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Memorial Day 2020

I am sure most of us will remember this Memorial Day just like the last few months. We will remember that today is the day we are to remember all those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. I have played taps more times than I can remember.  Today will be different because of Covid19 but we will not forget. So, I will play with 2200 other trumpets and buglers playing in their front and backyards to honor our fallen. We are playing with Taps for Veterans, a non-profit that helps find live buglers for veterans. It is an honor to be a part of this organization that also provides for veterans.

If you have a minute, at 3:00 pm please pause to remember as I play the 24 Notes of Taps. I will remember and be thankful.

Check out our backyard. Not everyone has a life size Statue of Liberty. Praying that our days will get better. Keep on stitching – we will soon be together to share our love of quilting and for our veterans.

Blessings,
Gail

(Stay tuned for video of taps)

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November – Veterans Month

We began our month of November at 0-dark-30 heading to Walnut Creek to the Berean Christian High School. For those of you who don’t live in California, Valley Springs is a small community in the foothills. We are considered country folks so driving to Walnut Creek in the Bay Area traffic, getting up at 0-dark-30 no one enjoys that part, but we do it for our veterans.

We arrived at the School, signed in at the office and the office lady said they were having quite a few visitors because of us and welcome back. We have gone to Berean Christian High School for many years. It was Quilts of Honor that helped them learn to make quilt tops and honor our veterans. Carol, a family friend, met Flo and I and became part of the QOH team. She took pictures for us so Flo cold help feed the quilts as the students carried them to center stage. Carol also works at Berean. The ceremony is always held in the Gym which is beautiful. They call it chapel and all the students attend. This year Craig Lee was master of ceremonies. We started with God Bless America sung by one of their own then we all sang. It is always inspirational with the veterans all sitting in their chairs not even knowing what is going on. They came because a daughter, son, grandson or granddaughter wanted to honor them. Quilts of Honor was their surprise and this year we had some veterans that didn’t qualify for a quilt so we called them up front and pinned a Veterans Pin on their collar. Both veterans thanked us for the honor of being there.

Craig called each veteran up. Our first was an Air Force female veteran. Boy was she shocked and once she received her quilt she never stopped talking about her time in service which she had not done before. Each veteran had a great story. One even served in an Army Band but he played clarinet. He said he was asked to play taps on his clarinet as there were so many killed in action. He said he saw how many times the buglers were called during Vietnam. One of the Navy veterans brought his uniform for the students to see and said he was 8 inches too big to fit into it – they sure laughed at that.

The last veteran was 98 years old, WWII veteran, who served on a Tin Can Destroyer as he described it. They were hit numerous times in the Pacific by the Japanese. They lost 150 men and kept the boat afloat by stuffing their mattresses in holes and throwing what they could overboard. It was amazing to stand there and listen to him – what a hero. I can’t even believe all these years he has lived and tells his story. When I gave him his quilt he said it was the nicest present. When I took his arm to walk off I felt proud to be with him.

It was a great ceremony and we ended with one of the female teachers singing the National Anthem. She was going out on maternity leave and boy was it good. We ended up awarding 7 quilts and 2 veteran pins. It was also nice that three of the quilts presented were from the school itself. When we finished, of course we had to stop and shop. Flo spotted a Patriotic Nutcracker in the store window and is now sitting in the Barn so we can enjoy it.

We had a couple of days in the Shop to get ready for Veteran Honors in Valley Springs. The Rotary Club of West Calaveras was having a chicken BBQ ribs dinner. They asked if Quilts of Honor would be a part of it. I said sure and asked if there would be veterans to present. Gary said he would see if he could find some. In the meantime, my veteran brother, Mike, calls and said he has a friend he had gotten to know who has a Purple Heart and could we get him a quilt. I told him to bring him to dinner, so he got Warren and his wife to dinner so we could surprise him.

Then Gary calls, “Gail I got one Vietnam veteran who has played Santa Claus in our Christmas parade for 22 years.” I knew Jeff and was excited for him. So, we had two – not bad for last minute. Flo got the quilts ready and we always take extras. We got to dinner and there was 14 of us. We had two tables. I was at one end of the table and Diana, my sister, had asked two friends. Margaret sat next to me and as everyone was talking, Judy said that Margaret was a veteran. I asked Margaret when and where she had served. She said she had been in the Army for 10 years. I asked her why she didn’t tell people that she was a veteran and she said she hadn’t put in as much time as others. So, guess what. Her name went on one of our extra quilts. You should have seen her face when Gary called her name. When she sat down with that quilt she kept hugging it and said that she was redoing her whole house and the quilt was amazing. I told her to start telling people that she was a veteran.

