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Today was a nice day with some great sightseeing. We started our day heading to Hamilton, Missouri, home of the Missouri Star Quilt Company. Boy, when you say home, it’s building after building of fabric and anything quilting. I have never seen so many bolts of fabric. They even have a lot of employees and at least 4 cutting tables. The rooms were huge. I sat out most of the places and the girls would holler at me if they thought I should see something. We walked into one building and we noticed an Eagle pattern on the wall. Rita had made the same pattern.

So, the girls are having fun looking and I hear Flo say, “Gail, that’s Rob Appell, the guy on TV; get Rita-he made the eagle pattern.” Flo started talking to him while I rounded up our gang. We took pictures and we told him what we did and we all hit it off. He showed us a picture of a patriotic quilt he had made then he said, “It was God’s blessing we met.” We all felt it was one of those things that happens to us.

We left MSQC to head to a small Amish community so the girls could see another fabric shop and see how the Amish live. Of course, we all enjoyed that, too. We decided to go to an Amish cheese place. Well, it was in the boonies. We were actually on dirt roads, mouths watering, and it was closed. Back down the road we go with hardly any gas and we’re in the back country. Rita took a picture of the gas gauge and how far down the road it was. Then we hid a traffic jam—a BIG Tractor. We did get to see some beautiful country.

Now we are starving, no gas, but we finally got to civilization right in time, got gas and headed to Hamilton to find food. I had seen Hank and Tank BBQ so we went there. It was a hole in the wall but the BEST BBQ. The owner came out and talked to us and sure enough he was a Gulf war veteran and we had no quilts. I will take care of that when I get home.

We decided to go back to the hotel to rest and pack but I took another detour to see Frank and Jessie James home. Into the boonies we go again and when we get there it was closed so could only take pictures from a distance. Then we decided to go see a Mill in the same area but it’s all in the woods. When we found it, there were 20-30 people dressed in prom outfits in front of the Mill in the middle of nowhere. Guess what, the Mill is closed. We were batting 1,000. We did stop at Bolts and Cuts, another fabric store before we got back to the hotel. So I’d say the girls got their fill of fabric stores this trip. We could have gone to 20 more, that’s how many are in that area.

We saw a lot of Missouri one side to the other side, saw old friends and made new friends. We worked and played. We wore our navy sweatshirts and often had questions asked about Quilts of Honor. We learn every time we made one of these trips, we can do better on some things.

I am very thankful to my QOH crew who helped and had my back. We all enjoy our passion for Quilts of Honor and it shows in all we do.

Stay tuned for upcoming events . . . . . . . . . .

God bless
Gail

It was nice to see so many Table Rock Quilts of Honor members turn out for the presentation. Their group made 39 quilts for the Riders. There was some confusion from the Radisson folks on where the presentation was to occur and after we got the letters and cards on the quilts and we were ready to go, they moved us down a flight of stairs. So off we go, in alphabetical order, all of us carrying the quilts. It was quite a parade.

There were Purple Heart Riders all over the hotel since it was the Purple Heart Convention for this part of the country. One man walked up to Janie, Mary and I and asked how he could get quilts. He was a Chaplin and conducts retreats for PTSD. His son had a Purple Heart and was attending the convention. We started talking and soon I knew the extra quilt was going to him. He handed me a piece of a flag with a beautiful saying on it and thanked me, a veteran sister. I motioned to Flo to get the extra quilt, please. She had already made 3 trips in the pouring rain. When I handed him the quilt in the hallway, he choked up. I knew he understood what he was receiving. It was a great moment.

Bonnie and Barbara attended the presentation with us. I was so proud of our California QOH crew. They jumped in and didn’t complain. They just knew what we needed to do and did it. Bonnie and Barbara took pictures of all the veterans and will mail them a picture so that made it even more special. The sad part was 20 quilts were not presented because the recipients didn’t show up. Afterwards, we had to decide what to do with those quilts. Rose stepped up and took the quilts. The Purple Heart Riders took up a collection to pay for postage so they all could get their quilts.

