Luke was in corps school at Great Lakes, Illinois. His dad, Wes, and I went to visit when he had a couple days leave. We decided to drive to Milwaukee because none of us had ever been there.  We really liked the city, although Wes was having a hard time driving because the stop lights were at the sides of the road rather than in the center of the intersection.  Luke yelled to him to stop more than once. Luke and I found this quite amusing, but I think Wes was getting frustrated with himself.  

After spending a little time in the city, one of us, probably Luke, pointed out the fact that we were relatively close to Green Bay, Wisconsin. Now, there is one thing you have to understand about Luke, Sammie, and their father; they are, above all else, Packer fans. (I have become a fan, too, out of self defense.)  Well, upon realizing this, it was a short jump to piling back into the car and heading the rest of the way to the “homeland.” 

The ride to Green Bay was quiet, long, and boring. Luke was sleeping.  

Once there, we, of course, visited Lambeau Field and the gift store. Luke had his picture taken by Curley Lambeau and Wes had his picture taken by Vince Lombardi.  We all had pictures taken by Bart Star. In his picture, Luke is pointing to the future and the better quarterback, Brett Favre.  (This was an ongoing argument between Wes and Luke.) 

Of course Luke wanted to eat at Brett Favre’s Steak House.  This was an experience.  They actually brought out the cuts of raw meat for you to choose.  This made me NOT want a steak, so I ordered a salad.  Wes, who already wasn’t feeling well, waited for us outside. Luke, having a stomach of iron, ordered and ate a steak.

The way back to Great Lakes was not quiet, long, or boring. Luke was awake and in rare form. He regaled us with stories about boot camp, corps school,and childhood. I can’t remember a time when I laughed so hard or so much. Luke had an amazing sense of humor!  One of my greatest regrets is that we did not record the entire ride.  

One of the childhood stories he shared was about finding a skeleton in the woods when he was small. The bones were hard to pull out of the ground, and he told himself that yanking them out would give him nightmares, but he really wanted them. This is the story I used to create “No Ordinary Bones.”

“No Ordinary Bones” is a picture book about Luke and his dog J’amy finding bones in the woods, digging them up and worrying about nightmares. I really enjoyed writing this story and creating the pictures to go with it. All proceeds from the sales of the book go to the Luke Emch Memorial Fund and the Semper Fi Fund for Wounded Marines.

Please visit my web site http://www.noordinarybones.weebly.com

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