small girl holds american flag at parade

A Retired Moment


So I had a moment yesterday. My first since retirement. It wasn’t one of weepy regret or sadness. It was pure anger that sparked suddenly,making me want to punch a little man in the face, but it left me just as quickly as it appeared. I recovered, but not before I got an eyebrow from under Charles’s USMC ball cap brim. To Charles’s credit, not only did he not say anything to me for my snap, but he very calmly and kindly backed me up. I LOVE HIM even if he looks like a dirty old man right now.

We were at the gym. The gym I didn’t know we were going to. I thought we were going on a secret ice cream, donut or cupcake date away from all the kids. Nope. Just like he did 10 years ago in More Head City, he kidnapped me and lured me out of the house with the promise of something yummy and then walked my fat butt into the gym again last night in Cedar Park.

We were met by a very happy fellow named Aaron. Aaron gave me some paperwork to fill out and then tried to get to know us by playing 20 questions while I tried to remember how to spell my name. He was a little distracting. So then a short fellow named Luke took us to “the sales area.” Alright shorty, I mean Luke, hit me with it. Up to this point, I have been pleasant and even though I was disappointed I was not getting a delicious cupcake, I was tickled that Charles was excited to help me with my headaches and fibro issues. AND he’s fat too. So there you go. Luke starts going through his spiel, telling us about the military/veteran’s discount, when I asked if it applied to family members too.

“No, only those who served can get that discount.”

I stiffened up, leaned forward toward Luke, spread my hands across the table and said, “Um, Luke, I think there is a better way to say that.”

I caught myself as I was preparing to leap upon the poor boy. I relaxed and sat back. My internal voice was like, “Whoa there sister, he has no idea what he just said, and WHY are you so mad?”

My other internal voice said, “Shut the ­­___ up,” as I felt every moment alone raising six kids come rushing back at me in a millisecond.

My real live external voice said, and I lied, “I’m not offended, but some folks might be.”

He actually looked worried, probably because he thought he just lost a juicy sale with two fatties, but then with sincerity, he said, “Oh wow, how should I have said that?”

Luke would live.

I relaxed and realized I was a dork. I explained that military life is such that spouses and children serve right alongside their service member, so it would be better to say that the discount is only available to the service member or veteran, unfortunately not the family members. He said, “Well, I guess I served too, my dad and granddad were in the Air Force.”

I said, “You sure did short stuff.” No, not really, but I wanted to. Instead I just said, “Why, yes you did!”

Charles jumped in and said, “The climate Kelli works in makes her more sensitive to things like that.” He was so sweet, backing me up, but letting me know, tone it down cowgirl — poor boy is going to wet himself!

The two takeaways from this moment? Those living outside a heavily concentrated military population really do not understand a lot about our lives, and it’s not their fault. We are surrounded by it and it’s our norm, not theirs. And even military kids don’t always realize their contribution.

So we signed up, I’m going to jump around like an oompa loompa once again. Maybe shift some body parts around…

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