Rough Start To Our Vacation

(this is the first of a series of stories from our recent cruise adventure)

Packing our suitcases, checking our list of necessary items for the trip, trying to stay healthy, and arranging for drop-off and pick-up transportation. All this for the start of our first cruise down the Pacific Coastline on the Grand Princess!

Excitement grew as each day drew closer to our embarkation date of April 1. Nothing was going to deter us from our wonderfully planned voyage. I was exceptionally excited as this would be my family’s first cruise ever! Finally, we could see what this cruising-lifestyle is all about.

Saturday morning arrived. We had to wait for my older son and his wife to arrive so that we can carpool together into San Francisco. Last-minute preparations and the loading of suitcases into the car with some extra room for their luggage.

My phone buzzed –┬áit was my son calling probably to let me know they were almost here. Upon answering my phone, I heard the words that would deflate my enthusiasm.

Dad, we have a problem.

Continue reading

Sunday Drive In The Bay Area…

It was Mother’s Day and we were deciding what to do and where to go. Aside from the usual tourist locations in the Northern California Bay Area, we decided to simply drive along the coast line, twisting and turning, until we arrived at Half Moon Bay.

Sunday was a beautiful day and though clouds threatened to ruin our adventure, it was easily forgotten as we enjoyed the ocean views and forests that guided our path home. Traffic was interspersed with occasional merged lanes and early meals at packed restaurants.

Were we able to capture some pictures? Here are just a few… Continue reading

At The Speed Of “Blink”…

Blink!

What has happened to me? Where did the past seventeen years go? How could this have happened? Is this real or a fantasy?

It was the first day of school in this region and summer seemed to have passed by like a strong gust of wind in the open desert plain. The past two months were very important as I wanted to spend time with my son before he moves to the next stage of his life – adulthood!

Continue reading

She Will Always Be In His Heart

My older son graduated from the police academy after enduring six months of intense stress, pressure, and physical strain. He almost quit halfway through the program and wondered if he was doing the right thing. He missed his mother and felt that since she was not here anymore, he didn’t have a reason to complete this training. I encouraged him to finish and do his best but that’s easy for someone who doesn’t have to wake up at 4am and working until midnight on a daily basis in the hopes of minimizing mistakes (only get two chances to pass any test with the physical and emotional exhaustion to boot).

Needless to say, I was honored when my son asked that we (my current wife and other son), along with my brother and my son’s soon-to-be fiance, share the platform with him as his badge was to be pinned by my brother (current peace officer). My brother had a difficult time pinning the badge as my son’s uniform was brand new. I’m sure he felt the pressure as the audience patiently waited for the pinning to get done (note: other family members had similar difficulties pinning their graduates as well).

Finally…the pin poked through the brand new police shirt and everyone clapped! My brother felt an overwhelming sense of relief as his job was completed even though it took longer than expected. Posing for the customary pictures with my son’s new police chief, we quietly vacated the stage for the next recruit to be honored. It was a proud moment for all of us!

The festivities after the ceremony was memorable as many of my son’s college friends attended to congratulate him along with many family and close friends who sacrificed their time to attend this special ceremony. What an evening it was! Surrounded by public safety personnel of various types including some from other states, we were ushered into this new family of peace officers this wonderful night. The keynote speaker stated it correctly – it really is the few who are in the news or choose to disrupt the public that are in the minority! The majority of people believe in and support our public safety officers for without them, chaos would be the alternative and that would be a disaster beyond measure!

Interestingly, a few years earlier, my son carried a picture of his mother (my late wife) when he graduated from college. It was in a picture frame and he held it for all to see. He explained that he wanted mom to share in his triumphant moment of graduating from college. I had wondered if, and how, he would repeat this same honor of his mother at such a sacred ceremony for the police academy graduation. There was much more structure compared to a college graduation. Obeying orders in a military fashion was the dominant rule throughout the night. There were family hugs and pictures taken but only at the time of the pinning – all other times, it was meant for the aura of a future peace officer. Tonight, my son needed to simply have his mother’s memory in his heart only.

The very next morning, he confessed that the reason why my brother, had such a difficult time pinning his badge was that my son placed a picture of his mother in his shirt pocket above his heart – yes, the very location in which the first pin penetration needed to occur. He forgot to mention this and couldn’t whisper it to his uncle but was thankful that my brother moved to another spot on the shirt to complete the task.

I believe that, even in death, my dear wife guarded her son’s heart through his inadvertent placement of a simple picture at just the right location.

Yes, even from Heaven, mom was proud and protective of her baby boy growing into a young man today!

To Protect and Serve!!!