After a grueling rotation in the field, with 6 LTs, 25 SGTs, and 149 AIT soldiers under me, I walked across the stage Thursday. I am now affiliated with the two oldest branches of the U.S. Army, as first an infantryman, and now, a quartermaster officer. My Temporary Duty Tour apartment clear time was 1200, and in my rush, I forgot to take a picture. My apologies.
I think the last time I visited my family in Mobile was almost exactly two years ago. Home turf always has such mixed emotions associated- my unhappy childhood, far-right Southern Christianity, family, the Gulf of Mexico, Southern food, family, azaleas, and the sticky, brooding Deep South heat. There are things I love about lower Alabama, and things I do not.
But I haven't seen my family in too long, so I'll make the rounds, hurting a little at the age I see assaulting my closest loved ones, and rejoicing and astonished at the growth of young Shirleys. I will be seen as kind and adventuresome by young nieces and nephews, and hopefully will be seen as loving and warm by my siblings and cousins.
For all their imperfect humanity, we can't change where and from whom we come. And maybe that's not so bad.
Happy Fathers' Day.