I had finally arrived in Springfield. Mom and Dad were waiting patiently, like I mentioned yesterday I was 45 minutes late. This was the first time I had seen them in two and a half years. When I left the last time, I really wasn't sure if I would ever see Dad again. His health has been bad for the last ten years, but there he was. My Dad is my hero. I have already written a tribute to him that I will post on his birthday, March 31. Mom asked me if I was hungry. Considering I had not eaten since 10:00 P.M. the night before, I was just a tad hungry. We stopped at Burger King and took care of that, then we completed the last leg of the journey, a 30 mile trip to Mason City. Actually we were 8 miles south of Mason City, which is where I grew up. Yes, I am a country boy. (Is that John Denver singing in the background?) I did not sleep on the bus so I went to bed at 7:15 and slept until 4:00. Since Mom and Dad don't get up until 7:00 I just read and started writing posts for this blog. Right now I have 11 posts written, I just need to type them out and edit them.
My Dad goes to town every day and buys 4 newspapers. From him I get my love of newspapers. I have made it a habit of riding into town with him. Whenever I go there, I want to spend as much time with him as possible. I keep learning more about him every trip. This time he talked more about his service in Korea then ever before and about jobs he held before I was born. I learned just how much of the world he got to see thanks to the United States Marine Corps. I will discuss all this in my tribute to him.
The first day we had a small get together with about 15 aunts, uncles , cousins, and my younger brother Steve. Steve is 10 and 1/2 months younger than me. Read into that what you will. That evening I reconnected with my best friend from High School. We have lost touch a little, but reconnect every time I am back in Mason City.
Day 2 Dad and I went to see his older brother, Norman, who used to own a grocery store in Urbana, Illinois. He called his store Norm's Shopping Bag. He and I also share a birthday. I listened more than I talked, but it was a fascinating conversation. Sometimes we get so busy we don't take the time to listen like we should. As I get older I keep learning more about some changes i need to make in my life. Uncle Norman complemented me on maintaining my weight. I am not svelte by any stretch of the imagination, but my weight has been within a thirty pound range all my adult life. He said he has lost 75 pounds and you are much better off if you don't have to do that. I have picked up a little weight in the last 6 months. Eating Taco Bell 5 days a week has been the major cause. My Dad is a great cook and has given me some ideas that I will be using. Among his health problems is diabeties, so some of the things he does to maintain his weight will help me. When we returned home my baby brother, Joe, was there with his daughter. Some baby, he turned 48 today. The main reason I went to Mason City on these days was a birthday celebration for him. Part 2 tomorrow, if I haven't bored you too much.
Continuing the Distinguished service Cards, today we have Warren Spahn. The six cards I have are split evenly with three baseball players and three military men. the back of the card reads "Warren made the Boston Braves out of spring training in 1942, then was called to duty with the U.S. Army after just four major league appearances. Although he would later be beloved by generations of fans during his Hall Of Fame career, he was a hero before he ever won a game in the bigs. Spahn served as a combat engineer in the Battle Of The Bulge, and his service earned him a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.