Louisiana

While in Red Bay, Alabama we had the opportunity to drive down to Louisiana and spend the weekend with my sweet friend Carly and her family. It took a couple of days to talk Mark into this plan…it was an eight hour drive down and we had to be back to keep our place in line at Tiffin. December 12th is…well, an anniversary. 10 years ago on December 12th Carly’s husband, Jeff, was killed in Iraq. I desperately wanted to be with Carly on the 12th even if it was going to be a short trip.

Sgt. Jeff Kirk was a kind man and he loved, so loved his Carly. Jeff and Carly lived across the street from me on Camp Pendleton. Jeff also loved being a Marine, you may hear that a lot, Jeff really did. But he also loved Carly and was ready after multiple combat tours to give it up and start a family with Carly. Jeff was wounded not long before he was killed but chose to stay in Iraq and finish this last tour with his men. A dream that was never realized, he was taken much too soon.

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Jeff was an amazing artist, I was blown away when I saw the detail in his beautiful drawings. This is one of my favorites.

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Carly is mostly a quiet person and Jeff had this way of making her come to life, she just glowed with love. They were adorable, always holding hands and affectionate. They wrote each other often during deployments but my favorite was they would send recordings back and forth. They just loved to chat and share everything with each other. Jeff didn’t want to miss a second of Carly’s life and vice versa. This is my favorite picture of Jeff and Carly, I smile every time I see it.

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We drove down to Louisiana Friday and came back Sunday. We stayed with Aunt Linda and Uncle Buck at their fabulous country house! We can’t thank them enough for welcoming us and Gracie to stay with them. We had a wonderful weekend complete with my Carly girl, great food (thank you Aunt Linda), and Uncle Buck’s hilarious stories! Uncle Buck can tell a story and he has some funny, funny stories. I’ll see if I can get Mark to post about a couple of them. You see, they have these wild boars there and well…let’s just say some funny stories come out of Louisiana!

On Saturday we joined Aunt Linda and the Blue Star moms at Port Hudson National Cemetery for Wreaths Across America. Jeff is buried at Port Hudson, it has been a few years since I was in Louisiana and visited Jeff. It was a beautiful event, I recommend if you have the opportunity to take part in Wreaths Across America one December you should do it.

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It was such a privilege to be with Carly and visit Jeff. I’m so thankful that Carly is surrounded by wonderful family that love her and honor Jeff.

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IMG_1937IMG_1960IMG_1972The ceremony also honored Vietnam veterans specifically and Carly’s dad, Papa, and Uncle Buck are Vietnam Veterans. Another special moment for all of us, we visited Carly’s grandparents. Her grandfather, Paw (also a veteran) and Maw. Maw cracks me up, she just tells it like it is…there is a saying “out of the mouths of babes”…let me tell you look out for what comes out of the mouth of maw! Aunt Ginger and Uncle Marlo moved to Louisiana about a year ago to take care of Maw and Paw. It was great to catch up with them and see Little Ginger too. They have created a sweet little home behind Maw and Paw’s. A huge sacrifice to give up their life in Utah to take care of Maw and Paw. Saturday night three of Aunt Linda’s grandkids stayed over, we had a great time chatting with them and listening to Uncle Buck.

Aunt Linda sent me home with delicious zucchini bread, homemade pear jam, fresh spinach & kale, and heart full of love. It was such a blessing to be there for Carly and see my Louisiana family.  I may not make it to Louisiana often but they always welcome me with open arms. We need to go back and do some sightseeing as this trip was too short and Mark really hasn’t seen much in Louisiana.

So long for now Louisiana, we will be back. Love you forever Carly Kirk! America can never thank you or appreciate the ultimate sacrifice you have paid for this great nation. But I know I will never forget Jeff, never.

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Two Peeps on a Roll update!

Hi there!! Happy New Year!!

Thank you all for being patient with the blog…blogville seems to have a mind of its own. I apologize for the delayed posts. I didn’t realize they didn’t actually post because my site was being serviced…ah, thanks WordPress??

We are currently in southern Florida. For all our friends and family currently freezing…sorry we are enjoying the sunshine for you, really.

A quick update…after leaving Fairhaven and our good friends Jim and Lori we headed to Red Bay, Alabama. Never heard of it?? What? Really? Not surprised, we hadn’t either until we purchased a Tiffin motorhome. They are made in Red Bay, handmade I might add. We decided to leave on our adventure after a horrible experience with Mike Thompson RV (don’t buy anything from them!) with some things needing to be fixed. We knew we would go through Alabama and wanted to stop in and see Tiffin. The things needing to be fixed weren’t keeping us from driving the beast so off we went. Red Bay is a small, okay really tiny, town with NOTHING to do in it. Tiffin has an RV park (parking lot) where you can hook up while you wait for service. We took the factory tour while there – VERY cool. Mark will post more on that and our experience in Red Bay. I will say I am so glad we purchased a Tiffin!!!!

While in Alabama a friend of ours passed away after a valiant fight against cancer. Karen gave it all she had and then some, and did it all with a smile! We are thankful she knew the Lord and is dancing in heaven with Jesus free of pain and a failed earthly body. We were grateful to be in the state and drove down to Birmingham to be with Brad at Karen’s Alabama service. This lovely picture of Brad and Karen was taken at our wedding.

