dearanonymousfriend

Ramblings from a would be writer

Just…WOW!…

As I have written many times, my hubby is a retired Navy man.  He served for almost 21 years and it was a great part of our life together.  I stood by and watched him re-enlist many times and each time I felt such pride well up in me.  There is just something about watching someone raise their hand and promise to protect and defend you.  It is a remarkable thing to experience.

Yesterday hubby and I drove over to Atlanta, GA.   We spent the night there in anticipation of seeing our son-in-law re-enlist in the Navy.  He had the opportunity to do this at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, GA.

This morning we gathered at the aquarium to witness this ceremony.  He was going to re-enlist underwater.  His family gathered together as well as several of his peers who came up from the Navy Dive school.

The entire experience was remarkable.  The facility is the best aquarium I have seen, and I have visited many aquariums.  This is a beautiful place to visit.  If you are ever in the area, go, you won’t be disappointed.

We were given instructions as to the time of the ceremony and at the appointed time we went to a viewing area to see the divers swim into view.  We waved to our son-in-law and took pictures, it was all very exciting.   Then the divers made their way to the area where the re-enlistment ceremony was to take place.

We went into this gallery area that overlooked a large tank filled with fish and sharks and sting rays.  The view was breath-taking.  Then in the distance we saw the divers appear.  This moment took my breath away.  You could see the bubbles from the divers and then you saw these men swimming towards you.  What spoke to me the most is that these men do this for a living.  They do this for this country.  My heart swelled with pride in seeing them in this tank.  These are the heroes of our country.  They protect us on land and in the sea, literally.   Tears fell down my face as I saw these young men having a great time.  The contrast of seeing these men among the fish in that tank.  It was all lit up and you could see everything going on in there, but, these men do this when there is no lit tank and the fish are not used to seeing people in their domain.  They have a dangerous job and they do it willingly.

After a staff member introduced the divers to those assembled in this gallery, our son-in-law took his place along with one of his commanding officers.  They stood at attention and because they were equipped with audio equipment we sat and watched as our son-in-law raised his hand and swore an oath to protect and defend this country.   He did this willingly and without hesitation.  I watched as my daughter, who has been to many of these ceremonies in her life,  beamed with pride as she watched her husband repeat the same words she heard her father say.   We cheered and applauded as he concluded his oath and then stood with pride and tears as a staff member sang our National Anthem.

The day was one that will be etched in my memories.  I am a flag-waving person.  I love my country, but today, I was reminded once more how deep that pride of our country and our military is in me.

For those who have never heard the words of re-enlistment here it is.  Men and women freely and proudly speak these words daily.

The Oath of Enlistment (for enlisted):

“I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.” 

Congratulations dear son-in-law, thank you for your service that you give so freely.  Thank you for allowing us to share in this special day.

Thank you for stopping by my blog,  Cathi (DAF)

 

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I can’t be that old…

Last night as I was waiting to go to sleep, I started to think of my oldest daughter.  Her birthday is tomorrow.  Her birthday gets to me each year.  It gets to me because she is getting older and I know that I cannot be old enough to have a daughter her age.

Yes, this is a personal post.  I am truly feeling sorry for myself today.  You see, when I think of my darling daughter, I see her with her Shirley Temple curls falling down her back.  I see her with her tiny tap shoes tapping with her Grandpa, laughing with him.

I see her standing in front of our full length mirror talking to herself.   I see her poking chubby fingers into the side of the crib talking to her ‘seester’.    I see her many ways.

Today, she is the mother of Little Miss.  A good mom.  A partner to a Navy man.  She has done what I have had to do.  Hold down the fort.  Keep the home fires burning.  Take care of the house and it’s occupants.  She does it well.

Yes, I am very proud of her, and yet, with each passing year as I watch her grow in grace and maturity, I feel a bit older.  So, my dear daughter, my first-born, Happy  Birthday!  I am proud to be your Mom, but, this making me feel older has to stop!  I still feel like I am your age, not mine!    I pray your day is filled with the very best.  Laughter with Little Miss and her Daddy and lots of hugs and kisses from them too.  Thanks for being you and for teaching me what motherhood is about.  Love you.

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A Time Honored Tradition….

It is almost daylight here.  I sit here wide awake, thoughts flooding my mind.

Hubby, who is in San Diego, texted me about an hour ago asking me to pray for Little Miss’ daddy.  I immediately began to pray.  It was nothing serious, but it was a request given out of love for his future son-in-law and I understood.

I understood because thirty-one years ago tonight I prayed the same prayers for my hubby.

Thirty one years ago tomorrow I was part of a ceremony that hubby and my daughter will take part in tomorrow.

Little Miss’ daddy has been promoted in the Navy.  This is a special promotion, for he will become a Navy Chief.  Technically, it is just another enlisted grade in all the other services, but, in the Navy, it has special meaning.

A Navy Chief is an awesome achievement.  In hubby’s day there was hazing.  A lot of it.  But, it was what made you a chief.  These days the initiation process is different, but, the result is the same.  It is a tiring process, a long process and it wears you down physically, mentally, emotionally.  But, when it is all said and done that is what happens when you are a chief.  You wear many hats and a normal response to most sailors with questions is, “Go ask the Chief”.

Hubby was asked to pin one of the collar devices on his uniform tomorrow.  Our daughter will pin the other device on.  Hubby was honored when he was asked, and, of course he wanted to be there.

Hubby spent the day today with all the new chief selectees.  He stayed there for the entire process, and I know this has forged a bond between hubby and LIttle Miss’ daddy.

So, after praying for him, my mind became overwhelmed with memories and thoughts.  We have almost been out of the Navy longer than we were in now.  Hubby retired at 21 years in service.  That time sped by and was just one chapter of our lives.  But, that chapter was filled with traditions that have always been a part of the U.S. Navy.   I am proud of the time we were part of the Navy.

