You see the funny part about the military is that regardless of what they do to you, there is never any doubt that you must still continue with the mission. This trip was no exception. The housing was perfect, if you are there with another soldier like yourself. A small free standing cottage, it had originally been built during the expansion years of pre-World War II. Designed to house a regimental commander, it was nestled amongst what was supposed to be the regimental headquarters area. With all of the comforts of home, you can almost see the ghosts of some long forgotten war hero who valiantly led his troops into combat in the European Theater. Instead, what you see are roaches the size of a World War II era main battle tank, and no shade anywhere in sight.
There is a great full sized and equipped eat-in kitchen. A good sized bathroom with a good shower and a washer and dryer off the kitchen. Sound good? Well, here is the catch. The combination bedroom/living room presents my crowd a small problem. Furnished with two twin beds, two chairs, a desk, and a TV, this is not exactly the room for a family of 5 to live in. Thank God, the teenager didn’t come..... Oh, yeah, you forgot about her, well don’t, we will get back to her exploits in a minute. Fortunately, we did find a hideaway bed, now if we could just find a space to fold it out...........
Tired, and more than a little disgusted at the system, we unpack and move in for the week. The kids are thrilled since there are tanks, airplanes, trucks, and soldiers. They explore the immediate area around the cottage, after they receive my briefing on the dangers associated with duds (the shells that don’t explode, not the congressman who occasionally visits....), and seem to have settled in just fine. Mom, on the other hand, looks at the potential sleeping arrangements and then looks at me with total disgust. “I thought we had this worked out!”
“Wel,l we did, but you know the Army.”
“No, I don’t know the Army, remember I am a replacement!”
“Well, even replacements have to learn, and this is your chance. You saw ‘Stripes’, you know,--- ‘Army Training, Sir.’”
“Yeah, and that movie is why I would never join, besides I didn’t join....You did. Now then tell me..... When do you retire?”
“Not before the end of the week, if that’s what you’re hoping.”
“Oh, damn! Well, we’ll make the best of it, after all I guess it isn’t just a job, it’s an adventure.”
“Well, yeah it is, but honey?”
“That is the Navy, here we are just being all we can be...”
“Be this you sorry, @#%$(@&$*" You know, a box of pop tarts can put an eye out if you aren’t careful, fortunately I was turning my head in response to something else.........
The conversation was just ending, and the pop tarts were in flight, when we hear, “Hey Guys Watch This!!” Whereupon the pop tarts strike a glancing blow as we rush outside just in time to see that it wasn’t the kids. Actually, and thankfully, it was someone else next door in the motor pool getting ready to do something stupid. I looked lovingly at my wife and said, “See, I told you where I learned this instinctive reflex to duck.” My words were wasted, however, since my wife had already hit the dirt and was crawling back into the house........ You know she might just make an army wife yet. ~ Michael S. Pauley