Back in June, on the ferry, Brad and I spied another couple wearing their Red Sox caps proudly. Brad and Tracey became instant friends. He is a Mass Maritime graduate, and she is a proud mom of four girls (ages 12 to 4). Both are staunch New Englanders and complained about the coffee aboard the ship just as loudly as we did. Coffee-- the New England connection.
Very shortly after arriving, Tracey's Brad was shipped to FL until mid October. While he is training, she is getting the girls involved in sports, dance, and adjusting to new schools. I had seen her in the commissary, at Walmart, and on base. Each time we spoke, I made sure to have her call me if she needed a hand. My phone never rang. Not one to be shy, I called her and invited myself over for lunch. So after the Munro wives' coffee, I drove over to their abode and enjoyed a Weight Watcher's meal and good conversation with Tracey. Tracey and Brad are what I would call "good people." I do not use that term lightly. Few meet my strict criteria, but I happy that the Apitz's do. Her home was warm, distinctly decorated in a New England, Americana theme.
At lunch, Tracey invited me to come cheer on the girls at the soccer matches on Saturday morning. She needed someone else in a Sox hat with a mug of Dunkin Donut coffee to scream for the girls. Again, I am not one to be shy...
Since he had been in the cone all week, I ceremoniously removed it from Tok's neck and brought him with me. He was a hit with the kids on the sidelines, and the warm hug I got from Tracey was just what I needed. The sun was shining and the air was crisp. The cool fall morning left dew on the field, and the kids kicked it up as the two age groups took to the field in their consecutive games. Quickly, I learned the names and began cheering as each got a chance at the ball:
Come on, Micah, block it!
It's comin' atch, Avery!
Go, Olivia, go!
With such atypical names, they were easy to remember; I get lost in the Melissas, Elizabeths, Micheals and Johns of my generation.
The fields on base are in the shadow of the four big command houses-- the big white ones on the hill. I have to admit, I made a mental note that if we ever return to Kodiak for a command, we would not be able to sleep in on Saturday mornings. Families arrive at 0830, and games start at 0900...but then again, that's when Brad would get up to start watching the 1 PM kick offs for college football...gotta love that four hour time difference.
Between the morning and afternoon games, I followed the Aptizs to their home and introduced Tok to their large lab, Crockett. The two of them tore up the yard and had a blast. When Crockett tired, the neighbor invited me to put Tok in her yard to tire out her dog, Kenai, who is 3/4 Australian shepard. The two Alaskan-named dogs continued to chase and play fight at the water dish.
For the last game of the day, I loaded my muddy dog into the bug and followed the Aptiz minivan offbase to the second field for the eldest's, Shelby, game. There, in the shadow of Barometer Mountain, I sat in my red chair and watched children rub Tok's belly. They all called him a snow dog, after the Disney film that I did not know existed until their started to describe it's plot. So, for the record, the Kodiak Coastie Brats see my dog as a snow dog, not a sled dog.
Tok and I stopped at the do it yourself dog groomers, and he got a bath. I returned home and showered myself and prepped the house for dinner. Josh and Roger (Margo's boyfriend; Margo went back to the east coas for the next month, so Roger took her place in our trio) joined me for dinner before we headed to the talk, Climate Change 101: Some Hard Truths You Should Know. We grilled some steaks and ate some organic salad (thanks to my coop delivery this week) on the back porch. It was a wonderful way to end the amazing day I had had-- from soccer non-mom to hostess to treehugger.