The day of days….

As I type this I pause to reflect on how life changes in a flash.  This being Veterans Day I feel obligated to talk about my past and the people who have crossed my path over the last 30 years.

I was a young naive 20 year old that walked into the recruiting office early May 1984.  I had one goal and that was to get out of the one horse town that I lived in.  Looking back I don’t think I realized the magnitude of the path I was embarking on, actually I’m certain of it.  The Army was my way to leave Southeast Texas behind.  I not only left my home but who I was.

My arrival at Fort McClellan AL was uneventful.  I was housed at the reception station with others waiting till we had enough for a company.  I was originally assigned to Delta 10.  I would go to bed every night thinking that I was never going to see my mother again(remember I said I was naive).  We ran everywhere! On concrete! So needless to say my bones couldn’t take the stress and in my 5th week of basic I was struck down with a stress fracture in my right leg just below the hip joint.  I remember that pain to the very day!  After 3 weeks on bed rest I was attached to the Medical Company for about 7 months.  It wasn’t bad.  I had a job at the hospital and met a lot of really great people.

I was recycled into Delta 12.  We were the farthest from everything!  12th Battalion was nicknamed “The Country Club”.  It was the best time I could have ever had.  After a bumpy start I had a fabulous finish.  Some of those girls are my best friends to this day!

Carla, Linda and I actually didn’t become true friends until we arrived in Germany.  Of course we had to make sure we were not separated and volunteered for duty together at the 556th MP Co Siegelsbach.  A 500 man depot that was in the middle of no where!.  Thinking back it really was no different from where I came.  Two hours from everything!!! lol

The work was monotonous. 24 hours on 24 hours off for 21 days.  Nothing to do on the depot but drink, and we did way too much of that.  Carla and I were females number 7 and 8.  People talk about the war on women these days know nothing about the stress of being a woman in the military back then.  The good old boy system was alive and well.  We were classified as Combat MP’s but if war would have broken out we would have been pushed back way back behind the front.  It was a true victory for all women when combat roles were opened to them!  Sorry I got on my soapbox for a minute there…..When we arrived it was about 55 degrees in May! I coming from Southeast Texas was nowhere near prepared for this.  I was freezing my butt off! haha  The worse winter in 50 years…..just my luck!

Because of the duty we all became family.  To this day I am still close to those I served with there.  Our political views may be different but we are still a close-knit family.

I have never found that connection with another group of people.  I left Germany bound for Fort Meade in December 1986.  Not my favorite duty station.  I early out in April 1987 and went back to Texas.

i joined the Army Reserves in early 1989 and the Desert Shield/Storm happened.  We were sent to Fort Hood as the LEA.  My bunk buddy(that what she calls us) was Theresa.  A young woman fresh out of high school and just into college.  I believe it was fate that we were roomed together.  For those of you who have served on active duty and the go into the reserves and then get activated you will completely understand the frustration I had.  I know and hope that things have greatly changed since then.  My enlistment ended in 1996.  I was never so happy to receive my discharge certificate.

With all that said I have to say that I wouldn’t trade a moment of my time in the Army.  All the up and all the downs.  The true hate and the absolute love.  The loneliness and the joy of friends.  The difficulties of attempting to be a civilian again.  The bond is forever tied to a past that is so ingrained within my entire being.  That connection with people who you may have not seen for what seems a lifetime and when you do you actually pickup right where you left off.  No other group will ever mean more.

Happy Veterans Day to all of my family, whether by blood or by an oath, my love and loyalty to you all is forever.

until the next post

carolyn

 

days gone by

I awoke this morning to a chill in the air.  This brought back a flood of memories from my childhood.  Some good some not so good, but memories all the same.

My mother grew up in the Midwest during the Great Depression.  To say she was frugal is an understatement.  She did not believe in air conditioning no matter how hot or central heat no matter how cold.

Growing up in Southeast Texas summer seems to last for whats seems forever.  It is an oppressive heat my mother only seemed to control with window fans and dark curtains.  Now when you are very young child and you live for the adventure of the great outdoors summer is really nothing to you.  You always find a way to cool off.  By the time I had made it to high school I was over all of it.  Nothing worse than trying to put on makeup with sweat rolling down your face.  I have found that the older I get the harder summer gets.  I was a great lover of the sun  and have the sun spots as proof.

