Back in the Saddle!
Well I am finally ready to write about Travel again. Although we are not able to go back to work yet we did finally fly for the first time in 15 months. Our first flight was a non stop flight from Baltimore to Dallas Luv airport on Southwest Airlines. We got to the airport early as usual and parked at fast park and headed to the gate. The airport was almost completely contactless. The outside baggage handlers were not back to work yet when we flew out of Baltimore so we had to go inside. In Dallas the outside baggage was open. The seating at the gates was open and not spaced any differently that I could see but folks were trying their best to leave space. Cleaning crews came around constantly at BWI. On our very first flight in 15 months we took a bump so we did get the one way non stop and had to stop in Tampa but we did manage to get great vouchers for some additional travel within the next year! And the Southwest gate agents even gave us food vouchers since it was going to be a 4 hour delay. We loved that we had the time since we were not working to take the bump and get the vouchers.
The flight was packed though and I have to say although everyone kept their mask on and Sonia and I have been fully vaccinated it felt strange to be seated next to someone we did not know during a pandemic.
I then flew to NC and on this trip from Dallas Luv to NC I flew delta, an airline that if you have read my blog before you know I am absolutely partial to. They were still not seating folks in the middle seats, plus in First Class where I was lucky enough to get upgraded, I was by myself for 2 of my four flights. They are still not doing meal service on the flights so it was just snacks but I had packed lunch so it all worked out and on my return flight I stopped by the sky lounge and grabbed a pre packaged meal. I truly felt like everyone at the airports really worked hard to make things as easy and contactless as possible from TSA to the gate to the rental car company. We had a friend pick us up in Dallas (thank you Diane)but in North Carolina I picked up a National rental car and they had extra sanitizer wipes in the car as well as two placards to show what they had done to clean the car.
I know it’s been a hard year and travel is not what it was, we still have to wear masks on the planes and in airports but it felt good to be back on a plane and in the airport. Felt like life was finally getting back to some kind of normal. I am not sure I will ever fully recover from the personal loses of this year the family and friends that passed on and the disappointing way in which I have seen people handle things, people that I thought were friends and that I trusted. Lose and stress often bring out the worst in people but I am blessed, and the majority of the people I have in my life and that Sonia and I are fortunate enough to do business with could not be any better. All of you that have been part of this last year thru emails and virtual concerts, zoom sessions, or just a note of encouragement on Facebook it has meant the world to us and we can not wait to see you in person and hug you. Thru all the loss, surgeries and health scares that I have gone thru this year it is the thought of us all being together again that has kept us going. For now travel safe if you travel and if you are staying home this weekend I hope you will share it with someone you have not seen in awhile. For those of you that have served this Memorial Day more than ever I am thinking about you. With love and peace, Terry
Spring, Movies, Vaccines and Love
Like everyone else I have spent the last year inside and like most of you I have caught up on shows that I missed while traveling or just never took the time to watch. But now I am ready to get back out in the world so today I got my first of the two shot moderna vaccine. I am ready to go to the movies again to see the films as they were intended on a big screen and with movie popcorn and of course junior mints. We actually went to the movies once this fall when it was temporarily open at 25% capacity and it was great. There was only one other couple there and they even offer private rentals these days. So once you and your friends are vaccinated before it fills up again consider making a movie reunion. I had wanted to wait for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine as I have had some vaccine issues in the past but had a chance to take a friend with me today to get vaccinated and was not about to turn down the opportunity for both of us to get it. And it was a beautiful spring day here in Baltimore which made me all the more committed to doing everything I can to be back out there enjoying the city. There are two other reasons that I really want to encourage all of you that have not been vaccinated yet to do so. Love and Travel! I love my family and friends and I want to see them all, and more and more places are saying they will limit travel to those that have been vaccinated. I want you to be able to come see us and I want to be able to come see you, so please look into a vaccine site in your area. I am blessed that my parents and a lot of my family has been fully vaccinated and my wife gets her second shot next week. I would have had mine sooner but surgery delayed it so another blessing that this one happened today. Thank you Andrea for the heads up about the site so that Lee and I could go. We have all been thru A LOT this year and many of us will forever be changed by the loss we have had. But I truly hope that as we go into this spring we will remember how much love there is out there and how much we still have to be grateful for. I for one look forward to seeing you at the movies, at a concert, at the pool or even just on the street. Thank you for sharing this crazy year and life with me.
