Memorial Day 2020

A moment to pause and remember.

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery (April 2018)

It is for those who did not make it back from war. To my dad, that was, that is, Memorial Day.

Dad wasn’t overly sentimental, or overly patriotic. He saw much as a frontline combat medic in Korea, and as a chief OR tech in Vietnam. He preferred if I did not enter military service. He had seen so many young guys, kids really, lose their life. Some died instantly. Others knew their life was slipping away. A rare few made the journey to the edge and back.

If there is one constant, it is all about coming home. To live quietly. A family. Having a small slice of the dream that is America.

When I came home from Panama, the docs were not sure if I would see tomorrow. Ask, I remember and don’t remember. Mom said, “Honestly, David.” I knew what she meant. Dad and I, it was a silent nod between us.

So much would be different if I had not come back. I am most fortunate to have come home.

Memorial Day, it is about coming home.

NY Bound

An invitation was extended.

waiting on an email reply

Several phone calls and emails were exchanged. Before coming to any decision on the invitation, their questions were many and very specific. They had their answers. Their notes were extensive. They talked, among themselves, late into the night, Wednesday evening.

With the entry forms completed, they talked again. It was decision time – ride or stand down.

Deborah: ride. Tara: ride. Elizabeth: ride.

There were no smiles or excitement. This was a statement decision. It is for themselves, plain and simple. It is not about taking a risk. Others can talk about how they are helping to restart the season, saving the sport, or the stakes involved. Before deciding, they agreed the decision to ride must be unanimous.

The invitation was accepted. Their entry forms were faxed Thursday afternoon.

in the office: Deborah waiting for the entry confirmation (North Ranch, Thu May 21 2020)

Minutes later, the show management called. Their entry forms were received and approved. The transport itinerary would be sent next Tuesday for the girls’ approval.

My daughters would have been content staying on the sidelines.

They are bound for New York.

Extra – The Saratoga Classic is held at White Hollow Farm in Saratoga Springs, in upstate NY. It features USEF Premier AA hunter/jumper events, which attracts some of the best equestrians across North America. White Hollow Farm is located on 100 acres, outside of Saratoga Springs. It has eight arenas with state-of-the-art drainage and all-weather performance footing. More on White Hollow Farm may be found here. Due to the COVID outbreak, restrictions are in place to ensure competitors and their support teams remain healthy. Both shows, Classic I and Classic II, are closed to the public.

A Day In The Life

… of what was once before.

We have missed, and lost, so much. Our friends, our family. The small moments of life. And, wonder if those days will ever return again.

While the darkest of days, through the valley of long shadows, remain, Jesus said, “I will never leave you.” In that, I trust. It is what I believe. It is my faith.

… of what was once, will be again.

NOTE: Gabriel’s Oboe is the theme song for the film, The Mission, composed by Ennio Morricone.

Show, No Show

Today would be Day One of their two weeks in Texas. This week, the Show Jumping Classic, with Tara defending her 2019 Grand Prix title. Next week, it would be the Southwest Classic, with Elizabeth aiming for her sixth consecutive Grand Prix win. These shows, postponed since March, seemed to be lost for 2020. Last week, the show management received clearance from the state for the two shows at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth. With a revised schedule, the Show Jumping Classic would be staged this coming weekend, May 16-18. The Southwest Classic will go as scheduled, May 20-24.

If you asked my daughters two weeks ago, four weeks ago, six weeks ago, they were convinced the 2020 season would be lost in its entirety. A restarted season, this soon, seemed highly unlikely. With many, many riders locked out of their barns, and having no practice time over the last 6-10 weeks, competitiveness would be an open question. Those who kept riding and practicing, including my daughters, during the lockdown would have a distinct, competitive advantage.

Elizabeth and Lilith: flat work exercise (North Ranch, May 2020)

Deborah and Comet: sizing up the 1.45m practice course (North Ranch, May 2020)

Earlier, the girls had received an invite to enter a pair of shows in upstate New York. Among the first shows in the northeast, the show management actively pursued professionals and ranked adult amateurs to participate. An added enticement, the show management is prepared to underwrite the transportation costs of the daughters’ horses. Considering the distance between Colorado and New York, air transport would be the best option. We would trailer the horses to the airport for their flight. Before the show management would underwrite the round trip expense, the girls would have to make the two-week commit. Further, the complement would need to be a minimum of 6-8 horses. It is a generous offer to say the least. But, it comes with strings.

