Feeling the effects of the day outside, and of a tumbler full of Cupid’s Bourbon, Sarina and Soldier Sam sat outside Cupid’s office.
"There's Cupid, Soldier Sam!” Sarina pointed to the Matchmaker with all the skills.
Sarina looked at Soldier Sam with concern. He was having trouble keeping his eyes open and she did not want him to pass out right there and then in Cupid’s office. After a minute Sarina called for Cupid.
'Could you possibly have a minute, Cupid? Soldier Sam and I got some Valentines Day Activity ideas.' Sarina asked.
Cupid arrived with a tranche of suggestions sent in from here and there, but digging through them yielded nothing that kept Cupid’s interest.
'How about it, Soldier Sam? Got anything?' Cupid inquired.
Soldier Sam braced himself to an effort.
'I like ‘Good Morning Take off’ Soldier Sam said--then looked desperately at his scrawl on his notepad paper, 'or else “Aviators with Heart’
Cupid smiled. “Aviators with Heart?”.. I think you got something interesting there.
Cupid continued, “For my money it wins as far as a title goes, but what is the actual activity? You aren’t going to storm an airport with Sarina, are you?”
'I've got to take a short break,' announced Soldier Sam. “This Bourbon is really getting to me.
'There's an empty office across the way.” Cupid informed Soldier Sam. “Sarina? You holding your Bourbon okay?”
“Thanks for your concern, Cupid, but I am doing just fine. Never been better, actually. I’m ready to back this Valentines Day Activity up myself, even if Soldier Sam is out of commission for the moment” Sarina replied.
Soldier Sam entered the office again.
“That's an intriguing headliner, Soldier Sam. But you’ve got to convince me that the activity has merit,” Cupid said. Or else, I’m going to throw you out of the office and you will be without anything to do on Valentines Day. How do you like that?'
As Soldier Sam stepped up, Sarina pressed the Airplane Prototype into his hands.
“Look Cupid, I made a small-scale model of an F-18 Super Hornet Fighter Jet out of popsicle sticks. I have a plan to make the next round of engineering into something much more exciting.” Promised Soldier Sam.
'Good work, Soldier Sam,' Sarina encouraged him to say more.
Soldier Sam seized the opportunity and put the Popsicle Stick Work of Art on Cupid’s desk, and prepared to make his argument for why building the next prototype round would be a worthwhile, fun and engaging activity for Sarina and Solider Sam to build their relationship stronger and take it next level.
'Feel--better—now that I had a few minutes away from the Bourbon Bottle but here I am back again.” Soldier Sam decided to take a moment and try to grab the Bourbon Bottle out of Sarina’s Iron Grip.
“So, Cupid” Soldier Sam started to explain, “It’s like this. Any Walmart will have quite a few models for Sarina and I to choose from. We will be sure to pick something out that we both like and try painting and gluing it together.”
“Well, If you two both enjoy it and it turns out well, maybe you found a new hobby. If it turns out terribly, at least you both can have a laugh, and you have a good story.” Cupid Responded.
“Yes, Cupid. Soldier Sam and I have a plan for every conceivable contingency” Stated Sarina. If there’s no beach nearby for our airplane masterpiece to take off from.. Not to worry. The hardware store sells play sand.
“That will be the perfect setting for us to spend Valentines Day, Sarina!” Soldier Sam exclaimed. We’ll get some of that, a flat surface, some water, a place you don’t mind getting wet and sandy, and we’re good to go. When It comes time to do the flight demonstration, we could do a full-on beach day away from the beach!”
"You trusted Soldier Sam, didn't you Sarina?” Cupid asked. “That tells the whole story." Cupid turned back to Soldier Sam. "You’re a wisher and a dreamer, Soldier Sam. I have decided to approve your “Aviators with Hearts” concept for Valentines Day.
"Well, we certainly came up with a good story this time, Sarina," Soldier Sam was proud of Sarina’s contributions to the effort. Contributions that would grow more and more exciting, as subsequent Valentines Days came to pass, well into the future.
"Yes. That's right, Solider Sam” Sarina affirmed.. We'll make that “Aviators with Heart." Activity concept the most productive Valentines Day the world has ever seen!”
"Isn't that something?" marveled Cupid. "With all this secrecy surrounding your Valentines Day Plans how was I to know about Sarina’s remarkable and versatile Skill Sets?”
But I do know a good story when I hear it!” Cupid concluded. I hope that you two have a Fabulous Flight well into Valentine’s Night!”
Soldier Sam’s Training for New Starship Missions was not at all like what he expected. Rams Mascot was not a typical Instructor.
“I have heard,” began Rams Mascot, as a trainer would, “strange reports from Planet X about you, Soldier Sam, stories of how you, in trying to leave your orbit, have caused great upheaval upon the surface. Is this true?” The Soldier Sam hesitated, remembering the tidal floods his attempted deviation from his orbit had caused. Only once did I attempt such a thing,” replied Soldier Sam with the truth.
Drill instructors forge recruits' identities as Starship Commanders. The Drill Instructors break us down, teach us how to follow orders and how to dress, speak and act like Starship Commanders. They teach us culture, heritage and traditions. The process creates a special bond, a love-hate relationship that recruits will remember for the rest of their lives.
In the course of the brief, someone piped up and said, “Sir, you know we can’t actually do that.” In the silence that followed we could see some in the room thought we could, while others were nodding in agreement that we could not. With that, we had the scenario for a Fleet Problem with the mandate to “go find out.” We learned that the doctrine and assumptions in one area had removed the capability to implement key tactics in another. Having never performed the task together in theatre, the disconnect never was identified clearly. It was not until we tried to execute under realistic, true free-play conditions that we discovered the problem’s causal factors, leading to the ability to apply solutions.
In discussion with the staff, we frame the problem that is given to a unit or formation. For example, it is critical that we be able to operate carrier strike groups [CSGs] in areas of significant submarine threat. Our traditional approach to this challenge would be to create an antisubmarine warfare [ASW] exercise, tasking ships to act as targets within a set geographic area.
Combat skills/Physical Fitness
Physical strength is our ability to produce force against an object. It’s simply how hard we can push or pull on something. Strength determines if you can shoulder your rifle, rack the slide of your pistol, carry a heavy pack, push your truck through an intersection after it runs out of gas, or lift the wounded man off the ground and move him to safety. As the base of the responder hierarchy, physical strength dictates how we’re able to interact with the physical world around us.
Tactical aptitude is the ability to apply technical skill in a meaningful and efficient way to get a job done. Clearing a house, using situational awareness to avoid a potentially dangerous situation, and possessing the leadership ability to use the varied skill sets of multiple team members to complete a complex mission are all examples of tactical aptitude.
Tell me a little bit about your Training experience, Soldier Sam.
Another group movement was moving to the source of the flare. Our team has time to scope it out and rescue whoever needs help. Another way to accomplish the mission was to call in a team from a nearby base to check on it. If for instance we had another mission to complete.
The position of the flare loomed over our shuttle. We came up on the inside to dock, our crowded starship matching velocity to slide between the cables that kept the station in trim. I had no sense of acceleration. The universe seemed to be revolving around that source of the flare.
I finally took a deferred pass, as they called it, and waited until the next convoy and tried again. You had to pass one of the tasks or you couldn't graduate. Rams Mascot had come back from another assignment bright-eyed, and was determined to explain rifle qualifications again to the new group.
"Well," Rams Mascot yelled at me, full of energy, when we met in the first training grounds of the course, "We're going to see the targets this time, aren't we?"
"Yes, sir," I said. The Trainees to the right of me and to left of me and in front of me were seeing targets; what's more, they were quietly scratching coordinates of them in their notebooks. Of course, I didn't see anything.
"We'll try it," Rams Mascot said to me, grimly, "with every adjustment of the rifle scope known to man. As God is my witness, I'll arrange this visual so that you see the targets through it or I'll give up being an instructor. In all the years of rifle qualification, I--"
Rams Mascot cut off abruptly for he was beginning to shake all over, and he genuinely wished to hold onto his temper; his scenes with me had taken a great deal out of him.
So we tried it with every adjustment of the scope known to man. With only one of them did I see anything but blackness or the familiar opacity, and that time I saw, to my pleasure and amazement, a target, imposing at within my reach. This I hastily drew on my target.
Rams Mascot, noting my activity, came back from an adjoining group, his expression high in hope. He looked at my drawing notebook. "What's that?" he demanded, with a hint of amazement in his voice.
"That's what I saw," I said.
"You didn't, you didn't, you didn't!" Rams Mascot screamed, losing control of his temper instantly, and he squinted at the recording on my scope.
Rams Mascot snapped up. "That's your eye!" he shouted. "You've fixed the scope. so it’s clear to you now! You've drawn your eye!"
Just as I accepted what Rams Mascot was asking of me, I closed eyes for just a second. A strange force pulled my body from back to earth. It happened so fast, he only blinked one more time. Just as I thought, I was going to be catapulted into the ground and end up in pieces, I stopped and put that target on the ground, feeling like the best I could be.
Anything else you want to tell me, Soldier Sam ?’
Yes, Sarina. It goes a little something like this.
"We are transforming our capabilities and utilising everything available to achieve our team mission, but it all depends on your Love.”
SITE TOUR SCENES“The Special Gift for Mrs. Claus”
Sarina and Soldier Sam had arrived at the North Pole!!
Come visit Santa in his North Pole Cabin where the fire is always warm and the memories last a lifetime! The Jolly One enjoys visits from all the ones that were good this year. See Santa while he works and prepares for the Big Night on Christmas Eve! Enjoy a distanced chat with the Big Red Guy and see the inside of where all the magic begins.
Wow! We are going to get a Tour of Santa’s office, where all the important Christmas decisions are made!
Sarina was wandering around the big building when she saw a door that had writing on it that said, “Santa’s office.” It looked interesting, so she walked into the room. Sarina saw a switch, so she turned it on. Sarina saw a desk and a chair right next to the desk. Sarina looked at the walls, and saw thousands of books.
After seeing Santa’s office, let’s check out another part of the North Pole—Where all the Work gets done. This is where the magic happens!
When Soldier Sam was in the workshop, he saw lots and lots of toys. The workshop was so big that millions of elves could fit in there! Soldier Sam saw a thing that smashed toys that were flat and a wrapping machine that wrapped all the presents, and tables that elves were sitting at. They were pounding nails and sawing wood.
One night after Santa’s Workshop closed, the elves were having hot chocolate as they decided what to give to each of their North Pole friends for Christmas.
“What can we give Mrs. Claus?” asked Sarina.
“We could get her Bourbon,” suggested Soldier Sam
“No, she already has that,” said one of the other elves. “Let’s get her a T-Shirt from Walmart.”
Sarina, who had been listening to the elves, said, “Those are all good ideas, but I bet Mrs. Claus would really like something you made for her yourselves.”
“Like what?” asked Soldier Sam.
Soldier Sam had lifted his head from the table. His eyes were open. A ringing noise pulled him from his land of dreams. Sarina rose from the Table and went to the partially opened door..
“Jingle, jingle.” There it was again.
Sarina discovered the source of the noise that had awakened Soldier Sam.
It was a package from Walmart. “I guess we won’t have to worry about making a present for Mrs. Claus” laughed Sarina.
Detective Sarina, Soldier Sam’s partner, stood waiting as she made the call to Santa. "Okay, everything's set, Soldier Sam. Santa will be expecting you in a few minutes at the Gingerbread House." Detective Sarina said
“Sarina and Soldier Sam. I have a Holiday Mystery for You to solve. Announced Santa.
“Oh, Santa. I’m great at Solving Mysteries! Maybe Soldier Sam could help too. What’s your problem, Santa?” Sarina asked.
Santa sure did have a mystery that no one at the North Pole could solve.
You are in a bar when the person next to you says? “ Hey, Bartender, make it a double. It happened again. The detectives have been hired to investigate. " You can't resist and ask "What happened again?"
'Come up to my office, Sarina” Santa said, 'I got something I'd like to talk over and something to show you--now that Soldier Sam isn’t listening.
