S: 2008 - Kyle Jacob Garinger: The Year You Were Born
FC: 2008 Kyle Jacob Garinger The Year You Were Born
1: 2008 The Year You Were Born Written for Kyle Jacob Garinger By Gilbert Gomez, Your Grandpa For your First Birthday, July 13, 2009
2: The Year You Were Born 2008. What a year! You were born! 2008 was a Leap Year – that happens every four years. George W. Bush was President of the United States. We were still in Iraq after five years, and a “surge” of U.S. troops was injected into the war in 2008, helping curb terrorist activity and violence and allowing Iraqi and U.S. forces to gain control of the country. There was a Presidential campaign and election that year. It was a year of economic crisis, with President Bush signing into law a 700 billion dollar Treasury fund to purchase failing bank assets. Oil prices rose to almost $150 per barrel in July of 2008, and locally gas prices reached over $4 per gallon at that time. NASA's Phoenix spacecraft landed in the northern polar region of Mars, a 422-million-mile flight from Earth, on an exploratory mission. And 2008 was the year of the Summer Olympics, held in Beijing, China.
3: But nothing on the world scene, nothing that made the headlines, nothing surpassed the news that Kyle Jacob Garinger was born on Sunday, July 13, 2008 at 8:05 in the morning! At least, not for us. What a day that was! We are usually in church on Sunday mornings, but not that Sunday. And yet, the presence of God was as real on that day in Room 326 of Holy Spirit Hospital in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, as it ever could be in a church. It says in the Bible that God inhabits the praises of His people. Well, on that Sunday morning, God was “inhabiting” us – your Dad and Mom, and your Grandma and Grandpa (that’s me!) Gomez – because we were all filled with praise when you were born. Yes, 2008 was quite a year! You were born! Many things changed in our lives. Other things stayed the same. One thing will never change: you were our first grandchild. We pray God will bless us with more grandchildren, and we will love them as much as we love you. But you first put a grandparent’s love in our hearts!
4: YOUR PARENTS IN THE YEAR YOU WERE BORN June 7 – Your Parents’ Anniversary Your Mom and Dad celebrated their 5th Wedding Anniversary on June 7th of the year you were born. I still remember the day they were married. It was at the Brethren in Christ Church in Dillsburg in 2003. We knew that the Pennsylvania side of your family (your Dad’s family and your Mom’s family on your Grandma Gomez’ side) would come – most of them did. But it was a real blessing that ten of the Texas side (your Mom’s family on your Grandpa Gomez’ side) made the trip just to be at the wedding. A father can never forget his daughter’s wedding. It was such a joyous day! And although it was rainy, the perfect day that we had prayed for occurred – at least in the important ways.
5: I remember walking your Mom, the Bride, down the aisle. All eyes were on her, of course! I remember “giving her away.” I even had the honor of having the prayer for them – not every father does that. I remember sitting at the back of the church with your Dad before the wedding, waiting for things to begin. I don’t know who was the most nervous. I remember your Grandma Gomez, looking so beautiful in her blue outfit, as happy as any mother who is seeing her little girl getting married could be. I remember your Grandma Goulding and Larry her husband there, he arriving at the church with some drama but your Grandma Goulding as proud of your Dad as any mother would be of her son. I remember remembering. My mind taking a journey back 21 years.. A father can never forget his daughter’s wedding.or the little girl that she once was. And always will be in his heart.
