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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Saturday Serenade

Wow. What a busy Saturday! I have been just awful at leaving comments and will do better this coming week. If I could get this family to wear dirty clothes, live in a messy home and eat nothing but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, well, that would give me lots more time to blog but they are SO selfish! Hmpf. Bill, Grace and I served as volunteers at a pre-deployment Christmas Party for area service people. We have been doing work of this sort often lately but this week it was different. These troops will all be leaving in less than a week. Although there were lots of fun activities for the children, from a Build-A Bear station to face painting and clowns making balloon creations...and although there was lots of great food and music and laughter, the feeling of sadness and fear was almost palpable. I spoke with many of the troops and their spouses and yes, brave faces were being worn but behind those masks were tears. I was there to photograph all the families and the many activities while Bill and Grace worked the food tables. It brought back many moments of dread that I felt as Bill's deployments loomed... In deference to these wonderful families, I will post no pictures of the activities or of them but I will show you pictures of the deployment tree. As each child came up to visit Santa, they were asked to add their Dad or Mom's name to a yellow ribbon. This unit will be away for a year. They leave behind dozens of sweet faced children for whom they will long. It is never easy...never. After the party, we had lunch and stopped by our home to do a bit more decorating outside and change our clothes. As the clock struck 7pm, we, joined by my mother, drove into downtown Dayton to the Schuster Center. Before our concert, we enjoyed seeing, as we do every year, the holiday windows that were one my childhood Christmas joys!

For many years, the holidays weren’t complete without a trip downtown to Rike’s Department Store to see their animated holiday window displays. Now the famous Rike’s holiday displays have been reborn for a whole new generation to enjoy in the Schuster Center's Wintergarden!

This holiday season, The Toy Shop, The Victorian Family, The Woodlands and the 1950s Holiday Family all return, along with the Candy Shoppe and Miss Bubbles.

We were here to see our Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra perform with Judy Collins. Sweet (Suite) Judy Blue Eyes' clear as crystal, sweet as honey, melodious voice was quite a treat for her grateful audience. Ms. Collins offered many of her well known songs as well as classic Christmas carols. She ended the night with a phenomenal A capella version of "Amazing Grace". I could not help but think upon the day's events and those families who would soon be parted. The moment was a powerful one... I am sad to report that some of the women in the audience got a little silly during intermission! Some people just have no class at all! I hope your week is a sweet one. Do take care of yourself and enjoy the season! Love and Hugs, Susie Q


Sharon Kay said...

Oh thank you so much for the wonderful evening with your family. I so enjoyed the beautiful windows all decorated for the season and the department store is so lovely. I can see why you look forward to seeing it every year. The concert was beautiful and again thanks for taking me along through the lens of your camera on such a wonderful evening.

Andi said...

Oh those silly girls peeking out from behind their programs!!! What fun it is to blow bubbles with one's gum!!! I adore Judy Collins...I'm certain the concert was good. Grace looks beautiful!

I so enjoyed your pictures of the store windows. Love Miss Bubbles...and that little "doggie in the window" is almost as adorable as Bully and Kipper!!! I have a thing for black and white dogs!!!

I believed I mentioned that I had a girlfirend that worked for Rikes in downtown Dayton in the early 70's.

Mockingbird Hill said...

Those Christmas windows are so neat...nothing like that down here! One of my dreams is to go to New York at Holiday time and see "the big tree" and the department store windows. Glad you enjoyed the concert...and remember, the girls that follow the rules miss out on all the fun!

BittersweetPunkin said...

What wonderful photos!! Your lil Princess looks gorgeous all dressed up...she is such a pretty one! I would have totally got all teary eyed during Amazing Grace as that is one of my favorites...

Janet said...

I had totally forgotten that I went to see Judy Collins, oh at least 35 years ago, maybe more. How could that be??? That kind of recollection kinda sets you back in your chair doesn't it??

Alice said...

Thank you for sharing so much of your weekend with us. At first I thought how rotten it was that those soldiers had to leave their families just before Christmas but then I realized that meant that other soldiers would be getting to return home to theirs. I can only hope that they will all be back and safe soon.

Jill Gross-LaFaye said...

Rike's Window Display: really cool! Grace is growing up so fast, and she is absolutely beautiful:) You all have so much fun together..what a blessing!
Hugs from Tennessee

Greenie Gardens said...

Sounds like your're really keeping busy. Grace looks so angelic in her beautiful white dress! It was so sad to read about the deployment. This year we'll really be hoping for peace so our brave soldiers can be reunited with their families.

