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Leaving Check ... next stop Jambo

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Debbie's busy in the kitchen making breakfast for her grandkids who are visiting from NC and AL this week. I'll be heading out right after breakfast ... next stop Ft AP Hill and the Jamboree. I've enjoyed visiting friends along the way and am excited to get to the Jamboree. At least I won't have to do any driving for the 10 days I'm there

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHARONSPARKLE 7/23/2010 10:28AM

    It appears all is going well. I know you will enjoy the Jamboree - looking forward to hearing stories when you return.

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DEREKCSIMMONS 7/22/2010 12:31PM

    Have fun! I'll look for you in the webcast on teh 31st ;).

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KRISLEEB 7/22/2010 11:18AM

    I'll be at Jambo Tuesday the 27th. I'm meeting a buddy of mine for Lunch over at SubCamp 7 at noon if you want to try to catch me. We're both Podcasters for PTC Media (scouting podcasts) and it's been publicised as a "meet & greet". He's SM Jerry with troop 710 (I think).

Have fun & drink lots of water!!!

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Greetings from Check, VA

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I'm on the road to the Jamboree. It's really been an adventure so far. Day 1 I was forced off the road while driving through a severe thunderstorm. The rain was coming down so hard I couldn't see where I was going, so I pulled off the interstate ... there were dozens of vehicles parked on the shoulder with me. I changed the radio from satellite to a local station and found out the area I was driving through was under a tornado warning. I took shelter for a couple of hours then continued on.

Day 2 was a rest and visit day ... day three I was on the road again. I missed 3 or 4 tolls going through Illinois ... I was out of my element going through Chicago (where I missed most of the tolls). I live 120 miles from the nearest interstate and that's a four lane road ... two lanes going in each direction. Going through Chicago there were six or eight lanes going in each direction. I was out of position to get over to the "pay in cash" lane (extreme right lane) since my GPS was telling me to stay to the left. Just paid those missed tolls via internet. I hope I paid enough since I'm not really sure how many tolls I missed or exactly which toll plazas I missed them at.

Day four I continued on my way to VA to visit my friend Debbie before going to the Jamboree. Debbie lives way up in the mountains, in the SW corner of VA. Mountain driving is not my thing ... narrow, twisty roads, hairpin curves, blind curves, up the mountain, down the mountain. I was a wreck when I got here. Tomorrow I head out for the Jamboree site. Hopefully that leg of the journey will be event free. I've had just about all the driving excitement I can take!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BOOBERRY 7/23/2010 10:39AM

    Yes Terrie Jo I agree Chicago driving is crazy we have missed a toll or two ourselves Just think of all the fun you are going to have and take a deep breathe and relax Enjoy yourself, emoticon, Brenda

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BOOBERRY 7/23/2010 10:38AM

    Yes Terrie Jo I agree Chicago driving is crazy we have missed a toll or two ourselves Just think of all the fun you are going to have and take a deep breathe and relax Enjoy yourself, emoticon, Brenda

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CBSPECIAL 7/22/2010 8:47AM

    Wehn you come my way I'll drive down to DC, I'm used to the madness!

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JACQUEBO 7/21/2010 4:14PM

    It sounds like you've had a real adventure so far. Enjoy your visit and the jamboree.

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I'm a Knotmaster now ... WooHoo!

Monday, June 28, 2010

I'm a Knotmaster now. WooHoo! In order to become a Knotmaster in the troop I had to learn to tie 21 knots: Square (Reef) Knot, two half hitches, taut-line hitch, clove hitch, bowline and timber hitch (earned my knot rope) larks head, sheep shank and whipping the end of a rope (earned the green whipping), figure 8 knot, round turn & two half hitches, and sheet bend (earned the yellow whipping), double sheet bend, rolling hitch and bowline on a bite (earned the earned the 1st black whipping), the constrictor knot, figure 8 loop and man harness knot (earned the 2nd black whipping), the triple bowline, two turn bowline and surgeons knot (earned the 1st orange whipping), and three splices: splicing two ropes together with the short splice, the eye splice and the back splice (earned the 2nd orange whipping).

I really struggled with this goal. I started out by trying to teach myself how to tie the knots through reading about knots, learning knot terminology and watching knot tying demonstrations on the internet. The problem with these online demonstrations is that if you get stuck you don't get any feedback about what you're doing wrong and how to correct your mistake. When I finally asked for help from others things really turned around.

