9/11/2001 My Memories of That Fateful Day

Sept. 11 2001, will be a day most will always remember if they were alive that day.  I sure do.  It was the day that 19 members of the Islamic terrorist group, El Qaeda boarded 4 different airlines.  They hi-jacked them and crashed them one by one on a suicide mission, killing  2,996 people, injured over 6,000 others, and caused at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage.

9/11 World Trade Center Attack

Second in a series of four. The second plane crashes into the World Trade Center.

That morning of 9/11, I went to work.  Rich was off that day.  We were having a sunroom addition put on that morning.  He was going to stay home for the installation.  I was working in the Pharmacy at Advantage Logistics.  We were rather a small dept. at that time.  Maybe 10 or 15, not really sure.  We were expecting our supervisor Pam to come in.  She wasn’t showing up.  I’m not sure if I called her or she called first.

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She said she couldn’t get away from the tv.  I said, “What do you mean?” “A Plane just flew into the World Trade Center Tower in New York.”  Wow, not really understanding what was going on, she said she would be in soon, and before we could hang up, she said…..”OMG, their goes another one into the other tower”.  I think then the idea of something massive and evil was starting to form.  I knew no one else knew what was going on.  I believe I told several co-workers.  Then on our next break, we had a plant wide meeting.  It was conducted by our CEO Don.  He was one of our best Ceos’ we ever had.  He told everyone about the planes that had crashed into the World Trade Center.  He said he would keep us informed as the day progressed as to what was happening.

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010911-N-3031B-001 Arlington, Virginia (Sept. 11, 2001) -Ð Smoke and flames rise over the Pentagon at about 10 a.m. EST on Sep. 11, 2001, following a terrorist attack on the Pentagon in which terrorists hijacked a commercial airliner and crashed the plane into the side of the Pentagon. Part of the building collapsed while firefighters continued to battle the flames and look for survivors. The building was evacuated, as were the federal buildings in the Capitol area, including the White House. American Airlines FLT 77 was bound for Los Angeles from Washington Dulles with 58 passengers and 6 crew. All aboard the aircraft were killed, along with 125 people in the Pentagon. U.S. Navy Photo by PhotographerÕs Mate 2nd Class Lisa Borges (RELEASED)

Later we found out another plane also crashed into the Pentagon, and one more was heading back east and crashed in a field Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

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At home the workers had come to put up the sunroom.  Rich had left to do some errands.  When he came home, the workers and him witnessed a large plane come down really low and circle around and head back to Chicago…..Now we are only 90 miles from Chicago but usually planes are on the way up to their flight path.  They certainly don’t come down low and turn around.  Rich went and turned the tv on and positioned it for the workers to watch as they put up the sunroom.  It turns out all planes were grounded.  They were instructed to go to the nearest terminal and land.  The government was rightfully very worried.  They didn’t know what was going on.  How many more planes up their were being hi-jacked.   How many more would be routed into Washington DC or New York.  For 3 days, I believe the sky’s were void of planes.  I remember how eerie it was.  We were on the flight path into Chicago.  We always saw and heard planes.  The nites were really strange.  You would look in the skys, and not a plane to be seen.  No moving lights.  No sounds.  So Quiet.  Not even the Hospitals Helicopter was allowed to fly.  Finally after 3 days they resumed their flights, but security was stepped up massively.

I remember watching for days and days and even weeks.  It had made such a huge impact on the country.  Such a shock.  Everyone was glued to the tv and watched the video play over and over.  Two of the planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, were crashed into the North and South towers, respectively, of the World Trade Center complex in New York City.

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Within an hour and 42 minutes, both 110-story towers collapsed, with debris and the resulting fires causing partial or complete collapse of all other buildings in the World Trade Center complex, including the 47-story 7 World Trade Center tower, as well as significant damage to ten other large surrounding structures.  People were in a panic.  They were running for their lives.  The day at the Trade Center had just begun and the buildings were full of people in their offices.  The planes hit high, so the reports said the stairways were just full of people trying to get out.  They were afraid of the elevators.  The people above the floors where the planes crashed in were panicking.

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Many of them were calling their family’s.  Some knew it was probably the end and were saying their last good byes.  It even got to the point that people were jumping.  Their were many horror stories of people jumping 100 stories up.  Little did anyone know that the towers would come tumbling down.  It only took 1 hr and 42 minutes to bring down 2 110 story towers.  They said the planes all had full fuel tanks that exploded on impact.  The fire super heated the iron and finally, it all came tumbling down, pancaking onto each floor as it fell.  As you watched it, it felt like a dream.  Your mind just couldn’t encompass what was happening.  The streets became a rolling cloud of ash.

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Everyone was running for their lives.  Their was a thick ash everywhere.  I read where some people couldn’t out run it and ran into buildings or under cars to try to escape it.  The ash turned out to be the buildings that pulverized as they came down.  People were just covered with it.

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All the rescue crews came in.  Firetrucks, rescues vehicles, ambulances, and police departments.  Some of the crews had parked near the bottom of the towers before they came down.

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Rescue people climbed the stairs to the towers trying to rescue people who where trapped.  Unfortunately, when the towers fell, many of them perished also.   9/11 was the single deadliest incident for firefighters and law enforcement officers in the history of the United States, with 343 and 72 killed respectively.

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UNITED STATES – SEPTEMBER 11: Firefighters Todd Heaney and Frankie DiLeo, of Engine 209, carry injured firefighter from the rubble of the World Trade Center., (Photo by Todd Maisel/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

The searchers worked for hours and hours, days and weeks.  The hospitals prepared for many patients.  We all waited to see the patient count go up or the body count……..But it didn’t happen…..They just couldn’t find hardly any body’s from the towers.  Turned out many of them were also pulverized when the building came down.

  1. American Airlines Flight 11 was the first plane to crash at 8:46 into the North Tower at floors 93-99 killing all 92 people on board.

2.  United Airlines Flight 175 was the second plane to crash at 9:02 into the South Tower at floors 75-85 killing all 65 people on board.

3.   American Airlines Flight 77 was the 3rd plane to crash at 9:37 killing 59 aboard and 125 military and civilian personnel inside the Pentagon building.

4.  10:07 am – After passengers and crew members aboard the hijacked Flight 93 contact friends and family and learn about the attacks in New York and Washington, they mount an attempt to retake the plane. In response, hijackers deliberately crash the plane into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, killing all 40 passengers and crew aboard.

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The Passengers were very brave on Flight 93.   This was their way of protecting the country by sacrificing themselves and not let the terrorist achieve their goal.  It was said later, they thought the plane was heading for the Capital in Washington DC.   The flight impacted at 563 mph at a 40-degree nose-down, inverted attitude.  The impact left a crater eight to ten feet deep , and 30 to 50 feet wide.

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Suspicion quickly fell on El Qaeda.   The United States responded by launching the War on Terror and invading Afghanistan to depose the Taliban, which had harbored El-Qaeda.

It took them until May of 2002 to finish the clean up of the Trade Center.  Plans were made to rebuilt.  The Pentagon was repaired within a year.  On November 2006 the new construction began for the New Trade Center, and it was finished and open on November 3, 2014.  A new National September 11 Memorial & Museum was built on Ground Zero, a Pentagon Memorial was also built, and out in  Stonycreek Township near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, Flight 93 National Memorial was built in the field where it crashed .

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We must never forget this day.   Take nothing for granted. Appreciate our freedoms. Count our blessings.  Reach out and help our neighbor.  Cherish your family.  We have a Great Country.  We must never let anyone take that from us.  Remember, all those people were innocent people who bought a ticket for an airline flight that day or simple went to work.  Think of the terror during the last hour of their life.  They didn’t deserve that.  The people on Flight 93, died protecting our country.  Lets continue to preserve our freedoms that we have.  Educate our children and our future generations on what happened so it can NEVER happen again.

America is a Great Country…..Land of the Free….Home of the Brave

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Tammy’s New Swing Set & Theirs Going to be a New Baby in the Family……

Tammy has been wanting to buy Carly a new swing set.  So this is her story.  She will do anything to save money…..lol…Many things most people would never do.  It always comes with a funny entertaining story.   She wanted a really nice wooden one with a large fort area.  The ones in the store were so expensive.  She has a friend Michele, whose husband is very talented in woodworking and building.  He loves to make things.  So Tammy and Mike started figuring out what it would cost in materials……Whoaaaa…..Way to much.  Wood is expensive.  She started watching FB.  Finally, their was one.  Only catch, it was in Joliet.  That’s about an hour or more from McNabb.  It was only $300.  ……Perfect……So last weekend she got off work in Peoria after working all nite, headed for Rutland, picked up Mike.  Now she headed back to McNabb to get a trailer.  This has already been probably an hour and a half drive.  They drove all the way to Joliet.

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Here it is sitting in the back yard of the house.  They were very impressed with it.  The owner,  Sheila and her husband had it built 15 years ago.  Now her kids were grown and headed to college.  They no longer needed.  It was so sturdy, that Tammy and Sheila even climbed up on the fort area and jumped up and down.  …..It passed the test….. So now, How to get it home!!!……time to take it apart…..  It had to come apart into pieces to fit on a car trailer.  Mike was really into it Tammy said, he loves doing things like this.

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He took it apart very carefully.  Some of the supports broke and some they had to cut off.  It had been buried in the ground.  Now next problem.  The fence was built around the set 15 years ago, so now, …..How to get it Out…..

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Finally after much deliberation, it was decided…..Two panels of the fence had to come down.  

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Then to carefully carry it out to the trailer.  It looks bigger than the opening to me.  Apparently Sheila said, had others come and look at it, and they either picked it apart or decided it would be to hard to take it.  …..But not Tammy, ….. When she can save a buck, she will do what it takes.  Sheila was very happy that they were taking it and took most of these pictures.  She was so happy it would give kids many more years of fun.

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Finally they got it into the trailer, all packed up and ready to go.   It sure looks like a mess doesn’t it.  So now the trip back to McNabb.

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First stop Menards…..As Mike took all the bolts out, many of them were so old.  They bought all the bolts Menards had in the store…..lol….Tammy wanted the bottom all wood so it would be easier to mow.   So wood was also on the list.  Some of the railing needed replacing, so more lumber……They said they were a hit at the store.  Guess many were laughing ……WITH THEM……lol…..Finally, they came through McNabb and Rich and Scott were out side at the Bar and laughed at them.  She said they looked like they were building  a Pirate Ship.  Finally after 3 days of work, Mike had it done.  He used all the new bolts that Menards had except for 3.  Now that’s cutting it close.

