As today is Memorial Day I want to share the news that my BIL is home after serving a year in Iraq. We went with assorted brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews and his Mom to the airport in Baltimore to meet the flight. I am glad to have had the chance to witness the event. We got to the military gate at BWI early.It was kind of sectioned off from the rest of the airport. The walls were stark white and totally bare except for a small display behind plexiglass. There were no flight announcements and no displays with information. It was very quiet.Right after we arrived the waiting area was descended upon by a group from Operation Welcome Home (Maryland). With military precision they adorned the walls with artwork done by local school children and scouts . They assembled goody bags . They took video and photos of the waiting families. These are going on the website and they provide copies of the video free of charge. The crowd grew steadily. A couple of families stood out to me. One was a Mom ( I am assuming ) with 4 little girls and a little boy in a stroller. The girls were dressed in matching red white and blue sundresses and blue and white sweaters. Another Mom ( assuming again) with 2 little girls who were tinier versions of her. They had a poster welcoming home their Major. It had the girl;s' names and hand prints on it and a heart with 2 names inside. The poster was bigger than the two of them put together. What struck me was how calm both mothers seemed to be. How together they were. How quiet the kids were. All the kids for that matter. I think if it were me I would be jumping out of my skin.
One of the Welcome Home volunteers announced that the plane had landed and marshaled all the families to line the walls right outside the exit doors so family would be the first thing the returnees saw. Our group was larger than most and some of us stayed back a bit, not wanting to crowd out another family. We were advised to move because sometimes the group exiting the customs area was so large they had to be funneled out a second set of doors near our position. So we joined the rest of our family near the main door. And we waited. And waited. And waited. The family with the poster was across the aisle from us. Mom in the middle and all three holding up their sign, their gaze fixed solidly on that door, waiting for it to open. Mom kept smiling even as big silent tears slipped down her cheeks. Her cell phone went off.
It's daddy!" She said to the girls. "He's here !" She wiped her eyes.
Finally the door opened, not with the crush of camouflage and duffel bags, as we had been led to expect, but one lone man. I think he was taken a bit by surprise with the applause and the cheers that the crowd had been waiting to give up. And the music from the boombox one of the volunteers had provided. He was good enough to play to the crowd and kneel and kiss the airport floor, even though this was hardly his first step on American soil. This led to another round of applause. There was lots of hand shaking and thank yous as the serviceman made his way past the waiting families and through a phalanx of veterans and volunteers who were there to make sure everyone got welcomed home. Another round of applause was heard from the far end when the serviceman knelt and kissed the ground again. Always a crowd pleaser I guess.
It seemed to take forever between each arrival. The first ones out the door were people who still had connecting flights to make. While they were clearly glad to be met so with such enthusiasm they weren't home yet and were anxious to get on their way.
Finally. a local homecoming. A serviceman cleared the door and immediately made a dash for a pretty young woman, only to be cut off by two very passionate Welcome Home volunteers who were strategically placed to be the first to greet the returning troops. He dutifully stopped and shook their hands before he swept the young lady literally off her feet. When they tried to leave without passing by all the veterans and getting a goody bag, they were firmly redirected.
We witnessed a few more reunions, all wonderful and touching. One mom cleared the doors and seeing her son pushed right past the two greeters. That was an applause getter !
The serviceman we awaited arrived soon after and we got on our way. so I didn't see the ending for the two families who had caught my eye. I hope it was awesome. I can't wait to check it out on the video.
All birthdays are special, but some more than others mark a poignant spot on life's timeline. Like the one where your baby turns 30. (Happy Birthday Sarcasmo Jr.) As well as I know it to be true, sometimes I think I must exist in a time warp because in my mind I think I'm still in my 30's. Then I get up off the sofa and realize that my 30's are but a memory.
We celebrated SJ's birthday the way one would expect to mark the decade. We took her to Chuck E. Cheese. It was a bit more than a 4 hour car ride to her apartment and by the time the CP got there he had some pent up energy to burn off. So for the sake of her downstairs neighbors SJ agreed to party it up at Chuck's. Sarcas-sis suggested we all take some tokens and play to up the CP's ticket take.I gave some to SIL, some to Sarcas-sis and as I put some in SJ's hand she said "Thanks Mom. Best birthday party ever". I had to laugh at that. She's not named Sarcasmo Jr. for nothing.
