Last night I hosted “Army Wives” again. There was a bit of confusion as to who was hosting. Last week we decided the main lady couldn’t do it because she was supposed to be on vacation until Sunday night. Who wants to host a party when you’ve been gone all week? So I said I’d do it, unless this other lady, who hadn’t been able to come to last week’s get-together, wanted to do it.
Yesterday afternoon, the main lady came up to me and said the party was at her house, but I already had started cleaning and preparing food! She seemed quite relieved that I was willing to host. So host I did.
I was worried that folks hadn’t gotten the message because it was 9:15pm and still no one had arrived. But they had all gathered at the main lady’s house first, so they all arrived en masse. I’d kept the menu simple, just some made-from-scratch blueberry mini-muffins, along with tortilla chips and two kinds of dip. I didn’t have the energy to make anything more complex.
We had three new wives last night. This party is getting to be a big one! We’re up to at least eight, where it was just four of us a few weeks ago. Most folks in our neighborhood are here to attend the Naval War College. This means they tend to arrive over the summer, but then they’re gone again, scattered to all parts of the country, after just ten months. One of our ladies is here for just six months while her husband attends a school to teach him to be a department head. I suppose the short duration of their stay here lends a sense of urgency to meet new people, or else it’s a very lonely and long ten months here in Rhode Island.
What’s unique about this duty station is you also tend to run into people you’ve known in other places. Our main lady was shopping at the commissary not long after she arrived here when she heard her name called. She turned around, and there was a good friend of hers whom she’d known when their husbands were both stationed in England! Both women were so thrilled to meet up again. As if that weren’t enough, when one of the new wives arrived on the doorstep of the main lady last night, she took one look at her and said, “We don’t need an introduction, do we?!” It was another wife the main lady knew from years ago.
I found out that same lady spent her high school years in northern Virginia, all of a mile from my father’s house. And if that weren’t freaky enough, she graduated from the same high school I did! She was five years ahead of me, the same class as my sister. Michele went to that high school for just ninth grade; we moved before her sophomore year, and then she graduated from high school in southern Virginia.
So these ladies… they’re all officers’ wives. I know I seem to harp on that, and I don’t mean to. But the truth of the matter is some people will look down on me because I am a Chief’s wife and not an officer’s wife. I already knew most of the ladies were fine with my husband’s rank, but I wasn’t sure of the new wives. And when the conversation turned to “wetting-downs,” an informal party and ceremony held when an officer gains a new rank, I felt a bit out of place. I had no fun wetting-down stories to share, about how much alcohol was purchased and imbibed, about the crazy things that had happened, about when a wetting-down should be held. Then conversation turned to whether the new ladies were going to the officers’ wives’ welcoming tea. It still boggles my mind that the wives hold a welcoming tea. There isn’t anything comparable for enlisted wives, I can tell you that. We’re sort of left to our own devices.
But then the main lady and another lady came up with a great idea. We’re forming our own club, sort of the anti-wives’ club. We won’t do philanthropical work, we won’t give out scholarships, we won’t have agendas or even dues. We’ll simply get together to enjoy one another company — and a few bottles of wine! That’s definitely my kind of club. I’m not one for stuffy, protocol-filled activities.
Today it’s been storming on and off. Just after dinner, I noticed the light had gone to this beautiful golden wash of color. Everything just looked so fresh and clean, even though it was still raining a bit. I wish I could have taken a photo, but I knew the color just wouldn’t render properly, and I am not one for post-processing.
Kurt went outside to retrieve something for me, but immediately came barreling back inside, yelling for me to grab my camera and come outside. What was he so excited about?
Why, it was this:
Isn’t that gorgeous? The rainbow was centered right above my neighbor’s house, directly across the street from my own. I wish I had a wider lens to capture the entire rainbow; it was obvious that it touched the horizon on both sides. Not only that, but the left side had a double rainbow, which you can see HERE over on my Flickr site.
And if that weren’t enough, if you turned 180º, you were presented with a scene that was nearly as gorgeous.
My neighbor pointed out that it looks like a print from an inspirational calendar, and I think she’s totally right. I can almost hear the opening notes of a hymn played on a pipe organ every time I see this photo.
It was just a day for unbelievable beauty, a wonderful end to a gloomy day full of storms and rain.