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It looks so nice.  Carly will have so much fun.  It has a nice long slide, and a very large fort area.

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I really like the wood platform on the bottom.  So much better than sand.  It not only looks good but will certainly make it sturdier.  So here it is all put together 3 days later.

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Certainly quite a feat.   Tammy said without Mike, it would have never happened.  So now Carly has 2 swings, a trapeze, and nice long slide, a ramp up, a nice big fort area, and steps also.  Cost ended up being around $800….A lot more than the $300, but still a bargain.  She’s restaining the areas that they replaced and also decided to use Flex Seal on the roof…..lol….Lets see how that holds up.  Now the ironic part is after talking to Sheila, Tammy found out her mom is at Liberty Village in Peru.  Sheila was from Ottawa.  The more bizzare part is Sheila’s parents use to live in Harlingen in a park for a number of years.  She didn’t think it was Eastgate but then their are many in the area.   Its really a small world isn’t it…….. Sheila sent all her pictures she took to Tammy and was so happy to see the swing set back in commission with in 3 days, ready for little kids to play on it again.

Now……..Did I have you Wondering?????….Yes were going to have a New Baby in the Family……One of these little girls is going to be Dee Dee.  

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Tina, Ed, Miley and Austin are adopting a new puppy.  These little girls were born on Sept. 4, 2017.  Their parents are Golden Doodles named Amber & Jax.  They were born at Windmere Kennels in St. Charles Michigan.  They will be able to bring Dee Dee home by the first part of Nov.  This will again complete their family after their terrible lose of Dexter….For those of you who didn’t read that Post, here is the link.  https://w2bergen.com/2017/08/11/our-memories-of-dexter-the-beloved-pet-of-tina-ed-miley-and-austin/  Dexter lost his life on Aug 11.  He has left a Huge hole in their lives and their hearts.  So now, Dee Dee will help make new memories.  Dexter got his name from a show on tv for kids.  It is Dexter Laboratories.   Dexter has a sister on the show called Dee Dee Now Dexter will have his sister Dee Dee move into his house and enjoy the love of the family he knew and loved.  

Ohhhh,  I’m sure its going to be a Long Long Long wait in the Dolder Household……waiting for the NEW BABY….

Hurricane Harvey, 2017

We were very lucky.  “Harvey” missed us.  It came in on shore a little over 200 miles north of us.  It directly hit Rockport, Port Aransas, Victoria, Refugio, and Port Lavaca.  Corpus Christi was just a little south of the eye.

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One thing we realized down here in Texas living near the Gulf is, Hurricane season is taken very seriously.  The weathermen are always reporting on storms coming off the coast of Africa.  We knew this season started in August and ended the first of Nov.  Here is Eastgate we knew that all annuals or anyone who left their camper here for storage, had to anchor their units to the concrete pads.  Now after this past week, I understand why.  438842BA00000578-4818354-Hurricane_Harvey_is_expected_to_become_a_major_storm_once_it_mak-a-80_1503611478314

This storm started a week or two earlier as a depression #91.  As they watched it cross the Atlantic it escalated as it reached the Yucatan Peninsula.  It slowed down over land and then as it crossed into the Gulf of Mexico it started to escalate from a tropical storm to Hurricane.  They initially knew it could come ashore as a Category 3, but the warm waters escaladed it to Category 4, which meant it contained winds of over 125 mph.  It was predicted to land a little more south.  The Rio Grande Valley started to prepare.  Everyone was stocking up.  South Padre Island closed all beaches and they started boarding up windows.  If the winds reached over 45 mph, they would close the bridge to all traffic.  They have an Emergency text system in place for their residents, that you can get this information as it develops.  We took down our screen room, and put in all our awnings.  When Rich put up the shed, one of the requirements was also to anchor it.  So he constructed a wire anchor system that runs through both sides of the shed and is anchored to the concrete.  The park went around putting all the pool chairs and anything loose away.  They also inspected some of the homes of people who were not here and made sure everything was safe as possible.  We were suppose to receive up to 70mph winds at one point.  Also 4″ – 6” of rain.  Well, not a whole lot happened.  I woke up at midnight to hear the pitter patter of the rain.  The wind wasn’t bad.  It was suppose to escalate in the morning.  Nope, we were very lucky.  It came ashore around Port Lavaca, which is a little over 2 hours north on the coast.

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We caught some of the outer wind bands but not fierce.   Up around Corpus Christi, Port Aransas, Victoria and Port Lavaca, it destroyed the towns, hotels, homes, Rv Parks, and Boat Harbor’s.  Some of the smaller towns evacuated.  One of the Winter Texans from last year, said she had workamper friends in one of the parks.  They could not leave until all the guest campers were gone.  Then they could leave.   I don’t know if I like that or not.

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The towns were really tore up.  The rain was horrible.  They said that some areas around Houston could receive 50″ before it was over.  Just imagine that much rain and it comes ashore at 125mph.  “Harvey” came ashore and hovered for awhile.  It actually moved like it was a drunken soldier on shore.  It was downgraded finally to a tropical storm, but the tail end was still feeding the bands over the Gulf with water.  It continued to rain.  Houston started to flood.  Houston is a very low city.  It is only 50 feet above sea level.  It was built on flat marshy ground. It is prone to flood but nobody expected it to flood this much.  Reports started to come on tv of all the rescues.

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The interstates started filling up.  Some of the drivers just didn’t understand.  They continue to think they are almighty and can drive right through, including semis.  We seen reports of so many people just walking through the water to safety.  Abandoning their vehicles or homes.  The 911 calls were coming in.  People were beginning to be trapped in their homes.  The water kept rising.  Some were in their attics with nowhere else to go.  They were advised to bring an axe with them so they could chop a whole in the roof if needed.  …….”Get out of your house”…..”Stand on your roof”….  “Bring a piece of material with you that you can wave to draw attention”.  The calls kept coming in.  The people were told they were on the list.  But the Emergency people couldn’t help until daybreak, and even then, it was still impossible in many places.  Finally you seen boats coming down the streets.

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Individuals were going out with their own boats, canoes, airboats, even jet skis.  They were going out into the neighborhoods and picking up people and bringing them to high ground.  The local Convention Center opened up for the victims.  They kept running short of cots for them to sleep on.  Some people slept the night on the floor.  But at least they were safe and dry.  This flood had overwhelmed everyone.

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The news showed so many people being rescued with dump trucks.   Many times they used ladders to help the people get in and out.  So many people, young and old were carried through the water.  In one case, Nursing home residents were trapped and needed someone to come get them.  No one came.  Finally the nursing home owners were so devastated and helpless, they took a picture of all these poor people sitting in chairs and the couches waist deep in water looking so forlorn.

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I can’t even imagine their thoughts.  I’m sure they thought they were at deaths door.  She sent the picture to her daughter for help.  Her daughter put it out on Social Media and the news.  In less than 2 hours, Help Arrived.  Here’s all those people today smiling, happy, warm and dry.  So Happy to be Alive.  How awful for them.

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The National Guard was called out.  National Guard brought in around 30 helicopters for air rescue.   The US Coast Guard also brought in their helicopters Every available resource, was called in.  Fema, Red Cross, so many agency’s arrived, their was help arriving from all over the US.  Even the Border Patrol from the Rio Grande Valley came with over 30 different types of boats.  Of course all the news people arrived.   The reports and pictures on tv were constant the first 2 days.  It was ongoing for so long.  The storm stagnated in the Houston area, then went back out over the Gulf.  It reentered east of Houston around the Beaumont area and headed north west, slowly dissipating, but did much more damage and dropped a lot of rain in the Beaumont area.  They faced so many dangerous issues.

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Now they also had floating islands of Red Fire Ants.  They had come out of the ground and attach themselves to each other and become a floating colony.  You certainly don’t want to get into a nest of them.  Also, now the bayous had filled up and the city had to release some of the water in the reservoirs so they wouldn’t break.  Now Alligators were also swimming in the water along with Snakes Sewage and Chemicals had been leaked into the waters by now.  It was so dangerous to be in the water, but many had no choice.  Now here it is a week after “Harvey” landed, and the city still has water.  They said it may take weeks in some areas to totally empty.  Another occurrence they may find is floating caskets.

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With the ground being so saturated, some caskets may just surface and float.  How awful it would be to come across a casket.  The latest count of deaths was 39, which I thought was pretty good.

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Through all of this their is always “HERO’S” that give selflessly of themselves and their money.  In Houston Jim “Mattress Mack” Mcingvale has 2 very large furniture stores called “Gallery Furniture”.

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He opened his doors to anyone who needed shelter.  They made his new furniture their home.  A place to rest and sleep.  He fed them, and donations of all sort came in.  He even gave out his cell number for anyone who needed help and couldn’t get it.

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He not only let the flood victims sleep in his beds, he also let the National Guard rest.  “What a hero”.  He also did this for Hurricane Katrina.  He wants to help and share all he has to the people who need his help.  It was said he was losing $30,000 a day.

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Hotels and Motels all over are filled.  Some people left before the storm and some left after and found a place to go.  I believe Fema or the Red Cross is paying for the rooms for most of this month to give the families time and everyone to make plans for the future.  They are located all over Texas and probably Louisiana.  I do know that here in the Rio Grande Valley, we have many families that are in our motels.  All across the valley, the school systems are going motel to motel, enrolling the children in school.  All they want is the child’s name and info.  Their not requiring Birth Cert.  or papers.  They just want them in school so their life can continue as normal.  Country Suites here in Harlingen posted on FB the other day, the items they needed.  It contained from a Wheelchair and cane, on to clothes and personal care items and food.  They alone have 22 families.  We have at least 6 motels full.  Before you knew it, the word got out.  They have so many contributions that they are sharing across the Valley.  One person thought it was important to give the families a Cook out on Monday for Labor Day.  So many people have volunteered to help to put on a Celebration.  H-E-B is a huge chain grocery store in Texas.  In fact in the valley, their is no other.  …..No Krogers, Hyvee, Albertsons, just H-E-B…..  They deployed a convoy of 15 vehicles including 2 Mobile Kitchens, water and fuel tankers and H‑E‑B trailers, that will deliver much‑needed relief supplies and services to the communities in the affected hurricane area

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The H‑E‑B Mobile Kitchens, are two 45‑foot‑long food preparation facilities that are each designed to serve up to 2,500 meals per hour, will set up and serve hot meals to first responders and storm victims.  Also H‑E‑B’s DRUs that are fully equipped with an H‑E‑B Pharmacy and Mobile Business Services unit, which allows displaced residents to fill prescriptions, cash checks and pay bills, as well as provide access to an ATM.  One of the kitchens stopped in the Victoria area.  The other went on north to Houston.  Another fact to mention is the pets.  Anyone who had a pet, it was rescued with them.