When I started this blog I was going to share our travel stories from the road, then Covid hit and travel stopped so I started writing about what was on my mind. Seems like we won’t be traveling anytime soon and for the next couple weeks I’m not even traveling locally as I just had to have surgery again. I had a mass taken out in early February that thankfully was nothing, but then I got an internal infection and when they went in to do surgery Wednesday they found clots. Life is strange these days and I truly appreciate more every day how blessed I am. We have lost several friends to Covid and unfortunately several other family members in the last year so I know how quickly life changes. Just today another friend shared with us that she has been diagnosed with cancer so tonight I’m reflecting. I have always thought I was grateful but I am wondering now about every minute that I have chosen to work over being with a family member. Because sonia and I get to travel together I just assumed I was making enough time for my personal life but I wonder now. When we are off the road I always have so many things to do to get ready for the next road trip that I don’t really get the things done that I need to for us personally. I have been supposed to clean out my garage for at least 10 years. Of course right now it’s winter and I’m in a boot so won’t be doing it any time soon. And then there are the all the times that you are so busy worrying about what is not happening that you still are not working on the things that you could be doing. The last 11 months there have been people that have made the most of their time off the road from Covid by creating new projects and then there have been those wallowing in self pity for what is not happening. And then there are those have truly been affected by the isolation in ways that we will never fully know. Sonia’s godmother passed away at 94 this August and I believe more than anything it was isolation that led to her death. Sonia and I have worked together for 23 years and I can tell you that this is the longest we have ever been off the road and she has been better about just appreciating what we have and making the most of the time. I worried about the tours getting cancelled and how long it would be and it took me months before I really accepted the fact that there was truly nothing I could do. Just two weeks ago I finally started reading books that have been on my shelve for years. Sonia was bringing books home from the library and I was reading them and then it hit me that I have boxes of books that we don’t have room for so why not read what is on our shelves then pass them on. So my goal now is to read enough books to unpack boxes that I have had since I moved here 23 years ago. I can never get rid of a book until I read it which is why I have way to many. I did this a few years ago and took 40 books to my parents. When I was younger I would keep every book in case I wanted to read it again, (even text books) but I truly enjoying passing them on now. I hope it’s no time soon but I truly want to pass on as many things as I can to people that can use them and enjoy them before I go. Nothing makes me happier than when I can gift my nephew or nieces or a younger friend something they don’t have and need. This pandemic has given us a lot of time to think and a lot of time to realize how little control we truly have. I am not sure when life as we knew it will be back but I do pray that in some ways I will never be the same. I hope I never worry more about work than having juice with my wife in the morning, I hope I never hesitate to call a friend when I’m thinking about them, and I pray that tomorrow I will appreciate the fact that I am here and that whatever happens in the days or months ahead I will be grateful for it. I am extremely grateful for all you out there who are reading this and have been sharing this journey with us. I hope you know that.
January 6, 2021
Wow, what a day. For the rest of my life I will remember what I saw take place this day. January 6th has always been the day my baby brother was born, but that will always be over shadowed in my mind now as a day I witnessed an attack on our capitol. I was raised to believe that this is the greatest country on Earth and I believe that. I come from a family that believes in service to country, and patriotism is something I have always been proud to be associated with. What we saw on Wednesday was not patriotism, but many of those that attended the rally believe they are patriots. They believed the man serving as their commander in chief was asking them to protect his office, and they believed his lies about the election. Now for us that are not supporters of that man, it is difficult for us to understand how they could possibly believe that the election was stolen after 59 court cases were dismissed, most by Republican appointed judges. But we must not dismiss that for many people the office of President of the United States of America holds a lot of weight, and we want to believe that no one in that position would lie to us. I love this country, and even when I have disagreed with my President on policy, I have always respected the office and therefore the person holding it. That changed with this President. He has lied too many times for me to believe anything he says, but he is our President until January 20th, and I feel sorry for the many people who truly did look up to him and believed him. It is heartbreaking to me that a US Airforce vet was shot attacking our capitol, when I am sure she was a patriot and got caught up in an unlawful order given by her commander in chief. Her family more than any of us should want this President held accountable. What I saw Wednesday I never believed I would see, but I especially never would have believed that an attack on our Capitol would be ordered by a sitting President. When years from now our nephews and nieces are learning about this in history, it will no doubt bring about many questions. It was the worst day in our history since the civil war. Far worse than the Oklahoma bombing or 9-11, because this was an attack on the very center of our democracy and ordered by the person that should be leading our defense under any attack.
