Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Honey, You Go First!

“Road Ends” – We could see the big, capital letters on the fence sign illuminated by the coach headlights.

“Maybe I’ll just leave the coach here for the night,” Ed pondered aloud then hopped out the door. He paced around the dead end road a bit to access whether this would be a good place to boondock for the night.

I followed Ed with a flash light in hand to yet another sign on an open gate. This one had smaller letters: “Military Reserve Training Base.” Ed walked through the gate as I continued to read. “Authorized personnel only. We reserve the right to use deadly force…” That’s as far as I read before calling to Ed in the darkness, “Honey, did you read the part about deadly force?”

He did not answer. He just kept on walking. “Okay, honey. You can go first,” I said timidly. I didn’t hear a shot so I walked inside the base too, about 40-feet behind Ed. His image quickly faded into the darkness.

I took a different path on a lit sidewalk around a fenced area. I could see a small building within the fenced area and a Marine standing in the doorway. He didn’t look armed or threatening. And, I surely didn’t have a weapon or look menacing. I waved my flashlight and yelled, “Hello.”

Lt. Harris looked surprised to see me and even more surprised that our big coach had arrived here without notice. I mentioned that Ed had wandered off on the base and explained we found the base in our search for a place to park for the night. He gave some helpful suggestions as to where we might go further along I-15. We could not stay near or on the base. When he called a supervisor, he reported, “I have a civilian here.” I could hear the response, “Yes, I have her husband here. We’ll be there in a minute.”

Ed came strolling along the sidewalk with the Marine he encountered. We had permission to bring the coach on the base to turn around. As Ed did this, I waited with this young man. He told me he’d served two tours in Iraq. Now, he helped to train Reserve Units for duty.

Our conversation ended when Ed stopped the coach where we stood waiting. I boarded with a wave of thanks and relief. We’d been treated with a high level of politeness and helpfulness, not deadly force.

Epilogue: We eventually found a Wal-Mart where we boondocked for the night.

March 8, 2009

Near San Diego, CA

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