Mathew came home Saturday night. We--meaning our town--had been planning a welcome home parade for him. Our associate pastor, an Army Reserve chaplain, was involved, so our church bulletin included a half-page description of what we'd planned, how to become involved, and, most especially, the information that this was to be a surprise. So I had to tell him to sleep in and not come to church Sunday...He should have known, just by that, that something was up.
We flew his girlfriend, Keri, in from California for this event. She came in Monday night, about 10 minutes after Matthew came in from being with friends. Because he was downstairs on the computer, we were able to get her into the house and hidden before he knew. When he called her to say goodnight, thinking she was in CA, he asked, "Why are you mumbling?" She answered, "I'm really tired. I'm gonna go to sleep." She was mumbling because she was in the bedroom directly upstairs from him, and she was worried he would hear her. He didn't hear her until we woke him up the next morning, saying, "Matthew, there's someone here to see you. Get up!"
I had him drive to the starting point of the parade. He thought we were going out for lunch, then to our church's school, where he would talk to the second graders about Iraq. I asked him to "Pull in at the vet's for a minute." Not until he was driving through a gauntlet of Warrior Watch and fire and rescue vehicles did he say, "What is all this? Oh!!!"
We marched through the streets of Marengo, horns honking and flags flying. We headed over to the school, where the kids saluted him, cheered and sang "God Bless America." It was a great time, and I took tons of pictures.
But my camera got misplaced yesterday. I am so aggravated! I know it's in the house, but I can't share pictures with you yet. But I can send you to this link to our local paper. Enjoy!