This weekend was the Team Dive. There was, as always these days, no diving; but many of the members of A-1 / ODA-111 / ODA-1111 / ODA-2034 (the same basic team, with different numbers, over a span of some forty years) and a few friends from other ODAs in the same company did show up to enjoy grilling, drinking, camaraderie and, of course, endless “war stories” from exercises in Norway to experiences in Legland as a raw private to the process of getting out of an assignment to Hindi/Urdu school in Monterey and volunteering for Vietnam by calling Mrs. A.
A lot of stories involved getting around the Army bureaucracy that committed boneheaded follies, such as assigning a native Filipino who’d spent his last three pre-SF years in units in Hawaii to the unit that covers South America, because his name was Rodriguez. (Not his real name, but close. He escaped with a call to Mrs. A., naturally, and went to Okinawa instead, where his Tagalog fluency was treasured).
As the event is held in Massachusetts, and many of the guys who show up are local, there was a lot of discussion of Massachusetts gun laws, and we all said a few Heil Healeys because that seems to be what she wants, or at least, deserves. Heil Healey!
Some were absent. One guy is going through some hard times and wants to be alone — boy, he doesn’t know what a pestering that has put him in for.
One guy got himself into a severe legal jam, and showed up at the house of a teammate who was keeping his guns, begging for just one back. The friend, of course, refused (or what sort of friend would he have been?) but the troubled man opted for Plan B, a combination of overdose and bloodletting, and saved the authorities a trial and decades of room and board. Given what his future looked like, it may have been the right choice for his family, but his absence was felt.
Then there was the guy who is rumored to be motor racing in Colorado as a relief from his high-stress job in the C-suite. We suspect we missed him more than he misses us.
And some just couldn’t show up — summer weekends are premium for everybody, in these latitudes.
Which brings us to the thing that makes this not a random musing, but a sermuncle — which the dictionary says is a “short sermon.” Go thou, and contact thy friends from service days; do not let this week pass without picking a name at, more or less, random from your phone or rolodex, and calling. Just to say, hello. Just to say that you are a friend.
Perhaps even to say, I can not approve of the misdeed you have done, but I still love you like a brother. It is a small thing, a Christian thing (or perhaps a human thing, for you need not be a Christian to do it; the phone is available to the Hindu and the Jew, and, through the grace of God, to the Godless heathen himself). It is a thing worth doing.
Call a friend you’re out of touch with, before the sun rises next Sunday.
Thus endeth the sermuncle.