6: I don’t know all the juicy details about how your Mom and Dad met (I’m probably not supposed to know everything!); they can “fill in the blanks” later for you. But I know that when your Mom was working at J.C. Penney’s at Capital City Mall in Camp Hill in 2001, one of her co-workers invited her to the post-High School young adults group that met on Wednesday nights at Bible Baptist Church in Shiremanstown. It just so happened that your Dad attended there – well, nothing “just happens” for Christians. “And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) Your parents ended up together in that group at church, and with the encouragement and urging of some friends, well, as they say, the rest is history! In the Fall of 2001, your Mom went to Nyack College in New York, north of New York City. She was there on September 11, 2001, when terrorists flew passenger planes into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. (I still
7: have a copy of the email that she sent to us on that day, as she could not get through by phone. It was a scary time for all of us.) Another plane hit the Pentagon in Washington, D.C, and a fourth plane crashed in the fields of Western Pennsylvania around Shanksville in Somerset County as passengers fought the terrorists, sacrificing their lives, to keep them from flying the plane into the White House or another target in Washington, D.C. (as it seems was their intent). What I wanted to say about Nyack was that I remember when we took your Mom for the first time to Nyack, we tracked down your Dad in a development where he was reading meters for United Water Company, just so she could say bye to him! As it turned out, God had a much better plan for your Mom and Dad, and she went to Nyack College for only that one semester. I don’t think there are any regrets about how things transpired! Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
8: July 11 - Your Dad’s Birthday On July 11, two days before you were born, it was your Dad’s birthday. He was born in 1981, the year that Ronald Reagan became our 40th President. On March 30 of that year, President Reagan was shot outside a Washington, D.C. hotel in an assassination attempt by John Hinckley, Jr. In mid-summer, Major League Baseball players went on strike, canceling one third of the baseball schedule. 1981 was also the year that IBM introduced its first personal computer, running the Microsoft Disk Operating System (MS-DOS). In 1981, gas was $1.35 per gallon and minimum wage was $3.35 per hour. Your Dad was born in Dushore, Pennsylvania in Sullivan County, and he was 27 years old the year you were born. Because we were all waiting for your birth, we didn’t treat him to his Birthday dinner until later (but don’t feel bad – it was okay with him!). Because your Dad’s step-father Larry was in the military, they moved several times when he was young, including spending some time out west in Montana. I know that one of your Dad’s best memories from growing up was spending time up north fishing with his Grandpa (on his mom's side).
9: And when he was a teenager, he spent many hours fishing at the Swatara Creek. Obviously, your Dad has always liked hunting and fishing! Your Dad’s mother (your Grandma Goulding) lives in Hummelstown with her husband Larry. She lives a little further than we do, and it is not so easy for her to come to your house, but she tries to see you when she can. She was at the hospital the day after you were born. Your Dad has a brother Kevin, who lives in the Hummelstown area, and a half-sister Felicia and a half-brother Steve, Jr. It was only three or four years before you were born that your Dad was reunited with his father, Steve (your Grandpa Garinger) and his step-mother Linda. After all those years! It was a real blessing in your Dad’s life, and an added blessing to find that his father is a Christian. Your Grandpa Garinger and Linda live in New Albany, not too far from where your Dad was born. When your Dad moved from home after finishing high school, he was befriended by a coworker at United Water, Bill Reynolds. Bill and his wife Emily, and their sons Billy and Brandon, become like family to your Dad and they continue to be close. They were at the hospital the day you were born too! The Reynolds were instrumental in leading your Dad to Bible Baptist Church and encouraging him in his walk with the Lord.
10: Your Grandma Gomez and I love your Dad and respect him a lot. He is a hard worker and a very responsible person. He has a lot of initiative and is highly motivated to get things done. Your Dad has been working for United Water Company since February 2001, and his work experience and knowledge have come in handy in the remodeling projects at your house and ours also. I remember how happy and proud your Dad looked on the day you were born! We could tell that he would be a great father, and we have seen it in the ways he has cared for you from the very beginning. It didn’t take him long to get into the “father mode.” August 8 – Your Mom’s Birthday August 8 was your Mom’s birthday. She was born in 1982 in Goshen, Indiana and was 26 years old the year you were born. Ronald Reagan was President in 1982, and you could buy a new car for $9,890 and gas was $1.28 per gallon. It was the year that Sony came out with the first consumer cd player (compact disc); Time Magazine’s “Man of the Year” was given for the first time to a non-human, the computer. In 1982, the first artificial heart was implanted into a human, Barney Clark, who lived for 112 days with the device.
11: We celebrated your Mom’s birthday and your Dad’s birthday at the same time at our house the year you were born. They just weren’t ready to venture out to a restaurant, with you only less than four weeks old. (Later we all went out to a Mexican restaurant to celebrate – you were a little over two months old then.) Your Mom’s birthday, August 8, was the first time you were at our house! It was her birthday but your Grandma Gomez and I received a gift too on that day when you came to our house. A father can never forget his daughter’s birth! I remember missing church as your Mom was born on a Sunday, just like you! (Except that she was born at 5:59 in the evening.) We don’t usually miss church, but a baby being born is a good reason! I remember holding our baby, your Mom now, in my arms on the day she was born. I remember how tiny she was, and wondering what life had in store for her. Or, more correctly, what God had in store for her. God has been good to her – she has two great parents (that’s your Grandma Gomez and me!), a loving husband (that’s your Dad!), and now a wonderful son (that’s you!) with a life filled with promise.
