Thursday, December 13, 2012

What a Year!

As usual, we have had a busy year, with people going here and there.

John still lives here in Phoenix. He did spend six weeks this summer in Kansas, helping my brother, Bob. Jordan finished out at Scottsdale Community College and is now completing his BFA in dance at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. Jacob is living with his Inline Speed Skating coach in San Jose, CA and attending De Anza College majoring in Photography. Jared is still attending Arizona Connections Academy, online school. He is busy with field trips, guitar lessons and AZ Ascenders rock climbing team. Jeff is still working in Long Beach, CA at Boeing. I am still running from place to place as the zoo keeper and in the mean time running our business.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this will be a VERY long blog, here are links to a year of photo albums on facebook.

Christmas 2011
Was this really a year ago??

JordanDanielsDance Film Shoot
February 5th, 2012 Phoenix, AZ. Film shoot for JordanDanielsDance. Jordan's first film project, my first time as a producer! You can watch it here: DRUG

Riparian Preserve
January 27th, 2012 Gilbert, AZ. Arizona Connections Academy Field Trip.

Flandrau Science Center
February 1, 2012 Tucson, AZ. Another Arizona Connections Academy field trip.

February 3rd, 2012 Sunrise Ski Resort. Would you believe another Arizona Connections Academy field trip? Skiing babee!

March 17th, 2012 Anaheim, CA. Spring Break at Disneyland. We had a trip of "firsts". We have been going to Disneyland for years but we discovered there were many things that we have never done. So we DID them! See my additional thoughts on this trip at: The Disney World


Jared's 10th Birthday
April 9th, 2012 Scottsdale, AZ. Doing what else? Climbing!!

AZR Ropes Comp
April 14th, 2012 Scottsdale, AZ. Jared's first ropes comp.

Spring Leadership
April 20th, 2012 Spokane, WA. Spokane Spring Leadership.

For details and my thoughts on the next 3 albums see my blog: Three Weddings and a Funeral
Kansas Trip
April - May, 2012 Paola, KS. Went back to Kansas for 3 weeks to help out my folks!
Van Omen Wedding
May 18th, 2012 Scottsdale, AZ. It was so wonderful to be a part of David and Cassie's special day!Daddy
May, 2012 Paola, KS. Pictures of events around Daddy's passing.

The events of the next 5 albums are in: It's Monday so this must be Kansas
Derek's Wedding
June 16th, 2012 Camp Verde, AZ. When did they grow up???
Life's a Beach
June, 2012 Huntington Beach, CA. Finally made it to the beach...
Trophy Meet
June 23rd, 2012 San Jose, CA. Southwest Pacific League Trophy Meet.
Indoor Nationals
July, 2012 Lincoln, NE. USARS Indoor National Championships.
Daniels' Reunion 2012
July 21st-23rd, 2012 Junction City, KS. Just a few pictures from the 2012 reunion. So blessed that God saw fit to put me in this family!

I blogged about the next week of journeys in: It's Tuesday so this must be Colorado
Friend Day
July 25th, 2012 Kansas City, KS. I got to spend the day shopping & visiting with one of my lifetime best friends. We hadn't seen each other in probably 20 years but it seemed like yesterday! Some friends truly are for a lifetime!

Blogs on ODN and SMU are: Half Way! and By the Numbers (which also summarizes our travels)
August, 2012 Colorado Springs, CO. Outdoor Nationals World team Trials 2012. Plus the activities around that... Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Garden of the Gods, Josh & John's and of course four square!
August 16th, 2012 Dallas, TX. Taking Jordan to college at Southern Methodist University.

AZR Ascenders Mini Comp
September 22nd, 2012 Scottsdale, AZ. Jared Rock Climbing Mini-Comp. He got 3rd place!

Kartchner Cavern
September 28th, 2012 South of Tucson, AZ. Arizona Connections Academy Field Trip to Kartchner Cavern. It was definitely worth the drive. One of the best caves I have ever toured!!! Being a living wet cave really makes a difference in the formations.

Fall Festival
October 12, 2012 Gilbert, AZ. Arizona Connections Academy Fall Festival.

This is Halloween
October 31, 2012 Phoenix, AZ. This is Halloween, this is Halloween... Jared carved his first Jock-O-Lantern.

Class Day
November 5th, 2012 Cave Creek, AZ. Library, lunch and hike with classmates at Arizona Connections Academy.

USAC Local Bouldering Comp - Picture above.
November 11, 2012 Scottsdale, AZ. So proud of Jared! Finishing 9th in the USAC local comp.

November 22nd, 2012.  3 days of eating, family and friends all make for a great Thanksgiving Holiday!

Another Mini-Comp
December 1st, 2012 Scottsdale, AZ.  Another mini-comp with Jared's team.  This was a ropes, 3 best climbs competition.

December 9th, 2012, Hemet, CA.  Tinsel Speed Skate in Hemet CA. 1/2 marathon skate on the front end of the Tinsel Triathlon. It was a beautiful day and as usual a fun event. Jacob won in his age division.
As I said, "What a Year!"  We will actually have all of the boys home for Christmas!  But they will be going their separate ways for New Year's!  I wish a very blessed Christmas and a special New Year to all my friends and family.
As for me...
I'm living on the eighth day, right now!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

When Did Maybe Become No?

The other day my yoga teacher was talking about “maybe”.  She said to allow your body the “maybe” of going there.  Then she pointed out that as soon as she said “maybe” did we clinch our teeth a little?  Is “maybe” a negative word? What does “maybe” actually mean? It is an adverb that means, “perhaps; possibly”.  But we all know that maybe means NO!

So when did maybe become no?

As a child, we hear our moms say “maybe” all the time. 
“Can we go to the park?”
“Yipee! Mommy promised that we can go to the park!”
“I said maybe, we’ll see.”
“Yipee! We might go to the park!”
As a mom, I say “maybe” more than I should.  I learned years ago that it would get the kids to stop bugging me if I delayed an answer that I didn’t want to give.  “Maybe” they would forget about it later.  I think it is that constant exchange between parents and children that solidifies “maybe means no”.  But when does it happen?
There is a scene in the movie “Finding Never Land”
J.M. Barrie: [watching George react to the knowledge that his mother is seriously ill]
Magnificent. The boy is gone. In the last 30 seconds... you became a grown-up.
There is a moment when we lose that child.  I think it is that childlike faith that all children have.  In Peter Pan, it’s the lost boys fighting pirates with no fear of dying and believing in fairies.  If you go to a kindergarten class and ask the children, “Who can speak Japanese?” every child will raise their hand.  They “can” speak Japanese if they learn it.  When did we stop believing that we could speak Japanese?  When I was little, my brother, Bob (who is 15 yrs. older than me) and his friend, Jim, used to play catch with me.  Literally, with me, they would throw me back and forth.  I always loved it! “Throw me, throw me” I would squeal!  When did I lose the faith that if I was thrown, I would be caught?  When did I stop trusting?

