Today I spent five hours in the car driving to Fort Indiantown Gap at 6:45 am then to Philadelphia then back at 10:45 pm. A very long day.
Those of you who believe one should not drive and talk on a cell phone should stop reading right now.
During the 300-odd minutes I was in the car, more than half on the PA Turnpike. One the way to Philadelphia I called my Iraq "Roomie" Nickey Smith. We talked for a half hour about how his life is going since his return and gossiped about some of the people in Echo we liked and some we didn't. Nickey told me about getting sent to Oklahoma to reroute the gear for Connecticut soldiers. He was one of two who went. Others should have and did not.
It did not surprise me at all that he would keep his word and trudge on when others did not. I have written before that he took over for a squad leader who got relieved and unlike me and several others, stuck with his squad and with the motor pool when other sergeants jumped for greener pastures. For his loyalty, Nickey got an average evaluation which the motor sergeant and motor officer knew was actually a rotten evaluation in a world where all evaluations are as highly inflated as inner tubes used for floating in a pond.
Next time I drive to Boston, I am hoping to stop at his house and meet his family. Who knows, his wife might be curious about the old white guy that her husband roomed with for most of a year.
On the way home, I called Abel Lopez, my best friend from back in the 70s in Germany. We reminisced more than usual and talked about music the guys we served with listened to. Abel reminded be that Gene Pierce listed over and over to his one Alice Cooper album (remember--this was back when cassette tapes were new technology!). Everybody listened to Peter Frampton, "Do You Feel Like I Do."
We also talked about immigration. Abel thinks it's a good idea to keep the gangs out, but he lives near the border in San Diego and knows that if California passes a law like Arizona, he and his family will be profiled. Abe was born in San Diego, but his parents are both Mexican, so he, and especially his son, are likely to be hassled or swept up if profiling becomes legal.