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Archive for December 18th, 2021

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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