Monday, October 15, 2007
Happy 39th...it seems like yesterday
Today is our Wedding Anniversary and I can't believe it. I mean, I really can't believe it. I can't believe that our two sons are grown and with families of their own. I can't believe we haven't got any job transfers to worry about. I can't believe that after all these years, we still care so deeply about one another. So, for today I am concentrating on our anniversary. We're going to act like kids and enjoy each other's company. We're going to talk about those first few weeks of marriage (he was in Norfolk and I was in Charleston, the ship had pulled out on October 30th. It appeared we would not be sharing our first Thanksgiving day together. So the Wednesday before, I drove all night to get to there so we could spend our first Thanksgiving together. He was on the USS Pinnacle, an MSO (Minesweeper Ocean going) and they had to go to Norfolk, Virginia for RefTray (refresher training...they were called Iron Men on Wooden Ships...ummm, gives me shivers, even now. ) So , three friends (we called ourselves the Gang of Three)and here we were on this cold November night, beating a path to Norfolk, Virginia. It was Sue O'Shields, Phyliss (the corpman's wife) and I, snug in our little red Mustang GT. We headed out of Charleston on Highway 52, going North. We had a thermos of coffee, a box of sandwiches (no interstate with restaurants every three exits) and big plans for three men who had no idea we were on the way. I think back to that and wonder what we would have done if it turned out that they wouldn't be allowed to leave the ship. Sue, being the senior Navy Wife (they had been married for over ten years) assured Phyliss and me that we'd be fine. So we headed out and spent a few minutes trying to find a good strong Country/Western music channel on the radio (one that would last longer than an hour before we had to begin our search again). We listened as Buck Owens sang about his Mama, Johnny Cash sang about a Train, and Merle Haggard sang about getting out of prison. A few years later David Allan Coe would write a song giving the three basics of a good country song...it seems you have to sing about your mama, trains and prison...they had it all covered. So, we're somewhere in North Carolina and I looked up and there was a set of blue lights and a blaring siren coming up on us fast. I recall Sue saying that my passing the Greyhound Bus should have been the first warning. (Greyhounds are notorious for speeding.) So, I pulled over, got out my drivers license and waited for him to approach the drivers side window. I rolled my window down and this deep heavily accented voice said, "evening ma'am, may I see your pilot's license?" I must have given him one of those "blond moment" looks, because he then explained..."you were flying pretty low back there". Not a word out of Phyliss or Sue. Nothing. I began stuttering about being a newly wed and the ship being in Norfolk, this was our first Thanksgiving, yadayadayada and on and on and he says "and don't you think your brand new husband would like for his brand new bride to get there in one piece?" He paused before handing me my license back. "I'm going to let you off with just a warning this time, but you have to promise me one thing." I was nodding so hard my head was like to bounce off my shoulders..."slow down...do the speed limit...a car wreck is a pretty lousy beginning to a marriage." I agreed, of course. We were a solemn little crowd as we pulled back onto the highway, but it didn't take us long to become happy again. Sue and Phyliss said they had never done anything like this before and I'm sure they were as excited about the prospect of a second honeymoon as I was about continuing my first one. We stayed on Highway 52 (Interstate 95 was under construction at the time, I believe) nearly the whole way into Norfolk. Our map was pretty well worn out before we got there...I'm a better driver than a navigator...we took turns driving and finally arrived in Norfolk sometime after midnight, exhausted and deliriously happy. We had had the good sense to make sure that the ship was going to be in port while we were there. Sue had gotten the phone number from the Base operator and had already called her husband to let him know we were there. It all seems so clear in my memory that it's hard to believe that thirty nine years ago today, I promised to Love and Honor (I was a modern woman for my times, no obey in there) this man for the rest of my life, and, as they say...So far, so good.