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Pets have become a family member and they were treated as so.  The shelters have included them.  Their were pictures and stories of all the pet rescues.  So many people came out of their homes with their cats and dogs in carriers.  The ones that are found without owners have been taken to shelters.  Some are being shipped out of state to no kill shelters to find new homes.  Our shelter in Harlingen has made several trips up to take homeless animals.  They are all asking for donations of food, blankets and money.  The animals are being taken care of which is wonderful.  They all need a home.

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A week later, everything is still in turmoil but they are getting a handle on it.  Their were 3 large shelters open in Houston, but they are back down to one.  Their were actually around 142 shelters open around the area.  Over 100,000 homes are affected with flooding in Texas alone.  Over 300,000 homes were without power.  A state of disaster was declared in 50 county’s.  The discussion has been ongoing…..Should the mayor have evacuated Houston???.   It had happened in the past for another Hurricane that never happened after all.  Their was traffic jams and people died in the heat.  The mayor didn’t evacuate do to that reason.   I do agree with him.  Houston is the 4th largest city in the US.  How do you evacuate a whole city.   Where do they go.  If you’ve ever been through Houston in rush hour, you would know how bad it is.  That is only a small portion of the people.  To my understanding he made the right decision.  When you realize only 39 lives were lost, that is a small percent considering the population.  Some of those lives were lost in vehicles trying to escape the flood.  Some of those did not use common sense when traveling in flooded waters.  So many near fatal accidents happened that we seen on video.  It is sad that anyone died but you have to pick the best scenario for all.  I believe they were so fortunate that only 39 lives were lost so far.  It could have been much worse.  But I’m sure it may go up as they continue the search.

 

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White Caps on the Houston Interstates

 

Now we start watching the weather forecast…..Another storm coming off the coast of Africa.  Already a massive Hurricane.……IRMA…..Of course their are many storm tracks.  This one they think,  will follow up the East Coast of the US…..So we Wait and Watch

 

 

3 Year Anniversary for the Blog….Aug. 25 2014

 

Hard to believe that 3 years ago I posted my first blog.  …..8/25/14….I know that date so well as it is also my …..”BIRTHDAY” ….. We had been planning on retirement for several years.  The date was coming nearer…..I turned 64 and I retired the end of Sept. 2014.  Rich worked till Nov. 1 and retired.  He turned 65, Dec. 25 2014.   We were so ready to sign up for Social Security, Medicare A and B and the whole ball of wax.  If truth be told, I would have probably been fired sooner if I hadn’t planned on a retiring date.  Things weren’t going well at Adv. Logistics…..I feel for all you guys still their……They pay a good wage, and good benefits, but they work you like a dog……They’ve lost lots of Really Good people through the years…..

So as the date came closer, we were getting so excited.  We had been accepted as Workampers starting Dec 1 at Eastgate RV & MH Park in Harlingen Tx.  I had been following several bloggers and asking questions about Fulltime Rvers for almost 2 years.  I started to think….”I Can Do That Too….I Can Write”…..This was going to be an Adventure that we had no idea how it would turn out.  What would we see, and do???  So I started to research on WordPress and set up my blog site myself.  I was rather amazed at myself.  I did it by trial and error and finally succeeded.  I wrote my first Blog and published it on Aug. 25 2014, my 64th Birthday.  My goal for writing these blogs was so that the kids and our friends knew what we were doing.  Hence the title…….And Let The Fun Begin……We wouldn’t have to explain to everyone our activities, they could just read about it.  As time went on, I realized  that someday these would all be lost in cyberland.  I needed a way to preserve them.  I also came to the realization, that everyone works back home.  The kids were busy living and working.  Time marched on, we were having fun with no schedules while they still had that regimented life style called work.  They weren’t reading all of them .  I found a company called Blog2Print that would print your blogs into books.  I pick the dates, the covers, set up the dimensions inside and they can print them to soft or hard back books.  So the printing began every 6 months.

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This was the first book that started it all.  First I printed them in paper back.  Every 6 months I print one, so I have 2 each year.  I try to make each one a different color and design.  Each book is running around 160 to over 200 pages.

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I decided with this last book to try a hard back copy.  It really wasn’t much extra.  We were so pleased with it.  I have been replacing them all now with the hard back.  The black one is the only one left.  I will be done before the year is out.  When I started printing them a book cost around $80 with shipping and handling…..They charge you so much per page after the initial 20 pages…..The last one just cost me around $130…..But they are so worth it….

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The pictures inside are pretty nice considering they are all from my phone.   I have the pictures made big and the paper is semi glossy.  Now as time has gone on my goal for the books has changed.

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At first it was about our travels and experiences.  Now I realize how much history we see.  When we are at a historical place, it seems so important to write about what we see and how we view it.  Take for instance the LBJ Ranch.  We lived President Johnsons time in office.  I want to take what I know from my time in life to what we see on the tour, and write about it.  Also the different anniversary dates that we pass each year.  We witnessed the assassination of President Kennedy on tv and in newspapers.  I feel it is important to write about that piece of history and what we seen and heard and felt during that time.  It is so important to tell the story of what we were doing at the time these events happened.  The kids nowadays aren’t really taught a lot of these things in history.  I try to research it and convey all the historical facts and what we witness to try to tell a full story.

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Also as family pictures and special events happen, they can be captured and preserved.  So many reasons to write these storys and make sure they are preserved for them and the grandkids.

This will be our gift to them, Our Storys……Our Legacy…..lol….(kids your not getting any money,  lol  you’ll have to be happy with these books)

But Rich and I are very “PROUD” of these books.  We hope that someday the family will enjoy reading them as much as we have enjoyed the experiences.  I really enjoy writing them.  I feel that its a talent I would have never realized if we hadn’t embarked on this adventure in life.  Life is good down here in Harlingen.  But only for the winter.  lol.  Sure is hot in the summer.  We do have so many other things to do yet.  We just renewed our Security License for Texas again.  We have other things we would like to do in the summers.  So time will tell what we do next summer.

………So Today I celebrate my 67th Birthday…..are we going out to celebrate????

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I’m afraid not…..Another 1st…..Hurricane Harvey……. is on its way in….We are not in the direct path, but we will be included in the outer bands.  Their calling for 4″ to 6″ of rain and up to 70 mph winds.  It will be landing as a Category 3 around Corpus Christi and Port Aransas.  They are doing evacuations right now.  Once ashore it could drop 22″ to 24″ in some areas.  South Padre Island campgrounds were evacuated today.  People boarding up windows.  Even though their not getting a direct hit, it is still front line to the Gulf.  Their expecting huge storm surges of water.  All beaches are closed and most people actually left for the mainland.  Today we took down our screen room, put in all the awnings.  Put away the chairs and everything outside.  The park went around and put away all the pool chairs and anything that could blow.  So we are all prepared.  So well spend my birthday enjoying ….Hurricane Harvey 2017….

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This picture is Thursday late afternoon, ready for the storm….Blue Sky overhead….Hard to believe that west of their behind the shed a hundred miles is  Hurricane Harvey 2017, developing from a Category 1 to a 3 at landfall.

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These are our new Personal Cards….Rather Cool I think…..Blog address on one side…..This picture was one I took last year as we left Adventureland….

Paying It Forward with Kindness

Yesterday (Sunday) I worked my shift at the Cinemark 10.  I witnessed something I thought was so …….AWESOME……It was later in the afternoon, and a manager came across on the walky , that a disabled lady was in the parking lot and had locked her keys in her car, can we help her.  The message back was, not really because company policy.  As we all know most large corporations or company’s are always strict on rules to protect themselves from law suits.  It is understandable as some people are so sue happy these days.  It has become a strange world of opportunity for some people to make a buck at the expense of someone else.

 

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The manager then went outside to the car, and I seen the lady standing by her car.  He called the police station….No, no help their.  They couldn’t do anything.  Shame isn’t it….He asked one of the girls who was bilingual to come out and help translate as the lady was Spanish.  Then he called a locksmith.   The locksmith wanted $45 to come.  She only had $20, so he wouldn’t help either.  Now keep in mind it is upper 90’s and I found out her walker was also locked in the car.  The poor lady was leaning against the car.

Finally a miracle happened.  A guy in a pickup had pulled up to just buy popcorn at the theater and go home.  He had a long rod and stuck in down in the door and unlocked it.  He must have been her Angel sent by God at the perfect time.  Another manager had went out.  They called into Concession and said to give the man whatever he ordered free for a Thank You.  He walked out with a bagful…..Next they walked with the lady.  She was pushing her walker slowly.  She looked so hot and tired.  But she had the biggest smile on her face.  They walked her into the theater and gave her a free showing of  47 Meters Down, which was what she had come to see.

I want to commend the Managers and Crew at Cinemark.  Even though company policy dictated they couldn’t physically help with opening the door, they stayed with her and helped her find a way to open it.  Then they did what they could to show appreciation to the man that had helped her and gave her a movie that helped her end her day in a positive way.  She looked so happy as they were bringing her in.   What on earth would have happened if they hadn’t been their for her.  She couldn’t walk without her walker that was locked in the car and it was miserable hot.  I know she was eternally grateful.  These are wonderful stories in life that we all need to hear.

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Lessons to learn that we can ……….”PAY IT FORWARD”……

You never know in life when you may need someone’s help.  We can’t always PAY IT BACK.  Sometimes the situation doesn’t allow it, but we can always Pay Forward What a Wonderful world we would live in if everyone would do that.  

I have also see a few acts of Kindness that so surprised me.  Several times in the Box Office, I’ve had people come forward to the person buying a ticket.  They couldn’t find enough money.  They would come forward and give the person a dollar or two.  What ever it took for the ticket.  It was done with sincerity also.  Not that they were trying to hurry up the people, but they gave because they wanted to help.