I am not sure where we go from here, but I know the images of the people attacking our Capitol wearing shirts that memorialize Auschwitz and idolized nazi slogans burn in my mind and remind me that democracy is fragile, and that the work my family has done to fight for this country is not over. I am more resolved than ever that I will speak up when I see injustice, and that I will never be blinded by power of an office or a person. The United States of America is not one person, it’s all of us, it’s democracy at its very best when it is adhered to. Wednesday showed us that it is fragile though, and that if we do not pay attention we will lose the very things that we love the most about this country. No patriot I know would ever take down an American flag to fly a Trump flag or a Confederate flag. I don’t care what flag you fly at your house, but not on OUR HOUSE. There is only one flag I ever want to see flying over our Capitol. I pray that Wednesday was a wake up call and that all of us will realize what we have to lose if we do not hold those that led this attack on our democracy accountable.
What will this cost all us in the future, not just economically as we are forced to investigate lie after lie, but emotionally as families are torn apart and so many of our retired military are taken advantage of by our elected officials. I blame the President and those in office that took advantage of their patriotism and led them to believe lies that will cost them everything and those leaders nothing. I blame all of those currently serving that have not done a better job taking care of those that have served and are serving this country. We have more homeless vets every year, and suicide among vets is at an all time high, we no longer honor our commitments to free healthcare for our vets, they are forced to pay a portion of their limited retirement into tri care. Even those that have served 20 plus years, and many of those in war times. How is this right? I am not excusing any American that took part in the attack on our democracy on the 6th. There is nothing that makes that right. But I do think the leadership needs to be held responsible and the full Legislative and Executive branches need to be held accountable going forward and do better for those serving this country. Those police officers protecting our Capitol that day should not be facing fellow officers and military. They should have been joined by those people to serve and protect the United States of America. Our representatives should do the same. They need to forget their party affiliations and remember they are Americans.
For almost everyone this has been a year that cannot end soon enough. My year began with an emergency flight back from Australia when Sonia’s mother passed. Then Covid came and all our tours were cancelled. Then we lost Gene Shay and John Prine as well as another almost 2 million people worldwide to Covid. In August we lost Sonia’s godmother “Aunt Mickey” and just when I thought the year could not be any worse on Christmas Eve my 34 year old nephew was found dead by his father and brother when they went to deliver Christmas presents. Allen was a special soul, and it breaks my heart to think about a world without him. His son Isaac is only 8 years old and the two of them were as close as any two people I have ever seen. We still do not know what caused his death but as we wait for the autopsy report I wonder if it really matters. It won’t bring him back. Of course we need to know because if it was Covid we will need to have everyone that was in contact with him tested. It’s horrifying to think that it could be that and no one knew he was sick. He was at a work Christmas party the night before and was so happy when he joined in on Sonia’s terrific Tuesday concert. It is hard to accept that he is just gone.
2020 has definitely been a horrible year.
