Upon arriving at Fort Campbell, I expected to deploy immediately to Europe. As soon as I found out this was going to be delayed by two months, I communicated with the girls’ mother to have them visit the week before school started. Not only were they extremely happy to see their Dad again and setup their new rooms, but they were very excited to see the Fort Campbell area, where they would be living in a year’s time.
“All good things must come to an end.” Unfortunate proverb, but so very true. Being in the military, it is only a matter of time before you have to move to a different duty station. Thankfully, through the Assignment Interactive Module (AIM) marketplace, we will always have choices in where we go next, but it still means that we have to leave Fort Huachuca. And, make no mistake, we have had a great time here. Before we left though, Elaina, Gabriella, and I wanted to make sure we did all the things that made our posting in Southeast Arizona so memorable.
Like many men out there, one of my fondest pastimes as a kid was playing catch with my Dad. Just a Father, Son, two mitts, a baseball, and a little conversation. No matter how busy we both were then and throughout our lives, there always seemed to be enough time to throw the ball around for a few minutes. Now that the girls and I are past that threshold, seemed like a good idea to get them started on hitting and fielding.
As we get ready for our big move to Fort Campbell, KY, one of the big things we still needed to do was get rid of some of our excess stuff. I mean, who would have thought that travelling every few years would lead to us accumulating junk at an alarming rate? Since the girls always wanted to operate a lemonade stand in front of the house, we figured this was the perfect opportunity to combine the two. Both ventures went better than any of us could have expected.
In the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:11, it states that “when I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” This could easily be adopted to represent the transition between “childish” games and “adult” games, where the level of objectives and strategy go from simple to overly complex. While we are not yet at Star Wars: Armada, Twilight Imperium, or War of the Ring levels of gaming, if we keep this up, I bet we get there a little sooner than your average family.
During my initial counseling with my Commander in June, he tasked me with learning something new over the course of the next year. While my initial plans to learn to play the piano fell through (as time was starting to come up short and I was not going to be able to learn to play on my own), I eventually settled on archery. Since there was a range on post and it was much cheaper than some of my colleagues’ selections (like collecting trading cards or restoring an old grandfather clock), it seemed like a good choice. And of course, I was going to teach the girls to shoot as well, because that is just how we do things in our family.
If you have driven on Interstate 10 in Arizona or New Mexico, chances are you have seen at least one of the thousand billboards advertising The Thing, a roadside attraction / tourist trap in Southeastern Arizona. I can remember seeing these signs as early as 2002 when I was first stationed at Fort Huachuca, but probably saw them much earlier than that while passing through the Southwest with my Dad. Since we were about ready to leave Arizona, the girls decided that we needed to stop in and see what all the fuss was about.
We are always looking for routine activities to get involved in, but recently the options have been less than stellar for the girls and I. They are both lukewarm on getting back into soccer and Gabriella changes her mind daily on if she would prefer karate or gymnastics; I think Elaina would excel in volleyball or basketball, but she just has no desire to play either. So obviously Horseback Riding was the next logical step…
Every weekend, before we go to the commissary, I always ask the girls what they would like to eat for the week. While this usually results in responses such as Burger King or Chipotle from Gabriella, Elaina knows that this specifically refers to home-cooked meals. The follow-on question for Elaina is “What do you want to cook / bake with me this week?” Since she has advanced quite beyond macaroni & cheese and chocolate chip cookies, the possibilities of what we can make together are expanding exponentially. This week she wanted to make tamales, and since it seemed challenging and was new to me, that is exactly what we did.
Now that the girls have been back for a month, we are finally getting back to our usual activities. Pajama Night at Cochise Theater on Fridays. Arts & Crafts on Saturdays. And Bowling and errands on Sundays. Last week the girls wanted to drop by the Fort Huachuca Arts & Crafts Center to paint some more ceramics. Given that it is still a fun, cheap, and safe activity that provides hours of enjoyment, peace, and quiet, you know I was in.