Now also yesterday, I had a man come up to buy a ticket.  We are a discount theater.  We do not show 1st run movies.  They are all second run movies that have already made the circuit of the big theaters.  Therefore our most expensive ticket on a weekend is $2.92 for regular and $4.33 for 3-D.   On Sunday the single ticket is $2.17.  He asked me twice……..”How Much”????  He couldn’t believe it….”$2.17″????  He said “at that price, buy all these people in line a ticket”.    I had to call him back….I said “Sir, I can’t do that, here is your change.  You have to decide what you want to do with your money”.  He then paid for the next 3 people in line.  He walked away saying he couldn’t believe how cheap the tickets were.  Of course the people in line were amazed also at his generosity.  These are the kind of people who make this world a better place.   They put smiles on peoples faces.

Since we worked Adventureland last summer, I still stay in contact with several FB sites.  On one of them was a story posted from the Des Moines Iowa paper.  It was a mom who had wrote in to tell the story of an Adventureland employee  who had befriended her son.  Her son had a handicap of some sort and they were boarding a roller coaster.  Usually she said people talk to her, when they were addressing her son.  She was commending the employee cause he directly talked to her son as he adjusted his bar.  He made eye contact and treated him as a person.  It lite up his face and she was so happy to see him treated as normal.   She felt so strongly that she wrote an article to the local paper.   What a wonderful feeling for a mother to have her child treated as a normal person.

It is amazing that in the space of 30 seconds of contact, you can make a difference.  Just a few words, a smile……You could change someone’s day.  I decided to try that approach also.  Even though sometimes I only have 10 seconds,  that short time can be made fun, with a few words and smile.  One day a lady came with her daughter.  She looked unhappy.  She bought her ticket, and her daughter said.  “Ok mom, don’t be crying in the show,….You’ve been crying all day”.…..I felt so sad and awkward for her.   You can only imagine what problems she could be facing at home.  So you never know what is going on at home or in other peoples life.  If its only a smile you can give and a cheery “HELLO”, It might help make a difference.  I think we’ve all been their at one time or another if were honest with ourselves.

We also see many people with Mental Handicaps of different stages.  One girl comes with her mom, and is probably late teens.  A very sweet girl who has Downs and is very reserved.  The one day she came dressed in a very pretty sun dress.  I complimented her on her dress.  She brightened up and said “Thank You”…..Several others adults come who have to hold hands to stay together or they might wander off.  All it takes is a smile and a wave, and they are on ……Cloud Nine…..I make a practice of waving to them as they go in and if I am their, as they leave later.  You cannot believe how excited they are to wave back.  They wave all the way to the street.  They all need that interaction with the world around them.  They have feelings also.  Yes they are different but they want to be treated as …..People…..Pay-It-Forward1

 

Their is so much anger anymore in the news.  FB is even full of it anymore.  These are some story’s I wanted to share to show the positives in life.   We all need and want to Pay Back when we can.  Sometimes its impossible.

We always should Pay Forward when we can.  The World would be Much Happier……And So Would Your Soul……

 

First Day of School / Emp. of The Month….

So here it is already, August 16th and the first day of school for the grandkids….I can’t believe they are starting so soon.  The summer is flying by.  When I was a kid in Toluca, we didn’t start until just before Labor Day Toluca had one celebration a year.  It was the Labor Day Celebration Carnival rides, games, yummy food, and of course the Parade.  Now that was the ultimate time of the year.  The suspense and excitement would build all summer.  We all couldn’t wait for it to come.  But it always seemed like school started on Wed. or Thur.   You would see the trucks come in all week bringing the rides and foods. The carnival started on Friday and lasted till Monday.  They set it up down town on the streets.    I hated that we had to go to school several days, and the teachers even gave us homework….How could they be so mean to us…..lol….All weekend it was an exciting time.   The town was full of people, the rides were running and kids screaming in delight.  We walked up and down the carnival midway and looked at all the games and the food.  I would have to spend my money wisely, because my mom only gave me so much.  When it was gone, it was gone.  The food was Awesome, Corn Dogs, Lemonade Shake Ups, and Cotton Candy.  Then we had the Parade on Monday.  Floats representing all of Toluca and surrounding areas, business and church’s,  and of course always the politicians riding in fancy new convertibles…..Just waving their hands at everyone….Everyone couldn’t wait for the Marching Bands from through out the area.  In high school, I was in FHA.  We always made a float.  We earned points for doing things so we could go on a trip at the end of the school year.  We used chicken wire to mold our design on a hayrack.  Then we were supplied with tissue paper to stuff in the holes.  They don’t do it that way anymore.  Finally the parade would be over, the carnival would shut down early cause they had to pack up and have the streets open by Tuesday morning.  I lived about a block from town, and that whole nite you could hear them hammering and noises of tearing down.  Tue. morning was school.  Downtown was bustling with the usual traffic again.  Sometimes the streets still needed to be swept, sometimes it was done.  Some of the rides might be parked somewhere all packed up in their trucks, but most were gone.  Everything was back in order…..Another year was gone………..Then, time to get back to serious school time….yuck…

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The grandkids are growing fast.  This year Cassidy is in 8th grade.  She is living with her dad going to school in Spring Valley.  The 3 little ones are all in Putnam County Primary.  Miley is in 3rd grade, and Austin is in 1st.  They are Tina and Eds kids.  They live in Granville where the Primary School is.  It contains Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.  FB_IMG_1502996214751Here is Carly.  She is in Kindergarten this year.  Her first year of all day school.  Carly and Cassidy are Tammy’s kids.  Tammy lives in McNabb.  She is a RN so she must have been working and Tina took all 3 kids to school the first day.

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This is Carlys 2nd day.  She has curly wild hair.  It is hard to control unless in a ponytail or pigtail.   She is a cutie pie.

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And of course we must have the bus pictures.  I believe the driver is good friend Kathy.  She has been driving for so many years.  Maybe even when the kids were in school.  She loves her job and her kids.  The perfect person you want for a bus driver.  Her sister Mary Jane drives also and has for many years.  Now that Kathy’s husband retired from Cat., he drives also…….It really takes special people to do this job. This is what Tammy was doing before she became a nurse.  She loved her job and all her bus driving friends.  Rich also drove part time for many years…..They asked me,  …..NO WAY….  no patience.

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The other day, I found out some news.  I was voted Employee of the Month…..Wow…now that’s another first in my life.  I was so surprised.  I received a $50 gift card and my name on a plaque.  I want to THANK THE AWESOME MANAGERS, for voting for me.  They are a GREAT BUNCH.  This is sure a morale booster.  

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I am probably the oldest employee here.  Since school will be starting soon, the Box Office will close outside during the week.  Tickets will be sold at the Concession Counter.  I only work Box Office.  So I decided to add more hours during the week, I would try UsherNow how hard can that be!!!  …..Cleaning out the theaters after each show….Stand at Podium, Greet, take tickets and direct them to the right theater.  So Ok.

Last Saturday was training …..2-10….8 hrs…..  IT WAS AWFUL…..Now keep in mind, we are Cinemark 10…..So each show is shown 3 to 4 times a day…..so 10 theaters x 4 showings?????  40 cleanings……On my shift it would be 31 of those…..”PEOPLE ARE PIGS”….They leave their popcorn bags and buckets.  Its spilled all over the floor.  Soda cups everywhere.  Candy wrappers…..3 D glasses and wrappers.  They sneak in Soda in bottles, and candy.  They go get booster seats and leave them in the theater when they leave.  First you go through and pick up big items.  Then with the dust pan and broom you sweep up all the rows.  You only have 5 to 10 minutes and sometimes not even that.  Other theaters are leaving out.  People sit in their seats till the last credits are run.  Everything is timed.  You only have so much time and everything starts over.  It has to be ready for seating for the next show.  The bathrooms have to be checked every hour.  That means clean sink area.  Check and fill soaps, toilet paper in each stall.  Flush if needed and sweep up the floor of all the toilet paper that everyone drops…..”Do they do that at Home?????”…..I bet not.  Next it is also your responsibility to keep the lobby clean.  The popcorn buckets are filled to the max and you can watch them spill as they walk….Its like a trail….Keep the lobby swept and use the push vac on the carpet in the hallways…..It constantly has popcorn spilled on it.  Now about 3 hours in to your shift, your big garbage bins are filled.  So what ever theater is empty, go out the back exit door and empty your garbage.  Just hope its a close theater to the dumpster…..It sure wasn’t last Saturday….The farthest one possible….lol….Now do you still have free time????  Oh yes, so now take your big garbage cans to behind the Concession stand.  Their is a sink area to clean the cans.  Put on your gloves….Put disinfectant soap and water in the barrels….bend down into them and scrub with a sponge with a scratch pad on one side.  The girl who was showing me was down on her hands and knees with her body inside…..OMG…I Tried….Rinse….scrub again and Dry them…….

Now if your closing usher, these are your duties….Go upstairs to the offices and break room.  Take out garbage, vacuum the break room, sweep the stairs….It has a stairs, landing and another set of stairs….Then get the mop and bucket and mop all the stairway……Ohhhhh, I was so sore and stiff.  My knees were shaking and feet down to my toes hurt.  I was suppose to do this myself on Monday.  It was going to be really slow but still….That is a lot of activity.  I went home and told Rich….I can’t do this…I’m to old.…lol…I fully was going to go ahead and work Monday, but I got up Sunday and decided….NO WAY….I Don’t Have Too…So I talked to the GM and he totally understood.  I had to go in and find someone to replace me…..No Problem…On the bottom of my paper for reasoning to not do my shift, I wrote……”TOO OLD”…..They laughed….I Now have a new respect for Ushers.  You kids have so much energy and you work circles around me….But I will say,….in all of this, these kids are so nice.  They do great training and they are very kind.  They knew I was tired, so 2 of the kids let me stand at the Podium for the last part of the evening.   They make it all look so EASY….

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Our Memories of “DEXTER”….The Beloved Pet of Tina, Ed, Miley and Austin

 

 

The evening of August 9, 2017 will forever be a sad day for Austin, Miley, Tina and Ed.  Dex crossed over the Rainbow Bridge that evening.  He was doing what he loves to do.  Enjoying the outdoors and running.  Dexter seen a rabbit and ran across the street in front of a truck.17862656_10209129687744901_6366619141592536283_n

Fortunately Tina and Ed were home.  Ed quickly scooped him up and put him in the truck and drove to McNabb to Dex’s  Vetinarian.  Unfortunately he passed before Allison arrived.  It was a night that they will never forget. The kids, Tina and Ed loved Dexter so much in his short life.  The rest of us all thought that Tina thought of him as her third born child and Austin’s and Mileys brother.  He had 2 1/2 wonderful years of unconditional love by a family that cherished him.  He gave so much love back.  He did a lot of traveling also.  He went to Arizona, Florida, and went on many fishing trips to Wisconsin with the family and Grandpa Dolder He had a very full Happy Life.  So much sadness.  So I want to tell the story of Dexter’s life and how he came to live with his family who loved him.

