Now that we are in double digit October, what are your favorite signs of fall?
The changing color of leaves?
Soybeans ready to be harvested?
Field corn turning brown as the stalks dry out?
The clamor on the high school gridiron on Friday nights?
The collegiate gridiron contests?
The crunch of leaves underfoot as you walk on tree-lined paths?
The pumpkins, scarecrows, and characters that decorate the lawns?
What is my personal favorite?
Decades of participating, watching, supporting . . .
Marching Band was one of my favorites that has endured the test of time. I love to watch the band at football games and in parades. Within 28 hours this weekend I had the opportunity to see high school and collegiate marching bands and here are a few of the highlights (including some links).
And then High School Marching Band Competition in Muscatine, Iowa . . . a rainbow en route guaranteed this auspicious trip would be highly enjoyable!
What are your fall favorites?
How many years have you enjoyed those favorite traditions?
And the best part of this weekend?
Celebrating Fall with my sister (Iowa alumni flag), my nephew (Director of Bands at Central DeWitt), and all of the other relatives over the weekend!
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.
Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy for creating a place for us to work collaboratively.
It was a huge family weekend. My youngest brother, the baby in the family, graduated summa cum laude with his BS in Business Friday night with Mom plus three siblings in attendance. We had a fabulous pre-party with food galore: veggie and fruit pizzas, veggies and dip, sandwiches, cupcakes, pies, sweet potato cake, and a wee bit of Uncle Leo’s homemade wine. Here’s a collection of photos from the festivities!
Everyone had read last week’s slice (Mom’s birthday post) except Mom so she read that later in the evening. She wondered why I had left out the “riding the bull” picture. That led me to wondering about the “Kiss the Blarney Stone” picture. Darn, again. . . . all on an external hard drive at home – not where I am currently located. I discovered this picture of orchids that Mom drew in a class on her Mediterranean cruise and decided to share it. She has so much artistic talent!
Saturday was a fabulously great family day with our departure from Ankeny at 6:15 am for the Iowa Homecoming festivities. Drumline, Alumni Band, Hawkeye Marching Band – what a treat to see and hear so much great entertainment! And the “FUN that was had by all! You truly can see just about anything and everything at a collegiate football game. It was my sister’s first game sitting as a spectator in historic Kinnick Stadium, as well as niece Courtney’s first Hawkeye football game so the high-scoring first quarter and ultimate win were greatly appreciated!
Simple things like late lunch after the game, picking up Grandma and heading on to the next adventure occupied Saturday evening. We watched nephew Josh’s high school band perform at marching contest at Muscatine. What a pleasure to see and hear the pageantry that accompanies high school marching bands. However, it was a bit nippy and the blankets to sit on and wrap up in were both greatly appreciated.
The big excitement from the weekend was skyping with my kids Friday afternoon. It was so totally an “A-Marek-N” conversation with many people talking simultaneously and lots of laughter. The seriousness was in this message!
And this one . . .
So my final words for this weekend (courtesy of a vendor on Melrose Avenue), and I’m sticking to it . . .
(During March, I am blogging daily as a part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge!)
“Today is the day! Coming home! Crossing the ocean! Landing in Louisville!”
That day did finally happen on Tuesday – yesterday. The returning celebration was originally scheduled for 10:30 am. Then rescheduled to 6:20 pm; our anxiety increased with every passing moment. Rescheduled for 8:20 pm. Rescheduled YET again for 8:00 pm. Not allowed to discuss “travel” or “locations” on social media, emails, etc. NOT allowed; nor ALOUD! Afraid to whisper for fear of change and the agony of disappointment! Did you catch my ever so cautious references to “uncle” . . .???
But wait, where did this story begin? And who is it about?
Let’s begin at the beginning!
Or rather at ONE beginning!
9 month deployment to Afghanistan;
All soldiers packed and ready to load.
Saying goodbye to a wife of 2 months . . . . . .
A nine month duty assignment in Afghanistan.
Quieter celebrations in his absence:
Fourth of July,
Hawkeye football weekends,
Christmas (KY, IA, Mareks at the Casino, Ruths at Hills),
2 hours of skype – Christmas opening presents with son, daughter-in-law and mom,
cards from Benen’s first grade class at Central DeWitt, and
packages from family and friends.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Celebrations while away included a promotion December 1st to Sergeant with wife “skyping” in!
Then, eager anticipation for the trip home.
On the plane headed to the first stop, still in Europe . . .
Real mattresses for the first time in 9 months!
The little things . . .
Closer in miles, yet so far to journey’s end!
Waiting for that phone call to share the details of the homecoming ceremony . . .
Deplaning for the “last time” this trip . . . . Louisville, KY!
(from the bottom of the steps – the second one up)
A real hug . . . after 248 days!
Not quite home home, but soon to be with Toby Ryan and Millie Ann who actually helped “decorate” for the homecoming!
Thank you, my son, for your second deployment and for leaving your own precious family to protect our freedom!
In this case, “home” is the United States and my son’s family in KY. . . four states and over 500 miles away from his childhood home! (An extension of our home due to the graciousness of the best daughter-in-law in the world and the pups, Toby Ryan and Millie Ann!)
Why is this extra special? Or is it bittersweet? My son was six months old when his dad’s National Guard unit was activated for one year service to support Desert Storm. It does not really get “easier” after multiple overseas deployments!