Lindell and I were driving to and from errands, me lost in my thoughts about the day, and Lindell playing with my phone in the backseat. The car streamed music over Bluetooth, but because Lindell had the phone and it was on shuffle, I had no control over which tracks would come on next. The smartphone was shuffling through all 300-something songs in my library, many of them I hadn’t heard in years.
Columnist Sarah Smiley shares her experience of attending the Commandant of the Marine Corps General Amos’s house to welcome the First Sea Lord, Sir George Zambellas, from the UK and to watch an evening parade at “8th and I,” the “Oldest Post of the Corps.”
Lindell, 7, has always wanted to be a farmer, except for when he’s wanted to be an astronaut, a mailman and a dog. But Lindell doesn’t want to be just any farmer. He’s not that interested in growing plants or vegetables. He’s more into the animals and the manure.
I wrote the following column in 2005 after my friend Marc Tace died of Muscular Dystrophy. This week marks 20 years since Marc’s dad, a Marine Colonel, died of a heart attack while serving overseas.
For the average kid, pre-adolescence and the teen years are marked with many rites-of-passage: facial hair, deodorant, pimples, crushes, and braces. There is the experience of wearing pants that fit yesterday but are too short today. There are awkward bus rides and annoying parents. And there is the moment you realize going to school without combing your hair only works for 5-year-olds. Military kids have all these things, plus one more: getting a military identification card.
My favorite story Doris told me was about their new phone number in Boston. Big Jack was going to law school at Harvard, and neither of them had ever really lived outside of Alabama. Big Jack spent most of his days at the library reading, and when he came home to their small apartment, it was just to get something Doris could “throw between two pieces of bread” for dinner.
The invitation read, “The President and Mrs. Obama request the pleasure of the company of Ms. Smiley at a dinner.” In the weeks leading up to the White House State Dinner honoring French President Francois Hollande, this was probably my favorite part of the whole thing. After 37 years of being someone’s military “dependent,” I was finally the principal invitee and my Navy commander husband would be my date.
When the first invitation came via e-mail, I thought it was a joke. I mean, how often does one get an invitation to the White House? Then the formal invitation, printed on the finest paper I’ve ever held, arrived in the mail.