The Bible talks about having a “childlike” faith.  God reminds us that we should all have that kind of faith.  We should squeal to God, “throw me, throw me” and trust that God will catch us.  For now, I’m going to work on ”maybe”, every time I hear it, I’m going to replace it with “perhaps; possibly”.  I’m going to TRY to stop using it with my children when I actually mean “no”.  I’m going to try and have faith and hope like Lloyd in Dumb and Dumber, “So you’re telling me there’s a chance…Yeah!”

I'm living on the eighth day, right now!

Monday, August 20, 2012

By the Numbers

Well, I am finally back in Phoenix! But I had another little 2,100 mile trip tacked on to my travel plans.  More on that later...
Jacob finished up Outdoor Nationals strong.  He placed 5th in the 10,000m point race on the road, which placed him 10th in the nation and put him on National Team.  Nas finished as an alternate to the World Team and Lani skated strong on the road.  Because there weren't any rain delays, we had a day to just hang out.  We went to the Cheyene Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, CO which I highly recommend.  It is one of the most interesting zoos I have ever been to.  However, it does require walking many steep walkways and stairs. 
On Saturday, August 11th, I made the trek to Denver to take Jacob, his coach and teammate back to the airport.  Jared and I spent the rest of the day visiting Garden of the Gods.  Sunday, August 12th, we packed up and took off driving to Phoenix.  The drive was one of the easiest yet.  Normally a 14 hour drive, including stop times, we made it with very few stops and made it in 12 hours!  Side note: 8/12/12 was my 29th wedding anniversary.

While we were on the road, my 22 year old son, Jordan, was accepted into the dance program at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, classes start August 20th.  In talking with him, we were going to leave on Wednesday, so I had 2 days to turn around and leave again.  As we got packing and figuring out the drive times, we realized we needed to get on the road sooner.  We mapped out the trip, and saw that El Paso would be the perfect stopping point.  As chance would have it one of my dearest friends lives in El Paso.  I gave her a call and she was more than happy to let us crash there Tuesday night. 
Jordan's friend Michael went with us to help with the moving.  We took off around noon on Tuesday, stopping in El Paso and arriving in Dallas on Wednesday.  Thursday we were able to move Jordan into his apartment and walk around the campus.  SMU is a beautiful 100 year old campus and the Meadows School looks wonderful.  Michael and I headed back to El Paso on Friday.  Michael got word that night, he didn't need to go into work on Saturday.  This meant we were able to sleep in and just laze around Saturday morning and visit.  I was so wonderful to see my friend, Lena after many years.  I finally got to meet her husband and 6 year old son!  She has such a beautiful home and her family were such gracious hosts.  We headed home around noon on Saturday.

Amazingly, I will be home for seven weeks!!!  I have basically been on the road for 4 months!  Wow! That's hard to believe!
Here are some of the numbers:
Left on April 25th back home August 18th - 16 1/2 weeks or 116 days.
25 traveling days (23 driving, 2 flying)
17,383 miles on my truck
36 days at home
55 days at other places
31 days of school while on the road (finishing one school year and started the next)

10 hotels
3 friends/relatives homes
2 hospitals
11 states (CA, AZ, NM, CO, NE, KS, IA, MN, MO, OK, TX)

3 visits to Josh & John's (best ice cream EVER)
Can't even begin to count restaurants... some notables:
2 hospital cafeterias actually really good food
Fargo's Pizza in Colorado Springs
G&R's authentic mexican food in El Paso
A micro brewery in Minneapolis, GREAT burgers in an amazing old building
Smokin' Bob's Bar B Que (a little partial since it is my brother) His brisket and beans are literally award winning!
I am SOOOOO done with Applebee's and Taco Bell for a loooooong time!!!
6 lbs lost... REALLY!?!?!

3 skating competitions (Trophy Meet, Indoor Nationals, and Outdoor Nationals)
21 individual races plus relays
3 moves (Jared moved bedrooms, Jordan moved home and then to Dallas)
2 weddings attended
1 Family Reunion
1 Business Convention
1 Funeral
2 zoos (Lincoln and Cheyene Mountain)
lots and lots of visiting

65 relatives at Daniels family reunion
3 cousins I never knew, Jim, Irvine and Jay
9 friends I haven't seen in YEARS Barb, Tom, Kris Ann, Derek & Sharon, Randy, Karen & Tessa, and Lena
10 relatives I haven't seen in YEARS Vivian, Sarah, Elle, Jenny, JT, Bob, Cheryl, Janie, Mom and Dad.
2 in-laws I hadn't met yet, Keith and Matt
Many, many friends and relatives, old and new, from all over!
I can't even begin to count the number of hugs, laughs and tears.

I'm living on the eighth day, right now!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Half Way!

Today is an "off day"!  That's a good thing!  It means we are "off" from skating today.  Outdoor Nationals (ODN) World Team Trials has a track and a road portion.  Track is a 200 meter concrete banked track and Road is a 500 meter laid out track, usually in a parking lot.  There are multiple races at each venue.  Each skater is given points for their placement in an event.  15pts for first, 12pts for second, 10pts for third etc. down to 8th place. The points then determine the USA World Team.  They build in a "rain day" or "off day" between the two parts.  Luckily, we haven't had any rainouts, however it would be nice to have some cooler weather.  It was brutally hot out there yesterday.  I think we only had a high of 93 however, we are in a concrete dish with no shade!!

The exciting news!! Jacob got his first ODN medal.  He finished with a bronze in the 10,000m point/elimination race.  There are 40 guys in his age division?  They put all 40 on the line and they have to duke it out for 50 laps, going approximately 25 mph on inline skates wearing nothing but a helmet and spandex.  It's a little like NASCAR with human bodies.  A point/elim race is starting at lap 5 they ring a bell, it's a point lap, they have one lap to race for the finish line, the person who crosses first gets 2 points, second gets 1 point.  The bell rings again and it's an elimination lap, they have one lap and the person who crosses last is eliminated.  This continues every other lap.  The final placements are based on how many points you can rack up during the race without being eliminated.  Oh, I did mention it's brutally hot out there, right!?!?  This race is considered to be the most difficult race because there is no resting.

I think one of the best parts of this win was the number of people who came over to congratulate Jacob, and his coach Deb.  They all went on about what a great kid he is and how deserving he was of this win.  As a mom, that was music to my ears, that other people think highly of my child.  One of the Master Women skaters has been reporting on the event.  She did a really nice write up on her blog of Jacob's race.  Here is the link: As I Was Saying... ODN Day 2

After this great finish, we had high hopes for Jacob's 15,000m elim race yesterday.  Sadly, he didn't do as well.  He skated a smart race but when it got down to 10 skaters the guy who was in 10th wedged him out on the corner.  The other skater got DQed but by then Jacob was eliminated.  So he finished 9th for that race which is one place out of points. 

