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Friday, July 29, 2011

Still Thankful

This was forwarded to me from a recently-retired Soldier in the United States Army. This week I was glad to hear the news that my cousin's son has returned safely from "over there," after his third (or was it his 4th?) tour of duty.
This is too good not to share.

True Story..... 
Luke AFB is west of Phoenix and is rapidly being surrounded by civilization that complains about the noise from the base and its planes, forgetting that it was there long before they were...  A certain lieutenant colonel at Luke AFB deserves a big pat on the back.  Apparently, an individual who lives somewhere  near Luke AFB wrote the local paper complaining about a group of  F-16s that disturbed his/her day at the mall.  When that individual read the response from a Luke AFB officer, it must have stung quite a bit.

The complaint: 'Question  of the day for Luke Air Force Base:
Whom do we thank for the morning air show?  Last  Wednesday, at precisely 9:11 A.M, a tight formation of four F-16 jets made a low pass over  Arrowhead Mall, continuing  west over Bell Road at approximately 500 feet.  Imagine  our good fortune!  Do the Tom Cruise-wannabes feel we need this wake-up call, or were they trying to impress the cashiers at  Mervyn’s early bird special?                        
Any response would be appreciated.     

The response:

Regarding  'A wake-up call from Luke's jets:"  On June 15, at  precisely 9:12  a.m., a perfectly timed four-ship fly by of F-1 6s from the 63rd Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base flew over the grave of Capt. Jeremy Fresques.  Capt Fresques was an Air Force officer who was previously stationed at Luke Air Force Base and was killed in Iraq on May 30,  Memorial Day.
At 9 a. m. on June 15, his family and friends gathered at Sunland Memorial Park in Sun City to mourn the loss of a husband, son and friend.  Based on the letter writer's recount of the fly by,  and because of the jet noise, I'm sure you didn't hear the 21-gun salute, the playing of taps, or my words to the widow and parents of  Capt. Fresques as I gave them their son's flag on behalf of the President of the United States and all those veterans and servicemen and women who understand the sacrifices they have endured.                            
A four-ship fly by is a display of respect the Air Force gives to those who give their lives in defense of freedom.  We are professional aviators and take our jobs seriously, and on June 15 what the letter writer witnessed was four officers lining up to pay their ultimate respects.               
The letter writer asks, ’Whom do we thank for the morning air show'?  The 56th Fighter Wing will make the call for you, and forward your thanks to the widow and parents of Capt Fresques, and thank them for you, for it  was in their honor that my pilots flew the most honorable formation of their  lives.

Only 2 defining forces have ever offered to die for you....Jesus Christ and the American Soldier.  One died for your soul, the other for your freedom.

Lt. Col. Grant L. Rosensteel, Jr.   

Saturday, July 23, 2011


I've just returned from a walk / run this morning. See, in just less than two months I plan to participate in my first 5K run. I started training last week, and today I ran one mile, and walked one mile. I know that doesn't seem like much, but it's a start. Previously this week and last week, I have walked to the Aqueduct trail, then ran along there, turn around, and walk back home. I don't know the distance, but time-wise it was 30 minutes each time. Today I was out for almost one hour, because on the walk back home I was side-tracked by a Garage Sale sign, but there was nothing good there. Walking around my neighborhood, I noticed approximately every-other-house is vacant ~ either abandoned or up for sale. Many occupied homes have let their grass die and the weeds are growing. These are hard economic times. Seeing this, I was just overcome with a feeling of thankfulness and gratitude. Thankful that (at least for now) we have our home, our jobs, and relatively good health. I discovered from my primary doctor that my neck pain is "mostly in your mind, you need to be on anti-depressants" and she prescribed Prozac. I told her to keep her drugs, but then soon after that, coincidently, my pain reduced. I still have pain, but I'm going to live like I don't! Obviously things are not always easy, my job is stressful (that's why it's called WORK), and money is tight but we still have room to cut-back. While I was approaching our home, walking back, I noticed how beautiful the Mimosa tree in the front yard is. Marie and Edd planted this 8 years ago, and it was just a little bitty thing. Now it shades the whole front half of the yard, and the sidewalk. I had to snap I picture of it before this Abundantly Thankful feeling passes, and while I was, my neighbor and I chatted for a while. Today is a good day! Now, I am thankful I have a house to clean, and I have laundry to do, and thankful I have food to cook for dinner. 

