Being able to spend time with family and friends over the holidays is such a treat. One of the great benefits of a nomadic way of life is the ability to live where we want, when we want.
We enjoyed Thanksgiving at Donna’s sister, Sheila’s house. The plan was for me to take my daughter, Shauna’s car up to Sun City to pick up my step-dad, Ken. Plans always have a way of changing. Ken called me first thing Thursday morning and told me he picked up some kind of bug and was sick. He didn’t want to come to a house full of people and possibly infect others. He assured us that he would be fine.
When I told Shauna she didn’t need to drop her car off, she told me she realized her roommate, Brittany didn’t have family in the area and had nowhere to go. I told her to bring Brittany along. We would go to Sheila’s around 1pm. Shauna and Brittany are attending law school at Cal Western. They have finals coming up, so they used the extra time Thursday morning to study.
We arrived at Sheila’s house a little after 1pm. Donna’s other sister, Linda and her husband Tom where there. They flew in from Vermont the night before. Tom and I watched football while the girls sat outside. Sheila’s son, Connor provided entertainment for the girls. He’s nine years old and into James Bond. He was dressed for the part.
We snacked, talked and watched the game. The smoked trout pate Donna made was outstanding. Sheila’s friend, Dr. Jeff Sandler joined us. Dinner was planned for some time after 4pm. Again, plans have a way of changing. The turkey wasn’t cooperating – it took much longer than anticipated to cook.
Later, Sheila’s friend Ann joined us. She brought the potatoes. We had two tables set up to seat 10 people. Dinner was served around 7:30pm. We took turns stating what we are thankful for and enjoyed the meal. As usual, we all stuffed ourselves.
Yesterday, as predicted, we had a change in the weather. I knew it was coming by the ache in my right shoulder. I had surgery for a fractured glenoid and torn labrum in my right shoulder years ago after an accident. The orthopedic surgeon told me I would be a weather man – an ache in my shoulder means a front is approaching. The day was overcast and dreary with occasional showers. It didn’t rain hard though. The thermometer was stuck at 64 degrees.
Donna rented a car from Enterprise for the weekend. She took me to the Embarcadero where I met Tom, Linda and Connor at the Midway Museum. I wrote about the Midway before. It’s a a navy aircraft carrier built in 1945. It was used in Vietnam. Pilots from the Midway shot down the first Russian MIG fighter plane there in 1965. They also shot down the last MIG of that conflict in 1973. It was operational through 1992 and served in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm. In 1992, it was decommissioned in San Diego.
Today, it serves as a naval museum. The carrier is 1,001 feet long and 258 feet wide. It carried a crew of 4,500 sailors. We spent three hours walking through the hangar deck and down through the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th decks which are referred to as a city at sea. The logistics of caring for 4,500 people working at sea are staggering. I gained respect for the work the sailors perform.
We finished up our tour on the flight deck. We dodged a shower or two and walked the length of the deck. They had various airplanes from different eras on display. I had to take a picture of an A4 Skyhawk. I worked on an A4 squadron in the Marines in 1975.
The area called the island on the flight deck houses the bridge, ready room, captain and admirals quarters.
From the flight deck, I saw an active aircraft carrier across San Diego Bay at the North Island Navy base. It was the Nimitz class nuclear powered CVN 76, Ronald Reagan.
Three hours of walking up and down steps and ladders was enough for us, although we only saw about half of the museum. As large as the Midway was, it was dwarfed by a cruise ship docked at the pier to the north. This cruise ship was called Golden Princess.
Late last night, Donna’s brother, Mark and his wife, Miriam, flew into San Diego. They are returning to Philadelphia from a vacation in Hawaii and will spend a few days here. Today, we’ll all get together on Coronado Island for lunch. Tomorrow, Mark, Tom and I will go to the San Diego Chargers versus Cincinnati Bengals game.