So at the half way point, Jacob is 9th in points for World Team.  Jacob's teamates are doing well.  Lani made it to the final of the 1000m sprint giving her 2 points and placing her around 12th overall.  Nas placed 2nd in the 10,000m pt/elim and 5th in the 15,000m elim. I believe this places her in 6th overall for World Team.  The top six skaters make team with skaters number 7th & 8th as alternates. 

Tomorrow we start on road, chasing more points.

I'm living on the eighth day, right now!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

It's Tuesday so this must be Colorado

As I write this I'm sitting in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Since my last posting...

Tuesday July 24th, I took Jeff, Jacob and Kylee to fly out of Kansas City International Airport. Jeff went back to Long Beach, Kylee to Rialto, and Jacob to San Jose.

On Wednesday my dear friend, Karen Brundridge came to KC to visit with me. This came about because of Facebook. I posted an album on Facebook of old high school pictures that mother gave me when I was in Paola in May. Many were of Karen and me, in our baton twirling outfits. I, of course, tagged her. These started a conversation that went something like, "I miss you", "It's been too long", "We should get together", "I'll be in KC in July", "I'll be there!” As it turns out, we were staying, 1/2 mile from her oldest daughter's apartment. Here's the pic: Karen, Me and Tammie.
I can't exactly remember the last time I saw Karen, I think it was around the time Mom and Dad moved away from Galena (our hometown). That would have been 21 years ago!!! Karen and I were best friends in high school. She married right after high school and stayed in the area. So while I was in college, I saw her every time I came home. She was one of my bridesmaids (right after my sister). Her daughter was only a few weeks old at my wedding. Even after we moved to Arizona, we talked on the phone regularly. I can't really say why we lost touch after that. I think we both, got VERY busy with children, changed land lines to cell phones and moved a few times. We found each other again on Facebook recently.

Anyway, we spent Wednesday evening catching up and all day Thursday, doing lunch and shopping on the plaza. It was so much fun! I am still a little amazed at how it didn't seem like we had been apart that many years. Actually, it felt more like last week. Afterwards, I was telling her how funny it is that our lives are so similar and we still just "click" as friends. She said, "Not really, there was a reason we were best friends all those years ago." She's right, some friends are for life whether you're around each other or not. Here's a picture of us at 2am after a full day of shopping AND talking into the wee morning hours!
On with my journeys! I was so wired and wide awake that I decide to throw my suitcase in the truck and head for Minneapolis at 3am Friday. I needed to be there early on Friday and I knew I wouldn't be getting to sleep or getting up, in time to make it. I did get tired in the northern part of Iowa and pulled in a rest area and slept for 2 hours. Here is where I slept; it was the NICEST rest area ever!
I left Jared in KC with John. He got to help John and Uncle Bob (my brother) with some barbeque. Jeff flew into Minneapolis on the Thursday night red eye and landed at 5:30am. When we got in the hotel room we took a long afternoon nap! We were up in time for the evening workshops.

We were in Minneapolis for the "Nelsen Family Reunion" which is a business convention we attend every summer for our Amway business. It was a great weekend, with so much good information. We are so excited about the mobile apps and the technical upgrades to our business website. Plus, we got to hang out with some friends we hadn't seen since last year's event and as always meet some new friends, with all of us having the chance to share ideas and information.

Sunday night, Jeff and I got a bite to eat and then headed back toward KC. We stopped in Des Moines, Iowa and got a hotel room.

Monday morning, July 30th, I drove Jeff back to the KC airport and he flew back to Long Beach. I then drove back to John's hotel. That evening we did some laundry, joined Bob and Cheryl for dinner and packed up.
Tuesday July 31st, John headed back to Phoenix; Jared and I headed to Colorado Springs. John is stopping in Tucumcari, NM. I finally was able to unpack my truck COMPLETELY! The crockpot and boxes of food that I have been hauling from state to state finally will be put to use. This is the last leg of the travels. Tomorrow morning I head to Denver to pick up Jacob, his coach, Deb and other skaters from the airport. Then it is 10 days of skating for Outdoor Nationals! I'll keep you posted...

I'm living on the eighth day, right now!

Monday, July 23, 2012

It's Monday so this must be Kansas

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we have crazy summer travel plans. It started shortly after I returned to Arizona.

June 15th, 2012
I have been home a week and the pool is looking good! Jeff flies into Phoenix.
June 16th, 2012
Jeff, John, Jared and I drive north to Camp Verde to attend the wedding of a dear family friend, Derek Hinkle! Tom & Kris Ann Hinkle (Derek's parents) were our next door neighbors for years. We raised our kids together. When I first met Derek, he and John (my oldest) were both in diapers. It was a beautiful wedding, despite the heat and it was so wonderful to spend the day with Tom & Kris Ann and other longtime friends, Doug & Jeri Lynn Thompson and Sharron (Tom's sister).
June 17th, 2012
Jeff, Jared and I drive to Long Beach, CA to spend a week at the beach.
June 19th, 2012
John takes off driving for Kansas. When my Dad was in rehab, John had asked if he would be any help around the farm. Dad thought that would be wonderful. Mom and Dad live on a farm however, they don't farm. They rent out the farm land. The immediate property around their house is constantly in need of something, i.e. mowing, repairs to out buildings, fence repainted, trees trimmed etc. When we were back for the funeral, there was discussion about, "what now?" John had already arranged for the time off. He decided to go ahead and come back; even if he didn't do much around the farm he could help my brother with his Barbeque business. That is exactly what he has been doing.
June 22nd, 2012
Jared and I drive to San Jose, CA for Jacob's Speed Skating Trophy Meet. Jeff flies in that night. The meet goes really well. Jacob wins 1st overall for Novice Sr Men for the meet and the season. He also finishes 2nd in the Sr Open for the season!
June 24th, 2012
Jeff, Jacob, Jared and I drive to southern California. We drop Jacob off in Valencia, CA where he meets up with longtime friends, Andrew, KJ and Josh. They went on a, "Graduation Road Trip" starting at Six Flags and going up the California coast. They dropped Jacob back in San Jose. We then drop Jeff back in Long Beach, CA. Jared & I continue on to Phoenix, AZ.
June 25th, 2012
Jared and I arrive home in the early morning. The pool is green AGAIN!!! I drive directly to Mesa in order to help Jordan (#2 son) pack up his apartment to move back home. His apartment contract was up mid-June and he will be going away to school in mid-August. So he is home for 2 months, which worked out well because he can take care of everything while we're gone the rest of the summer. Yes, our summer travels haven't even begun yet!!! At the time, I actually get to stay home for 3 weeks. I de-greened the pool, planted grass on July 4th, Jordan had his wisdom teeth out on the 13th and we had a "Breaking Bad" marathon... all of seasons 2, 3, and 1/2 of 4!
July16th, 2012
Jared and I take off driving for a 4 week trip! First, Lincoln, NE, Jacob is already there watching the World Class and Standard divisions at Indoor Nationals.
July 17th -20th, 2012
Lincoln, NE - We get to watch Jacob skate Indoor Nationals. Thursday afternoon while Jacob had practice, I drove 2 1/2 hours down to Holton, KS to pick up my niece, Elle. I brought her back to Lincoln. On Friday my niece, Sarah, came to watch her cousin skate too! Jacob really enjoyed having his cousins there to cheer him on. They really enjoyed seeing him skate for the first time.
July 19th, 2012
Jeff flies to KC, John picks him up from the airport.
July 20th, 2012
Jeff and John drive to Junction City, KS for the Daniels Family Reunion. Jacob skates his individual events all day. Jacob, Kylee (Jake's girlfriend), Jared and I leave Lincoln at 12:30am for Junction City, KS and the reunion.
July 21st -22nd, 2012
DANIELS FAMILY REUNION! It was a great reunion and it was so fun to have almost all my family together, Jordan had to stay in Phoenix, AZ due to work. :( At the end of the reunion we all drive back to KC.
July 23rd, 2012.... One week down... three to go... It's Monday so this must be Kansas!!!
I'm living on the eighth day, right now!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