Of course we had cake. In years past, getting the cake to SJ in it's original condition has proved to be a challenge. Despite careful packing and securing the writing would get smeared or the flowers smushed in the course of the trip. This year we were successful and the cake arrived looking as good as it did when it left the bakery.
The CP proudly carried the cake to his Aunt SJ. He was standing with his back to her so I asked him to turn around so she could see the cake while we sang Happy Birthday. He turned, the cake slid, and landed upside down on the sofa! I wish we had been capturing the festivities on video. so I could share it with you. Or America's Funniest Home Videos. It was a $10,000 moment for sure!
Good thing I had forgotten to bring the candles.
Last week Sarcasdad and I took the CP on a day trip to the National Aquarium in Baltimore. He liked the fish and the turtles and the sharks. He really liked the dolphins, although I am pretty sure his favorite "exhibit" were the escalators. We had 12:45 timed tickets for the 4-D theater, so after lunch we made our way there. We took our seats near the exit doors at the suggestion of the staff who said that small children are sometimes startled by the special effects and have to be taken out the theater. Another family with parents and grandparents and two little ones sat down in front of us. By chance a little girl, I would say about 5 years old sat right in front of the CP, who was immediately interested in making contact. He donned the 3-D glasses we were given on the way in and with a charm belying his tender age of three , told the little girl that he was "stylin". This led to a little back and forth between the two,but eventually the little girl exercised her female prerogative and changed her mind. Bored with the whole thing she turned around and sat down in her seat, giving the CP, the 5 year old brush off. Clearly, seeing this as a challenge, the CP pressed on undaunted. He took both mine and Sarcasdad's 3-D glasses and put them on his face. Not knowing the name of the object of his attentions, he called her simply, "Girl". 'Hey Girl ! Look at me. Hey Girl, am I crazy? Hey Girl". Initially she ignored him. Finally, still facing straight ahead in her seat she said "will you please sit down and leave me alone." There was no mistaking the tone. Even still, Sarcasdad had to tell him that it was a lost cause.
On Sunday the three of us took in the Backyardigans Live Show. We were early and in our seats when the family seated behind us arrived. A decidedly older woman, maybe 9, sat down behind the CP. He peered over the back of his seat at her, occasionally popping up to offer a tentative smile. Finally, right before the show started the lady in question showed some mercy and asked the CP if he liked the Backyardigans. That was all the encouragement he needed. The show started and held all of his attention. When the lights went up for intermission the CP wasted no time. He didn't have ant 3-D glassier this time. But he did have his genuine authentic cowboy hat that his Aunt Sarcasmo Jr. bought him when she was at a conference in Texas. According to his Mom he had been wearing it since he woke up that morning. The CP stood and faced the young woman. He lifted his cowboy hat from his head with a flourish worthy of John Wayne and Gene Autry ,brought the hat to rest against his chest, and said "Howdy Ma'am".
The little lady remained unmoved. I don't know how.
A Little Help Over Here Please
I am having a bit of an issue of my blog. When I go back into my archives, past February 2007, it appears as though the post is missing. Actually, it is there but you have to mouse over the body of the post to make the words appear. The template shows up, as do hyperlinks and tags, although they look like a negative image of the actual post. Any ideas? I did have that server issue mentioned in the previous post, however, the server hosts my blog as a sub domain of my daughter's blog, http://www.sarcasmoscorner.com/. Her archives are fine. I did contact the web hosting company, but they were not able to help. When I go on Blogger and view old posts, they are in the same state. I tried Blogger help, but frankly, their idea of help and support leaves me without that warm and fuzzy feeling.
My girls gave me this blog as a Mother' Day gift. Star got me all set up and she was my technical support. If she were here, I am sure she would have this solved in a jiffy. Left on my own, I have managed to solve most of my blogging issues with a little research. But this one has me stumped.