By lex, on October 23rd, 2008
A lovely hour or two after work, and six others showed up. Kevin and Dave we knew in meatspace, but others were new to our physical acquaintance. Guinness was to be had quantities suitable to our status as a motorcycle commuter, which is to say one to the hour, the hours numbering two. One after another wandered over to the ancient mariner with graying hair, asking generally to those assembled whether there was anyone among us y-clept “Lex.”
Yes. Yes there was.
I would like to say that we lifted a jar in toast to the Babes – you know who you are – but so caught up were we with the salt water running through our veins that any such salutations will have to wait for the next bout. Two E-2 crew, two SWOs, a retired AT1, and a Marine major on his way to being an Army chaplain made for an eclectic mix, and so many were the tales of time spent on the briny that I wished I’d thought to bring a tape recorder along, for there were sea stories told that would fill many pages.
The E-2 bubbas had never met before, but were going at it like country cousins in no time at all. Kevin had the ins and outs of hard service on the front lines of Stuttgart, our Marine regaled us with tales of beer days in the amphib Navy (a different thing entirely from the carrier force), a certain navigator relayed the tale of unpopular brownshoe commanding officers of refueling ships whose running shoes went adrift, and our AT1 had USS Midway tales to beat the band.
And that’s only the skim of it.
I had the slightly off center feeling of knowing people well that I had only just met, and yet having them know me a great deal better than I knew them. Navy is Navy, and where any two or three or gathered, there are all the rest of us. Still, it’s non-trivially disorienting to begin sharing a sea story from the olden days and have two or three people you’ve only just met nodding their heads and saying, oh, yes: We remember that one. Good tale.
When the time came to settle the $35 tab, twenty dollar bills flew like snowflakes in Michigan – an embarrassing and wholly inappropriate profusion that sent your correspondent scurrying to the register for to make change. Little enough of that was taken up, however.
So I thank you, absent friends, for your kindness. Tip jar, aye, and I’m overwhelmed.
Next time in Perth?