I'm back home after a week in Emmitsburg, Maryland for training. This round of training was the best I'd ever received and the class I was a part of was simply amazing. There were 29 other students in the class who were floodplain specialists from around the country. The lessons and discussions were not only lively but often great debates were had over different strategies and approaches to our jobs. I left with over 20 business cards of very talented, very hardworking "floodies" that I was honored to learn from over the week. Best of all I left with several invitations to visit these professionals in the jurisdictions they not only work for but are fiercely proud to represent. Curtis and I are already starting to make 'dream' plans to visit my new friends in Jefferson Parrish Louisiana to take a tour of the old catholic churches in February of 2016.
I had many favorite moments on my trip (I'll save the Basilica for my next post), but some of the favorites included the flights to and from training. Not only does flying allow me to knit (the photo above is an infant girl hat that is knitted with a cashmere blend, blended with pink soft boa feathers and black sparkle flecks I KNOW....Does it get any better?) but to just be able to listen to the conversations going on around me without notice. While I'm a bit shy and introverted on a plane I'm astounded by the freedom that people around me have in sharing intimate details of their lives with strangers who happened to be seat mates. Some of the discussions I overheard were down right funny, and some were so tragic that I cried along as they told their stories. On the way home I was seated in the vicinity of the Public Information Officer (PIO) for the Coeur d'Alene police department in Idaho. Upon her arrival she was helping to finish plans for the memorial service being held for Sgt. Greg Moore who had tragically been killed earlier in the week while the PIO was attending class in Emmitsburg. While I was knitting and listening to her tell the story and share her grief, I heard her share how Sgt. Moore was once a beloved school resource officer and that his wife is a teacher. The couple have two children, the youngest, a girl, is just a year old. I listened to her mourn his passing and at the same time speak with pride about how her town (Coeur d'Alene) was expecting hundreds of officers paying their respects at the memorial service and how, even as she was away, her heart was with her community and their preparations. I remember thinking how remarkable this woman is and how thankful I am that God gives us all talents. She is certainly in a career that helps her demonstrate her compassion as well as her ability to keep calm. I said a silent prayer as we waited to get off the plane and was touched by how patiently she waited to get off (we were in the very last row) even though she still had a long night ahead of her and a connecting flight to make. Never once did I hear about her talk about herself, complain or say anything even remotely negative on our very long flight home. I said a prayer for her this morning when I woke up and have seen the photographs from the memorial service Coeur d'Alene hosted today. They did an amazing job. Rest in peace Sgt. Moore, thank you for your service and bravely giving your life in a career that at times is thankless. God bless your wife and children and may they be comforted in the hard days to come.
My favorite moment of a flight has to be just before landing. In that amazing moment that no matter how old you are, the earth becomes your playhouse and you are captured by the perspective that you have at that moment. You realize that bright blue cars reflect the sunshine the best and that baseball is indeed America's favorite pastime as the country is FULL of fields and most of all that nothing is more cheerful than a red patio umbrella.
Oh wait, the hat that is shown above? Hopefully by now it is sitting on the new grandchild, Gracie, of the lady who was sitting next to me on the plane ride back to Seattle. I didn't catch my seat mates name but I did see at least five photographs of Gracie on her grandmother's one inch by one inch flip phone screen (I'm serious) and read two text messages from her son who told his mother (by text, and boy is he going to get it for that) that Gracie had been born. The proud new grandmother sat in the center seat of my row and her husband sat in the center seat of the row ahead of us. ("I believe this may be a very delightful mistake" was what her husband said as he took his seat.....Which was why I didn't offer him mine so they could travel together. You're welcome sir.) They were flying into Anchorage to meet their youngest granddaughter and to "give her son hell" for not picking up the phone to call with the news instead of texting it. I do believe that Gracie will be the only newborn in Anchorage with a hat that is knitted with a cashmere blend, blended with pink soft boa feathers and black sparkle flecks, and I kind of dig that!
Do I love you?
OH MY DO I