12: Before you were born, your Mom was working at Bible Baptist Church, where we all go to church. (I remember your first Sunday in church: it was on July 27, two weeks after you were born.) She was a staff secretary and did a lot of work for the pastors. Her first job was at a small, family-owned grocery store, Keefers, in Mechanicsburg. She worked after school and Saturdays. She worked at Picture People at Palisades Mall in Nyack when she was in college in New York. She also worked at Members First Credit Union and in the office at the Mechanicsburg Brethren in Christ Church before going to work at Bible Baptist. Your Mom has always had a wonderful spirit. She is outgoing, caring, and gifted in so many ways. She has a beautiful voice and sings at church sometimes, including on one of the Worship Teams. Your Grandma Gomez also sings on a Worship Team. Your Mom has always been great with children, and it really shows now with her own child – that’s you! It has been a joy to watch your Mom care for you since you were a newborn. I don’t know if being a mother comes naturally, but it sure seemed that way with her! Oh, yes, your Mom is very creative, as you can tell by all the scrapbooks in your home!
13: YOUR GRANDPARENTS IN THE YEAR YOU WERE BORN January 4 – Your Grandma and Grandpa Gomez’ Anniversary Your Grandma Gomez and I celebrated our 33rd Wedding Anniversary on January 4th of the year you were born. We spent a couple of days at a Bed & Breakfast near Kennett Square in southeastern Pennsylvania. We went to the Christmas/Winter lights display at nearby Longwood Gardens. It was really nice to get away and reflect on how God brought us together 33 years before you were born. Your Grandma Gomez and I met in San Francisco, California in the summer of 1973. She had gone there in April 1973 as a voluntary service worker through her home church at that time, Refton Brethren in Christ Church. As she sought the Lord’s direction, and the guidance of the Missions Board, they asked her to consider going to either the Bronx in New York City (which was closer to her home and family) or way out to the West Coast in San Francisco. The Board eventually told her that she was needed in San Francisco to assist in the work of the Life Line Mission there. So that is where she went. How glad we are that God led her there!
14: Your Grandma Gomez was sent out to various jobs under a temporary help agency. One place at which she worked was Pacific Telephone. At those jobs, she turned over her pay check to the work of the Mission and other ministries of the church there. That was her service to God! Your Grandma also served as pastor’s secretary and had other responsibilities at the Chapel there. The Chapel was where all the voluntary service workers resided, and was separate from the Mission. She helped at the feeding program in Chinatown in San Francisco. She also did cooking and cleaning at the Chapel, as all the staff there took turns. And she sang often in a Ladies’ Trio at the Chapel’s services. I remember the Trio singing the songs, “The Longer I Serve Him,” and “I Was Born to Serve the Lord.” They sang a lot of songs about serving the Lord. Your Grandma Gomez has always had a servant heart. And she has always loved music and singing. That is where your Mom gets her musical abilities! I was already living in San Francisco in 1973 when your Grandma Gomez went there. I had traveled back and forth from Texas several times by Greyhound Bus after being discharged from the Air Force in the summer of 1970. During that time, I was not following God.
15: I found myself broke and practically homeless, and I was forced to go to a “skid row mission” to get a free meal – yes, it was the Life Line Mission. After going there a few times, the Director drew me aside and shared with me about Christ and how He could give me hope and change my life. On Sunday night, September 3, 1972 – Labor Day weekend – I asked Christ into my life and began my walk of faith with Him. “Since Jesus Came Into My Heart” is a favorite song from those first days of being a Christian. We also sang “Amazing Grace” and “Mansion Over the Hilltop” a lot at the Mission while I was there. I was invited to stay at the Mission and work there for my room and board. My primary responsibility was working in the kitchen. I washed dishes and also helped sometimes in food preparation. The Mission Director had an intensive discipleship and Bible Study program for us. This helped as I eventually led Bible studies for those men who came off the streets for food and shelter. Your Grandma Gomez and others from the Chapel would go to the Mission to help with the Worship Services that were held there every evening prior to serving meals to the men and women who came in from the streets. They also helped to serve the meals and to clean up afterwards. Of course, since I lived at the Mission and worked in the kitchen, and also helped in the feeding program, our paths crossed often.
