Tag Archives: Virginia

Veterans Day And Jazz

My blog is early because, despite the coolness and rain, this weekend should be a great weekend. Why so great? The Hampton Jazz Legacy in Hampton, Virginia, across the street from the Hampton Coliseum where each spring the Hampton Jazz Festival performs, will have the jazz greats performing for three days. This is a yearly trip for us and I can hardly wait to get out of here to hear great music performed by the greatest jazz musicians around. Many pictures will be taken, good food will be eaten and fine liquors will be drank. Will write to all when the next issue is scheduled to come out and I will tell you all about it.

I attended a meeting of a newly installed DAV auxiliary chapter at Imperial Plaza. During the regular meeting some questions were asked that proves my point about people not reading or understanding the news letters, they do not take advantage of the many things that is provided here nor participate in anything unless it directly gives them an advantage. Or is it they just want to gripe or just to hear themselves talk?

To go on about elections, not to mention the state elections, I just won a seat on the Brookdale Imperial Plaza Resident Council. Last month I was appointed to fill the seat of a person that moved to North Carolina. That seat ends at the end of December and my new term starts the first of January. As I always say, ”get involved-stay involved”. Nothing gets done by sitting, complaining and doing nothing. Everyone can do something, even if it is only manning the phones or something like that. Even though my schedule is tight, my wife and I still try to do our part while still traveling.

Last Monday I was at James River High School for a Veterans Day Ceremony. Myself and three other vets were on stage in the auditorium for a question and answer session. It was great speaking off the cuff, answering the questions asked by the kids through a moderator. On my head I wore my Viet Nam Veteran hat and dressed in my Tuskegee Airman chapter’s outfit (red jacket, black tie, black shoes, black pants and white shirt). Afterward we went outside for a brick laying ceremony at the flag pole. Before we left for home I had a nice talk with the principal of the high school.

Wednesday, Imperial Plaza went to the MGM Casino outside Washington, D.C. in Maryland. Of course my wife and I went, the trip wasn’t bad. Both of us came out okay, didn’t win big but, after six hours there, came back with half of what we took with us. However, I still consider the casino as a place for high rollers (there is a steak house there that have a 36 ounce porterhouse steak for $120, potato $10 and side $8). The antes are also high and that is one of the reasons we seldom go there.. Give me Maryland Live or Charlestown Casino anytime.

The next cruise is coming fast and will disrupt two blogs. The blogs that will be interrupted will be the first two weekends of December. Therefore, I am saying, in advance, I will not write a blog the first two weeks of December nor be in a position to answer most e-mails. Don’t be angry 🙂

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Fun, Fun, Fun

In the waning years of life, a senior should experience the pleasures that long, hard labor is all about. A senior should get off their “duff” and go places, do things that they did not have the time to do as they worked during their younger years. As it have been said during days of old and is still said today, “you only live once”, or another way, “you only have one life”.

My wife and I are trying to have the best time of our lives because tomorrow is not promised and, with the kids having their own life and finances, we worked for it and now we will have fun, spend it anyway we want. Many people will call this selfish but I call it enjoying life as a retiree and when the kids become a senior, they will have their time.

The last couple of weeks have been nothing but fun and travel, not necessarily in that order. We were on a wine tasting in the Blue Ridge with the Imperial Plaza family, good food in Charlottesville, Va. afterward. It was great because a good friend (we were in the military together) ate with us. This friend and I met in the ’70’s and have been friends since.

A few days later, my wife and I went on a Sunshine Bus Tours trip from Richmond, Va. to Dover Downs, Delaware for a day and night of casino fun. I didn’t win much but had fun and was ready for the next stop which was Foxwood Casinos/Resort in Connecticut. Two nights and days of running through the many casinos and three huge hotels plus the outlet mall (all under one roof). We didn’t have time to go off site to the other casinos like we have done the last two times nor did we go into Newport, RI. Plenty of fun and we both won a little.

After we returned the next day (last night) there was the Halloween Costume Party here at Brookdale Imperial Plaza. Fun, fun and more fun, music, food and wine. My wife and I won best costumes as I was Mark Anthony and she was Cleopatra. The place was full; lots of fun and laughter. Later that same evening we met friends at a Mexican restaurant/bar to continue the fun. It’s great being a senior, being able to let your hair down, never worrying about tomorrow. More seniors should indulge and let it all hang out.

Today is a rest day because tomorrow starts anew. All next week is filled with something to do and the next experience. The week after next is filled with even more things than next week plus there is the election, not only for governor, etc. for the state of Virginia but I am running for a seat on the Resident Council at Imperial Plaza. Wish me luck.

