18 December 2006
Friends like these...
I had a delightful weekend in our nation's capital. Ostensibly, I was there for the annual senior leadership meeting for my Navy community. The topics were sobering and at times frustrating, but the caliber of personnel involved is humbling. My community is comprised of some of the most brilliant minds in the nation today. To give you a perspective, one of the former leaders was selected to run Los Alamos. These folks are heavy hitters in science and technology.
But the good feelings and high tension of a meeting of senior Navy officers is not what I want to talk about. I had the chance to reconnect with a variety of old friends. Scoot was there along with Lauren, of Physical Mind fame. We had a superb dinner at Belga Cafe in the recently restored Marine Barracks area of DC. The food was great and the conversation better. Lauren looks great. Although I may have been a tad abrasive, I have always admired her quest for knowledge and tenacity for accuracy.
Scoot had just come off the incredibly successful production of the Laramie Project at his high school. Taking a cadre of overly emotional high school kids (even bright ones) through that show is nothing short of heroic. We shared good food, some drinks and great conversation. At the Navy meeting I reconnected with two old colleagues of mine, Dr. Mike Richman and Ron Cherry. Both are now Lieutenant Commanders and taking on their first units. It is interesting to note how we have changed from the frantic ensigns scrambling through the hulls of ships under repair at Norfolk Naval Shipyard.
They are both doing well and we reflected that our greatest accomplishments still lay squarely in the realm of our families. What were we doing to help our children, to insure their future and to make sure we took care of ourselves. When did this happen? What switch flipped to turn our attention from so deep within to so far without?
I recall remarking that when my oldest was born, it was like someone had flipped a switch and a whole new vista opened up to which I had been blind before. No longer would I stay up all night drinking tequila and popping wheelies on my Suzuki in a Speedo on the main drag in Virginia Beach.
Not that I ever did.
But the point is that all of these people (children, friends, spouses, family) have an impact on your life. You are there for them during good and bad times and hopefully they return the favor. You can sympathize, but you will rarely (if ever) truly understand their feelings.
And that's okay.
It is enough, sometimes, to know they're there.