Well, The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (BWBB) lives!
He has managed to find time in the last week in the midst of running around looking for his missing hair, enjoying the Army chow (no sarcasm here – he says it’s pretty good), endless hours of physical training (the dreaded PT) and various other components of daily Army life for buck privates to phone home not once but TWICE!
The first call was placed after church on Sunday morning. Well, after church for HIM! He forgot about the time difference and called in the middle of the service. Did I mention he called my cell phone and not the house phone? Did I mention I had neglected to turn my phone off during church?
Amidst amused chuckles and smiles from those around me in the service and not a few others hurriedly turning off their own phones off due to my inadvertant reminder, I smoothly drew my phone from its holder, glanced at the number, and, when it was a number I didn’t recognize from another area code, hung up on the caller. I figured I’d call the number back in an hour after the service. After all, it’s the weekend so my minutes don’t accrue and I have free long distance. Yeah, I’m that kind of a thoughtful guy! I slid the phone back in my holder after setting it to vibrate. You know, just in case anyone I might want to talk to would actually call me during church. Almost immediately the phone buzzed on my hip. Palming the phone again, I glanced at the Caller ID. Hrmmm … same number as a moment ago.
Whoever this was obviously knew I was in church but found it important enough to call me twice. Perhaps I’d better talk to them. I stood up and quietly exited the service and answered the phone in the foyer while heading outside. “Good morning, this is Blue!” “Hey!”came a male voice on the other end. “Great”, I thought, not only is this yahoo calling during church but we’re going to play the “I’m not going to tell you who I am since I’m so significant you should recognize my voice, you loser!” game. “What’s going on?” I’m tired of our game and we haven’t even been playing for 15 seconds. Maybe there’s some truth to those questions about Blue and ADD. Not bothering to hide the annoyance in my voice I responded, “Well, I’m in the middle of church at the moment!”
“Church? That was over 10 minutes ago!”, came the reply. Finally, the alarm bells going off in the back of my mind managed to make themselves heard and something in the voice sounded familiar. Ignoring 35 years of post puberty testosterone production, my voice screeched up about 3 octaves as I stopped in my tracks and asked, “Bugle Boy???” “Yeah!” he replied in that teenagery manner that both answers the question respectfully and still leaves the impression he thinks you’re an idiot for asking.
At this point in time, I officially lost it. “How are you? What’s going on? Are you OK?” and all the other parental questions rolled out with absolutely no time in between for him to answer them. His first question? “Did you hang UP on me???” I tried to explain about being in church and he explained about forgetting about the time change and we laughed.
Nothing earth shattering to report but it was so good to hear his voice. It had been an excruciatingly long almost a week since I’d spoken to him.
He told me that he had not, in fact, been shipped out to his Basic Training unit. He was still stuck in Reception. Saturday had been a thoroughly enjoyable day filled with 9 hours of PT. But at least his arms were recovering from the immunization gauntlet he had been run through a few days before. The last shot he got was a “peanut butter” shot, as he calls them, long needle and a large, viscous payload. He said he couldn’t lift that arm over his head for a day afterwards.
The food was good and he had hooked up with a couple of other guys with the same Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) as him and who would be going to the same Advanced Individual Training (AIT) school after Basic as him. They’d be together for the next 6 months or so and were hanging out. His friend Sean, from his going away party, was doing well, too. Sean, however, was in a different company. Sean was Charlie Company while Bugle Boy was Delta Company. That’s not quite Delta Force but close enough for Basic Training bragging rights. Sean and BBWB saw each other at meals but were barracked pretty far apart. Still, all were happy and healthy and in the Army doing whatever the DIs found for them to do.
The moment of truth arrived when BWBB asked to speak to his mom. We attend church as a family the old fashioned way – all of us in one car going to the same service at the same church. On odd occasions, however, someone will need to be there early or at the second service as opposed to the first one and so we take two cars. Such was the case today. The Much Younger Trophy Wife needed to be at the second service while I was at the first service as usual. I explained that she was coming later and he said he’d just call back later that night. We chatted about nothing for a couple of minutes more and then he had to go.
One of the hardest moments to date surrounding his enlistment happened when I told my bride that our son had called and she realized she had missed it. I suspect these won’t be the last tears from either of us. I told everyone at church that I had hung up on my son during the service and it was wildly amusing to most. Sort of the “Tragedy is when I fall down a manhole – Comedy is when YOU fall down a manhole” reaction. Why do we enjoy the misery and suffering of others so much? **sigh**
The Much Younger Trophy Wife was feeling much better a couple of nights later when her phone rang in the midst of errands related to our bathroom remodels. Despite the fact that one of her pet peeves is people who yack away on cell phones at inappropriate times and hold up everyone else around them, she waved off the questions and needs of the poor, little returned item clerk at Home Depot with her best “Talk to the hand!” dismissal, waved her phone at the girl declaring, “I’m sorry but this is my son from the Army and I HAVE to take this call!” and smoothly picked up her conversation with our offspring without missing a beat! Knowing that move intimately after 21 years of marriage I almost felt sorry for the little girl – but only for a moment.
Most important was that Mom had the chance to talk to The BWBB. Afterwards, all was right with the world as The Much Younger Trophy Wife walked on air all the way back to the minivan! She had talked to her baby and was feeling much better.
Plus, there was news to report. The BWBB was officially moved from Reception to Basic and, since he now had an official training unit, he had an address!! He didn’t tell his mother what it was, of course, but said he’d mailed it to us. So we’ve been on tenterhooks for three days waiting. Perhaps today will be the day. He asked for pictures and mail and the usual things you’d expect. And we found out that Thursday he’d be issued his M-16. I assumed he’d already gotten it, like right after they got off the bus. The Army is already viewed as sadistic when it comes to Basic so why not make recruits all run around everywhere carrying another bulky, awkward 7 or 8 pounds? Evidently that isn’t deemed wise in the first week.
All in all, it was a great week. We spoke to him twice and have the promise of a live, snail mail address to come. And the clock is now running on the Basic Training program so it will be just a few weeks until he graduates and moves on to school. Thank you all for your prayers and thoughts for all of us during this time. We cherish them and they have been instrumental in our surviving this first, chaotic week. More news coming during ETS-Week 3 …
Realizing it’s harder to be left than it is to leave …
Blue Collar Muse