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Archive for May, 2016

May 29 2016

Flags of Remembrance

Posted by Mugs @ 9:59 pm in Family,school,Sightseeing Print This Post Print This Post

Fredericksburg National Cemetery invited Zeke’s 6th grade class to help place flags on the graves in preparation for Memorial Day. The class met with a Park Ranger who explained to them that Memorial Day is set aside to remember those who died in battle in defense of the United States. 15,000 Union soldiers from the civil war who died in the battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness, and Spotsylvania Courthouse are buried in the Fredericksburg National Cemetery. Some graves are marked with names or initials, but the majority of the soldiers names are unknown. Many of the graves have 10 – 12 unknown soldiers buried in them.

The ranger showed the class how to place their foot against the gravestone to measure the distance for flag placement, and how to push the flag into the ground at the bottom to avoid snapping the pole. The students were handed bundles of flags to place down a row of headstones. Zeke hiked back periodically to get more bundles. The class worked efficiently and finished the task in less than an hour.

I was blessed to be with Zeke during this act of service to honor those whose sacrifice has kept our country free.

May 24 2016

Half a Marathon – Half a Mind

Posted by Mugs @ 6:36 pm in Family,Nature,Running,Sightseeing Print This Post Print This Post

A few months back, Dale started looking for a half marathon to run. We determined May 21st was the day we could get away. He sent me the following email, “The choices for a half marathon are Richmond or Sunset Beach, NC. Which would you prefer?”

I responded, “Is this a joke? One of them is at a beach.” (No offense to all those who love Richmond, but I’ve seen the giant cigarette plenty of times.)

I quickly booked a hotel in nearby Ocean Isle Beach. I was hoping for a family get-a-way. Unfortunately, Christian Youth Theater hijacked our life back in September and has refused to budge. Gabe and Zeke had rehearsal. Abby (who is getting a teensy bit miffed about constantly having to cover for her parents while they go away on holiday) held down the fort.

We drove down to North Carolina on Friday. I remarked to Dale that since it was at the beach, at least the course would be flat. Friday night was still cloudy, but walking on the beach looking for shells, breathing in the sea air helped lift from me the heaviness of the week. We ate spaghetti and meatball for dinner. (I find it odd to get one giant meatball on my spaghetti instead of five normal sized meatballs. I have seen this giant meatball on several menus. I fear Mom may adopt this rule to settle a whole lot of squabbling and the counting out of meatballs.)

Saturday morning, Dale was up at 0500 eating microwave pancakes with peanut butter. I was in a daze. We drove on the causeway bridge over the Intercoastal Waterway to the start of the race. The humidity and the gnats were thick. There were 1500 runners. In the picture at the start, you can see Dale’s white hat on the far right. He started running and I walked to the start of the causeway (between mile two and three) to cheer him on. After he ran up the bridge, I walked towards the beach figuring I had an hour to wait while he ran the route on the mainland. The humidity was stifling, I got part way to the beach and thought, “I better bring some water.” When I got back to the car, it started to rain heavily and I thought, “I’ll take a nap instead.” Dale kept running in the pouring rain.

When the rain stopped, I went back to the causeway to watch the leader run down towards me. The woman next to me remarked, “I ran this last year. That bridge is a killer.” Suddenly, it dawned on me, “If Dale is running this bridge twice over the Intercoastal Waterway that large ships sail underneath, this is not a flat course.” When I finally saw him run back down the bridge (between mile eleven and twelve), he did not look very happy. I cheered loudly to pep him up.

When the half marathoners arrived back on the Island, they were joined by the 5K runners. The combined group ran south away from the finish line. Dale watched the turn point ahead with anticipation, but when he arrived, he was told it was only for the 5K, he had to keep going south. This was his moment of discouragement. Meanwhile, I was at the finish line watching all the happy finishers get their huge medals. The finish announcer loudly announced everyone’s name who crossed the line. One of the half marathon leaders (I think he finished third) looped back around to cross the finish line arm and arm with his granny who was running the 5K. It was a sweet moment.

Dale crossed the finish at 1:57:04 (official chip time) in 90th place. I cheered when his name was announced. He finished in under two hours which was great. It was not the time he hoped for but then again, the flat course wasn’t flat.

