Friday, September 9, 2011

Pennsylvania Visit and David's Visit to Connecticut

Over Memorial Day weekend, Al and I traveled to Pennsylvania to see David, who was going there before being activated with his Marine Reserve unit. Actually, I took a night bus down on Thursday night, arriving on Friday morning, and Al and Erin came Sunday night and picked us up, as David's flight back to Tallahassee to rejoin his unit was scheduled out of Bradley up here in CT. I was very grateful to his sergeant for booking his return flight that way, as it gave us extra time with David. David had already been with Dave, Becca, and Noelle for several days when I got there. Melissa, our third daughter, had also been there to see David before he went back to his unit. The bus ride was peaceful and uneventful, but the bus was delayed out of Hartford, and the station in NYC was crowded. I met a nun who was also traveling to Baltimore, so we chatted while waiting for the bus in NYC. She was from Enfield, and often shopped at the Walmart where I work in East Windsor! We stopped at a rest stop just over the Maryland border, where I was able to get a cup of Starbucks coffee, (I would have gotten one in New York but the cafe there doesn't have decaf and the Dunkin Donuts there wasn't a 24-hour store(!)), and we rushed to make sure the bus didn't leave without us. I was relieved to see that the driver was coming out just as I was taking my coffee away from the kiosk! We got to Baltimore about 45 minutes later. Last time I took the bus I discovered that the gas station down the street from the bus terminal had a little coffee shop in it, so I went there for coffee and breakfast, as I had a three hour layover in Baltimore. (I brought plenty of books with me!) Dave, David, and Noelle picked me up in Hagerstown and we went to their house. Becca came home a few minutes later and after lunch we went shopping at Walmart. Saturday, we went back to Walmart as Dave's family was coming over, and we had a nice visit with them. David also helped Dave dig in his backyard as they were getting ready to build a new patio. We shopped at Walmart, which Noelle calls "the banana store," and David bought me a box of candy. He gave a few pieces to Noelle because she was fussy. We also made a donation to the veterans, and got poppies, which David put in Noelle's hair. After visiting with Dave's family, we went to a Hispanic church service in which Dave and Becca were helping with music. David rested at the house and met us at the ice cream parlor afterwards. After church on Sunday, we went to Gettysburg , and then to Cracker Barrel, an Aldrich-Gettel Pennsylvania tradition. Noelle had us coloring with chalk, reading books to her, and playing in her ball pit with her. She would throw the balls out and we would throw them back in. Al and Erin came Sunday night and after visiting , brought us home to Connecticut on Monday. David visited friends and my sister and her husband came to visit him on Wednesday while I was at work. There was also a tornado warning in our area. My sister and her husband left just in time, and I was very grateful that there was a Marine in the house who would know what to do! We had a gathering for David at our house after church on Sunday evening, and he returned to his unit on Monday morning. I was very glad to see him and I missed him when he left. He had just been promoted to Corporal before his leave, so he was excited about that, though nervous about his new responsibilities. I pray that God would watch over him and give him the skill he needs, and bring him home safely to us! David, if you ever read this.... love you, proud of you, praying for you!