|The sunset over Long Beach, Mississippi|
I grew up in South Mississippi in the small coastal town of Long Beach. Made my friends there, met my best friend there, and learned that writing would be my lifelong need and love. Developed a penchant for marching bands and full choirs, too, though I suspect that has a lot to do with the fact I played and sang in both.
A natural part of everyday life on the Gulf Coast includes the US Air Force training base, Keesler, which lies no more than a few short miles from my hometown to the bigger attraction of Biloxi. It's no big thing to walk into a local store and see several airmen in training. One simply gets used to it. For me, these guys, while automatic heroes for their sacrifice in serving our country, held little to no appeal in the dating/marriage department. One, I wasn't interested in traveling, which is inevitable for the spouse of a young soldier. Two... eh. I don't know. My adverseness to the military man could've attributed to the desire I harbored for an artsy-fartsy type. Perhaps a musician or a fellow writer, like myself. Someone with whom I could share mutual passions, likes, and dislikes. A guy who devotes his life to the Armed Forces couldn't possibly fill those big, big shoes.
At least, that's what I thought.
Now, here I am, fifteen years after high school graduation, and married to an avionics tech-sergeant in the US Air Force. And guess what? He loves most of the same things I do--music, good movies, panoramic scenery, chocolate, and good ol' Southern cooking. Plus, and he'll likely kill me for saying this, he likes musicals. I'm talking full-blown Broadway extravaganzas, with people dancing around and sporadically bursting into song. Yep. That's The Hubby. An all-American boy who would rather get up early, have breakfast at Cracker Barrel, and spend all day walking around historic Jefferson, TX, than sleep all morning and hit the nightlife/bar scene that evening. Now, as it turns out, no one can possibly fill his big, big shoes.
And I don't just mean that metaphorically.
So, why am I telling you this? Easy. When my husband got up this morning, I made certain to wish him a "Happy Veterans' Day." And here's my challenge for you, dear reader: When you're out and about today, if you see a man or woman in the Armed Forces, tell them, "Thank you." And if you want to elaborate... well, then, elaborate. But you don't have to. Because they'll know. And so will you.
Peace, Love, Junior Mints, and Freedom Forever,