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I have said it many times and will say it again, the people make our trip. It is so awesome to have the opportunity to see friends and family we don’t normally have the time or resources to visit.

We also had the opportunity to drive to Louisiana to be with my sweet friend Carly and family. I have referred to them as my Louisiana family and even though I haven’t visited in years they welcomed us with open arms. LOVE them! I will do another post on our time in Louisiana.

From Red Bay we headed to Orlando, Florida to be with my grandma (she hates being called that, we call her Dana) for Christmas. My beautiful Dana is 93 and still on her own. We were there for close to three weeks. I love my time with Dana, she has the best stories. I wanted to take a picture with her, after begging she relented and then…

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Isn’t she a funny one?! I loved being there to help Dana and cook for her. Mark fixed up her car (she doesn’t drive it anymore) and moved it back into the garage. Mark tinkered around the house fixing things here and there and at times interviewed Dana so I could catch little recordings of her stories. If you know Mark you know he can get ANYONE talking. I couldn’t post on Dana’s without mentioning Miss Molly…she is a funny, funny cat! She didn’t much like Gracie being there (Gracie did!) but she finally warmed up.

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While in Orlando a friend of ours, Brian Hall, flew down from New York to visit. We had a great time hanging out and catching up with Brian. He also helped at Dana’s and pitched in helping Mark fix a couple things. Brian now has the distinction of being the first person to visit us on the road and the first guest in the beast! He says the pull our sofa and air mattress are quite comfy!

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We also were able to have dinner with Alec and Patricia. Alec is my dear friend Deb Riccio’s son and he now lives in Orlando. Alec is a wonderful young man, so much fun to catch up with these two and see young love working to make a life. It has been a couple years since I saw Alec and truthfully in my mind I still see him as a little guy running around…he’s not so little anymore. He towers over me, how does that happen??? I look forward to seeing his sister soon too…either Tennessee or Georgia but we will find her and Shea! We will see Deb and Marc in North Carolina when we get there. I can’t wait to see my girl!

We stayed at a KOA about 15 minutes from Dana. It is on Lake Whiporwill…it is a GREAT campground!! Sunrise and sunsets – both gorgeous!

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I will post more on Florida and our travels here. We still have lots more to see, both people and sights. I can’t wait to catch up with my godfather, Daddy John, Aunt Joanne, my sweet friend Claudia, childhood friend Annie, and….who wants to come visit Florida and the sunshine!

That’s all for now!

Stan

We met Stan at the Lazy J RV park which is nestled next to the Snake River and the ONLY RV park open in Jackson during the winter season. Stan stopped on his immaculately clean blue Can-Am Spider when he saw me outside the coach and struck up a conversation about the Harley on the hydralift. Stan was on the trike, which he had just washed. Our Harley was SO dirty from driving in the rain, snow, mud, and just being on the road. Stan explained how I could wash it at the park, they have a frost free faucet. Hint…hint…

The following day he stopped by while Mark was washing the bike and talked about all kinds of life’s questions… we may have actually solved some of the issues. Stan brought over a bottle of bike wash that he uses and offered to let me use some, it did a fairly good job.

Turns out Stan was a really neat guy, he was in the Navy for 20 years and in Vietnam, he retired at 37 years old. We chatted about the military for a bit. I saw a police badge sticker on the front windshield and asked if he was police officer someplace. He said the after the Navy he went to work for Florida State Patrol and retired from them after 17 years. They have a house in Florida. They came Jackson Hole for a vacation and never left…that was four years ago! I pointed out the obvious…most people retire to Florida for warmth not Wyoming with its harsh winters. He said they put their stuff in storage and now he is trying to convince his wife they don’t really need any of it and should just sell it all. They are looking at property in the area and plan to purchase a retirement house. Stan was a great guy to talk with and seemed to be really likable.

Mark

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While in Yosemite today we were talking with a gal that works there about the availability of jobs in the park. She told us that before she worked in the park she lived in it for over two months…admittedly against the rules. We asked what led her to do that and she said she and her husband took a vacation and it lasted…two years. She said it was financial suicide but she would do it all again…then added she would do it differently. Of course Mark asked what she would do differently “take a dog and leave the guy.” Made us laugh. I’m thankful to be on this adventure with my lovee and Gracie!

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K…Kaye

Just “K” Mark says…”K with an e” she says. We met a wonderful young lady today at Tobin James. We knew on our road trip we would meet all sorts of people. If you’ve met my husband than you know he will be chatting them all up! Kaye did our wine tasting today, she was so relaxed and fun amidst the packed house. We felt like they treated us a bit special because we were with Harvest Hosts and staying in their vineyard but after hanging out it seems they treat everyone special. It was the most relaxed and fun wine tasting I’ve ever been too. Back to Kaye…she told us she loves what she does but doesn’t want to be a sommelier. She is a writer and artist. She wrote a story about her high school days that was published this year. A wonderful accomplishment to be a published author! Her story was about being suspended in high school and the unfairness of the situation. I had to confess and her not hold against me that I’ve been a high school assistant principal in charge of discipline. She laughed and said she wouldn’t. Paso is a very small town and growing up here she knew she just had to be nice to everybody because you know you will see them again or they might be the one caring for your sick mama and you don’t want it to be a “thing” so everyone is just pleasant. Kaye has moved on, learned a bit being an adult and looking back on her high school days. We laughed a lot and enjoyed her stories.

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