But then Soldier Sam returned. “Here’s some things that helps you get excited about any North Pole Adventures you might have in the future”. Soldier Sam was being bold.
“See.. like a keychain, a passport holder, or a luggage tag could make you get excited about all the time you’ll be spending on the beach, even if you can’t take a break right now.”
Soldier Sam was already at the door to Santa’s Office and cast a look at Sarina as if for support. Sarina opened the door. Then, Solider Sam followed.
"Sit down, Soldier Sam." Santa instructed.
“Hey Santa, take us to the Green Pine Tree Forest. I bet Soldier Sam and I will find a clue there to Solve your mystery.
"That Sarina’s got talent, hasn't she?" said Santa, taking just a look at her. Her skills were so evident. "She’ll go places. How'd you come to dig her up?"
Soldier Sam know he would have to come up with an explanation.
"Oh—Sarina came in my office to meet with me about some new football content." Soldier Sam didn’t admit how he had Spotted Sarina.
Sarina offered a quick explanation. “Oh, I just happened across Soldier Sam at the Bodega. I was shopping for Gingerbread Supplies and I saw him in the Liquor Aisle. He asked for some spare change to finance his bourbon escapade.”
Ok, Sarina and Soldier Sam. I’ll take you to the North Pole's Green Pine Tree Forest. Maybe you will find a clue to solve this mystery. Just be on your best behavior.
You are a Guest at the North Pole. You will learn many useful things about our Operation that will be sure to help you on any mission you might find yourselves on in the Future.
Visit of the Green Pine Tree Forest
Wow! Your sled is fantastic! I am sure we will have a wonderful trip. Our first stop will be the Green Pine Tree Forest. At the North Pole, we have a very special forest. All the pine trees are magical. When they grow, they are already decorated with lights, garlands, and other decorations. Santa told me you would love to decorate a tree. I left instructions so you can decorate your pine tree and fill it with plenty of colored ornaments. Before we do this again, I will admire your tree. I can't wait!
“Hey, Santa!” Look Soldier Sam! Look at that Orange Box sitting under the Christmas Tree. What could possibly be in the Orange Box?”
“Why don’t you open the Orange Box up, Sarina. Maybe it has something you are looking for!”
“Ok, Santa. Come over here and check out this Orange Box with me, Soldier Sam!” Sarina was so excited. They opened the Orange Box together.
Look Soldier Sam!” Sarina exclaimed. “It’s the Clue we have been looking for. I just knew we would find something at this Stop on the North Pole Tour!”
Earmuffs are an essential part of any factory site but there are other reasons why you need them in Santa’s workshop. It’s not only that you will be exposed to loud machinery as toys as manufactured, pressed, cut and glued. It’s not that it’s negative two-million degrees and you don’t want your ears to get frostbite. it’s because prolonged exposure to the Christmas carols that pump through the workshop every single day have caused many a Christmas elf to lose their minds, and you don’t want to be next.
What a Great North Pole Tour you took me and Soldier Sam on, Santa. Now we have the clue to solve your mystery!” Sarina was so happy.
“Yes Sarina” Santa appreciated Sarina’s Smart Detective Work. Merry Christmas to you and Soldier Sam from all of us at the North Pole!”
You are in a bar when the person next to you says? “ Hey, Bartender, make it a double. It happened again. The detectives have been hired to investigate. " You can't resist and ask "What happened again?"
It was a dark and quiet night at the North Pole. For some moments Mr. Reindeer failed to recognize his whereabouts. Then he saw that stars were out in the sky and that he was somewhere by himself.
Soldier Sam and Sarina were in a nearby bar finishing off a bottle of Bourbon at the time and Sarina realized that the bar would be closing soon. And then it all came back to her, that night when Rudolph got hit by an Elf testing a motorbike.
Just at that time the Reindeer heard the approach of the Motorbike..
As far as the Reindeer could determine he was all in one piece--but why out here and alone?
The Reindeer struggled to get up but found it was impossible and after a moment he let out a cry for help. For five minutes he called out at intervals until finally a voice came from far away; and assistance arrived. It was Sarina and Soldier Sam.
'What is it Sir? A drop too much of Bourbon?' asked Sarina.
'Not a chance,' responded the Reindeer. 'I was in the Film Studio this afternoon. It was a lousy trick to go off and leave me in this ditch.'
'They must have forgot you in the excitement.' Suggested Soldier Sam.
'Forgot me! I was the excitement”. exclaimed the Reindeer “If you don't believe me then check out what score I got on!'
Sarina helped him to his feet.
'They will be upset,' the Reindeer explained. 'A Star like Me doesn’t get hit by a motorbike every day.'
'What's that? Did something happen?' asked Sarina.
'Well, as I heard,” Soldier Sam broke in. this guy was supposed to ride the motor bike at a bump and the bike turned over and ran you into the ditch.
“That’s what happened to Rudolph a while back I guess it happened again. Lightning struck twice.” Observed Soldier Sam.
“I remember that” Sarina jumped in. “They had to stop shooting the score and they were really thrown for a loop.”
But for all his anger the Reindeer felt a certain fierce pride. He was Something in this set-up--someone to be reckoned with after years of inattention. He had managed to hold up the picture show once more.
Sarina tried to explain this to the Reindeer, but the Reindeer was hoping for Santa to come behind the curve in the road. Surly he would set this straight.
Worn out by the long jaunt over the back lot, Soldier Sam took a pint flask from his pocket and offered it to Sarina who declined. He did not offer it to the Reindeer, who was already in bad enough shape.
'Suit yourself, Sarina,' Soldier Sam said, “That’s more for me,” taking a big drink.
'Thanks a lot for offering me some of that bourbon” the Reindeer said sarcastically. “But I do not want any,' said the Reindeer with dignity.
The reindeer was suddenly alert. He had spotted a group of partygoers on their motorbikes like the one that knocked him into the ditch. They were in his marks now, Ready to pay them a lesson.
But then they moved off.
Watching the Reindeer’s face, Sarina was rather touched and offered her support to catching the trouble makers, even if it meant hiring an expensive detective.
'We can go nearer,' suggested the Reindeer. 'We might get to that other parking lot. They're not using it—the pavilion is totally empty.'
On tip toe they started, Sarina in the lead, then Soldier Sam, then the Reindeer. As they moved softly forward Soldier Sam saw some 'Lights' and stopped in his tracks.
Then, as a blinding white glow struck at their eyes and the voice shouted 'Let’s Go! We're rolling!' Sarina began to run, followed quickly by the Reindeer and Soldier Sam.
The noise from the Bikes suddenly ceased.
'Cut the scene' screamed a voice,
'What the living, blazing hell!' Sarina was shocked. It was Santa. To the Rescue.
From Santa’s angle something had happened on the Motorbike Schedule that was, for the moment inexplicable.
Those gigantic silhouettes from the motorbikes, all with Bells on, had danced across what was intended to be a road off the main drag--they had blundered into Santa’s Trap.
The Reindeer had not only seen Santa—Santa, even more smart than an expensive detective had acted to trap the bikers in their tracks
Santa would put a stop to this, so that not even one of the Reindeers would ever experience trouble from bikers like that again!
LAST DAY ON EARTH ADVENTURE
It was Thanksgiving Day in New York City. Sarina and Soldier Sam had made plans to attend the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade, before returning to the Bronx to Create the Ultimate Feast and enjoy it while watching NFL Football.
Thanksgiving Day is here and that only means one thing in New York City. There’s nothing in the World quite like the Outrageous Fun of the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. The Blockbuster Event is perfect for making great memories – and great photo ops!
The Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade is a fun way to get together with family and friends for a day out. Sarina had been planning to attend at least one parade this year with Soldier Sam and Sarina had been plotting about just exactly how to keep the Thanksgiving Day Holiday Celebration Day fun and stress free!
“Turkeys dressed up in Yankees uniforms has always had a kind of outrageous edge to it. And why should we change that? Both Sarina and Soldier Sam were against any changes to their plan. Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade is not your typical everyday parade, and it never was. It shouldn’t be. It can’t be.”
This parade was extremely popular not only with Sarina but also with Soldier Sam. Sarina and Soldier Sam even competed against each other to see who could come up with the best idea for a Float. Soldier Sam had built many floats for Sarina over the years and most of them won prizes. Sometimes Soldier Sam would remember that he still had some parts for these Floats stored in his tool garage.
Sarina was not allowed to play in the Garage because she would argue too much and she was too loud and disrupted Soldier Sam’s Workshop Conferences.
Sarina’s Thanksgiving Day Outfit was a magical find, and it has come to symbolize the importance of the Macys Day Thanksgiving Day Parade for all of New York, and the millions watching the broadcast throughout the entire world.
Soldier Sam spoke joyfully of going to the dollar store, picking up all the materials they would need to attend the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade.
“I can’t imagine a safer place to bring Sarina,” Soldier Sam said of the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade in New Yok City.
A resounding chorus of voices — from within the New York community and not — would agree with this general sentiment about the Macys Thanksgiving Day parades and Sarina. But in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, one tweet turned it into a bigger conversation.
The post asked parade participants not to commercialize Sarina Pride and to leave their outrageous floats in New Jersey.
Anyone who has been to a parade has likely seen the procession of outrageous floats. How Sarina-appropriate are the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade festivities? And why does this discussion hit a nerve for the whole city of New York?
“At some level this has always been part of a much larger debate of what Thanksgiving is. And the role Sarina plays in it.”
It was Soldiers Sam’s first parade in a while due his hectic work schedule but he was looking forward to taking part in this parade for the benefit of making Sarina a surprise. But Soldier Sam sometimes can’t keep up or march in time. While he is practising he gets lost and bumps into obstacles.
Sarina was worried Soldier Sam won’t get all his Floats made for the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade because he has so many job commitments already. Sarina volunteered to help and Soldier Sam rewarded her with a case of Bourbon. Perfect for keeping time!
Sarina finished off that Bourbon up and down and was bursting with excitement, for weeks leading up to the Thanksgiving Day Parade where she would march as the Representative of the Bronx.
“Stars like Sarina march at the front,” explained Soldier Sam, “and if we march smartly, we get a Big Thanksgiving Dinner.”
“Ooh!” said Sarina. “What are we going to have for Thanksgiving Dinner this year?”
“It’s a surprise,” answered Soldier Sam.
“That’s not fair,” said Sairna. “Please tell me.”
But Soldier Sam was insistent. “It’s tradition, Sarina” he said. “Every Parade Superstar gets a surprise for Thanksgiving at the end of the Parade. Well, it might be a very special surprise that is once in a lifetime” Soldier Sam added.
But Sarina didn’t want a surprise. Sarina wanted to know NOW!
Sarina and Soldier Sam drank Bourbon before every Parade they went to over the course of a year, and today was no exception. And it was on the Mark! Sarina packs a picnic lunch. She packs the Pin Wheels, Sidewalk Chalk and of course lots of Miniature American Flags.
Sarina cannot find their Blanket to sit on in case they got tired of standing before the parade starts. Sarina always loses things. The blanket is not in the laundry basket or dryer. It is not in the closet, either.
She finally looks in her beach bag that she had not even used since their trip to the State Park during last summer. She sees the blankets folded in the bottom. Of course, the blankets are exactly where they should be.
Sarina was planning to show off her new smart looking outfit, the Yankees Jersey was perfect for an event that was sure to be lots of fun and also infused with measures of thanksgiving.
Sarina was almost ready. She just needs her sunglasses. She thinks they are on the table by the door. Or maybe they are in the Trophy Room. They could also be in her handbag. Sarina was exasperated.
Sarina and Soldier Sam were so excited they were going to the Parade!. They had decided to make a Lunch. First they needed to get a Sturdy Cooler to put the food in. Sarina wanted to make the sandwiches and all the Fixings and Soldier Sam wanted to gather up all the bottled water so they could stay Hydrated. They were on sale at the Bodega on the Corner!
