Elder Marine

I’m having trouble sleeping a few nights in recent weeks.  My go-to on those nights was a night-cap of a little bourbon, or perhaps a beer, or a nip of scotch.  But too much of a good thing can affect the waistline – and have the opposite effect on me: keeping me awake and wanting to write late at night.    I was going to a Bible study tonight, so I neither feel like a nightcap afterward nor do I want to toss and turn again tonight thinking about Work.   It was so much easier twenty (or more) years ago when I could sleep in rotating snatches of a few hours, work or train for several, then snooze a few hours again, and then back at my Navy duties.

Heading to my church group this evening, I stopped at the pharmacy for some sleep-aid liquid – the drowsy cough medicine without the medicine.   Just then I recognize the manner and buzz haircut of an elder military vet walking ahead of me into the store.  Marine.  Pretty solid shape still for I presume his late sixties.  He resembled my old family doc – a Vietnam Vet who sported the same “look”.  (Poor Doc. He’d been diagnosed with cancer and one day wandered off by himself  – with a pistol – into the mountains.)

I’m fairly certain  that both this Marine and my old Doc would guffaw seeing me there to get Zquil.    I imagine either one providing me with the Corps’ helpful remedy for insomnia.   A hundred -twenty push-ups, and then a little double-time marching not walking  – the dogs.  Perhaps include a mile swim ( the base and the local gym have a pool)  to tucker out a young guy like me.

Exiting the store with my purple medication,  I see a white minivan parked in the one space, next to, but not in, the handicap spot between me and my car.   I instantly know its owner.   A little faded, somewhat banged up, dependable-looking,  with a weathered U.S. Marine Corps emblem, meticulously centered, on the driver’s door.

Just like the elder Devil Dog I saw inside.   I straighten up. Suck my gut in a little.

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