Monday, July 21, 2014

The day before D-Day, a very special and poignant boat ride in Barfleur, France

I mentioned in an earlier post the main purpose of our holiday in Europe.  It was to attend the 70th D-Day Anniversary in Normandy with my Father-in-Law.  Gregg's Dad is a WWII Navy Veteran and on D-Day he was serving in USS Corry (DD 463) sunk off Utah Beach on the morning of D-Day.  Like so many of the experiences we hear from our parents and grandparents, it was a harrowing and horrifying tale.  This story has been very much part of our family history, told and retold over the years, often something new being added that has not been heard before.  

Several months ago Gully was contacted by the NBC television channel, and asked if he would take part in a program to be televised on June 6th.  A very nice producer from the NBC Nightly News Show with Brian Williams contacted him and asked if he would be part of that special, as they had also learned that he and several members of our family would soon be on a plane heading for Normandy.  Gully agreed and so began a very interesting time for him and for all of our family.  There was a trip up to New York for an interview with Brian Williams, a film crew was sent to his home a couple of weeks later, lots of interviews ensued from not only NBC but local newspapers and also from his hometown in North Dakota.  The people we met, the stories they told, the history we learned, the places we saw, all made for an incredibly amazing time while we were in France.  Most definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience, a blessing for our family and the friends who came with us.

The day before the 70th D-Day Anniversary we had to head for the seaside town of Barfleur, where a French Coast Guard Rescue Boat took Gully and our other Corry Vet Tom out to where their ship was sunk.  The NBC crew and a local newspaper team went along with them.  Gregg, our son and nephew, Tom's daughter were also on the boat, along with the son of another of our Veteran family whose Dad passed away several years before. 

The rest of us watched from shore as the small boat made its way out of the harbor, their destination being where Corry was sunk and 24 shipmates were lost.  Tom and his daughter gently threw a red rose onto the water as Gully read the name of each shipmate.  The son whose father had passed, scattered his father's ashes, so that his Dad "could be with his shipmates again," he said.  

Gully has laid flowers at this sacred spot for three of those anniversaries, at the 50th, 60th and now the 70th.  It is very important to him to remember and pay his respects to the shipmates/friends lost. Each year for as long as there were shipmate reunions, 40 as of last year, they have been remembered at an annual candle lighting ceremony.  Each year a candle was lit for each lost shipmate.  This year a red rose was placed onto the water.  It was very important for him to do this one last time, as realistically he says he doubts he will be coming to the 80th Anniversary, but Gregg and I are betting on him.  Emotions ran high. There were many tears shed throughout our time in Normandy, from young and old.  It brought us all even closer.

And so here are the photos taken by husband and son. I have permission from my Father-in-law to share, and everyone you see has now been on world wide television, so I think no one will mind if I share them on my blog for a little while at least.

 They are now back on shore and a few more words are spoken.....

This is a photo of the producer who got in touch with Gully originally, an amazing lady.  She is talking with Celia.  Celia and Gully have been married seven years now.  There is another story I want to tell but that will be in another post and it takes place in Norway.  We will be in France for several more posts, then we go to England and then onto Norway.

It was time to call it a day....

and also for these good people to get everything they filmed back to the States, because the D-Day special was shown the next day.  In the short time we got to know them we saw only warm, friendly people who cared for those they were interviewing and filming.  They treated Gully and Tom, and I am sure the Army Vets and their families they interviewed for the D-Day Special, with the greatest caring and respect, making sure in every way that they were being well taken care of, every need being met.  They have our never-ending respect.

And they did an amazing job on that special, which you can watch here.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A beverage - Fresh Lemonade

I am methodically going through our vacation photos and am in the middle of a post.  It is taking longer than I thought, and as I have had this in the pipeline for a while, well you get a recipe for Fresh Lemonade.

Yes, we all know that there is nothing better for you than good old  

but sometimes when you have company it's nice to be able to offer them a refreshing, cold drink on a hot summer's day.  I found this recipe at Christy's OnoNOMonopia Blog.  It is actually a Copycat Chick-Fil-A recipe.  You can see it here.   

Copycat Chick-Fil-A Lemonade

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes

Serves: 5

2/3 cup sugar
4 cups water, divided
3/4 cup lemon juice (about 6 squeezed lemons)

Squeeze lemons, making sure to strain out the seeds and most but not all of the pulp.

Mix sugar and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe container, then microwave for 1 minute on high.  Stir, then microwave 1 more minute and mix until sugar dissolves completely.

Stir sugar water, 3 cups chilled water and lemon juice.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.


I grew up thinking that Lemonade was actually a Lemon-like Soda Pop and if I remember correctly, the brand my Mum always bought was Corona. At least whenever she gave us a glass, that's what we got, I think.  Memory is a little fuzzy on these things lately.  

It was only when I came to the States and asked for Lemonade, that I learned differently.  Much to my surprise I got something that was made with fresh lemons.  We don't drink it very often but it can get very humid here and if I go out on one of those days, I might order a glass with my meal.  

You can always tell the fresh from that made with concentrate, which we can buy at the supermarket in the frozen section.  I sometimes got it for Brad when he was school-age.  It is fine except that sometimes you would like the kind made with real lemons.  The night I made this I cooked a piece of broiled haddock, oven roasted corn and steamed vegetables.  It went very well together.

We also discovered Limeade when traveling through Richmond, at a small whole-in-the-wall place.  It is closed now but we always stopped for a glass of freshly made Limeade on our way back home.  It was sooooooooo good!  I am going to try this using limes next time. 

My recipe turned out very tart.  I suppose it all depends on how much juice you squeeze out of those lemons and mine were large and had a lot of juice. Both Gregg and I like 'tart' and thought it was deliciously refreshing but you can always have extra sugar on hand for people who need to add more to sweeten.  You can also dabble with sugar substitutes.

And thank you Christy for this lovely drink.  You can find her blog here.  It has a lot of great looking recipes to try.

I also recently came across a really cute cookie recipe, great for your children or grandchildren, or just to have some fun in the kitchen.  I believe it is in Japanese but there are enough photos that you could maybe use your own favorite cookie dough recipe.  To see what I am talking about you just have to click here.  I bet they would go great with a glass of milk.  If anyone has a nut allergy you could also maybe M & M's?  It would be fun experimenting with different treats.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


 The link to Today's Flowers on our home page opens at 12.15 a.m. every Saturday, Eastern Time (US).  The old link will close the previous Thursday at 11.30 P.M.


I found some beautiful flowers in Normandy.


Today's Flowers was created by our good friend Luiz Santilli, Jr.

You can find beautiful flowers from around the world if you click here.

TF teamPupo - Sandy Carlson - Denise

If anyone would like to be a guest and share photos on our home page, details can be found at the top of Today's Flowers web site, which you will find here.