Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Gathering - 2017

In Remembrance...
We Few, We Happy Few
Front row (L to R) - Advokaat, Your Humble Scribe

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 -

No, Mr. Beckett himself wasn't there, scary looking fellow to be sure. But I digress...

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.)

Anyhoo... (again)

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!


  1. You nailed my call sign from USS Coral Sea (CV 43). At least I think you meant me.

    1. I pay attention Chaps.

      Well, most of the time. ;)

  2. I think you missed someone in the back row between the left side and your wife. If I take off my shoes and count noses, She's 7th, but she's the 6th name. I think it's one of the first two.
    Not being picky, just trying to put names to faces.

    1. Mrs SoCalPir8? (Standing next to my wife.)
      Back row: (by my reckoning)
      1) Mary F
      2) Robin
      3) The Hobbit
      4) FloridaFlyer
      5) Gene
      6) Mrs. SoCalPir8
      7) The Missus Herself
      8) The Nuke
      9) Shaft
      10) SoCalPir8
      11) Finicky Fat Guy

      Did I miss someone? Or is it the way I went across?

    2. Probably me. I think I transcribed the , as a period and so the first name became Mary F. Robin. Got's to remember to crank up the zoom.

    3. Ah!

      I added the F so as not to confuse the Marys. There were, as you know, two in the room. I should have restrained myself. All's well that ends well. Or something...

  3. Well done, Sarge. The Hobbit's next door neighbor is/was Stephanie Gustafson, herself a Navy wife whose husband, I am told, was a SEAL-turned-pork chop (aka Supply Corps-type, for those who know). Looking forward to the next gathering, and meeting more of y'all.

    1. Yes! Exactly! Stephanie it was and is. I shall correct. SEAL to chop, wow!

      Same here Hap, it was a pleasure and an honor to meet you.

    2. Now that was interesting. I worked for/with/replaced a Chop turned SEAL. His dad was also a SEAL and a scout for a major league baseball team. My friend went Supply out of pro-ball because it let him in the Navy and then parlayed that into SEAL. Sorry I missed the festivities. I was in Pittsburgh.

    3. It was a grand time Cap'n. Next time perhaps?

    4. Shirley Gustafson

    5. Shirley you jest...

      I think you're right, I'll fix that.


  4. Yikes! I've already screwed up and misnamed the neighbor. Shirley Gustafson. Must'a been the Guinness. Or was it the Jamesons?

    1. Advokaat straightened us out Hap. At least you got the last name correct, I couldn't remember any of her name, and she was a super nice lady.

      Truth be told, I don't rightly remember how we got home, I think Uber was involved somehow.

  5. "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."

    What a blessing to know and have known those who walk the walk.

    Thanks for sharing Sarge.

    1. :)

      You should join us someday, I promise we won't be gentle. Heh.

  6. Thank you very much for this post. I would read the comments, but between the dust and needing to be elsewhere soon, it will have to be later in the day.

    Paul L. Quandt

    1. I finally am/was able to read the comments; they are up to the usual high standards ( which comes as no surprise to me ). Now that the gatherings are on the least coast ( if'n ya know what I mean ) it becomes even less likely that I shall be able to attend in the flesh rather than spirit. My spirit will always be with those who remember and honor Carroll F. Lefon, Jr.


    2. There is talk of a gathering in June at Shakespeare's in Sandy Eggo.

      I shall keep you all posted. Looks like around the 14th or 15th. Details as they come in!

  7. What can I say ? Except maybe, `spiffing`! or `jolly good show` or perhaps `form square`!
    I'll make it one day, you just wait.

  8. Thanks for sharing, Sarge.

    BTW - when I remember, I sometimes always capitalize Northern whether the state had an army or not.
    If it's a place it gets capitalized, like Northern California, which is just sout of the Northstate, where I lived before moving south to Northern California.

    1. I get that, California being a special case where the coastal enclaves appear to want to add "Soviet" in front of "California" and become a separate country. Then there are other parts of the state, like yours, which would just as soon be a separate state. I recall seeing something about dividing California into six states, e.g. -
      - Jefferson
      - North California (The North State?)
      - Silicon Valley
      - Central California
      - West California
      - South California

      My thought would be to deport all the fools along the coast and then proceed with whatever. Governor Moonbeam and the Hollywoodians need to return to their home planet. California secession is a non-starter with me.

  9. It would be a sad world when you could not trust an old Air Force Sarge Mr. Goodrich! Such a great group of people- I am still processing the experience.

    1. I know!

      I shall think of this gathering often. So far I've made one in Sandy Eggo and one in The Hobbit's home turf. (Well, Lex grew up in Alexandria too, so it's what he might have called the Auld Sod.)

  10. Excellent post! Such a great evening! I'm still giggling as I remember certain conversations. I am looking forward to future gatherings with these lovely people. It truly does feel like a family.
    Mary F.

    1. It was great. I had so much fun.

      Thanks Mary!

  11. Thanks for the write up Sarge. I had planned on being there and then I had to stay here. I know you had a good time because I've been to three of them.

    For those unfamiliar with Lex and having never attended one of these I would describe them more is a celebration of his life rather than mourning his passing. I don't think Lex would've had it any other way.

    I'm going to host one in San Diego in the middle of June whether it's just me or 30 people.

    I often wonder what Lex would think about all of this. I don't believe he realized the influence that he really had out there in cyberspace or how much he is missed

    As I have told many people my unfortunate anniversary for coming to know him it was the day after his accident so I was never around for all the good give-and-take at Neptunus Lex.

    But if you Want to know Lex, he is there still in the index.

  12. Glad I was able to participate, but sorry I couldn't stay for the photo - maybe next time!



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