Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Airports don't usually make me cry-- at least not unless my flight has been cancelled, but this past weekend, an event at the airport had me crying like a baby, and that is NOT something I usually do.

Husband and I were waiting for our slightly delayed flight from Baltimore back to Los Angeles and had an extra hour before boarding was scheduled.  I heard part of an announcement over the crackling loud speaker about "welcoming troops... static... Gate 20... static... in 10 minutes..."

I wasn't sure what was happening but we took a walk down the concourse and could easily see something "big" was about to happen.  More than 100 people were lined up with American flags and balloons in great anticipation of an arriving flight.  Since it was nearly Memorial Day, we assumed we were greeting soldiers arriving back in the States and were thrilled to be a part of it.

That was not the case.  Rather, we were greeting more than ninety World War II Veterans who were traveling to Washington DC to see their War Memorial as part of the Honor Flight Network.

As the doors to the jetway opened, people in the front got the first glimpses of aging soldiers, many of whom were in wheel chairs or using walkers.  Cheers, applause and whistling erupted and didn't stop until every single Veteran being honored had departed the plane-- more than 40 minutes later!  And I mean, the cheering never stopped, slowed, or quieted down!

Not a great photo, but you get the idea.  I was crying so hard most of the pics I took were blurry.

The crowd of on lookers grew to more than 300 enthusiastic people of all ages.   We were now 2 or 3 people deep in a line that snaked over 25 yards long--  It was a glorious welcome parade for the heroes, each one slowly making their way, shaking hands, saluting and wiping tears.  Frankly, there wasn't a dry eye in the place!

These courageous men and women, all well over the age of 80, were in awe of the reception they'd never expected.  And so was I.  It began as a small Welcome Committee from Honor Flight and, thanks to the airline's announcement, grew to literally hundreds of people thanking soldiers for their great service to America.  It made me feel so proud.

Reaching out, shaking hands and being able to thank people who served our country so bravely is an experience I won't soon forget.  I'm still choked up just thinking about it.

God bless America and the world.
Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins

Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization created solely to honor America's veterans for all their sacrifices. We transport our heroes to Washington, D.C. to visit and reflect at their memorials. Top priority is given to the senior veterans – World War II survivors, along with those other veterans who may be terminally ill.

Of all of the wars in recent memory, it was World War II that truly threatened our very existence as a nation—and as a culturally diverse, free society. Now, with over 800 World War II veterans dying each day, our time to express our thanks to these brave men and women is running out.

Photo Credit: © grgroup - Fotolia.com

Monday, May 13, 2013

One Step At A Time

He swaggered into the grocery store with knee stains that indicated he'd recently played in the dirt.  If there was any doubt of that, one look at his finger nails confirmed that half the sandbox had come to the store with him.  His nails, thick with dirt, were hard to miss because one of his fingers was so far up his nose his eyes were crossing.

My guess is the young man was about 5 years old.

Mom was still wrangling a shopping cart as the boy I came to know as Dennis made a beeline to the grapes in the produce section.  Several had been eaten before his mother arrived calling his name loudly.

And so began Dennis' supermarket adventure.

I soon found myself behind the pair in the cereal aisle unable to pass as they haggled over Fruit Loops and Lucky Charms.  I was in no rush so I paused and tried not to laugh out loud as nonstop pleading for both poured out of Dennis' mouth.

When mom finally won the cereal box battle, she pushed her cart down the aisle as Dennis pouted with both hands on his hips eyeing the Pop Tarts on the opposite shelf.

I was finally able to move past him when it happened...

My brand new rubber-soled, quasi geriatric looking flip-flops squeaked and sounded remarkably like a giant, um, well-- there's no other way to say it--  It sounded like a giant fart.

Dennis heard and was immediately hysterical running down the aisle laughing and shouting at the top of his lungs "Mom, that lady just farted!"

I did not-- had not-- would rather have turned purple before I did such a thing in public.  Seriously!  It was my shoe, actually the sole of foot against the rubber of the flip-flop's sole-- but it out came as a "foot fart", like the sound of an "armpit fart" that boys Dennis' age would make.

Mom looked over her shoulder at me.  I'm not sure which one of us was more mortified.  As she used her hand to muzzle him, Dennis wiggle away, ran back to me and asked, in an excited voice, to show his mom and "fart again".

I was frozen in my tracks afraid to move.  If I was going to vindicate myself, my flip-flop would need to "fart" on command.  If it did not, well, then I was really just a big stinker in the eyes of Dennis, his mom and the crowd of shoppers we were now drawing.

Mind you, these were brand new flip-flops and the noise had never happened before.

Dennis was practically apoplectic so I had him take one step at a time with me.

Step one... Nothing.

Step two... Nothing.

Step three...Hello foot fart!

Step four, five, six... Jackpot-- Foot fart... fart... fart.  Dennis was in foot fart heaven proving his case to his mother as true.  He never figure out it was my flip-flops, rather he just thought there was an old lady at the market who could fart on command.

His mom, red-faced, rolled her eyes and mouthed "Sorry".  I saluted and finished my shopping with a few random shoppers high 5-ing me along the way-- Although I'm not exactly sure why.

I paid for my groceries and made my way out of the store as quickly as possible-- on my tip-toes-- so as to avoid any further embarrassing moments. 

Just another day in paradise...

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins
Photo Credit: © iQoncept - Fotolia.com

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Hit The Brakes!

I come from "Horse People", as they say.  The cowboy kind, or rather, cowgirl kind.  My sisters rode horses growing up and loved it.  Me?  Not so much.  Horses were too big and scary for my ballerina sensibilities.

Now their daughters, my nieces, ride.  And they ride really, really well.

Case in point...

This is a pic snapped just as my lovely niece rode her horse like a bat outta hell, as fast as they could, from one end of the show ring to the other, "hitting the brakes" at the last possible minute before crashing into the end of the ring.  After they stopped on a dime, she had the horse walk backwards to finish things off nicely.  And, I might add, she did it all while wearing purple sequins.

When you can ride like that, you're a National Champion winning a big shiny belt buckle, an engraved silver tray, and a gorgeous saddle.

My niece attends the great Ohio State University and is studying to be a veterinarian so I'm thinking those horse skills will come in handy in her near future.

Her mother, my baby sister, texted me through her ride while I watched a live feed of the horse show on my computer.  (Gotta love modern technology when you're bursting with pride.)  About half way through the ride, I realized that Baby Sis was probably not breathing as she watched her daughter do her thing.  So I "hit the breaks" on my OMGing and texted repeatedly to my sister to keep breathing... Which she finally did once her sweet daughter had completed her award-winning ride and was out of the ring.

We.  Are.  So.  Proud!

Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com  -  Joanna Jenkins