My military training is coming to a close. After graduation this coming Thursday morning, I'll hit the road. I've been here in South Carolina for nearly twelve weeks. It doesn't compare in longevity with my six-plus months of training in Missouri and Arizona in 2005, nor with my deployment to Afghanistan in 2007; nonetheless, I'll probably need at least a modicum of time readjusting to the life I had knew before late August. As was the case during my tour in Afghanistan, the homefront took on a different rhythm; my wife and daughters adapted to my long absence. Reuniting with the family is a desideratum "devoutly to be wished," less so for the home repair projects awaiting me than for the seasonal fun with the Viator women. I think of picking out and decorating the Christmas tree. I think of shoving pie down my piehole (and a concomitant sulking over my fat-assness). I think of watching the new Harry Potter flick with my daughters, plus what has become a tradition now: watching the movies Elf and Jingle All the Way.
While I'll be looking forward on my long drive home, I'll no doubt be looking back too. With South Carolina in my rearview mirror, some fond memories of people, events, and moments will inevitably come to mind. This time at Fort Jackson hasn't been continual bliss, mind you, but overall it has been a great experience—the basic combat training, classroom instruction, physical fitness, and a few social events. Alas! All things must come to an end and gradually recede into the distant past. For all the backbiting that classmates engaged in from time to time—and it never got out of hand—I must say that, from my incredibly objective viewpoint (!), I found no bad apple in the bushel. Some individuals will stick in my memory more than others. Moreover, as the "elder statesman" of the class, I was able to plug into different groups and get to know a variety of people. Good time. I have yet another set of experiences and memories that continue to mold me into the person I am. Whether the final product has been good or bad thus far, you can decide. :)