I stand at the doorstep and ring the doorbell. My heart is racing and I'm smiling from ear to ear. I've traveled thousands of miles and hours by plane and car waiting for this moment; a secret I've kept for two weeks. It's 9:15 p.m. on Friday in Corpus Christi, Texas and the door opens. The woman who answers studies me for a moment trying to recognize and place me.
"Oh my gosh, what in the world are you doing here?" My mom says to me in excited disbelief. "Jim, come here, you have to see who just showed up at our door!"
After hugging my mom, I run around the corner where my dad goes speechless on his phone call when he sees me. My sister's voice on the other end of the phone says, "Christine is there, isn't she," more as a knowing comment rather than a question. My sister was in on the surprise and our plan was flawless. Let the party begin! Literally.
The next two days are a whirlwind of people, celebrations, book readings, book selling and signings. My parents did it! They published their book "The Blades Carry Me: Inside the Helicopter War in Vietnam."
Three years of laughter, frustration, tears, aching hearts, and processing of 45 years of repressed memories brought my parents to this moment; surrounded by 100 of their friends who arrived to celebrate their book with them! Well, make that 101 counting me. Does that make me a groupie?
The events were organized and smooth thanks to many good friends who volunteered to take care of everything from food set up, beverage service, book sales, moderating the reading, and shuttling people to and from their cars by golf cart.
Over 85 books were sold and signed at their event with more copies sold on Amazon and Barnes and Noble! And they have only received five star reviews!
Their book reading was heartfelt and perfect. I don't think there was a dry eye in the place. I was beaming with pride! Their book was amazing and I couldn't put it down until I'd read the whole thing.
In between events, set up, and visiting, I was able to go for a run. Both days I wore shorts and a tank top, LOVE the warm weather!
The second day Mother Nature tried to help me multitask and surprised me with a rain shower on my run. Running back into the rain and headwind I felt like I was going slow. Celebrating the fact that I didn't melt, I took a rain-drenched selfie when I returned then hit the real shower.
Later, I glanced at my running splits. Holy speed, Batman! I've never run that fast in my life! My "slow" mile 2 included a quick stop to take a photo of where I'd just run from. Good grief, maybe I should only run in the rain...or rather run to get out of the rain! I'm so excited!
This trip had surprises all around; big ones the size of Texas! If you take the time to read my parents' book, I guarantee you will be surprised by how it keeps you reading and emotionally moves you. Want to read a true account of our family history? Here's your chance! "The Blades Carry Me: Inside the Helicopter War in Vietnam" by James V. Weatherill and Anne Weatherill. Find it at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
So proud of what my parents have accomplished. It was a wild weekend and I wouldn't have missed for the world. I'd do anything for my family. Love to you all!