After Sarina grabbed the Cooler -- one that rolls or slings over your shoulder -- and packed it with ice, ice pops, bottles of milk, juice boxes, bags of sliced fruit and cubes of cheese and sandwiches. And bottled water of course. Toss a box of crackers and a bag of pretzels in a canvas tote and you'll be set.
"What a pretty day!" said Soldier Sam.
“This is going to be an awesome Parade” Sarina was excited.
“I’m excited too” Soldier Sam laughed.
"The Parade is back, and we're excited to bring it back to the streets of New York City in its full form, in the way that audiences have grown to know and Love us," said Soldier Sam. "It's going to be a celebration of spectacle, a celebration of performance, a celebration of culture, a celebration of Love. “
Like I was telling my Crew” recalled Soldier Sam, “It's going to be a really exciting day, and we're really just glad to have the opportunity to bring it back to New York City in its true form."
New balloons will take flight, along with decked-out floats and a stacked lineup of music artists, Broadway favorites, marching bands, and more magical performances are in store for this year.
Sarina was curious. “Soldier Sam, do you know much about the 2021 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, including who's performing, how to watch, and everything in between?.
"We've got a full show: 10 marching bands, 15 giant character balloons, 28 floats, 30-plus heritage balloons, and a whole host of performances," Soldier Sam told Sarina.
“There's a tremendous amount of time and dedication that's added to every detail of the Thanksgiving Day Parade” explained Soldier Sam. “Thanks to the talented Macy's Parade Studio team, who commit over 50,000 hours of labor to prepare, we're presented with a spectacular city sight come Thanksgiving morning.
“What are the new floats at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Solder Sam?” Sarina inquired.
“Well, answered Soldier Sam, “Macy's unveiled a total of six new floats this year, including a Heinz Gravy Pirate boat "floalloonicle," which according to my sources, is "part float, part 'balloonicle' or balloon-vehicle. It has a typical float-like structure for the interior and stage, but the actual pirate ship itself is a balloon.”
Sarina ran upstairs to get dressed up. It was a Rockin’ Outfit and Soldier Sam admired Sarina’s selections from her closet.
Soldier Sam puts the cooler and all the other Parade Essentials in their Train Tote. He checks to make sure everything is there. Mickey, their dog, is ready too. That puppy sure loves going to Parades!
Soldier Sam is ready to leave. Where is Sarina? She knows he likes to arrive at the Parade before the crowds so they can be sure to get a Great Spot to see all the festivities right up close
The Crisp November day was just perfect, a light breeze and the small patches of fog that hovered close to the ground soon disappeared with the rising of the sun.
This was going to be a very special day for Soldier Sam since he had not even seen Sarina during the week since she was off flying God-knows-where on her assignments.
Every morning before work Soldier Sam would Call Sarina and they would pass the time talking as they each made up their Breakfast. Over the course of the last week Sarina and Soldier Sam had talked a lot about a lot, but there was still a lot of ground to cover.
Each day they grew closer together and when they had talked last during the week Soldier Sam had asked Sarina if she Thursday off work for the Big Parade.
Sarina told Soldier Sam that she did so he seized the opportunity and asked her to go to the Parade. She said that she would love to and offered some suggestions for putting the Cooler together like Potato Salad, Coleslaw & Italian Sub Sandwiches. Even some Nachos!!
Back at the house on the day of the Big Parade, Soldier Sam was starting to grow impatient to get the Show on the road. Sarina is always late!
“What are the new balloons at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Soldier Sam?” Sarina wanted to know more.
Soldier Sam was ready for that question. “Along with returning favorites such as Snoopy, SpongeBob SquarePants, and the Pillsbury Doughboy, there will be a total of four new balloons ready to take flight for this year's parade. The first is Grogu (AKA, Baby Yoda from The Mandalorian) which is a Funko Pop!-inspired balloon. The second features both Pikachu and Eevee in honor of the Pokemon's 25th anniversary.
“Wow!” Sarina exclaimed. “That’s great. Anything else, Soldier Sam?”
“Yes, Sarina!! The third new balloon to fly high in the sky is a giant Ada Twist from the book and Netflix series Ada Twist, Scientist. For the last new balloon, we can confidently say that "We're Lovin' it," –just like us.”
Solider Sam responded.” The McDonald's Ronald McDonald Balloon is joining the balloon bunch this Thanksgiving for the fifth rendition of Ronald since he first appeared during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1987!”
Sarina searches for her sunglasses. She cannot find them, and she knows Soldier Sam is waiting. She always hears about it when she is late! She grabs her purse and locks the door.
"You are late," Soldier Sam says as they began to walk to the Train Station in the Bronx. After boarding, it would be just a quick minute until they were at the Parade Site. Sarina tells Solider Sam that she could not find her sunglasses.
Solider Sam looks at her and laughs! Her sunglasses are on top of her head. They were there the whole time!
"It is always in the last place that you look," Sarina Laughed.
Getting to a parade too late to get a seat could send Soldier Sam into a tantrum, but get there too early and he'll be so bored that he'll get cranky. Err on the side of early and take plenty of gear to keep him occupied. Pack magnetic blocks, a selection of his favorite books and even a few new toys he hasn't yet seen. Some parade staples, like pinwheels, flags or light sticks, will keep him entertained too; wave them in front of him and supervise as he plays with them himself.
There may only be 28 floats, but each one is comprised of hundreds of different set pieces and structural elements. The floats don't drive themselves, though, as they are towed by trucks driven by members of New York City's Theatrical Teamsters union, Local 817. The drivers are even supposed to wear jackets and ties for parade duty, according to Car and Driver.
Sarina was in her element. Sitting on a curb, waving a flag and watching a marching band go by is such a perfect moment that she truly believed She was the Grand Marshall of that Parade.
But a parade will feel endless if Sarina and Soldier Sam are both hungry.
Bring a cooler -- one that rolls or slings over your shoulder -- and pack it with ice, ice pops, bottles of milk, juice boxes, bags of sliced fruit and cubes of cheese and turkey. Add bottled water for Sarina and Bourbon for Solider Sam.
“Look, Soldier Sam!” Sarina said. I even Tossed a box of crackers and a bag of pretzels in a canvas tote. Add some Bourbon at you’ll be all set to enjoy that Parade.”
Sarina and Soldier Sam were both getting very excited as the parade start time neared. The first thing Soldier Sam spotted were clowns roller skating with bundles of balloons. Soon after came the NYPD motorcycles, horses, marching bands, cheerleaders, floats and, of course, the huge character balloons.
“Is a parade really considered a parade without confetti?” Sarina asked Soldier Sam.
“Of course not, Sarina.” Soldier Sam stated the obvious. “That’s why Macy's uses 300 pounds worth of the shimmery, papery, metallic material. Whether you're lined along the streets and it covers your hair, or watching from home as it flies through the air, it's a celebration staple that's sure to put a smile on everyone's face. “
Sarina had done some research and found out Macy's claims to only use "commercially manufactured, multicolor confetti, not shredded paper," according to their website.
It wouldn’t be a Thanksgiving Day parade without the huge novelty balloons. Nor would it be one without one of the balloons partially deflating due to catching on a snag, strong winds, or the weather being so cold that the air gives out.
Every balloon and float in the parade is hand-painted by members of Macy's Parade Studio team, led by Soldier Sam, who's worked on dozens of parades. The studio has "every color in the rainbow,” Soldier Sam explained to Sarina.
Magic wouldn't be in the air if the balloons didn't fly high in the sky.
Both Sarina and Solider Sam were very Thankful to witness the Greatest Spectacle in the Greatest City in the World on a Wonderful Holiday.
Sarina and Soldier Sam had breakfast on the street, colored and watched all the Parade Hype on their Smartphones. The whole Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade event lasts for a couple of hours, so Sarina recommended they stay seated in the hours leading up to the parade to preserve their standing ability for the actual parade.
Sarina and Soldier Sam had brought camping chairs, buckets or anything else you want to sit on to the parade.
These items won’t really be helpful during the parade itself since everyone seems to stand, but it will help make the hours leading up the parade a bit more comfortable. At the very least, it’s recommended that people bring blankets to sit on instead of the hard, cold, gum-covered NYC sidewalks.
We're not just talking little latex balloons on a string. We're talking giant balloons that are typically guided by 80 to 100 uniformed handlers! There will be about 25 people assigned to each balloon, according to Soldier Sam.
Sarina was excited. Not because the rain was stopping. The sun was coming out and Sarina knew that only meant one thing..
The Yankees Turkey Balloon Float!
And not just any Turkey Balloon Float-- this was the most Beautiful Yankees Turkey Float America had ever seen in its illustrious history.
“Oh, what a Treat!! If only you could stay forever. If only we could be Lucky enough to replay this highlight reel over and over again!” Sarina said.
Of course all year, Sarina had dreamed of this moment. The moment all of her dreams would come true when she saw the Yankees Turkey Balloon Float pass by her.
“What a happy dream” Sarina said to Soldier Sam as it passed by their Seating Section.
As Sarina looked out onto the Street she wondered if she had actually woken up at all.
“There it is, Sarina!!” Your Magical Yankees Turkey Balloon Float—in all of its splendor.” Soldier Sam was excited too.
And when it paused and stopped right in front of Sarina and Soldier Sam she realised it was true.
The Yankees Turkey Balloon Float was the Highlight of Sarina’s entire Life. And when it started to move again, after it drenched Sarina in Glitter and Confetti, Sarina considered that she had never even woken up at all from her Magical Dream.
For Years, people arrived from far and wide. Everyone wanted to see the Yankees Turkey Balloon Float.
The World had been quick to make the most of it. There was a new Yankees Turkey Mascot in every American town dedicated to promoting the Yankees Turkey Balloon Float.
The shops were full of Yankees Turkey themed Souvenirs all year. People bought T-Shirts, jerseys, custom shoes, gloves and other toys and some of them really went overboard and dyed their hair with Blue Pinstripe colours.
And the Yankees Turkey Balloon Float was discussed by commentators on every television channel, even on Twitter. Bands of every music genre played sold out concerts dedicated to the Yankees Turkey Mascot.
Ever week something different was happening. And the Yankees Turkey Mascots were at the center of it all.
America would spend hours, even days talking to the Yankees Turkey Mascot. America introduced Yankees Turkey Mascot to all their friends and shared favourite toys.
This Thanksgiving arrived and it was cold outside. The Yankees Turkey Mascot shivered and put on mittens, but still the Yankees Turkey Balloon Float showed up at the Parade every year right on cue.
But by this Thanksgiving, people had gotten so used to the Yankees Turkey Balloon Float. Most people even forgot it was still in the Parade, since there we so many more Floats more extravagant than the Yankees Turkey Balloon Float.
The Yankees Turkey Balloon Float was no longer at the center of it all. The whole Parade was littered with Floats for Restaurants, Home improvement products, politicians and bargain basement buck stores for products of every kind
“How could they do this to something so special?” Sarina said in despair.
Just then, the crowd of people started shouting and took out their cameras in anticipation of the most treasured of them all. The NBC Peacock Float.
“I think they are coming to see you again!” Sarina shouted to her beloved Yankees Turkey Balloon Float.”
But it wasn’t the Yankees Turkey Balloon Float they had come to see. The NBC Peacock Float was what the crowds had come to see on this Thanksgiving Day in New York.
Soon all the people began to stare at all the other Corporate Floats
“Isn’t it wonderful?” said the people breathlessly. It must have cost one billion dollars!” shouted the people.
America was excited again, “We’re so lucky to have something that costs so much money to build and showers us with glitter and confetti!”
America didn’t know it, but the Yankees Turkey Balloon Float heard every word.
“Hmmm.. the Yankees Turkey Balloon Float thought. “These worldly things, a rare and precious sight.”
Sarina and Soldier Sam may have been the only ones to still appreciate the Yankees Turkey Balloon Float out of millions of people watching on site and on Television broadcasts to the entire World.
But when people start to lose interest in the Yankees Turkey Balloon Float, Sarina and Soldier Sam learned that most people have no idea what the special things, so precious in life are at all!