I found out from one of the scouts taking the Pioneering Merit Badge that they were learning the three splices I needed to do in their merit badge class. So I headed over to Scout Crafts, introduced myself the "Thew" (Matthew) and asked for his help. He graciously agreed to take me on as an additional student and had me splicing like a pro in no time.

Before we even got on the bus to leave for summer camp I let two of our troop Knotmasters know I needed their help in learning the last six knots for Knotmaster. If we were in our camp site I had a knot rope in my hands. Sometimes their eyes would roll back in their heads when I walked in their direction, knot rope in hand, but they always made time for me. I went to these two particular scouts time and time again because they were older scouts who were attending summer camp for the 6th time and had fewer merit badge classes than the other Knotmasters. When you test for Knotmaster you have to tie all 21 knots in one sitting and be able to give their primary use. I don't know who was happier when I passed the test ... them or me!

Notice the rope hanging from the belt loop of the scout in the Troop 425 t-shirt. It has all six whippings attached to the rope, denoting a Knotmaster. I can wear that rope now.

Becoming a Knotmaster was my final ticket item for Wood Badge. As soon as we got home on Saturday I did the write up for my final ticket. It is in the outgoing mail now. I should know by the end of the week if the ticket counselor accepted my write up as is or if I'm going to have to edit it. The worst of it is over now ... I should be receiving my beads soon.

I'm definitely going to have to do something about those gray roots before I step in front of a camera again!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DAWNOPFER 6/30/2010 4:37PM

    Well, almost none of that made sense to me emoticon but your enegry and enthusiasm sure did come through!!! Way to go!

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DEREKCSIMMONS 6/29/2010 2:59PM

    Congrats! I love rope and knots and may steal this idea for my troop!

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NEWLIBRARIAN 6/29/2010 8:04AM

    Good for you Terrie

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CBSPECIAL 6/29/2010 7:58AM


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PATTYSPENCER 6/28/2010 8:48PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

What an awesome accomplishment!

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KRISLEEB 6/28/2010 4:23PM

    That is TOTALLY awesome TerrieJo!! I HATE tying knots! I always turn to my boys to do it when we're camping. I'm so happy for and proud of you!!!

I SUPER like this blog!!!

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Death is complicated

Friday, June 18, 2010

I waited for hours after my brother called me with the news of my father's death for a second call from my brother with information about the burial arrangements. He didn't call.

This morning I got up and started unpacking my camping gear (our troop is leaving for summer camp at 0800 tomorrow morning) and started packing to fly to California for my father's funeral. I waited until 11:00 my time before calling my brother ... I needed the name, address and phone number of the funeral home that would be handling my father's arrangements so I could get the bereavement rate with the airlines.

My brother as it turns out couldn't call me last night because he was at the hospital with my mother. She had collapsed at the nursing home when she went to see my father's remains. She is still there, under observation, because her blood sugar and blood pressure are off the charts. Blood sugar? No one ever told me she is diabetic, but apparently she is.

My mother has decided to have my father's remains cremated. She had asked him which he preferred and he had no preference. She knows about my ear block and doesn't want me to fly right now, and also wants to wait until my nephew can get leave from the USMC to attend the memorial service.

Sean just graduated from boot camp in April and is attending a three month tech school at Ft. Lee, VA. The military does not consider grandparents immediate family and while a commander does have the discretion to grant a leave under emergency conditions it is highly unlikely they would do so in this case. If Sean were at his permanent unit and the unit wasn't busy it might be a different story, but since he is mid-way through a technical school the disruption to his training doesn't work in his favor for such consideration.

Sean will get anywhere between 10 - 30 days leave after his tech school, depending in part on where he is assigned after the school. At this point my mother and brother are thinking about having the memorial service in August, after Sean graduates and I am released from the National Scout Jamboree. They want us both there, and I appreciate their flexibility is considering my ear issue and my nephew's military status.

My only concern in not going to California until August was not being able to see my father one last time. My brother tells me that it is for the best that I don't. He saw my father yesterday and said the difference in just the two days since he had last seen him was devastating. He wants me to remember my father the way he was when I saw him on his 90th birthday ... 26DEC08.

I'm going to go unpack my funeral bag now, and repack my camping bag. There is no sense sitting here all week, stewing in my own juices, when I can be at summer camp with the boy scouts, helping them grow and develop into fine young men. The kind of man my father was.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PICKIE98 6/20/2010 5:52PM

    You are supposed to be with the scouts, the timing is just right for that.. Dad is still with you anyway, in your heart,, hospital is caring for mom,,, take all teh hugs you can get, give all the ones you can give and take some alone time while there,,, for Terriejo..Linda

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PATTYSPENCER 6/20/2010 10:15AM

    Terri Jo - yes death is complicated as is life. It is so difficult to deal with things when you're so far apart from one another but living closer wouldn't mean things would be easier.