Then came Warren, Purple Heart recipient. His wife was crying, his buddy was crying when he got his quilt and when I looked over at him at the table he was hugging that quilt.

The 3rd quilt was another Vietnam veteran. Gary asked him about his service, he was speechless but what a smile.

The last was Jeff, Santa Claus, Vietnam veteran. When I went to shake his hand he said, “Oh no, you’re not getting away that easy.” He grabbed the mic and said: You know what this lady has done all over the states. She goes giving these quilts. Then he broke down, said it was an honor to have one, starts crying, grabs me and hugs me.

What 4 great deserving veterans.

Just when I’m so glad my part is over and I’m walking back to the table, I hear my name – Come back up front. So I get up there and Gary, master of ceremonies, and also a Supervisor in District 1, says, “We are honoring two special veterans tonight for Service Above Self for the benefit of veterans.” I was awarded a plaque along with my fellow veteran, Guy, Silver Paws non-profit, who trained Rue my Service Dog.

So, what a night. I will say I don’t like being honored. I don’t do it for that but being in my own home town, this was pretty cool. Thank you Rotary of Calaveras for the honors.

We have been receiving lots of label copies from our Chapters in other states – they are busy as Veterans Week is always crazy.

Tonight I will attend the Marine Ball which has become a tradition with our family – my Dad is a Marine. I will also award a quilt tonight so this should be interesting. I will be in my Army uniform and honor a Marine.

Stay tuned for more to come as we all move through Veterans month. I know that Veterans Day, to me, is like a birthday. I love that we can go and eat free or go to a parade which I have done since I got out of the service. They have made it a good day for so many veterans that deserve it.

God bless all our veterans and all those who are still serving. To my WAC Band Sisters and one brother – May you have the best Veterans Day and I will see you in October 2020.

Blessings,
Gail

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Today we took off for a destination to Harrison AK and Country Corner Quilt Shop. We seem to always detour and ALWAYS U-TURN. Before we get to our destination, if it isn’t for a bathroom, it is because someone saw ‘something’ we must stop at. Our first stop was the Veterans Memorial at Ozark College. They have War Memorials for Korea, Vietnam, and Gold Star. We then headed toward Harrison with a driving tour through Hollister, a cute don’t blink your eyes, Main Street.

Back on the road and we stopped at Heart Quilt shop where everyone was greeted by baby kittens, even Rue was kissing them. Check out the pictures of Rita and Rue with kittens. We left there and landed at our destination.

Why, you ask, would we go clear to Harrison, AK? Well, in 1995 my folks bought their first Nolting machine from Country Corner. We all walked in and I asked for the owner. She was working on the Longarm. I introduced myself and told her about my folks and she remembered. We talked about how longarming had changed since 1997 and she told me Nolting had just sold so I am sure more changes are to come. It was nice to see where my folks started our beginnings and that I don’t forget that they helped what we have become. Enjoy the pictures Mom and Dad.

We then stopped at another Quilt shop. We all walked in, including Rue, and the lady said a few ‘wrong things’ that we heard and out the door we went. Some people can be so rude. Service Dogs have a purpose and especially mine. She is good in every way. If you don’t get it, keep it to yourself. I’m off my soap box now.

We then decided to go check out the Showboat that cruises the Table Rock Lake with dinner and a show. Rue even got a ticket. It was a good dinner and a great show. At the end they had all the veterans stand. When we sat down they started to sing God Bless America and I stood back up and everyone all around started standing. There were red, white and blue lights everywhere – it was so fitting.

The crew did decide they were going to count today’s U-turns. Well, that lasted for about 5 U-turns and they gave up so I’m still keeping them entertained. You would be surprised how I can U-turn a Suburban anywhere.

We had a good day and more adventures to come. Stay tuned . . . . . . .

God’s blessings,
Gail

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Day 2 – Great Day!

Some days you just need to decompress and today we did just that. Took us a while to get there as Debbie, the navigator, took us to Carthage No. We drive into town and I ask where the Chapel is. We were in the middle of Carthage and it was cute and old but wrong direction. Debbie asked if she had to go to the back seat. See what happens – I made 4 U-turns before we found the Chapel.

The Precious Moments Garden and Chapel would impress anyone. The paintings are so real. Sam Butcher painted some of them in 4 days at the age of 70. He truly believes to save every memory or leave one for your loved ones. Everything in the place had a meaning. Truly a spiritual place. It brought back many memories for me of my Grandma. I am also thankful to my parents for bringing Precious Moments into my life and telling me to go there. I know that if they could have come with us they would have. It has changed so much since they came in 1997. The thing that got me and Rita was the Penny Pincher. We were trying to make a keepsake penny for Flo and that Pincher was making the wrong one costing us 51 cents each time. Finally Val came over and told us to follow the dots. Well, you know Rita and I cracked up over that. So Flo, in the end, got 4 collection pennies and Rita and I now call them pinching machines – they steal your money. We all will need a box for our Precious Moments to ship home but we sure enjoyed it.