His recovery consisted of body surfing in the ocean and a really long walk on the beach with his wife at sunset. (They wouldn’t call it sunset beach if there wasn’t a sunset.) I got sunburned which was great because it meant there was actually a sun out to be burned by. I saw a guy who was fishing from the beach catch a three foot long shark. We had hoped to see a turtle digging her nest in the dunes, but we only saw a completed nest marked off with police tape. We also discovered a mailbox where people come to write notes of encouragement, thankfulness, memory… We heard one little girl explain to her friend, “Alls I know is there’s the dunes and then the mailbox.”

On Saturday evening, we went out to a seafood restaurant for dinner and the waitress took our drink and appetizer order. We decided what we were ordering for our entrees. After awhile, she came back and said, “Has anyone told you about our specials tonight?”

I replied, “We ordered already.”

Confusion spread across her face. Dale laughed and said, “No. We haven’t.”

She was our waitress after all. If we had ordered, she would know.

A half a marathon for Dale – A half a mind for me.

May 17 2016

Ramblin’ Wreck

Posted by Mugs @ 8:36 pm in Family,school,Sightseeing Print This Post Print This Post

Gabe’s first College Tour happened on April Fools Day. We stopped by Georgia Tech on our way home from Louisiana. It’s definitely a place for math/science guys and gals. I laughed at the staircase designed to mimic Harry Potter’s Grand Staircase and the water slide and lazy river in the gymnasium (installed at the request of the student body.) During the day, a steam whistle calls the students to class. Long ago, it called the students to work in the shop, but today’s students no longer spend their mornings in the classrooms and their afternoons working in the shop. However, Mechanical Engineering is still the largest department in the school.

The campus is a mix of red brick buildings and modern glass structures with a remarkable amount of green space for downtown Atlanta. My favorite part of the day was when the glee club sang “Ramblin Wreck” for us. Our tour guide explained that those who drive the Ramblin Wreck (1930 Ford Model A) around campus and onto the football field must also be able to jump out and fix it when it breaks down. Gabe is now an officially licensed driver. We’ve encouraged him to spend the next two years training to be a mechanic.

May 08 2016

Happy Mothers Day

Posted by Mugs @ 8:10 am in Family,Nature Print This Post Print This Post

Happy Mothers Day, Mom! Since I can’t hand you all of these flowers in person, I hope this virtual bouquet will make you smile.

May 05 2016

Unexpected Treasure

Posted by Mugs @ 8:44 pm in Family,Nature,Sightseeing Print This Post Print This Post

Today I walked the beach at Sandy Point State Park located just before the Chesapeake Bay bridge. I had driven out to meet my brother Howie in Annapolis for lunch, and arrived early so I could walk along the bay. The waves on the shore, the breeze off the water, the sand full of treasure – I was back again to the beach: a place that makes me happy. “I can breathe again,” I said. (This was a dear friend’s description of returning to the beach after having been away for a long time.)

Many know I spend my time on the beach searching for treasure. (This falls under the “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” mantra.) I discover pretty rocks, shells, and sea glass most often. On rare occasions I’ve found sand dollars and shark’s teeth. Today I walked along hoping for sharks teeth and pretty shells, but found instead sea glass and quartz. I pick things up randomly and place them in my bucket, waiting to evaluate them until I get home. Once I’m home, I spread out my treasure before me and think,”Why did I pick that up?” In our house, garage, basement, and yard you can discover piles, bags, boxes, and buckets of what appeared to be treasure, but turned out to be random bits. I have a great love of random bits.

Sometimes I find things and think, “A large sharks tooth?” or “A whole sand dollar?” in disbelief. When I really find treasure and not random bits I have a difficult time convincing myself. Today I found a uniquely shaped piece of quartz and tossed it in my bucket of random bits. Tonight, I rinsed my bits of treasure and sorted them. I held up the piece of quartz for Gabe’s inspection.

“Look what I found today,” I said.

“Where?” He asked.

“On the Chesapeake Bay. What do you think it is?” I asked.

“An arrowhead,” he said.