Saturday, June 02, 2007

George #1

So if I am going to catch this blog up to date with real life, I should probably start with "George". "George" is my older son, who is 18 and in the Coast Guard. When I last posted last fall, he had just gone to boot camp, and we were waiting for a address so we could send him mail. Actually, from now on I'm just going to call him George with no quotes, even though it's not the name he regularly answers to. Although my daughter Arwen uses her real first name in her blog here, (because Googling "Arwen" gets you a million Lord of the Rings hits), for privacy purposes she gave the rest of us pseudonyms, and I'm going to stay consistent with her usage. She calls me Mom, naturally, and Salome Ellen is my real name, but I don't use both names anywhere but online, so it's not findable.

George's letter arrived shortly after I posted, and consisted of one page from a 4 by 6 notebook, saying: DOING FINE

(five lines of address)


This is typical of my son; he writes almost nothing except on a keyboard, and my husband assures me that the all-caps style is required on official Coast Guard paperwork and George figured that would also apply to letters home. So we threw all the letters we had already written into envelopes and sent them away
, and of course we continued to do so as long as he was in boot camp. Unfortunately for my 2 non-family readers, my beautiful granddaughter Camilla was born two days after that letter (and that will get a post of its own..), and what with writing to George and helping my daughter, I stopped writing here.

George had been due to graduate from boot camp on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and the plan was that my husband would pick him up, drive as far as my brother's house in Pennsylvania, and return home Thanksgiving Day proper. We would have our family dinner on Saturday, which would be nice for Arwen, whose in-laws live here too. They could make both dinners!

Unfortunately, there was a monkey wrench in the works. George, who had spent several months working on his running and stamina before boot camp, had forgotten about his arms, and couldn't crank out enough push-ups in the required time. So he was "rephased" -- which means kicked back a class -- and didn't actually graduate till the first of December. The downside was no whole-family Thanksgiving, but the upside was that I was free to go along to pick him up. I was able to visit in my hometown, walk on the Atlantic beach, and renew my acquaintance with an almost-forgotten New Jersey delicacy: Taylor pork roll.

Of course I also attended the graduation, and I was expecting it to be very emotional. I was proud, of course, and happy to be there, but a little wistful because I would not be meeting the people with whom George had spent most of boot camp. "His" boot company was O, or "Oscar", but they were ten days gone, and he would be graduating with Q company, called Quebec, but always referred to by George as "the dreaded KAY-beck." So I was a tad melancholy as the band filed in, tuned up, and prepared to play. I was expecting Semper Paratus, and would have been bawling very quickly, but instead they broke into Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer! (It was December, after all.) But the contrast was enought to make me laugh, and after that I was just proud and happy.

(Note: I still have a lot to say to get caught up on George, but I think I'll publish this now to keep my [infinitesimal] audience happy!)