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QOH Goes to Jail

Today was another adventure of awarding quilts. Both of our veterans work at the Sacramento County Jail. Flo, Rita and I got to the receiving room to be checked in and run through security scanners. Rita’s husband, Bob, works for the prison system so he escorted us to the admin area where we were to meet our veterans.

Our first veteran served in the Army in Vietnam. He was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor. He babysat a missile that had landed a few feet from him for 36 hours. The missile didn’t detonate but when the bomb squad arrived they told him if he had moved 1 inch that would have been it. Nickname, Boz, had no idea what we were doing but he kept saying thank you and said, “I grew up in Vietnam.” I told him this was his thank you and welcome home. Many of his coworkers came to see him be honored as they respected him very much.

Our next veteran also works at the prison but was on a day off. So, Rita told a white lie and asked her to come get her at the prison because she needed a ride and also that Bob wanted to see her so she would have to come inside. We waited in the receiving area as Betty came walking across the parking lot. You could see she wasn’t happy doing this errand. She walked in and saw Bob and asked, “What do you want?” I stepped up and started my speech. She was totally taken back and she loved her quilt. We told her not to be mad at Rita and she said she would get even and we all laughed – Rita better watch out.

We did get to have ice cream on Bob because they took all our money at reception. So, for going to jail, we had a pretty good time.

September 22nd we will be heading to San Francisco for an Honor Flight – stay tuned for that adventure. It won’t be long before Veterans Day is here and I know we are all busy and that our Chapters are working to make their day special. May you all fulfill your missions and have fun honoring our veterans.

God bless,
Gail

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Day Off in San Diego

Headed into town for the taffy shop before traffic got crazy in San Diego.  We had a nice lunch in Old Town then headed to Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial. The view is so awesome up there and the breeze was great. We did make a few U-turns trying to get out of there.

We got into the 2pm rush hour traffic and man, do they have traffic. We did manage to find some side roads and followed the beach back to Oceanside. The beaches were beautiful. We finally landed at a beach we could get to and walked down and put our feet in the water. Flo sat down on this big rock but not me. I wasn’t taking a chance that a big wave would come in. About that time a wave hit us and the water went part way up my shorts. It hit Flo about waist high and she got a little wet. Sure made for some good laughs and we were cooled off.

It’s been a nice day off. We have an early flight in the morning. When this is posted it will be August 11th so I’m wishing my Mom a Happy Birthday. Hope your day is special like you are Mom – love you.

Thanks all for following my crazy adventures. but know my heart is always with our veterans and Quilts of Honor.

God Bless,
Gail

 

We had a safe flight to San Diego Wednesday, rented a car, and headed to Oceanside, CA. We arrived late and it took us forever to get the rental car. I believe we rented an antique – it has rollup windows and no USB port to charge our phones. Thank God it had air conditioning because it was darn hot. Even the people in San Diego were complaining.

Thursday morning we drove to Fallbrook to the Foundry where we were met with Anne Marie, a veteran that I gave a quilt to in May in Virginia. We were also going to meet-up with Helen, another female veteran whose hands were actually being bronzed.

The Foundry is truly worth a trip. The process they go through to create the works of art makes quilting look easy. They have special clothing, special boots – they looked like spacemen ready to take off. We could feel the heat from the bronze when it came out. They let all of us try and chip out the plaster from the bronze and those kids of Anne Marie’s and Tiffany were great. They stuck to it and the little guy barely let Flo and I try. Just look at his face when we got our turn. I swear he was saying, you aren’t doing it right.

We awarded Kevin and Scott their quilts right after lunch. They all loved their quilts. They bring veterans to the program to learn art to help with PTSD and TBI (brain damage) – that takes some special guys. They are very back logged. When they are making the molds they have to dip it 12 times – it has to dry after each dip so it’s quite a process.

