Travelogue: Jacksonville, NC
I have found this whole writing thing to be a bit more difficult since we never seem to stay home on the week-ends. On the bright side, we've taken some pretty neat trips, so I decided that it's time to catch up on some field reporting.
The first trip we took this spring/summer was to see my cousin-in-law get married. Her new husband was in the Marines at the time, so they opted to get married on the beach near Camp Lejeune, in Jacksonville, NC. There were lots of good reasons to do this - the scenery was beautiful, the atmosphere was fairly casual (second marriage for both), and the price was definitely right. Say what you will about the military, but they definitely provide some nice extras for their people when they can.
I had never been through a security clearance for a military base before - the only time I had ever been on base was to go on a sailboat that happened to be docked at a Naval base, and they didn't really care to check us in (after all, it was quite a few years before September 11th). Checking in wasn't really a huge deal except that we had to wait in line in the heat. The thing that entertained me throughout this process was reading the Dos and Don'ts of the dress code for times when you are not in uniform. The rules themselves weren't all that earth shattering, but there were pictures to illustrate - upstanding young men in their polo shirts and khaki shorts, and then some candids of the guys in ripped cutoffs and sleeveless t-shirts, who, honestly, looked like they were having a bit more fun.
From a purely self-centered perspective, I will admit that seeing Lisa did not help with my Shamu feelings. You see, Lisa is due a full month before me. Go ahead, check out the pictures and tell me she looks pregnant. Yeah, that's what I thought. I comfort myself with the knowledge that she is in a tough spot, as this pregnancy comes after gastric bypass surgery, and she definitely cannot eat with anything resembling reckless abandon. When we heard the news, we were mostly concerned since we didn't have any information about how one would cope with that combination. I'm happy to say that she (as you can see from the pictures) is incredibly healthy and so is the baby. She is also having a boy, so that should be fun at family gatherings.
On the way in, I saw the following sign and demanded that we pull over on the way out so I could get a picture of it. Now this is something you will only see when you are on a military base:
I was pretty surprised that somebody decided to draw a picture of the thing, since "TANK XING" seems pretty self-explanatory.