Wow, two posts in one day!!
I am a big proponent of the theory that life truly is what you make it. However, there is some chance to it, where prayers or runes or blind luck lead you to where you are. For instance, I was born into a wonderfully loving family in the United States, not into the poverty and orphaned life of Sudan. But, as usual, I digress.
On our layover, my dad told me a story. I wanted to document what he said so it wouldn’t be lost.
I knew that my parents married on their fourth date and my father stationed in Hawaii right after their second date. I also knew that Vietnam had become a full-fledged military operation and that my dad was never sent there. Here’s why, in the long-winded version:
He left for Hawaii after his second date with Mom. They’d already determined that they would marry (!) in the next few months. He left his own family as well, my paternal grandparents, to move to a place that was farther from home than he’d ever been. I can’t imagine how awful it would feel to do that; how lucky he was to be stationed in Hawaii instead of elsewhere!
Dad reported to Fort Shafter after arriving in Hawaii. He was to be a payroll clerk despite his MBA in finance. Gotta love the military…
His boss immediately recognized that Dad could do way more than payroll, and he was reassigned to Scofield Base to audit non-appropriated funds, such as movie theaters and officer’s clubs. My dad was the first non-civilian to do this job for his civilian boss. As tours of duty in Vietnam were assigned, my dad’s boss knew that operations would come to a screeching halt without Dad and my dad was granted the opportunity to continue to work in Hawaii. For Round Two of assignment of tours of duty for Vietnam, my dad only had 11 months left of his military service. Tours were 13 months, so he could not complete a full tour, and once again was passed. Twice he could have gone to come back scarred for life or worse.
As Vietnam embroiled our country in controversy, Dad said my mom was scared that he’d be called to serve at any moment. Lucky for me, he escaped that tribulation. What if he’d been called? Would he have come back, forever changed from the man I know? What if (shudder) he hadn’t come back at all? How many people have parents whose whole personalities changed? How many people were never born because of Vietnam? I would not have been…
So I’m feeling pretty damn lucky right now.