Gypsy's Travels

Friday, May 28, 2010

True Grit

I was just introduced to Dawn Patrol, a great link to the heart of American military members and their families.
 "Graduation Night - Moon over Yusufiyah" by Greyhawk, via a story from Robert Stokley, is the all too real story of a real family. I stand in awe of a young woman who overcomes devastation to bring honor to her family. So many curl up and would use any one of her reasons, as an excuse to give up. This is an example of the grit that has made our country strong and free. Where are the journalists?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Here Comes Abs....

Summer is almost here and the family travels are beginning. The Colorado hearts are headed down here, scheduled to arrive on Saturday, but Abs flew in last night, avoiding a 2 day car ride. For better or for worse, drama always surrounds my darling 9-year old granddaughter.
Abs had been packed for days and was chauffeured to the Denver airport by Gunner, her father, who was in uniform since he had to go to work when he returned home. The flight to Austin is a little over 2 hours, just slightly less time than it takes me to drive to the Austin airport, get a pass to pick up an unaccompanied minor, then clear security. I left home at 2:30 for Abs' 4:40 arrival, found a favourable parking slot in the airport garage, and proceeded  to the terminal.

 Ooops! Did I lock the car? Back to check and found it locked. Headed back to the building.

Ooops! I left my cell phone in the car. Maybe I could get along without it? It is such a short time. No, ABW will call 20 more times to be sure everything is going alright. Back to the car to pick it up, then back to the terminal building.

I was just about to enter the terminal building when my phone rang. It was ABW, Ab's mom. I was happy I would be able to assure her that I was there to pick her daughter up! The conversation went something like this:
ABW: "Where are you?"
Me: "At  the airport, about to enter the building. Yes, I am on time and yes, I am ready. Did Abs get on the plane okay?"
ABW: "No, she is not on the plane."
Planes were delayed at least 2 hours, so I went home.

Abs and Gunner were at the Denver airport, ABW and the other children were at home watching the Thunderbirds fly over the USAF Academy graduation ceremony, and I was waiting at the airport in Austin. Thank goodness for cell phones! Gradually, I pieced the story together.
Just prior to boarding time in Denver, a tornado warning was issued and all planes were grounded. Abs and Gunner were hunkered in a sheltered area for the duration with Abs wailing - "I HAVE to get on the plane! My grandma is waiting and I don't want her to leave without me! She might go home if I don't get there in time!"  There was weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, but she survived and finally boarded. Later news reports showed snowplows scraping the thick layers of hail off the streets. Abbie reported they had watched a funnel cloud in the distance that advanced on the airport terminal. Did I mention that she is rather dramatic and has a fanciful imagination?

I headed back to the airport. I expected Abs to be one of the last ones off since security for children traveling alone is fairly tight. They require my airline pass and an ID before they release her. Watching intently down the walkway, I hardly noticed several other passengers headed toward me until one woman stopped in front of me and tapped me on the shoulder.
"Are you Grandma? she asked.
"I am to some," I replied.
"Well, I just want you to know that we know all about you and your whole life story," she laughed and pointed to Abs. "Your granddaughter told us everything!"
I did not have time to respond as the women hurried away and Abs appeared. She wrapped herself around my legs, shouting "GRANDMA!"
The flight attendant smiled and assured me she did well in flight.

When flights are delayed, several arrive at one time, rather than spaced out as planned. Thus the luggage area was inundated. Abs contented herself by people watching.
I pulled her back as she headed over to rescue two small boys playing on the carousel "Their mother is with them," I told her, "she will take care of it."
Suddenly Abs pointed and shouted at the top of her lungs, "WOW! THAT IS THE MOST AWESOME PHONE I HAVE EVER SEEN!!"
The poor woman, trying to make a call on her white phone with big, black polka dots, smiled with embarrassment. Abs moved on to converse with the people around her,  then headed to a woman nearby.
"I love the flowers you painted on your suitcase!" Abs told her. After a brief conversation, she returned to me. "They weren't flowers, they were cherries," she said.

 I wonder how many people in the world have black suitcases and how many tie red ribbons around the handles.
"What color is your suitcase?" I asked Abs.
"Black," she answered, "or maybe blue, or maybe grey, or a mixture of black and blue, like a bluish, blackish, greyish....I don't know."
"Will you recognize it? Does it have a ribbon or something on it? How big is it?"
"Oh, I'll recognize it," she said, "it has a furry dog on it."
"Like a stuffed animal, or something?"
"No, it is just a picture," she said.
We watched the suitcases barreling by us on the carousel. I think they had sped them up because they had luggage from four different flights on the same carousel.
"It's that one!" she said pointing to a big, black suitcase hurdling towards us. It was big and it was heavy and it was resting on on a smaller one lower on the carousel. I managed to lift it off before it passed too far.
"No, that's not it," she decided. "It's that one!"
I lifted four heavy suitcases in rapid succession,  before I realized she wouldn't be able to pick her big, black, heavy suitcase from all the others. Did I mention I am a slow learner?
"We might have to just wait and take what is left," I told her. She gave me one of THOSE looks.
We finally found her suitcase. She insisted on carrying everything herself. One very small girl with a pillow and a backpack filled with books, pulling a large, heavy, black suitcase walked with me to the car, chattering the whole way.