Today's hymn: #291
"The heart of my Savior is tender...His love and His grace will uphold me...His strong loving arms will enfold me..."

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Camping 2011

Brothers... Kent and Nolan
I enjoy driving the RV!

Guess Where?

Bakersfield again
We left before sunrise to avoid the heat. The journey was pleasant, driving over the Tehachipi's. The route we take is Highway 138 / Pearblossom highway west to Highway 14 north, then Highway 58 west to 99 north. We saw this hot-air balloon over Tehachapi. This prompted a conversation about parachuting and other extreme activities. I mentioned the new sip-line tour that recently opened in Wrightwood. I would like to do that, maybe for my birthday?
Marie and Edd
We continued on, over and down the mountain, passing the exit for the famous Tehachapi Loop, where the trains make a circle on the mountain while going over the pass. Mark's nephew Justin now works for BNSF and so whenever we see a train we wonder if he's on that one. Eventually, we dropped down into East Bakersfield, passed Weedpatch Highway, and Stockdale Highway, and the cutoff for Buttonwillow. These are all landmarks I remember from my childhood, when visiting my brother. He received a scholarship to attend Cal Statue University Bakersfield. During the two years he was there, my mom or my sister drove me to Bakersfield many times. I often stayed at Denio's, where somehow I got tagged with the name "Egghead." I remember combing hair, and pillow fights, and laughter and fun, and food!
     Highway 99 north emerges soon after Bakersfield, and we head toward Fresno. The drive between Bakersfield and Fresno sped by! We changed drivers in Tulare and got gas, then up the road a ways we discovered a gas station with a Subway sandwich shop, just past Pixley. We should stop there next time.
     We left Fresno and arrived at Oakhurst where we did some last-minute grocery shopping. We bought some sourdough bread and hard-rolls for sandwiches, and I found a giant drawing tablet for the colored pencils I brought along. Change of drivers again, and I got us into camp by 12:30pm.
Mark and Bev at Willow Creek, Soquel, Sierra National Forest, not too far from the Exact Geographical Center of California.
     Nolan was in the creek within five minutes! I soon followed, even though it was very cold. John got in, Troy stuck his big toe in, and Travis put on his trunks, too. Fern was adventurous and went out into the creek to help John build a small dam. We hoped to create a small pool where the sun would warm the water for us. The first couple of days the sun shone bright, and it was even hot, with no clouds. Just a little chilly at night ~ the first night we slept with the camper door open. The rest of the week it was cloudy all day, big white fluffy clouds, but sometimes the sun would peek out and warm us up, but it was "sweater- weather." John and Kent caught some fish ~ a few natives (German Browns) and some Rainbow trout. We roasted them in foil over the coals with Italian dressing ~ delicious! We (Again) packed too much food, and didn't even make beans and cornbread! But we had steak, and chili, and hamburgers, and spaghetti and meatballs, and meatball sandwiches, and s'mores (but no chocoloate) and roasted weenies. And then Fern's breakfasts ~ Fried potatoes and sausage, biscuits and gravy, Mark made pancakes, oh! and the peppered bacon! And let's not forget Flipz, the best snack food!!
     The trip home was quite an adventure! We made it all the way to Mojave, after crossing back over the Tehachapi's, and stopped for gas, and the RV stopped altogether. Conked out, smoke and a broken belt. Frozen compressor, the whole nine yards. We finally found a tow truck available, he came from Lancaster, and towed us to Javi's RV repair in Palmdale. We grabbed our essentials from the RV and climbed in with John and Fern for the trip home. We survived!! And it was a good week in the mountains!