Picked him up at the airport in his dress blues, which are almost as ugly as our old dress greens were. Steak and long talk. Kept him up too late, but that's what happens when friends get talking.
The daughter made him a poundcake, something new.
So yesterday, a little cruising through town and then a long sit on the deck, crystal blue skies and a piercing wind. Narghila with watermelon tobacco, and talk. What he saw in BCT and AIT that he liked and didn't (my experience is out of date, but I too remember a qualitative difference between the people who joined for combat arms MOSs and those who sought support roles). The value of a good senior NCO.
We talked about old friends, about how the mountains of Northern Iraq can seem so remote and untouched though they have been inhabited since before humans were Homo sapiens. And, as old friends do, we solved all of the worlds political problems. No, not really. We actually wound up listing all the ones that no one seems to be anticipating.
And he talked of his plans. Old school working man ambition. Military. Get his masters while in, saving his GI Bill for his doctorate when he gets out. Settling in a place where a doctorate in petroleum chemistry married to a PhD in geology who are fluent in at least three languages each will have opportunities.
No doubt whatsoever his life is hard now. Being separated from family. New culture. Adapting to military customs. Full loads of work and study. But D is focused on a future and following a plan.
And he is a pleasure to hang out with.