|We Few, We Happy Few|
Back row (L to R) - Mary F, Robin, The Hobbit, FloridaFlyer, Gene, Mrs. SoCalPir8, The Missus Herself, The Nuke, Shaft, SoCalPir8, Finicky Fat Guy.
The names in italic font are callsigns, aliases, etc. (If you are in the picture and didn't get one of those, it's because I don't know it. Sumimasen.)
There were some other folks there as well who had left earlier (prior to the group photo) for various reasons. To wit: Ron, Bill, Mike, Hap, L.J., The Hobbit's next door neighbor Shirley*, Pinch, and Shaman. Again, I think that's everyone. I could be mistaken, it happens, I'm only human. As the drinks flowed freely and I managed to hold my own, things after a certain hour became someone misty. Seen as through a glass, and darkly.
One more participant in the night's activities who must not and cannot be forgotten is Luis. Our patient, attentive, and most friendly barkeep.
Yes, Luis gets two pictures in this post. He kept the beverages flowing so that at no point was there an empty glass, except by choice. He did his job and he did it well! An important fellow indeed!
Now my merry band was in the area early, not to do a recon or anything, well we did but that was unplanned. We had arrived somewhat early and there was a coffee shop in the vicinity and I cannot, in all good conscience, pass up an opportunity for coffee. Iced, of course. (It's a thing with me.)
Upon completion of the caffeinated beverage ritual, the four of us formed up and headed to the venue for this year's memorial gathering. This place -
On the way, The Nuke spotted a furniture store. As she's changing domiciles, and needs furniture, it seemed a natural thing to stop there as we were still a tad early for the gathering. Veni, Vidi, Fugio. (I came, I saw, I fled.) Muy rapido. Furniture stores scare me. Don't ask why.
On to Beckett's I went, solo for the nonce. Walked in, saw that there was a back room, figured that had to be the place. It was. So Ron, who beat me there, assured me. As he too is an "old Air Force sarge," I took him at his word. Naturally, it was the right place. (As Mike might say, "Trust me, I'm an NCO.")
Eventually others of our tribe trickled in, our hostess, The Hobbit among them. Who, you may ask, is The Hobbit? Well, if you had ever read Neptunus Lex, back in the day, you would know who she is. If you have not read Lex, as it were, I won't hold it against you but I would highly recommend you follow the link to the archives (here) or you can jump over to The Lexicans, where there is a fine selection of Lex's work. Most of the old Lex posts over at that latter link exist because of that fellow (Advokaat) next to Your's Truly in that opening photo.
Advokaat is an attorney by trade, a litigator I believe, who has spent much time in courtrooms, often with little to do but await his turn, as it were. So back when Lex was still alive, he would PDF a number of Lex's posts periodically for to read while awaiting his time to make the wheels of justice do their thing. (Hhmm, is it the wheels of justice? Or perhaps a scale is involved. I dunno, I am not a lawyer, nor have I ever played one on the telly. But yes, I digress.) So Advokaat preserved a lot of Lex's writing for posterity. And we're awfully glad he did.
The Hobbit is also known as Mrs. Lex. She hosts this gathering every year since Lex's unfortunate accident. It used to be in Sandy Eggo, now, as she has returned to the land of her youth, the gathering is held in Northern Virginia. (Yes, they used to have their very own army, led by one R.E. Lee, so I always capitalize "Northern" when combined with "Virginia." It's a thing with me, don't ask.)
The Hobbit always treats us like family and always spends way too much on us (time and money). Her adoptive family is what I would call us. Not sure who adopted who, but there it is. We're family damn it, one for all, all for one. Her progeny are included, of course, SNO (Son Number One), Biscuit, and Kat are very much considered by all of us Lexicans (as we call ourselves) to be family.
The Missus Herself doesn't quite get it, The Nuke not at all. But The WSO has always understood, but that's to be expected, she's a chip off the old block(head), me. The apple did not fall far from the tree at all with that one. The Naviguessor and The Nuke are more like their mother. Lucky them. (Though truth be told, in looks and smarts The WSO is more like her mom than she is like me. I'm not saying I'm ugly and stupid, won't deny it either, but my better half was dealt a far better hand in those respects than I. The WSO's attitudes on life and her sense of humor, yup, she got those from me. Also the metabolism. Poor kid.)
While there were twenty-one (or so) in the room, there were many more who wanted to be on scene, but couldn't make it. Rest assured, you were all there in spirit. You know who you are.
We talked, we ate, we drank, we laughed, we remembered. For none of us can ever forget, least of all The Hobbit, that we gathered to remember one who went on ahead of the rest of us. I do believe we'll meet again some day. In that clearing at the end of the path.
So until we raise our glasses again next year...
To Lex, sláinte!
Guinness for strength, Jameson's for courage.
|Captain Carroll F. LeFon, Jr., United States Navy (Retired)|
09 November 1960 - 06 March 2012
* Okay, at first I couldn't remember The Hobbit's neighbor's name. Then Hap came up with Stephanie Gustafson. Then Advokaat came up with Shirley as Ms. Gustafson's first name. See the comments for the blow by blow. I'm just mortified that I couldn't remember her name. Heck, I remembered all the others!