Staff SGT Donald Wayne West, Jr., enlisted in the United States Army National Guard on September 11, 2001. As part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Company A of the 150th Combat Engineers served active duty Aug 29, 2004, until Dec 30, 2005. SSGT West returned to college in January, 2006. He married Lauren Ritchie June 9, 2006, at Seaside, Fla., and they have three children. SSGT West completed military service at Camp Minden, LA on Aug 23, 2009.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Day 228 - A Time for Everything

Friday. Blink. Blink. Blink. Tuesday.

Wayne and Lauren pulled out of the driveway early this morning to get her back for class at LSU in Shreveport by 11:30.

September sun peeked through the trees as I removed 12 American flags that had lined the sidewalk during Wayne’s visit. One more time, I perked up the yellow ribbon tied around the oak tree in the front yard. A cooler breeze and sheets from the kids’ beds swish, swish, swishing in the drier remind me life is cycling again.

Wayne and I have shared many goodbyes on Tuesdays after Labor Days. A few years ago, I thought it was hard sending him off to high school 500 miles away at Baylor School in Chattanooga. Sending him back to college at Millsaps got a little easier. The only thing easy about sending Wayne back to Iraq is knowing he’ll be home for good in three more months. I take that back. It’s not easy. Not easy at all.

Before he leaves Dallas Sunday, Wayne will meet his newest niece: Taylor Catherine Moore. Born Friday, September 2 at 12:03 p.m., she weighed 6 pounds 15 ounces, and stretched 19-1/2" long. Daughter of Shawn and Nikki (West) Moore of Lafayette, LA, Taylor is also welcomed by her older sister, Reagan Elizabeth.

Labor Day around here was a mixed bag of doting and duty. After a hearty breakfast, we spent several hours observing the kids process the stuff of adult living…student loans, taxes, investment options, credit reports, wedding plans, career choices, etc. By mid-afternoon, somebody rang the Sushi bell and we all hopped in the car for a pleasant cultural getaway at Osaka Japanese Steak and Sushi restaurant.
Later, Myron treated us to Transporter 2, a far-fetched action flick good for a few good laughs and a surefire reason to eat buttered popcorn.

Back home for the evening, we slugged our way through Batman IV. Everybody agreed George Clooney is not the best Batman, but we enjoyed the nostalgia of watching a movie about Wayne’s childhood superhero.

One final round of shrimp and crab gumbo sent us all to bed with full stomachs and grateful hearts for the time we spent together, the love we share and the dreams we cherish.