San Diego, California: Population = 1,406,630 (San Diego – Tijuana metro area = 4,922,723), elevation = 62 feet, Average January low temp = 49º, Average July high temp = 74.6º, Average precipitation = 10.34”, average annual rainy days = 41.5
San Diego is just a short hop down the coast from Oceanside. The several cities along the way blend into one another like scoops of ice cream on a warm day. By the time we reach the city limits, the mega-city is huge and densely populated, swarming with aggressive traffic. Freeways criss-cross everywhere in every direction. Once again, we thank the inventors of GPS for finding our path through the labyrinth.
Our mission here is all about family. Marylu comes from a family of 8 siblings who (generally) get along famously. As I quickly found out when I married into this family, the wits are quick and the cracks are wise, so try to keep up. We are gathered here to celebrate Brother Father Bill’s retirement from the Navy. Bill is a Catholic chaplain who has had an extraordinary life of adventure and service to God and Country.
The ceremony takes place aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. She is currently tied up in San Diego in preparation for her next deployment, the Persian Gulf. The many workers and sailors scurry about the pier, dwarfed by this gigantic mountain of steel.
Inside the Roosevelt, our party is led through grey passageways, up and down ladders, and through cavernous compartments. The ceremony is taking place on the hanger deck, which has been draped with an American flag the size of the one in “Patton”. The Boatswain’s whistle announces the arrival of the officers. Stern looking men in crisp white uniforms speak in glowing tribute to Bill (aka Lieutenant Commander Dorwart). Memorabilia is presented. A solemn flag ceremony is performed. More than a few proud tears leak from the watching eyes of friends and family.
Later on, the friends and family gather on the beach for a picnic and some informal time together. Later still, we gather for a sunset cruise around the San Diego Bay. This is a very loving family and goodbyes take a really long time. Smooth sailing everyone. Good luck on your next mission, Bill.
Next up: San Diego (still)