Take a breath. You have a lot of wonderful memories of your father. Don't beat yourself up and put yourself on a guilt trip (and don't allow anyone else to either).

Each of us deals with death differently - when I was growing up my parents took me to "visit" my grandparents every holiday - I haven't been to "visit" my parents since 95 even tho they are 10 miles away - I prefer to remember them "as they were" not "as they are"

Do what you can and don't worry about what you can't. I think going with your Scouts is the best therapy (I actually attended my son's Blue & Gold on the nite of my father's passing - I was in a fog but my son was 9 and didn't understand really what had just happened and this was important to him.

Have fun with the boys - maybe at one of your evening meals you can open up a discussion about fathers and all of you leaders can share a favorite story about them as they were growing up -and/or maybe open up a discussion with the boys on how they view their fathers.

Oh - and thank you for my "goodie"

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MARGOMCP 6/20/2010 9:04AM

    Yes, if you wander up to see Gerry, stop by me for a pee break to or from.

I know the boy scouts will benefit from your care and training of them this summer based on the love and care your father gave you.

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ARTIE322 6/19/2010 7:01AM

    TerrieJo, I'm so sorry to read of your father's passing.

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SHARONSPARKLE 6/18/2010 8:21PM

    Terrie - what an emotional roller coaster you have been on today. I think you made the right decision to go to summer camp with the boy scouts. It is what you father would have expected you to do. Take care and try to relax and enjoy yourself. Let us know how the hammock works out!

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BOOBERRY 6/18/2010 6:21PM

    Terrie Jo, Try to have a good time at the Jamboree your Dad would be very proud of the wonderful things you do for the Boy Scouts, Take Care you are in my thoughts and prayers emoticon, Brenda

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GERRYB54 6/18/2010 5:23PM

    I know you were considering coming up to Plainsboro NJ to visit a friend on your East Coast trip, I know the loss of your father must have complicated things, but if you are in the area feel free to contact me, you and your friend are welcome here.

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DAMICHAL 6/18/2010 4:41PM

    Terrie - Condolences on the loss of your father. From what you say I'm sure you are doing exactly what he would have wanted. And yes it is better to remember him as you do than the way your brother describes him. It wouldn't have change anything. I was there to the very end with my dad and I understand what he is saying, I also know that I will be the one with my mom till the end to. It just works that way sometimes. Have a good time with the boys even tho I'm not sure the weather is going to be the best.

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DEREKCSIMMONS 6/18/2010 4:39PM

    You honor your father by going to camp and working with the boys. I'm sure it is terribly difficult but I suspect you can hear him telling you it's what he'd want as well. God Bless.

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JACQUEBO 6/18/2010 4:00PM

    emoticon, there's nothing I can say to help make anything easier. I agree sitting at home is not the thing for you. You will be much happier out helping the boys and I think from what you've said about him, it is what your father would want. Don't dwell on the hardships and remember all the good things.

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RENA1965 6/18/2010 2:09PM

    Sorry to hear about your dad.. I saw my dad the last day before the coffin lid went on- he had been in the freezer- his skin changed colour I wish I never saw him at all.. He looked peaceful but I couldn't kiss him because he was so cold..
Good for you going on holiday- I don't hurt over lossing my dad while living here in Denmark I was greatful my cousin made the family wait until I could get a plane ticket home to New Zealand..
I have great memories of a wonderful dad- the rest of the family know nothing about.. My dad was thrilled to bits to became a granddad to the families first boy baby. . My dad wanted to see his grandson!! My oldest boy and him were together most of the time.. I saw a pride my sister and brother never saw...
Tuck away the good moments and smile each time you remember your dad..

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MRE1956 6/18/2010 1:32PM

    emoticon about the loss of your father - being so close to Father's Day, I can't even begin to imagine how you're feeling....adding to that the health issues for you and your mom....

Will keep you and yours in my best thoughts.....


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1888MICHELLE 6/18/2010 1:20PM

    My heart goes out to you. It's hard, but how wonderful that your mother wants to wait and have a memorial service when the whole family can attend. The Jamboree is probably going to be the best thing for you. Enjoy it and the youth who will be surrounding you.

