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Being a blockhead about block leave

Submitted by on Monday, 7 June 2010 No Comment

It’s funny how sometimes two wildly separate segments of your life can create a deja vu-type pattern.

When I was a kid there was miner’s vacation, that period in late July and early August when Appalachia emptied and Myrtle Beach filled. Except for our family. No one worked in mining, so we stayed put.

These days it’s “block leave,” those twice-a-year chunks where they roll up the sidewalks on  post and anyone who has enough time accumulated can take it off. Except it’s never worked out that way for us.

In December, Dad was short on leave due to well-intentioned poor planning on his part. He’d thought he was going to deploy in late summer, so he burned all his time before reporting to Fort Irwin. That didn’t leave him with many days around Christmas, which meant we stayed on post for the first week of leave and  constantly rushed to places that were closing early, if they were open at all.

Fast forward six months and see me pull the same stunt, registering the guys for swimming lessons during summer block leave. To compound the error, I booked airplane tickets for July because I’m a total novice at scheduling summer vacations. In the days before kids, I travelled in the fall. Airfare was cheaper, plus it let me get out of the way of co-workers who wanted to take off in the summer. Not that anyone ever remembered that when I needed to be off around Christmas because day care was closed – there always was a big annual hoo-ha over that one. But I digress.

I also wanted to stick close to home for Hairmica’s Birthday. It’s always has been one of the guys’ favorite holidays except for the years when someone breaks a bone. And the 4th of July on a military post is not to be missed. I’m sure it won’t be as spectacular here as it was when I lived near Fort Bragg – not unless the Golden Knights and a military band get lost on the way to North Carolina. Even without those trimmings, though, the holiday simply has a special feel and meaning on post.

So we’ll be hanging out here all month, constantly rushing to places that will be closing early if they’re open at all. Many of Boots’ friends will be missing from his birthday party because of his lack of foresight five years ago. If he’d only hung out until his original due date, his birthday would be after block leave. It seems that poor planning runs in the family.

Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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