We decided on the way home to go to Lambert’s, the famous roll throwing cafe. We all ate until we were sick. Just look at those salads. On our way home we stopped at Dicks 5&10 store. I’m sitting on the bench for an hour waiting for the gang. They loved it and yes, more stuff and of course you will see Rita with her witch outside of the store.

We drove down many of the back roads of Missouri. And, we all decided that they don’t have enough bathrooms especially when you gotta go. Just ask the group how we drove for miles before we finally found a bathroom. It was just like 7 kids in the car – mom, I gotta go – but don’t laugh too hard, you might have an accident.

We had a good day considering a few on the Crew are dealing with losses of loved ones and some family being sick and they are miles away.

When we were driving back to the house we spotted the Military Memorial in downtown Branson. So, a fitting end for all of us. Rue is wore out and already asleep on her bed.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s adventure . . . . . . . . .

God’s Blessing
Gail

PS: Debbie’s navigation also took us to Lambert, MO – not to the café – so we ended up on more back roads. Debbie said she thought she was getting fired. I told her, no, just more zeros. Who would think there is a town named Lambert and it is miles from Lambert’s Café. We always have adventures.

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Day 1 – Branson

Good morning

We had a safe flight here yesterday. Landed at Tulsa Airport, rented our BIG White Suburban that I have named the white mobile – it holds all 7 of us and Rue and has room for our luggage.

It was raining and windy driving along the Interstate but 75 mph was sure nice. For our California people, they have ‘zipper lanes’, that’s what they call merging lanes – that was entertaining. We stopped to eat at Crackle Barrel and that made everyone happy.

We got to the house after driving on a back road that looked like we were in Deliverance but nice house, right on the water, which we didn’t know. So quiet. You would never know we were in Branson. Two screened in porches and decks all around. Rue is being her good self and explored every inch of the yard.

Today we are off to explore and head to Precious Moments so be ready for more adventures as we take each moment to enjoy what we see.

God’s blessings,
Gail

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We had our smallest QOH crew yet — Flo, Ginny and myself with 26 quilts to award. We had a nice dinner at Elephant Bar before trying to master the parking garage at San Francisco’s Airport. We never get the same floor and this time was no different. As we drove in, Ginny spotted a luggage carrier which was our savior. We loaded that baby with our quilts – boy Ginny can move. We finally found Alaskan airlines and our USO contact, LeAnn, who we have grown to know since this was our 5th Honor Flight. All of those involved with these flights are all special people. Their love shows through in everything they do.

Each flight has a guardian for each of the senior veterans. The guardian wears blue shirts and the veterans wear red shirts. The ages on this flight were youngest 83 years old and oldest 97 years old. Most were WWII and Korean veterans. They were so happy to be honored. The flights are so special for the veterans who get to experience it and also special for those who get to witness all the honors the veterans receive. Strangers lined the aisles clapping and waving flags as the Bagpipers played and marched the veterans to where we were located. They lined them up in their wheelchairs – very few stood. The 97 year old veteran stood so proud and when I gave him his quilt he stood tall. I told him he didn’t look 97 years old and he laughed.

As their names were called, Ginny handed me the quilts and Flo took pictures. The smiles were so big. One veteran jumped from his wheelchair and ran to get his quilt. Another veteran told me I had a good job – “look at all the hugs you get.” The neatest thing I got to do was award a family friend a quilt who I hadn’t seen in years. His son was his guardian so the trip meant so much to them both. I was glad I could be a little part of making him happy. This veteran and I have a bond as we both love a special friend who is now in Hospice. She is like a second mom to me and she would be so proud to know I gave Jimmy a quilt. Before we left, an Army veteran, 96 years old, came to thank us. His granddaughter was his guardian and was so proud. He told us how proud he was of his quilt.

So, it was a special night. Couldn’t have done it without Ginny and Flo. It took all three of us just to get us out of the parking garage. We even made walking U-turns.

Until our next adventure . . . . . . . . . .

God’s Blessings,
Gail

 

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Gail Update

Hi everyone,

Gail did great with surgery on Friday. The Doctor went on the conservative side replacing parts in the old right knee replacement and cleaning up scar tissue. She has been getting up on crutches and the hospital PT has already signed her off. The Doctor MAY let Gail go home Monday.

Gail is so thankful for all your prayers and also for having Rue by her side. Rue is good medicine! Of course she is still the “star”. The staff loves her.

Thank you for your continued prayers and good wishes,
Jan and Flo

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