I shouldn’t have ordered dessert.
I got off duty (relieved by the guy who wanted me to take his duty too, no thanks) and rushed to get some final errands done before jetting off to S.D. on my own dime again. At the Portsmouth hospital I encountered a junior Hospitalman, his Johnny Cash blues beat all to hell, single CNN ribbon askew, tie bar at an impossible angle, his “cutter” (little foldable hat, sails in the water if you drop it in the head) screwed onto his head like a doo rag. But he had some bounce to his walk despite what was clearly a hard duty day.
I asked him about his intentioned. Seems he was also checking out, to Pendleton. “Everyone’s telling me that the Marines are the wrong thing to do, that we might have to go to Iraq. But that’s the reason I enlisted. Why should I run from it?” We stopped the conversation in mid-stride because a chief, clearly agonizing about being medical boarded after eighteen years in, needed to be told by the HN that “I know the corpsmen down in that shop. They’ll give you as fair a shot as anyone can.”
Doc, I thought about you too late–he was in his little black piece-of-crap car and gone in a flash. if you see a HN show up from Portsmouth, he could use a mentor. Looked like a good kid from a thirty second assessment.
Following that I moved the mail, moved the last of our household goods that had been sitting in a friend’s house and our car, spent a few hours playing with the friend’s kid and talking Deep Things from decades of friendship, and hit the store for the next trip.
Since I have been eating food that seems scientifically designed to have all the joy removed from it (our cooks do wonders to turn ingredients into gruel), I splurged and ate at a nicer place out in town. I had forgotten that it was Friday, or that the prom kids were out. I saw about every possible kind of outfit imaginable except for a nice pair of pants and button down shirt no tie–which is what I was wearing. Man, am I old.
The dessert? Pear bread pudding with bourbon and vanilla sauce. With ice cream on top, of course. Oh. My. Goodness.
I feel like Steve Graham after a timpÃ¡no binge session.
I hope they figure out some way to fit me on through the plane’s hatch tomorrow.