There are two little boys in my life. Well, they aren’t so little anymore, they are rapidly becoming young men. But they still have the hearts of little boys, the enthusiasm and energy level of little boys, and the passion you hope your little boys never lose.
This weekend my husband was able to escort these two into scenes of the military world that few get to see at such a young age. There is a military compound near us that was having an open house this weekend, we knew the boys would be THRILLED to attend! As you may have guessed…they painted their own faces with camo paint.
First stop? A bar that is exclusively owned and operated by Vietnam Vets and soldiers in the area. The bar was open to all during the camp’s open house, and they weren’t serving alcohol (before I get into too much trouble)… but the boys thought they were big stuff as they sat at the bar and order the following:
“Shot o’ Coke please ma’am.”
Having never been a little boy, nor never being a man, there are a few things that I can only assume. First, I have to assume that there comes a day when your boyhood dreams become the reality of a man. I feel like this photo of Tommy might be the makings of a boyhood dream that just may some day become his reality.
Tommy made a mother’s day gift for my dear friend Susan. She called to read me his sweet words, which included my favorite quote:
“Do Lipton employees take coffee breaks?”
Maybe you have to be a Southerner who drinks Lipton iced tea daily to appreciate the humor, but this kid cracks me up.
He also wrote that he wanted to grow up to serve his country. That’s how he said it… “serve my country”. How does an 11-year-old who plays X-Box games, chooses to watch Discovery and National Geographic, loves his Lego’s and hates blue jeans because he thinks they’re a fad ever grasp the meaning of serving his country?
My husband, who I should remind you is 36, considers Tommy his friend. They run around like little kids together, which allows Tommy to think of my husband as his buddy. I don’t think he even realizes that he’s actually a grown up, which we all love to witness. It also means that my husband might just be the coolest grown up this young man knows (minus his dad of course).
He had marks on his arm that my girlfriend Susan was looking at, “Tommy, what’s that on your arm?”
Tommy replied, “Oh… um, I was thinking if I’m gonna go in the Army when I grow up I’m gonna need a tattoo. So I drew one on…”
It was the same words that my husband has tattooed on his arm. I repeated this story to my husband who immediately welled up with tears and said, “I love that kid.”
We love this guy too. He and Tommy are very best friends, and have been their whole lives.
And I love this photo because he was grinning from ear-to-ear, all teeth and giggles. I finally said, “You need to look tough while you’re holding that gun!”
This photo was the result. And I did mention that he did his own face paint right? Love it.
There were several demonstrations of military exercises to include this HALO jump.
HALO – High Altitude Low Opening
The soldiers jumped so high up that we could barely see the little dots in the sky as they began their descent. They all carried smoke grenades so we could see them more clearly. And let me tell you, as they were free-falling for what seemed like forever, that smoke fell FAST. I was so nervous just watching it!
Speaking of falling fast… this exercise is called Fast Roping. A Blackhawk helicopter hovered over the crowd, dropped out a thick black rope, then swoosh – soldiers fell out of the chopper and hit the ground from about 40 feet up in about 5 seconds. And I’m not exaggerating!
A dozen or so guys slid down the rope, the chopper zoomed out of there and it was only a minute or so.
Then came the hand-to-hand combat demonstration.
Of everything that I watched, this made me the most nervous. That would be because my dear, sweet husband was one of the demonstrators. All I could think was…he’s gonna be soooo sore. They kicked, hit, tossed dirt in each other’s eyes. They sampled knife fights, gun battles, Jujistu, Muai Thai Boxing and good ol’ American Bar Room Brawling.
It made me reallllllly nervous.
But I also thought it was pretty hot. (Sorry mom, I know that’s too much information). But I don’t get to see this side of my husband very often. He has to be all sweet and nice at home. He has a huge soft spot for kids, puppies and mint chocolate chip ice cream.
So to see him being tough, mean, even intimidating… I should be scared, but instead I was like, wink wink big boy. “How you doin’?”