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade itself was wonderful. The floats flew high, the weather that year was decent for late November, the people around us were fantastic. And it even started to snow right before Santa arrived at the end of the parade. It was perfect.
Sarina and Soldier Sam ran through all the crowds of people and jumped on the Uptown Train headed back to the Bronx, where Sarina and Soldier Sam belonged.
The Train was passing by Yankees stadium on Thanksgiving morning and Soldier Sam noticed a sign painted in Yankee Pinstripes outside the Stadium.
It looked like the Yankees Fans had been baking in anticipation of the upcoming Thanksgiving Day Feast.
The Sign was very clear: “Yankees Fans Celebrate with One Dollar Pumpkin Pies!”
Sarina and Soldier Sam hopped off the Train to check out was going on. Sarina wanted to see whatever was cooking and just sitting on top of the Makeshift Picnic Tables.
"Come on over, Soldier Sam, let’s go get a Pumpkin Pie," Sarina called. Sarina always tells Soldier Sam about what she wants and Sarina had sure not forgotten about her surprise.
Were the Pumpkin Pies the Surprise Sarina had been waiting for?
Sometimes Sarina even brings her Smartphone and shows Solider Sam the highlights about everything that happened during the Big Yankees Games.
So Sarina and Soldier Sam checked out the parking lot for a bit.
"Wow! That is sure a Boatload of Pumpkin Pies. What do you say we pick a couple out and eat them inside the Stadium, Solder Sam?" asked Sarina
"Sounds great, Sarina!" answered Soldier Sam. "It looks like the gates are open. Maybe we could take them inside and eat them in the section behind the Yankees Dugout.
“Sarina, how about you check out the Pumpkin Pie selection while I head up to the Front Office. There is something I’ve been meaning to talk to the Owner and GM about.
“Ok, Soldier Sam” Sarina agreed. We can meet up in the Section behind the Yankees Dugout.”
Fans had been baking and Sarina confirmed the Pumpkin Pies we being sold for only One Dollar. Still, to Sarina that price seemed a bit steep.
Sarina walked inside the Stadium Gates and marched toward the seats Soldier Sam had promised to meet her at.
Soldier Sam had completed his meeting with the Yankees Owner and GM.
"It's Pumpkin Pie for you and me, Soldier Sam" Sarina said with excitement.
How much did those Pumpkin Pies cost Sarina? Only a Buck?" Soldier Sam thought that was a great deal.
“I decided just to take them off the picnic tables and run for it" Sarina announced.
"Hey, put the Pumpkin Pies back!" Solder Sam said.
"What's the matter?" asked Sarina. "Are you a Turkey?"
Sarina made Turkey noises to made fun of Soldier Sam. “Gobble Gobble!" Sarina flapped her elbows up and down.
“Could I let Sarina call me a Turkey?” Solder Sam considered.
“Give me that Pumpkin Pie," Solder Sam demanded. Sarina handed him the pie, and they chose a couple of seats down by the field.
When they got there, Sarina broke the Pumpkin Pies up in pieces and ate almost the whole thing. She hardly saved any of it for Soldier Sam!
When it was all gone, Sarina picked up the pie pan and stepped on it.
Sarina smiled at Soldier Sam who gave the pie pan a little stomp too.
After that and for the rest of the daylight hours, Sarina and Solider Sam played Frisbee with the Pie Pan inside Yankees Stadium and had loads of fun competing to see how many times they could get the Frisbee over the Right Field Porch and into the Bleachers.
Just before dark, they walked home down the street from the stadium.
When they got back to the house, Sarina started thinking about the pumpkin pie and wondered whether she should have eaten whole pie for herself. Maybe all the fans were coming over her house once they realised the pie had disappeared.
It got closer to Dinner Time on Thanksgiving! Soldier Sam was already hard at work in the kitchen.
Sarina was very confident she had plenty of room in her stomach for the big meal and soon enough it would be Time when they would be sure to enjoy the Great Thanksgiving Feast!
"I'm going to visit the Bodega now" Sarina said with a full mouth.
"What was that?" asked Soldier Sam.
Sarina raised her voice a bit. "I said, 'I'm going to visit the Bodega,” Sarina repeated'"
Would you pick up some items so we can make more Pumpkin Pies?” suggested Soldier Sam.
"Sure. By the way, how do you make pumpkin pie?"
"Most of the ingredients are things we already have, like eggs and flour, Soldier Sam explained. “The only thing we would need is some canned pumpkin.”
Sarina ran upstairs and got all the money she had worked so hard to earn in the Studio where she was doing so much Brilliant Work.
Sarina pushed it down in her pocket. She ran down the stairs and out the front door, and then headed down the street to the Bodega.
"Happy Thanksgiving!" said the Bodega Shop owner.
"Oh, good you are still open," Sarina said. "Do you have any canned pumpkin?"
"On Thanksgiving Day?” he chuckled. " Of Course! We have a whole display of canned pumpkin. It's such a popular item Today I put it right in Aisle One.”
Sarina easily found the pumpkin cans and carried then to the cash register.
As Sarina felt around in her pockets for the money, she remembered the pan. "Do you have pie pans?"
"Those are right next to the Pumpkin Cans, Of course. Where else would they be?" he replied.
The Bodega Shop Owner rang up the order and said, "That will be ten bucks even, please." Sarina had to use almost all the money she had in cash to pay him.
On the way back to her house, Sarina wondered what she was going to Say to Soldier Sam. She came to the kitchen door with a smile, but Soldier Sam was outside having a Smoke.
"Is that you, Soldier Sam?" Sarina asked. "Come on in here. It's a little chilly outside, I mean as chilly as normal for a Bronx night in late November.
Sarina told him what happened at the Bodega and how she was so relieved the Shop Owner was so accommodating.
Sarina sat the bag on the counter and took out what she had purchased.
"Will you help me make the pie, Solder Sam?" she asked
“Of Course. I have been looking forward to our time together in the Kitchen for a long time now!”, Soldier Sam replied.
Sarina picked the Pumpkin Cans out of the bag and realised she would probably have to freeze all the extra pies for a Treat the next week there were so many.
"I Totally can't wait for us to eat this great Thanksgiving Day Feast!" Sarina said to Soldier Sam.
"I can’t wait to do it with you too.” Laughed Soldier Sam!
Soldier Sam had baked the Turkey, but he didn’t follow the usual Protocols. He didn’t tell Sarina that he had not put Stuffing inside of that Turkey.
Soldier Sam had placed something much more special inside that Thanksgiving Bird.
“It’s all ready, Sarina, You have the honour of carving the Turkey this year and..Oh, I forgot to tell you what your Big Surprise is.
Sarina responded, “Tell me just as soon as we get all the Fixin’s on the Table and open up that next Bourbon bottle.”
But Sarina would find out the answer to that question before that.
Sarina had hardly started carving that Turkey when she noticed no stuffing was inside the Turkey. There was something else.
Sarina saw an Orange Box inside the Turkey.
“Solider Sam!! What is this Orange Box doing inside the Turkey?” Sarina was in Shock.
“Well why don’t you open the Orange Box, Sarina? Remember this morning when you couldn’t wait to find out what your Thanksgiving Surprise would be? Now you get the Chance!!”
Sarina opened up the Orange Box and was even more surprised than when she noticed there was no Suffing inside the Turkey.
Soldier Sam had gone on a Side Mission at Yankees Stadium while Sarina was preoccupied with Stealing the Pies.
“Why Soldier Sam!!” Sarina couldn’t believe it. “Soldier Sam, it’s a Yankees World Series Championship Ring from 1923!”
“Soldier Sam” Sarina said excitedly. “This is the best Thanksgiving Surprise I could have ever imagined. And just to think, you had this plan worked out all Day at the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade!
"You're not going to tell anyone at Yankees Games in the Spring that you stole that Pumpkin Pie earlier today are you, Sarina?" Soldier Sam asked.
For a moment Sarina didn't answer, Finally, she Started Laughing "I can do whatever I want. I‘m the Grand Marshall of the New York City Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade!"
“Yes You Are, Sarina. Yes you are!!” Soldier Sam certainly agreed. “The Best Grand Marshall New York City has ever seen!”
When the Sun Exploded destroying earth Rams Football games were cancelled and your ship has been orbiting in space ever since. Resources are growing thin and conflict is slowly spreading. All the Rams Fans on Earth have been forced to live together aboard the Starship, and it's a miracle this arrangement has lasted this long.
But now the powerplants engines are failing and the workshops have run out of metal. Soldier Sam is a Junker, sent to salvage materials from distant galaxies and bring it up to your ship for reuse. Rams Mascot was still on another planet and you've been trying for years to find him––amidst all your Missions.
One day you find an ancient VHS tape and you plug it in only to see a video of Rams Stadium, when Earth still existed and sure enough, there was Rams Mascot, leading all the fans in Rams Stadium into a state of madness. This whips up Soldier Sam’s nostalgia and you both just exist for a moment in the beauty of it all.
You also find an electronic version of Rams Mascot’s current diary. He too is in search of Planets in the Galaxy and has the advantage of stealth and greater mobility.
Rams Mascot has been trying to reach your Starship to brief you on the Results of his Intergalactic Mission to find a New Home for Rams, one in which a Stadium could be built to Monster Specifications, the likes of which the Galaxies had never seen since the Beginning of Time..
But your excitement ends there, swiftly changing to shock as you realize it's all a fabrication, it's all a power play, and Soldier Sam planted the tape just to distract you from his devious operations in the engine room.
Soldier Sam’s plan to take over the ship is deeply entrenched in the opinions of some of the crew, and Soldier Sam has a plan to launch your spaceship on a voyage in search of a distant world, a world where there is no Rams Football. It’s up to you to stop him and you have come up with a brilliant Plan of your own.
Sarina squeezed the edges of the console.. “You try to fly that shuttle out of here before we’ve managed this evac and I’ll lock it to the docking bay. We’re not leaving until we finish help the crew.”
The Radio Crackled. Sarina and Soldier Sam both heard the noise.
“Rams Mascot is that YOU?!!” Sarina was shocked.
“Wait, Rams Mascot, I can’t hear you. Speak up!” Sarina shouted.
“Rams Mascot we have a bad connection. Hold on while Soldier Sam and I fix the ship so we can hear you. Sit Tight! Don’t Go anywhere, We will reestablish the connection,” Sarina Promised.
Sarina and Soldier Sam needed a command structure-- incident leadership. But there was nothing. The crew stirred in the hidden department
“Everybody on the should have an RFID locator chip so the crew could rescue or retrieve them if they went missing,” Sarina decided.
Soldier Sam said, “Well, they’re missing now.” His hands moved over his console.
Sarina’s countdown on the evacuation alert reached 2 minutes. She checked to make sure that the decompression doors were engaged and the circulation vents closed between 3 North and the rest of the area.
Sarina’s hands shook—what if I had forgotten to do that?” she asked.
They would have closed on their own, Sarina told herself. Assuming the system worked. Which felt like a big assumption right now.
“Decompressing in eight, seven, six—”
Sarina uncovered the shielded toggle and recognized a problem. “Damn it,” she said. “I need the keys!”
Soldier Sam tossed them to Sarina without looking. The arc was high because of the gravity, but Sarina managed to reach up, straining at the end of the tether, and snag them.
As Sarina fitted the key, oxygen levels dropped through Sector 3, North and South. The fire would put itself out eventually, but there were concerns about that too.
“Soldier Sam, please check to make sure 3 South is isolated from 3 North?” Sarina asked.
“It looks OK,” Soldier Sam replied. Sarina half-expected him to ignore her, but apparently a real crisis made them temporary allies.
Sarina turned the key.
On the screens, a puff of atmosphere and debris jetted from the outside surface of 3 North. And there wasn’t any debris in it, which was a relief.
“Fire’s out,” Sarina said. “I think, anyway. Infrared shows the temperature dropping at the source.”
“That’s a relief,” said Soldier Sam.
Fire could rekindle, despite being deprived of atmosphere, if it had melted through oxygen supply lines.
“Right, I should temporarily seal off all oxygen feeds to 3 North. I should have done that first. I was not ready for this job” Sarina admitted..