We also gave a surprise quilt to Marilyn, an Army veteran, Vietnam era, who was a Physical Therapist for returning Vietnam veterans at Brooke Army Base where they send burn veterans. She was really thrilled with her quilt. It amazes me sometimes to reach these veterans like her who did so much but now we can say we thanked her.

We had a great day and enjoyed the company and the Foundry. We headed back to Oceanside to get some dinner and they were having a street fair. We hadn’t even walked three booths and ran into a Marine with a hat that told he deserved something. He was selling these awesome writing pens that he made. I told Flo that I sure wished we had a quilt – let’s go to the car. Well, we didn’t have but a Marine pillowcase so back we went to the booth and that Marine had the biggest smile on his face when I gave him the pillowcase. That sure made us feel good even though we know he deserved more but it made his day. We then made the wrong turn and ended up at the beach so got some great sunset pictures – a great ending to a long, hot day.

It doesn’t matter where we go, we always complete our mission and makes us thank God that we can continue to do this. Friday we are tourists, I hope, in San Diego. Stay tuned . . . . . . . . . . .

God Bless,
Gail

Our day began at Starbucks so we could get going and then headed to NASA, known as the Johnson Space Center. I think everybody else thought of the same thing. You know they have air conditioning inside and they brought every family this side of the Mississippi. It was truly interesting. We loved the history on Sally Ride, the first female astronaut and Flo had to take a picture. We didn’t ride on the simulators because we both would have thrown up. Did learn a lot and got to see a real meteorite.

After spending a couple hours at the Space Center, we went to the Armand Bayou. Why? I’m still trying to figure out why we went for a walk in the heat to see bugs. We were walking along the path and all of a sudden Flo isn’t there. I turned around to look and she said, “I’m not moving – look at the spider and you walked right by it.” That spider and its web was the size of Texas. Hope you can see it in the picture but Mom and Aunt June would still be screaming. Then we run into this guy who is painting the swamp. He tells Flo that when you look out there long enough you see things. He thought he saw an alligator but it was a python snake. Well, Flo’s eyes got big and we didn’t stay long visiting with him.

We saw blue, red, and green dragonflies, lots of butterflies but the whole time we are walking we’re looking like what critter is going to get us. By the time we got back to the starting point, we both had sweat running down our faces. We were glad to get out of there. We did have a good time and some laughs. Flo said, “You never know where you will take a person.” We drove through some of the neighborhoods and they are still fixing from the floods. We found a neat little lake with ducks and one had a Mohawk.

Tomorrow we head home hoping to beat the storm that is coming in. Looking forward to seeing the sewing group next week. Thanks for always following our adventures.

God bless,
Gail

Today we drove 2 hours to La Grange, Texas to meet my friend, Vicky, who is part of the staff for Quilt Inc., aka Houston Quilt Show and to see the Museum. I met Vicky many years ago when I worked the Houston Quilt show. We used to have great laughs at the show and she was a great help to me. Vicky and I visited so long that Flo bought out the Museum Shop. She even had to come back for the credit card. She was a happy camper.

You are not allowed to take pictures of the quilts but if you ever get the chance, take the time to go see the museum. The building was restored and the quilts are stunning the way they are hung. Every three months they change the collection. There are gardens along the side of the building and a quilt mural.

The town of La Grange is really quaint. They have a famous bakery and yes, we had to try it. They made rice crispy treats with pecans in them and yes, I got one of those too but I haven’t tried it yet.

When we finished at La Grange we headed back to Houston. It’s always been known for bad traffic and it was Friday so I’m thinking we are going to be in bumper-to-bumper traffic but we made good time and decided to go to Galveston. It wasn’t that far so we headed to the beach. It cost us $12 to park on the beach – I mean in the sand – you just drive out onto the sand. That was amazing. We stuck our feet in the Gulf of Mexico – it was so warm and fun. People were on the beach but it wasn’t like California’s crowded beaches. It was so nice. It really wasn’t crowded – they were all swimming and loving it. We checked out a wild bird area but all I found was a seagull sitting on a post.

