Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Traveler

(Source)
No this isn't a post about Robert E. Lee's horse. (That name was actually spelled "Traveller," Which is, incidentally, the British spelling for that word. No, I didn't know that either. Not the spelling of the horse's name nor that that was the English spelling. Amazing what one can learn from the web, innit?) No, this post is about me, and my upcoming sojourn to our nation's capital.

In the interests of full disclosure, my destination for this weekend is actually Alexandria, in the fair state of Virginia, where The Nuke lives.

No, no, no. My daughter who was a nuclear propulsion type, aka "nuke," in the Navy. So her nom de blog is The Nuke. Alexandria, to my knowledge, has no nuclear weapons within the city limits. Not that I would know anything about that anyway. Why am I mentioning all this? I have no ideer. (To paraphrase the late, and much lamented, Buck.)

Anyhoo.

While my destination is Northern Virginia, I always tell people that I'm going to D.C. In my business, everyone knows where D.C. is. Your average citoyen knows where D.C. is. However, if I tell folks I'm going to Alexandria, some of the more geographically challenged will invariably ask, "Where's that?" Then I have to explain, the explanation will eventually turn to tales of both the War Between the States and the French and Indian War.

Uh Sarge, I get the War Between the States reference but the French and Indian War?



Yeah, the French and Indian War. The British force which was eventually defeated at the Battle of the Monongahela initially landed in Alexandria. Marched up Oronoco Street they did, a street I've been down many times, and yes, I did picture the lobsterbacks moving up from the Potomac to their bivouac as I walked along. (Sweating in their wool uniforms and grumbling in British accents all the while.)

I did the same thing walking along the Champs-Élysées in Paris. No, I didn't picture British troops marching along that lovely street. No, I pictured the Germans marching through in 1940, (no, I didn't mention that to the French) and then les Américains doing the same in 1944. I did mention that. Oh, and for what it's worth, the American parade was much bigger than the German parade, which, as parades go, was pretty lame. But not if you were French, that was humiliating.

Of course, at some point in my historical discourse, eyes will start to roll and heads will start to droop. So, "I'm going to D.C." suffices for the occasion.

But I digress.

This coming weekend I will be headed south for to commemorate the passing of Captain Carroll F. LeFon, Jr. U.S. Navy (retired) with a number of boon companions. It has been five years since that wonderful guy lost his life out at NAS Fallon. In years past we (those of us who call ourselves Lexicans) have gathered out in Sandy Eggo to hoist a Guinness (or three) and sip a Jameson's as we ponder life and enjoy each others' company. The Hobbit has always been there, which is why this year we gather in Alexandria. Or near Alexandria. Hang on, I'll get to that.

The Hobbit, or Mrs. Lex as she is sometimes called, is the host of this gathering. This year we hope to convince her to not pay for everything. She is generous to a fault and lovely to boot, both in visage and in spirit. She has returned to the homeland of Virginia, where she and Lex spent their youth, so this year's gathering is there. But not exactly in Alexandria. For the residents of that fair city have their St. Patrick's Day parade on the very Saturday we plan to meet. Basically filling up all the good pubs on that day. So...

We shall instead meet and greet each other in the fair town of Arlington (no Juvat, not at the Pentagon), said locale being but a stone's throw from Alexandria. Same state, same area, in fact they stand shoulder to shoulder (kind of) along the banks of the mighty Potomac. Friends of mine from the area give this particular pub a thumbs up. (Which will remain unnamed at this time. No Scott, it's not called Voldemort's.)

When told of the change of venue, all I asked was, "Do they have Guinness?"

Something to do with bears and popes was mentioned. So I took the answer to my interrogatory to be, "Yes, yes they do."

Hopefully in mass quantities. Though as The Missus Herself will be in attendance, I must needs be behave myself, to some extent.

In other news, while I have avoided writing about politics and the antics of those who pretend to be someone else (no, I didn't watch that show where they hand out bright metal statues of some naked dude), I still read about such doings. This I found to be most entertaining. Just because you're good at pretending to be an expert, doesn't mean you are.

Heck, I get paid to do that. Be an expert that is, though there are days I sort of pretend...

Especially Monday mornings. Who knows anything on a Monday morning other than that the weekend's over?

I mean really...




