Thursday, February 17, 2011

A military moment.

The husbeast and I were talking about this today - don't you hang out over dinner talking about WWII? - and I figured, hell, I don't have anything to blog about and you'll all be amused. So here you go. A moment in the life of a military wife.

Back when I busted my arm, I was in and out of orthopedics at the Army hospital every time I turned around. (Seriously. They were x-raying me monthly to make sure the hardware they put in me didn't shift around.) The Army hospital was also a VA hospital (Veteran's Affairs), so we had a lot of older folks in and out, both veterans and their wives.

I was sitting in the waiting room, which was very full, next to two men. One was an older guy in his late sixties at least, and the other was a young, gung-ho kid in uniform. He was Airborne for sure, I think a Ranger. Somehow the conversation turned to jumping out of airplanes, and the young kid kept going on about how he had over two hundred jumps. The older man quietly said that he'd jumped four times. While the young kid scoffed at that, I eyed the older man and thought, yeah, he looked about the right age to be a WWII veteran. So I politely asked him, if he didn't mind sharing the information, what four jumps were they?

A training jump in the US, D Day, Market Garden, and I thought Crete but now I'm not sure that's right. Probably Battle of the Bulge, now that I'm actually looking stuff up. Three major battles anyway.

Right then. The kid shut up. I shook the older man's hand and thanked him for his service, and he grinned and said I was welcome.


Last night we went out for dinner (we found a new Mexican place to replace our beloved hole-in-the-wall we ate at all the time in Charleston). When we walked in, there was a table full of Navy guys, mostly in uniform, sitting near us. We assume it was some kind of regional meeting for recruiters. I begged the husbeast to let me go over and introduce myself. "Hi. I'm Julie. In the US Navy I'm known as THE BITCH WIFE." (One of his bosses actually called me that. Hahahah.)

He wouldn't let me. He's no fun.


Alice said...

The story about the vet and the young kid made me misty eyed. My grandfather served in WWII.

My father was in the Army for 22 years, my younger brother just joined the Navy, and my husband is a Marine.

So yea. I like military stories like this.

Anonymous said...

Its always the quiet ones... We met a father and son on holiday in a small town in Germany. They'd been doing a tour. The father said he had been there before but wasn't sure where anything was because "it all looks different now - we attacked by night".

Gracey is not my name.... said...

I like military stories too..was an Army brat until I was was in Army, Uncle a Marine, many cousins in different branches..grandpa in the Army...I thought of joining up, but not good at taking orders and have terrible eyesight and didn't want to wear those big ugly black glasses..

Roxie said...

I'm sure the old guy also remembered what it was like to be young and full of yourself. But how wonderful of you to play straight man to his salutary lesson!

As for introducing yourself to the sailors, there is the identification problem. There may, in fact, be more than one Bitch Wife in the Navy.

Barbara said...

My old guy always let me lambaste his barely old enough to drive sales managers who were young enough to be his sons. Funny, after a while when the new ones cycled through they didn't invite me out to dinner.

I always thank service people. It takes them by surprise.

Amanda said...

You made me tear up and smile at the same time with your story of the WWII vet.

My grandpa was a WWII vet (Marines) but he never talked about it with his family. My parents both served as Navy spooks, so they can't talk about what they did! And with my aunts and uncles, we've got the Air Force and Army covered, too.

Emily said...

Good for you!

I was traveling in Europe with friends back over a decade ago; one was a friend's father, who was beginning Alzheimer's. His son wanted to take him to see the WWII battlefields on which he'd fought, I think as a sort of admiring tribute. The older man refused. The war for him was awful, not heroic, and he had no desire to relive it. That was the most real that war ever appeared to me.

Leah said...

The most real the war got for me was when I was 16. My grandfather was in hospital-his prostate got out of hand and he wound up in kidney failure for a time. Grandad wasn't really with it when my dad and I went to see him.

After we left my dad was kinda quiet and we went for a walk on the sea-wall. Out of the quiet, Dad said "He was picking nits."

Galad said...

Great story and a classy way to make a point.

We sit around talking about WW11 at our dinner table since my husband is an amateur historian and rather obsessed on the subject :-)

Amy Lane said...

LOL-- good for you, figuring that out. WHICH jumps was the PERFECT question!

And I bet they would have known you!