I can’t believe it’s October already. This year seems to have gone by faster than most. So, it’s been a little while since my last post here, but hey, I’ve been busy. Since we last “spoke” my separation from the Navy became official, I grew a goatee, I went on vacation and I asked the love of my life to marry me.
So, I’ve already beaten my military separation to death so I will leave that alone for now. But the goatee seems to deserve some sort of acknowledgement and examination. It’s funny, most male veterans seem to go through a right of passage that compels them to throw their razor away. As you know, this is not my first time leaving Naval Service, and yes, I grew a goatee the last time. I kinda like it and will probably keep it, I just don’t know when I got so gray. I guess I could blame it on all those Junior Sailors and Officers I mentored over the years, or maybe just genetics (okay, probably genetics). Deb is letting me go through this “phase” but I think she prefers me without it.
So the real question is why do we grow these things? They have to be maintained, they get in the way when eating and they tend to make you look even older. Maybe it’s the look of wisdom? (No, I look more like a cast member of Sons of Anarchy.) Maybe it’s the fact that it covers up my double chin? (That seems more plausible.) Maybe it’s just that a beard conveys maturity? The reality is, as a veteran, we just want to be able to grow it because we can and we couldn’t before (well, at least after January 1st 1985 in the Navy). No more shaving and all that comes with it. It should be noted that many men in the Military reserves grow out their beards between drill weekends and active duty periods, however I shaved daily. I felt that I had to maintain military grooming standards even when I wasn’t in a drilling or active duty status… lead from the front.
Vacation! Last year Debbie and I didn’t take a vacation because we bought our beautiful house. This year we decided to get back on our routine and we spent eight fantastic days in Destin Florida.
I lived in Destin as a child in the 1970’s. Back then it was a quiet little fishing village catering to high-powered anglers. Few restaurants and no hotels. I hadn’t visited Destin since we left there in 1976. Debbie and I returned there in 2009 and I was shocked at the change. No Destin is a very crowded vacation spot on Florida’s Emerald Coast. Hotels and Restaurants as far as the eye can see. I barely recognized anything. Three things that hadn’t changed were the fantastic seafood, the beautiful white sand beaches and the clear blue-green waters… magical! Debbie and I love Florida so we decided to return to Destin this year. This time Debbie suggested we invite my parents. Now, maybe some people would not consider this unusual but after two marriages I have never had my previous wives suggest this to me. My parents were thrilled with the idea and we split the cost of a two bedroom condominium. We had a great time with them. Debbie and my parents get along great and she thinks the world of them.
An unusual aspect of Debbie (bedsides loving me) is her love for seafood. Now, for an Ohio born and raised girl I think this is rather unique. Face it, seafood is an acquired taste, if you’re not raised around it you are less likely to develop a taste for it. My parents and I were raised in southern coastal states, so we have developed that taste. During our trip I don’t think there was a day we didn’t gorge ourselves on all of the fresh seafood Florida’s Emerald Coast has to offer! By the way, when visiting a place like Destin, Seafood can be expensive in the local restaurants (cheaper however than mid-western restaurants). Visit the local Seafood Markets for the best and freshest seafood. We love Sexton’s Seafood Market in Destin! The good folks there not only told us what was good but gave us great advice on the best way to prepare it (non-paid endorsement).
Engagement… After 6 years with Debbie I finally asked her to marry me. I knew Deb wanted me to ask her properly but I also knew if I went down on one knee I wouldn’t be able to get back up. So I asked Debbie in her favorite place in the world… The ocean! As we floated in the Gulf of Mexico and I asked her (no I didn’t bring the ring in with us, that came after).
For Debbie and I we both were a little concerned how our families would take the news. We have both been through multiple marriages and were concerned at how our loved-ones would react. The good news is that everyone was pleased. Deb’s son even commented that it was about time. The reality with Deb and I is that we have been together longer than we were with some of our previous spouses. I can also say, as corny as it may sound, I knew when I met Deb that I felt we should be together. So, when’s the date? Stay Tuned.
September 2014 was an eventful month. What started out as one of the lowest points of my life with my separation from the Navy ended with one of the best vacations I have ever taken. Spending a week with Mom, Dad and Deb was a great adventure and one that I hope to always remember!