Kill the Fattened Calf…My Soldier is Home

My husband, Bill, returned home tonight after a year’s deployment with the First Infantry Division – “The Big Red One” — based out of Fort Riley, Kansas. Bill is a JAG with the U.S. Army Reserves and served his second deployment to active duty. I couldn’t have predicted I’d be writing this blog; but as all bloggers, we write when the spirit moves us.

I haven’t talked about his deployment in this blog because frankly I thought it was better if I kept it to myself. But now that’s it’s over, I just want to say thank you to all the families who serve along with our military and who say goodbye and, God willing, hello, again to those we love. “All give some and some give all” so we can live in freedom.

The way for me to make the time go fast was not to let any grass grow under my feet…I had a long to-do list and, by golly, I was going to get it done up until last night hanging that last picture on the wall. I really didn’t need a to-do list because our 12-year-old son turned into a teenager during that year and his schedule alone is enough to keep me on the run. My list included small things like cleaning out the basement, to big things like publishing a new magazine (Celebrate Home Magazine) — and everything in between. But now that Bill’s home, I want to thank those helped us out throughout the year. The danger here is forgetting someone. So, with that said, if I forgot you, I expect you to stand up and be counted.

Thank you to the following for extending your warm hospitality to the Kelley’s during the past year.

(These are in no particular order, just steam-of-consciousness gratitude.)

  • To Linda for bringing me homemade chicken soup with bones when I was so sick, and the pound cake on my birthday.
  • To Linda, Jesus, Kathleen and Andrew who drove the carpool when I was sick or had a work commitment.
  • To Nancy who tells funny real-life stories and told me on Fridays before I left the office to go home and have a Sprodka.
  • To Marion who was willing to take Patrick any time when I got scheduled out at work (and to her and her kids for being taste testers for recipes).
  • To Bob who turned our septic (oh, and by the way, cut up our mightly oak that at midnight fell from our yard into the street and blocked traffic, but he’d rather be known for the septic!)
  • To Don who poured me a glass of wine and to his wife Tracy who took Patrick to Houston and every other time.
  • To Melanie who just knew when to show up and when to offer (even before I did).
  • To Mark who kept the prayers going and always gave me encouragement to just do it (whatever I said I was going to do that day).
  • To Veronica and Michael for driving Patrick to “elbow” lessons.
  • To Hollace who always asked.
  • To Joan who always checked in.
  • To Susan who laughed at my jokes and asked for my autograph.
  • To Tami and Chilo for driving to basketball early Saturday mornings.
  • To Cindy for getting me busy the minute Bill left catering her Garden Muse show.
  • To Margaret, Rick, Susie and Jim for joining us in Marietta.
  • For Margaret and Clark who welcomed the soldier to New Mexico
  • To Susie who texted daily or called and who gave me the pretty primroses.
  • To Elaine who sent Bill delicious food (and for the hospitality she showed to us).
  • To SFC Rice for serving as Bill’s NCOIC and for the “Irish Basket” that we all enjoyed when he got home.
  • To BilliJo for calling to see if we were okay
  • To all my neighbors on the Lane for being neighborly.
  • To Irene and Mike for always being happy to see me at school and ask about Bill.
  • To Herb for fixing the toilet when it leaked through the ceiling.
  • To Peggy who dreams big for me.
  • To Ethel, my hairdresser
  • To Father Beers, our friend
  • To all of Patrick’s friends who hung out at our house and let the good times roll.
  • Finally, to all of you who read this blog, write to me, send me photos and recipes, and let me know what you’re cooking for those you love.

Welcome home, kill the fatted calf. Prepare food for the traveler and rejoice! Tonight’s menu: Beef Bourguignon, salad, focaccio bread, and a blueberry tart. No recipes today but stay tuned for the recipe of the “Queen of Heart, Blueberry Teart” in the spring Celebrate Home Magazine.

“Duty First…Victory!”


4 thoughts on “Kill the Fattened Calf…My Soldier is Home

  1. Welcome home, Bill! So glad to have you back in the ‘hood. Thanks for the kind words, Barbara – you know we’d do anything for you and your wonderful family. Looking forward to seeing Mr. Flood in the coming days.

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