Last night our wide range of conversational topics went to Jay's days in the Army, and we began telling stories to our oldest son. Some stories he had heard before, and others were new. He was only 3 years old when Jay was discharged. Jay spent 2 1/2 years working directly for his Command Sergeant Major, and the man was absolutely hilarious in his own gruff way. He had served 30 years, signing up for Vietnam at just age 17 and continued on for the next three decades. He interviewed several people for the job, and Jay was not interested in the least. He admitted he would much rather stay working in his MOS and learning skills to carry over to the civilian world. "OK, Lorance. You start Monday." And that's how it all began.
This was supposed to be a 6 month opportunity, but the CSM liked Jay, despite trying hard to hide it. The two only separated when they both left the military, almost at the same time. The two and a half years prior to that, CSM "fired" Jay on almost a daily basis.
"Why do I keep you around, Lorance? You're fired! Now go get the Humvee out of the motor pool!" Being "fired" was a running joke in our house because we both knew that CSM meant not a word of it. "Lorance, you need to take your wife out for a date. If you can't afford a date, go get some MREs and eat them under that oak tree. But take the girl out!" I adored CSM. He held family in the highest regard. It's been almost 22 years since we last saw CSM. Last night, Jay thought it would be cool to locate him and possibly give him a call. After a few minutes, a google search brought us to an obituary. CSM had passed on in 2020. He is buried in Sarasota National Cemetery, which shocked us because it's so close to where we live.
This afternoon, Jay and I took a ride and found his grave. Even though he denied it, I swear I saw him wipe a tear from his eye as we were about to leave. He has always had such a high level of respect for the man, but his face today showed emotions so much deeper than that. "Sergeant Major, I'll be back to look after you! See you on Memorial Day!"