There are so many different things here in Texas. The seagulls are black and white and the pelicans are brown. They have 6 lane freeways and 2 lane frontage roads. Their taco trucks are the size of buses and their gas stations, most of them off the freeways, have a big restaurant. One must have had 25 gas pumps. You will see a picture of the oil refineries – they are everywhere, too. It has been 95 plus and I think 95 humidity. We have had some thunder storms then they move on. You can’t come to Texas without having a steak at Salt Grass and we got the best table looking out over the water and watched the seagulls dive for food. We had QOH business and got to play so it made for a great day. Tomorrow we will see what we will do. Almost forgot, Flo did get to a fabric store but she didn’t buy a thing. Now that’s a first.

It was a blessing to see Vicky and thankful we could meet.

God Bless and stay tuned . . . . . . . .
Gail

 

This was one fast trip. Quilts of Honor was asked a few months ago if we would work with another nonprofit, Fuller Center Disaster Rebuilders. They rebuild homes wherever there was a disaster. They asked us because they had a WWII veteran who had lost his home in hurricane Harvey. This veteran had been in the Battle of the Bulge. He had lived in his home for over 50 years and to him, that was all he had. He and his wife would have been married 70 years on August 1st. They didn’t have the money to rebuild and after his story made the news around Houston, the veterans group stepped up to find the Fuller Center.

Carl and Jeanine asked me if I could deliver a quilt when they had the home dedication. I love those two and would do anything they ask and they never ask for anything. Often I am in trouble because we thank them for taking such good care of us by giving them chocolates. The deal was, as soon as they knew when the home was finished, we would present a quilt at the dedication. They moved the dedication up when they found our Mr. Nash had a very fast growing cancer. The date was set last week to have the dedication on the 6th. Well, Mr. Nash passed away and it was decided his quilt would be both a Quilt of Honor and In Memory quilt.

Flo and I flew out to Houston at 5:30 am this morning with the funeral and honors to be tomorrow. When we left home at 2:15 am it was so dark. As we drove down Hwy. 12 and rounded the curve we saw the Field of Flags – kind of a fitting start to our trip. I have stressed much about awarding this quilt but I knew God was guiding us the whole way. We barely landed in Houston and my point of contact said, “Gail, we want you to do it today at the visitation.” You all know I would do whatever for our veterans and families but, for me, this was tough. We were going to the south and my memories are not good from the many funerals I played for.

We got our rental car and headed out of Houston to a small town not far from NASA where the Nash family lived. We got our first thunder storm and pouring rain and it was 91 degrees – you could barely breath when we got out of the car. We went by the house so we could see what this nonprofit does. It was amazing what they had done to the house and they were working like crazy to finish.

At 5:30 pm we met Toni, our contact, and she gathered the family in a room of the church so I could present the quilt. They truly loved the quilt. Mrs. Nash had quilted at one time and knew how much work went into the quilt. We took pictures and they told us their grandson was going into the Army as a ranger – they were very proud.

The quilt took its place of honor on the altar for all to see. This quilt was pieced by Queen B’s QOH – beautiful quilt.

We had a Texas Mexican lunch and boy was that different. I had spinach enchiladas just for my Dad and it was too bad. The salsa was even different but good. We also found a boardwalk that was neat.

It was one very long day but we did something that was out of our comfort zone but Quilts of Honor always comes through. Tomorrow we are off to LaGrange to the Quilt Museum. I’ll be sure and send some pictures. I am thankful the day is ending.

God’s Blessing to all who support us. Stay tuned . . . . . . . .
Gail

What a time we had. We started out with 7 of us heading to San Francisco with 30 quilts and a full list of instructions on what we were to do when we arrived at San Francisco Airport. We hadn’t gotten 25 minutes down the road when Flo says, “I don’t have my wallet,” which meant no ID which we had to have to get through Security. We called back to the Shop and Joyce take a picture of ID and send it to us.