16: God was at work in our lives, and we began a friendship that grew into love and, as they say, the rest is history. Isn’t it amazing how God works! We were married on January 4, 1975 at the Brethren in Christ Church in Refton, Pennsylvania. I remember our Wedding Day. It was very cold outdoors. But our hearts were warm! Later, the sun felt so good and warm, and it made the snow on the ground glisten. The church was still decorated from the Christmas Season, with poinsettias and hanging greens. Our wedding ceremony was perfect! Your Grandma Gomez was so beautiful – she still is! We wrote our own vows and recited them from memory. During the rehearsal the evening before, we kept laughing each time we looked at each other when we tried to say them. But during the ceremony, we said them perfectly. Since we have been married, we have lived in Strasburg, Grantham (Messiah College), York and Dillsburg in Pennsylvania, and in New Paris in Indiana. Your Mom was born while we were living in Indiana.
17: We have lived here at 524 Mountain Road in Dillsburg since October of 1993. Your Mom was 11 years old when we bought this house. We have lots of wonderful memories with her here! Many fun times. We have talked about moving to a smaller place, but we like it here and are not ready to move! March 10 – Your Grandma Gomez’ Birthday March 10 of the year you were born was your Grandma Gomez’ 60th Birthday! She was born in 1948, and Harry S. Truman was the President then; he had succeeded Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had died less than three months after he began his fourth term in 1945. President Truman served his first term without a Vice-President; he was reelected to a second term that November in 1948. 1948 was a Leap Year. It was the year that Israel became a nation again. Warner Brothers showed the first color newsreel. In 1948, you could buy a house for $13,500 and a car for $1,550. Your Grandma Gomez and I took the weekend of her birthday off work and stayed at a Bed & Breakfast in Lancaster, just to get away and celebrate. We also went to Sight & Sound to see the presentation, “Daniel.”
18: Your Grandma Gomez was still recovering from her January 28th surgery to remove bone spurs on her cervical disks. The year 2008 was a difficult one for her physically. Most of the year, she experienced pain. She ended up having three different surgeries in 2008. On July 1, she had shoulder surgery and then on August 7, she had elbow surgery. Plus she had physical therapy and some injections in attempts to alleviate the pain. Your Grandma drew a lot of strength from you! First, as we all awaited your birth, and then in her desire to be able to hold you and help your Mom care for you after you were born. Thank you, Kyle, for helping her to endure a lot of pain. You were a God-send to her – to all of us! Your Grandma Gomez has two brothers, John and Jim, and two sisters, Shelby and Elizabeth (Libby). They all live across the river south of Lancaster city. Her father, Ira Harnish, died on May 25, 1989 at the age of 77 years. Her mother, Mary Harnish, passed away on October 14, 2006, just 10 days before her 91st Birthday. Your Grandma’s father (your Great-Grandpa Harnish) was a farmer and meat butcher for much of his life. I only knew
19: him for about 14 years, but I knew him to be a hard worker and a man of strongly-held convictions. He was faithful to God and to his church. And his family was important to him, of course. Your Grandma often tells how her father made sure their family got away for a vacation trip each year. This, even though he had to hire someone to do the farm work while they were away. This showed a real care for his family and the needs of his children to break away from their farm responsibilities. Your Grandma’s mother (your Great-Grandma Harnish) was a godly woman whose life was devoted to God. She was quiet about her faith, but it was a strong faith. She knew her Bible and was a woman of prayer. She was a great cook, with her specialty being homemade biscuits, and of course, hog’s stomach (your Mom can describe that to you!). I think she could cook or bake just about anything! I believe that your Great-Grandma Harnish’s mission in life, at least in her later years, was to intercede for her family before God. We missed her prayers when she passed away.