Thank you to all who helped accomplish another mission – It Takes a Team. Thank you to Janie for our t-shirts.

As Bonnie and Barbara were working on taking photos, one veteran turned to them and said, “This is the best gift anyone has ever given me.” One told me, “You just don’t know how much this means.” But, guess what, I do. After doing this for 12 years, going all over the United States, I think I have learned something. I’ve tried not to remake mistakes and not make people unhappy, but it does happen. That’s why I often say, “WE DON’T HAVE EGOS IN QUILTS OF HONOR. IT’S ABOUT OUR VETERANS.”

God bless all who continue to support Quilts of Honor. We are actually enjoying today with sun and Quilt Town USA.

Gail

Tonight we will make it short as we drove 3 ½ hours back to Kansas City, MO for our flight home on Sunday. I will update you and show you all the great pictures of the veterans receiving their quilts.

The best end of the evening was Flo chasing Debbie’s suitcase down the driveway at the hotel as it rolled down the hill. We needed that laugh.

Also, the girls had their drink night but didn’t realize it was Texas size.

God bless and stay tuned . . . . . . . . .
Gail

Today we went to college, ha ha. No, really, we went to learn about a working college. The students must work to go to college and it doesn’t cost tons of money. They teach them respect for God and Country – wish we had more of that. They grow everything that is prepared at their own restaurant. Two of the things they are known for are fruitcakes and ice cream. We got a tour of how they make fruitcake. They ship all over the country. The fruitcake is left packed for 6-8 months before shipping. I didn’t eat it.

They have a beautiful Chapel and three Memorials to veterans. They also have a war museum that was interesting and the students have taken trips to Korea and Vietnam with veterans to learn what they experienced.

There was a beautiful pond with one big swan and when Debbie tried to get close, he stuck his head through the fence and tried to bite her. It was pretty funny, he was nice to us.

When we were in the gift shop, we ran into a Purple Heart Rider who had a service dog. I immediately started talking to him and the dog came right up to me. The veterans said she had never done that before. I told him she know, she senses us. He asked if we were her for the Purple Heart Riders. I told him yes but not what we did and I patted his shoulder and told him I might see him again.

We walked over to the Vietnam Memorial which is beautifully done and the Plaque describes it perfectly. We also toured the Ralph Foster Museum where we had our picture taken in the Beverly Hillbillies truck. Flo and I sat inside which was a struggle and they almost had to pry us out. Debbie and Rita were laughing so hard. Good thing we didn’t have it on video. We found some Ozark crafts and thank God they didn’t ship home or Flo would have bought a big Eagle.

When we got back to our hotel, there were Purple Heart Riders now staying where we are. We are really hoping they haven’t realized that they are receiving quilts.

Tonight we are going to the New Jersey Nights show, actually being tourists. The 4 of us are sitting in our seats waiting for the show to start as I finish my Blog. All 4 of us are on our phones – quite a site.

Stayed tuned as tomorrow is our big day!

God bless,
Gail

Wednesday in O’Fallon MO

What a day we had today. We drove 4 hours to meet Jackie and Jean who manage Quilts of Valor East Missouri, a large group of hand quilters. I have known both Jackie and Jean since we drove across country to Camp Lejeune and stopped in Warrenton, MO to pick up 92 quilts. We have always kept in touch and helped each other when we needed to honor our veterans. I can’t tell you how good it felt to see them again. When we went to Camp Lejeune in 2009, it was so historic taking 1,200 quilts to be presented and knowing these ladies were part of that gives us a special bond.

We shared a meal today and they gave us the biggest piece of cake I ever saw. Rita had two pieces and we all ate every bit of ours. Rita said she knows she has already gained weight, we have had such great food. Our day with the hand quilters was very special. To see all those ladies sitting together sewing on those quilts. When they finish one, they ring a bell and show it off – so cool. Rita sat down and started sewing with them – that was pretty cool, too.

