I arrived at Springfield, MO airport about noon on the 7th of November and got to the Carriage House Inn at Branson about an hour later. Troops were there! Looking at each other's pictures and getting acquainted or re-acquainted. Regardless of who it was or what outfit they were in they realized that all Grovers are "Joined at the Hip". At 4:30PM that afternoon we met in out hang out room and introduced ourselves. We went to the Golden Coral and had prime rib dinner and saw the Alan Edwards show. Alan is very talented and his show is only about 40 minutes but very entertaining. We then went back to the "hang-out" place and told war stories etc. and more of the same on the eighth. The only bad thing about our room was that other groups were there also for the breakfast and we didn't really have our room to ourselves until 10:30 AM and by that time we were all going somewhere and wives were shopping. We registered at the Veteran's Registry and went to the White House to check it out. I had caps and golf shirts that most of the troops bought and wore while we were there. If anyone wants one of them let me know. I have 6 caps left and 4 large shirts and 8 extra large ones. As soon as Maurice, Ted and others send me pictures I will have them on our site so you can see them.
November 8th from 5:30 until 11:30 we were at the Gala. We were introduced as the USAF Grovers. There were so many dignitaries and POWs and Medal winners there I won't even go into it but our professional photographer, Ted Hansen was there and got it all on his new digital recorder. The ceremony and just being in the presence of all such an elite group was totally Awesome. Ted Hansen was recognized as being a POW. He was in Korea and shot down with his crew and captured and escaped before he came to the Grove. I didn't know that until then and I don't think anyone else did.
November 9th more hanging out and getting to know each other. Some went to shows and events on their own. That night as a group of 43 we went to Andy Williams. He did his Christmas show and it was really extraordinary. I think all enjoyed it.
November 10th as a group we went to Red Hot and Blue show. I really don't know how to describe this show except they took you from the early part of the 20th century to the present time with music and dance. It was very entertaining and everyone enjoyed it. I took a bunch of pictures that day with my Nikon camera and when it came time to rewind - I couldn't get it to rewind. Ted Hansen checked my camera and found that it didn't have film in it. Man - that's smart isn't it. One of the pictures was of Ron Huddlestun with one of the dancing girls. That night we went to Micky Gilley and he has a comic Joey Riley that will make the sides of your stomach muscles hurt - guaranteed. Everyone enjoyed this special show also.
November 11th - this was Veteran's day and a little chilly early but soon warmed up. We didn't go to the parade but hung out and then went to the Yellow Ribbon ceremony with Tony Orlando at 2PM. He introduced Medal of honor winners and Silver, Bronze and Purple Heart veterans as well as POW Veterans. When they stood up to be recognized, I have to admit - I had to go to the handkerchief. I have never before in my life been in the company of such a group of heroic Americans. Tony promised that in 2003 for the first time he would have all 41 surviving medal of honor winners on his stage. This will be the first time they have been together under the same roof at the same time. Be the good Lord willing - I will be there with a bunch of Grovers to see this historic event. Later that night we went to another show called Pierce Arrow. These guys are like a young Oak Ridge Boys. Their baritone singer has the lowest voice than any other person according to the Guinness world records. I took a poll and it was about tied as to which comedian was the best Paul Harris of that show or Joey Riley. Some said they enjoyed this show better than any.
November 12th - Most everyday was shirt sleeve weather but this day I had to wear a jacket for the first time. Some of us had a buffet breakfast together at Docker's and said our good-byes. Others got up early to began their drive home. Most said they would be there to join us again in 2003 - let us hope and pray we will all still be here. If I had known we were going to have enough for a bus to take us to and from the shows and events - I would have made those arrangements. It would only have cost us about $5 more a day for this service and be dropped off and picked up right at the door. I tried to arrange that but by the time I did the local buses were all taken. I have already asked Taunya to put us down for buses next year and also we must have to have a designated hang-out room for the early morning hours.
I certainly hope that all Grovers arrived home safely. I would like to say at this time that
most of you thanked me for the effort in getting this event together and by expressing your
enjoyment and appreciation of the reunion was very rewarding. Meeting new and old friends
and enjoying their comradery as I did was all I could ever ask for. Keep coming back to the Grover's
web page and let's make the 2003 reunion even better than this one if that is possible. Later - Ipswich