(The recruit and the Colonel)
My BFC and her husband, the Colonel were in the area the past few days. Their son-in-law was graduating from BYU and they flew in from NC for the ceremony.
We had talked about a get together and batted the logistics around. We usually try to get all the cousins together, but their time was limited. I was lucky enough to score a dinner with them Saturday night. And right up front, I want to thank her siblings and her mother for graciously sharing her with me. I didn't realize that the schedule was as tight as it was until later, and I sincerely apologize for infringing on their time with them!
BFC's husband is a retired USMC Colonel and now continues teaching and instructing. He was extrememly helpful with 'dawg and all his questions during his enlistment process and with us and our concerns. Dinner was a great opportunity to get as much information from him and from my cousin as we could. I literally felt like a sponge trying to absorb as much information as I could. I know that the military life is hard, I wanted their perspectives.
After leaving our original restaurant of choice (too many prom kids), we ended up at Trolley Square and the Rodizio Grill. For those that don't know, it's a Brazilian barbeque. Excellent food!
We had a few minutes to wait until we were seated, and were just chatting and catching up. 'dawg was trying to just stand upright. He had spent the past 24 hours in a Marine activity (another post for another day - as soon as I get everything from him - let's just say it was AWESOME). He was starving, exhausted and sunburned.
As we were stood waiting, up walked two EXTREMELY TALL dark men, with tall, dark beautiful women on their arms. I didn't think much other than the fact that they were TALL. And BIG. Next to the women, I was a class A frumpt! They checked in and then wandered away from the entrance. As they walked away, Splenda pointed out the fact that it was Nene from the Denver Nuggets, who were in town for the playoff's. Well that perked the boy AND Splenda right up! It was like having dessert before dinner! Nene's no small player for the Nuggets. He is their starting center, and let me say, while I have no love for any opponents of my home team, I did respect his manners and his attitude. Dude was totally cool. No diva there!
We sat down and wouldn't you know it, they then immediately sat Nene and his party right next to us. I started watching Splenda fiddling with his phone. He never plays with his phone, I'm like what the crap is he doing? It then dawned on me that he was trying to covertly get a picture of Nene. So what do I do? Bust out the camera and asked 'dawg to get me, BFC and Splenda (with the hopes of Nene in the background)
What can't see him?
(That's the back of his head there circled in yellow. Yeah, the back of his chair and mine touched often. Although he is Brazilian and I didn't understand a word of what they were saying. Actually, truth be told, I didn't even know they were talking since I was so focused on listening to the Colonel and BFC.)
Over dinner we had a fantastic chat. They filled us in on what to expect as a Marine family. And while I will experience it from a mom perspective rather than a wife perspective like BFC, there are similarities. It's a hard life. The Colonel was helpful in helping 'dawg to understand what to expect in boot camp. How to advance his career, how to blend in when its time to blend in. What to do to excel. It was fascinating and great information. BFC helped me understand that 'dawg really does belong to the US government now. They own his a**. And whether I think he is being treated fairly or not, I need to keep my big yapper shut. Don't get all crazy and call my congressman or senator about what I think in that regards.
They discussed MOS options, and what to expect with various ones. We talked politics. 'dawg was reminded that he's been sworn to defend the constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic. He works for the government and his commander in chief is BO. He is not to speak ill of his boss, regardless of his own personal political views. His worry is the mission at hand, and that is defending the United States of America.
We talked about the benefits of military life. The perks that come during and after service. We also talked about the toll it takes on a Marine's body physically, and how it affects their families. I watched as the Colonel subtley took some medication to help ease pains that he's acquired over the years of physical labor.
After several hours, we headed home. Dropped 'dawg off at his car, and then BFC and the Colonel at theirs. BFC is going to be a granny in August so I'll get to see her again when she comes back out west, but I was still so sad to have to say good bye. I love them. I love their wisdom, their perspectives, their intelligence and their level heads. I love that they would not only take the time to talk to 'dawg on the phone during the enlistment process, but have been so helpful in sending links, documents, web sites, etc that all help us to become a part of the family known as the United States Marine Corp.
I have to laugh. As the Colonel ticked off a list of qualites that make a great Marine, Splenda, 'dawg and I all looked at each other smiling since they were all qualites of 'dawg. What an exciting adventure he is undertaking. What a privilege for me to have a front row seat.
And of course, they brought us prizes. What is better than that???? You all know how I feel about prizes!!
The Oorah bumper sticker is for me since I had it all wrong. And on FB *gasp* Now I know.
The other one is for 'dawg. Love it!
The car magnets are for Splenda and I. Proudly displayed!
A HUGE thank you to the Colonel and my BFC. I love you both so much! We will have much more to talk about in the next 8 years won't we?
PS - I just found out that my other cousin's son enlisted in the Navy. He'll be shipping out soon too. I am so proud of ALL my family and their willingness to sacrifice for others (I've lost count of all the cousins that have or are now serving).
NG - you are def in our thoughts too!