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Happy Birthday, U.S. Navy!

This article is adapted from one I wrote about five years ago.

Happy 240th Birthday to the U.S. Navy! The Navy’s birthday always brings back memories of the one time I attended the Navy Day Ball–while my sailor husband, Scott, was overseas.

My sailor and I had only been married about five weeks when he had to go to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Desert Shield. You have never seen such a mizzable girl as I was–in a new home, in a new state, but without my new husband.

While Scott and others were floating around the Persian Gulf being a target, the local command held their annual Navy Day Birthday Ball. Scott’s commander graciously invited each Navy wife whose husband was deployed to attend the Navy Birthday Ball as his guest. Well, it was better than sitting at home feeling sorry for myself, so I went.

Attending the Navy Ball was a fascinating experience. The night progressed, filled with tradition–dinner, music, toasts–because the Navy is very big on traditions. One suggestion I would make is to consider skipping the singing of the Navy Hymn, “Eternal Father Strong to Save.” Yes, it’s a wonderful hymn, but. . .it was a little difficult to get through the line “Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee, For those in peril on the sea!” Actually, it went more like “Oh, hear us (sniff, sniff) when we cry to Thee (snuffle, snort) For those in p-peril on the sea(yaaawaah!”)  😉

At our table, to help keep us company, was a young seaman who was already on my list (not the good one. Nothing major, just a bad case of him not knowing when to keep quiet.) Eventually, the time came for dancing, because it’s not really a ball without dancing. You can well imagine how little interest I had in dancing. Well. My seaman (yes, the one on the list–not the good one) turned to me and asked, “Would you like to dance?” I didn’t want to be rude and say what I was thinking, which was “not with you.”  While I was turning my mind to a more socially acceptable response, he continued, “Cause I’ll find somebody to dance with you.”

So, yes it was worth it to attend the Navy Birthday Ball even though my sailor wasn’t there, because every time I’ve thought of this in the last 25 years, I had a really good laugh over it. My seaman from the not-good list redeemed that evening.

But it didn’t get him off the list.

Don’t miss the rest of the Stories My Family Tells as I Write 31 Days this October. Click here to check out the wide range of topics from a wide range of writers.

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