In His Words - by William A Reynolds

My niece Alice Faye Cunningham, daughter of my sister Mildred, asked me to write of my experiences in World War II, so that she could include it in a book about the Reynolds-Cunningham families.
I hesitate because I know very little about proper sentence structure, much less how to spell all the words that may appear throughout. I'm just an old retired mechanical engineer that knows a little bit about things mechanical and nothing about writing.
When I came home on furlough from the hospital, the community (Plum Creek Methodist Church) held a dinner for me and Cecil Prentice. During the meeting, I was asked what it was really like in the war.
My answer was - Everything - hurry up and wait, boredom, hilarity, fear, anxiety, fatigue, cold, wet, rumors, both good & bad, no letters from home, helpless, upset at things around you and on & on. Everyone agreed that war is bad. When you advance in the face of the enemy you realize how helpless you really are. Good luck is better than superiority because you know someone will be killed.

February 1943 - I graduated from Paola High School when I was 17 years old, to be 18 in July 1943. At that time the Selective Service was drafting boys that were 18. I reported to Fort Leavenworth but was told I was deferred for 1 year because I was working with Dad on the family farm. I was to report back to Leavenworth the second week of July, 1944.

July 1944 - Right on the day - July 21, 1944, my 19th birthday, I was sworn in and took the oath of loyalty to the army of the United States. For the next 2 weeks, I spent taking tests, indoctrination of army ways, how to salute, when and why etc. I guess the army decided they got a bad deal when they drafted me because I was made a lowly private - the lowest of low. My registration No. 37735630.

August 1944 - About August 1st, 1944, I was put on a troop train to Camp Hood, Texas. The first thing I discovered was that Kansas may be hot in August but Texas is even hotter. In fact, the drinking water was even hot. From this point it was up early, chow, calisthenics, marches, how to field strip & clean the M-1 rifle, Rifle range (target practice), bazooka practice (shooting at an old junk tank), bivouac, and finally the 25 mile walk back to camp while carrying full gear. This amounted to about 80 pounds - including a backpack - a shelter half, tent pins, sleeping bag, steel helmet, helmet liner, trench tool & rifle. This ended my basic army training about the middle of December 1944. I was in "pass in review" parade and given my private first class stripe. I was also given a 10 day furlough.

About January 3rd, 1945 - When I arrived at Fort Mead, the first thing they did was make me take another physical exam, including a complete series of shots. They called them "booster" shots. I don't know where they got the term "booster" because I certainly did not feel boosted.

About January 7th, 1945 - I boarded ship at night - New York was blacked out as well as the top deck of the ship. I was shown below deck to my bottom bunk and given a life jacket. The bunks were three bunks high, with a ladder at one end. They were about 18 inches apart, barely room to walk between them. We were told not to go up on deck at night and never without our life jacket. The ship was a H.J. Kaiser Troop ship. As far as I can remember it had no name, but rather a number painted in 3 foot high white numbers on its bow.
The toilet (latrine) had about 20 toilet stools along one wall & wash basins to match on the other wall. The room was long & narrow. We left harbor at night, about January 9th, 1945, when some of the guys detected the ship movement, they became sea sick immediately. They would sit on one toilet stool and vomit in the other. From this point on across the Atlantic, life below deck was not pleasant. The smell and stench was almost unbearable, as a result I and others spent as much time out on deck as possible. We were in a large convoy of ships. We tried to count them, but soon discovered it to be impossible because there were ships ahead and behind us as well as out to the side, and they kept changing position. I think there were more than 30 ships in the convoy.

About January 17th, 1945 - We landed at LeHarve, France. The docking facilities had been bombed, so in order to get off the ship the army engineers built a floating ramp from the side of the ship to where the dock used to be. It was a gang plank with rope hand rails to a scaffold where you turn 90o and go down steps to the dock. I was able to negotiate the gang plank O.K. but when I turned to go down the steps, I missed the first step. I turned and did a backward somersault over the rope hand rail to the floating platform about 10 feet below. I landed on my pack on my back. As I was getting up the sergeant came up and said, "God, soldier, you're supposed to go up front to get killed, not here!" It seemed everyone was laughing but me. I saw nothing funny about it!
We boarded trucks with tarps over the top. It was cold and we were beginning to feel it. We went for about 2 hours when we stopped on a narrow mountain road. Of course, we all looked out to see another open truck loaded with dead soldiers stacked like cord wood. Not a word was uttered as the truck crept by on the narrow passage.
Things got real quiet & sober, and we all agreed that we were going to the Belgian Bulge as replacements. We crossed the Meuse River to the town of Givet on the Belgian side of the River. We took our packs into a big warehouse (I think) and was told we were to get new rifles the next day. We sure did get new rifles - all packed in crates wrapped with heavy paper and cosmo line grease. Each rifle had to be field stripped, cleaned & inspected. The next day, each of us was given a rifle and marched to a rifle range where we fired them and "zeroed in" the sights. We were then told, it was your rifle and to take care of it and keep it clean because where we were going we will need it to work. Things got real quiet and there were no smiles, just sober faces.
Again, we boarded trucks but went a short distance (maybe 20 miles) to a completely devastated town. The buildings were all bombed out with just some walls & chimneys standing. In the distance you could hear artillery firing - both singly and in barrages. It gave me a funny kind of feeling, like a story book I was reading. The smell was burning wood with garlic, really hard to identify. It was not pleasant at all.
We formed a single file and "walked" or "climbed" around & over rubble a short distance to what used to be a train station. There on the tracks was a train made up of these funny little 4 wheeled box cars. I learned later that they are called 40 or 8 cars. Meaning their hauling capacity is 40 men or 8 horses. We boarded the train with 4 men to the car and sat there all day. That evening the troops from the front began to arrive. Eight ragged, cold tired men joined us in our car. I believe one man was a sergeant. He said that they were told not to scare the new guys with war stories, but we probably had some good stories from the states. We did our best to tell about the various camps we were from as well as the closest towns. We also told them about our civilian life. It wasn't long before half of them were asleep. I immediately became known as "Kansas".
The next day we were told that we were going to Alsace Lorraine in France to push the Germans (Jerry) out of Colmar. The trip would take about 3 or 4 days; so make the best of it. The 8 men that joined us rolled out their blankets, "I'll kill the first guy that wakes me up!" The sergeant explained that this was to be their rest & recovery (R&R), so they would try to keep warm & sleep.
At this time all I knew was that these men were members of the 75 division. They were from different companies D, E, C of the 289th Battalion.

