Back in April we took time off from the farm and drove down to Norfolk, Virginia. Our son, Adam, had been out to sea in the Mediterranean for the past 6 months. His ship was scheduled to dock on April 4 at Norfolk Naval Base. This was a big deal for this
family. Not only had we not all been on a trip like this together, but we were all going to see Adam and that was HUGE. To quote Matthew "this is sweet!!!!!!!!!!!" So we packed up and left home. For all of you who have done this kind of thing, it's probably no big deal and pretty routine. But not for the Kraeger family. We drove and we drove and we drove. The kids were great. (of course they are teenagers and they had better be great) (not to mention that Mary-Kate had heavy doses of dramamine in her) They watched DVD's and played games and listened to music and audio books. We stopped for lunch and gas and the big white beast performed well. (better than Doug expected her to perform) Way to go Dodge!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We pulled into Virginia Beach early in the evening and checked into our hotel and drove around and found a place to eat that didn't serve sandwhiches. Then we drove down to the ocean and everyone fell in love. We walked on the beach and the kids played in the sand and for awhile we forgot that there was snow in New York and there was trouble at home and everything was left behind us for a few days.
That night we all slept like babies and dreamt of big ships and our sailor.
The next day we drove to Norfolk Naval Base and joined in the festivities that were going on before the actual docking of the ship. We saw many big ships and even some submarines. Matthew even ran out of superlatives to describe everything that he saw. Even Jason was taken aback by the size and color of it all. Mary-Kate was just eager to see her big brother and Mom and Dad were taking it all in and relaxing. (and enjoying the fact that they didn't have to ensure that a young child not fall off the pier into the water).
Then we got the word that the ship had been spotted. They were flying a big American flag and playing the song "Born In The USA" on their loud speakers. As you can see from the accompanying pictures, it is a grand sight to see a naval ship dock.
The ship docked and they let us go aboard and we soon found our own sailor. What a sight after he had been gone so long. He gave us the grand tour and then we took him off the base and back to the hotel where he could dress like a civilian and just relax. From there on it was up to him to call the shots and let us know what he wanted to do to wind down from months at sea.
We enjoyed walks and bike rides on the beach. We went to the aquarium and to the Nauticus museum. We hung around the hotel room and ate pizza and just talked and caught up on life. And of course he managed to eat a very large jar of Grace's homemade cookies.
On Thursday evening we took him out for a wonderful dinner and another stroll along the shore. It wasn't enough time but it never is I guess. Friday morning we took him to the airport so he could go share some of his time with his grandparents. Then it was back into the dodge and the long drive back to New York.
You'll never guess what greeted us when we crossed the state line into New York. Snow, lots of snow, and cold. But that's okay because our hearts were still warm from our visit with Adam and being relaxed and away for a while to rest and recouperate from the past few months of our lives.
What a blessing God had given to us.