We had a pretty short drive to Frederick, MD to my friend Courtney’s but we were slowed down by heavy rains in PA. Made it there around 3 PM where Courtney, her husband Derrick, her mom BethAnn and her friend T-na (visiting from Houston) were waiting for us. We spent the rest of the afternoon sitting outside on their deck enjoying the nice weather (no rain there). Later, Rich and Derrick went to pick up Peruvian chicken with all the fixins and it was delicious, not to mention Courtney’s home grown tomatoes and figs from their trees.
I knew Courtney’s mom a little bit already but had never met Derrick, who’s lots of fun. BethAnn moved from Texas to be with Courtney and has a cool apartment in the basement. Perfect! All of them are very funny and had lots of stories to tell. We talked and laughed till late and enjoyed catching up on everyone’s news, plus lots of politics and current events. Courtney and I are social workers and T-na teaches political science at the university level so, of course, we had plenty to say!
The next day we left for Arlington National Cemetery to visit the graves of Rich’s parents, brother and sister in law. We have been to Arlington a couple of times before and it is always such a somber and sobering place. Miles and miles of white grave markers among the trees. I can’t help but think of the folly of war and the senseless loss of life as I look at the names and dates on the headstones. Of course, not all of those buried here were killed in a war but I imagine a large number were, and even if not killed, many suffered the consequences in other ways. We hadn’t seen Rich’s brother’s gravesite since his sister in law Nadine was interred with him and it was kind of a shock to suddenly see her name.
We walked to Rich’s parents’ graves but his brother and sister in law are interred another 20 minutes away so we took advantage of the free shuttle service. The driver was excited to know we are from Dallas because he loves the Cowboys. He noted he was even wearing his Cowboys belt buckle that day. Later when he picked us back up at George’s gravesite, he told us a story about why he became a Cowboys fan. He started out a Redskins fan and when he was 6, he went to a game between the Redskins and the Cowboys with some family members. The Redskins won and he was waiting after the game to meet and greet and get some autographs. He stated that all of the Redskins walked right past his 6 year old self, only greeting the “good looking girls” to his left and right. He soon became sad and upset and began crying. Just then the Cowboys came out and Emmitt Smith walked over to him and told him it was okay that they’d lost, they’d win next time. The kid said he wasn’t crying over the Cowboys’ loss; he was a Redskins fan. Emmitt asked, “Then why are you crying?” He told him that none of the Redskins would sign an autograph for him. Emmitt then not only signed an autograph but called over all the other Cowboys to sign the kid’s autograph book. Little kid becomes an instant Cowboy fan. And that’s only half the story. Fast forward 10 years, the guy is back at some sort of game or event, sees Emmitt Smith and asks him what’s his best memory of all the years of playing football. Emmitt says it’s not the accolades or the rings or the wins but “one time there was this little kid….” They figure out it’s the SAME little kid, of course! Okay, how many of us believe this is a true story??? Rich and I kept questioning him–no way this happened, right?? He was so sincere and said he knew it sounded unreal. LOL Rich asked him if he had a similar story for any Seattle Seahawks fans who got on the bus. He denied it. We are still shaking our heads! He wanted something from Dallas so I took his address and will send him some sort of Cowboys gear. Rich said that’s probably how he got the Cowboys belt buckle he was wearing.
(Top photo taken somewhere in Pennsylvania)