By now I lost track of the date, but I think it was about February 1st, 1945. It was night when we left the train in some town - somewhere near Colmar. We went into some building (a barn I think), and given more bandoleers of bullets, and something I didn't expect - each of us were given two hand grenades. To me this meant house to house fighting, and that the Germans were not running. I wasn't thrilled at the thought.
We formed up in a line for the advance against whatever Colmar had to offer about 6:00am. In front of me was an open field, about one half mile to what looked like a forest with a church steeple sticking up above the trees. Suddenly, there was machine gun fire behind us over our heads. We all fell flat and waited. When I looked back I saw maybe 10 American tanks shooting over us. This is called "covering fire". The idea is to keep the Germans so busy hiding that they can't shoot back. I think it worked. As we neared Colmar one of the tanks shot its cannon at the church steeple. It completely demolished the steeple; you could hear the bell falling and hitting things on the way down. About now a horse came galloping at full speed with his harness flapping out behind. Also, someone started up a Volkswagen and went out the other side of town - really fast. Suddenly two Germans came from behind a bunker. They each had a white flag in their left hands and their mess kit in the right. They admitted to being very hungry. They also said they had been out of supplies for fighting for about a week. They were taken to the rear. My squad leader said we could not lower our guard because of what they said, because some die-hard might try to be a hero.
The first thing I saw when I got into town was a big Holstein cow lying in the street dead. The walk through town was uneventful. I did hear some shooting, but not much. When we got to the other side of town we stopped and company D went past (or through) us, continuing after the Germans. I was assigned a guard post & to watch for Germans that may be trying to make a flanking counter attack. I watched all day but saw nothing. The Germans did lob one or two mortars back into town, but they hit the roofs of building and were no threat to us in the streets.
I was finally relieved of my guard duty and told to get some sleep because we were shoving off early in the morning. Near the guard post was what appeared to be a pen where a horse or calf was kept. It had a rock all about 3' high on 2 sides and the building on the other 2 sides. It looked like a pretty good foxhole to me; so I climbed over the wall only to discover it had been a hog pen. Being and experience Kansas hog farmer, I knew that one of the corners was where the hogs slept, while at least one of the others should smell like a hog pen. I found the corner where the hogs slept, sat down with my back against the wall, ate some c-ration, sipped some water from my canteen and went to sleep.
I suddenly woke up in what to me seemed like a few minutes. I was itching and it felt like I was being eaten up. I was crawling with hog lice. The guard that relieved me told me where to look for the Aid Station. I found it in a few minutes. One guy was asleep while another was writing something, probably a letter home. If I got included, I hope the censor & his folks had a laugh or two over my painful experience. I was lucky; the medic had DDT powder and a pump just for the purpose of ticks, fleas & lice. He blew the DDT down my back, around my waist, up both pants legs and sleeves. Relief was almost immediate. He then told me to stay away from animals and the local people. I was then surprised to realize that I had been in the hog pen almost four hours.
We formed up by squads (10 men) to move out about 5:00am.  My squad and I walked on a road, while others on each side – slogged through mud & water from the rains.  It was cold mud.  It was miserable.  Along the way, I saw two dead GI’s and one dead German.  I was surprised when I realized he looked very young & small.  He couldn’t have been more than fourteen years old.  To me it meant that the Germans not only were short of ammunition & food but also good manpower.
We moved along the road about three miles and came to some little village and Company D. Company E was behind us yet. We moved through D into a forested area, probably a half to three fourths of a mile. We stopped and were told to dig fox holes. By noon I had mine deep enough to sit down in, and with the dirt packed around the outside, I couldn't see out without getting on my knees. I got back and ate the rest of my c-ration and sipped a little water. I still had a couple of candy bars with my dirty socks around my waist. I changed socks, putting on the dirty dry ones which felt warm and good. The ones I took off, I flattened and put around my waist on top of my shirt tail, to be used again when dried out. I dug again perhaps another six inches to a foot deeper. The Squad leader came by and said, "Boy, I'll let you dig mine next time." He picked up my rifle and said, "Come with me. We have to report front & center to the Lieutenant." By now I was totally confused, so I shut up.
When we got to the command post (a tent with a table and two chairs) the lieutenant was there. After the round of saluting, he asked me if I was Wm. Reynolds. I said "yes sir" with all authority I could. "What had I done to get called up?" By now I was sure I was being court marshaled for something. He laughed and said, “You didn’t do anything here, but rather what you did at Camp Hood, Texas. It says here on your ability report that you shot expert on the rifle range and more importantly you and some others developed the method of squeezing off only three shots at a time with the Browning automatic rifle”. The Germans look upon the “BAR” rifle as a machine gun, because it shoots like one. If you hold the trigger, it will shoot twenty rounds without stopping. Two other men were assigned to be ammunition carriers for the BAR. They also were to provide covering fire for me if the BAR jammed or something.
So I went back to my hole carrying a very different rifle. It weighed almost fifteen pounds with a bipod on the barrel. The magazine had twenty rounds as compared to my M1 rifle that weighed nine pounds & the ammunition clip held eight rounds. Soon the two ammo carriers came over and started digging foxholes by mine. They were told they were not only riflemen, but a part of the automatic weapons team. We were to stick together at all times.
About dusk the artillery behind us began firing over head at the Germans. They kept it up all night and most of the morning. We were told to form up in single file to march (walk) on a road to a point where we were to wait for company E. When E arrived, it was late (about 5:00pm). They appeared to be well prepared, because there was a column of perhaps 25 tanks behind them. They were joking about how it took that many tanks to herd them (E company) to the front. The tanks fanned out across a field to the left of the road. We were told to get on the tanks. We (4 of us) took the last one, hoping they would run out of tanks before they would get to us. The rest of E and G companies would scatter out about 100 yards behind and follow the tanks in.
Riding on a tank was a new experience for me. It rocked fore & aft as the tracks moved over rough muddy ground. After some distance (maybe a mile), the Germans began lobbing mortars at the tanks. We decided this was not safe, so we ran into the woods to our right. As I think back, I believe the Germans must have seen us, because a barrage of mortars began hitting in the trees all around us. Finally, one hit in a tree behind me. I was lying down, but a piece of shrapnel hit me on the inside of my right thigh. When I realized that I was hit, I was numb with no feeling in my leg except it quivered and drew up against my chest. My squad leader was also hit, I think he died, because he became quiet and I didn’t hear him again.