Now that we reside in Pennsylvania and have experienced our first summer here.  I can say without a doubt that this was easy.  Yes there were some truly hot days but the humidity is almost null and void.  Although I am sure that folks around this area would gladly argue that point with me.

But…..this morning really took me back to chilly mornings in a home with only wood heat.  My memories are of gathering firewood everyday when I got home from school.  When I reached Jr High it was my responsibility to cut wood everyday as soon as I came home from school.  There was no log splitter only an axe, wedge and sledge.  I was a beast by the time my senior year rolled around.

Winters in Southeast Texas may be short but are extremely unpredictable.  It might be 70 degrees one day and the a blue northern blows in the next and drops the temperatures 50 degrees and freezes your water lines.  Never much snow but there always seemed to be ice.  Waking on those cold mornings, knowing just how cold that floor would be and knowing that a nice warm cozy room awaited you just beyond the kitchen door.  The smell of homemade biscuits baking in the cook stove oven.

This morning when I woke, I was transported to a time when the home of my youth was cold but heaven lay beyond the kitchen door

Till the next post

carolyn

beauty is in the eye

I’ve never been a fan of August.

Living in Pennsylvania the anticipation of Fall is almost overwhelming.

August is the only month of the year that doesn’t have a purpose.  There is no real holiday in this month and it’s hot.  That kind of heat that seems to get into your brain and makes scrambled eggs of all your thoughts.  I understand that there are those people who love summer.  They love the heat and the ideas of vacations and spending time in the pool or lake or beach.  I was a lover of the beach when I was younger.  The freedom of it.  The sound the surf makes in the wee hours of the morning.  The smell of the air.  the feel of the sand under your feet.  The sun kissing your skin golden brown.  Well…..I am over it!

I love Fall…

Sweaters and boots.  Bonfires and football.  Pumpkins.  Beautiful colors.  The crispness of the air and the leaves falling to the ground.  Fall has my favorite holiday.  Thanksgiving!  What can be better than to be with friends and family and eat really good food?  No presents need to be bought.  Nature gives all the decorations that you need.  Oh and did I mention the food?  Roasted turkey, cornbread dressing (yes cornbread!) mashed potatoes and gravy(you cannot have one without the other), green beans, candied yams with marshmallows, cranberry sauce and what ever else you can fit on the table.  You try your best to eat yourself into a food coma and it really doesn’t take much effort because the food is fantastic.  Then comes pie.  Any and every kind.  Pumpkin, apple, cherry, sweet potato or cheesecake(which really isn’t a cake at all).  I’ve got to stop writing about food since now I’m starving……HA!

I start planning Thanksgiving dinner in September.  The Hubs thinks I’m getting ahead of myself.  I certainly don’t see it that way.  Now that we live in the Great State Of Pennsylvania and all of his family is here there are plans that have to be made way in advance.  First off where this feast will take place?  Who is buying the turkey?  Who is making the dressing and who is baking the pies?  Plans need to be made.  List need to be made.  Menus need to be planned.  For me this is a huge deal, bigger than any other holiday. The only one that I stress out over.  Last year I was recovering from shoulder surgery and was not able to cook the turkey, so Crawfish Etouffee was on the menu.  It was a big hit but for me it wasn’t Thanksgiving.  That was the last one in Texas and this will be the first in Pennsylvania.  I am looking forward to it.

I’m not a fan of summer but August especially.  In Texas, August is the hottest month.  September is still hot.  Doesn’t even begin to cool down till October.  Summer last forever in Texas!

The high yesterday at our home in Pennsylvania was 81.  The high in East Texas today will be 99.

I saw a billboard yesterday that said 39 day 0 hours and 30 minutes till Fall.

I’m counting down to sweaters and boots, pumpkin patches and apple festivals, football and bonfires, crisp nights and comfortable days and color.

I’m not a fan of August but I realize that I have to get through this month to make it to the time of the year I love the most.

I love Fall…

till the next post

carolyn

 

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Oh say can you see…..