"What did you tell all those people on the airplane about me?" I asked her as we drove home.
"Oh, I just told them you were the BEST grandma ever and you made the VERY best grilled cheese sandwiches!" she answered.
"Well, I am happy you didn't say anything bad about me," I teased.
"Now what would I accomplish by focusing on the negative?" she asked. "Besides, the only negative I can think of is that your house is always too cold."
"I think I am ready to go on an international trip with you!" she said.
"Well, I am sure we would never meet a stranger," I answered.

Friday, May 14, 2010

One for Lunch

DH and I discovered "Gia Como's Italian Cuisine" in McAlester, Oklahoma, several years ago and always made it a point to eat there when we were in the area (501 S George Nigh Expy, McAlester, OK).
I "discovered" it again today when I saw "cheap" gas and stopped to fill up while there was a break in the rain. I looked forward to a good meal and sorting through a few good memories at the same time.

DH and I had always enjoyed our stops here. It is a busy restaurant and, although the staff is a bit harried, they are amiable. A pleasant level of cheerful chatter amidst the clatter of china and utensils, lends a happy atmosphere to this traditional restaurant, well-attended by locals and travelers.

The food was very good and still plentiful enough to serve me for two meals. I ordered the Chicken Florentine served over steamed spinach. All meals come with salad, bread, an "antipasto plate" (this one consisted of 4 pickled peppers), a huge meatball, 2 huge ravioli, and a large plate of spaghetti with "special sauce."  The meal was delicious and appeared to be all home made. I just wish I had carried my book in to read while I waited.

For some reason (the tables had not been cleaned after the initial lunch rush?), the staff was not able to seat me in either of the dining areas which were partially filled with amiably chattering patrons. I was escorted to another room where nine rectangular tables were lined up in two rows, with a center aisle. Each table was set for 6-8 people. I was placed at a small round table set for three and situated at the top of the room where, if it had been a meeting, I could have easily directed the proceedings in the room. The two unneeded place settings at my table were cleared. I was utterly alone in this large room.

I waited with my glass of water and a menu, finally deciding that I would leave at a predetermined period of waiting if I had not been attended. Just before the time expired, a server wandered in to gather some take out boxes and, with some surprise, asked if I had been forgotten.
"I was just wondering the same thing," I answered.
She reappeared a moment later to take my order. I was served in due time, and the bill was left on the table.

I finished my meal, helped myself to a couple of take out boxes from the stash on the shelf, and readied myself to go. I paid my bill and left. The food was good. My memories were tainted.

With the increase in single travelers, it would be nice if people dining alone were offered the opportunity to share a table with others who were dining alone and would like company. A convivial table where people could come and go and enjoy some conversation, if desired. It would also prevent one person from taking up a seating for several. Almost anything would be better than dining alone in a room prepared for 100.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

An Afternoon of T-Ball

He's almost five and he might be small, but he is determined!

Grandpa would be so pleased to see this lefty taking an interest in baseball.
He knocked this one way out in the field.
The 2nd time around, it was getting cold outside but he had warmed up his swing.
Hold your tongue just right and you can make it!

Sunday, May 9, 2010


What a shame some people require a day set aside to "guilt" them in to honoring the mother that brought them into this world, or the person who filled the role of "mother" in their lives. The same goes for fathers. I hope you honor your mother every day and not just one day each year. This is circulated under the authorship of "Anonymous" or "Author Unknown" but it sounds like Erma Bombeck's work. I don't know who wrote it, but it bears repeating.

Somebody said it takes about six weeks to get back to normal after you've had a baby......
somebody doesn't know that once you're a mother, 'normal' is history.

* * *
Somebody said you learn how to be a mother by instinct ...
somebody never took a three-year-old shopping or had a child stuff beans up his nose .

* * *
Somebody said being a mother is boring ....
somebody never rode in a car driven by a teenager with a driver's permit.

Somebody said if you're a'good' mother, your child will 'turn out good'....
somebody thinks a child comes with directions and a guarantee.

* * *
Somebody said you don't need an education to be a mother....
somebody never helped a fourth grader with math.
* * *
Somebody said you can't love the fourth child as much as you love the first ....
somebody doesn't have four children.
* * *
Somebody said the hardest part of being a mother is labor and delivery....
somebody never watched her 'baby' get on the bus for the first day of kindergarten ...
or on a plane headed for military 'boot camp.'
* * *
Somebody said a mother can stop worrying after her child gets married....
somebody doesn't know that marriage adds a new son or daughter-in-law to a mother's heartstrings.
* * *
Somebody said a mother's job is done when her last child leaves home....
somebody never had grandchildren.
* * *
Somebody said your mother knows you love her, so you don't need to tell her....
somebody isn't a mother.
Sadly, in spite of everything, I miss my mother...

Happy Mother's Day to my daughters and my daughter-in-law. Thank you for all my wonderful grandchildren!

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Snake Tale

Several years ago, DH related his story of the snake he found in the back yard.

"It was THIS long," he said, holding his hands about two feet apart.

Over the years, the snake in the story increased in size to the total length of his outstretched arms.

"You laugh," he complained, "but I saw it! I trapped the head with a hoe and it almost didn't get away."

His story was foremost in our thoughts when my grandsons found this skin, shed by a snake....on my back porch!

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