Sarina used the keys and flipped another locked toggle, triple-checking that it was the right one. Belatedly she remembered to say, “Shutting down ox to 3 North.”
Soldier Sam said, “I have a bunch of RFID tags in Sector 8. Looks like they’re in the backup Ops center.”
“Why’d they evacuate this one?” Sarina asked.
“We should go back to the shuttle,” Soldier Sam, replied.
“You might be right, Soldier Sam. Sarina opened her mouth to say so, and the entire world lurched. A terrible rending sound, like some Monster snapping a rubber band, rang through the hab.
Sarina bounced off the deck as lights that had been amber flared red. Except Soldier Sam, who still hadn’t clipped in. Soldier Sam bounced off the ceiling, cursing, then bounced off the deck.
Soldier Sam hauled himself to his feet. “It’s just a drill. It’s just a drill.”
“That was a cable snapping. It’s not a drill!”
Sarina said, “Check!,” and Soldier Sam stretched out to touch her, not unclipping.
“I’m fine,” Soldier Sam snapped, he grabbed the rail on the edge of the console and snapped his harness leads to it. “Stupid way to get hurt.”
“Where are You, Rams Mascot?” Sarina shouted into the radio receiver.
Rams Mascots voice came through loud and clear.
“WHERE ARE YOU, RAMS MASCOT?” Sarina wanted to know as soon as possible. “Can the Planet’s Terrain and Atmosphere support Rams Football?”
“I’m on Planet ASCELLA! Check it out, Sarina!”
Planets heating mechanism is atmosphere’s interaction with ion’s in the planet’s magnetic field, or gravity waves from the planet’s interior that dissipate in the atmosphere.
“Sounds perfect for Rams Football” exclaimed Sarina.
'Will you be wanting me during this video conference call, Sarina?' asked Soldier Sam.
Sarina looked at Soldier Sam with surprise and went out in front of the Starship Radio Console.
Rams Mascot was certainly there on Planet X. Rams Mascot looked strong and imposing, dressed of course in his Rams Jersey. Soldier Sam was sporting his Rams Jersey as well that day, just to get another look going other than his Metal Junking Get Up.
Sarina looked at Rams Mascot with formal respect. 'Hear you want to go on some sets on the Planet to test potential for Rams Games,' said Sarina,
'You friends with Soldier Sam?' asked Sarina.
'Acquaintances,' said Rams Mascot. 'May I present you to images of the Planet X Surface Terrain?”
Probably Deep Faked Images, thought Soldier Sam skeptically. Rams Mascot would play the heavy who owned the Planet if he got the chance.
Maybe The Fans would put Sarina on it. Why not? Sarina sure knew how to broadcast that stuff:
We are coming to Rams Planet, Rams Mascot! But we have to make 2 Stops.
First we are going to Planet X for some Upgrades to our Starship since we expect to Drift for Long Time to land on Rams Moon.
Then New Starship Upgrades for Big Fight to get from the Moon to Rams Stadium.
We are going to make a day of it on Planet X while our ship gets fixed. It will be an Adventure!!
Then we will go on a Day Trip on Your Rams Moon too.
“Look, Solder Sam!” Planet X is fast approaching “ said Sarina. Prepare for landing!!”
Landing is less harsh than a speed bump, but the plane will hit the ground and will slide a bit when it brakes on the runway.
PLANET X ADVENTURE ACTIVITIES
Sarina climbed out of her fighter jet after a long sortie and called to her Friend. “I’ve got a load of special Easter eggs.” Daylight was fading on the remote base. Clumps of vivid sand dunes dotted the periphery.
Soldier Sam pulled in next to Sarina, and piled his Humvee high with garbage bags full of plastic eggs.
The egg hunt for the new recruits was over and they were all enjoying their chocolate candies. Sarina and her friend had organised a special new event, a twilight egg hunt for the Troops that had been on station the longest, an event that would collectively boost the morale of all the Troops in the Brigade.
Sarina’s friend handed her itemised list. “The eggs with chocolates, jelly beans and marshmallow treats have been separated into different bags and Sarina’s Plan was to scatter them all over the area.” Last Year’s Easter Egg Hunt Event had so much candy the Troops felt the effects of the Sugar high for weeks after the event, providing a much needed bump in morale levels.
Sarina directed some of the troops that had nothing to do that day to grab the bags and start up the hill to a wide, open field at the top.
Soldier Sam handed over bulging bags of plastic eggs filled with candy. “I think that’s it.”
Sarina’s Friend blew a huge sigh of relief. “All those eggs, all that candy, all over the base. It’s a wonder the grunts didn’t eat everything, they are so tired of their MRE’s.”
Sarina’s friend grabbed two lanterns, gave her one, and took her hand. “This should go well with our Luck. It’s for a good cause. How many troops are turning up?”
“We had to have a lottery and close registration at as high a number as we could there was so much interest, with several eggs allocated for each participant.”
Sarina checked in with the volunteers assisting with the water bottle tables and first aid station, should any of the Guys get dehydrated. Each participant would receive a glow necklace to be visible in the dark and new backpack for their eggs.
Sarina checked her watch. “Thanks to daylight savings time, the hunt starts in one hours time on dot. We’ll have twilight for fifteen or twenty minutes, then pitch darkness by the time the Hunt is underway.”
“Our job is keeping grunts in the tents so they don’t ruin everything, right?” her friend inquired.?”
“Yup. The Troops on patrol pitched a fit when they found out about the twilight hunt. They were out first thing this morning stringing the Yellow Caution tape. I think it adds a nice element of urgency to the scene, nice touch, don’t you?”
“Hostile Forces Easter bunnies? Her friend laughed. What a great idea! Did you think that up all by yourself?”
“Kind of. I searched the internet for some good ideas” Sarina admitted.
The participants lined up behind the start line, armed with their backpacks they hoped to fill, wearing their standard issue gear with big pockets in their backpack. were all stretching and jockeying for position, intent on making a fast start.
Sarina warned them to stay within assigned boundaries, and not to wander off into hostile territory. She announced flashlight turn-on, and then blew her whistle. The horde swarmed up the hill, full of anticipation.
“Whoa, there they go!” Sarina laughed with delight. She was so glad she had designed such a fun activity for the Troops, who were fighting boredom, they had been deployed for so long without relief.
The hillside was ideal for the hunt, the participants discovered plastic eggs far and wide and swarmed onto the open field at the top, shining their flashlights on the uneven ground now far from their headquarters on the base.
A group of troops stopped to examine their eggs, gobbling candy and comparing their eggs to each other and consuming chocolate right away since it was so tasty, also checking out some of the vouchers that Sarina had made sure were in some of the Eggs.
“Hey, I got two days off of PT.” Several found free phone minutes to call home. Another shook his egg. “I hear money inside. I wonder how much?”
His egg was taped shut. “Probably just an extra MRE token,” someone called out.
Another Guy approached him. “Can I help with the tape? You found an egg that’s not part of the hunt. I want to make sure it’s safe.” He pulled off the Tape with his pocket knife, and in the light from the team lantern, slit the tape on the plastic egg.
“Do you think it’s safe to open it? I don’t want some trick like getting ink all over my hand.”
The Lucky Guy shook it. “It just sounds like a coin. Come on, let’s open it.”
He twisted the two parts of the egg apart, and pried it open. A quarter-sized gold coin was inside.
“All that for nothing. It’s just a toy coin.” He threw the plastic egg on the ground in disappointment.
But another picked up the coin and pulled on his night vision goggles. “It’s an American Eagle gold coin. The face value is 20 dollars, but it’s worth much more than that. Its value is based on the gold content.”
The Guy says, the Face value of that little coin is worth 20 bucks, but It’s worth even more than that?” He decided to Radio Sarina.
“Oh, you were the Lucky One to find it. Some generous organisation back home crowd sourced a fund just for this Easter Hunt. Brace Yourself, that coin is worth 10 thousand Bucks!”
“Wow,” the others couldn’t believe it. “Where’d you find that egg with the tape? Let’s find some more.”
He tucked the coin in his boot for safekeeping
The participants scattered over the field in teams of two, scanning the uneven ground.
“What do you think?” one of them asked their partner..
“I’m stunned I wonder who left it. I’ve seen advertisements for coins like this on Fox Television when I am back on leave, usually the big Gold ones, but I’ve never held one.”
“We can do some research when we get home,” he went on “But what do we do about the gold coin? Should we Radio Sarina and give our names so no one tries to steal it from us?”
“Not a bad idea. “ So they radioed Sarina who was in the crowd at the start line, and explained the situation. She answered right away.
Sarina smiled. “The Base Unit Commander agrees with you. Finders keepers, for now.”
Then Sarina blew her whistle. “Egg count time! How many eggs does everyone have?”
The soldiers rummaged in their pockets and bags, counting.
Now Sarina’s radio was lighting up every couple of seconds. “We found more eggs wrapped with tape! The calls kept coming Should we open them?”
“Of course.” Sarina said. “But give us your names and MOS so we will be sure to have a record of it, you can keep the coins.”
So they all slit the tape with their standard issue pocketknives. Sarina jotted down contact information. Each held an American Eagle gold coin.
Sarina finished taking names. “Okay, listen up. These little gold coins are worth a lot more than 20 dollars.
Don’t lose them”, Sarina warned. Put them back in a plastic egg, screw it shut, and keep it safe. Take the coins back to base and explain how you found them. If they have questions, tell them to call me at the station.”
Sarina decided to inform everyone else who had not participated in the Easter Egg Hunt. “We’ve had an interesting development at the hunt. In addition to the many plastic eggs containing candy hidden by the organisers, an unknown person left several other eggs, each containing a gold American Eagle Coin.
“Those coins are valuable. The Base Chief instructed me to take names and contact information of the Guys who found them. When they get back, we make a final determination of ownership.”
The crowd broke into excited chatter, some were ready to charge back up the hill. So Sarina shouted, “The hunt is over, and the hunt territory is closed. It’s time to go home, folks.”
When the participants got back, they were anxious to get on the internet and learn more about the gold coins. Sarina had assembled soup and sandwiches for all the participants since they had skipped dinner for the Egg Hunt.
“Did you notice if the coin had a date in Roman numerals?” Sarina asked.
One of the Guys responded. “Yes, I think it did, though I couldn’t get a close look.”
Sarina gazed at the printed image of the Twin Towers on the front of the coin, an American eagle hovering over a nest on the reverse. “They’re beautiful. I wonder where you can buy and sell them.”
“Coin dealers, I would imagine. The small coins are usually sold in stacks to people who can’t think of anything better to do with their savings than keeping Gold Coins under their Mattress. I’m not saying they should be day trading from breakfast to dinner, but at least you should look around a little bit for a better investment.
Anyway, Department of Defense Officials back in Washintgon, D.C. will have to determine if the Lucky ones can keep them. Finders keepers precedent laws indicate they can.”
Sarina’s friend decided to jump in. “It’s all a mystery, but we’ll get it resolved. Otherwise, the event went well. I’m sure Sarina’s group will be asked to do it again next year.”
“Thanks so much for all the excitement!”
“You know it, Sarina.” Her friend offered his water bottle, since Sarina mouth had gotten so dry yelling into the Radio all that time with not a moment to rest.
Sarina drank her water in thirsty gulps, and wiped her lips.
The Lucky ones waited, sure they would get an idea about the source of the coins.
“I’ve got it. I remember those gold coins. Years ago, we had a coin shop back home. It was a little hole in the wall behind Main Street. The owner was robbed, and His State Farm “Discount Double Check” reimbursed him, but he gave up the shop and continued as a coin dealer online. I’m wondering if the gold coins came from that heist.”
Sarina was more concerned that most of the others in the Unit had now rushed all over the hunt territory convinced there are more eggs filled with gold coins.
We’re having a terrible time keeping them out of the Hunt area. Once word gets out, everyone responsible for guarding the base will have deserted their post for those coins.”
“Suddenly Sarina’s radio activated again. “Excuse me, may I have a word with you?” a mystery man asked.
