Sunday, August 17, 2014

For Ardy on her Big Day

  It's funny how time seems to get away from you, things come and go, and life does go on regardless of what goes on in the world. When we were having our deck sanded just recently I got talking to the guys doing the work, and they asked how long we had lived in this house. I had to do a little thinking and said we moved in in 1974 when Rachel was just a tiny baby, and this is 2014, so it must be almost 40 years. Gosh, it doesn't seem possible that the little girl that Jan and I took home from Waconia Ridgeview in August 1974 is turning the big 4 0 today, if you're in Japan. In between she has been all over the world, so to speak, married, brought three children into the world, and is now serving as kind of the domestic commander of the USS Curtis Wilbur, just without the classy uniform, and salutes. Someday I hope that you can look out on your family scattered across the United States, and maybe the world and be as proud of them as I am of you, and your sister, and brother. I suppose that it is the impossible dream of every parent to be able see what happens to family in the future years, but we all know what a futile desire that is. We all went to the Threshing Bee yesterday, and sat around on the driveway at twilight and got to going over the night, or early morning you were born. It's amazing how lots of details stick in your head about times like that. We were headed into the hospital at the same time as a co-worker of mine, who had had a few too many, and broken his arm playing night football, and the weather was nice too. This will be another letter in lieu of a card which can be recycled. We just want you to remember how much your Mother, and I love you, and can't wait to see you again face to face. Oh ya, Happy Birthday on this your 40th, can you believe it?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Escorting PFC Gordon to his home

   Yesterday afternoon and evening I had quite an experience with the Patriot Guard. We helped escort PFC Gordon's remains across southern Minnesota from Fairmont, where we took over from the riders from Rochester, and took him to South Dakota. Waiting for the group from Rochester to arrive was kind of like the old days with the PGR, just hanging out, getting our flags unfurled, talking to "civilians", watching bikes returning from Sturgis refuel at the station we were assembled at, and waving at vehicles honking as they went by. Dave Muhde stopped by our house on the way to Fairmont, and we spent some time catching up on things, and I took him through the garages to show him our collection. Things have been a little slow in our sector lately so it was good to see so many familiar faces when we arrived in Fairmont. Naturally the escort coming from Rochester to Albert Lea to Fairmont was running late, so by the time they arrived we were almost an hour behind the original schedule. Then the fun parts start when the procession arrives with police escort and local sheriffs stopping traffic, standing a flag line and saluting the casket as he passes by, then quickly stowing our flags and getting riding gear on. Dave, and I, and four others formed the escort pulling out ahead of the vehicle carrying the casket, and we followed a Minnesota Highway patrolman. We ran about 75 in the left lane all the way to the first South Dakota rest stop, about 100 miles or so. By the time we got there it was dark. The South Dakota crew was there waiting for us to arrive. They would escort them to a funeral home in Sioux Falls, and today they will escort him all the way to Rapid City! Anyhow the scene at the rest stop was a repeat of Fairmont, lots of hand shaking, and b s ing about the ride etc., thanking the patrolman. We formed a line and the vets in the line saluted the casket as he continued his journey home to Canada. I headed home in the dark carefully scanning for deer all the way, while a near full moon kept me company, sliding through broken clouds. I rolled into the driveway around midnight, definitely the latest night riding that I have done in a very long time. All in all a very good deed was done by all involved. Sometimes I hate to say things like this are fun but some of our missions are very satisfying to say the least. If anyone is interested check out the website, it is quite a story.