What a wonderful way to spend an evening! Tonight I, Ollie, was surrounded by some of the best (and some of the not quite known yet) members of my apartment community as we celebrated National Night Out. We enjoyed a basic feast plus some (each household seem to bring in some kind of extra to try out- none had any left overs). There was live music provided by the Venezuelan family, a lively game of no net volleyball played by the teens and young adults, and just a lot of good old fashioned get to know you talk amongst everyone. Even with the children’s parade, the fun and the laughter one thing was noticeably missing. My Popeye.
Of course everyone asked about him. There were many hugs and many ‘thank you for your sacrifice’ moments. Most asked how long Popeye had been gone and when he would be returning. There were a couple that were determined to reassure that despite his time away Popeye would approve of me getting out of the house. (I’m pretty sure myself that Popeye approved as I told him last night I was going. He told me to have fun and take pictures!) Despite their best comforting efforts, a hint of their pity showed. The number of ‘It’s too bad that he couldn’t be here with us’ seemed to tint our conversations. Now, don’t get me wrong, we had lovely conversations about the ins and outs of our community. It’s just that having a Sailor on active duty, whether the community knew him or not, colored everyone’s perspective. Even with the good times, we were all reminded that we were still missing one.