One of the best things about the "afterglow" of a SpouseBUZZ Live event is that I get to remember and retell my husband over and over the stories we heard while we were there. I think the poor guy has heard the re-cap about the woman who called someone for help with her boys while her husband was deployed and it turned out to be the General's wife approximately 18 times so far. And I am planning to tell him again when he gets home today.
I was also surprised that my children, whom I thought would be a conversation ender right off, actually started some one on one conversations. Particularly my son, Mohawk Boy.
In fact, the day AFTER SpouseBUZZ Live, Mohawk Boy was still introducing me to interesting new people.
Before SpouseBUZZ Live 3, I got a few odd looks when I communicated to people just how excited I was to be able to go visit Fort Bragg/Pope - most people want "vacations" to the Bahamas or Hawaii, or at least Orlando, Florida. I felt differently, though. First of all, wherever SpouseBUZZ goes I get to meet more of my "military family." And we ARE family. Even if we don't know each other. Like no other group I've ever known, military people will band together as soon as they hear one of our own is in trouble and needs help. We don't have to know each other intimately, we just have to hear the word in the grapevine and somewhere a spouse will organize the rescue party.
Second - my son was absolutely beside himself with anticipation on visiting the base museum. See, all servicemembers to him are called "ArmyGuySuperHero" (no matter what service they are actually in), and he really does think of them on the same level as Superman and Batman. Off to save the world, and all that.
He really wanted to soak it all in. And, I can't lie, I kind of wanted to drive by the Jeffrey MacDonald house.
Unfortunately, the weather intervened and on Sunday we were pushing time to beat a heavy rainstorm in the DC area - not the most pleasant of drives on DRY days.
So, as my kids and I were sitting in a random McDonald's (not the infamous house, unfortunately, but the fast food place), an older gentleman with tattoos over every inch of his visible body (and he was wearing shorts) approached us very hesitantly and said, "Excuse me, ma'am, but is your husband in the military?"
"Yes," I said. "He is. He's been in since he was 17."
"Oh, well I was too. I was in Vietnam back in 65, and I just wanted to tell you that while I was there I had my hair done just like your boy's. Has your husband been, you know, Over There?"
"Oh yes," I told him. "Yes, he's been to Iraq and Afghanistan. He's been home a year now, and he's ready to go back."
"God bless 'em. Well, just God Bless 'em."
I was all ready to talk some more, but the gentleman gave me a short nod and went back to his seat.
I figured that he probably felt like he was intruding or something, so when the kids and I finished up and got ready to leave, I made a point of stopping to talk to the gentleman one more time.
"You know, thank you for sharing your story with me. I just love hearing about those people who came before us."
The gentleman looked up at me and smiled, then handed me one of his McDonald's apple pies. "Here, give this to your boy, I've got two and I can't eat but one."
Now, I'm fairly squeamish about food from people I don't know, but I took the pie and thanked the veteran profusely. I realized that he was very touched by our military family, and that pie was really all he had to give to show that he cared.
It was very sweet - and an example of our military family meeting up once again.
I can't wait until we can take my son to see the museum on Fort Bragg - I just know he will be beside himself with excitement.
And maybe we'll meet that old veteran again. I'll bet he has some stories to tell.