Thinking about elections. All of you that have elections in your community, vote. Remember, people all over the world won elections that they shouldn’t have because people that could vote didn’t. Don’t say it’s only a minor election and it doesn’t matter whether you vote or not. That’s the reason we are in a mess here in the USA. I could name many countries that is in the same situation but I will not do so at this time. Vote, vote, vote and give this nation, this world, a chance. Those of you that read my religious blog (faithingodministries.net) understand what I mean.

Until the next time have fun, smile and keep on keeping on.

 

 

Just Small Talk

I’ve said it before , I’ll say it again: It is great being retired and living in a senior community. Here there is plenty of time to do or accomplish whatever you want to do. All is done at your leisure which make retiring that much better. Traveling, reading, television watching, eating out, casino hopping, etc. is all part of enjoying the senior years. Many do not or have not the monetary or physical where with all to do it. Then there is Imperial Plaza.

Imperial Plaza took it’s usual Wednesday trip to Jamestown, Va. The first permanent colony in America. It was sad to see a great trip, that was cheap, not being taken advantage of by the great majority of people living here. Brookdale Imperial Plaza does not make a profit from these excursions yet seldom is there a full bus. Then, as you walk around the area, there are people saying there isn’t anything to do.

At Jamestown we viewed replicas of the Indian village, the English settlement and the museum. There was a bow and arrow demonstration, musket loading/firing demonstration and the showing of the interiors of the church and Indian huts replica. What was also for good exploration were the two ships. The size of the ships were small, by today’s standards, for having carried so many people to the new world. However, thinking of the size of the people in that era, mean there was plenty of room.

After getting back, I had just enough time to get myself clean, change clothes and get to a Mighty Pen Project class at the Virginia War Memorial (it was a humid day). I enjoyed my time with them, can hardly wait for our next time together. I always learn something new because I consider my writing as atrocious. I’ll keep trying to improve hoping I’ll get there one day. I have the two blogs to keep me in practice plus two stories I am still working on but constantly tearing apart for redoing. Each time I get fresh information at the Mighty Pen Project, I have to rewrite but I consider it worth the effort.

As I have written before, I am a member of the Howard Baugh Chapter of the Tuskegee Airman Incorporated who had a ceremony in Petersburg, Virginia. I could not be with them because I was out of town; they had a ceremony at a high school, I was out of town again. I hope to be in town for the next ceremony although I have been lucky enough to be available for the meetings.

It was a fine day for an outing. My wife and I went to the Wine & Hops Festival in Petersburg, Virginia on Saturday. It was okay, however, the lines for the wine and beer were long, there were a lot of vendors in a confined space, the place was very crowded in a small area. Lots of young people attended, being it was a confined area (Old Towne), standing around, made moving from vendor to vendor very complicated. But it was nice to get out, seeing things outside our usual areas of travel.

While in the area, we toured my old stomping grounds (I am originally from Petersburg), Hopewell and Colonial Heights, Virginia. We went to the new Puerto Rican Bakery/Cafe. It opened three months ago and we learned about it on television’s evening news. They are taking items of donation to the storm ravaged Puerto Rico. It’s the only Puerto Rican cafe I know in the area. There was one in Chesterfield but it closed a year ago.

I advise people, especially seniors, to get out and explore, revisit places of yore or new ones. Make time to go, enjoy before there is not enough time left to do it. I know my wife and I will go as much as we can because time is quickly catching up. Have fun and party as if there is not a tomorrow.

Just News

Great news…on Facebook I labeled a photo of the white squirrel “long way from home”. I was wrong, that is not the white squirrel that reside and play near the front gate of Imperial Plaza. This is a second squirrel that now reside at the rear of the Boxwood apartment building. It is great to see another squirrel because there was three when I first moved here and all three died (one became hawk food, one was hit by a car and the other disappeared). I hope our hawk family doesn’t take it for lunch.

Thinking about the hawks, I am awaiting the sighting of the young ones. They should be getting large because the female hawk is on the rim of the nest most of the time and I seldom see the male. If I can get pictures of them learning to fly I will share them on my Facebook page. It should be soon. I have included a couple of pictures of the female on the rim of her nest.

The Wednesday bus trip to the Virginia War Memorial was good. Since I have been there many times as part of the Mighty Pen Project, I ended up being an unofficial guide for some of the attendees although there are people there that gives good information. After the Virginia War Memorial, we ate lunch at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens. All I will say about the food there is that it was not what most of us were used to eating. The menu was geared mostly toward the vegetarian, of which I am not. Although it was very cloudy, wanting to rain, the rain held off and all was good.

My wife and I spent last Friday and Saturday at the great grand son’s naming ceremony. Had a great time, the baby never cried and he stayed awake much longer than usual. After two days in northern Virginia, my wife and I kept going to Maryland Live. We were to come back to Richmond on Monday but the weather forecast indicated pouring rain. We decided to stay an extra day and return when the roads were dry. WRONG! It drizzled rain Tuesday morning but it was mostly dry. But, the trip wasn’t wasted because I returned with a small profit.

