Saturday, November 24, 2012

Another Trip to Muleshoe

I went to see my sister June at the end of September. At that time I didn't know if I'd ever see her alive again. It was a pretty tough trip. On November 7 hospice called to let me know that it would be likely that June could die any time. We couldn't get to Muleshoe until November 15th. I guess June was holding on until we could get there because we saw her late on the evening of the 15th and then she died just before midnight that night. So I did get to see her one more time. She couldn't talk to me but I got to talk to her!

The next day, Friday, we had a simple burial. Because of infection issues we wanted to have everything done quickly to minimize exposure to as few as possible. It was just Bob and me, the grave digger and the funeral director and his wife and my friend Tyrone. Tyrone and I were in the same High School class. I didn't know that he had been visiting and praying with my sister regularly. And never did I ever imagine that he would be with me at my sister's burial. Small town life is just wonderful that way in providing close relationships.

A simple burial

That evening we were blessed with a beautiful ending to the day....

Sunset in Muleshoe, Nov. 16

Saturday we worked on plans for a memorial and Bob and I went to my childhood home. Sad to say someone had recently broken into the house. It's been empty for a year now. I'm not sure why now but there you are. Boxes of stuff were upended making a pretty big mess. They took a small TV, a suitcase with a laptop inside, a dresser and a valet. We don't know how much other stuff is gone but my brother and I had already gotten most of what we wanted from the house. I'm looking around in my own house with new eyes. Why do we keep so much useless memorabilia?!

The memorial was Sunday, November 17th. I was happy to find out that there were people visiting my sister all along that I never knew about. I got to meet her hairdresser, fellow sorority sisters, church family and co-workers from Cannon AFB. People stood up and told about my sister. It was very personal. Again, small towns can be a big plus. Folks pitched in to make it a nice memorial.

My brother and me

Now it's just my brother, Clifford, and me left in my immediate family. He lives near Tyler, Texas. All we have left in Muleshoe is a house......and some good friends.

Gray home near Muleshoe


Monday, November 12, 2012

A Belated Welcome Home

Last Wednesday Fort Sam Houston hosted a 'Welcome Home' ceremony for Vietnam Vets who never got any sort of welcome at all. I was fortunate to be able to volunteer with the Military-Civilian Club ladies to assist in the event. Lots of veterans came and family members and friends along with them. It was a great day that warmed my heart. All the units at Fort Sam were represented on the Field.

Staff Post Parade Field

As people began to gather we volunteers worked to get them to their seats and to pass out flags, programs and souvenir medals.

Folks began to gather  

I stood in back during colors so this is what I saw of everyone proudly saluting during the National Anthem.

National Anthem

One guy up in the stands held this flag designed to say 'thank you' to the troops. I have no idea if it is an official design but it did the job in any case!

Thank You Flag

After the requisite speeches and certificate bestowals all the active duty troops and civilian visitors lined up on each side of the street leading to the Quadrangle and we cheered all the Vets along the way. Many had tears in their eyes and I had goosebumps just being there. It was wonderful.

Cheers for the Vietnam Vets

At the Quadrangle there was a planned reception with guest books to be signed for a time capsule. I made doubly sure I got my name in there to mark the day!

Guest Book

I'm so grateful I get to participate in such events. Being a military spouse can be tough at times but events like this make it ALL worthwhile!!

Finally, a proper welcome home!


Sunday, November 4, 2012

More of Kyoto

Getting around without a car consists of a LOT of walking (or biking but given they drive on the left I was not willing to even think about biking) and figuring out train schedules. Karyn and David seem to have this down. And you have to be careful about getting on the right train. On a trip years ago returning from Hiroshima we ended up on the express train to Tokyo. We did not want to go to Tokyo but the train doors locked before we figured out what was happening. Katie did a lot of bowing and apologizing. I don't know if they had a stop scheduled or if they stopped to let us off but in any case we did not go all the way to Tokyo!

So....outings generally began with a walk to the nearest station if I was lucky, only a few blocks. Karyn and David live amidst about 3 stations. This is the closest one. I cannot remember the name.

Nearest train station

On this particular day we went to what I think is the main station in Kyoto. See that oval in the middle? It's a good meeting place.

Main train station  

Now for a cool escalator ride all the way to the top......

Last of the ride up

.......where we saw a bamboo garden and great views of Kyoto. Kyoto is in a big valley among the mountains (hills?) and is around 1.5 million in population, about the same as San Antonio.

Bamboo garden
Not a lot to the garden but the view was great. And now to look back down to the lower levels.

Looking down

I love the design of this building. There is only one arched area on the left and the one on the right is a reflection. There is a stage next to that red thing in the center of the picture. The stage is about half-way down to the bottom level. All the steps above the stage also serve as seating in the amphitheater formed there. Pretty cool.

On the way to a local shopping area we passed this building. Karyn doesn't think it fits in at all but I kind of like it. Every city needs one of these!

Kyoto's 'needle'

Guess what I found in the shopping center?! Fiber!!! Made my day. 8^)


Knitting needles. Bamboo, what else?!

Swedish fabric in Japan!

Just like home!  

At the end of our outing we found a nice place to eat. It is infinitely helpful to have someone who can interpret the menu. Thank you Karyn for making sure I always got something I liked!

Look at the size of those bowls!

Karyn had tempura

Lastly, we browsed a 100 yen store. You never know what you might find there. I could spend hours browsing but this was a quick run. My most memorable sighting....

Huh....butt pads!

No, I did not buy them. And yes, I know it says 200 yen. Go with it. I didn't buy fabric either....or yarn! I was very good plus I could not read most of the labels. Harumph!