We had an impromptu dinner with my brother and his girlfriend tonight and it was a really nice evening. Perry said something while we were talking about Dad that I had (almost) forgotten so I wanted to write it down before I really did forget. Our dad has never been an overly romantic kind of guy. My mother teases him that he's lucky her first husband turned her off to overt displays of affection like flowers and fur coats (that were bought on her credit card) so that she appreciates Daddy for all that he is. I can't recall my parents ever buying each other gifts. I don't know that I've seen my parents kiss in my life, but I do remember them hugging a lot when I was a kid. My father was under a lot of stress when we were kids, working two jobs and worrying about money, and I think it affected how I perceived him when I was younger.
But Perry was saying how there should be an NPR radio special about my parents (he's very into NPR programming these days). We started comparing notes about various Dad stories and Perry mentioned how Dad made them hold the plane to Vietnam. I had totally forgotten about that.
In January of 1968, when my parents had just gotten married after Daddy got his orders for Vietnam, my mother was there when he had to get on the plane to head across the globe. He walked out and got on the plane with all the other GIs and as they were about to taxi to leave, he told them they had to stop the plane so he could get off. I'm sure they were expecting some story about how he was not ready for war, but it was something far more important. He told them he had to get off the plane because he had forgotten to kiss his wife goodbye. So they let him off the plane to go kiss Mom and then re-board for Vietnam.
He wasn't able to see her or speak to her again until nine months later when they met in Hawaii for their honeymoon. With the exception of those two weeks in Hawaii, they communicated only by letters for 364 days. I'm glad Daddy got off the plane, but I can't imagine how glad he and Mom were that he did.