The Naval Officer
I spent my Sunday as I always spend my Sundays. sitting out on a bench near the water reading my kindle. also people watching. the usual passed. chattering couples. parents halfheartedly disciplining their children. old people muttering. young people being loud. just the usual joys of spring.
into my line of view happened a young naval officer. it appeared as though he had just graduated from a naval academy as he was holding one of those little booklets that one gets that contains their diploma. the naval officer, a young man that couldn't have been older than his mid-20s was beaming ear to ear. his teeth were large and white and, together with the pristine whiteness of his naval uniform he seemed to reflect every ray of the sun just perfectly.
his naval hat was steadfast on his head. his posture was impeccable. the way he strode about. the confidence. it was like, in that moment, in that day nothing could go wrong. that, for him, there was only good in the world. that the world was right. he was "on the right track".
and everyone around him knew it too. those caught up in the everyday drudgery of daily life stopped for a moment. looked at him and nodded in respect. now there was a young man that had his head on right. that was a young man that was going places. yep, you see little billy and little sally? you see that young man right there? that's what's called "making something of yourself". having a purpose.
and the young naval officer's family dotted around him like chickens around feed. a mother constantly preening at his already immaculate uniform. looking up at him with such reverence and love that it just made you wish that every person in this world could at least be looked at once by someone for just a moment in their life. a father who was practically keeling over he was so swelled up with pride.
"now, get together, now DOTTY, DOTTY, DOTTY get over there...yes, no, next to him. no now hold your diploma up son. yeah, just DOTTY, move in closer!"
and *snap* a picture/memory was taken.
and the young naval officer, feigning sardonic annoyance at the whole hubbub (when in all reality he was happy it seemed not only in his own happiness but for the happiness that it caused his family), rolled his eyes, gave a good natured chuckle and said,
"dad, come on, how many more pictures do we need? the sky is still blue, the grass is still green and my arm is getting tired from holding this thing up," at this he lifted his diploma mockingly as if it weighed fifty pounds, "and all this smiling, gosh dad, my face is KILLING me."
his dad politely guffawed, the grandmother asked what her dear young grandson, that handsome gentleman in an officer's uniform had just said. the young gentleman officer wrapped a delightfully dressed damsel in his massive right arm (his left was still around his mother from the previous picture). and at that moment it was good. this was a beautiful moment in his life. until he would get married (maybe to the lady he had his right arm around) or his children were born this was just the first of (hopefully) many beautiful moments that I hoped would encapsulate his life.
and I hope that, when life harangues him with the multitude of vicissitudes that tend to befall a young man who is just getting started in life, that he remembers this day. these moments. this love. this reverence. this pride. this accomplishment. this feeling that he could do it. that, no matter what, he will always be that dapper young man dressed smartly in a pristine officer's uniform with a diploma under an arm, a mother and a girlfriend on each arm and a loving grandmother and proud father following behind him.