But I am not writing this to depress you. I am writing because I am truly trying to find things to be grateful for because what I want to do is just curl up in bed and cry. I love Allen and this is the first year in his young life that I did not see him even once and to know I will never see him again is truly painful. What I have seen since Allen died though and thru out this year is how much love there is in this world. People I hardly know have reached out to Sonia and I all year to check in and just to let us know they are there. And our friends and extended disappear fear family has been incredible through this entire crazy year and in some ways I have never felt more connected. This past week I saw that same support extended to Allen’s son and family. We have a large family and sometimes like all families we may not stay in touch with all our cousins, but the entire family has mobilized to make sure that Isaac and his mother know that we are here for anything and everything they need. It’s the same love that I have witnessed around the world in story after story as this pandemic has ripped across the globe. Yes 2020 has been a horrible year but it’s also been a year full of love and kindness and connections in new ways. We have seen companies come together and share information in ways that they have never done in order to come up with a vaccine and we saw record voter turn even with the difficulty imposed by Covid. The pain of 2020 is difficult but as we start 2021 I am going to try my best to focus on Allen’s smile and all the love he brought to us.
Thank you for all the love and support that you have shared this year and I look forward to being able to see you in person again soon. Whatever 2020 has brought to you good or bad, I hope 2021 is a year that all of us can share with smiles that we can see again. For now wear your mask and stay safe.
Love and peace Terry
Today as I woke up and looked out at the marshland of NC, I thought about all the little things growing in those wetlands and how grateful I am that they are still there. So much of our coasts are being developed and we are blessed that my parents have protected this small piece of it. I am especially grateful this year that I have this place to come home to. I can drive here and social distant but still see my parents. So many do not have that this year.
In the last year we have lost Sonia's mother, he godmother and several close friends, one of which was Gene Shay, who was so instrumental in sharing disappear fear with the world. I am grateful that we had the many years we did with him and Gloria. They are missed. But today as I share a Thanksgiving meal with my parents and limited famil,y I celebrate also with those of you around the world that we have been fortunate enough to call our extended family and friends and wish you the very best. We are so very grateful for all that you have done to get thru this crazy year. THANK YOU.
We love you. Happy Thanksgiving today and always.
I still remember when someone ran negative ads or made personal attacks during a campaign and my elders would use it as a teaching moment to tell us that was not the right way to do things. That you could have differences of opinions but you should always treat your opponent with respect and concentrate on the issues you believe in. We were taught this in sports as well, winning was great but if you lost you were taught that you should hold out your hand and accept the lose graciously. That went for winning also, you were always supposed to be a good sport.
During the last several years we have gotten used to negative campaigning but I had truly hoped that at the end of this election we could finally move back to a place of civility. I have been impressed with the Biden Harris team as they have moved forward with trying to do what is best for the country. We have not heard any bragging about the fact that they won the largest popular vote in history, instead we have seen them continuously reach out to those that did not vote for them. Unfortunately the current administration has shown no sign of being gracious in any way. They refuse to accept that they lost and even worse they are trying their best to undermine the greatest country in the world by making false claims about election fraud. Claims that state after state and court after court as well as the cabinets own team of election cyber officials have said are false. The damage that is being done is so much bigger than this one election. The children that are witnessing this, some of which have been with their parents in the streets supporting the administrations claims will be the same children that will one day refuse to accept a lose in school sports or bully someone. It will show up in businesses and like negative campaigning it will no longer be the exception but the norm.
My nieces and nephews are growing up witnessing a White House that tweets hate and lies and there seems to be little consequences for those that support this administration. South Carolina and Kentucky still elected two of the men that have been most responsible for enabling this President to spread his rhetoric. I find it hard to believe that while there are so many suffering in this country, we thought it was a good idea to send them back to the Senate to continue to block any progress for the average American. I don’t care what party you belong to, there has to be a better person to represent us in Washington. I used to believe that the check and balance system that was built in to the constitution was enough. That when it really mattered those that we elected would put party aside and do what was best for the country. This pandemic and this election have proven me wrong. The leadership of both parties were so busy playing to their respective sides that they did nothing to come together to pass Covid relief before they went to campaign. And now the republican leadership is beyond irresponsible in the way they are handling this election. Just to be clear I have often voted Republican but this Republican Party is nothing I would support. First the administration was to busy to govern because they were campaigning and now they are to busy to help with a peaceful transition because they are busy trying to bully state legislators and file unfounded lawsuits. The election is over and it was not even close, the popular vote and the electoral college are for the same candidate and the winner is Joe Biden. We should all be trying to get behind our new President Elect and more importantly we should be pushing our current President to be a gracious loser and set an example for this country as well as the world that is watching.
