The SOP adventure continues as our most recent travels took us to lovely,Ft. Myers, Florida – where we had a great (but brief) time visiting with the Allied Brigadier General Andy Van Der Plaats. It was typical Florida weather: beautiful, hot and sunny. A good place for Andy to strategize for an Allied victory (no time for golf, thank you.)
Speaking of hot places….we then jumped over to N’awlins to hang out with Juan “Beatle” Parke (CO of the 899th) and his son Dean (AKA “Deeno”). They gave us a local perspective on the city and took us to some authentic spots for some good food and good vibes.
New Orleans is one of my favorite places on earth and that is mostly because of its residents and their positive spirit and love of life (and music, food, art, and general revelry). Despite the crushing blow that Katrina dealt, the people that make that city great (like Juan Parke) are soldiering forward and rebuilding. Difficult times, yes, but we can all learn something from this community that has stood together and helped each other through the darkest of days – never forgetting to take time to enjoy life.
Beatle and Deeno were great hosts and they make a great father and son team. Among other things, they gave us a tour of the impressive D-Day museum (one of their favorite places to visit before coming to OK D-Day). There’s a lot more to their story and you’ll be seeing more of them in SOP, sho’nuf.
Until then – check out a couple pics:
Here’s Doug, Mike, and two beatles.
And here’s Deeno getting a chance to run the HD camera.
And here’s Doug posing for a shot (clearly he’s better behind the camera than in front of it).
Here’s Beatle, Deeno, and myself enjoying and New Orleans tradition: sno-balls.
More to come,