20: I remember your Great-Grandpa and Great-Grandma Harnish holding your Mom just a few days after she was born. Even though they already had six grandchildren at the time, they took the time to travel out to Indiana to see your Mom, their new grandchild, when she was born in 1982! I already wrote about when I became a Christian on September 3, 1972 and began following Christ. Your Grandma Gomez was born and raised in a Christian home. Her parents were Christians and went to church regularly. So your Grandma grew up knowing about God and going to church. But that doesn’t make someone a Christian automatically. Everyone has to make a personal decision to follow Christ. Your Grandma took that step in November of 1962 at the age of 14. It was at her church, Byerland Mennonite Church and the evangelist was Willis Cling. While salvation happens at a specific point in time, and God says “It is finished,” a person often senses the need for a stronger or renewed commitment to live for Christ at a later time. This happened in your Grandma Gomez’ life, and on December 16, 1966, she “rededicated” her life to Christ at the age of 18. That was also the year she graduated from high school (I graduated in 1968).
21: January 30 – Your Grandpa Gomez’ Birthday January 30 was my 58th Birthday in the year you were born. I was born in 1950, and Harry S. Truman was President. That year, President Truman ordered American military forces to aid the defense of South Korea during the Korean War. 1950 was the year that the Chronicles of Narnia series, by C. S. Lewis, came out first with “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.” It was also the year that Charles Schulz began the Peanuts/Charlie Brown comic strips. (Your Mom decorated your nursery in a Snoopy theme.) In 1950, gas was 27 cents per gallon and minimum wage was 75 cents per hour. Your Mom and Dad came to our house to celebrate my birthday. Your Grandma just had surgery two days before. Although she was in pain, she had insisted that we go out on the Saturday before her surgery, four days before my birthday. I have three brothers, George, Guadalupe (Lupe), and Jaime, and three sisters, Esperanza, Gloria, and Yvette. Except for Lupe who lives in Pasadena near Houston, they all live in New Braunfels near San Antonio, in the same town where we were all born.
22: My Dad (your Great-Grandpa Gil Gomez) passed away three years before you were born, on September 16, 2005. He had just observed his 90th Birthday two weeks before on September 1. Your Great-Grandpa Gomez worked hard his whole life. I remember that he would do several odd jobs along with his fulltime job at a gypsum plant. He believed strongly in education and he would give us spelling words during our school breaks in the summer when we were in grade school. I think that is the reason why I like words and why I like to write. He loved his family and even though he didn’t express emotions or affection outwardly, there was no doubt that he loved us. He showed it by sacrificing for us and making sure all of our needs were met. My Mom (your Great-Grandma Antonia Gomez) just celebrated her 80th Birthday in April of the year you were born. Your Grandma and I, and your Dad and Mom flew to Texas to celebrate her Birthday. (Your Mom “carried” you there.you were about three months from being born. And they even had a Baby Shower for your Mom and Dad – and you – while we were there!)
23: Your Great-Grandma Gomez never had a job outside the home, never learned to drive, and never flew in an airplane. But that doesn’t matter. What she did as her life’s work was to care for her family. She was always there for us. She was a great cook, and one of the memories I carry is the smell and taste of her homemade tortillas! Your Mom sure could eat those tortillas when we went to Texas to visit. Your Great-Grandma would have them ready for us and we could smell them as soon as we entered the house! As I write this, your Great-Grandma Gomez is still living. And sometimes I think, what am I going to do when she is gone? I don’t know, but I will have a lot of wonderful memories of her. I will hear her “mi’jo” (a contraction of “mi hijo” which means “my son” in Spanish) when I think of her. Your Great-Grandpa and Great-Grandma Gomez didn’t travel much, but they made the long trip by train from Texas to Indiana when your Mom was born! Your Mom is one of their two grand-daughters (they have five grandsons). Since we always lived far, we tried to make trips to Texas as often as we could so your Mom would get to know her Texas family.
24: Both your Dad and Mom are hunters, and the year you were born, they both got a deer. Your Dad shot a doe on December 3 and your Mom got one, two days later on December 5. They got both of them hunting around your house. They also do some archery hunting in our back woods. Your Dad went out several times and finally got a doe on January 3, 2009! They also hunt at some friends’ camp in Huntingdon County about two hours from here. One time your Grandma and I went along and babysat you at the camp while your parents went out hunting there. Well, I could tell you a lot more family things. But your Dad and Mom, along with your Grandma and I, will tell you more later.