As much as I try to not be political for some reason I have these friends that keep pulling me into the ring…..But this post will not be about politics and if God willing none will ever be.

The past weekend was the birthday of our great nation.  I’m not a fan of summer but I do love July 4th and all that it represents.  To celebrate “The Hubs” and I took a ride on the Harley.  Now mind you it is July and we are very used to not even considering getting on the bike to go anywhere by this time of the year when we lived in Texas.  It was quite chilly here for the 5th of July.  The morning started out a bit foggy with a chill in the air so we didn’t leave the house till about 0945.  I not only had on a long sleeve shirt but also a sweatshirt and a jacket and gloves.  I was quite cold! “The Hubs” mapped our route the night before, lots of back roads thru the Appalachian Mountains.  Well over 200 miles of absolute beautiful country.

This ride on the bike has cemented my love for our new state that much more.  I promise on our next ride to take pictures so everyone can see exactly what I’m talking about.

When we arrived home I decided to research some of the places that I had seen.  Early into our journey we passed a place called Russell Tavern on Black’s Gap Road.  That road was the second road to be constructed in Adams County in the year 1747 and the Tavern was built in 1777.  Let me say that again….the second road to be constructed in Adams County in the year of 1747!  There is so much history in that sentence almost makes your head spin!

While up in the mountains we passed a historical marker Shadow of Death.  This one  really had me intrigued.  Upon researching this I found on the historical marker database this “the name applied to this locality by Conrad Weiser and other travelers on the Frankstown Path in the mid-18 century.  Its local significance is now unknown”.  It goes on to say on the page that Weiser served as a pioneer Indian interpreter and treaty maker from 1732-1760.  The Indians called him “Holder of the Heavens”.  For 30 years Weiser served as Pennsylvania’s Indian agent and interpreter.  My own opinion is that I don’t know what it means.  I can speculate as can everyone else but the name on that sign does seem to work on the mind just a bit.

This state is also a bikers paradise.  Every road we were on we passed bikes.  So if you love to ride as we do you need to come to this state.

I have lived in Texas the majority of my life and I have always thought that Texas was without a doubt one of the most beautiful and diverse places on earth.  I have to say that I was wrong.  Yes, Texas is beautiful and the sunrises and sunsets are the best anywhere but…But…when you have seen the world from the top of a mountain something just comes over you or maybe it’s just the romantic in me.  I’m looking forward to more time spent in the mountains and seeing the world from the back of our Harley.

Last week we had to drive over to West Chester. We were 14 miles from Wilmington, DE.  How cool is that?!  We drove on Hwy 30 which cuts thru the middle of Amish country.  If you have never seen an Amish farm I advise you to slow down and take a good long look.  They have a simple beauty that is something to behold.

I do love our new home state. There is so much beauty and history here.  I promise I will start adding pictures from our journeys.  I really do want everyone to witness the amazing places that I see.

Until the next post

carolyn

 

 

 

June in Pennsylvania

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I am still a lover of Texas.

We have lived here for 3 whole weeks now and of course I think that I am completely over the “southern thang”.  Not so much…Those of you whom have left your home and decided to travel far away from where you roots have grown will understand this completely.  You try so hard to become part of your new home but that part of you deep down that is who you are so completely always rises to the surface.

I have a very distinct South East Texas drawl and it stands out in a large way here!  I get strange looks from time to time but for the most part everyone is friendly and helpful.  I (with the help of my daughter in law) have discovered the Amish market.  Fresh fruits and vegetables, local dairy milk (and they deliver!) some of the best grass-fed beef and chicken I have ever eaten and bread from a local bakery.  This place is a dream come true!  My friend in Minnesota is quite jealous because it’s one stop shopping and the prices are unbelievable.  I love the fact that this place is 10 miles from my home.  The terrain here is wonderful.  Mountains all around us.  A very beautiful place.  I told The Hubs yesterday that come September we will be taking a trip on the bike to the Poconos.  The colors should be gorgeous.