I looked at my watch; it was about 6:30pm (I learned later February 5th 1945). In about 15 or 20 minutes the captain came and said he’d get a medic. The medic came; he took a quick look and went to work. He gave me some sulfa pills and water. He then gave me a shot, saying, “This will make you feel better.” He was right – I began to feel warm and sleepy. From this point, I slept most of the time. I woke up when the medics put me on a stretcher and loaded me in an ambulance. When I woke up again I think I was in the vestibule of a church. There were a number of other wounded guys there. When I woke up again, I had no clothing on and was lying on a hard, cold table. They told me to lay still because they were x-raying my wounds. I don’t remember any doctors or surgery, but I suddenly realized I was in a ward with 200 or more guys in a church – or at least a building with tall stained glass windows. It may have been a church that the steeple was blown away by our tanks.
About an hour after I woke up, a nurse came with some “V” mail and a pencil. She said, “You will write to your parents or wife. You have a deep flesh wound with no broken bones. The doctor will explain how they will treat your wound later today”. I didn’t feel like writing any letter, so I went to sleep. I suddenly awakened looking at the face of an irate nurse telling me that I hadn’t written my letter home yet. About then the doctor came by and explained how they planned to treat my wounds. He explained that the very thing that saved my life could kill me if not treated with penicillin. The shrapnel took a big wad of about 4 layers of wool clothing and at least half the mud of France into the wound; so I didn’t bleed to death. But now we must fight infection by keeping the wound open with five or six drainage tubes, and massive doses of penicillin. I took 3000 units of penicillin once every three hours for twenty two days. At that time I began to show signs of allergy, so they stopped the penicillin shots. By now I had been moved to a hospital in Nancy, France, then again to Luneville, France. Sometime they closed the wound.

It was now about the latter part of March, 1945. I was told that I would soon be sent to the evacuation hospital in Marseilles, France to go by hospital ship ‘Acadia’ to the US. I was able to stand now, so when the ship went through the strait of Gibraltar, I looked out the port hole to see the Rock of Gibraltar. I wasn’t sure I saw it because what I saw was a big mountain. It didn’t look like the picture I’d seen before. The trip across the Atlantic was really smooth. It was really different from the Troop ship that bounced & rocked all the way. On the ‘Acadia’ I got the first glass of milk since leaving home in December 1944.

I think we arrived at Charleston, South Carolina about April 10th, 1945. I remember hearing that President Roosevelt had died.  From the time I was wounded until my arrival at O’Reilly Hospital in Springfield, Mo, I was not allowed to walk. Every move I made, I was carried or pushed on a litter clear to my bed at O’Reilly.
My first question to the doctor was, “When do I get to go home?” His answer to me sounded simple enough. “When we feel you’ve mastered the crutches or even better, have to use a cane.” So I went to physical therapy to show them that I could do crutches. Boy was I wrong. I found out they are not easy to use, but can be dangerous. Going down stairs, they can vault you out into space and you land at the bottom in a heap. Going up stairs they can vault you backward with the same result. Crutches are a never ending nuisance – where do you put them when you sit down to eat or get in a can or go fishing in a boat? They seem to always be where other people can trip over them. So, I continued in therapy and mastered the cane.
From the time I left home in December till my arrival at O’Reilly I got no mail. One day shortly after my arrival, a WAC came in with a big box of mail, all addressed to me. She said, “I’ve got some advice for you big boy. Any girl faithful enough to write a letter a day since March, deserves your most sincere attention.” I took her advice, and that is how Alvera became my wife. Of course there were several other letters from my sister, Mildred and some from Mom.
The doc came in and gave me a train ticket & a 30 day furlough. “You should exercise every day and eat all the farm cooking available.” When I was in Fort Mead I weighed 166 pounds. When I arrived at O’Reilly I weighed just under 130 #s “You are 135 pounds now, it would be most helpful if you could put on another 10 or even 15 pounds.” They planned to operate when I came back from furlough.
While I was home I tried to walk without a cane. I found out that in the home on a level floor I could walk almost normal as long as I kept my right leg straight when it was supporting my weight. Outside, where the ground was a little bit uneven it was a different story. I fell several times while trying to master the rough terrain. The worst was going down a stairs that had no bannisters like the old farm house we lived in. I took Alvera to her Paola High School graduation.
By the end of the thirty day furlough, I was battered & bruised and my right knee was swelling and hurt. I was ready and willing to accept anything the hospital had to offer to help me walk.  I woke up after the operation to find myself in a body cast. That is, the cast went from my arm pits to my hips. My right leg was pulled up 90o with the cast continuing on to my right knee. They imbedded a 1 inch diameter wood brace between my knee & right chest. For some reason I found it hard to breathe. At dinner time I couldn’t eat more than one bite of food. This got the attention of the doctor, because he came and made some pencil marks on the cast. Almost before the doc left, came a litter with 3 guys. They told me that I was going back to casting. I thought, ah boy, they’re going to take this thing off. I was wrong again!
When we got to casting, one of the guys said, “Look who we got.” Someone said, “Who?”, “The guy that stole two of our towels yesterday.” They got long forceps and reached up under the cast by my left leg, grasped the towels one by one, and pulled them out. Boy, was that a relief. I could breathe freely again & eat.

From this point it was four weeks in the cast, physical therapy in the form of walking, social dancing and furloughs home and to Manhattan, Kansas. On one of the furloughs, I went to K-state to take Alvera to the Home Ecc. Snow Ball and dance. I also got to meet all the girls in her house, along with the house mother. I learned later that I received complete approval plus one or two volunteers to take over if she (Alvera) should change her mind. We were married August 25th, 1946, at the Paola Methodist Church.

Thanks to the GI Education Bill, we graduated from K-state in 1950 & 1951. Later attending K-state were our children, Bob, Vivian, Paula and their spouses, all of them earning 5 BS degrees and 2 master’s degrees.

Later while I worked at Zenith TV in Springfield, MO, Alvera got her master’s degree from Missouri State University and taught there until I retired in 1990. We came back to the farmstead in Paola, Ks in 1993

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

More about Dad - Words attempting to describe Dad!

My father was an amazing man. He had so many aspects to his life. We tried to capture that in the end of his obituary, "The words husband, father, grandfather, uncle, engineer, designer, inventor, storyteller, teacher and perfectionist best describe Bill Reynolds". Here are some more words to attempt to describe my dad.