As we drive into SF Airport, our instructions tell us to go to the parking garage on the 5th floor. So we are driving through the garage looking for the 5th floor, with no U-turns, as you will end up exiting. We finally found the 5th floor garage and it’s closed so we park on the 4th floor and take the elevator to the 5th, walk out the door and it was empty – no cars, no people – really spooky. That didn’t stop us – we walked across and found the people mover – only us country folk get instructions. We finally get to Alaskan Airlines to meet the USO for passes – well, no one knew anything. After 40 minutes of asking everyone, Bonnie called the USO and finally got ahold of someone. Then came ‘The Flo charade’. They said she couldn’t go in without an ID which started Debbie, Flo and I trying different avenues to get her in. We didn’t give up and they took her back to security and we all went through security. Boy, was that fun. I got frisked, Jeanette got frisked, and we all got frisked. We finally got through to the other side and decided to wait for Flo. We could see her being frisked and they asked her a ton of questions but finally said ok. We all clapped and Rita took a video. We all learned a lesson – don’t forget your ID and that we don’t leave any of our QOH family behind.

So as I tell this adventure, the first few hours were killers. We finally got to the gate area where the American Legion Members were gathering and many people had signs and flags – the honoring was starting to begin. We met our Honor Flight Point of Contact and he decided we would setup our Quilts and they would bring the Veterans to us. While we were waiting I found out the cofounder was a Marine Veteran so our last spare quilt was dedicated for him.

When the veterans started to be brought through the line, the Bagpiper led them up the aisle with family and friends clapping and yelling. The smiles from those veterans were as wide as could be. I already had told our crew we would read the name and they were to take the quilt to them. All of our group took turns presenting quilts and connecting with the veteran. There were so many hugs. When it was my turn, I got up to tell them all we were going to give them Quilts of Honor and when we called their name to raise their hand. Before we started I had the honor of bringing Miss Commons forward – she is 101 years old, and was an Army Nurse in WWII. This lady was amazing. She was the first to walk off the plane – she made me look old – and when we took her quilt out she loved it. When Rita would yell out a name those hands came up so fast and the smiles, some could hardly wait. We received tons of nice comments on how beautiful the quilts were and how organized we were. One lade even told us it wasn’t cheesy – that’s what she expected but it was nice. Others said, “This is a labor of love”. We even pulled off awarding to 4 of the Honor Flight Crew – all veterans.

After all of them received their quilts, the parade down Main Street started. All the people in the stores came out and the Bagpiper played all the way to the end. It was very special and I see more in Quilts of Honor’s future – we were a hit.

I want to thank Queen B’s Antioch QOH. There were 7 of them and they took a 1 ½ hour trip on Bart to be a part of it all. They jumped in and awarded quilts – they were a great help. To my crew – I couldn’t do it without you. Bonnie, you done good. Debbie saved Flo, she done good. Rita will now hear the ending to our night.

We are walking back to the car and we had to find the elevator. Well, Chago, Rita’s older grandson runs in the elevator and the doors start to close. We couldn’t stop them and they got jammed. He is stuck inside and we are all yelling. People are watching and three men who had been to see the Veterans said to let them pull it open. They were BIG BIG guys. They tried with no luck. Everyone is still yelling for Chago the push the open button. Finally he did and he ran out into Grandma Rita’s arms. Boy was that awful. We finally got to the 5th floor parking and walked out onto the deck. It is dark, dark and the wind is howling and we have to walk across the parking lot and not a soul around – boy did we move.  We finally found the car and pile in for the trip home but first we gotta pay for parking. I stick the ticket in and it doesn’t work. I try 3 or 4 times but the gate doesn’t go up. We are all like, is this for real? Finally it worked and boy were we happy.

We did have an adventure we will never forget and came out smarter especially Flo and Chago – they both got lessons and so did we.

Thank you to all our dedicated volunteers who help us to continue our mission and journeys.

God Bless – until next time
Gail