And Georgia I pray you help us put a stop to the partisan leadership on the hill.
Celebration and Election
Like so many I sincerely hope that the new President will bring back a sense of decency and respect around the world but while we are celebrating let’s not forget that 70 million fellow Americans voted for the current President and part of moving forward needs to be healing the divide that we certainly have. I love my country and I believe strongly in our democracy, I also believe that there are always reasons when people feel disenfranchised and we need to listen to them. All of them. Middle class white Americans voted in high numbers for the sitting President, it’s easy to just focus on the far left ones and just write that off but that would be a mistake. I know many people who are not far left but just feel left out of the conversation by the democrats. The same way that many people of color feel left out of the conversation by the republicans. Both sides need to understand and listen. Neither partly is completely right or wrong, and voters from all parties need to look for someone on the other side and find a way to listen to each other if we are truly going to move forward. We need to hold our elected officials accountable and not allow them to be partisan, nothing gets accomplished for We the People when those that we elect make statements like those by Senate leaders that they will block the new President before they are even sworn in. We pay them to be there to represent our needs, and that means all American needs. Both sides Democrats and Republicans are guilty of stalling bills that the other side brings to the floor and ultimately the side that loses in that is ALL OF US. We need to fire any Congress or Senate member that puts party over the Citizens of the United States of America. We need to hold them accountable. None of us would get paid if we did not get our jobs done. And to many of us are still out of work right now because our representatives could not come up with a National Plan to help beat this virus and get us back to work. I love this country and this election showed us that there are at least 145 million Americans that care. If all of us that voted hold our candidates accountable we can make this country everything we want it to be.
ELECTION DAY 2020
It’s 4:24 am on November 3rd, 2020 and today the world will watch as the United States elections take place. When our first election was held in 1789 there was not TV or radio or internet. But even in 1789 as word spread about the new United States of America, other countries wondered how this democracy would work. In all the elections since 1789 we have had the peaceful transfer of power and countries around the world have watched with respect and sometimes amazement as we have dealt with our elections. Until 2016 As I traveled the world no one ever questioned me about whether or not we could trust our elections. In the last 4 years I am constantly asked that question and in the last few months as I have been forced by Covid to stay home my friends abroad have written numerous times about the chaos of our current election. I never believed I would see the intentional undermining of our elections by anyone until 2016 and now I am forced to acknowledge that we are witnessing it from within our country and often by our elected officials. We have worked hard in this country to fight voter suppression and while it is not perfect I did think we had accomplished a lot. In 2000 when Gore and Bush ended up in the Supreme Court people were surprised that Gore did not fight on, but he respected this country enough to not continue the fight for fear that it would interfere with the peaceful transfer of the office taking place on January 20th, 2001. I never thought for a minute that members of either party would take to the streets and incite violence or that the sitting president would not relinquish his office. This year I am up at 4:24am because my stomach is in knots wondering what today will bring. It’s a very sad day for me to think that democracy as I know it is on the line. That the country that my family has fought to defend in every branch of the military for all of its 244 years is at stake. No matter which candidates you support no Citizen of these United States of America should support voter suppression or interference in our elections by inside or outside our country. All of us should do our best to protect what is at the very core of our democracy a peaceful transfer or power. I have been heartbroken watching the events of the last 4 years, the new voter suppression acts, the violence in the streets that is provoked by our own elected officials at times, the barrage of hate rhetoric that has led to a division that has kept us from even uniting to fight Covid. I am all for peaceful protests but there is never a time for vandalism no matter what the excuse, nor is there ever a time for a knee on the neck until death in America. We should all be United in the fight for freedom which begins with a fair election and ends with the peaceful transfer of power on January 20, 2021.
I don’t know what the end of the day will look like or even the end of the week, but I pray that the country I love will be here. If you are watching from abroad send us love and if you are here in the USA please do your part to bring about a healing in this nation, find someone that voted for the other party and start there.