Tag Archives: Virginia

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.

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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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MPP and Casinos

You should have been there. The third class of the Mighty Pen Project had their graduation ceremony, of which I was a part of, on the 6th of April. There were at least eighty five people in attendance and food in abundance (after the ceremony, of course). And, to top it all off, there were six or seven readings of some of the pieces written during the ten weeks of intense university level instruction. This was my second class and I loved this one most of all. The next class will be starting in a week or two (I forget which) and Mighty Pen Project (MPP) will begin to take applications for the fall class that will start in September. Those of you that can make it should sign-up for this ten week course. You’ll be surprised in what you can accomplish. Registration is taken through the Virginia War Memorial (our partner in this endeavor) on their web site, www.virginiawarmemorial.org I am still working on our web site (I finally made a break through in getting it started) and it’s located at www.themightypenproject.org I finally have a few photos from the graduation and a couple from NPR when they were at the second class (I’m in both of the photos which ended up in the papers also). Keep looking at both sites because information change often.

I love going to the casinos but I am out with Charlestown Casinos in Charlestown, West Virginia. The horse racing was good (they can’t rig that) but the slot machines are brand new and set to not pay. Maryland Live and Horseshoe (Baltimore) is much, much better. You may not get a jackpot but you will make and lose a little with the occasional jackpot or near jackpot. West Virginia must want us to pay for the new machines. Not on my dime. But, on the other side of the coin, my wife love to play Roulette and does pretty good on the table. It’s hard to rig the table but the machines are another matter. Therefore, we’ll go to Maryland Live for a week, starting Monday, and my religious blog will be late if at all (it’s not like I’m getting paid for this blog).

I see we have the typical Virginia weather…wait five minutes and it’ll change. Seem as though we are getting March in April, therefore, we may get April in May. Either way, our Virginia weather, in my opinion, is the best in the USA. A little of this and a little of that with not too much of any one thing. Here in the Richmond, tri-cities area, the very bad weather either go around us or skip over us. I love it and try to enjoy it. It’s never too hot nor too cold (three bears?) and I don’t like the cold although I spent most of my military career in cold places. Oh well, there is nothing that can be done about it even if you don’t like it. We all have to suck up the bad weather and hope we are never in it.

Take care, be good and I’ll see all of you when I get back.

Fish-A-Rama

I love fishing and can’t get enough of it. I’ll fish at every opportunity that is available to me and then try to squeeze in more. I do have a couple of problems, though. First I put into the freezer much more than I can consume in a year. Then, second, which piggyback the first one, my wife does not eat any of the fish which mean all that is in the freezer is for me. Here is an example….Imperial Plaza just went on a fishing trip to Virginia Beach. To put fresh fish into my chest freezer I had to throw out six bags of my oldest fish. I usually freeze six to eight fish to a bag and I threw out fish from 2013 and 2014. I now have three bags of eight fish from the trip. It hurt me to my heart to throw the fish away but I didn’t have any choice.

The fishing trip was on a Wednesday and, to top that off, my son-in-law and I went fishing the following Friday night. Sitting on the pier with my chair, a tablet for music, food, and a cooler with ice for the fish and sodas was relaxing as well as great. We were in heaven and have done this, in the same place, many, many times. We just love fishing and, like me, he’ll go fishing every chance he gets. Many fish were caught and we had a great time talking, eating, snoozing and, of course, fishing.

For the first time, I swear it was my first time, I gave ALL of my fish, that I caught Friday night, to a few residents at Imperial Plaza. I will not say that I will always do this but I decided to slow down filling the freezer. I plan to do a lot of fishing and don’t want to load forty or fifty bags into the freezer like I normally do. There are a lot of people, here at Imperial Plaza, that I have become friends with and I know they appreciate having fresh fish that is free. Of course I keep the best stuff (puppy drum, speckled trout, shark, etc.) and I will not clean the fish for them. A few people did not accept the fish because I would not clean it for them.

It was great going out of Virginia Beach from Ruddie’s Inlet because I haven’t taken that trip in a couple of years or so. Most of the time the boat goes out over the ship wrecks, a long, long way from shore, out in the Atlantic but this time the boat went out over the tunnel. For those of you that do not know, this is the tunnel that runs under the Chesterpeak Bay from Virginia Beach to the Eastern Shore. Fish just love this area and dolphin hangout there because of that fact.

While fishing, a lady about six feet from me, caught a small shark but didn’t want it. I could not let good meat go to waste so took it from her and cooked it the next day. Shark meat is good eating although many people turn their nose up at it. They really don’t know what they are missing. Shark is good eating without bones; good boneless white meat. The only bone in a shark is the spine down to the majority of the tail.

Finally, I want to mention the Imperial Plaza activity that I have just come from (Saturday). I want to commend the people that put the Father’s Day Celebration together. It was just grand and it was FREE. We had a live band (BBB [Better Blues Band]), plenty of food and drink, tables under the trees and most of the Imperial Plaza Staff was there to serve. A person couldn’t ask for anything more although, as usual, there were people that had to complain. Personally, I could not see anything to complain about. Even the weather was nice. Again…..Thank You, Imperial Plaza Staff. Job well done.