Since the show management oversees both the New York and Texas shows, they are very hopeful the girls will compete at both venues. They have called them the best kept secrets in show jumping. “I wouldn’t want to be riding against any of them, especially Elizabeth. They will find a way to win. And, often, they do.”

The girls have pretty much decided Texas is out of the question. New York, that’s a maybe or maybe not, but they have time to decide.

study in concentration: Tara riding a 1.45m jumper course at the Del Mar International Welcome Week
(Del Mar Horse Park, Oct 2017)

 

A Weekend Home

Laurie and Andrea are home for the weekend. Quite fitting since it’s Mom’s Day weekend.

They are glad to have four days away, to be back home. To relax, to step away from the grind. And, like our student daughters, they brought home some laundry. To have them home, it’s been great. Our table talk is very lively. Probably, it’s an artifact they haven’t been home for six weeks.

Laurie at work: fixing a torn diaphragm (UC Hospital, Apr 2020)

 

Andrea at work: making sure everything is ready for Laurie before a procedure (UC Hospital, Apr 2020)

The daughters wonder what their ne’er-do-well ‘rents are doing when we talk quietly, and we finish with a burst of laughter. Or, they see when Laurie and I lock eyes, and say, “They’re at it again.” Or, when Andrea and I lock eyes, Laurie asks, “When are you two going to kiss?” Or, when two of the girls say the other may have an admirer. “No, I don’t.” Yes, we can be b-a-d.

Tonight, it’ll be steaks on the grill, a couple pitchers of margaritas to celebrate Mom’s Day.

Happy Mom’s Day!

 

NOTE – Except for the week Laurie was out with a severe cold, it has been an uneventful few weeks for them both. While the number of COVID cases at University of Colorado Hospital have steadied, infectious disease control protocols remain in place. The statewide number of new cases and deaths have slowed, but they still continue to trend upward. It hasn’t been decided when they will return to UC Health Memorial in Colorado Springs.

A Call For Hope

It is a call for hope. It is a call to give our best. It is a call to greatness.

This is a powerful, eloquent message that needs to be heard. More than once. More than twice. As often as needed.

The days, weeks and months ahead, in starting anew, will be the most difficult. Uncertainty and hardship will abound. It is when our decency and kindness will matter.

It is a time to make a difference, to be a difference.

NOTE: President Bush recorded this video message on Friday, May 1 2020 for “The Call To Unite“. The Bush Center released the video on Saturday, May 2 2020 on their social media platforms.

A Life Reordered

Colorado has begun taking its first tentative steps. They are steps back into a reordered life.

Life for us hasn’t changed much. The daughters are continuing to finish their semester online, from home. The two lab courses they were taking will be finished at some point this summer, probably late June into July. The girls have concluded the 2020 riding season is a total loss.  On the otherhand, their excitement is manifested in being a year closer to their medical degrees.

Laurie and Andrea remain posted at University of Colorado Hospital for the foreseeable future. How long is that? That hasn’t been decided yet. Laurie did have a very bad cold two weekends ago. She ran a 103º fever for three days before it broke. Laurie was quite sure she didn’t have COVID, but wrote a script for an intubation kit and IV set-up just in case. Andrea teased Laurie that she might need to re-read the “how-to” on intubation or see if a video was available on YouTube. Needless to say, Laurie did cause some angst down here. Anyway, she’s back to herself. Andrea continues to be well.

And, I continue to work from home, which I’ve always done. My workflow, that’s another story.

Official Report

Though not conforming to guidelines from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Colorado has chosen to slowly lift restrictions. It is a risky proposition. Since last Friday, April 24, more than 1100 new cases and nearly 20 new deaths were reported. Locally, the report is 123 new cases and the new losses of life varying between 8-12. (It depends on which source is used.) To an outside observer, these numbers are not encouraging. While the rate of growth and the number of deaths have slowed over the last two weeks, the three-day spike, this past weekend, suggests Colorado might be tempting fate. When it was believed influenza A (H1N1) in 1918 was over, Colorado made a headlong rush to lift all restrictions. In the second wave that ensued, Denver suffered nearly 50,000 dead.

Most mathematical models indicate the number of COVID cases and deaths, here, will lessen between late May and early June, but there will be a likely increase in new cases and deaths in the July-August timeframe. Both science and the data trend suggest patience should be exercised. Moreover, lessons echoing from the past should be heeded.