I took Thursday off – my birthday holiday, which I couldn’t take on my actual birthday. That’s one of the nicer perks of our workplace -we get to take our birthday as a paid holiday. It’s a gift, one that is much appreciated! I spent Thursday catching up on work at home. Friday, we did our first intense wedding planning. Saturday was for family – my extended family gathered for my kids’ stepbrother’s graduation from Fork Union Military Academy. It was surprisingly moving, a beautiful day and a wonderful celebration. During the ceremony the Richmond Army Band played a medley of the theme songs from the different branches of the United States military, with the request that any active or veteran service members stand when their theme was played. During the Army song, Max – my future son-in-law – stood. He is an active-duty member of the Army, and was at graduation in uniform.
|Max and Sarah|
My heart leapt as I glanced over at him, and I felt a unique pride and patriotism.
The medley went on, and when they reached the Air Force Song, my OTHER future son-in-law stood up. Travis is currently a dental student at VCU, but he joined the Air Force earlier this year and will go on active duty after he finishes his education.
|Travis – no uniform, but a classy bow tie|
My heart clenched again, and I could hardly hold it together. My eyes filled with tears, my heart filled to bursting with pride and gratitude and love, and an appreciation for the discipline and commitment of the military culture that was fresh and new. I know very little of the US Armed Forces system and structure, but the two men that will be grafted into my family through marriage to my two oldest daughters have both seen fit to serve. They are good, strong, honorable men of integrity and I am grateful beyond words for their families and the forces that have formed them. They love my daughters, they love their country and I love them both.
(Excuse me while I grab a Kleenex…)
(And while I’m dealing with nasal emissions, I had a spontaneous nosebleed at 10:29AM yesterday. Church starts at 10:30 at Westchester; I walked up to the piano with blood dripping out of my nose onto my hands. Fortunately, nobody seemed to notice. That was awkward…and this has happened about six times in the last two weeks. In the middle of a piano lesson; in the middle of a chat with my mother-in-law; it’s NEVER a good time to have blood drip out of your nose…)
(That’s kind of gross, I know. Sorry. TMI.)
Anyway…Saturday was a wonderful, patriotic day, and Sunday was church and yard work and steaks and chicken on the grill and walking around the yard dreaming about the wedding reception and The Monuments Men, which I give a 3/5 because George Clooney and men in uniform, which seems to be the theme this weekend.
And then, today; my husband, who has worked pretty much non-stop for about four months straight, declared that was was TAKING THE DAY OFF NO REALLY. He spent about four hours in the garage last night, ran a few errands, announced that all was done, got up at 6:30AM and left the house, called me at 7:30AM to wake me up and about 8:30AM, the DAY OFF began.
With our buddy Dale leading the way, we took the longest bike trip we’d had in several years. We started locally, with a hearty breakfast; then we headed south, down through Chester and Hopewell, through Surry County, running parallel with the James River all along, though we couldn’t see it. Signs
flashed by directing us towards plantations and fields of corn sprouted up all around us, little 10″ stalks straining toward the blue sky. My bones felt the memory of North Carolina tobacco and cotton fields, of childhood vacations in the early summer heat and the dense humidity as it started to rise up, heavy in the pollen and the lush, green leaves of summer.
We rode on, stopping for water at a convenience store, eyeing the other riders out for the day. There’s this thing that Harley rider do as they pass one another; it’s a slight lifting of the hand as you go by, some sort of subtle, cooler-than-cool acknowledgement of existence. Or maybe it’s an assent to the fact that you’re riding the best bike ever. I don’t know what it is, but in my jeans and boots and black t-shirt and round black helmet, I felt beyond cool lifting my finger in that slight, subtle Harley wave.
|It’s such a great view from back here.|
|We waited about an hour for the ferry – it was busy. But we struck up
conversation with the couple behind us, also on two wheels, and
found some shade and enjoyed the wait, very much.
|The water is wide.|
|There you go. Cooler than cool.|