It’s the late part of June and everything is still in bloom.  You can sit outside in the afternoon and don’t have to worry about your face melting off or being annihilated by mosquitoes.  It is quite beautiful here.  This small town that we now live in has tree lined streets with sidewalks.  The homes are civil war era that line the roads.  It’s one of those places that everyone knows everyone.  Very much a hometown with a very welcoming vibe.

I love it here but I also still love Texas and that will never change.

A new day!

Well Hello Y’all!

I guess I need to start attempting to speak kinda Yankee since I am now a resident of this state.  It’s not completely official since we are still in possession of our Texas drivers license and car tags.  All in due time…..

The trip getting here was hell!  I know the old saying “never say never” but I’m telling you I will never again in my life make another trip like that!  Here I was worried about that poor kitty cat.  He settled in and actually enjoyed the ride. Me….not so much!!  I’m still recovering.

So it’s been a bit over a week.  The rain followed us from Texas for the first few days and it was quite chilly for this Texas girl.  The house is starting to come together.  This place is large in a Texas kind of way, I guess sprawling would be a better word.  We by no means have enough furniture but the Amish are just down the road so that will be taken care of in due time…lol  I will say that I am not a fan of the basement stairs but as my sweet mother-in-law says “They’re good for your heart!”.  So I will continue to walk up and down them for the sake of my health.

I know that this winter is going to be cold but I’m not worried about that.  There is still an actual summer and a complete fall to enjoy first.  They consider 92 degrees hot here!  Summer should be fun!  I can actually walk thru the yard barefoot with no worries of fire ants or sweet gum balls.  Very nice indeed.

So it’s a new day and my only complaint is the 12 mile long hallway from our bedroom to the coffee pot…………….index15

other than that I’m feeling pretty good. 😉

 

until the next post

carolyn

the last day

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This is it! My one last full day in my dear home state. How do I feel about this? Exhausted!!! I’m still trying to figure out how two people can acquire so much “stuff” in such a short amount of time.
We have a 26 foot truck, a 16 foot flat-bed trailer, a pickup truck, a work van and car crammed to the gills with out “stuff”! After this I assure you I’m never moving again!!!
I awoke this morning at about 4am. I have no idea why, maybe it was to write this but what I really think is this is the last day in Texas.
I have left this state before as so many before me but I’ve always ended up coming back. Texas has always been the place I called home….that is until I went to Pennsylvania 6 years ago. Have you ever went somewhere that attached itself to you? That is what happen to me. I fell in love. This is the kind of love you have when you go home after years away. That warm enveloping love that makes you question why you would live anywhere else. For me, Pennsylvania is home.
I will miss Texas. I will miss my children and granddaughter. Friends and family. I will miss the larger than life presence that this place has.
A dear friend stopped by last night. She told me how much she admired my courage for making this move (thank you). I have never had a fear of change but I know that we can become stagnate and get so caught up in the day to day and one day we look up and realize life has passed us by. We spend so much of our lives trying to please others that we forget about ourselves. This move is for the Hubs and I, for that next chapter of our lives. I look forward to having y’all along for the ride…..
till the next post from our new home,
carolyn

Love and Friendship Part 2

Isn’t it funny how our minds work? In all of this packing mess I have going on around me it has finally dawned on me how much I will miss this town and the friends and family that I have here.
In my last post I know that I left out a lot of people. After 24 years with one company you find that there are quite a few people who cross your path. Some were just a flash and others have true staying power.
So here goes…..
To all of you whom I have had the honor of working for, working with or just having to deal with me( I know I can be a true pain..lol) I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I will miss you all!

with much love,
carolyn

Love and Friendship

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Most of you know that I retired from a position with the state. I worked at one facility for 21 years and in that time I made some truly wonderful dear friends. Last night a group of those wonderful women gave me a great send off! I wanted to thank all for your love and support over the years..
We have been thru many ups and downs, marriages, divorces, children, surgeries and the list goes on and on. Some of you I have only known for a short time and others I have known most of my adult life. I was thinking this morning how our relationships are comparable to my friends from the Army. I had not seen that comparison before, maybe I just wasn’t looking. I know that some of you will come north to see me and I am looking forward to introducing you to my new home state, not that your husbands will be happy with all the stuff that you are going to be bringing back with you…lol

So with that said, I would like stay say a big huge Texas thank you to Bonnie Morris, Laurie Jones, Seana Harris, Debby Manning, Renee Lanphier, Kim Dickson, Susie Biscoe, Pam Oden and Cindy Arnold…..Ladies, it has been an honor.