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It's over

Thursday, June 17, 2010

This is the last picture ever taken of the four of us ... my brother Joe, my mom, my dad and me.

I got the dreaded, but not unexpected phone call from my brother tonight. My father, Joseph James McKeon, passed away this evening. He was 91 years old and had been moved from the VA Hospital to a nursing home in Southern California. He was waiting for a bed in the Old Soldier's Home ... he wanted to be with "his own kind" in the end, but it didn't happen. He was caught in a catch-22 ... one of the conditions of being in the nursing home was that he had to continue his cancer treatments. Because he was receiving treatments he wasn't considered terminal and couldn't be moved to the VA Hospice (Old Soldier's Home).

He was a soldier's soldier. He served in the United States Army for 30 years and retired as a Command Sgt. Major. His tours of duty included the Pacific Theater during WWII, Korea (twice) and Viet Nam. He left for Viet Nam on my 12th birthday. I was probably the best informed 12 year old on the goings on in Viet Nam that year. I watched the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite every evening, especially on Fridays when they announced the weekly death count. I realize now the figures were totally distorted, but at the time I was happy to see the US had the lowest casualty numbers because in my mind that meant my father was safer that the Viet Cong or even the South Vietnamese soldiers.

Those were the unaccompanied tours and tours before I was born. As a family we were stationed at the University of Rhode Island (I was born at Quonset Point Naval Air Station), Yokahama Japan (my brother was born there), Fort Holabird, MD, Ft. Bragg, NC, Ft. Benning, GA, the Presidio of Monterey, and the ROTC unit at UCLA. After graduating from high school I entered the Air Force. When my father returned from Korea later that year he was stationed at Ft. Sheridan, IL. My mother remained in Los Angeles since that's where they planned to retire.

Growing up I spent many Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving holidays in the mess hall. Daddy always felt his place was with his men, especially on the holidays when they had no family to spend the day with. So he shared his family with them.

My father missed most of my birthdays because he was overseas or in the field. He missed my Confirmation for the same reason. He was serving his second tour of duty in Korea the day I graduated from high school. Even though he wasn't physically present at many of the important moments in my life he made me feel special every moment of my life. I was Daddy's Little Girl ... and I guess I still am.

I love you Daddy. Rest in Peace. I'll miss you.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BOOBERRY 6/18/2010 3:55PM

    Terrie Jo , I am so sorry for the loss of your father, you and your family are in my thought and prayers, Brenda

Comment edited on: 6/18/2010 3:55:57 PM

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BEACHCOMBER2 6/18/2010 12:49PM

    Terrie, So sorry for your loss. Hope that you have your hubby and son with you on your trip to the funeral. Take care of yourself.

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GRATEFULADY 6/18/2010 11:25AM

    So sorry for your loss. What a wonderful story and a wonderful Soldier!!! Blessings to you all!

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SHARONSPARKLE 6/18/2010 11:16AM

    Terrie - your father is the most wonderful example of a proud American and I can just feel your pride in him. And rightfully so! I am so sorry for your loss and will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. This time of grieving is difficult but I know for years to come, something will remind you of him and the loss will be felt all over again. But you will look back on your memories of him fondly. He made you the wonderful woman you are today.

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DEREKCSIMMONS 6/18/2010 10:48AM

    Your father sounds like the kind of man who took his sacred duty as father, husband, and leader very seriously. Thank you for sharing your memories of him with us. Our prayers are with you and your family for the healing grace of God to be poured out for you.

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PATTYSPENCER 6/18/2010 7:47AM

    I am so sorry for your loss. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

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JACQUEBO 6/17/2010 11:14PM

    Terrie, my thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family in this time. You have stated very eloquently what your father means to you and I know the feeling of being daddy's little girl. I am to this day my daddy's little girl. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you, even if it is just a shoulder to cry on.

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PJSTIME 6/17/2010 10:36PM

    Thoughts and prayers are being said for you and your family. It is sad when loved ones pass but you will always have the memories and the love you had for each other.

He is no longer in pain. Hugs to you my friend. PJ

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KNEWMANSKI 6/17/2010 10:03PM

    you can never really get over the lose of a loved one especially a parent. I would like to thank you now for his sacrifices he made to protect this country. The military isn't always what the public thinks it is. Its not like in the movies and the good guys don't always come home. but I can tell your father was a strong proud man who loved his family and country. God bless him and your family.

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HURDLE4LIFE 6/17/2010 9:47PM

    Sending prayers to you and your family. May your father rest in peace and your spirit be renewed everytime you think of him. emoticon

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