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Archive for December, 2021

Merry Christmas

This time of the year always brings memories of Christmas past.  Just recently we had a trip to Nebraska and saw an antenna with a red light on top.  Flo asked what it was and I told her when we were kids we all went out to my Aunt June’s house on Christmas Eve and waited for Santa Clause.  They would put us in the bedroom and there was one of those antennas down the road with a red light.  Our folks would tell us that it was Rudolph.  Of course we believed them.  Then, we would hear outside the door, Ho Ho Ho, and a bunch of noise.  Our folks would tell us to come and see that Santa had come, and out we would come to see presents.

I also remember all my Christmases when I was in the Army.  The first one I came home in my uniform into the San Francisco Airport, not a good thing in 1969, but seeing my family was Christmas.  Being away from home, especially when you are many miles away, makes you more homesick.  We all would play Christmas music wanting to go home for Christmas.  We were lucky that our Unit usually got two weeks leave but not those who were deployed to Vietnam.  Even today I know there are many veterans with their memories of Christmas while serving.  My thoughts go to those who are serving today and pray they all come home safe.

I am thankful and grateful we all at Quilts of Honor get to give a little of Christmas every time we give a quilt.  We often are told you need to pay it forward.  Well, we do that in so many ways.  Every volunteer for Quilts of Honor has a giving heart.  The hours so many put in to complete our mission is so honorable and I am proud of each one of you who help us to continue our mission.  It takes a Village.

May you all have a Blessed Christmas

Gail

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What a long, special day.  We started at 7am from home.  Debbie, Diana (my sister for those who don’t know her), Flo and me the driver, and Rue in the back seat.  We left early since you never know with traffic in the Bay Area and with 4 women you know there will be pit stops.  We had a nice ride and arrived early. It took us just a few minutes to decide to go shopping in downtown Santa Cruz.  We saw a shop that said Sock and Shoe Company and you know we went in there.  I’ve never seen so many socks, shoes and boots and yes, we came out with some.  When we finished there, we were right across the street from the Veterans Memorial building so we unloaded our bags and headed in.  It was a beautiful day, the sun was out, and we didn’t even need a jacket.  We couldn’t believe December 17th on the coast and no jacket.

We got there in plenty of time to prep our quilts and many of the veterans were already arriving.  They didn’t know why they were summoned.  We hid the quilts behind the curtains on the stage.  We started our ceremony with the Pledge of Allegiance and Jim, USMC veteran and my Point of Contact for the group, introduced me so we could start.  Jim called the veterans up two at a time. Most of them took the quilt and looked at both sides.  One veteran kept showing the back and the crowd was yelling at him to turn it around – that was pretty funny.  We had pretty much each era of veterans and one female veteran, Lois, a Korean veteran, 94 years young and I mean this veteran you would never guessed at 94.  One of our last veterans was the youngest but had been, at one time, homeless and just recently became a dad and now has a full time job working at the veteran’s hall.  We did miss one Marine veteran and I presented on the floor of the Hall who was Commander of VFW for the past 6 years.  We had Santa Cruz Sentinel, Jessica, attend and take pictures and we made their paper December 17th before we got home.  That was pretty cool.

When we finished the ceremony, Jim took us to lunch at Café Marie Italian Food.  It was delicious and we enjoyed spending time with Jim.  We have worked together numerous times honoring veterans.  We finished our lunch and followed Jim to a Care Home where we could present Fran his quilt.  When we arrived we met some of the other veterans that came to support Fran and see him get his quilt.  It was so great to see the bond our veterans have for each other and how they love to share their quilts and the experience of receiving one.

We said goodbye to all and asked Jim for directions to the beach he said follow me take off at the exit Rio Del Mar so down the road we go I kept asking Debbie the navigator what road Del Mar Rio after a few times me not saying it right Debbie says very plain and almost spelling the exit RIO DEL MAR and we all started laughing I think I had pushed her patience to where she was explaining to a 5 year old.  We did find the beach and took our picture for Rita who we have a joke with about feet in the ocean.  The picture will show shoes to darn cold in California Ocean.

We headed home a different route as traffic on Friday nights is not so good.  We came home by CasaDeFruta on Hwy 152 which has been famous for years to travelers on that road.  We pulled up and parked right in front and went in.  Of course we bought stuff, Carmel apples, popcorn, dried fruit, you name it they got it.

When we returned to the car I was standing in front when a gentleman gets out of his car.  He walks right up to me, says hello and hugs me.  I’m like who is this guy.  He had a Vietnam veteran shirt on and I’m thinking did we give him a quilt and I didn’t remember.  He then says, “I want to thank you for what you do.  I heard about you.”  We keep him talking and his wife is with him.  I tell Flo to get one of the extra quilts in the car.  She brings it out and we present it to him.  He starts to cry and says, “I didn’t expect this.”  His wife, her mouth fell open.  She is taking pictures as we get his information on the back of the quilt.  He then says, “Let me give you a donation.”  We said we don’t do it for that and he hands Diana $50.00.  I told him this was his welcome home and he replied that no one welcomed him home.  I told him we just did.  The wife said we had made his year.  Flo told me, as we were getting in the car, “that you always know when to honor them.  I said I’m just a little on the crazy side.”

We headed home and we all said what a perfect day.  We had beautiful weather and we had quite a mission.  We were home almost the same hour we started 12 hours later.  Today, Lou, my Veteran brother and Larry, both Vietnam veterans, presented 5 quilts in Stockton to veterans who had been homeless and were going to their own place and job.  We were proud we could honor so many veterans, especially during this holiday season.

Looking forward to seeing some of our volunteers on Tuesday for Open House.  Stay well and keep quilting.