“I heard about the twilight Easter egg hunt, and decided to have some fun with the Troops. I’ve done very well for myself in Life and got all kinds of coins, and nobody to give them to.” he continued.
So I took a roll of those gold coins, and put them in plastic eggs. I taped them up real good, and sent them to your base since officials had told me that this was the location were morale was the Lowest.
Sarina smiled. “So, it was you.”
The Mystery Man took a deep breath. “I wanted to do some good for Lots of Soldiers. I wanted to give them the excitement of finding the coins. You and your friend were smart to realise that the coins were real.
But I still own the rights to them, he continued and I wanted to make a bunch of Troops happy, on other bases as well.”
Once Sarina’s group had collected all the gold coins, she invited the Mystery Man to come visit that base and join in the excitement when the entire Troop Contingent was rewarded, not just the participants who had discovered the Gold Coins.
So every single Troop at the Base, as well as all the other Bases Stuck in the Sand got a Major Permanent Upgrade to their Mess Hall and several other amenities. The troops would be sure to appreciate stuff like that improving their morale each and every day with the Simplest of things, like a Great Meal.
And Sarina made a promise she would go to work on a repeat of the twilight Easter egg hunt next spring, even though it won’t have as unbelievable an ending next time, since the element of surprise was all used up this year.
But maybe Sarina could use her extreme creative Talents to create something that had never been done before that could be more of an element of surprise with another fun activity on another Holiday, like Independence Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas.
“The Morale of all the troops in the Region improved thanks to Sarina’s hard work on the Project, becoming Driving Force behind teaching everyone involved a valuable lesson in Sharing and Teamwork that all the Troops will be sure to utilise in the Future during Critical Missions with much at Stake.
“Thanks Sarina!” they all would always say whenever she Visited. You really put in some hard Work on this One. We all love you and appreciate your effort.”
Sarina has to push certain circuit breakers in, and program navigation computers. Also she usually gets clearance from the control tower before the engines are turned on.
The chairman could see the target now, coming onto the horizon but still small and distant from the vantage point of the unit. Like a slowly dripping faucet, the minutes dragged on and the officers were anxiously glancing at the timer on a regular basis. A certain strange kind of unrest overcame the officers, and each was dealing with the wait for supplies to carry out the action individually, it seemed to the chairman. There was a palpable presentiment of how the orders would be carried out.
Soldier Sam paints himself into a box in the corner at such times. On the other hand, Sarina always said the state of their condition was decidedly against any open suggestion of being without hope.
So they were silent.
"Oh, well," said Sarina, reassuring Solider Sam, "We'll get ashore all right."
But there was that in Sarina’s tone which made Soldier Sam think twice.
Soldier Sam put on a brave face. "Yes! If this wind holds!"
Sarina responded "Yes! If we don't catch hell in the surf."
A bunch of huge white clouds had surrounded the vantage point of the regiment, and stood at attention when the air exploded with noise as another shelling from the Mainland commenced. We had slowed down to solidify out position, and the situation was at had. The officers relayed the signals, waiting to see what was coming, and they felt small next to the forces that had assembled against them on the Mainland. It was like descending rapidly in an uncontrolled manner into an abyss, and it felt like being suspended in midair.
A singular disadvantage of the sea lies in the fact that after successfully surmounting one wave you discover that there is another behind it just as important and just Sarina was just not sure if she should do something effective in the way of swamping boats. In a ten-foot dingey you can get an idea of the resources of the sea in the line of waves that is not probable to the average experience which is never at sea in a dingey.
As each slatey wall of water approached, it shut all else from the view of Soldier Sam in the boat, and it was not difficult to imagine that this particular wave was the final outburst of the ocean, the last effort of the treatcherous water. There was a terrible grace in the move of the waves, and they came in silence, save for the snarling of the crests.
The chairman looked to his flank and gave a start that made some of the officers skip a couple of heartbeats. It seemed like we were drifting into unknown territory that was open like a gaping hole in front of us. It looked dark and unwelcoming and the winds had bee silenced as if by a higher power. The size of the operational hole the officers were approaching grew in size, and the fleet was now considering potential modes of escape from the shelling by the Mainland which had intensified.
The mats of seaweed that appeared from time to time were like islands, bits of earth. They were traveling, apparently, neither one way nor the other. They were, to all intents, stationary. They informed Sarina and Solider Sam in the boat that it was making progress slowly toward the land, to the Birthday Party on Buccaneer Bay.
“Yes!!” they both burst out, both eagerly anticipating such a Celebration of Sarina!!
Sarina, rearing cautiously in the bow, after the dingey soared on a great swell, said she had seen the light-house at Buccaneer Bay.
Presently Soldier Sam remarked that he had seen it. Soldier Sam was at the oars then, and for some reason he too wished to look at the lighthouse, but his back was toward the far shore and the waves were important to distract his attention.
No other scenario could present itself in any more menacing a manner figured the chairman, and the officers were as if hanging by a harness, but still prepared to duke it out with their adversaries. It was a curious situation for the chairman, still requesting supplies from the terminal, even while the unit had the sensation of landing after a long jump, since they were essentially surrounded by fire from the Mainland. To our flank was a group with which we immediately established secure communications with.
Soldier Sam could not for some time seize an opportunity to turn his head. But at last there came a wave more gentle than the others, and when at the crest of it he swiftly scoured the horizon.
"See it?" said Sarina
"I didn't see anything." Soldier Sam replied.
"Look again," said Sarina. She pointed. "It's exactly in that direction."
At the top of another wave, Soldier Sam did as he was told, and this time his eyes chanced on a small still point of light at the edge of the swaying horizon. It was precisely like the point of a pin. It took an sharp eye to find a light house so tiny.
"Think we'll make it, Sarina?"
"If this wind holds and the boat don't swamp, we can't do much else," said Sarina.
Sarina and Soldier Sam searched around for clues on how to get to the Moon when they spotted a massive structure ahead of them in the distance and decided to travel to it.
After they finally arrived within distance with full view of the Moon, they noticed an adversary inside their path.
Sarina and Soldier Sam were surprised and were just about to run when it began to speak.
“No need to run away, I am not going to hurt you.” It said politely. Sarina and Soldier Sam looked at each other in shock.
MOON ADVENTURE ACTIVITY
Sarina was all ready and in the act of turning out the kitchen lights when the telephone rang.
Sarina picked it up, and Soldier Sam identified himself.
It was an imposition for Soldier Sam to ask, but it would be a great favor if Sarina would pick him up at the train station.
Sarina said graciously that she’d be glad to give Solider Sam a lift. “I was just about to leave” Sarina said. “I hope you can be ready fairly soon.”
“I’m ready now, Sarina,” said Soldier Sam’s quiet voice over the phone. I’ll be waiting for you at the front of the station.
Sarina hung up the phone, turned off the kitchen light and went out to the car.
The car started briskly and Sarina went on a ride underneath the trees, and then just off the road there was a solitary Soldier Sam sitting on the steps of the already dark station.
As Sarina pulled in to the curb, Soldier Sam picked up a duffle bag and came forward.
Sarina opened the right-hand door. “You‘re Soldier Sam?” she asked cheerfully. “I’m Sarina.”
“It’s very good of you,” Soldier Sam said in a flat voice. “I thought it was a lot for me to ask.
“Nonsense!” said Sarina. “I’m glad to have company! Put your bag in the back seat and get in the car here with me.”
Soldier Sam did so silently.
He took a deep breath and sat with his hands crossed in front of him, as Sarina turned and headed away from the station.
It was really a beautiful night, cool and dark. Presently the houses drew back from the road, and street lights ended, and there were fields on either side of the road with dark figures in the woodland beyond them.
Soldier Sam settled down for the run. Sarina touched the headlight switch and had bright light for the way ahead. The road flowed smoothly toward them.
“It’s nice having someone with me,” said Sarina. “I really don’t like
driving at night.
Soldier Sam was silent for a second, and then said, “Yes.” His voice was flat and low-pitched. Then Solider Sam seemed to realise that he was being too quiet He added, “It‘s really nice to be somewhere I wasn‘t before.”
“Oh…I got the gas and oil and tires checked today.“ Sarina said. “I mentioned to the filling-station attendant- why the car wasn‘t handling right. I guess that’s the answer.”
“Probably,” replied Solider Sam and asked if Sarina liked listening to music on the radio. Maybe it could be a special memory in the future. He considered.
The dotted center line of the highway became a solid streak, and the road made a wide curve. Woodland bracketed it- the air was chilly among the trees- and abruptly it was clear again. They were a few miles on their way.
Soldier Sam added in the same expressionless manner, “We’re near a turn-off, aren’t we? I just saw a sign.”
“Why, yes,” said Sarina.
The car came to the turn-off. There was nothing special about it. It was just a secondary road- well-paved enough – that branched off the main highway and wound across country.
Every once in a while there were a couple crossroads stores and maybe a few houses which could be seen from the highway. Most of the road’s length ran through woodland.
Sarina turned into it. Within a few miles tall and columnar tree trunks engulfed the road. The air was cool and the ride no longer had the feeling of being in empty open space.
Above and ahead there was a narrow ribbon of sky in which stars shone brightly. The headlights showed the pavement, and tree trunks alongside, and more tree trunks. There was a bare screen of underbrush at the road’s edge.
The attentive figure beside Sarina said, “Not much out here, is there?”
Sarina pressed harder on the accelerator. The car picked up speed. “One thing’s certain,” laughed Sarina, “nobody could make me stop to pick them up on this road!”
Sarina’s car swept past a small clearing, filled now with shoulder high weeds. The road dived into woods again. Just before the trees reenveloped the car, there was a sudden sweetness in the air.
The car went swiftly between crowded tall tree trunks that rose to where their branches joined to form a roof over all the forest.
The sound of the motor echoed back from the wood with a singing note added to it.
Sarina said, “Everything is exactly as before. But everything is different.”
Sarina drove on. She saw lights shining out some windows, and knew that it was the single store between where they were and Burger King.
But the pair was quarter of a mile beyond it when she realised maybe she could have stopped there so Solider Sam could pick up a pack of cigarettes after the long trip.
It was a beautiful night. The car sped through the darkness, its headlights flaring before it, and now and again a bug in their rays, and once there was something glittering by the roadside as the car sped past it
The wood broke away from one side of the road. Far, far away, a single unwinking dot of Burger King shown bright as a stone.
The trees closed in once more, and Sarina knew that from here to Burger King there would be no other light. The road was very straight, here, and a long way ahead there was the light.
Soldier Sam piped up “You said you had your car checked today, Sarina? There’s something on this road that looks delicious.”
Sarina drove a little faster because she was getting hungry too until the lights of Burger King sparkled through the trees.
Sarina slowed the car, turned into the driveway and parked it with beautiful precision just a hop skip and a jump from the Magical Door to Deliciousness.
RAMS PLANET LANDING
Sarina entered the Starship and it was like getting into a car or bus but the noise of the machine made her feel that it was different. Soon the Starship took off and rose in the air higher and higher. The buzzing sound which had fascinated Soldier Sam continued.
It was like meeting someone you knew in the past as if for the first time under new and more stressful circumstances. A cluster amassed on the Mainland, and our reconnaissance unit was immediately aware to the situation, which they relayed quickly to the unit. The chairman had decided to give orders to the officers to consolidate their positions before shit got heavy. It seemed to the chairman that the surroundings had become strangely quiet, as if before a big storm.
The little boat, lifted by each towering sea, and splashed viciously by the crests, made progress that in the absence of seaweed was not apparent to the two partners on board.
Their Ship was miraculously top-up, at the Mercy of all the Oceans. Occasionally, a great spread of water, like white flames, slammed into Sarina and Solider Sam.
"Defeat it" said Sarina with no room in her heart for the Tidal Wave.
"All right, Sairna," replied Soldier Sam. You’re going to get everything I got to give!”
