high and tight…


fleet II
Originally uploaded by jayfherron

 

It was a bitter-sweet kind of week.
Sweet,because I spent it as ‘grandapa’ to my three year old grandson-he calls me ‘Wopper’,which I guess is going to stick in place of Grandpa.
He wore me out-I’ve been home two days and still cannot feel energy….but it was an awesome time-even ground breaking…I took him to a mall (for the playground I was told was there) which was pandemonium complimented by the yelling of a hundred other kids his age. Enough mall time to last me another two or three years.

Bitter,because a great part of my day was transporting the lad to and from school (yes…school at three?) and to his day care. His day care was on the Navy base. Navy bases have this all familiar appearance to them-and provoked many memories for me.

Out side of the main gate of the Naval Weapons Center is a barber shop called ‘Williams’…one of those old style shops with a row of about ten to twenty seats. All along the walls are shelf after shelf of US Navy station caps-and the caps of ships,all embroidered with the name and image of each ship. The USS Vulcan was even among the hundreds.
It reminded me of a shop in Norfolk off of Granby Street. I had purchased a false moustache there when I was stationed  on the USS Vulcan. The moustache was the kind which you had glue under your nose to replace the one I couldn’t grow. The investment lasted one bus ride to Washington DC where at the station I looked in a mirror and realized half of it was just flopping around every time I exhaled through my nose.

My vehicle while visiting  nearby the Navy base was my sons-a CPO in the Navy….and he proudly displays his rank on a special license tag attached to the front bumper.
Like with that stupid moustache-I felt the difference when I drove on base and pretended that I was the Chief.
So…I stopped at Williams and got a ‘high and tight’.
One has to look the part.

A ‘high and tight’ for strangers to that description is a hair cut which is distinct to military,or other uniformed services like policemen. It is that firm looking hair display that sets them aside from others.

Of course-it was only a short ride through the section of the base where I was going. But as I said-they all have this typical layout and appearance that sets them aside from any industrial park or suburb. There is time unchanged look-it is a base.
And certainly-I only was there long enough to drop the lad off to the day care and turn about and go on to the day. But I couldn’t help thinking and wanting the clocks to go back and turn things around for the way my Navy life was,nearly 40 years ago.

There was one morning when I drove past a group of young sailors walking from the commissary-all in uniform.
My heart has been broken by my past and my life has been distorted from it…like that stupid glue on moustache,and my stupid petty dream of pretending it’s me who is the Chief driving through the base. Seeing those sailors walking in a group took me back to being in boot camp-by this time 40 years ago I would have been at Camp Moffitt and in my middle week of nine weeks. By then-each time we went to the ‘gedunk’ for our commissary needs we already knew how to form up into groups and march orderly on.

There will never be a way to explain to any body what it meant…and what was taken away. I know,I’ve tried.

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