Dear Tiny Air Force Base,
While many roll their eyes and complain at the mention of your name, I must confess: I love and miss my time with you. I also confess I took for granted all the good things you brought into my life. Yes, you live in the middle of nowhere, you don’t have much to offer and you definitely aren’t easy on the eyes, but you were so special to me and my family when we were together.
Now that I’ve moved on to a bigger, more attractive base, I can’t help but think about the good times we shared.
It was with you that I got my Air Force start. Thanks to your extremely small size and tight-knit community, I eased in to military life in the most kind and gentle way. You were patient with me and my, at times, embarrassing cluelessness toward all that life required as an airmen’s wife. You taught me proper procedures and traditions. You provided instant, thoughtful friends within our small unit. You allowed me to get involved right away, and to feel at home within a few weeks. Because you were such an integral part of the tiny town, the locals quickly showed me love and took my husband and me in like family. To this day, I know if we called on them with a need, they would be there in an instant.
With you I learned to appreciate the simpler things in life. With the closest city being over two hours away, there was no opportunity to blow my paycheck at a mall or nice restaurant, to worry about being on time to a big concert or sporting event or to get stuck in traffic for hours on end. I learned the best Saturdays were spent at a squadron picnic at the local pumpkin patch, followed by a bonfire with our closest friends. Although your tiny commissary could be eaten in one bite by the commissary I visit now, I miss being able to get my weekly staples in less than thirty minutes. I miss that it took fifteen minutes to get from one side of the town to another. I miss being greeted by the same friendly faces every time I visited you, and not getting lost every time I tried to find my husband’s office.
With you, my marriage thrived. Due to the nature of you and your mission, I got to hug my husband every night. He loved working at you and loved even more that he could pull into our driveway minutes after he clocked out. I miss having dinner together each day after work, and taking long walks all around town with nowhere to be. While living in a place with “nothing to do," we planned and enjoyed the most silly, simple made-up dates. Those are special memories that I will never forget! In this new place, that comfort is long gone.
With you, I met my best friends. We spent a lot of time together in our little houses, sharing stories and meals and getting to know one another on a deeper level. It didn’t take forty-five minutes and two toll roads to visit if we lived in separate neighborhoods. We made the best times sitting outside Sonic on two-for-one milkshake night, hosting costume parties, lounging around the tiny base pool on hot days, cheering our guys at intramural games, attending town festivals and spending $5 to people watch at the best Saturday attraction: the dirt track race. I miss snuggling new babies, gathering for birthdays, and laughing ‘til my belly hurt. Because we had no one else around, we became each other’s family.
Yes, Tiny Air Force Base, my life would not be the same if you were not a part of it. While our relationship only lasted a season, you will forever be in my heart. Maybe one day, I’ll get to drive through your gates (I mean, gate) again. Until then, I will remember you with fondness!