Well, guess I stayed home too long without a trip so my brother had told me about an Army veteran who did charity work and a lot of it is for veterans. Russ wanted us to award him a quilt and of course I said yes. Russ then tells me he lives 400 miles away near Los Angeles – not my favorite place, too many people and tons of traffic – but, for a veteran who deserves a quilt, we will go.
I started the day leaving Flo in charge of my dog Rue, and the shop. She was having 5 volunteers so I knew she would be busy. I drove to Russ’s, 2 hours, walked in the door, kissed my 2 nieces hello and goodbye, got back in the car with Russ, drove to Oakland airport, ate lunch, got on Jet Blue and flew to Long Beach, got off the plane and rented a car. First thing we see is the ocean and we both said we got go there but first we had to check into our motel. We get to the motel, walk up to the counter and the clerk says can I help you. I tell her Belmont, she looks up to see my shirt and said I love your shirt. I told her we make quilts for veterans and the clerk starts crying. Russ looks at me like what did you say. She then proceeds to tell us her son, Kia, was killed in action in Afghanistan. We told her how sorry we were and I asked her name. By the time we left the desk we had an upgraded room, free parking and candy on our beds. We then jump in the car and head for a Board meeting where we were to present the quilt.
We had 40 minutes before our meeting by this time and our route wasn’t going to take us to the ocean so we detoured, made a U-turn into the parking lot, jumped out of the car, stood on top of a bench so we could see the beach and ocean, took a selfie, jumped back in the car so we could be on time. We got there right at 5:00 – we both said, not bad.
Russ started his meeting and I sat across the room with guess who, the recipient who wasn’t happy he had to come to the meeting. At first we didn’t say much. He had his phone and I had mine. Then, I laid my phone down and he saw Army SSG. He asked whose it was. I told him it was mine and that I had been in the Army and we were off and running. He would tell me a story and I would tell him a story. I basically told him all about what I do but he didn’t get that he was going to get a quilt.
Russ then asked Don and myself to join the meeting. Russ gave me the floor and I explained what we did and why we were there and asked Don to come forward. He looked straight at me then he told everyone, “she was over there just talking about stuff and now this is happening to me.” He grabbed a hold of me and hugged me. I had him hold out his quilt and he just loved it. He said, “I have a new best friend” and everyone laughed. He also asked how do you say I’m over 100% happy.
So, that was a pretty cool ceremony. We went to dinner at Woody’s – pretty cool place – old cars and good food. It was quite an evening. We drove back to the motel and our clerk was still working. We walked up to her, showed her Don’s picture and talked about her son and yes she cried again but she came from behind the counter and gave Russ and me a hug. So today went as usual and we touched so many hearts. Russ said you never know what will happen when you’re with Quilts of Honor and who you will touch.
We’re flying home early this morning and back to quilting. God bless you all and stay tuned.
Gail