We made it back in time to go to the White Squirrel for dinner, enjoying Eugene’s singing and, of course, dancing. The only complaint I have with the White Squirrel is it is always out of regular beer. I guess the reason is there is always lite-beer that no one want. There are many other places for us to go but most people here do not drive and is stuck with whatever there is here. Shame.

Well, the warm weather has been gone for a little while and will remain gone a while longer. I would call it a wake-up call to let people realize that Mother Nature will do what she want when she want to do it. It’s chilly but, I’ll make a huge bet, in two or three weeks everyone will be crying for it to be cooler. People are never satisfied, I guess.

Enjoy Memorial Day weekend. Be careful. Be vigilant! Have fun! Remember those that served and are presently serving brought America to where it is now and is keeping our our way of living secure. This weekend is not a weekend of celebration but a weekend of remembrance. God bless the USA and the troops that keep this nation free.

Casinos

Had another good week last week (this week was just for relaxation and recharging my energy) with a four day trip to Maryland. If you looked at my Facebook page you saw the picture of my wife holding our latest great-grandchild when we made a stop on our way back to Virginia. We were in Maryland to do our usual thing, gamble at the casinos. We headquartered at Maryland Live’s hotel which put us between Horseshoe and MGM. We get perks from all the casinos but decided to use Maryland Live’s because it was between the other two.

Look at it this way; four day stay at their hotel, their perks and our acquired points gave us all our meals and each gave us slot machine money. All I needed was the gas money and a little more to keep it interesting. In fact, we came back with money in our pocket. Can’t beat that for a four day stay at three casinos. Plus we got to visit the baby on the way back (got through Washington the day before the inauguration).

Thinking about that, this is what we ran into. Usually, on week days, the hotel does not have many people staying. I noticed the parking lot almost full and more cars were coming. All the other hotels had the same thing. Then I started calling myself a dummy because, after talking to a couple that was checking-in, I was told that they were getting the hell out of DC before the crowds hit. Then I noticed that most of the cars had DC plates.

After visiting the baby it dawned on me that it was the same area that The Last Graduating Tuskegee Airman (an article I wrote) lived. In fact, I am still trying to get the article printed for the general public. It have been approved by the MPP (Mighty Pen Project) and they have a copy but the Richmond-Times dispatch turned it down. The newspaper say it does not have a Virginia connection although the man live in Ashburn, Virginia. It does not make any sense to me, but who am I to say? Also, the man is Black and his wife is White, they had to live in Washington because of segregation, that is the same as the Loving story that hit the movies last year.

The highlight for this week came on Monday. Four of us from the Mighty Pen Project had a townhall type panel discussion, at The University of Richmond, for a freshman class that is writing about war. They included my two writings on protests in the 1950’s. The question and answering went well and, in fact, we could have gone on much longer than we had time for. This is our second time doing this. The first time was at the Library of Virginia and that went very well also. I hope to do it again.

This year I work on my birthday and my wife is out of town. As I get older, holidays, birthdays, etc. does not mean as much as it did when I was younger. I prefer peace and quiet plus time to read or write. I stay busy, although my wife say otherwise, and I believe staying busy help the body stay active, younger and spry. Inactivity bring on more aches and pains, more than usual, and it can be avoided without medication for that particular ailment. I see too much inactivity around here (Imperial Plaza) although there are so many programs and events for the residents. Most do not attend any of them. Alas, what can I say or do about it? Not a thing.

Until next time…Stay warm, keep on keeping on. I’m out!

A Week of Delectation

I am still on cloud nine from all that I have seen, done and went through this week. In a nut shell, I interviewed the last graduating airman from the famed Tuskegee Airmen of Tuskegee, Ala. Myself and Len Rasmusen, with Len driving, went to northern Virginia to meet with (Ret.) Col. Carl Johnson. He was the last to graduate because before his class graduated he had a bout of appendicitis and was hospitalized. When he got out of the hospital, his class had graduated and he was all alone. He was thinking he would be sent home but, instead, he was allowed to finish his training and graduate as the Last Tuskegee Airman.

At 91, he is clear voiced, full of spirit and was eager to talk about his storied career as an Army Officer although he did time in the USAF and the Army National Guard. Through him, I found out about Tuskegee Airmen flying bombers, although it was after WWII. He also flew in Korea and Viet Nam and was posted at the Pentagon, among many other places. Len and I viewed a number of scrapbooks and saw pictures of many people of note, such as Gen. Chappie James as a lieutenant. We were told that he was good friends with Chappie James, because he was his co-pilot, and they remained friends for years.

I have it all recorded so I can refer to it as I write a longer, more precise, work for The MPP (The Mighty Pen Project), the Virginia War Memorial and self-gratification. I love history. Everything about history. I love to dig deeper as I ask the question, why? I don’t mind the research nor do I mind the inevitable self induced trance I fall into.

