Our “Great American Road Trip” started with the Rotchfords flying into Kansas City. We spent the time catching up on things and went out toFogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse for dinner. They had an unbelievable salad and sides bar that included gourmet salads, rare exotic vegetables, fresh breads (my favorite), imported cheeses, and cured meats. After all of that, who needed the main course. There was a continuous table side service of fifteen signature cuts of beef, pork, lamb and chicken cooked over an open flamed pit. The meats were served with traditional Brazilian side dishes of polenta, garlic mashed potatoes, caramelized bananas and warm Pão de Queijo (bread cheese bread). We were given a small green and red sided chip. The green side signaled the “Gaueho” chefs to bring out skewers of sizzling meats, while the red side indicated a stopping point. To get more meat we simply displayed …
The year was 2000, we were off to El Paso for the celebration of the marriage of Carmen and Jamie. They met in Germany while attending Frankfurt High School. Over the years, there were many miles separating them but it was their love that endure distance and time. We had some down time from wedding prep so we went over to Juárez. We had a snack at one of the outdoor cafes where a Mariachi played for us. Later in the City Market we bartered with some friendly, good nature merchants for a few “prizes” to take home. The wedding was an absolutely flawless day spent with loved ones and family members to celebrate the marriage of Jamie and Carmen. There was only one problem, the priest got Jamie’s first name and last name mixed up. Every time he should have said Jamie he said Kelly. At the time it …
The clan moved back to the States in 1992, with the Rotchfords going to Kingsville, TX and the Kerricks going to Ft. Leavenworth, KS. Fred was a Professor at Military Science at Texas A&M. Steve taught at the Command General Staff College in the Leadership Department. They were busy with their teaching, the two oldest girls attended college, the younger girls were in high school and junior high and Lupe and I continued our support of the family units. With the girls getting older and the military commitments, it became harder to get together as our clan of eight, so we became a foursome. From my timeline and photos, there are no records of visits until 1994. My memory doesn’t even help with this. I do know that 1994 was our one and only visit to Kingsville. Fred and Lupe might have visited Kansas, they were always so much better …
In February of 1989, Steve got orders back to Germany and the girls and I were not happy. Kristie had wanted to graduate from a high school in the United States. She had been a freshman in Virginia, a sophomore in Kansas and now she would do her Junior and Senior years in Kaiserslautern. Holan’s school days in Germany had been terrible and I was not sure it would be a positive move with her learning disability. But the Rotchfords were heading back to Darmstadt so off we went. We were an hour and twenty minutes apart. Still closer than in the States but with the girl’s school work and activities, the guys work schedules it wasn’t like living in the same city, We got together as much as we could. The Rotchfords came to Kaiserslautern for New Years Eve so the adults went out to the Officer’s Club for …
As we settled into our lives in Virginia Beach and the Rotchfords into El Paso, it was much harder for us to spend time together. The cost of flying for four was too much not to mention the activities of the girls and job requirements for the guys. Now looking back on the years of 1985 to 1991 there isn’t much to recall how often we saw each other. The Rotchfords came to Virginia Beach and we took in the sights of the shipyards at the Naval Base. Once again, we loaded up the van and traveled up the coast to Washington, D.C. Our family traveled to D.C. earlier in the year so we knew exactly what we would do with the Rotchfords. It included all the normal sights and a VIP tour of the White House. We lived on a small lake, so the girls spent time feeding the …
It was the summer of ’82, the guys had been working at CRC Lauda for a year. There were approximately 30 to 35 US Army Officers & Enlisted assigned to the unit. They worked side by side with a German Luftwaffe Tactical Fighter Control Unit which fell under a NATO SOC Command. Their responsible was for the air defense of Central Europe and the Fulda Gap. They went to work in the dark, come home in the dark and worked in “The Bunker” at Bad Mergentheim with no windows. It was time to find a new job and come out of the dark! Steve became the Battery Commander of 10th ADA Group and Fred became an Operation Officer at Headquarters 32nd AADCOM. So the two families packed their stuff and off to Darmstadt we went. Lupe and I were busy with our volunteer work with the schools, church, Officer’s Wives …
We were at Ft. Bliss, TX in 1981 when Steve received orders for Germany. This was our second tour to Germany, the first being to Nürnberg in 1973. Steve traveled to Würzburg in April while the girls and I stayed with Dad and Jean in KY. The girls and I could not travel until Steve found housing for us. Once Steve found an apartment in the little town of Rottendorf, east of Würzburg. we had orders to travel in June. Over the two months, every letter Steve wrote was about this couple he had met. They were the perfect couple, from El Paso, TX, we had so much in common and they had two girls, younger than Kristie but older than Holan. He was so excited about us joining him so we could all be together. As we arrived in Frankfurt, his excitement continued. We were invited to Fred’s promotion, …
Today we went to the World’s Oldest Indoor Rodeo at the Fort Worth Stock Yards. And yes, it was truly our first rodeo. This was the 117th Rodeo and was held at the Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum in Fort Worth. This is the last year the event will be held at Will Rogers. A new $450 million arena is being built a short distance away. We got a great parking place in the handicap lot and found our way to the first exhibit hall. The range of vendors was outstanding! Of course, there was the western hats, boots, house decor and clothing for the entire family. The vendors also ranged from mattresses to furniture, fire pit and metal signs and fences to farm equipment, home improvements to home made butter, honey, and salsa. It was a great home show, a beautiful western wear boutique and a wonderful craft show rolled into …
This was a wonderful wood carving in front of the Havana Cigar store. Along the path was a coconut water cart, in case you need a quick drink. The shore line of the island. The sunlight reflecting on the water waves made it sparkle. As we left, we discovered the shopping area was designed as a maze, designed to keep cruise passengers rotating in and out of the shops. There are signs for the exits but they were hard to find. Going back to the ship, you could see the flags flying, the trolley waiting, the ships and people coming and going.
Our 3rd stop on this cruise was Costa Maya. We had breakfast in the dining room, then spent a couple of hours in the hot tubs. Most of the people had gotten off the ship so the tubs were pretty empty. We did have a nice conversation with a couple from Canada, before going to lunch in Savor, one of the main dining rooms. After lunch we made our way off the ship. We had been to Costa Maya before and had not found any excursions we were interested in doing. Seems like the last time we were in Costa Maya we tendered, took a small boat, to shore. This time a brand new and very long pier stretched out along the water. We could walk or be transported via a complimentary shuttle, to a new entrance into the shopping area. We took the shuttle. Once off the shuttle, a friendly …
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