Dad was a war hero. In 1943, he was drafted in the army at age 18 however he was given a one year deferment because of being the last son working on the family farm. He went in the service in 1944. He was wounded in the Battle of the Colmar Pocket, February 5th, 1945. He should have died in the Ardennes. His femoral artery was severed by mortar fire however the wool uniform and mud packed the wound and kept him from bleeding to death.

Dad was a student, duh, what teacher isn’t also a student. After two years of rehabilitation he married my mom and went to college on the VA bill. They had children, a boy and a girl. He graduated with a degree in Agriculture Education and a minor in Engineering. After graduating, he and my mother, who had her degree in Home Economic Education, went to teach school in Hope, Ks. They lost children (my sister Carolyn was killed in a car accident at 1 year old). They moved to Kansas City and my dad went into engineering, he was the guy who designed production lines, because of people like him; we have "how it's made". They had more children, my sister and four years later me.

Dad was an entrepreneur and started his own business, Fire Electric Safety Demonstration Kits. Still the teacher... they were purchased by fire departments and school districts to teach fire and electric safety i.e. how to put out a grease fire. We moved to Galena, Mo, this is where I remember growing up. Galena is a small town, pop 300, on the James River near Table Rock Lake. My brother was already in college and never moved to Galena with us.

Dad was an avid fisherman and golfer. As I talked about in my previous post, dad was a story teller. After all what's a fisherman (or golfer) without a tale to tell! There were too many fishing stories to even begin to share them all!! Add in the “almost hole in ones” too.

Dad was a jokester. He loved the stories that ended in laughter. He would talk about growing up on a farm in Kansas... flying model airplanes off of John Brown's Lookout... getting into mischief with his best friend Durbin... Boot camp at Fort Hood Texas, catching an armadillo and putting it into an annoying guy's tent... Being on guard duty one night in Alsace, France and reporting to the CO that there were spies in town because two women were speaking German. (The area was bi-lingual)... His engineering experiences... He designed a chicken packing plant in Arkansas. Frozen chickens were difficult to process because the frozen legs and wings would break off when they would try to wire them. However, if the chickens weren't frozen bacteria would grow before they could get them processed. His solution was to put the whole plant under pressure. The chickens were supposed to be held by the leg, when they first turned on the production line it was on too high of speed. The chickens were flung around the plant at such a high rate they couldn't get to the off button! Dad would howl with laughter every time he told this story, mimicking dodging and weaving to try to get to the off button while being pelted by chickens.

Dad was a history maker. Because of that factory design, dad invented vacuum sealed cans. It was for a product call "Spreadables". Basically, tuna salad in a can, again to prevent spoilage he put it under pressure. Spreadables were on Apollo 13 and after the disaster and the water tank blew, it was the only food the astronauts could eat. (I haven't called Tom Hanks yet to ask why that fact wasn't in the movie) Just think of how many "shelf stable" foods we now enjoy because of vacuum sealed cans! That was my dad!

Dad was a genius and taught me the simplicity of genius. There was a time in TV between vacuum tubes and microchips, TVs used crystals. They were man made crystals and they needed to be sawed and sanded into thin slices. The saw blade was 3 times the final thickness and then the cut was so rough that they had to sand 2 times the thickness off. So for every crystal slice they wasted 5 times as much crystal. That's if it went perfectly but about every third crystal would crack or catch on the saw tooth and fly off. Dad's solution came from watching his mother make cinnamon rolls. Any baker knows what I'm talking about, once you roll up the cinnamon roll pastry, you take a thread wrap it around the log and slice off the individual rolls. Dad designed a similar machine to "slice" the crystals, using fine piano wire. Not only was it much thinner than the saw blade but the crystals needed little to no sanding and there were no cracked or destroyed crystals. Simply genius!

Dad was a constant tinker. I don't know how many patents dad has his name on, not to mention, his home rigged inventions. Every time we visited, there were simply things around the house that just made every day easier. When he was in rehab, he showed his physical therapist his "chair exerciser". He had designed a couple of devices out of rubber tubes and wood blocks which basically made a bow flex out of his easy chair. The physical therapist said, "Wow, you should patent that!" He just chuckled, I'm sure dad can't even count the number of times he's heard that one!

Dad was a craftsman. His last couple of projects included a replica of a Canadian fur trader's canoe and wood flower pots. He has built so many beautiful and practical wood projects and furniture. My son's bedroom furniture includes a desk and dresser that dad built for my brother's nursery in 1948.

These words don't even begin to scratch the surface in describing my dad. He would have said he was simply, "just ol' Bill"!

I'm living on the eighth day, right now!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Moments with Dad

I am the youngest of three children, a "late in life" kid. When I was 13 my sister went to college and I was left as an only child. My mother went to work as the night auditor of a resort. I was my dad's fishing buddy and to get me out of the house, so mom could sleep during the day, dad and I would go fishing.
That first summer we found a perch spawning bed. Dad and I would get up early and head to the lake. We would put in at Cape Fair and I would ski to our fishing hole. In the early morning there was usually fog still sitting on the water which was as smooth as glass. We would fish all day. We filled a freezer with fish that summer! In the evening, mom, dad and I would eat dinner then mom would go to work. Dad and I would sit at the kitchen table and talk. Actually, he would tell stories and I would listen, for hours! We'd sit there so long, that we would get hungry for a snack. Dad always had sardines with saltine crackers. YUK! My dad was a genius and a bit of a jokester so he was always fascinating to listen too. Plus he lived an amazing life (I'll write more about that in another post).

The day I was traveling to the hospital was touch and go. I talked to my brother while I was at the Phoenix airport. He said that they had turned off the defibulator and had him on a med that regulated his heart. They were planning on taking him off of it when I got there. Basically, they were trying to medically help him hang on until I could get there. I arrived and everyone was weeping around his bedside. He heard me come in and said, "There’s Paula, we've been waiting for you." He held out his hand and I went to take it. We all circled the bed and thought it was his last moments. He looked at all of us tenderly and said, "You're a funny lookin' bunch!" My sister said, "Well, we're your genetics." Which made dad laugh, "suppose so", he said. The in-laws in the room quickly piped in, "not us!" The tears had turned to laughter.

They took dad off the med and his heart regulated itself. The doctors were a little stumped as to why but attributed it to the fact that the rest of his body was so healthy. He was a little restless Thursday night and had a bout of his heart going a little wonkers. We thought, "This is it" and his heart regulated itself again. Dad slept most of Friday.

Friday evening, my brother's wife Cheryl, brought Smokin' Bob's Barbeque (my brother's business) in for dinner. It was a mini family reunion. Dad had some ham and was visiting with everyone. Later in the evening local people went home. Those who stayed bedded down on various cots and couches.