In the middle of the week Imperial Plaza took us to the new Afro-American Museum, officially entitled, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. After lunch in Washington, D.C., we traveled the very short distance to the museum, which was very crowded. A word of caution for anyone that is planning to go there. Go on-line and get tickets first but plan to wait a few months before the tickets will allow entrance. Getting tickets now will allow you entry in April or May although there is a line for people that arrive without a reservation but there is not a guarantee that you will get in that way, even if you wait all day.

There is no way you can view the entire museum in one day so I concentrated on the lower three floors (basement) of the eight floors. I quickly went through most of the displays, not spending too much time on any one thing. I had three hours and almost didn’t make it although three hours seem like a long time but when you are engrossed in the displays, time flies and there is so much.

The thing that bothered me most were not the displays but the kids. Most of the kids were either running through the place, playing with each other or mindlessly texting. The great majority were not interested and, I will make a bet, could not tell you about anything there. What a shame. What a waste.

In that section was a short display on the Tuskegee Airmen and, I noticed, one of the pictures on display was one that I took a photo of from Col. Johnson’s scrapbook. There, on display, is one of the planes that the Tuskegee Airmen flew (The Spirit Of Tuskegee) and a few other pictures. I wish the display had more but you take whatever there is to take. The photos of some of the grotesque hangings done to my people where very haunting to say the least. The display of an actual slave house really show how small they were for the number of people that lived in them, or should I say survived in them. That’s all there was then, survival any way you could.

That was my week and I am overjoyed to have lived it. Col. Johnson and the museum made my entire week and I’m happy for it. Imperial Plaza’s Activity Department get thumbs up for the work in getting tickets, getting us there and getting us back safely. Praises to Kayle, Ron and Jerome.

See you next blog. Don’t forget to check out my other blog, although it will automatically pop up on other sites (twitter, google, etc). The weekend is coming and my wife and I are off again. Our schedule is full and we have a lot of fun and adventures to catch up on. Bye-bye and remember…Be kind to your neighbors and ensure your words are soft and sweet.

A Little Of This, A Little Of That

Wow, busy is as busy does and I have been a little busy, for a retired person. First, at Imperial Plaza there was a fashion show of which my wife and another woman worked extremely hard to present it and decorate the stage (can’t forget the Activities Department). It turned out really good and I have included a smidgen of photos. Personally, I like the Elvis impersonator (LOL). He was a gas and sang two or three Elvis songs. Of course, I was roped into participating, therefore, I was made the photographer.

Myself and two others, from The Mighty Pen Project (MPP) (go to the web site or Facebook page) got together for coffee and, accidentally through conversation on various topics, an idea was formed. There was an article in the Richmond Times Dispatch, which was originally in the Washington Post, about a ninety one year old Tuskegee Airman (remember the movie Red Tails) and he live here in Virginia, about three hours away. Well, he was contacted and myself and another person will interview him next month. I will write a back story about him and I’m not quite sure what else, we’ll figure that out as we go. He seem quite nice and, so far, I’ve spoken to him twice. Keep me in your prayers that the story will be good.

Oh, how I love pro football season especially my Dallas Cowboys. The rookie quarterback, Dac, is good and he is a great improvement to the team. I said that in order to say this. You know what I am doing on Thursday night, all day Sunday and on Monday night. Are you ready for some FOOTBALL? On the other side, my Dolphins still find ways to lose even when they play a team that they should conquer. Oh well, such is life.

Imperial Plaza was going to the new Afro American Museum, but, the overwhelming response for entry have caused the museum to issue entry tickets. The next available possible bulk ticket issue for bulk tours is next spring, I am told by the Activities Department. Instead, we will go to D.C. just for lunch and I guess for the ride. I can hardly wait to go. Other things are on the schedule, especially, ROMEO (Retired Old Men Eating Out), so I have a full plate when football is added in the mix. Then I have my writing, in which I have slacked off lately, and I have to get back into it. I have seen some notices about freelance writing jobs/contests, etc. and I am missing out on some good cash by not writing like I should.

The people that have garden plots said they wanted rain for the things they are growing. As a kid I was always told to be careful what I ask for because I just may get it. Well, the rain has come and now the cry is that it is too much. All that was needed was patience enough to wait for the state fair to arrive. Why? It always rain during the state fair, without fail.

Well, after I edit this before uploading, I must start in earnest the writing I have been putting off for so long. In fact, I have more than one piece I am presently writing on. So, next week I am hoping to post my other blog, faithingodministries.net, before I go to a military retirement ceremony in Hampton next weekend. If not I’ll post it the following weekend and this post following that. Sorry about the delay but, as I’ve said many times before, I am retired and I don’t have a schedule anymore. See ya later! Gotta get a move on!

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