I attended a sit-down dinner last night with about a hundred other people. I can’t even remember the centerpieces – perhaps blue and red carnations? – but I won’t forget that strewn decoratively around the centerpiece on the white tablecloth were dozens of coffee beans.
We presumed a foreboding of tedious speeches. The coffee beans could be consumed if necessary.
It’s been over a year and I still can not get used to the deference shown my husband based on his job. Nobody calls him “Bill” (few people call me “Michelle”). When speaking to me, nobody ever says “your husband” or even “he” or “him” when it is obvious whom they mean. It’s always “The BC” or “The Colonel.” Every single time, I ask myself “Who?” before I realize they mean Bill.
Fortunately, in a year, he’ll be back to being just another LTC among hundreds of LTCs. At least I hope so. It doesn’t do a man any good to spend too long with people kowtowing to you. Humility is a virtue hard to cultivate when you are a VIP.
I was actually a bit early for the dinner last night, so I thought I could make a quick trip to the commissary.
I forgot it was Monday. Not all, but many commissaries are closed on Mondays. However, I’ve spent most of my time living near Fort Belvoir, and that commissary is usually open on Mondays. I can’t get used to something that is actually very standard.
The Okefenokee Swamp is on fire. It has been since late April. We are about a hundred miles northeast of the fire, but we can see and smell the smoke all the way up here. On Saturday, when I drove down to Florida to meet my mom and pick up my girls, I spent over an hour in thick smog. It’s not very pleasant, but it’s interesting and amazing at the same time. I would think that a hundred miles is more than enough distance to dissipate the smoke, but apparently not. I can’t imagine how horrid it must be closer to the blaze.
Now that our days are less congested with activities and the temperatures are oppressive, I thought it would be a great time to read The Lord of the Rings trilogy out loud as a family. I’ve told the boys that they can’t watch the movies until they’ve read the books, so they are eager to get going with this project.
Of course, as soon as I mentioned this to them, I had another thought. I turned to Bill and asked, “Do we even own the books?”
No, of course not. Fortunately, the used bookstore in town had copies. It was my lucky day.
The other evening, the doorbell rang, and once we shooed our vicious dog away, I opened it to find my elderly neighbor standing there with a watermelon.
“Are you gifting me with a watermelon?” I asked. She was, and actually gave me two since I had such a large family.
I’ve got great neighbors. We have always been fortunate in finding good people wherever we are.
After the nasty sand gnats become less troublesome, out come the deer flies that circle you several times before picking a nice tender spot to chomp on. Both the gnats and the flies travel in swarms, so there is no escape once they spot you. Now that the flies have pretty much died off, the Georgia humidity is kicking in. It wouldn’t be so bad, but the A/C in this house is inadequate. I suppose 84 degrees is better than 94 or 100, but it’s still hot.
Such is Army life: several friends are moving away next week. I hate goodbyes; I think we all hate goodbyes. We’ll focus on the petty annoyances of packers and movers and landlords and remain in denial about the bigger life changes happening.
And also, in the Army, it’s not necessarily goodbye forever. You never know what old friends you might find at your next duty station.
And I’m re-learning that it is much harder to be the one left behind.