By Carol Rood
Let me back up a bit, that is actually the middle of the story.
Yesterday the phone rang. The person on the other end asked to speak to The Hunter. The Hunter is a high school senior, and has been receiving lots of phone calls and mailers from colleges. He does not plan on going to college. He has been going to technical school during his junior and senior years and has learned welding. He wants to be a welder when he graduates. He is looking into the welding apprenticeship programs at BAE and the Naval Shipyard. So we were pretty sure he was going to do the apprenticeship program and start his life as an adult working and going to school. Then THE phone call came…
He was on the phone for quite awhile. Bluebell even picked up the extension so she could eavesdrop. It didn’t work. The Hunter walked down the stairs and shook his head at her. It turns out the man who called was a Marine Corps recruiter. He was telling The Hunter all about the programs the Marines have to offer. He talked to The Hunter about being a Marine reservist so he could continue to pursue an apprenticeship and ALSO be a Marine.
Bluebell was NOT happy when she was told about the phone call. Apparently The Hunter told the recruiter he was willing to take a practice ASVAB test “just to see” how he would do. He is still 17, and therefore cannot yet join without parental permission. We did tell him that we wanted to meet the recruiter to speak with him. So The Hunter called him back and told him to come by the house and pick him up today at 5:00.
It was a long night for Bluebell and me. I will tell you that the idea of any of the boys joining the military had never really entered our minds as a reality, so we had never discussed it. We are both retired Navy, so we definitely value a military life, but the Marines? They are the first ones in the thick of the action…
So the recruiter showed up today at 5:00. I had my hands in a bowl of flour, making chicken and dumplings for dinner, and Bluebell was waiting and ready to pounce. Of course it would have been easier for her to pounce on him if he had not been a young, polite, nice, clean cut kid, who was nothing but respectful. He said he understood our concerns, and he believed young people, even if they are old enough to join without parental consent, should listen to what their parents’ concerns were.
We were frank and honest about those concerns, and he answered each one with a thoughtful and detailed answer. (He’s pretty good at recruiting.) So once our questions were answered, what else could we do but let the recruiter take The Hunter for his test?
Poor Bluebell. She cried. She cried as her 17-year-old son The Hunter walked out the front door with a Marine Corps recruiter…
She smiled when he came home and said he would need to “study” more. (But she didn’t let The Hunter see her smile.)