Friday, February 22, 2008

Adventures In Illinois Part 2

One very big reason I went to Illinois was to get my Christmas present early. I realize February is awful early, but I really needed it now. My parents bought a 2008 Chevrolet Impala. Their old car was a 2004 Impala, and it is now mine. Nice gift, huh. I own a 1993 Pontiac Bonneville with 183,000 miles on it. It is on its last legs and while it got me around Calhoun, I didn't risk leaving town very often.

Joe wasn't feeling well and asked if there was any 7-Up. Since Mom didn't have any I volunteered to go into town and get some. Dad and I had already been there to get the papers, but I wanted to test drive my car. I couldn't earlier because we waited until Sunday to sign the car over to me. I had five days from then to get the title changed to my name. I planned on going to Auburn, Illinois that night to visit my best friend, and I wanted to familiarize myself with the car in the daylight. The car handled very smoothly. This is the nicest vehicle I have ever owned. Dad always takes excellent care of his vehicles. I got the 7-Up and told Joe that was his birthday present. I know, I am overly generous. My niece Bailey, Joe's daughter, gave me a Valentine. That is what the picture is. She also gave me a valentine cupcake paper which she had punched a hole on each side and used a red pipe cleaner to make it a basket. She is very creative. Two of Steve's daughters were there, one with her boyfriend, the other with her husband and baby. We had a very nice time. After that I went and visited my best friend Tom in Auburn. We talk every week but it is nice to talk face to face.

The next day I was going to meet Steve in Mason City. He was going to show me a building he bought and we were going to hang for a little bit. I mentioned yesterday Steve and I are 10 1/2 months apart in age. During High School we did not get along. We each hung out with a different crowd and were pretty much opposites. After I graduated that changed and we now get along great. I got in my car to go and click. Nothing happened. Mom came out, got in and click. Dad told me to take their car since Steve was waiting and he would get my car running. After I got back I found out he had dug out his battery charger and when he got in the car and turned the key it fired right up. He took it to his mechanic and was told the battery was a little weak so he had a new one installed for me.

In Mason City Steve showed me the building he had bought. It used to be a doctors office and he plans on converting it into apartments, 2 or 3, he's not sure. When he bought it he said it looked like the doctor had just walked out. There were lab coats hanging up, an X-Ray machine in it, bottles of medicine, etc. The ceiling had fallen in and he joked when he cleared it out there was on old lady there waiting for the doctor. We also went to his shop. He used to have a home repair business. Now he just dabbles in it a little. We also went to the Mason City park where they have put a memorial walk dedicated to the men from Mason City who have served in the Armed Forces. They have lined the sidewalk with bricks, each containing the name of the serviceman, his branch, and years served. We found Dad's, various uncles and cousins, but one uncle was missing. I asked Mom about it and she said he did not want one because he did not want anyone walking on his name. We were there about 10 minutes. It was so cold we decided only morons would be out there. I think that says something about us. I bought Steve a Coke at a convenience store and he kidded me that I liked Joe better because Joe got a 12 pack. I will be going back up there around Labor Day. Steve's birthday is September 17 so I am going to buy him a 12 pack of Coke for his birthday. That should get a laugh from him.

That afternoon there was a light snow which covered the ground but that was all it did. I spent the rest of that day doing something I rarely do, watching tv. I usually am doing 2 or 3 things and just follow what is going on. That was my last day there. the next morning I left to come back home. I probably will tell that tale Sunday. Tomorrow I have to work at Taco Bell and my time will be limited, so I will be doing a quick post.

Todays Distinguished service card is of course Joe DiMaggio. The baseball record book certainly would have been different if some of these guys had played instead of served, but they knew what was really important. About Joe, Topps said "Joe had won two American League MVP Awards and was a seven time All-Star Game selection by the time he joined the Army Air Forces in 1943. The Yankee Clipper missed three MLB seasons, but spent plenty of time on the diamond during WW II. He starred for the Seventh Air Force and Santa Ana Army Base teams, and toured with the Armed Forces All-Stars, a morale boosting baseball squad managed by Babe Ruth."

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