sunshine. Friday evening a weather front moved in and dumped some rain on us but also lowered the temps by 20 degrees. It was cool and damp on Saturday morning but it warmed up some during the day. That evening we all got together for our usual pot luck dinner. It always amazes me that, although no one specifies a menu nor asks anyone to bring any specific dish, we always have plenty of food and a great variety. As the first pictures shows we had plenty of food to feed our 16 campers.

After dinner we were entertained with some trivia games brought by our hostess. One was a list of advertising slogans and we had to figure out the product. Another was a list of TV/movie characters descriptions and we had to come up with who they were. The last was a list of names of U. S. cities with the letters scrambled and we had to unscramble the letters to determine the cities name. Some of these were harder than others but Joanne and I were able to win all three games. It helps that we are the two youngest in this group and that I have spent a lot of time in front of the television over the years. George, the past president of this group of merry wanderers, had an accident recently and is off his feet. He had to play the games in a reclining position.
Sunday morning brought cool temps but clear skies. The group started breaking up and slowly the motor homes started to pull out of the park. We were next to last to leave and made the 30 mile trip back to the house. By noon we had the coach unloaded and back in the storage lot. It was fun while it lasted but now we are back to our routine of not doing much while Joanne oversees her mother's cancer treatment.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Finally, on the road again--well kind of

We are still pretty much home bound while Joanne's mom continues her cancer treatments. It has now been five months since we returned home from the east coast and have been sitting. Well, we actually are out in the coach and away from home, at least for a few days. Our Oklahoma based motor home club, The Birds of a Feather, is having it's first meet of the year in Guthrie, OK. Although it is only about 40 miles north of our house we are really in an RV park with other RVer's.

We arrived here before noon yesterday and were the second coach to show up. By the end of the day we had seven of the eight coaches here. The other arrived this morning. We started off today with donuts and coffee and some good fellowship with some long time friends. Actually, we have been eating most of the day. At noon one of the members, who lives close by, told us about a new Grill just down the road and claimed they served the best onion burgers around. So, most of us loaded up and went to see if he was right. Sure enough they were great onion burgers. This evening we went the other direction to the town of Guthrie to have dinner at The Stables. This is an old livery stable that has been converted into a fantastic BBQ cafe.

Guthrie is a very neat, old town. In 1907, the year Oklahoma became a state, Guthrie was the original capitol city. There were many arguments in the government and with the people of keeping the capitol in Guthrie or moving it to Oklahoma City. In 1910, in the dead of night a group of state legislators "stole" the state seal and moved it to Oklahoma City, declaring this the new state capitol. As history shows the capitol stayed to the south in the larger city and Guthrie fell on hard times. Now much of it has been refurbished and it is a great city of turn of the century buildings and home. They celebrate the 1889 land run here, state hood day and have many "Territorial" festivals throughout the year, harking back to the days that Oklahoma was actually made up of two U.S. territories, Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Happy birthday to our little Buddy Joe

Today we celebrated Buddy Joe's seventh birthday. He has brought so much joy to our lives over the years. He has the best personality of any dog I have had the pleasure to have. He has yet to meet anyone he did not like. Actually, he thinks that the world was populated with people to pay attention to him and pet him.

Since losing his sister, Brandi Jane, a few months ago he had a hard time adjusting to being not just the only dog in the family but now he was the lead dog. He had always deferred to his older sister. Now he has come into his own and wants to be involved in everything. He also has become much more vocal in letting you know he is there. When we had two dogs they were her dog (Brandi) and his dog (Buddy). Now Buddy has become our dog. He has decided he should be in the lap of which ever one of us that sits down first.

Happy Birthday Buddy and thanks for giving us so much joy.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Happy Birthday to my Mom

Today my mother celebrates her 89th birthday. Won't be able to share it with her, as is the case most years, because my folks are away at the National Farmers Union Convention, this year in Las Vegas.

Mom has done well over the years and all four of her sons are grateful for her for all the years she spent bringing us up. Dad's work took him on the road a lot while we were growing up and most of the child rearing was left to her. We were fortunate to have a mom who could stay home and care for the family. Over the past few years she has seen her eyesight starting to fade and needs hearing aids but she is still the same, beautiful mom that I remember waiting at home as we boys returned each day from school.

Happy birthday Mom and thanks for being there.