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So to begin this story I must tell you about Tina.  She has never been an animal lover.  When we had pets she couldn’t understand why we treated them so special.  You know like your children.  She never wanted any pets or any creepy crawlers in her house.  She was just particular.  I remember one day she called me.  I had given her a live foliage plant for Mothers Day.  Several months went by and she seen a bug of some sort on it.  She said, if I wanted the plant to come and get it cause it wasn’t going to be in her house.…..lol….That was just the way she was.  She refused to have an animal because of the hair.  Time went on and Beth, Eds sister had German Shepard’s.  She started to realize that Austin would say he needed to go kiss his brother goodbye when they visited.  So, after some thought Tina decided to look into buying a dog.  Now of course this required research to find a dog that doesn’t shed.   She decided on a Golden Doodle.  She found Windmere Kennels in Saint Charles Michigan.  They had a litter for her to choose from.

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This was the first pictures of Dexter from the Kennel.  Dex was born November 30, 2014.  Tina and the family brought him home Jan 23 2015.

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This is the first pictures of him traveling in his car seat….lol…He was such a little guy.

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Here is the kids playing with him the first days of  his new home.  He quickly learned to love his family and especially his kids.  I think he felt like one of them.  They would play and play till he got tired and had to take a nap.

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This sofa became a favorite of Dexter’s to take a nap.  He looks so small here.

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Then he learned what snow was.  He loved to go out and play in the snow.  He would try to eat the snow flakes as they fell.  Last winter he had fun playing with Aunt Beth and the kids and Mars…..

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Finally time to meet his groomer.  As you see Dexs’ ‘hair was very curly and close.  It grew fast around his eyes, but it didn’t shed.

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He had the most Beautiful dark eyes……You could read his thoughts almost…..

So his grooming days began.  He met Shaina, his groomer.  Tina said he would spend his day in the Spa, getting a bath, clipped, brushed, probably toenails trimmed….just pampered….And he loved it…Every time he came home, Shaina put a new bandana on him.  He looked so cute.   921_1502458645905.jpeg

His favorite toy was Ali the Alligator.  I believe before he was done, he had went through 2 Alis.  He would chew them up and throw them around.  Of course the kids got involved also playing tug of war.  Soon he learned to chew things….lol…loved clothes in the laundry room or bedroom.  Soon gates went up.  Laundry room,  Play room, and Living room.  He was isolated to the Kitchen tile floor unless he was with his family.  Mileys room was off the kitchen, so if her door was open, he would go in and steal her little plastic toys.  Dex was pure puppy.  With everyone being gone all day to school and work, he learned very quickly to potty train himself.  Then Tina told me she had taught him to ring the Christmas bells on the door to go outside…..

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Really,  I wouldn’t have believed it if I didn’t see it.  He would run up and ring them and wait to go outside.  But of course he also learned that it was a way to just go out and play when he wanted too….Yes he was smart.  One day I got to thinkingWhere did Dex sleep.  So I asked Tina He sleeps in bed with us.  She had tried to keep him in the kennel on the floor, but he would cry.  So she put the whole kennel on the bed with them.  So now we have Tina, Ed, Miley, Austin and the Kennel with Dexter in it…..Thank Goodness it is a king size bed I don’t think he ever left, just the Kennel did.  lol……..   Tina made sure he enjoyed all the holidays with the kids.918_1502458717129.jpeg913_1502458742002.jpeg

First was Valentines Day, then St. Patrick’s DayEaster came and Dex even met the Easter Bunny.

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Yes, Dex had stole the heart of Tina.  Tina had fallen in love with this little furry puppy.  He had the best life.  Everything a puppy needed as well as so much love from his mom and dad and kids.  We use to laugh and wonder….If their was a fire,….Who would she save first…..Dexter? or the Kids? ….17952843_10209180584137279_8964095378149513719_n

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He had so much fun helping the kids look for Easter Eggs….lol….He also enjoyed Aunt Beth and his cousins Mars and Schultzy.  Schultzy has also since crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. ……… I bet their playing together right now.  Remembering their families…….17904146_10209180593017501_4739250048408324317_n

Just look at all this good stuff.  Believe me, Dexter would try to steal and eat it too.  He would grab things, and you would chase him around the living room.  He always moved faster than you.  He would get down on his front paws and tease you and run.  Finally he learned that if he stole something to eat, just go behind the sofa and nobody sees you.  He had a stash back their.  So Tina had to try to wall that off from him.  He was definitely a child.  My first time I met Dexter was when we came back from Texas.  He knew no strangers.  He loved everyone.  We brought back a Piñata and had a party in the side yard in McNabb.

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Aunt Beth came and MarsTina teased both of them with Spider-Man.

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Then we hung Spider-Man  up in the tree.  She tried to get him to hit it…..Nope none of that….Tina asked me to babysit for him, as they were going to Dakotas for Mileys Gymnastics meet.  They would be gone a week.  So I spent the nights their so Dex had someone to be with.  I knew Tina had put in a camera in the living room pointed at the kitchen to be able to watch Dex while she was at work.  So one evening I’m watching tv and all of a sudden I hear…..”Deeeexter…..Deeeexter”……What was that????…..Then that evil laugh….lol….The camera also has a microphone too.  She was watching…..Dex picked up his head and looked.  He knew it was his mom.   Then some time that week, he was playing in the living room and I fell asleep.  I woke up to this:

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Ohhh No…I’m in trouble cause I’m not watching him…..I stuffed everything back in and that little smarty pants kept nosing underneath and pulling out the stuffing.  Then, another nite, I’m playing ball with him.   He loved to play fetch.  I would throw into the kitchen, he would go get it and bring it back.  A great game until;   I threw to high and took out one of the light globes on the fan.  Now what to do…….Confess?  or try to buy one and replace it.  but…..It was a straight shot from the camera lens.  She could be watching as I did it…..So finally decided, confession was the only way out.   Yes, I was a bad babysitter.  Tina said when she told Miley, Miley said……”What, Why is grandma throwing in the house.  No throwing in the house”…….So we got through that.  But Dex was fine…..I believe that was the summer Tina and Ed took a quick trip to Arizona to help her friend Nikki move to Lake Havasu Arizona.  14095708_10207304214549212_3840827665641782041_nTina and Ed and copilot Dexter made the trip….Dex loved to travel.  He was so good in the truck or in the car.  He loved his Dad.  14980839_10207890682570546_6508290405288426168_nHe also took a trip to Florida.   Tina, Miley, Austin and Dexter went with Tammy, Cassidy and Carly to Florida for a week.  The purpose was to visit Gertie, who was our landlord/neighbor when the girls were born.  Gertie was very close to the girls.

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So another road trip.  Dexter got to play at Ft. Meyers beach in Florida.  So he has done a lot of traveling in his short days.  He also spent many family fishing trips in Birchwood Wisconsin on the lake.  Grandpa Dolder plans fishing trips their 3 to 4 times a year.  He comes from Wyoming and the Dolder family gets together for a week.

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Dexter loved it up their.  He loved the boat. He loved fishing with his dad and kids.

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As you see he was so loved by  Austin and Miley.  He had so much freedom in Wisconsin to run and had a great time with all the family.  He always loved the ride.

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He loved spending time with Grandpa Dolder and his cousin,  Rea.  She is Ed’s sisters youngest daughter.  Grandpa Dan wrote on FB and mentioned some fun times he remembered with Dex.   One day Rea and Miley was getting dressed.  Miley had her swim suit on.  She put one leg in her shorts and Dex grabbed the other leg…It was a tug of war.  Miley started yelling “Help Help” and laughing the whole time.  Grandpa Dan videoed it.  He said it was so funny.  You never knew what Dex would think up next.  Austin would play at night with the flashlight.  Dex would try to catch the beam of light….He would flash it all over with Dex chasing it.  Grandpa Dan videoed that also……Grandpa Dan said….”Great Memories

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Christmas is always big in the Dolder house.   Tina starts with the Advent Calendar.  Everyday, the kids would get a little bag of goodies….even Dex….Tina said he knew exactly what it meant.

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Now Birthday…..Dex and Austins birthdays were close together, so they had a little party together.

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This is Dex’s first Birthday Party….and here is his second birthday…..I don’t think he really liked his hat….lol…

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On Mileys birthday, she decided she wanted a birthday cake that looked like Dexter.  So Tina had someone make it and cupcakes.   It looked just like him….It looked so realistic.

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He also celebrated Halloween …..Tina always took so many pictures….lol…

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He also had pictures taken with his kids first days of school….This last picture is this year past school year.  Miley was going into 2nd and Austin Kindergarten.  Tina told me anytime I babysat and took the kids to school, Dex had to go to..  He wanted to take them to school too…..You can see what Dexter meant to the Family…..He was practically another kid.

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One day this spring Dex got sick.  Tina called the Vet, but she said to just give him a few days.  She didn’t want to leave him home, so her boss let her bring Dexter to the Circuit Clerks Office at the Court House.  He layed on the blanket and slept all day like a good boy.  He did get better, he just had an upset tummy.

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This year he was even the Team Mascot at Mileys Softball Team….He had so many friends.  All the kids loved him.

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On Tina’s Birthday, she received balloons from Ed and the Kids….This year when we were back we had the Piñata at Granville park.

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Austin also graduated from Kindergarten this year, so Tina had a party for him at Fish n Fun.

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They all posed on the Merry Go Round….This would be the last time we saw Dex as we left for Texas after that.  Here’s some favorites of Dexter and Ed…..

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Hers some Favorites of Dexter and Tina…..

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This one is so precious.  It shows how Dexter had grown in the 2 years.  The kids all sitting in the back seat.  Ed had just bought a different truck this summer.  One of the factors was to have a front seat that would seat 3…..That way their was a seat for Dexter.

A few more of Dexter and Austin and Miley….

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He was so Loved…..He is already So Missed…..He had a Wonderful Life even though it was short.  He didn’t suffer long before he left and crossed the Rainbow Bridge.  We all like to believe he is running free now in Doggy Heaven…….