25: OTHER EVENTS IN THE YEAR YOU WERE BORN Here are some important events in the year you were born, 2008. Well, maybe not everything is important, but everything is a bit of trivia. Christmas 2008 Christmas is always special because it is the time to celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Savior. But Christmas 2008 was extra-special because it was your first Christmas! Do you remember playing Baby Jesus in the Bible Baptist Church Christmas program, and your Mom and Dad being Mary and Joseph? Of course you don’t. You were only a little over five months old at the time! The Christmas program was “Once Upon a Holy Night,” and it had music and drama. It was presented three times: Friday night, Saturday afternoon, and Sunday night, December 19-21. Some people at church were calling the three of you “the Holy Family”! Your Dad and Mom did a great job on their parts, but you were the big hit! So many people raved about how great you did. We were all so proud of you!
26: It was such a joy to celebrate Christmas with the three of you. It was nice to have a stocking for you hanging above our fireplace, along with stockings for your parents and for us. It was fun to buy you gifts and to take pictures. We celebrated Christmas at our house on Christmas Eve and then your Grandma and I came to your house on Christmas Day. Hurricane Kyle In the year you were born, there was a hurricane that was named Kyle. Kyle is a name that is on the list of names for hurricanes that are repeated every six years. There was a Hurricane Kyle in 2002, and the next Hurricane Kyle will be in 2014, when you will be 6 years old. So watch for it! I am not sure if it is an honor to have a hurricane with your name, but as far as I could tell in my research, there have been no hurricanes named Kurt, Julie or Mary Ann. But there was one named Gilbert (that’s my name!) in 1988; over 300 people were killed during that hurricane, but most fatalities happened in Mexico. Gilbert is a hurricane name that has been “retired” and is not on the list to be used in the future. They retire a name if a hurricane has been particularly deadly or costly.
27: Hurricane Kyle was the sixth hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season. It formed in the northeastern Caribbean Sea in the third week of September. It moved slowly across Puerto Rico, dumping a lot of rain across the island. It developed into a tropical storm on September 25 and strengthened to a hurricane on September 27 west of Bermuda. On that day, Maine issued a hurricane watch but the system turned and missed the state. But it produced high waves along the coast of Rhode Island as it moved northward. A newly-married couple was killed when high waves knocked the wife into the rocky shores. Her husband jumped in to save her but was overcome by the waves himself. The bodies of the couple were found days later. Large swells produced by Hurricane Kyle caused significant beach erosion along the New Jersey coastline. Cuts up to 6 feet in beach dunes were recorded. The Great Dillsburg Earthquakes Okay, so they were not so great! But earthquakes did occur in Dillsburg in the year you were born. The first reported earthquake of 2008, measuring 2.0 on the Richter scale, struck about a mile south of Dillsburg on Sunday evening,
28: October 5th, startling some residents but causing no damage. While minor in relation to other earthquakes, it was definitely notable for the Dillsburg area. Two weeks later, a series of six tremors ranging in magnitude from 1.5 to 2.1 on the Richter scale struck again in Dillsburg. “Earthquake rattles Dillsburg area,” read the headlines in the Harrisburg Patriot-News on Monday, October 20, 2008. By year’s end, 18 measureable earthquakes were reported on six different days in the Dillsburg area. While the earthquakes were not necessarily earth-shattering (no pun intended), the locals were definitely excited! Your Grandpa and Grandma Gomez slept through them all; we felt none of the tremors as they were confined to one specific area not close to Mountain Road where we live. 2008 Presidential Election 2008 was a Presidential election year. In the primary, Republicans John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Mike Huckabee were the top candidates to run for their party’s nomination. Eventually McCain, Senator from Arizona, took the lead in delegates committed, and he received the nomination at the Republican Party’s Convention during September 1-4. He chose
29: Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska, as his Vice-Presidential running mate. The Democratic Party primary saw Hillary Clinton (former First Lady) and Barak Hussein Obama as the main candidates. It was a tough primary, but Obama, Senator from Illinois, kept pulling away and was given the nomination at the Democratic Party Convention during August 25-28. He chose Joe Biden, Senator from Delaware, as his running mate. As it turned out on November 4, Election Day, Obama was elected as our 44th President. He became the first black, African-American, to be elected President. Let me tell you a few things about the election. First of all, we voted for McCain. He was pro-life and conservative (although not in the strictest sense of the term), certainly much more conservative than Obama. He was an honorable man, a Vietnam War veteran and former prisoner of war. His campaign theme was “Country First,” and John McCain did put his country above self-interest. Even if you didn’t agree with him on everything, you had to respect him for that.
