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.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Day 343 - On the Fifth Day of Christmas

Having reported back to Camp Shelby Monday, Wayne called yesterday afternoon while standing in line to complete another assignment in the long list of requirements for demobilization from Operation Iraqi Freedom with the Mississippi Army National Guard.

Just now, Wayne called again to say he has officially signed out of the base, permanently closing the door on his 16-month chapter of active duty.

“WAAAAAAAAAAAHOOOOOOO!” he shouted. “It’s REALLY over now!”

Wayne went on to say he and Lauren are driving back to Louisiana to make preparations for a “Meet Wayne” party at her parents’ home tomorrow night.

During his four-day pass for Christmas, Wayne started the round of holiday visits with Myron and me at the home of Blair and Leslie Bingham, my brother and sister-in-law who live in Jackson, Mississippi.
In honor of Wayne’s homecoming, the Binghams served our traditional Christmas breakfast on the morning of the 23rd.

Click here to watch a short video of Wayne introducing our favorites:
(This is my first try at vlogging. After opening the link,
click the Play arrow...maybe more than once.)

Padow’s Country Ham
Aunt Les’s Famous Christmas Cream Cheese Braids
Shared with her permission!

1 c. sour cream
½ c. sugar
1 t. salt
2 pkgs. dry yeast
½ c. warm water
2 eggs, beaten
4 c. all purpose flour

Heat sour cream over low heat. Stir in sugar, salt and butter.
Cool the mixture to lukewarm temperature.

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast into warm water. Add a pinch of sugar to the water to aid the yeast’s growing. Stir until yeast is dissolved. Add sour cream mixture, eggs and flour. Mix well. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, divide dough into 4 parts. Roll each part onto a well-floured board, making 4 rectangles.

2- 8 oz pkgs of softened cream cheese
¾ c. sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/8 t. salt
2 t. vanilla

Combine sugar and cheese in a small bowl. Add egg and vanilla.
Mix well.

Spread ¼ of the cream cheese filling on each dough rectangle. Beginning on the long side of the rectangle, roll dough in jellyroll fashion. Pinch short ends and slightly fold under. Place rolls seam-side down on a greased baking sheet. Slit each roll about 2/3 of the way through the dough at 2 inch intervals to resemble a braid.

Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size,
approximately one hour.

Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
Cool slightly and spread with glaze.

2 c. powdered sugar
4 Tbls. Milk
2 t. vanilla