Accepting the orders to Hawaii was a renewal of vows, if you will, between us and the Navy. Coronado was sort of our second honeymoon with the Navy. And coming to Pensacola to hear the roar of the jets—some the same first jets Chris flew to earn his wings—and the thunderous jet blast of the Blue Angels…well it’s kind of like holding hands and going back to where we first met the Navy.
It’s weird. I haven’t spent this much time here since our first year of marriage, when Chris had short work days, I was jobless and car-less, and I’d tag along to base for something to do. There’s a lot more to do now (everything back then had been recently destroyed by back to back hurricanes).
Hammocks sway beneath thick live oak branches at the Navy hotel. The kids and I pass them every time we descend the brick steps to the boardwalk. The kids race over that sugar white sand down to the bay where it meets the Gulf of Mexico. It’s mid-October, but the water and sunshine are warm.
We are right across the street from the National Museum of Naval Aviation, where my family came on vacation when I was 12. I remember how I felt, walking through the exhibits, and it’s almost like I can draw a straight line from that point in my life to now, 21 (!!) years later. Kind of like my elementary obsession with The Little Mermaid. OF COURSE I was destined (brainwashed) to fall in love with a sailor, leave everything behind, and sail off into a different world.
Anyway, one day in SoCal we watched the Blue Angels fly over Grandfather’s house while practicing for the Miramar flight show. The Angels arrived home in Pensacola the day after we did and performed a practice behind the museum, complete with bleachers, concessions, thousands of people, an MC etc. I’d heard we could watch a practice and he kids and I wandered over at the right time with zero expectations. They ran through Fat Albert, then we took our spots on the front row for the show.
Isaac shouted, “whoa! Did you see that?!” the entire time. Or maybe that was me. We loved it. Eloise ate all the Smarties, crawled into my lap, and slept through all the jet noise.
In Norfolk my Japanese friends told me they went to a flight show on one of the bases. I asked what they thought. “I feel proud when I hear the loud noise. I think it is strong,” he said, his eyes sparkling.
Honestly, he said it better in two sentences than i did in this long post. Navy helicopters, jets, the ship’s blast—I feel proud when I hear the loud noise. I think it is strong.
I guess that explains why my kids are so loud. Gotta make mom proud.
Happy birthday, Navy, you complicated life partner and eternal mistress.
Also happy 6th birthday, Constantine!