It was like being dropped into unknown territory without a firm grounding with orders to conquer the situation at hand, and it felt more like each of the points on the surrounding periphery was a secret that had to be uncovered and positively identified. It was a phenomenon that made the officers fell more like explorers in an unknown and undefined land then addressing a situation on the Mainland that clearly presented itself as was the case.
It would be difficult to describe the bond Sarina and Solider Sam felt that was here established on the seas. No one said that it was so. No one mentioned it. But it dwelt in the boat, and they both realised it.
Sarina and Solider Sam were friends, friends in a more curiously iron-bound degree than may be common.
It was more than a mere recognition of what was best for the common safety. There was surely in it a quality that was personal and heartfelt. And after this devotion to Sarina there was this comradeship that Solider Sam, for instance, who had been taught to be cynical of men, knew even at such a time this moment was the best experience of his life.
But no one said that it was so. No one mentioned it.
The officers glanced at the clock again, and the sun on the brisk fall morning was exceptionally bright which seemed to compound the significance of the state of the unit’s position. We briefly got our bearings, and moved rapidly into another position as if fleeing from an unknown adversary down an unpaved road. Within a few minutes, the officers had determined their new position and immediately relayed the new information to the formations gathered on our flank.
"I wish we had a sail," remarked Sarina. "We might try my overcoat on the end of an oar and give you a chance to rest, Soldier Sam."
So Soldier Sam held the mast and spread wide the overcoat and the little boat made good way with the new rig. Sometimes Soldier Sam had to scull sharply to keep the sea from breaking into the boat, but otherwise sailing was a success.
Meanwhile the lighthouse had been growing slowly larger. It had now almost assumed colour, and appeared like a little grey shadow on the sky.
Soldier Sam at the oars could not be prevented from turning his head rather often to try for a glimpse of this little grey shadow.
As the latest round of shelling moved into the background, the noise the unit was perceiving grew less and less apparent. Part of the regiment has engaged the Mainland, and this action was readily appreciated by the chairman, almost without serious and debilitating concern, since ultimately the fate of the unit rested with the actions of the officers during crises, and he was only really responsible for laying out plans and priorities before areas of concern were highlighted by the reconnaissance teams.
At last, from the top of each wave the partners in the tossing boat could see land. Even as the lighthouse was an upright shadow on the sky, this land seemed but a long black shadow on the sea. It certainly was thinner than paper.
"Sarina, by the way, I believe they abandoned that life-saving station there a time ago.” Soldier Sam was not very optimistic.
"Did they?" asked Sarina.
None of the officers could have possibly anticipated the action with any great precision with intelligence signals so soon after the latest round of shelling from the Mainland, and it was unknown which opposing officers had commenced fire towards the unit in our previous position. The chairman perceived some conflict brewing among the officers, which was starting to manifest itself in a manner that was unhealthy for the unit, like someone starting to drag their feet during the long haul of a marathon race.
The adversaries used special ray guns and pointed it at the Starship. There was a loud “Bang!” and suddenly Rams Mascot’s voice on the radio disappeared.
Sarina fell backwards and accidentally hit the destination lever that changed it for approach and didn’t even realize it. The door instantly closed and a countdown started from three on the pod’s speakers.
Once the countdown got to one, Sarina and Soldier Sam blasted off from the spaceship in the little escape pod.
ORANGE VALENTINES #2
“Order Pizza at Varsity”
The Flight through Space was finally complete. The Starship bolted down from the sky and landed in New York.
Cupid was there on the Tarmac to greet Sarina and Soldier Sam.
“Sarina and Soldier Sam!” Cupid called out. “Welcome to Syracuse!”
“Thanks Cupid” Sarina replied.
“Isn’t there a Big Orange Basketball Game Tonight?” asked Soldier Sam.
“There for sure is an Orange Game tonight. But first I have a Place to show you guys?” said Cupid.
Cupid was a Legend at Syracuse. It was in Fact one of his favorite places to be. To work his Magic.
Cupid is constantly creating and refining an internal set of rules and blueprints to organize his ever-shifting and expanding ideas. While he can be somewhat difficult at times, he gets excited when a new idea or possibility presents itself and his mind starts humming with questions and propositions that he wants to test out
Millions of years ago, Syracuse couples were greatly excited by Cupid, the consummate Matchmaker. Cupid was very ambitious and at times would match up many couples at once from his office. Sometimes 100s of couples would all come to his office at a time and they had to wait their turn in line.
Let’s get on our way to our Pre-Game Event, Sarina and Soldier Sam” Cupid instructed.
“This is quite a place. Cupid added.
“Let’s do a little Preview before we get to the site, Cupid” Sarina suggested.
“Hop in my Ride, you two. I have a couple of questions about your Flight before we get to the Tour Site” Cupid responded.
When I was Looking around through the Starship windows, I saw the sea and a forest on a distant planet. My brain felt like it had its own heartbeat. I thought about exactly what had happened,” Sarina explained.
Then Soldier Sam peeped outside the control room door, and there was a crosswalk to where I was at the time. I asked Soldier Sam, “How many of the crew are working on the project?”
“There were dozens of crew members working here who have been working here for a long time—ever since the Starship had left earth.” Soldier Sam told Sarina.
It was like this, Cupid, I had found a new direction in connection with this case, and then I knew what I had to do.
I told Soldier Sam, “Go and get information about how the crew was filling out their work orders.”
Cupid’s Ride was zigging and zagging though Syracuse Traffic.
Here we are at the Mystery Spot for our Tour, Sarina and Soldier Sam” announced Cupid. “I’m sure the two of you are going to have a lot of Questions.
“We’re ready, Cupid” shouted Sarina. “Let’s Check it out!”
Soldier Sam agreed. “Let’s get this party started, Cupid!!”
“What is this place?” asked Sarina.
We’ve got to stop by this Varsity Hangout here It’s a Syracuse Legend! The Pizza and Wings are incredible and the loaded fries are too. “Cupid informed Sarina and Soldier Sam.
It’s one the few places by Orange Stadium where we can still get good old traditional pizza and beer” Cupid added.
“We’d better keep an eye on the money in our pockets,” Sarina said. “You just never know about all these Orange Fans.”
“There’s no need to worry about that,” said Cupid.
“Why?” Soldier Sam asked.
“You’ll see sooner or later,” replied Cupid. “In fact, you won’t need any of your money from this point onwards.”
Cupid snapped his fingers and the cashier station in the restaurant vanished.
“I don’t get it,”said Sarina.
“You will,” said Cupid.
“Check out what is the latest technology we have developed.
“On we go,” said Cupid, “There is something I want to show you. All of us at Syracuse are really excited about it.”
Mobile phones: Syracuse debuted a flip phone, the communicator and later launched the first mobile flip phone. Interestingly, the creators also gave crew members the tricorder, a hand-held device that gathered and stored data from the planets the crew visited. Had the creators thought to combine the two, they might have prefigured the smartphone.
“Unbelievable,” Soldier Sam said.
Sarina and Soldier Sam were stunned by what Cupid had just said.
“We’re Lucky to be here” Cupid started. “This Varsity place dedicates itself to all things Syracuse. Food is fantastic and you have to cross this one off the list if you're visiting.
“The sign on the wall says Varsity is famous for their pizza and burgers. There are hot meals and assorted sandwiches” observed Soldier Sam.
“Did the Orange Fans create them with the use of advanced technology?” asked Sarina.
“No,” Cupid replied.” They’ve been here since this Syracuse was first inhabited.”
What’s this Cupid? Sarina asked as she and Soldier Sam walked over to the Hologram.
Read it and see Sarina. It is a special clue about Valentines Day” Directed Cupid.
“Ok, Cupid. Lets See what it says” Sarina started reading the Hologram.
“You make my Heart Pop!”
Your personality is such a treat
Being your Valentine would be really neat
You've brought me so much fun and happiness
I like you more than I can express
“I just can’t believe it!” Sarina exclaimed. On Valentine’s Day. A special message just for me!”
“What do you mean by that, Cupid?” asked Sarina
“Be patient. You’ll find out later,” Cupid replied.
“Just how big is this place?” asked Soldier Sam as they took their seats at a table..
“I want a burger with fries, cooked fresh per order” Announced Sarina. It says. Amazing flavor and taste. I bet the fries are golden, perfectly cooked.
Varsity was frequented by Orange Fans on a regular basis, along with many others in Syracuse who were more casual Fans, not like Sarina, who was always going at full tilt.
“It is at the centre of Syracuse that this amazing restaurant lies,” said Cupid. “Along with the technology innovation source hubs here.”
“Those Orange Fans don’t seem to be showing any sign of attacking us and eating all of our food.” Sarina said.
“All Orange Fans live in total harmony here,” said Cupid..
At one point, all the Orange Fans came to a crossroads at the entrance to the restaurant. They were hungry like Sarina and Soldier Sam.
“Where do the roads lead to?” Soldier Sam asked.
“To Orange Stadium, of course,” replied Cupid.
Sarina and Soldier Sam had met some really cool people thanks to the seating format at Varsity. Sarina was very enthusiastic about this place!
Sarina and Soldier Sam even got the t-shirt to prove it!
“Wow, Cupid, that was quite a Tour!” Sarina exclaimed.
“It sure was” Soldier Sam had a great time too.
“We have some time to burn before the Game. Let’s stop by this Bar” suggested Cupid.
“By the way, Sarina and Soldier Sam,” Cupid remembered something. “You told me about your flight. But I forget to ask, did you two go on any adventures during your Pit Stops?”
En route to work for the day, I turned right to leave my rest station when Soldier Sam came up to me and suggested I go around the ships ammo holding center. No one else was present.
I followed a longer route to a traffic light intersection on the Starship walkway, where traffic was not moving, and headed for my control room worksite
At the end of the workday, I returned back to my resting quarters and learned of the accident that morning only minutes after I had taken the other direction.
I would have been in that accident. Soldier Sam had preserved my life!
'The Syracuse Administration wanted me to get a Valentine for you , Sarina--' explained Cupid, but Soldier Sam interrupted.
'I got some Action on the Cuse Game tonight” explained Soldier Sam. If we go to the Game, all bets are off!”
'I only need any tickets,' persisted Sarina. 'I can't call myself a Cuse Fan if I have to hang around at this bar all night. They are showing the game on the TV, but it just isn’t the same.”
'Cupid got us front row seats,' Sarina exclaimed..
“Fantastic!!' responded Soldier Sam. 'We’d better get off this bar and head to the game right now before Cupid gives the tickets to someone else!”
CUPID’S FIRST SYRACUSE ORANGE GAME EXPERIENCE
Cupid’s excitement begun to sharply boost. The expectation of his first live Orange Hoops was awaiting him on Valentines Day. Even as Sarina and Soldier Sam walked toward the ticket window with Cupid to get the tickets, his anticipation was growing. With tickets in hand, Cupid continued to wait for the gates to open.
Watching all the moments of Orange 3 pointers, Slam Dunks layups, and Zone Defense felt surreal as the Orange fans in the arena would burst out into cheers every time a point was made. It was also interesting to experience other small events during the game such as the breaks they take during timeouts and quarter breaks.
By that time they have reached the stadium gate. Sarina knocked at the door and received a rather surprising response,
“Go away! I won't open the door!” shouted Orange Mascot.
“Then we'll have no choice but to break into!”, Soldier Sam concluded.
“But who are you?”, asked Orange Mascot.
“Sir, we are lost in the Parking Lot. We don't have food, neither we have a drink to quench our thirst. . Please help us.”, Cupid applied his theatrics.
“The door's open, come in”, came a brief response. When Sarina approached the door her mouth fell open.
Cupid and Soldier Sam thought of a reason for this strange series for events, but they were clueless.
“The major question I want to ask now”, Soldier Sam said, “is how do we get to our seats inside the stadium?
Cupid responded, “Even if we enter with much fanfare or doing something of that sort, we'll be invisible and nobody will be able to see us.”
“I’ve got a great idea!” Sarina exclaimed. “Soldier Sam and I should get a photo with Orange Mascot. Then we could prove we were here and have a lasting memory.
“Hey, Cupid,” Soldier Sam wanted to get his attention. “Could you snap a pic of Me and Sarina with Orange Mascot? That would be awesome!”