30: John McCain did a very good thing when he selected Sarah Palin as his running mate. It was quite a surprise, especially since she was an unknown outside of her state of Alaska, where she was Governor. But this “hockey mom” inspired conservatives who felt she was “the real deal” in her testimony of faith and in the values that she shared with us. In Sarah Palin, here was a person who didn’t pretend and who spoke the language of the people and not of the politicians. Oh, she wasn’t “polished” as some would have liked, but she made a lot of sense. Your Grandma Gomez and I had the opportunity to be at a rally in Lancaster to see and hear Sarah Palin on October 18 in 2008. It was quite a privilege to be there and to hear her present a positive vision for our country! We took many pictures, and your Grandma even got close enough to have Sarah Palin autograph a book about her that I had bought and taken along to the rally! You and your Mom and I went to a John McCain rally in Harrisburg a few days later, on October 21. I guess you don’t remember that – you were only a little over three months old! It was a real treat to see and hear McCain.
31: Barak Obama was practically untouchable in both the primary and in the general election. He was very good with words and had an uncanny knack of wiggling his way out of an honest discussion of the issues. He was elusive, and the mainstream media favored him (at least many people thought) and did not give him negative press coverage. Then Joe the Plumber came on the scene. Joe was a common plumber from Toledo, Ohio, who got to talk to Obama, unrehearsed and before the whole country to see. Joe asked Obama about his tax plan for small business and Obama – with no teleprompter in front of him – told Joe that it was a good thing to tax businesses at that level because it would put more money into the hands of people making less than that, and he believed that “spreading the wealth” was something that was good for everyone! “Spread the wealth” is a socialist concept. In that six minute conversation, many people believe that Obama was showing his true colors, and they weren’t red, white and blue! Then there were other things. One prime example was his association with Rev. Jeremiah Wright, pastor of Obama’s
32: church in Chicago. Wright preached black liberation theology and instead of preaching “God bless America,” he preached “God d___ America.” There was enough outcry about this that Obama dropped his membership from Wright’s church. The point is that he heard those messages for 20 years and it didn’t bother him until it became a political liability. Obama is the most liberal member of the Senate; he is pro-abortion and has socialist leanings. And yet, over 50% of voters cast their ballot for him. It just shows the state of our country! President George W. Bush Our 43rd President, George W. Bush, was President when you were born. He served two terms (8 years) as our President. He was President and in his first year in office when our country suffered the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. (This, of course, was before you were born and even before your Dad and Mom were married.) In response to the attacks, President Bush ordered troops into Afghanistan and then into Iraq. And we have had American troops there to this day.
33: Although the terrorist Taliban who were in power were defeated and chased from power in Afghanistan, and although the dictator Saddam Hussein (no relation to Obama) was toppled in Iraq, this has been a very unpopular undertaking for us. But President Bush has been firm in his belief that it was the right thing to do and that the long-range gains far outweigh the short-term unpopularity of the war. President Bush was a President who didn’t make the hard decisions based on polls. But he received so much criticism, and many of the votes that went to Obama in the election were as much votes against Bush (although he was not running in the election) and the war in Iraq as they were for Obama. Hopefully history will vindicate President Bush and reveal his true greatness. Football Season The 2008 Pro Football season, which began in September of 2008, actually ended in 2009, when the Super Bowl was played on the first Sunday of February. Most of the regular season games were played in 2008, but with the playoffs the Super Bowl championship game ends up being played at the end of
34: February in the following year. In the Super Bowl to determine the champion for the 2008 season, the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Arizona Cardinals, 27-23. It was the Steelers’ 6th Super Bowl victory, the most by any team. In the Super Bowl that was played in the year you were born, 2008, the New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots, 17-14. It was for the championship for the football season that started in 2007. What was really significant about that Super Bowl was that the Patriots had gone throughout the regular season and playoffs without losing. They came into the Super Bowl with an 18-0 record, only to lose the big game! The only team to go undefeated and also win in the championship games is the Miami Dolphins in 1972. The Dolphins beat the Washington Redskins, 14-7, in the Super Bowl to cap an undefeated season that year. Our favorite team, the Dallas Cowboys, have won 5 Super Bowls (as have the San Francisco 49ers). But the Cowboys did not even make it to the playoffs in the 2008 season. They had a chance to get into the playoffs, but they were humiliated by their arch-enemy the Philadelphia Eagles in the final game of the season. The Cowboys ended with a 9-7 record. It is no excuse, but some of their key players, like Quarterback Tony Romo and running backs Marion Barber and