I have had several texts in the past hour.  The last came from LIttle Miss’ daddy thanking me and telling me to get some sleep.  When I finish this cup of tea and this post I will try to get some sleep.  I will think to myself  something that I taught my girls when they were little and heading to bed.

I see the moon and the moon sees me.  God bless the sailors on the sea.”   Yes, there are still parts of this great country that continues time-honored traditions, and I am proud to have been a part of that.

The third verse of Anchors Aweigh says,

Blue of the mighty deep:
Gold of God’s great sun.
Let these our colors be
Till all of time be done, done, done, done.
On seven seas we learn
Navy’s stern call:
Faith, courage, service true,
With honor, over honor, over all.”

So, I close this post with hearty congratulations to our LIttle Miss’ daddy, you done good kid, thank you for your service.

Thanks for stopping by, DAF

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Remembering…

When hubby was towards the end of his Navy career, he attended a course taught by a former Naval pilot.  It was a course that meant  a lot to my hubby, as he was chosen to carry out the subject matter in the course into his command.  He did it well.

When hubby retired from the Navy, he set out to find his next career.  Before he went back to college, he was contacted by the retired Navy pilot. He had watched hubby’s career.  He knew when he was retired.  He offered hubby a place in his consulting business.  He was thrilled that hubby was going to college and told him that they would work around his schedule, but, he definitely wanted him to work with his group.  It was a wonderful venture.  Hubby learned much from this man and a friendship grew.  He was instrumental in introducing hubby to the company that he eventually worked for after graduation.

The pilot’s name was Gerry.  We received a letter today from his wife.  Gerry died in late November.  We saw them before we moved, and in the past two years, we had lost contact with them.  We knew something was wrong.  This year I sent another Christmas card to them and a note expressing our love and concern for them.

The letter today was a short one and a very sad one.  Since then, I have spent my time remembering Gerry and his wife.  They were the most fascinating couple I have ever met.  She is the epitome of graciousness.  She is intelligent and fun to be with.   They owned a sailboat and often in the summer we would get a call to go sailing.  Gerry was older and so, hubby would take over the helm and guide the boat across the water in San Diego.  We would have ‘snacks’ , a bottle of wine, crackers, cheese, fruit.  We would laugh and catch up and talk about Navy life.  Gerry’s wife would recite poetry from memory.  Long poems, beautiful ones.  We would be enthralled.

After sailing, we would head to their home and have dinner.  Take out from a local restaurant.  We would sit on their patio or in their home and we would continue the evening.  The pace was always slow, the conversation quiet, and the laughter, well, it was the way laughter is supposed to be.

I know the next couple of days will be filled with memories of Gerry.  He was one of the best!  A fighter pilot in Viet Nam, a decorated officer, and a true gentleman.  Our lives were enriched in knowing him.  Hubby lost not only a mentor and friend, but also a father figure.  Rest in peace my dear friend.  I look forward to catching up in eternity.     DAF

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Frozen in time: memories, root beer floats and brownies

A part of this title is a nod to a wonderful blogger at Life With The Top Down (http://fretym.wordpress.com/) and her post yesterday about a frozen ham.  Great post, but I digress.

The post mentioned above talked about changes in life.  We all have them, we experience them daily for the most part.  Frequently,  we meet changes without any notice, as they are, just a part of life.  There are times, though, where we are hit upside the head with changes and we have to take a step back and go, “WOW!”  Frontwards or backwards, it’s the same, wow!

Last night we had the privilege of hosting a couple we have known for years and years.  I would add another ‘years’ to that, but you get the message.   Our home was a stopover for them on a trip up the eastern coast of this wonderful country.

It was wonderful to see them.  The visit was the usual shot in the arm as we hugged and laughed and teared up a bit.  This couple is just one of a group of us that were all stationed together in a small Maine town in the late 70’s, very early 80’s.  This group has remained close.  We may not be in daily contact, but we keep in touch often.  This group is family.  The dynamic has only occurred once in all of our travels.  We have dear friends, but none compare to the relationship this group has with one another.

In talking last night, we mentioned our ages this year.  The gentleman is turning 69 in a few months.  This was one of those moments I mentioned earlier where it hit my dear hubby upside the head and we went ‘WOW’.  Where did the time go?

This thought was compounded when I looked on a friend’s Facebook page recently and they were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.  I wondered how this could be possible as they couldn’t be 50 yet themselves.  Again, people and memories are frozen in time.  We live our lives and we think of those we love and they are ageless,  memories are still current in our thinking.

When planning the menu for this visit, I remembered another friend mentioning how this couple loves their root beer floats.  They had had a chance to visit with each other and there was a strong memory of root beer floats.  So, taking the cue, I made sure that we had floats for dessert.  My dear hubby wanted brownies also.  My brownies, frosted, so I baked them and had them ready.

The floats were a huge success!  The brownies remained untouched.  The chocolate keeps them up at night and so they passed on them.  One more reminder that time had marched on so silently that we did not notice.  Where did the days go where we could gorge ourselves with brownies, floats, and anything else that went along with our cravings?

But, I have to say, although the brownies went untouched, our hearts were warmed and comforted.  We returned to our goofy younger selves several times throughout the evening.  Hints of our youth peeked out at several points in conversation.  Memories were braided together, those from long ago and those we made last night.  The undercurrent present though, was how precious this time was for all of us.  Time is relentless, we have no idea how many times we will be able to meet together and share the laughter and the floats.  We have already lost some of this precious group.  This we do know though, we will all meet again one day and there we will be young, healthy and spend eternity together.  We won’t have to worry about what keeps us up at night, we will just have time to rejoice for having lived.

Thanks for stopping by.  As always,  DAF

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