Carronade The Yankee Sailor Carronade

The Sea is a choosy mistress. She takes the men that come to her and weighs them and measures them. The ones she adores, she keeps; the ones she hates, she destroys. The rest she casts back to land. I count myself among the adored, for I am Her willing Captive.

I've relocated to a new Yankee Sailor.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Contrast Between Red and Blue

Something happened Friday afternoon that brought many of the differences between Red Staters and Blue Staters that I observed over the last few months back to mind. My wife was out running errands in the minivan with the three Agents of Chaos (my boys, 6, 4, and a most terrible 2) in downtown Newport, RI. Now, the minivan still has Virginia plates, and there were three key items on the back that really make it stand out: a Support the Troops ribbon, a Navy ribbon and a W ’04 sticker. It was the last item that really interested her harasser.

After loading the Agents of Chaos in the van at the pizza place, my wife departed for the dry cleaners. Not long after, she noticed a man in a white pickup driving aggressively to keep up with her. Now, my wife spent the first thirty years of her life in Boston, so I’m sure this knucklehead really had to work to keep up with her.

The man’s following closely and swerving behind the minivan. My wife’s getting nervous. The eldest Agent of Chaos is too, and is pressing my wife for an explanation. After a few blocks of this, the man finally crosses the double yellow line (in front of the Newport Police Station, no less) to try and get around her and she pulls to the side to let him by. For those of you that know anything about Boston drivers, this in itself is quite an accomplishment.

Does the man drive by? Nope, he stops alongside the minivan.

Does he give a mere hand gesture indicating “who’s #1?” Nope, he rolls down the window and starts screaming.

What ensued was an extended, high-decibel ideological diatribe about the Republican Party and the ancestry of the Commander-in-Chief. By now, my wife is shaking and the eldest Agent of Chaos is screaming from the back of the van, “IS HE GOING TO KILL US?”

When I heard about this a couple of hours later, I pressed my wife to file a police report, but she doesn’t want to relive it. Additionally, she doesn’t really have many useful details to report, and we’re departing shortly for the other side of the world, so I doubt the Newport Police could or would do much about it. In the end, I acceded to her wishes to forget about it, with the exception of the following sea story.

I left the “Mighty Warship” last fall and was stashed in Millington, Tennessee, for about a month at the Navy Personnel Command. When I arrived in Tennessee I discovered that the only jacket I had was my green flight jacket, which is covered with patches from the ships on which I’ve served and operations in which I’ve participated. Wearing that jacket around Memphis was quite an eye opener. Three or four times a week someone would shake my hand and tell me how much they appreciate American servicemen and women. Often they would buy me a drink and even pick up the tab for a meal in gratitude.

Even more tellingwas when I flew to Boston, via Atlanta, to go to a wedding over a weekend. I left work at lunch and chose to travel in uniform to save time. Since I was a Sailor, the agent at the ticket desk in Memphis declined to charge me for an overweight bag. A stranger bought me a cup of coffee on the way to the gate. When I was in Atlanta for a three hour layover, about a dozen others approached me to say thanks, a few bought me beers, and one, a retired U.S. Army Sergeant Major, paid for my lunch.

In the hour I waited in the airport in Boston, only one person said anything, and he identified himself as a Vietnam vet and spoke in a whisper, apparently afraid to offend the Blue State thought police. Sad.

Thanks to Mudville and Wizbang for the open posts.