Yesterday was the thirty-fifth anniversary of my father’s death. It’s a day that will always live in my memory. I was serving on active duty in the United States Navy and stationed at the Naval Air Station in Albany, GA. I was working the afternoon shift in the newborn nursery when I was summoned to the executive officer’s suite. He greeted me and told me that he was sorry to have to tell me that my Dad had passed away earlier that day. I cannot remember the XO’s name, but I will always remember his face and the look of genuine concern. Though I had only been stationed in Albany about four months at that point my shipmates took the best of care of me.
Bill Kirkland, one of the dental technicians magnanimously offered the use of his Datsun 240Z for me to make the trip home. I’ve often thought of what a special gesture that was. I’ve completely lost track of all my shipmates in the last thirty years, but I’d like to say thank you to Bill because his gesture stood out from the rest. I don’t even know if he’s still alive, but you really bumped me up that day with that offer.
A couple of days ago I left home with Georgia on my mind and this morning I’m going to return to a place that really only exists in my heart. Last night I arrived after nearly an eleven-hundred mile journey to Albany, GA. Thirty-five years ago I arrived here in dress blues with my seabag and another hospital corpsman. We were fresh out of United States Navy Hospital Corps School in Great Lakes, IL. Continue reading “Soteria”
A couple of weeks ago I saw the movie Bucket List with my wife and daughter. It’s a great theme and it got me to thinking of some things I’d like to do before I can’t do them anymore. In April I’m planning a trip to Albany, Ga. and Plains, Ga. I was stationed in Albany, Ga. at the Naval Air Station in 1973 and early 1974. I worked at the base dispensary as a US Navy Corpsman. I haven’t been back in 30 years. The last time I was at the dispensary was in May of 1977 when I was on reserve duty. Albany was a lovely place. It was hotter than hell in the summer with high humidity. I lived in air conditioned quarters and the dispensary had air conditioning, but in between it was very muggy. I worked in labor and delivery and the newborn nursery. I’ve often thought over the years of the children and mothers I cared for. I’ve thought too of the doctors, corpsmen and nurses I worked with. I wish it were possible to see them once again.
I also want to visit Plains, Ga. and the Maranatha Baptist Church where President Jimmy Carter worships. I was in Plains once and that was in 1977 when Mr. Carter was President. I remember there was big peanut in the middle of the road, at least that is my memory of it. I’ve read most of President Carters books and even contributed to his foundation occasionally. He’s my favorite President. Jimmy Carter doesn’t just talk about Christianity, he lives it.