Today was all about Popeye. From the moment my alarm blared it’s wacky wake up quips he was in my thoughts. In the dark chill of morning (0500 CST to be exact) my mind drifted back to last night’s conversation. Popeye would be wake soon.
I have to admit that I am a little ashamed to be positively giddy with the realization that he would be getting up in his time zone as I was enjoying my last bits of freedom before putting in a grueling 8 hour day of work. The past two months haven’t function like that. Popeye, due to a timezone difference, has usually mustered around my first break of the day. Yet, today and essentially 3 days a week from now on Popeye will muster early. Why? Popeye has early morning PT. … Popeye HATES early morning PT. Despite him hating it, PTing in the wee morning hours is his only option. His day is too busy to take advantage of a later PT times. So, there I was simultaneously feeling giddy for myself and bad for Popeye. I sent him a text message to cheer him up and to cheer him on.
Around lunch time my thoughts kept returning to how Popeye’s day was going. Getting up early never seemed to kill anyone, but it sure could make them irritable and in need of a nap. I know my lack of sleep from the night before was rearing it’s ugly head. Settling into my lunch break, I grabbed my phone hoping to connect with Popeye in passing and cheer myself up. No such luck. Popeye had classed up last week and catching up to him during a school hours is well… just short of impossible. But my luck wasn’t all bad. The first message of the day, while not from Popeye, was all about him! While working away, Saint Mailman came to the midwest delivering presents. He blessed Boo first, and then Boo blessed me. The message was along the following lines, “Look who I found in Turtle’s yearbook!” Of course her message was accompanied by pictures of Popeye, Turtle and their bootcamp division. Our Sailor’s Keel book had finally been delivered.Memories flooded back over me of the letters Popeye had written. As the RTC had said during the PIR ceremony, “Remember your Sailors will have lots of stories from Bootcamp, but remember there are always two sides to the story. In our defense let us show you some of ours” Somewhere caught between Popeye’s stories and the RTC’s explanation lie those Keel book pictures. The presence of those photos, whether they be of a division goofing off together or a RTC giving a SR specialized training, saved my day.
Reflections of Popeye’s bootcamp days didn’t end there. Upon quitting time, I checked my messages and received one from Popeye’s PIR group. The message read: Interesting bit of trivia for us all…I was looking at the calendar today and realized that the recruits who arrived at RTC the week our sailors had their PIR are having their PIR today…Our sailors have been out of bootcamp for as long as they were in bootcamp…seems like they have been out longer than that! And truly she was right. It seems like forever. Two months in bootcamp + Two months out of bootcamp have truly equaled Four ungodly months of missing my sailor.