God bless

Gail

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Nebraska Is Special

We had a very good time even with snow and 27 degrees.  We spent Sunday seeing a few things we wanted to see around Elgin, Nebraska.  We first went to Percy’s, our cousin, to see the farm.  He and his son, Ray, farm soy beans and corn.  We took a picture of the Ranger hot rod Percy (90 years young) rides around the farm.  I would love one of those, so would Rue.  Then off to the farm shop.  Lordy, those John Deere Tractors were huge.  Flo stood next to one and she looked like a midget.  Connie, my cousin, and Flo decided to get in one.  I wish I would have taken a video of them trying to get up the steps into it.  I almost had to shove Flo up from the behind.  They finally made it and you can see the picture of them both.  I think it was their bucket list.  They had two old tractors from day one that used to run on propane  There was some pretty cool old stuff in that shop.  It’s a good thing we weren’t driving home to California.  They heated the shop with some special heater that used oil.  When neighbors changed oil in their cars, they gave to the shop – pretty smart.  We especially thought the bottle of black velvet kept the workers going in the shop.  We walked around the property and saw an old Ford truck, old as the hills, and the one barn was really Percy’s old schoolhouse he relocated to his property.  Rue ran around in the snow as she was a little more used to it.  Lots of memories there.

We stopped at the cemetery to see those who have went before us and I loved that they had a windmill and flag standing right in center.  We left Percy’s, said goodbye to cousin Connie and went to cousin Ray’s to see his farm two miles down the road.  Ray had the oldest barn and so cool looking.  Peggy, his wife, had 5 miniature donkeys so of course we had to check them out and the barn cat that was playing on the hay stack.  It was so great to spend some time with cousins and reconnect.  They were all so gracious to us.  Everywhere in Nebraska people are like that.  All the guys opened the doors for us at different stores and everyone said good morning just like America used to be.

We then decided to head to see our friend, Deb, who works in Aurora, Nebraska t the Edgerton Explorit Center.  That place was amazing.  It is a science center for kids and had so many things for them to do.  They bring buses of school kids and teach them about science.  Deb started a program about birds and has three she takes to schools and shows them.  We got to go in the cages and see the birds up close.  We even petted the screech owl and the feathers were so soft.  The Swanson Hawk was so cool and dignified.  Deb is very brave to have tamed them.  They have broken wings and can’t be out on their own now.  We also stood in front of that Ferris wheel that Joe built in a week.  I would have been insane in a day with all those parts.  We highly recommend, if you are ever in this area of Nebraska, you go to this special place.  We decided to have lunch with Deb so she too us to Runza, only in Nebraska, to eat and you know they eat chili with cinnamon rolls – I know sounds weird.  We ate a Runza – it was hamburger, cabbage and cheese in a special bread – was pretty good.

So, what a day and then we drove back to Omaha for our flight out.  Did you know speed limit on HWY 80 was 75 mph?  That was fun in windy Nebraska.  We will be back in the spring to meet our Nebraska Chapter and yes, we found more deserving veterans.  So another great adventure.

We are on our flight home hoping the storm in California hasn’t done any damage.  Stay tuned for what’s up next . . . . . . . . . .

God’s blessings

Gail

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Some people were asking why were we going to Nebraska – nothing there and it is cold.  Well, Nebraska has been in our family roots for many years.  My mom was born here.  We often came here for vacations while growing up.  We have family here for many years, now mostly cousins.  Mom’s cousins came for her birthday in August 2021 and Percy came so they told us to come to his 90th birthday so, since we knew it would be hard for mom and dad and we wanted to send someone from the family, Flo and I volunteered.  I also wanted to present Alan his quilt.

Now the funny part, I asked our Nebraska family what the weather would be like.  They said not to worry, it doesn’t snow that early.  We landed in Omaha at 4:45pm on Friday evening.  It was mighty cold!  After we checked into our hotel, we went for dinner at the Old Mattress Bar and Grill to get a bite.  Boy, we had ½ a hamburger, the absolute best, and we came out to the car and snow was falling.  We woke up to snow pretty much everywhere.  Flo had never been in snow and Rue not so much.  Rue was like what is this I have to pee in?  I let Flo scrape the window off and then walking in the ice was real fun.

We drove 3 hours to Elgin, Nebraska for a party and thank god for All Wheel Drive.  Some of the backroads they don’t plow.  We saw this awesome barn with a quilt block on it but we couldn’t stop.  I told Flo I didn’t think I should do a U-turn in the snow – it might not be good.

Snow is still here.  It didn’t melt like they all said.  We are staying in a place called one-stop-shop.  It has food, gas, and hotel.  We had to sign our life away to get a room and we are the only ones staying here.  The first room heater didn’t work so they moved us.  The second room we took a bath/shower at the same time as the tub wouldn’t drain.  I took Rue out for bathroom and she did her duty, turned around and ran to the door and shoved it open, she was so cold.  I had to laugh at her.

We have had some adventures.  We met great people and celebrated Percy and got to award a quilt.  We even ran into a lady who we had given a quilt to her dad in 2015.  We mailed to Lincoln, Nebraska.  She said that was the most treasured gift he ever received.  He now has passed and the quilt went to his grandson who is an Army Green Beret.  The lady was raised in Elgin, Nebraska and was just passing through this weekend, brought her mother-in-law to the party, found out about us, and just wanted to meet us.  Everywhere we go we are Quilts of Honor even though we came for family.  These quilts are all over the United States and so amazing to hear stories of the quilts.

We will tour a little tomorrow and head back to Omaha to catch our plane out Monday morning.

Love to our Nebraska family.

God’s blessings

Gail

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