35: Felix Jones, were out with injuries for some games. During the 90’s, the Cowboys had great teams, with Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin as the stars who led the team to three Super Bowl victories in a period of four years! They won back-to-back Super Bowls against the Buffalo Bills in 1992 and 1993 and then beat the Steelers in 1995. They had also won championships in the 1970’s, in 1971 and 1977. Baseball Season The Philadelphia Phillies, the National League champions, defeated the Tampa Bay Rays, the American League champions, four games to one, to win the 2008 World Series and become Major League Baseball champions in the year you were born. This was the Phillies’ second professional baseball championship in their 126-year history, and their first appearance in the big game in fifteen years. This was Tampa Bay’s first trip to the World Series, after ending up in last place in their division the previous year. The fifth and final game of the Series, which was played on Monday, October 27 in Philadelphia, was suspended after the top of the sixth inning due to rain, making it the first
36: game in World Series history not to be played through to completion or declared a tie. After the game was suspended, the umpiring crew said that they had ordered the players off the field because the wind and rain threatened to make the game "comical." Rain continued to fall in Philadelphia on Tuesday, further postponing the game to Wednesday, October 29, when the Phillies finally could bring a championship to Philadelphia (something the football Eagles are not good at). This was the first game in World Series history to be suspended. There had been three tied games in the history of the World Series, all of them called due to darkness (that was a long time ago and before they had lights in baseball fields). And although not officially a suspended game, the most notorious postponement of a World Series due to natural events was the 1989 World Series in which the start of Game 3 was delayed ten days, the longest in World Series history, due to an earthquake striking the San Francisco Bay Area.
37: 2008 Summer Olympics The 2008 Summer Olympics took place in Beijing, China from August 8 (your Mom’s birthday!) to August 24. This was the first time that the Olympics were held in China. The centerpiece of the 2008 Summer Olympics is the Beijing National Stadium, nicknamed the “Bird's Nest” because of its nest-like skeletal structure. Construction began on December 24, 2003. President Bush and his wife Laura attended the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics. A total of 11,028 athletes competed in 302 different events in 28 sports. The Games saw 43 new world records and 132 new Olympic records set. Chinese athletes won 51 gold medals and 100 medals altogether, and the United States won 36 gold medals and 110 total medals. Michael Phelps from the U.S. broke the records for most gold medals in one Olympics (eight) and for most career gold medals for an Olympian, and equaled the record for most individual golds at a single Olympics. Usain Bolt from Jamaica secured the traditional title "World's Fastest Man" by setting new world records in the 100m and 200m sprints.
38: Your Grandma and I watched some of the Olympics, mostly gymnastics and swimming competitions. The Opening and Closing Ceremonies were spectacular and we watched some of that. But two weeks of anything on television is a lot to follow. Especially in the summer when there is always work to be done outdoors. Plus we had you around and we would rather spend time with you and your Dad and Mom than watching the Olympics! The Olympics are held every four years, so next time they are held will be in 2012 and you will be four years old.
39: HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY, GRANDSON! The year you were born, 2008, was an amazing year! We welcomed you into our world with open arms. We welcomed you into our family with open hearts. Not only upon your birth, but in the months that followed, we marveled at how you were growing and developing right before our eyes. And once you figured out how to smile, it became your trademark, as it were. How handsomely loveable you have become by your first birthday! But that’s another story (and left for another book maybe). For now, it is just – Happy Birthday, Kyle! May God bless you with so many more and may they all be happy ones. May God fill your life with good things and may his purposes and plans for you be the desire of your heart always. Your Grandma and I love you and pray for you every day. The year you were born – 2008. That was a year that the Lord made and we rejoiced and were glad in it! Written by Gilbert Gomez, Your Grandpa For your first Birthday, July 13, 2009