July 30, 2007

Catching Up with Friends

As I metioned in a previous posts, Friday night I hosted a dinner party for two of my husband’s co-workers. In many cases of meeting new officers and their spouses, especially those of higher rank, I feel indimidated and fear failure. In most cases I am (thankfully) wrong. Many are kind and generous, wanting to mentor their junior officers as part of bettering the Army as a whole. Still most events are semi-formal (meaning not laid back with drunks dancing on tables.) However, there are rare cases when small social gatherings can take on a life of their own ... taht is what happened Friday night.

We have had “Maj.” and “Cpt.” for dinner before and it had been a very laid back experience, with the guys telling stories about their deployment together and life at the unit. I usually just make something basic since single men will eat anything and I just sit around sipping my wine, retrieving more beer or cleaning around them. Really it is something that I enjoy, having their conversations and laughter mingling with the background 80s music and dishwasher hum. I am quite content to breeze in and out, answer questions when asked, but ultimately getting an insiders view to what life in the military is life for these Soldiers versus always looking from the outside in.

This week was different for one reasson, there was a female – the Cpt.’s new fiance. I was nervous to say the least, becasue i had manged to go three-plus years here without females visiting to judge my home (I am always scared that I do not live up the the “Officer’s Wife” unwritten code.)

I found out a day or so ahead of the dinner that she would be in town and George had invited her too. Not a problem, but I had planned to cook pot roast, in fact promised Maj. a few times that he would have slow roasted potatoes and roast next time they came over. Easy meal – yes, but not a very “dinner party” menu. In fact, i wasn’t even sure if I had met this girl before because she lived in another state.

So I scrubbed an already clean house, exchanged fresh towels for even fresher towels and tried in vain to look at my house through the eyes of someone else. I was a bit disappointed when I did that. George says I have the interests of an “old soul” tea cup collecting, needlepoint and Victorian decor. Definitely not a modern take on things.

Maj. arrived first, for which I was thankful. He is this amazingly wise person, when you get to know him personally. I think he makes me see what george will be like in 20 years because they are so much alike, and I think that my husband will be a great person who has a lot to offer, just like Maj. He is an amazing mentor to George and defies all of my “upper level officer” fears of by treating us with respect, valuing our opinions and making us feel as equals. there is never an awkwardness when we are together, like you might expect feel with someone in authority.

Cpt. called to say that he was a few minutes away and I started to get dinner to the platters as Maj. and George popped open beers.

I heard George open the door and for a second I felt my stomach dropped because the moment of truth was here ... would my house be judged and found wanting?

As soon as she stepped int the kitchen that all went away. MP, as I had recently learned her name was in fact not only someone I had met, but someone whom I had shared laughs and quirks with on several event occasions while the guys were doing what ever it is they do when at these unit events. I was so excited.

After everyone served themselves we took our seats at the table. (Was I suppose to serve them? I’m not sure, but we usually are informal when Maj. and Cpt. come over.)

Almost immediately we began talking and laughing, sharing stories. MP, being from the same part of Texas as George and I quickly jumped in with her own stories since we knew (and had spent time at) many of the same places. She too was shocked with some of George’s stories of how different his harsh gang-ridden neighborhood was from the innocent ones we grew up in. But we had many laughs over the stories of college hangouts since she was familiar with the town too.

All too soon it was time for them to leave. I think Cpt. and MP had plans the next day, but they bid farewell at about 10 p.m. or a little after. Maj. stayed a little longer, telling all kinds of stories about George from the deployment.

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