I sat with Dad. He had switched his night and day. He wasn't uncomfortable, just awake. We sat and talked or I should say he talked and I listened. I said, "This reminds me of that summer when we would sit and talk in the kitchen." He said, "ya, just you and I" We reminisced about that summer, skiing and fishing. He tried to tell me how to get to that fishing hole. Finally, he gave up and said, "I can take you right to it but I can't tell you how to get there." I told him that I still haven't ever eaten sardines. I actually love the smell because it reminds me of dad but I can't bring myself to eat them. He said, "They’re not really that good and the aluminum from the cans leaches into the fish and is bad for you."

I can't really remember the last time dad and I sat and talked into the night like that. It's was probably the summer before I got married (1983). Medically, he shouldn't have been so wide awake and talkative. I chose to believe that God gave me one more night of listening to my Daddy. I will always treasure those hours. What a difference a day, a few hours or even a moment can make!

I'm living on the eighth day, right now!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Three Weddings and a Funeral - 19 plane flights and over 5000 miles driven

For those who know us, it is no surprise that we are traveling all over this summer and that our travel plans are a little on the crazy side.  But this year it is turning out to be more crazy than normal.
Let's back track a bit...

April 7th, 2012
I received a call from my brother, Bob.  My Mom and Dad had been in a car wreak.  Mom was fine however, Dad was in the hospital and the car was totaled.  My brother sounded so stressed.  My parents live a good 45 minutes from Kansas City which is where my brother lives and the hospital.
After talking with him more and my husband, we decided that I could go help out.  My youngest is in an online school so we could simply take his school work with us.  We already had plans for Spring Leadership in Spokane, WA April 20th, so I would leave after that.

April 25th, 2012
Jared and I take off driving toward Kansas.  We arrive on the 27th.  Dad was doing well in rehab however, it was taking a long time for him to get his strength back.  For pictures of that trip click on this facebook link: First Kansas Trip

May 3rd - 6th, 2012
Jacob drives to and from Colorado Springs, CO to train at the Olympic Training Center.

May 14th, 2012
Dad gets out of rehab and we head home with a short stop in western Kansas to visit my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Joel and Becky and mother-in-law, Norma Jane.  We arrive home on May 16th.  The yard is a 8" high, the koi pond and pool are both green... YUK!

May18th, 2012
Jeff comes home to Phoenix for the weekend and we attend a family friend's wedding.  John went to Florida for his friend's wedding.  Jacob goes to Speed Skating Regionals in Citrus Heights, CA.

May 22nd, 2012
My brother calls, Dad took a tumble and fell.  He is back in the hospital for observation.

May 23rd, 2012
They send Dad to the Heart Institute, he didn't fall, it actually was his heart.  His implanted defibulator went off while he was home.  He isn't expected to make it through the night.  We decide for me to fly back ASAP.

May 24th, 2012
I fly back to KC and arrive at the hospital mid afternoon.  My nieces, sister and brother are all there with my mother.  They decide to move Dad out of the ICU and into comfort care.  Dad had signed a DNR the day before.  John helped Jared finish his last 3 days of school! Which wasn't a small task, he still had 3 major projects to finish and submit.  The sitting in the hospital continued for 4 days.  Dad was alert, aware and talkative.  He wasn't in any pain so he wasn't on any pain meds.  At 3am on Memorial Day morning, Dad's heart finally gave out.

May 28th, 2012
Mom and I go back to the farm and begin the week of planning.

June 1st, 2012
Jacob flies from San Jose, CA and meets up with Jeff in Phoenix.  They fly to KC.  John is a groomsman in a wedding on June 2nd.   After the wedding, John, Jordan and Jared start driving to Kansas.

June 3rd, 2012
Dad's memorial service.  Three of the boys were still on the road, they miss the service but arrive at the farm in time to see some family.

June 4th, 2012
Dad's internment in Ft. Scott National Cemetary, with full military honors.  He was a WWII vet, you can go to the link to see the memorial video and obit: William Reynolds Obit
John, Jordan, Jacob and Jared all take off driving for Phoenix.

June 5th, 2012
Jeff and I fly back to Phoenix.

June 7th, 2012
Jacob flies back to San Jose, CA. and it's my birthday... oh ya, the pool is green AGAIN!

Now time to plan our summer travels!!!

I'm living on the eighth day, right now!

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Disney World

We just got home from a one week vacation at Disneyland. 

The first day there we sat down front for the Fantasmic show.  I just LOVE that show!!  It's all about using your imagination and good beating evil.  There we were, crammed in with a bunch of people watching as Mickey kicked the witch's butt, the music soared and out came the Mark Twain with Steam Boat Willy at the helm and the crowd roared!!!  Instantly, we weren't black, white or Hispanic, Christian; Muslim or Jew; Asian, European or American; liberal, conservative, democrat or republican; we were all little children excited to cheer on Mickey!

It occurred to me that Disney is an entirely different world. In an increasingly volatile world, the "Happiest Place on Earth" is an oasis on non-violence.  Aside from some of the rides, pirates fighting, Brier fox tying up Brier rabbit, and of course the eternal battle of Pan vs Hook; the most volatile thing is a cranky baby who is waaay past due for their nap.  There is a unity of childhood wonder that over takes everyone who enters and brings a smile to your face.

There was the large, I mean 300 lb large, gangster.  He was tatted on every spare inch of skin, including his shaved head, and huge gages in his ears, very scary looking dude.  Something was so sweet to see him trying to squeeze into the itty bitty car on the Pinocchio ride.  As his excited precious little 2 year old princess, literally, she was dressed as a little Disney princess, urged him to, "hurry up daddy"!  Can't help but smile at the scene!

Then there was the grumpy teenager who obviously was NOT happy about having to wait in line with his little sister in order to "see" Minnie.  When it came to their turn, Minnie held her arms open wide, the little girl ran to her.  After a big bear hug, Minnie motioned to the teen to come over and get a hug.  For an ever so brief moment, the chip on the kid's shoulder fell off, he relented and gave Minnie a hug.  He couldn't help himself and broke into a huge grin.  I hope his parents were quick with the camera because it didn't last long.

Finally, how about the boat load of strangers, who were just soaked from a plunge down Splash Mountain.  As they are laughing and happily singing along to Zippty Do Dah, look up to see the passing train.  They wave and the train load of strangers smile and wave back!  In what world does this happen?  In Disney's world, that's where!  I think it was because, that train full of people knew what had just happened to us and why we were laughing.  It was a unity of shared experiences.

As we hear so much about bigotry and division in America and the world, how is it that we all come together at Disney?  Maybe it is that we all have that childlike wonder in us no matter how old we are.  I believe that's what the Bible calls "childlike faith".  We all want to believe that good always beats evil, that there is good in all of us (except Disney villains).  To understand that we are all more alike than different.  Laughter has no language!  How could we change the world if we noticed good, if we were excited, cheered, smiled, hugged, waved and laughed with strangers? We should all strive to bring a little Disney into the real world because (everyone sing along) "it's a small world after all!"

I'm living on the eighth day, right now!