20708431_10210175494169408_5913852293613089044_n……We All Love You Dex……

Back In Harlingen For a Month…

Wow, hard to believe we’ve been back for over a month already.  Back to the everyday life.  So what is that…..

Rich is working on the rental trailers.  When people move out, their is always repairs or updates to be done.  He just finished replacing a floor and drawer area in the bottom of a closet that had rotted.  Now he is working in another that had a water leak in the kitchen.  New plywood and flooring, and also the counter top was so bad, that he is now building a new counter top.  He bought a sheet of laminate from Home Depot and had to cut around it and then glue both sides and glue it down.  It is a process but a huge money savings process on a counter that is an odd size.  In this picture, he had just cut it to size.  He will then take it off, glue the bottom of the laminate, and the top of the base of the counter.  He will then put the dowel rods on top of the base on the glue surface as in the picture.   Then he will lay the glued laminate down on top the dowels. Then starting on one end of the counter, he will take out the dowels one at a time, pressing down the laminate to the counter making sure their are no air bubbles.  Then he will cut a strip and do the edge the same way.  After dry he will use a router on the edge to cut it to a smooth finished edge.

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I am back at the theater, Cinemark 10.  I only work the outside box office.  During the school months the Box Office is only used on weekends.  Otherwise the tickets are sold at the Concession Stand.  I have been getting an average of 20 hrs a week give or take a few.  But the business has lessened during the week because school is beginning soon.  Starting next week during the week the tickets will again be sold at the Concession Stand.  Now I will only be getting weekend hrs.  But that ok, it is still something.  My week days will again be free.  It has been interesting in this job.  I have again met many nice customers.  I enjoy the joking that can be in 30 seconds of contact as you sell a ticket.  Some people are so spontaneous.  But then their are others.  I have been chewed out in Spanish on the Phone.   Box Office is also the switch board per say of the theater.  I answered one day and the man spoke in Spanish.  I said, “Sir I’m sorry I don’t speak Spanish”.  Now usually they change to English at this point.  Did this Guy????…..No….His voice raised and he again ranted in Spanish.  I again repeated  ”I don’t speak Spanish”  I would get a Spanish speaking person on the line.  Well, his voice raised HIGHER and LOUDER…..I can only imagine what he was saying.  So I got a manager and guess what…..He Hung Up…..lol  Oh Well…..        Another lady called one day.  Now keep in mind we have 10 theaters playing 10 or more movies.  She asked me what movies we were playing, what times, and what time did each end.  Now each movie also plays an average of 4 times a day…..Do I have time for that with customers at the window????  Nope…..Tried to be nice, but she was rather abrupt and finally hung up….Everything is online you know….About a half hour later she called again and asked about 1 specific movie.   So much easier to answer that.   Another time nobody was at the window and a customer called.  As I was answering her question, a lady and her husband came to the window and started to order their tickets.  I held up my finger saying, 1 minute please.  She stormed through the theater doors.  I was done with the call and she came out.  I apologized to her and said I was taking to a customer…..She said rather blatantly and rudely,…..”Well, I Am A Customer Too”…..He husband muttered something to her and she said, “Well never mind, Just give me my tickets“.  But most people are very nice.  I have a couple who come at least once a week.  He usually brings several pages of jokes to read.  Also a very odd old man who wears a big straw hat.  He has turned out to be the most pleasant man to talk too.  So many people come regularly because of our prices.  You see we are a discount or second run theater.  Therefore our prices are cheap.  Week ends are the most expensive….$2.79 a ticket.  Tue and Thur….$2.17 a ticket.  Monday….Groups of 3 or more $1.30….Seniors….$1.68……Wed. Discount day for all …. $1.41 for all……Most people are happy about the prices.  But you have no idea, how many people complain….”What, I thought you were the Dollar Theater” …….Go to the big citys…Check their prices…lol20170726_125930

Temperature has been running around 100 degrees.  My Box Office has A/C of course.  The other day it started raining, and it came down in sheets….It was beautiful…The temperature fell.  My windows were fogging up and it became hard to see.  I realized finally, I was getting really cold….Now that’s a new concept…Cold….I went and checked my thermostat and it was set at 61 degrees….Wow…No wonder, so I set it back at 70.  All in all it has been another experience to add to my list. It’s the first time I’ve ever handled a register.  It’s touch screen.  Once you learn it, it’s really easy.  All the employees are really nice.  Of course their mostly kids.  Some will be going off to college soon and some back to high school.

While we were in Illinois, Richs’ shed was delivered.  He needed a shed to put in his tools.  So he ordered a shed from Sam’s Club.

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So this was a shed that came in 3 million pieces, with pages of directions and pictures….OMG….so that mess is suppose to make a shed,……and it was so hot….So you work in the morning for awhile and then at nite.  I almost passed out one day, well I felt like it….lol….Finally a week later with several other guys helping he got it done.20170707_150420

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He now has a place for his tools.  We have a washer and dryer inside.  He built 2 work benches, so now he is set.20170616_194014

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Ive finally been spending time at the Pool.  The pool is around 88 degrees.  So so nice.  This is the view as you lay on your back sunning in the pool.  The gorgeous Palm Trees..…They just blow in the wind.  It still doesn’t seem possible that this is my life now.  I can do this everyday if I choose too.  I still think of the people at Advantage where I worked.  They are doing the same ole drag day in and day out…..Their is hope out their….Just takes time……My message again is “SAVE YOUR MONEY….PUT IT IN THE 401K”….After a nice dip in the pool and floating on a noodle,  lol, now time for the Spa/Hot Tub.  Ohhhh just feel those jets pound on the sore muscles.  This is the Life.      Last week we went to South Padre Island.20170716_145340

We drove to Access 6, which is free parking and entrance.  Rich had our chairs and walked up the ramp and down to the beautiful sand beach.  We found our spots in front of the Life Guard.  It was a beautiful day.  Even though it was near 100 in town, it was a wonderful cool and breezy temperature at the beach.

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This was the gorgeous view down the beach towards all the hotels and Beach Clubs.  Many people were out but it wasn’t crowded.  The water was so nice.  Wasn’t cold at all.  You could just step right in.  I walked out till it was up past my waist.  The power of the waves felt so good as they pulled you back to shore and then back out.  When it got to be hard to stand, I decided to go back and sit and just enjoy the sun. 20170728_151000

So many Sea Gulls were their.  They were watching all the picnickers and waiting for free handouts.  Sometimes they just congregated in groups and faced the Gulf and just stood their.  They were fun to watch.  We just sat their and listened to the pounding of the waves….coming in….going out…over and over.  The sounds of the Sea Gulls, and the kids and family’s on the beach.  Laughing and Playing.  Finally time to leave.

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Behind us the Beach Patrol had stopped and was visiting with the Lady Life Guard.  Now we were hungry.

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So we headed to everyone’s favorite…..Louie’s Backyard.  Well lets say one of everyone’s favorites.  Their are so many all the way up and down the beach on both sides of the island.  Louie’s is on the Bayside.  They offer fine dinning, cocktails and entertainment every nite of the week.  They offer an All-You-Can-Eat Seafood and Prime Rib Buffet in the Dinning Room, drinks and snacks on the patios by the Bay or an abbreviated Menu in the Sports Bar.  That was were we went.  They had home made Potato chips on the bar, and the Special of the nite was Barbequed Ribs.  Ohhhh Yes….That’s what we got….They were fall off the bone good, with lots of gooey sweet barbeque sauce….Yummm…..So, the end of another day….We could have stayed for entertainment on the outside patio deck on the bay but,  we were SO FULL….Time to go home.  So Ill close with a picture of a beautiful Plumeria that is growing in our Memorial Garden.

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It as started from another plant in the park.  All you do is cut off the stalk in a long piece and it will root.  Some many have been started.  This Plumeria was planted last Nov. So it hasn’t even been there a year yet.  We have a wonderful gardener in the park that has started it from a cutting and tends to it regularly.  Roberta is such a talented lady. 

She can make anything grow.

 

Part 2…..The Beautiful LBJ Ranch

The front lawn of the Beautiful LBJ Ranch…..Home of our 36th President of the United States…..

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In Part 1, we had finished walking around the front of the house and pool and toured part of the first floor of the Ranch.  Now we are back outside walking around the back.

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Around the back corner was an area of concrete 12” pavers.  As the Presidents guests came to visit, he would have them cast a square and sign it.  The are all arranged in an area around a patio.  This particular one was signed by John Glenn in 1962, our astronaut.

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At the back of the house was a large driveway area and parking.  You can see how the house has been added on to through the years.  Now as we looked to the right, here is the Secret Service Command Post.  The Secret Service maintained a presence with the Johnson Family for 46 years, beginning  when he became vice president in 1961.  When he became President in 1963, the Secret Service maintained a 24 hour protection for the family.

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After the Presidents death in 1973, a Security detail still remained with Lady Bird until her death on July 11, 2007…..Making her the longest protected First Lady in the Twentieth Century.  This building is closed right now.  Funds are being raised to replace a new foundation and then restore the building so it can be opened to the public.

After reading this, It gave me some food for thought.  The cost of the Secret Service protection is huge considering the years they serve the President and family.  I do realize it is necessary and deserved even after leaving office for the President and First Lady.  Our presidents are getting younger.  President Obama has many years left.  But now look at President Trump and his wife Melania.  He is 70, but she is only 47.  Just think of the cost it will entail in the future years.  Even if Trump dies before her, she is young.  She is used to a jet set life style.  She is use to traveling and living to the fullest.  She will not be living out on a ranch or small town area.  Melania will always have the best.  The only way she will loose Secret Service coverage is if she would remarry in the future.   I am not trying to bring politics into this, but it is just some food for thought…….Lots of Money….

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Behind the Secret Service Command Post is a series of dark green buildings.  This was the Command Center.  With in 4 weeks of President Johnson taking the oath for the Presidency in November 1963, after President Kennedys assassination, the LBJ Ranch had enough equipment for a small city:  microwave towers providing 120 channels to Austin, two-way radios, teleprinters, cryptographic machines, and an extensive telephone system with 100 lines.  These buildings housed the switchboard and a 50 kilowatt emergency generator.

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The President was said to be on the phone 18 hrs. a day.  You can see the TV antenna in the back yard rise above the house and the little picture in the upper right is the switchboard in 1965.  Lady Bird remembered it as “the bane of my life….aesthetically”…..This picture is from 1965 and I noticed the 2 new bedrooms and the pool have not been added yet.  Next we came to a glass enclosure containing 2 cars.  We had passed these on our way into the house to begin our tour.

