Saturday, April 28, 2012
Road Trip: Retirement and Giant Pistachios
Yesterday was the big day, the reason we came all the way down here, the retirement ceremony for my father-in-law Dave.
We started off a leisurely morning with my sister-in-law Denise. Cordelia enjoyed some special attention from her aunt and uncle, really warming up to them and putting on quite a cute show. Mid-morning we headed out to Holloman Air Force Base where we were to partake in the retirement ceremony and festivities honoring my father-in-law's extended career in the military, first as active duty for 21 years and now 22 years of civil service. What a career! His colleagues gave him quite the send-off too!
The first order of business was for Dave to take a ride in an F4 Phantom. Quite a big send-off. Cordelia and I stayed a bit upwind of the scent of jet fuel.
Cordelia and I on base, outside of the hangar
Eric, his sister Denise, Cordelia and my mother-in-law Janis
Eric and Cordelia. Eric even wore his Coast Guard uniform. Note that I call it a uniform, sometimes I accidentally (and quite offensively) call it a costume.
I accessorized with an unborn baby girl.
Dave, waving from the back or the jet, after his ride, they taxied up to the hangar where he was honored in a formal ceremony. The ceremony was really wonderful and quite touching. Dave was given a wonderful send-off. There were high ranking military officials singing his praise and people from nearly all stations there supporting this man and his life of service. Even the family received attention. Eric was presented with a flag. All of the ladies (even Cordelia and I) were presented with our own bouquets. Quite an event indeed.
Eric, Dave, his sister Tina and his sister Denise
After the official ceremony it was barbeque time.They even had vegan burgers for us, so it was a great and well-planned shindig inside a giant hangar. Cordelia went bananas running around the hangar with another little girl. When we finally left she pretty much instantly passed out in her car seat. When we made it back to our room I somehow fell asleep too.
Later we took the next inevitable step a trip to visit the world's largest pistachio. Of course we did!
We checked out a couple of the pistachio ranches. Eric sampled some wine as many of these pistachio ranches also have vineyards. We picked up a few bottles to take back with us. We sampled some pistachios and grabbed some bags to give as gifts to northern friends.
Pistachios on the tree.
We also toured our old town. Noting the things that had changed and things that had stayed the same. Finally heading to a restaurant to have a celebratory family dinner in Dave's honor. What a great day celebrating a man's lifetime of service.