Kari (GrannySkywalker) said...

Deployment talk...always leaves me crying inside. Tears of fear and tears of pride. I often wonder how our military find the "right stuff" within themselves to do what they do. It amazes me. Always.

Grace looked perfectly lovely in her beautiful dress. But you, missy. Well let's just say I'm shocked. You know I've posted a picture of my bathtub before but NEVER with me in it. Have you no shame? Do you think just because you were covered with bubbles that all was well? Hmm? Just what do you think you're playing at...this is a FAMILY blog, woman, or have you forgotten that? I've tried to convince my children that the picture was of a doll in a fake bubble filled bathtub, but they're not buying it. They know it was you and I'm struggling with trying to explain your actions to them. Oh the shame of it....


justabeachkat said...

Oh breaks my heart to think of those (and many many more) familes who are seperated at this time of the year especially. What a wonderful gift the three of you gave them though by donating your time and showing your love at this party.

I'm so excited about our trip to NY...can't wait to see the storefront windows too! Loved your photos.

Grace looked so beautiful all dressed up.

Cute pics of those naughty girls misbehaving....smiles

Christmas hugs!

The Feathered Nest said...

Our military families give so much of themselves. What a particulary hard time to be deployed.

I enjoyed your pictures. Your daughter looks like a princess! I'm sure the concert was amazing - Judy Collins - wow!


Anonymous said...

What an awsome time. I love all the photos. I love the candy in old jars. I have always wanted to do a shelf like this. If I lived in a cabin style home all my shelves would be like this. now I think I just may do one in my pantry. Thanks girls.

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Hey, Ms. Susie! Me too...been busy too & it's not letting up anytime soon. I can hardly keep up with anyone these days. Looks like a fun, heart-warning weekend you had. You crazy silly girls you! I love those little peeks of your're too cute!


Paula said...

Oh, what fun! You must have had a wonderful day. The scenes are incredible. Thanks for posting!!

PAT said...

Wonderful wonderful wonderful post, from first to last!! Loved all the photos. The decorated windows...WOW!

Grace, all dressed up for the concert! So pretty!


Tammy said...

Wonderful post Sue!

Rosemary said...

What a great way to spend the day.
That must have been very rewarding to you and your family.
Love all of the photos. You girls look beautiful.
Glad you had such fun.
Thanks for sharing with us.

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

You, Bill and Grace are an amazing caring family. I had tears in my eyes reading about the pre-deployment party. Bless you all!

The town decorations are wonderful. They remind me of my youth. Vintage retro 1950-60. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

You all look adorable at the concert!

Cheryl Wray said...

The pictures are so warm and cozy and special!! And I know that must have been a wonderful concert. I've always loved Judy Collins.

Meggie said...

Don't ya just love store windows at Christmas time? It brings out the child in all of cool! I can't imagine having a son or husband being deployed at this time of the year....or anytime, for that matter. I'll keep them all in my prayers.

Valerie said...

that Grace!! you MUST do something about this little beauty you've got. make her stop growing! put a brick on her head! lock her in her room! do whatever! she's too dang pretty!!

love the photo of Grace & your mom - your mom looks wonderful!

Jen said...

Looky, Looky, Sue made it in these pictures :)

Gretchen said...

I played Judy's version of Amazing Grace at my mom's funeral. She was a hippie, and so was Judy. I know that in her day, my mom was such a fan of Judy blue eyes and Joan Baez. What a sweet memory you just evoked in me. Grace looks lovely in her dress, and the both of you are so cute, messing around during intermission. It's clear to see that when she's grown, the 2 of you will be BFFs.

smilnsigh said...

Ohhh what wonderful displays to be seen!!!

And if I may, I will say, when I look at your radiant daughter, I can't help but think how wonderful of you and Bill... That you brought her into your home and are providing her with so many lovely childhood things. Lots and lots of hugs to you two great and wonderful people... You Hon, and your Bill.


smilnsigh said...

And how wonderful that you also do things like the pre-deployment Christmas Party. How very, very sad for all of them. And you know, from experience.


Cherdecor said...

I have been reading your blog for a while and didn't realize you lived near Dayton. I found this post especially interesting since my great grandmother was David L. Rike's sister. I remember when I was a child, my parents would take me to see the Christmas windows at Rikes. My husband and I are both from Dayton. Since we have moved out of that state, we have lost touch with what has been going on there. We had not heard of the Schuster Center. Thanks for posting all of the pictures. We really enjoyed them!