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These were the cars of Lady Bird Johnson,  2 Lincoln Continentals.  It was rather hard to take a good photo because of the glare on the glass.  We went to another building called The Klein Shop.  It used to be the maintenance building for the ranch.  Now it is the museum for LBJ’s car collection.

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This is Lyndon and Lady Bird crossing the Pedernales River on the dam in 1959.  This is a 1934 Phaeton, featuring a V8 Lincoln Zephyr engine.  He added a Rifle rack, Wet Bar with Water Faucet, and steel plating underneath to prevent damage.  He took his guests hunting on the ranch to escape the stress of politics.

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These are 1967 and 1968 Lincoln Continental Convertibles.   They featured Suicide doors, Power Windows, Power Door Locks, AM-FM Radio, 8-track Tape Player, and VHF Radio.  He always purchased them from an Austin Dealer, Roy ButlerMr. Butler always made sure Mr. Johnson always had the first new Convertible in Central Texas each year, always white with a tan leather interior.  He loved to ride guests around telling his story’s.

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This is a 1962 Amphicar.  Manufactured in West Germany.  This was the only mass produced civilian amphibious automobile.  3,878 were built between 1961 and 1968.  Color choices were,  Beach White, Fjord Green, Regatta Red, or Lagoon Blue.  He would love to take guests around and pretend his breaks went out when approaching the river or a lake.  Then he would just glide right in and shock them….lol…In this picture, Lady Bird is on the front of the boat with a cup in her hand, and LBJ is driving his car.

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This was a 1915 Fire Truck Type 12 American La France restored.  It is a beautiful peace.  It was gifted to him on Nov. 1964 by the people of Brady Texas.  It was also used for many years as a tour vehicle on the ranch.

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President Johnson used Cushman golfcarts to bring his guest from the airstrip to the house.  In this picture Senator McGovern had just flew in to seek advice and support on the 1972 Presidential campaign.  On the back is Sargeant Shriver and Lady Bird listening, and of course their dog Yuki.  The tour at the house was now done.  We walked back past the Airplane Hanger/Visitor Center and headed for our little pickup.

 

It was really bittersweet to leave.  I could have hung around their all day just relaxing and exploring by the river.  Sitting up by the house under the oak trees.  Just imagining the hustle and bustle , or all the barbeques and guests that had walked these grounds.  We would now be heading east on the taxi strip past the entrance to the runway, to the road that we came in on.  On the way we spotted a cute Jack Rabbit.

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I had to really zoom this picture as we were much farther away.  He got scared and ran for the fence.

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Then he ran across the road into the tall grass, not to be seen again.  This picture looks almost fake, but it is real, but zoomed in.  He was moving really fast.  Finally we were on the ranch road that ran along the banks of the Pedernales River.  We again we driving through the overhang of the beautiful Oak trees.  We passed the home on the left that was Lyndon Johnsons Grandfather, Sam Ealy Johnson Sr.  Little farther down the road on the right side along the banks of the River was the Johnson Family Cemetery.

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Most of the people buried in the cemetery are related to Lyndon Johnson. His great grandmother, Priscilla Bunton, was the first person buried here. She passed away on April 28, 1905, during a violent storm, and her family was unable to cross the flooding river to lay her next to her husband in the Stonewall Community Cemetery. The family chose a grove of live oak trees on property belonging to Lyndon Johnson’s grandfather for Mrs. Bunton’s burial site. Her gravestone is the white Georgia marble marker with the lamb on top. In 1937, LBJ’s father, Sam Ealy Johnson, Jr., was buried in the cemetery. Sam Johnson had been a state legislator who was much admired for his work.  In 1946, Frank Seaward, a rock mason from Stonewall, built the wall enclosing the cemetery. The wall was constructed to give identity to the cemetery, as well as to minimize the harmful effects of Pedernales River flooding. Repairs were made on the wall after major floods in 1952 and 1959.

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The most prominent gravestone in the cemetery is the gray one with the Martin name on it. Frank and Clarence Martin were President Johnson’s aunt and uncle. The President bought the ranch from Frank Martin in 1951. President Johnson’s gravestone is the tallest marker in the main row. To the right are his mother, Rebekah; his father, Sam Ealy, Jr.; and his paternal grandparents, Sam Ealy Sr. and Eliza. To the left of the President is where Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson is laid to rest. The remaining headstones belong to the President’s brother, Sam, and his three sisters, Rebekah, Josepha and Lucia. Rebekah’s husband, Oscar Bobbitt, is also buried in the main row as well as Lucia’s husband, Birge Alexander.

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The President’s Funeral
President Johnson’s body lay in state at the LBJ Library in Austin, and then in state in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C. President Johnson’s funeral at the LBJ Ranch took place on the cold and rainy day of January 25, 1973. He once told Mrs. Johnson, “When I die I don’t just want our friends who can come in their private planes. I want the men in their pickup trucks and the women whose slips hang down below their dresses to be welcome, too….” Hundreds of people attended the funeral, which was conducted by Reverend Billy Graham.

While living at the Texas White House, President Johnson loved to visit the cemetery. He said, “I come down here almost every evening when I’m at home. It’s always quiet and peaceful here under the shade of these beautiful oak trees

This is such a beautiful cemetery.  It is peaceful, and so serene.  I can see why he loved it here.  I’m sure he spent many hours thinking about family, his childhood, and about this being his finally resting place also.  I’m sure he contemplated many of his decisions of the country as he sat under these oak trees.  How ironic that just across the road and down a short ways was the home that LBJ was born in.

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The original home was torn down in the 1930’s.  President and Mrs. Johnson had it reconstructed in 1964 as a guest house.  It was never intended to be an actually copy of the original, but it is close.  The original home was built in 1889 by Johnson grandfather, Sam Ealy Johnson Sr.  Lyndon’s parents moved here after their marriage in 1907.  Lyndon lived her for 5 years before moving into Johnson City.  We drove further down the road to the last building by the main gate.  This is the a Junction School House the Lyndon attended at the age of 4.

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This school was built in 1910 to serve the rural inhabitants of Gillespie County.  It did just that for 37 years, teaching the 3 R’s.   Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic.

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Lyndon attended this school in 1912.  Their were about 40 students, girls on 1 side and boys on the other.  This was the beginning of his education that would guide him in his passion as a teacher, and eventually become President of the United States.  He eventually signed over 60 educational bills into law, more than any other president.  He even came back to this school house for the ceremony to sign one very important bill.   Sitting at a picnic table on the lawn of the Junction School with Miss Katie Deadrich (his first teacher) at his side, President Johnson signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act on April 11, 1965.26-esea-1965-bill-signing-lyndon-johnson-kate-deadrich-loney-bw-600

We were finally done with the tour and headed back to Johnson City.  We had just enough time to stop for dinner at a fabulous Barbeque restaurant.  Excellent.  Back to the Motor Home, pulled in the slides and away we went……1 PM….right on schedule…..We had thought about goint to Austin….but….It was time to head for Harlingen….Enough Play…..Time to get back to a Normal Life style….lol….One thing I didn’t touch on was Lady Bird….

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Now remember back at his Boy Hood Home in Johnson City we were told, the Johnsons married smart women, educated and with money.  His mother was very educated and was a teacher.  So this is a little about our First Lady.

Lady Bird was born:   Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Johnson (née Taylor; December 22, 1912 – July 11, 2007)  She was named after her mothers brother Claud.  Her nursemaid Alice Tittle said she was as “purty as a Lady Bird.”  The nickname stuck for the rest of her life.  Her father and siblings called her Lady, and Lyndon called her Bird.  She even used Lady Bird on her marriage certificate.  She was a well-educated for a woman of her era, she proved a capable manager and a shrewd investor. After marrying Lyndon B. Johnson in 1934 when he was a political hopeful in Austin, Texas, she used a modest inheritance to bankroll his congressional campaign, and then ran his office while he served in the Navy. She bought a radio station, followed by a TV station, which generated revenues making them millionaires. As First Lady, she broke new ground by interacting directly with Congress, employing her own press secretary, and making a solo electioneering tour.

After being introduced to Lyndon by a friend, 0n their first date, Lyndon proposed. Lady Bird did not want to rush into marriage, but he was persistent and did not want to wait. Ten weeks later, Lady Bird accepted his proposal.  The couple married on November 17, 1934, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in San Antonio, Texas.

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Unfortunately Lady Bird had 3 miscarriages, but finally  they had two daughters together: Lynda Bird (born in 1944) and Luci Baines (born in 1947).   Lyndon and Lady Bird and their two daughters all shared the initials LBJ. The daughters lived in the White House during their teenage years, under close scrutiny of the media.
Both daughters married. Lynda Bird married Charles S. Robb, who was later elected as Governor of Virginia and U.S. Senator. Luci Baines married Pat Nugent and, later, Ian Turpin. Lady Bird had seven grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren at the time of her death.12ladybird-2-600

Lady Bird Johnson was a lifelong advocate for beautifying the nation’s cities and highways (“Where flowers bloom, so does hope”). The Highway Beautification Act was informally known as Lady Bird’s Bill. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest U.S. civilian honors.  Her love for flowers is apparent at the ranch.  Their were acres of wildflowers growing in their natural state.  In closing of this blog, I came across a picture that I will never forget, nor will the people who lived through the era of the 60s’.  I still remember that weekend of the assassination.   President Kennedy was assassinated on Friday.  That afternoon the Presidents body was loaded on Air Force One and this picture was taken before they left Dallas.  It was on tv and all the new media.  ………A Moment in History…..Vice-President-Lyndon-B-Johnson-is-sworn-into-the-office-of-the-Presidency-aboard-Air-Force-One-hours-after-the-assassination-of-Presi

When President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, President Johnson was sworn into office aboard Air Force One in Dallas before they took off.  Mrs. Johnson was by his side as well as Mrs. Jackie Kennedy, the Presidents now widow.  Mrs. Kennedy still had her pink suit on, blood spattered from her husbands blood.  She never changed it till morning.  They wanted her to change clothes, but she said “No, let them see what they have done”.  President Johnson finished out this term and was elected to one more term of 4 years.  He then declined to run again, knowing his health was not good.

He was a Great Man, Lady Bird was a Great First Lady….They made a Wonderful Couple.  The built a Wonderful Life and a Legacy to Last an Eternity….

