Looking back on my summer I would have to say that the highlight was having my parents drive out for a visit. I was pretty worried about an 82 yr old man driving his motor home cross country but he managed to do okay. I still haven't pinned him down to tell me the story of accidentally driving into a ditch but I will. While he was here with his new wife I managed to get them down to see the Vietnam Memorial where Thelma's first husband's name is. They were only married for 2 years when he lost his life. She was pregnant with their second daughter at the time. I asked her afterwards if the memories were too sad and she told me all the sweet memories outweighed the bad ones. That answer is classic Thelma. Here are some photos of that day.
I was so honored to be able to make this happen for them. My Dad drives well, but walking around in the extreme heat he doesn't enjoy. Parking in DC with a motor home ain't easy, so I drove them there early on a Sunday morning. I think I impressed him with my slick city parallel parking skills. We walked slow and took breaks. When we finally got there and the guide looked up where Thelma's 1st husband's name would be, clucked his tongue and said we'd have a hard time reaching his name for a rubbing. It was indeed too high for us to reach. Thelma declared that if she could just touch it that it would be enough. So I gave her a boost and she reached for his name. A nice couple from the South (with heavy accents) helped out and boosted her even better. Then the woman said in her southern drawl. "Let my husband help y'all out with that rubbin' he's got some tall on 'im" So we handed him our paper and he went to town. He left the R off of ROBERT. He tried again. Sadly I brought the wrong thing for a rubbing. Note to self: graphite not pastel. We thanked the Southern couple and they left. Thelma was telling me it was just fine that it didn't turn out when suddenly the tour guide showed up with his fanny pack full of paper and graphite to save the day for us. He was super tall and I told him as he rubbed that he was the perfect height for this job. He gave me a great one liner about putting his 'tall legs on' when he got dressed that morning. I wondered how many times he used that line and admired him all the more for it. It was a great summer memory.