“Of course, Soldier Sam” Cupid replied. Just find Orange Mascot and I will be over to take the shot of you and Sarina.”
Cupid didn’t want to mess around with this shot. He was a pretty good portrait snapper and knew just how good he was and just how much of it was his title.
One of the most important tips to remember about being a photographer is to show something in the moment - the emotions that are instant in time. like happiness just as easily as you can capture a moment of heartache or loss.
“Hey Sarina, we got that picture with Orange Mascot! All the lighting was great and we were posed perfectly. Isn’t it great we were able to find Orange Mascot and he was so accommodating?”
“Yes, Soldier Sam” Sarina answered. I thought for a moment Cupid was going to lose his mind trying to operation the photo function on my phone. He had never operated anything like that before.”
“The game is about to start Sarina!” Soldier Sam exclaimed. Why don’t you give me a quick rundown of the season so far?
“I know you have been following it closely and I really don’t have a clue about what the Orange have faced so far this year, Soldier Sam continued. “How are they doing?”
“Sure Soldier Sam,” Sarina was glad to show off her knowledge of Cuse Hoops. “There have been a lot of developments so far this year.
The Orange need to get their offensive Mo Jo working in order to have success in the ACC Tournament. Cuse has one more game to sharpen their skills against Miami as the team closes out the regular season.
Miami did a good job of scouting the Cuse Squad. They were expecting to get these looks. It was just a matter of not settling – of getting the right shot, making that extra pass. Miami did it all during this game.
In the first matchup this season, Syracuse basketball dominated Pittsburgh but allowed things to get uncomfortably close at the end. This time around the Orange got off to a huge lead and kept it that way throughout the contest.
'Well, when someone wants to take a guy to a Syracuse Game--' Soldier Sam reached down and kicked the ground. When a a guy like me gets forced to go to a Cuse Game, there's a payoff, see.'
Sarina was resigned. 'Well I seem to be trapped,' she said. 'But it makes it rather difficult when I am trying to take you to the Orange Game
'When someone like you wants to take a guy to a Hoops game--' Soldier Sam moved his eyes, nodded moved his hands expressively. As he started getting difficult, Sarina spoke in a louder voice
CUSE GAME ACTION
It’s now almost time for the Cuse Game to begin and we could not contain our excitement. What a Thrill to experience!
It is bound to be fast and furious, action-packed with drama and tension. There will be near-misses, penalty shots and trash talk hurled at the referee.
The game is being broadcast live on cable television around the world. Highlights will be shown on the ‘Orange Hoops Highlights’ Show that would air until the next game.
Tonight the result will be known. Either we will go home full of Orange Excitement or disappointment. There will be Dunks, 3 Pointers and Hustle. There will be a story to tell.
It was quite the enjoyable moment for all the fans, and special thanks goes to the hero who secured a tough ticket, took us to the game and the Mascot was generous enough to fire a Prize Bazooka from the court to donate free t-shirts to us.
There was a great deal of preparation to be done before Rams Mascot declared the Team Lottery open at Rams Stadium. Sarina and Soldier Sam were both excited for the Big Day.
The night before the lottery, Rams Mascot and Soldier Sam made up the enveloped stuffed with slips of paper and put them in the Blue and Gold Box, and it was then taken to the safe of Ram’s Mascots and locked up until Rams Mascot was ready to take it to the Rams Stadium the next morning. The rest of the year, the box was put way, sometimes one place, sometimes another; it had spent time in Sarina’s office several years and sometimes it was set in Soldier Sam’s Bourbon Cabinet and left there.
There were the lists to make up—of all the Rams Players. There was the proper swearing-in of Rams Mascot by Soldier Sam, as the official of the lottery. There was also, a ritual salute, which Soldier Sam had to use in addressing each player who came up to draw from the box, but this also had changed with time, until now it was felt necessary just for Soldier Sam to speak to each person approaching.
Rams Mascot. with one hand resting on the painted Lotto Box. he seemed very proper and important as he talked interminably to Soldier Sam and Sarina.
Just as Rams Mascot finally left off talking and turned to the assembled Rams Fans, Sarina disappeared and made her way to the sideline.
"Clean forgot what day it was, Sarina said to the Rams Coach, who stood next to her, and they both laughed. "Thought Soldier Sam was out back fixing his car, Sarina went on. "and then I looked out the window and saw all the Fans Tailgating, and then I remembered it was Lottery Day and came a-running."
Sarina readied herself and Rams Coach said, "You're got here in time to help with the Lottery Box, though. Soldier Sam and Rams Mascot still talking away up there."
She took leave of the Rams Coach and began to make her way back to the 50 yard line. The Rams Players separated good-humoredly to let her through: a few players said. in voices just loud enough to be heard above the Crowd of Fans packed into the New Rams Stadium, "Here comes Sarina," she made it after all."
Sarina reached Soldier Sam and the Rams Mascot, who had been waiting for her to grab the Playbook from Rams Coach. said cheerfully greeted her. "Thought we were going to have to get on without you, Sarina, grinning.
"Well, now." Rams Mascot taking a drink of Bourbon, "guess we better get started, get this over with, so we can go back to work. Anybody ain't here?"
"The O-Line." several people said. "None of them are here."
Rams Mascot consulted his list. "The O-Line" he said. "That's right. They are still Rehabing from last year? Who's drawing for him?"
"Me. I guess," Soldier Sam said. And Rams Mascot turned to look at him
“Soldier Sam draws for the O-Line" Rams Mascot said. "But doesn’t the O-Line have an agent to do it for them Soldier Sam?"
Although Rams Mascot and everyone else in the stadium that day knew the answer to that Important Question perfectly well, it was the business of the lottery to ask such questions formally. Rams Mascot waited with an expression of polite interest while Soldier Sam answered.
"They aren’t here, Soldier Sam regretfully. "Guess I gotta fill in for them this year."
"Right." Rams Mascot said. He made a note on the list he was holding. Then he asked, "is Sarina drawing this year?"
Of course I’m drawing this year, announced Sarina" Several voices in the crowd said things like "Good Luck, Sarina." and "Glad to see you’re going to do it."
"Well," Rams Mascot said, "guess that's everyone. Is Soldier Sam ready for action? Yep.
A sudden hush fell on the crowd as Rams Mascot cleared his throat and looked at the list. "All ready?" he called. "Now, I'll read the names—and a representative from each group come up and take an envelope out of the box. Keep it unopened without looking at it until everyone has had a turn. Everything clear?"
The Rams players had done it every year so only half listened to the directions: most of them were occupied,. not looking around.
Then Rams Mascot raised one hand high and said, "QB." A player disengaged himself from the crowd and came forward. "Hi. Big Guy." Rams Mascot said. and QB returned the greeting They grinned at one another
Then QB reached into the Blue and Gold Box and took out a folded envelope. He held it firmly, as he turned and went hastily back to his place with the other players. where he stood, not looking down at his hand.
"RBs, WRs, TE." Rams Mascot said. "All you guys"
"Seems like there's no time at all between lotteries any more." Sarina said to Soldier Sam. "Seems like we got through with the last one just a short time ago, but another year has passed."
"Time sure goes fast for you, Sarina.—Solder Sam said.
"D-Line?" announced Rams Mascot.
"There goes those guys." Sarina said. She held her words.
"DBs," Rams Mascot said, and the group went steadily to the box while someone in the crowd said. "Go on, guys," and another said, "There they go."
"We're next." LBs said, as they came around to the side of the box, greeted Rams Mascot and selected an envelope from the box. By now, all in front of the crowd there were Rams Players holding the envelopes in their hand. turning them over and over with anticipation.
Still on Stage, Sarina and Soldier Sam stood together, Sarina still steadying the Table.
And… “Sarina!!!” the Rams Mascot Yelled.
"Go ahead Sarina," Soldier Sam said. and the entire crowd cheered in delight as Sarina selected her envelope.
"They do say," Sarina said to Soldier Sam, who stood next to her, "that the rest of the NFL they're talking of giving up the lottery."
Soldier Sam replied. "Pack of crazys," he said. "Listening to the young folks, nothing's good enough for them. Next thing you know, they'll be wanting to go back to living in their cars, nobody works anymore, except the Rams of Course, Those other Teams can live that way for a while.
"Some Teams have already quit lotteries." Rams Mascot said.
"Nothing but trouble in that," Sarina said stoutly. "Pack of young fools."
"I wish Rams Mascot would hurry up with this, Sarina said to Solider Sam. "I want these proceedings to be over."
"It’s almost through," Solider Sam said.
Rams Mascot called his own name and then stepped forward precisely and selected an envelope from the box. Then he called, "Soldier Sam, now it’s your turn, finally."
"I’ve been in the lottery longest of anyone," Solider Sam said as he reached into the box for his envelope.
After that, there was a long pause, a breathless pause, until Rams Mascot, holding his note in the air, said, "All right, Folks." For a minute, no one moved, and then all the players opened their envelopes at once.
Suddenly, all the Fans began to speak at once, saving. "Who is it?," "Who's got it?," "Is it someone on the offense?," "Is it someone on the defense?" Then the voices began to say, "It's Sarina I bet," "I bet Sarina got it."
And all the players were disappointed, turning around to the Fans and holding their blank slips of paper above their heads.
"Well, everyone," Rams Mascot said, "that was done pretty fast, and now we've got to be hurrying a little more to get done in time." He consulted his list. Sarina he said, "you have the Roster. You got any one else?
"Of course” said Sarina. “Special Teams!! "How many Players, Sarina? Rams Mascot asked formally.
"Too many to count," Solider Sam said.
"Well, we will just ask the Kicker and Punter and Kick Returner to grab an envelope for the whole Special Teams Unit, Sarina suggested.
"All right, then," Rams Mascot said. ", Special Teams got their envelope?" Yep. Anyone win when they opened it? Nope.
The Fans began to move around to see Sarina. Sarina was standing quiet, staring down at the envelope in her hand. Suddenly. Sarina shouted to Rams Mascot. "You didn't give Soldier Sam time enough to take any envelope he wanted. I saw you. It wasn't fair!"
"Be a good sport, Sarina." The Fans called, and Soldier Sam said, "All of us took the same chance."
"I think we ought to start over," Sarina said, as quietly as she could. "I tell you it wasn't fair. You didn't give Soldier Sam enough time to choose. Everybody saw that."
"Ready, Soldier Sam?" Rams Mascot asked. And Soldier Sam, with one quick glance at Sarina, nodded.
The crowd was quiet. They were all whispering, "I hope it's not Soldier Sam," and the sound of the whisper reached the edges of the crowd.
"It's not the way it used to be." Soldier Sam said clearly. "People ain't the way they used to be."
"All right," Rams Mascot said. "Open your envelope. Soldier Sam, You first.
Soldier Sam opened his envelope and there was a general sigh through the crowd as he held it up and everyone could see that it was blank.
"Now Me" Rams Mascot said. There was a pause, he looked at Soldier Sam, unfolded his paper and showed it. It was blank.
"It's Sarina!!!," Rams Mascot announced, and the Fans were hushed. “Open your envelope, Sarina!!"
Sarina ripped open her envelope and waved it to the Crowd. It had the Brand New Rams Logo on it Outlined with a Heart!!
Soldier Sam had created the Heart the night before at Rams Mascot office.
Now the Prize winning Heart was displayed on the New Giant Screen in the Stadium, and there was a stir in the crowd. Then the Entire City of Los Angeles heard the news on the broadcast and celebrations in the streets would soon follow.
"All right, Folks." Rams Mascot said. “Sarina is the Winner! Let's finish quickly and you Folks drive home safe, you hear?"
Then all the Rams Fans reached under their seats and hurled Party Streamers and Glitter Balls at Sarina, cheering wildly.
"Sarina, Sarina, She is the Winner!!"the Fans screamed, and Notes of Celebration Flashed across the Giant Video Screen.
Sarina was now the Princess of Rams Nation!!! So Special! And much, much more Fun to Follow in the New Rams Stadium!