21.02.2012 - 21.02.2012 6 °C
I arrived at the airport a good two hours before the flight to Newark the pre check even before I got to the check in counter was a replay of some of my trips before; “ and where are you travelling too today?” I explained and then “...and where have you come from?” I told her that, “ and before that?” and then again “...and before that?” and the check in person had a wry smile on her face “and what is the purpose of your visit?” So I had to explain again why I am doing this. There were the raised eyebrows, which I have seen before, and it seems that everyone wants to know why I am doing this and I am getting to the point of not really being sure myself.
However I found that when I presented my boarding pass I did not have an ESTA permit in my passport for entry into the USA. I was sure that all I needed was to have an address where I was staying and as I had been before; they would have my details recorded. But it is not a problem you can get on line and so off upstairs to the ‘pay computers’ to log on and get a permit. I was getting a little nervous but I finally answered all the questions put in my credit card numbers and down to the booking hall. With about 20 minutes to spare before they closed the gate. But alas the system did not recognise my payment which possibly had not been processed. So over to the service desk and they helped me sort it out and with just a few minutes to spare I was booked on the flight. Up the stairs to do the Belt, Buckle and Belongings trick again and almost as I got onto the plane they closed the door.
The seven and a half hour flight was good but at about 9.30 am, refreshments arrived and it was Roast Beef and Mash with Salad and a slice of Apple Pie. Not what I would call normal breakfast fare but I was on the lane and it does appear that there are times in the middle of an adventure when one has to just simply ‘go with the flow’. I did and Newark was just a few hours away.
Daryl, who has been an email friend for a couple of years, picked me up at the airport. He is a “Barmy Army’, character. Not the England Cricket supporter’s style, but a Salvation Army Barmy Army fan. So we talked Sally talk and he is a mine of information not just about the Army in the States but round the world and it was great to talk and celebrate our common heritage. On the way back to his house we passed some large Salvation Army Corps and Daryl was keen to show me the Glen Owen Cemetery. It has a Sally section and in it is the grave of Eliza Shirley. Now Eliza Shirley was part of the contingent of seven Salvationist Lassies from Coventry, who accompanied George Scott Railton on the initial ‘invasion’ of the Army into America. As we went down the rows of Salvationists who have been Promoted to Glory, we found many well known names, some of I had read about and some have met from a distance and thought about the impact that many of these people have had in the world and who are now just a memory.
However I was very surprised to find the headstone of Lt Colonel Sherrill Benson. When I served at Howard Institute in the late 70’s Sherrill was a teacher there and we had quite a bit to do with each other, she was one of the more ‘switched on’ ex pats and I had no idea that she had been Promoted to Glory. The epitaph reads simply “Gods Will; Nothing More, Nothing Less, Nothing Else’. I was moved by this revelation and reminded of my shared heritage with Sherrill. Daryl also knew her and gave me a little information on her career after she left Howard and I was struck again on the importance of leaving a good legacy for future generations.
We had tea and then watched some of the International Staff Bands 120th Celebration Concert on the DVD. We both share a love of Sally Bands and it was great to hear some of the other brass bands from Japan, Germany, The Netherlands, the ISB, Chicago and of course Melbourne. I have no doubt that tomorrow we will also catch up with New York and hear some more great music.