“Ring, Ring, Ring.”
I rolled over, looked at my phone. It was “South Carolina” calling.
Does she not realize that there is a three-hour time difference? Does she also not realize that I am sick, and the kids do not have school today and I have not had any coffee so it is just too early for me to even try.
I quickly made the call go straight to voicemail, making a mental note to call her when I am awake and have coffee in me, and it is daylight outside.
Thre hours later.
“Ring, Ring, Ring.”
Are you kidding me? South Carolina again. I slowly I grab the phone while wrapping myself up in my comforter. It’s chilly this morning. Probably one of the many reasons I am sick with a cold. Change in weather. What time is it anyway? I do not hear the kids. I am slowly finding my way to the “talk” key, and realize she hung up. Fine. I will get up. Check on the kids, make some coffee and give her a call back.
One hour later.
By the time I got up, got the kids breakfast, threw a load of laundry in the wash and made the very important coffee, I had completely forgotten that I was supposed to call her back.
With a nice hot cup of coffee by my side, I started the morning dishes. Vinnie was up, sitting on the kitchen bar stool in front of me. Both of us were enjoying morning chit chat on how our day was going to play out.
“Ring, Ring, Ring.”
With soapy hands filled with dishes, I look at Vinnie.
“It’s South Carolina calling.”
Crap. I forgot to call her back.
Quickly I dried my hands on my t-shirt, turned off the water and reached for the phone in lightening speed before she had a chance to hang up.
“Hi Jennifer, have you heard about Theodore Roosevelt?”
“You know, your brothers ship the Theodore Roosevelt.”
My heart sunk. What was happening and why would she be the one calling and not anyone else? My brother. Only a week into his second deployment. No one is able to talk to him.
“Oh my God, what, what is going on tell me now!”
Vinnie gets up from the familiar bar stool and is quickly by my side. Making sure to give me my space, while being there for support.
“Okay calm down, it is nothing bad.”
“Then why have you been calling me all morning?!”
“President Trump just put in orders for the USS Theodore Roosevelt to head to the Korean peninsula.”
I do not remember how long I was silent for. I suppose I was processing what she was telling me?
“Jennifer, are you there?”
“Noooooo. This is what I was afraid of, this is what I was worried about! How do you know?”
“Calm down. It’s a good thing. Your brother’s ship is meeting another ship. There’s 7,500 Marines and Sailors. Trump is doing that for security reasons. Get on your computer, go look it up. Your Aunt saw it on the Drudge Report, you know what that is? It is a …..”
“I KNOW WHAT THE DRUDGE REPORT IS!”
“Well, just calm down, and let your father know if he does not already know, but do not tell your sister, and also, your Aunt is not going to forgive you or Alyssa.”
Of course, she is not. This woman can hold a grudge like no other. A grudge that began seven months ago, and a grudge that will follow her to her grave. Of course, she will not forgive us. Why would she? That would mean she has seen the error of her ways. That would mean that she finally realizes we were not out to hurt her, in all this mess she was the one and only voice of reason. My aunt will never see it that way, and, now I have more important things to worry about.
“Okay, well…..thanks for the call!”
We said our brief goodbyes.
Immediately Vinnie wants to know what is going on. I fill him in, making sure he realizes that we do not know all of the information and we probably need to turn on the news. I do not even have time to think, which will later turn out to be a very bad move on my part. Vinnie takes over the dishes as I gather my phone and coffee and head to my balcony for privacy.
I do not even have time to think, which will later turn out to be a very bad move on my part. Vinnie takes over the dishes as I gather my phone and coffee and head to my balcony for privacy.
I had to call Texas.
“Hey Jen, feeling any better?”
“Ummm, no! Have you heard about Trump and Anthony’s ship?”
I gave him all the limited information I had. We decided that each one of us would get to googling to see what we could find. However, we knew. In our heart of hearts, we knew. We did not have to go to Google. We knew. Anthony’s ship is on its way to the Korean peninsula, and it sucks. The only thing we did not know is that it would be happening this fast.
Quickly, I get to work on the computer. Desperately trying to find whatever information I can regarding the Theodore Rosevelt. I made a fresh pot of coffee while wondering if 11:00 am is too early to have a drink?
AJ, my oldest son, comes home for lunch. He walks in the door, takes one look at me.
For the 3rd time in the span of about 30 minutes, I give him a brief rundown of the morning events.
“Well, what does that mean, is Korea bad?”
Vinnie and I look at each other, silently agreeing that AJ should have paid more attention in school, or perhaps to the news.
Then I notice something I should have noticed from the very beginning. Vinnie. He is crying. Of course, he is trying to pretend he is not crying but he is. How could I be so blind? How could I be so wrapped up in my own emotions that I neglected to see his?
Vinnie and Anthony have a pretty cool bond. I am not sure why or even when it began, but those two, they are connected. When Vinnie gets in trouble, I always use “What would your uncle say if he knew about this?” It’s never the grandparents, never the Aunts. Always Uncle Anthony. Plus, Vinnie actually watches the news. He gets how serious this may become.
Joe walks through the door. I look at the clock on the microwave and realize that it is Friday. Joe always gets off early on Friday’s. He looks at my tear-stained face, he looks at Vinnie and his blotchy red eyes. “What’s going on?”
Once again, I recap on what I know. President Trump issued orders for the Theodore Rosevelt to make it’s way to the Korean peninsula.
Joe makes his way to the t.v. Still, in his work clothes of black slacks and a navy blue button-down shirt, he grabs the remote and together, the three of us start watching the news, watching live youtube clips. Trying to find anything we can. Joe, God bless him, is able to gather strength I do not have. He patiently yet knowingly explains to Vinnie that the Theodore Rosevelt is protected by the Destroyer ships.
I get it, and I think even Vinnie gets it. My brother, along with 7,500 Marines and Sailors on the Rosevelt are protected by the Destroyers. Anthony is safe, as safe as can be expected.
There is precious cargo on the Rosevelt. Irreplaceable cargo. As God as my witness, nothing better happen to that precious cargo.
Aj now emerges from the bathroom. He smells as if he took a bath in his Axe cologne spray. He looks at Joe, Vinnie and myself, glued to the tv, desperately trying to find something.
“Is anyone going to tell me what’s going on in Korea?”
And now, it’s time for a drink…
and apparently a History lesson.