Dear Shipmates, Family & Friends,
This was such a good reunion... just couldn’t have been better. Those “young’uns take good care of us old folks, and we love it. Cindy (Sims) and Jane (Hudson) planned everything like good tour directors... from the D-Day Memorial, to eating at the Spring House Restaurant on Saturday night, to the ship-ride (make that ‘boat-ride’) ride on Sunday. Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s always cool in the mountains. We were feeling the “heat”... as Sims, Jensen, and I stood in line (at the D-Day Memorial) to receive congratulations for our part in D-Day on June 6th, 1944. It was so nice... and hot. Even former Virginia Governor, Mark Warner, came through the line. I wish all the Normandy veterans could visit the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA. The Memorial is well planned, and the people there show a real appreciation for us veterans.
As I say, don’t know what we would do without the young ones looking after us. Cindy and Jane planned it, but Frances (Livesay) and Guy (Rich) brought the cookies. You see... Frances is retired from NABISCO, so she knows all about cookies. Guy just totes and fetches. He’s not like George (Fryberger). George has a real purpose... with his laptop. He can find anything, answer any question... even find pictures of former shipmates. George is a good person to have around on any occasion. That Bob (Hudson) is different. He keeps the discussions going with his wit and clever sayings. He’s so smart. Get him to tell you about some of the places he flies those big airplanes. If I didn’t know better, I’d think those “kids” enjoyed the Reunions more than we do. But, I know better.
Like I said, George (Fryberger) is a man of many talents. Not only can he use a laptop to find answers, he can use his GPS to find places... like Smith Mountain Lake. He rode us through some beautiful country, but we did wonder if George was lost. The little lady kept saying, “turn here, George, go there, George”... through all the curves and crossroads. As we were about to suggest stopping for directions, there was the lake... right when the lady said, “Destination ahead.” And there it was.
The luncheon boat ride on the Virginia Dare was a real treat and very relaxing for us sailors. We watched the Ospreys feed their young, as the Captain explained the operation and maintenance of Smith Mountain Lake. The dam has five turbines that are used during the daily peak demands for electricity. The used water is stored in a catch-basin below and pumped back-up into Smith Lake each night after everyone goes to bed. Captain “Bill” also talked about all the development that has built-up along the shore line. You have to wonder where all the money comes from to build those condos and big houses.
A word about Roy and Jane Hudson. Both are battling cancer, but they took part in almost all of our activities. This took a lot of their strength, but we really appreciated having them with us. Roy Jr. was kind enough to provide their transportation to the events. Jane has relinquished her job as the Secretary-Treasurer to Cindy (Sims). Our thoughts and prayers go out to Roy and Jane.
Ray and Doris (Joyce) from the USS BUNCH (DE-694) have visited with us over the past years. It was good to have them with us again this year. Ray and Doris are a wonderful couple... though (at times) it is hard to understand Doris; she talks “funny”... like a typical Yankee!
Norm (Jensen) and friend, Marie, flew-in from Arizona to be with us this year. After our meeting, they are planning another trip to Tahiti in the South Pacific. They have been once, and are going again. Some old sailors can never get enough of the sea. Happy sailing Norm and Marie!
Our French Lieutenant, Thibaut, is living a life of excitement! His ship recently participated in the capture of “pirates” off the coast of Somalia. You would think pirates are a thing of the past. Also, his marriage is still “on schedule” with fiancé, Claire. I had a print-out of their picture for everyone to see. When I get a picture of their wedding, I’ll send it to everyone.
I am happy to report that my friend, Rose Marie Johnson, has recovered from a second bout with cancer. She very much enjoyed our Reunion and never hesitated in telling me what to do. Like Bubba, I just ran to the end of my chain and bark.
A word about Bennie Hicks and his daughter Jane with hubby, Wilson Dillard. Unfortunately they didn’t arrive in time to go the D-Day Memorial with us on Friday. It was so good to see you again, Bennie. So sorry that Bea is still in the nursing home. Hope you and your daughter can be with us again next year.
That’s it for another very successful RICH Reunion. If you couldn’t join us this year, plan to be with us next year.
|USS Rich DE695 Survivors Association
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Last update: Sunday, May 16, 2010