What a day to remember for more ways than one!
We started our day off in a coffee shop down by the Alamo. We enjoyed seeing the Alamo – everything in downtown San Antonio is quaint. We really didn’t touch the surface but we sure have enjoyed it. We decided to take Debbie to the SAS Outlet where they make leather shoes and you can get them cheaper. She wears a certain kind of shoe so it was on our list of ‘must do’. Boy were we surprised. It was like going back in time – old restored cars, store had all wooden floors, and popcorn for 5 cents and yes, we ate some. When we left the shoe factory, we saw a Tortilla Tamale factory so in we go. Well, it was authentic Mexican. They had 5 kinds of tamales and we were starving. Flo picked the pork with jalapeno and I told her it was going to be hot. Both Debbie and Flo didn’t agree with me so we sit down to eat and after just a few bites, they said, “this is hot.” I said I told you and they hate to hear that you know. When we left the restaurant, we were fanning our mouths.
We finally got back to the hotel where we told the guys of the USS Blue that we would be gone to a quilt show so now we are incognito and have to hide from them until dinner. Boy, was that a trip. We needed to get 51 quilts to the Ballroom without anyone seeing us. I’m telling you we were hiding in the bushes around the pool trying to keep the guys from seeing us. They all know Rita so we really had to hide her. We finally got into the Ballroom, locked the doors and started setting up the quilts. We covered them and no one knew there were 51 quilts under the table. Later, when we walked into the Ballroom, we told them we were just visiting, having dinner and leaving the next day. Guess what – they all bought it.
Then it was time. Rita got up and said she had forgotten to introduce her friends. After she introduced us, I got up and spoke. We had never given 51 quilts like this before. We called out 5 names at a time then I shook each veteran’s hand and had them pull their quilts out of the cases. We did this until we had presented 51 quilts. At the end we told them they could take pictures with their quilts.
At the end, we were given a standing ovation. I was pretty worn out so I headed back to our table. When I turned around the first veteran asked if he could hug me. Before I knew it there was a line and they each took turns hugging me. Then, over in the corner, Debbie, Flo and Rita were also getting hugs. Then the pictures started. They all wanted us in the pictures. I counted 13 different quilts that we took pictures with and we didn’t have our camera at first. The comments and emotions were unbelievable. So many tears – so much laughter – so much joy. One veteran said he never would have believed something like this could happen to him. Another veteran couldn’t even talk to say thank you. Others just kept saying thank you, thank you and their wives also kept telling us thank you.
When I spoke at the end I told them this is the veteran’s quilt, not your wife’s. One came up to me and said he was going to put it on his wall but I’m not touching it now because, you’re right, it’s his. It was a very memorable night and we were so proud. I can’t thank Rita, Joyce and Estella, wives of the USS Blue, for making the quilt tops. So many kept the secret and we did surprise them all and they were thrilled.
We finally got back to our room, got into our ‘jammies’ and Rita and Dr. Bob came to the door. Dr. Bob said, “I hear you’re having pain and shortness of breath.” He checked me out and told me I needed to go to emergency. Now, you know I wasn’t happy with that! So off we go to emergency at 12:00 midnight. We finally got back to the hotel around 3:30 am after they gave had given me a shot and fixed me up. The VA Hospital was great. Debbie and Flo held my hand because I was not a happy camper – we are all fine now! We came back to the hotel and thanked God he got us through it all. I was so proud of what we pulled off and thankful for so much help to accomplish this.
Please stay tuned and I’ll try and stay out of trouble.