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Four Weeks Ago – Town Liberty

Four weeks ago, we were spending the Saturday of BMT graduation weekend with our boy.

I put on a couple of pins I’d purchased the day before at the BX.

I’d purchased four of them, unable to make up my mind.

There were no ceremonies to attend that day, so we sat at the mini mall and waited for Rooster to arrive.  His dorm was right beside us.

We were eager.  So were other parents.  The place was packed!  You could hear the excitement as we began seeing Airmen arrive.  They were all decked out in their blues…the uniform of the day.  Most were wearing short sleeves because it was so hot.  Rooster was wearing his new Air Force jacket.  He looked so dapper!

We quickly headed out, not wanting to waste a minute!

The first order of business was taking pictures.  Rooster’s girl wanted to have some pictures taken at the parade grounds, so although it was overcast, that’s where we went.

There wasn’t anyone else around, so we didn’t feel self conscious.  I took a lot of pictures.

This is a panorama I took…

I saw this monument, a tribute to the four legged soldiers who help in the fight to secure our freedom.

We decided to drive back to the Riverwalk.  We weren’t exactly sure what our plans were, though.

On the way, I remembered that the USO has a branch there, and that they serve lunch on Saturdays.  After parking the car, we walked the rest of the way there.

I continued to be amazed by the people who thanked Rooster for his service as they passed by.  ❤

The USO was a welcome sight.  I’ve always heard good things about this organization.

The volunteers who greeted us were friendly, and their smiles were genuine.  We saw this sign by the front desk…

This place was so homey!  There were several rooms in it, all furnished with comfortable seating and other amenities such as gaming systems, televisions, and computers.

It’s hard to believe that this place is run through generous donations!!

We decided not to eat lunch there.  Instead, we headed to the Saltgrass Steakhouse, which Rooster had heard a fellow Airman rave about.  Getting there was an interesting adventure.  Google Maps didn’t help a whole lot.  Eventually, we found our way back to the Riverwalk, where the restaurant was located.

All I can say about the place is WOW!  The service was incredible!  From the time we walked in, we were made to feel special.  Rooster, especially, got the star treatment, as he should have.  He wasn’t the only new Airman dining there.  It made my heart soar to see how kind everyone was toward him and how humbly he took the attention.

The food was delicious!  Yes, it was pricey, but it was worth every penny!  We left with full bellies and another precious memory to tuck away.

After lunch, we made our way back to our car and, ultimately, back to the hotel.  Rooster was exhausted, as were we.  Everyone needed a rest.

On the way back to the car, we saw this…

All was fun until we saw the poop the horse left behind.  Yuck!  What a stink!

Getting back to the hotel didn’t take long.  We’d gotten fairly comfortable navigating the roads by then.

We gave Rooster time to nap while I went on another mission…yarn store hunting!  I’d found one conveniently close to the hotel and got the Mr. and his mom to go with me.

This store was located in a strip mall.  What a hidden treasure!  I should have taken a picture of the inside, but I forgot.  When I walked in, there must have been a class going on because there were quite a few people sitting on couches knitting!!  All I wanted to do was look at the yarn, and what an assortment!  The store owner directed me to a section of locally dyed yarn, which I was all about since it was, after all, like a vacation, and buying something locally made would count as a souvenir.

I couldn’t make up my mind and bought three skeins…

The yarn was dyed according to themes.  I couldn’t pass up the Gambit…it was meant to be since Rooster’s dog’s name is Gambit.  I loved the Jedi.  I am a huge Star Wars ban.  I loved the skein you see below.  I’m all about Harry Potter!

By the time we got back to the hotel, Rooster was awake.  We decided to head to dinner.  We knew we would probably have to wait in line, and we wanted to make sure we got him back in time for his curfew.  The Air Force is very strict with curfews; Airmen, even recently graduated, can get recycled back if they break such rules.

We ate a little fancier that night…an early celebration of Rooster’s birthday.  He wouldn’t be turning 22 until that Monday, the 30th, but we wouldn’t be with him that day (sniff, sniff).

The place was PACKED.  I was nervous about getting served in ample time to get him back; however, a quick conversation with our server alleviated that concern.  She must have had a chat with someone in the kitchen because our food came out very quickly.

Rooster and his girl even got dessert…a luxury.  He was full when he finished.

Mission accomplished.

We got him back in plenty of time to meet curfew.  He was, once again, tired.  The poor guy.  BMT is a stressful and strenuous training process.  Not only are future Airmen away from loved ones, but they are performing overnight security details and physical training exercises that most are not used to.  It’s no wonder that they crave sleep.

Turning out the lights that night was bittersweet.  I knew that Sunday would be my last day with my boy.  For the time being, I tried just to enjoy the time I had.  I didn’t want sadness to creep in and steal away my joy.

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