Is there an art to traveling?

Wow!  This past week was crazy!  We left the house here in Texas on Saturday morning en route to Pennsylvania. The Hubs and I had decided that it would be easier to ride the bike up instead of attempting to move it along with the tons of our other stuff.  So here we are, the hubby is on the bike literally loving every minute of it and I am in the car with the suitcase and my thoughts….10407200_10203396861585271_3089763392253737804_n

 

(Before we stopped that first night I really did feel like Bill the Cat!)

First off we decided to make this trip on a NASCAR race weekend.  Which in normal English means there was not a hotel room available for 100 miles in any direction.  The night before we left we were scrambling to find a room and ended up at the Hampton Inn in Scottsboro Alabama on the Tennessee River.  Beautiful place and the people were so friendly.  Oops I’m getting ahead of myself.  First day 700 miles!  I have decided that the most idiot drivers are in Alabama.  Louisiana and Mississippi were pretty smooth, but Alabama was another story!  We ended up in a traffic jam in between Tuscaloosa and Birmingham due to a 3 car accident.  No on ramp or merge lane but yet 3 cars were destroyed.  That set us back at least 30 minutes.  Our goal was to make it to the hotel before dark and that didn’t happen.  It had already been a very long day and was getting longer.  I had listened to every station on the radio, talk to friends and family on the phone, talk to every driver on the road with a running commentary of how stupid they were and I also talked to myself.  I think if I had to drive any farther I would have been hallucinating! lol

Turns out the Hubs was not so much loving life.  He was having a hard time.  His back was killing him.  Lucky for us once we stopped for the night good old Wal-Mart was right next door.  We walked over and picked up some stuff to help his aliments and to get him a long sleeve shirt.  Turns out riding a motorcycle at 70 mph in the first weekend of May is quite chilly!

Day 2 started out chilly but was beautiful.  Breakfast at Cracker Barrell and then back on the road.  This was Sunday and I had already decided that we would not travel as far.  The Hubs back was giving him fits but he purchased himself a back brace of sorts and it seemed to help.  I was in a better zone by the second day so I turned on some classic rock and away we go. The hubs gave me a nickname from being in my zone…Dot….evidently that was all he could see of me!  lol

Tennessee is beautiful! I so love the mountains!  For me the Eastern United States are the most beautiful.  I know that there are some that will argue with me on this point but the mystery of the Smokey and Appalachian Mountains makes them all the more appealing.  I am always in complete awe when I travel thru the area.  The mountains are beautiful and the highways are decent.  The traffic was horrendous!  The Hubs was almost taken out by a flying license plate.  Sponge Bob was driving a bright yellow truck and trailer like a bat out of hell, the wind he was generating from the speed of his rig caused the plate that was lying on the road to come up hit the tire on the bike on bounce off hitting the Hubs crash bar.  The good Lord was looking out for the love of my life that day!  Thank you God!

After 400 miles we stayed the night in Christianburg VA. Nice place, lots of history.

Day 3 and 5 hours from our destination.  Traffic was better than the day before.  The best thing about this drive is the route thru West Virginia.  You drive past Harper’s Ferry.  A beautiful spot on the Potomac River.  Three states all in one spot!

We could have not asked for better weather.  High bluebird skies with a light breeze.  Highs in the low to mid 80’s and no humidity.

We get the bike dropped off the day we arrived.  We were left with 3 days to accomplish our list.  Surprisingly we had time to get a bit of sight-seeing done.

Our new home is perfect!  Ranch style with a full basement.  We are going from about 1000 sq ft to 3000 sq ft!  Holy crap!  We do not have near enough furniture to fill this house.  I see a shopping trip in my future! lol

We have been back in Texas about a week.  Packing is still on going and of course I will still be complaining when I have to unpack everything in a couple of weeks…. 🙁

Our days in Texas are now down to 15 and even though we will be leaving our love affair with this state is far from over.

till the next post…

carolyn