New Orleans was the one city in the South where I really looked forward to spending time. I had seen Mardi Gras scenes in movies and television, and friends had told me about the fabulous restaurants and jazz clubs and all the history connected to the city. I hoped to spend at least three days there but Rob said no, that he wanted to get to his new base right away and check things out. So we only spent a day and one night in the French Quarter, which I found absolutely magical. We drank our “hurricanes,” listened to jazz and ate amazing food and rich pastries. I’m sure I put on five pounds during that short time, but I loved every minute of it. Too soon we were on our way to Kingsville and the apartment complex we would call home for the next few months.
When we drove into Kingsville my heart sunk as I saw the small town where I would be doing my shopping and other housewifely duties. My first thought was that it looked like a movie set from the 1930s; one main street with old fashioned buildings and store fronts. Rob was stressed and worried and all I could think of was me and how I was going to pass the time in this backwater town. As I unpacked our things I looked out the bedroom window and saw miles and miles of flat nothingness. The King ranch and their long-horn Santa Gertrudis cattle took up a lot of prairie. But at least I had my fellow Navy wives to pass the time with, and to placate us bored housewives, the guys promised us trips to Padre Island, Corpus Christi and Nuevo Laredo when they had some time off. But they had more important things on their minds, like landing on an aircraft carrier out in the gulf, survival training and the possibility of getting kicked out of the program, which would be the ultimate humiliation. Earning the coveted Navy Wings of Gold was their singular goal and this was the last leg on that journey. Us womenfolk would just have to suck it up and be there for support when called upon.
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