 

 

 

Part 1…..The Beautiful LBJ Ranch

 

THE HOME OF OUR 36TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES….LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON…..

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The next morning after we had visited Lyndon Baines Johnson’s Boy Hood Home, we got up early.  We were going to head 14 miles west of Johnson City to the LBJ State Park, the home of the LBJ Ranch also known as the Western White house while President Lyndon Johnson was in office, from 1963-1969.

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When we checked in the day before, the manager said we could see it in plenty of time in the morning and she would let us check out at 1pm instead of 12.  So we were up early so we could be their by 9 am.  We arrived and went to the Visitors Center and obtained a free park pass.  You can buy a CD Guided Tour tape, but we didn’t purchase it.  They had many very nice souvenirs of course.   So we headed to the Ranch.  We found out the Ranch House guided tours were on the hour.  Tickets are sold at the Airplane Hanger.

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We proceeded along the road.  We followed the road on the south side of the Pedernales River all the way to the edge of the property on the east side.  We crossed the little bridge on the river and made a left and entered the LBJ Ranch.

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We wanted to be at the hanger before 10 so we passed the School House, his Birthplace Home, the family Cemetery where LBJ and Lady Bird are buried and other family homes knowing we could see them on the way out.   We followed the Pedernales River now heading back west towards the Ranch that sat on the shore facing the beautiful river.

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The trees on the drive were so beautiful.  Big old oak trees.  Along the way we also passed many cattle.  They were roaming free.  The homes had fences around them so the cows wouldn’t go up to the houses.  lol.

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The LBJ Ranch is still a working ranch and these are descendents of his original herd.  This little baby just stood their and looked at us.

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Now this one found a way to itch his back.  He was moving back and forth rubbing on the tree branches with his eyes closed.  He must have been in heaven.  lol.  We made it almost to the house and the gate was closed.  We had to make a right turn and headed north.  Now what we didn’t realize was, that their was a airstrip on the ranch.  President Johnson would fly in on a jet.  So we had to go north around the far end of the runway to come back to the house.  It was full of pasture land, all fenced and kept in perfect shape.  after we looped around the end, we came upon the Cattle Show Barn.

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Their were several very nice buildings and many pens to separate the cattle.  We could have stopped but we had to keep going to make the 10 am House tour.  We followed beside the runway all the way to the ranch.   And their it was.  …..Amazing….. in front of us was the “Air Force One and a Half”, as President Johnson called it.

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This is a Lockheed JetStar VC-140.  It had a crew of 3, 2 pilots and 1 stewardess.  Its maximum speed as 605 mph, Cruising Speed, 520 mph, Range, 2,200 miles, with a service ceiling of 45,000 ft.  In 1953 Lyndon Johnson constructed a 3,000 ft. grass landing strip as he was spending a lot of time working in Washington.  By the time he became president a series of improvements had resulted in a 6,300 asphalt air strip.  But when he became president the airstrip wouldn’t support the weight of the Boeing 707, the “Air Force One”.  He would fly into San Antonio or Austin and use this plane to fly to the Ranch.  It made it much easier for him to take his work home.

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It looks so small inside but he really liked this plane.  This plane holds so many memories of so many dignitaries of the world.

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President Johnson looking out the window with his dog on one of his trips.

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We parked in the taxi way as it approached the hanger.  The original hanger is now the Museum/ticket office and the starting place for the tour.  This building held so many items of history.

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This is a favorite photo.  This was a large canvas of President and Lady Bird Johnson in the Museum.  They also had many recorded phone calls that you could listen to during his administration.  It was so interesting to listen to his speech, his choice of words, and Texan accent.  We purchased our tickets and our tour started.  Our Guide was a lady very well versed in the history of the Johnson Family.  She told the story with warmth and knowledge.  She took us out the back door and up the side of the house.  Through a gate and their we were.

 

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We were at the side of the Ranch House or Western White House.  This house has been built on many times during the years.  It was originally owned by his Aunt and Uncle.  He lived down the lane and later in town, but would come out and spend time on the ranch learning  and working the ranch.  In 1951, his Aunt and Uncle extended an offer to  him to buy the ranch.  Of Course he did.  He Loved this Ranch.  He had such wonderful memories as a child here and of the Perdenales River as it ran past the front of the ranch.  He spent many hours playing in the river.  Memories of his childhood were so near and dear to his heart.

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Our guide told us during his presidency, Johnson would hold many staff and other meetings here.  In nice weather they would sit in the grove of Oak trees down by the River.  After their work was done for the day, he would hold his famous barbeques.  If it was very large it would all be catered in and they would eat under the Oaks by the river.  Many famous politicians from the US and abroad would attend.  Most all of them arriving in his plane or by helicopter.  He spent 20 percent of his presidency here.  So as we went to the house, our guide told us we could not take pictures of the inside.  After Lady Bird died, the house was restored to the era of when he was president.  Lyndon Johnson died of a heart attack at age 64 on January 22, 1973.  Now Lady Bird didn’t pass until Jul 11, 2007 (age 94).   She live here as well as in Austin, and spent much of her time with her daughters.  She had saved all the furnishings and historical items so that the history could be preserved.  The house was then restored by the  National Park Service and opened for the Public.  The first room that we went in was the West addition that was were the Presidents Western White House office was.  The inside pictures I will display were taken from the internet.

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In this room was 4 desks.  This was  President Lyndon Baines Johnsons official desk.  Across from him was the desk of his Ranch Manager.  Their was also 2 other desks in their that were from his Washington crew.  One I believe was for his Press Secretary Pierre Salinger.  On the wall facing him was 3 tvs that were always tuned to the 3 major networks.  Now our guide said, “Just Imagine.  All 3 tvs going, 72 phone lines that came into the house ringing, and cigar smoke filtering through the air.  lol.”  Yes, never a dull moment in that house.

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Here is his recliner that has the Presidential Seal on the headrest.  His pillow reads “This is my ranch and I do as I dam please”……We went outside, the next part of the house we could not go in.  It was the original part that his Aunt and Uncle lived in.  We then walked around the front passing some huge Oaks and past the front of the house that was seen so many times during his presidency.

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I remember pictures of upstairs porch with that criss cross railing.  Here is President Johnson, Lady Bird and the 2 girls, Luci Baines and Lynda Bird.

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On the east side of the house, 2 bedrooms had been added on.  Presidents in the front and Lady Bird’s on the back side.  Also a Pool was added.  President Johnson could now just go out his bedroom door to the pool.  The pool is still being perfectly maintained today.

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We passed this piece of concrete that was on the approach to the front door.  It as added when LBJ bought the ranch in Aug 1952.  We then entered the side door and went down a long hallway passing all the room till we entered the living room.  Now all these inside pictures I have again taken from the internet.

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The Living Room had one of the stairways going upstairs.  We unfortunately couldn’t go up.  Lady Bird Johnson called this room “Grand Central Station”, as their were doors in all the walls leading to different parts of the house.  It was always hustle and bustle.

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Interiors of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Ranch also known as the Texas White House in Stonewall, Texas on Tuesday, January 31, 2012. (Austin American-Statesman/Rodolfo Gonzalez)

We were then taken into the kitchen.  It had an Industrial frig as well as industrial stove.  Many large meals were cooked here.  The guide said, that after Lyndon died, his girls remodeled the kitchen for their mother.  The yellow counter that you can see in the corner was replaced with modern counter.  After she died it was all restored to original yellow.  We never seen the Dinning Room, but we heard it was under construction.  We went back down the hall way seeing all the rooms we had passed on the way in.  We seen closets full of their clothes, bathrooms, and a sitting room.  The Sitting Room was once the Master Bedroom, but Lady Bird got tired of waking up in the middle of the night and finding by the Presidents side several members of his staff talking with the President.  So Therefore, that is why the 2 bedrooms were added on.  Lady Birds was very large.  She had a fireplace with a seating area, large windows to look outside at her flowers and a full wall enclosed curio cabinet for her special keepsakes.  A beautiful room of comfortable peace and serenity.

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Across the hall was the Presidents room.  He had a regular hospital light above the headboard.  Of course his 3 tvs were installed, and you can see his table for his Chiropractor treatments.  The guide said his Chiropractor was still living in Johnson City and she was always picking his brain for stories.  Every nite he would get an hour treatment.  He was suppose to be relaxing but he was always on the phone or talking with someone in the room.  After he left the presidency, they returned to the ranch to return to a normal life style if possible.  Lyndon Baines Johnson died at his ranch at 4:39 p.m. on January 22, 1973 at age 64, from a third myocardial infarction (heart attack).

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Johnson was napping in his ranch bedroom when he suffered his last massive coronary, called his beloved Secret Service agent Mike Howard and fell to the floor, almost instantly dead. It was exactly two days after the presidential term he would have served, had he run again in 1968, and almost the same moment that his successor, Richard Nixon, declared a peace in Vietnam that had eluded LBJ and would not last.
After Johnson’s first heart attack in 1955, doctors had told him that if he ever started smoking again, he would kill himself. But almost as soon as he left the presidency, he resumed fierce chain smoking, overeating, and, sometimes, overdrinking. Some of his aides privately muttered that the boss was committing slow motion suicide. But when one of his horrified daughters begged him to stop the cigarettes, Johnson shook his head and exclaimed, “No, I’ve raised you girls, I’ve been president, and now it’s my time!”   I also read that he was laying in bed and called his Agents that he was having massive chest pains.  The Agents found him in bed still with the phone in his hand.  But whether he was in bed or on the floor, he passed in his bedroom at his Beloved Ranch that he loved so much.  He had a life time of memories.  He was born on this land, his spent his childhood learning ranching, playing in the beautiful Perdenales River, later purchasing the property and making and developing it as his own.  He married Lady Bird and raised 2 daughters here.  Then becoming the 36th President of the United States and making this the Western White House So many important decisions were made during his presidency in this house and out under the Oak trees down by the river……..So Much to be Proud of……

Their is so much more that will be in Part 2.  Secret Service Command Post, Communications Center,  Their car collection, Birthplace home, School house and above all The Family Cemetery.  We left the house and seen so much more.  This has been such an inspiring tour so far,  learning so much about our president that I never knew.  We take so much for granted as a child.  We need to appreciate what we have as an adult and learn about our Beautiful Country we have and the Men who Have Made it Great.

……Stay Tuned for Part 2…..

But this is my Most Favorite Picture of the Day…..Rich on “Air force One” and a Half…..

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