We spent about 3 hours and there were 84 women hand quilting. We met two women veterans who they presented quilts to so I got to talk to them and I enjoyed that. One was in the Women’s Army Corps. We did our show and tell and they did a show and tell. It was so good to be together as one. God bless you Jackie and Jean for always staying my friend, love you both. I will be back one day.

We left there and headed back to Branson with a roadside stop for a Dogwood picture for Mom. Another road stop at Fort Leonard Wood, MO to the Army Exchange, then a candy stop for a special person, and finally dinner at Freddy’s and had the best fries. We had the best day laughing at billboards and signs along the freeway. They do go a little crazy on those around here. Rita couldn’t get over the gas station Kum and Go – you figure that one out.

It was a beautiful sunny day but the weather is going to change. Tomorrow we will tour Branson and hopefully not eat too much.

God bless and stay tuned . . . . . . . .
Gail

 

We had us quite a day. We picked Rita up at the Springfield Airport and headed to Bass Pro, the original one and the first one in the United States. It has all kinds of museums, waterfalls and fish, and it is over a block long BIG. It even had a duck with a blue bill – that was quite interesting. Then we went to Lamberts to eat. They throw rolls at you and bring you fried okra, fried potatoes, macaroni and then you get what you ordered. Just look at those plates. We rolled out of there we were so full.

It was a good thing we decided to go to Smallin Civil War Cave, we got to walk off that lunch. It was a great experience, very beautiful and the history is amazing. The Osage Indians used the cave and Eric, our guide, sang us a prayer song in the cave. That was awesome. We left there and headed back to Branson where the girls got to go shopping at two quilt stores so they better not complain. Of course I got to go case the knife outlet. We walked our legs off and then we took Rita to Dicks 5 & 10 store and they must have been there a half hour. I finally went and sat on a bench with a fellow veteran and we chatted.

I think Rita has decided I’m a crazy driver. I told her that here I don’t do U-turns, I just circle the mountains and circle the turnabouts.  We ended our evening at Cold Stone for ice cream.

We are heading out in the morning for Warrington, MO to see my quilting friends from our 2009 cross-country trip. Can’t wait to see them. We had a beautiful sun today and it was actually warm. There is so much to see here and we haven’t even gotten a show in.

God bless and stay tuned . . . . . . . . . .
Gail

Monday in Branson Missouri

We didn’t have the greatest morning. The hotel we had booked to stay reminded us of the Bates Hotel so when we got done with the Table Rock Quilt Guild meeting, we decided to move to a new hotel. It was quite an ordeal but we prevailed and are now at a nice place. We had a great time meeting the Table Rock Quilt Guild’s 135 members and very nice ladies. I spoke a little, told our Vietnam Wall story and the story of Mom and Dad Belmont going across country to Warrington, MO in 2009 to take quilts to the Marines at Camp Lejeune. They seemed to love it all.

We met up with Bonnie and Barbara from Manteca and they went with us to the Guild meeting. We will see them again on Friday. It’s so great to have a QOH family and that we can do this together.

We must have driven around Branson 20 times and kept passing the same billboard and still didn’t know where we were. But, one thing for sure – we know where Silver Dollar City and Shepherd Hill are. It’s a wonder we didn’t get a ticket for going in circles. I didn’t do any U-turns, we just went round and round.

We had a great southern meal at lunch and fried chicken and green beans for dinner. I gotta say, they have this fried chicken down pat here. I took Debbie and Flo to Dicks 5 & 10 – they were both in shock. I gave them 10 minutes to look. Flo said, “You’ve got to be kidding. This just isn’t right.” They both need a bigger bag already.

We met 5 Quilts of Honor ladies at the Elks Club to have dinner and present quilts. We gave out 6 quilts and a good thing we brought extras because we were short one. We came through to honor veterans and not leave one forgotten.

We finally found the hotel Mom and Dad Belmont managed. It’s now a Holiday Inn Express so the pictures are for them.

We are now ready to call it a night. We pick Rita up tomorrow so it should be a great day. We had boomers and bangers last night and it rained buckets, it was so much water. Today just sprinkles off and on.

God bless and stay tuned . . . . . . . .
Gail