Rookie Army Wife: 3 Misadventures in Oklahoma
When I arrived in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, we were basically living in a hotel room, albeit a super nice one. I was there for all of a week before we flew back to Alabama for Christmas.
Our measly month together in Oklahoma was kind of a blur, but there were a few things that happened that I have not been able to live down.
Three incidents to be exact, okay maybe 4 or 5…geesh I was full of mishaps that first month, but there are three I’d like to share!
….We’ll just skip the story of our first huge fight when Alan was following me, and I missed the correct exit, my cell phone battery was dead, and Alan breezed right past on to the next exit. Let’s just say I threw the mother of all fits. Alan had quite a firecracker on his hands.
The first misadventure happened on our loooooooong car trip from Alabama to Oklahoma after Christmas.
Alan was driving his car, and I was driving mine. I left my car with my parents when I had flown out to Oklahoma to attend that military ball with Alan the day I graduated, so now we were taking it home with us.
We stayed up late each night in Alabama that Christmas, talking to family, and by the time we began our 15-or-so-hour-road trip, we were already tired.
By the time we reached Vicksburg, Mississippi, I didn’t know if I was going to make it 2 more seconds, much less 3 more states!!
Alan was all kinds of jazzed up to see the Vicksburg battle grounds! His ancestor had fought there, probably more than one ancestor, and he’d learned about this battle in great detail. Alan couldn’t wait to see Vicksburg in person.
Well, y’all, this battle ground might have been a sight to see in 1864, or whenever, but it was nothing but a bunch of rolling green hills with historic markers in December, 2002.
“Is it okay if I just ride in the passenger seat of your car and sleep?” I asked.
Alan was probably shocked at my apathy, but I do recall parking my car, sliding in with Alan, and getting a good nap in Vicksburg.
I also remember that it wasn’t enough to recover, and we had to spend the night in Shreveport or some other Louisiana city that night because there was no way I was going to stay awake all the way across Texas.
This is humorous to me now because I would LOVE to see Vicksburg!! What has military life done to me???
Maybe it was my genealogical research that turned up my own Vicksburg veterans, or maybe it was the Lincoln book I read that taught me so much about the importance of that place, but 15 years later, I actually get why those rolling green fields were exciting!
Unfortunate Incident #2: The Not-So-Fun Family Fun Run
So there was this “Family Fun Run” the last week of Alan’s Officer Basic Course training. It was a 1 mile formation jog. They invited the wives, not that many of the students were even married at that point. Supposedly, this was a fun, easy thing to do.
That morning I was surprised to see a Lieutenant in a Spongebob costume, and everyone seemed all giggly and happy, as they did push-ups on asphalt and all sorts of active, difficult things.
I felt like death frozen over. What was this fresh new form of torture?
I’d just finished 21 hours of senior level courses at Alabama to come here, only to be forced out of my bed in the dark, put on 2 layers of clothing, and EXERCISE in line!?
“It’s only a mile. Too easy,” were Alan’s words of wisdom. He probably said a lot more than that, but who could listen that early?
As we started to jog, and jog, and jog, I started to panic, and panic, and panic.
All I could think was, “I can’t feel my toes. My fingers are purple. I’m all out breath. This is never going to end. Ever. A mile is equivalent to 9 laps around the University of Alabama rec center gym, and I haven’t run in about 7 months.”
You might call me the little engine that couldn’t, maybe just wouldn’t, but it sure felt like couldn’t to me.
I tend to do drastic things if you push me too far. 20 degrees at 5 am, doing something I despise (running) definitely qualified.
I jumped out of formation. Alan, ever the dutiful husband, followed me with his mouth and eyes wide open.
“What are you doing!?”
“April, are you okay? You can’t jump out of a formation run.” Alan has always excelled at PT. To bring along his brand new little wife, only to discover that she is in fact a fun run drop-out was alien to him.
I felt all sassy and rebellious. “No, *gasp for air* maybe you can’t, *more gasping for air* but I just did.”
(And this is why I will never be in the military.)
Alan sighed, “They’re going to make this loop and end up back where they started from, so let’s just stand behind this bush and then jump back in when they come back around. Maybe no one will notice,” Alan reasoned, trying to make it look like he didn’t actually have a rebellious and un-physically fit wife.
“Why!? I don’t care if they know. I don’t care. Running is stupid. Especially at 5 am in the freezing butt cold.”
Somehow he convinced me to jump back in at the end, but from that point on, I didn’t have to worry about ever being encouraged to participate in any unit sports days again. Thank goodness!!!
Story #3 The Red Leg War
The last week before graduation, which was the beginning of January, they took the Lieutenants out to “the field.” In the military “the field” just means they are going out to train and make pre-tend war in the wilderness.
Alan was an artillery officer, so that meant it was a week of constant BOOMS.
Meanwhile, I had nothing to do whatsoever. I went into it thinking I would do a ton of Bible study. Yeah. I was 21, and I had never had a week with no chores, no job, and no responsibilities before.
What did I actually do? I stayed up late playing video games on the computer, and I tried to sleep late.
I TRIED to sleep late, but there was this maid. Every morning without fail, this woman would arrive at 9AM!! 9 am!! All I wanted to do was sleep until 12 pm, but this tiny Korean lady, who spoke little English, was relentless. She’d knock and knock, and then she’d let herself in. Remember, we were living in a hotel.
I tried being nice.
“No, no. No cleaning today. It’s not dirty.”
That’s my nice way of saying go away, but she wouldn’t hear of it.
So everyday she’d come. Everyday I’d try to think of a way to make her stop coming so early, and everyday I’d fail.
Thankfully, it was only a week.
Then Alan returned, smelling like I’d never smelled a person smell before. Apparently, Army guys don’t shower in the field.
We attended his big graduation ceremony, and I felt a tiny twinge of sadness that I’d missed my own college graduation, but I brushed that aside. It was a tiny sacrifice in the big scheme of things. We were off on a great adventure, and we were packing up and heading to Texas.
In only a matter of DAYS, we’d FINALLY have our first true home together.
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