30 comments:

  1. You are right that Arlington is a stone's throw from Alexandria. (A two hour cab ride, but still just a stone's throw.) Wish I could be there, but please pass on my Best Wishes to Mrs LeFon.
    Maybe next year.

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  2. Sorry I can't make it..............

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    1. I'll make sure you and the others who can't be there get a mention.

      :)

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  3. Didn't get the word about this year's gathering. Geez, go overseas for a couple of years and it's like they don't know you anymore.

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    1. Welcome back. Are you going to be in the DC area this weekend? If so, shoot me an e-mail: oldafsarge AT gmail DOT com and I'll give you the specifics. Anyone who reads the DiploMad is OK in my book. :)

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  4. Good on ye. Hoist one for me to Lex and the gang.

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  5. I'll be envying you who are able to hoist a Guinness, raise a Jameson and then stop.
    So savor them and know that I am honoring Lex in my own way.

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    1. Roger that.

      (Knowing when to stop is important.)

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  6. You already know how sorry I am that I'm stuck down here in Florida but, as the prayer goes "next year in Jerusalem." As a student of military history you may be interested in this. An interesting historical sidelight of Alexandria is that it is the origin point of Braddock’s road. In 1755, Major General Edward Braddock and two army regiments set out from Alexandria with the objective of capturing Fort Duquesne, near present-day Pittsburgh. To transport their sizable train of artillery and wagons, they first had to build a road across the rugged Appalachian Mountains. It was almost 289 treacherous miles from Alexandria, Virginia, by way of Fort Cumberland in Maryland and on to the French fort; the road they built was one of the most impressive military engineering accomplishments of the eighteenth century. It was constructed by troops of Virginia militia and British regulars commanded by General Edward Braddock of the Coldstream Guards, part of an expedition to conquer the Ohio Country from the French at the beginning of the French and Indian War, the North American portion of the Seven Years' War. George Washington was an aid-de-camp to General Braddock (one of his favorites) who accompanied the expedition. The expedition gave him his first field military experience. So, as you drive about Alexandria, you may well find yourself on Braddock Road.

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    1. A very nice synopsis Dave. An excellent book on the subject is Braddock's Defeat by David Preston which I read a year ago. I posted about that here. I highly recommend that book.

      And yes, "Next year in Jerusalem."

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  7. I'll be thinking thoughts and hoisting an appropriate tipple. Through the twenty-first century wonder of the interwebz, Lex and his family will always be close in my heart.

    I remember how excited I was the first time I visited Alexandria. Then I found out that they'd burned the libary down. So it was pretty much camels and food poisoning...

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    1. I did not burn that library down. I don't care who says I did it.

      Oh, that Alexandria. Never mind.

      Those who can't make it will be remembered.

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  8. I assume that whilst you were putting Jets together when you served this great country, people knew not to engage you in conversation, or the plane might never be finished...I jest of course.

    Enjoy your Guinness and the company, sounds like good memories revisited and the making of new good memories.

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    1. Hahaha! It's quite possible...

      Thanks Joe.

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  9. My days off are Tuesday/Wednesday, so I very much look forward to Mondays.

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    1. On Okinawa, first few months anyway, I had Sunday and Monday off. So Mondays were, once upon a time, something to enjoy.

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  10. I never knew Lex but tip a brew in his honor for me please!

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    1. Russ, I don't think any of us "met/knew" Lex, at least in the flesh. However, this helps.

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    2. Russ, you would have liked the man. He would've liked you, he had a soft spot for maintainers!

      Tuna actually met Lex, "in the flesh." I have a picture, somewhere...

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    3. Thanks Juvat for the link. It did give me a better feel for Lex. His head was in the right place and I
      really enjoy his writing style. Writing is something I've always wanted to do but I can never find the
      right words so I appreciate good word mongers like Lex, you, Sarge and Tuna. Slow salute and RIP Lex!!

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  11. Give my respectful regards to Mary, please.

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  12. I don't know what happened, I tried to post a comment twice and neither showed up after hitting " publish ".

    Paul L. Quandt

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  13. As that posted, I guess that your spam bot didn't like what I wrote.

    Paul

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    1. And this one.

      Sometimes Blogger will even eat my comments. Google seems glitchy as of late.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)