The Homecoming



During my son Ricks senior year of high school, he made the decision that he would join the military after graduation.  He signed up early, and spent his last year of high school in the Air Force Guard.  I wasn’t really excited about it, because there was continued unrest in the world.  He was determined to make this his career, so I, as a loving mother, stood beside him in his decision.  We enjoyed the summer after his graduation as a family, knowing that life as we knew it would never be the same.  The tragedy of September 11th struck and Rick still hadn’t signed the “final” papers to enlist.  Let me tell you, I did my best to persuade him not sign.   The problem being that Rick was feeling the same way most Americans were feeling, that something needed to be done.  So with fear and pride and determination, we took him to the local recruiters office in October 2001.  He had now passed out of my hands, and into the hands of the Air Force.  We hadn’t driven 5 miles to return home when everyone in the car burst into tears.

He went for basic training at Lackland AFB in San Antonio Texas, and we flew out there to see his graduation and spend Thanksgiving with him.  He had decided at that point to follow in his dads shoes, who was a police officer, and become a member of the Security Forces. That would now become his life, and  he remained at Lackland for continued training.  After graduation he was allowed to leave base, and we returned with him to our hotel near the River Walk.  The first thing I noticed was that I had sent my son away as a boy, and he had become a man in 6 short weeks.  My heart was swollen with pride knowing the unselfish thing he had done.  The problem was, that I knew deep down inside that America was not going to sit quietly while our land was fired upon, and soon my son would join many others in the fight for freedom.

After one of his deployments, in the early years of career, he decided to surprise me and show up at work.  I knew he was coming home, but had no idea the actual date.  Some of my co-workers were aware of this, and made sure I stayed at work so I would be there when he arrived.  I work as a nurse in a jail, so they had a code word for when he arrived, and I was to go to the front lobby to pick up some medication dropped off  by the pharmacy.  This seemed a little strange to me, but whatever…..They let me through the doors, and there he was….

They had pulled it off, I was so surprised and happy.  You see clips all the time showing sons and daughters returning to surprise their mothers, but until you experience it yourself, you can’t completely relate.  He went on to be deployed to Iraq 4 times and was stationed in Korea, Florida, Las Vegas and is now back in the guard as a Tech Sgt.  He truly has an angel with him that has kept him out of harms way during these deployments.  I can’t tell you the horrible feeling you get as a mother, to say goodbye to your son before these deployments, not knowing if you will ever see him again.  I thank God everyday that I am in a country that is free, and have the utmost respect for those men and women, throughout the ages, who have fought to give us this freedom.  They are much braver than I ever will be.  I watch the political fights going on with the upcoming election and I just shake my head……I know who the real heroes are and they don’t wear a red or blue tie.  So this is my salute to the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard…may God watch over each and every one of you.  And God Bless America!


Broccoli Cauliflower Salad

6-7 slices of bacon, fried and crumbled

1 cup sour cream

2 cups mayonnaise

1/3 cup chopped onions (I use green onions)

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 head cauliflower cut up into bite size pieces

1 bunch broccoli, cut up into bite sized pieces

1 small bag frozen peas, thawed

Combine the bacon, sour cream, mayonnaise, onions, sugar, cheese and dash of salt.

Mix well.

Add the cauliflower, broccoli and peas.

Stir to coat and refrigerate.


2 responses to “The Homecoming

  1. I knew I shouldn’t have read this….I have tears falling down my face because I can truly relate to this now. We leave Tuesday to see Evan graduate from Basic in Oklahoma and I’m sure at least a box of tissue will be needed from all the happy tears. Just from the letters and phone calls I can tell how mucb he has grown and matures….my baby is a MAN! THANK YOU Rick for your serviceand to you, Shelly, for your FANTASTIC blog….you have truly unlocked a gift!

  2. Oh My Shelly…this post brought me to my knees…goosebumps over my entire body….U should be so very PROUD…I know that I am!!!! I walk through airports fairly frequently and always stop to thank those who have our backs…usually with tears in my eyes….TRUE HEROS….Thank U Ricky for ur service and thank u Shelly for being so strong for him…ok…where r the kleenex when u need them?

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