And Puppy Makes Three!
It was at Quantico that Socrates came into our lives. Socrates—the dog, not the philosopher. We had high hopes, giving him a name that carried with it the connotation of higher thinking. In our defense, I suppose every parent has high hopes for their child—and for us, Socrates was our first “baby”. Wayde was going to be in the field a good deal of the time and he didn’t want me to be lonely while he was gone, so when he saw an ad in the base paper advertising shepherd-mix pups for $10—well, that was the solution. He drove to Independent Hill, Virginia and picked out the only pup that was sleeping, thinking that he was a dog that would lay at his feet, content to keep him (or, me?) company. Yeah, no, that wasn’t right. The truth was that that puppy was asleep because he’d already worn himself out!
When my husband returned from his “we-didn’t-know-it-then-but-life-as-we-knew-it-had-changed” journey, he deposited a ball of soft fur on the front porch at my feet and headed back towards the car to clean up the doggy vomit, muttering “This dog is not off to a good start at being man’s best friend.” So, while Wayde cleaned the car’s carpet, I cleaned up the puppy and we got acquainted. That first day, he followed me around whining, and when I tucked him into his bed in the small bathroom downstairs (thinking it was “cozy” for him), the whines soon turned into howls as only a hound dog can deliver. And, by the way, tile bathrooms make for excellent echoes. All night. ALL night.
No one had warned us about this—about a puppy being so much like a baby in so many ways. Needing “to go” in the middle of the night, needing reassurances in the middle of the night, being scared of thunder and losing his baby teeth! But there were good moments, too, which thankfully out-numbered and out-weighed the bad. Like watching him attack the falling snowflakes that had, at first, freaked him out. Or, watching him try to catch a toad while my husband was trying to catch him! (The toad would hop, making Socrates hop, making my husband—outside in the middle of the night wearing only shorts and a pair of combat boots—hop, too. (Laughter at 2 am while one’s husband is trying to catch a frolicking, barking puppy is not truly appreciated. Just saying.)
As Socrates grew, he had some tremendous successes. Wayde celebrated as only a man can the first time his man-dog hiked a leg to pee. Wayde celebrated less when Soci leaped to protect a man being taken hostage by a strange, wheeling creature; the Marine colonel riding the bike was less than thrilled, as well. (Soci was only a nickname—although the reference to Japanese rice wine actually fit him much better than the name of the imminent Greek.) Socrates was also a successful musician, cocking an ear and then howling along when my husband would play his guitar. (It couldn’t possibly have been a reflection of Soci’s opinion of his master’s playing ability. Or could it…?)
Aside from adding the hound to our family of two, Wayde and I spent a good amount of time exploring the area—the homes of George Mason and George Washington, the Smithsonian and other attractions in downtown D.C., The Brickskeller in Georgetown, Potomac Mills mall, numerous battlefields and other historic sites. The memorials—especially the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials—are exquisite at night. One cold evening, my husband took me to the Kennedy Center, where we saw the Bolshoi Ballet with the Osipov Balalaika Orchestra. I wore a backless black knit dress with black heels, under a white wool dress coat and a teal wool scarf. Man, I looked good! (If I do say so myself!)
We had our fun with other Marines, too. We had a group of about six or seven couples that we socialized with—taking turns hosting this or that at our homes. (Our home, by the way, was a 3-bedroom townhouse that we only got because no one else on the base housing list was in the area the 30th of December! We didn’t have furniture for a 3-bedroom house—in fact, we really only had our bedroom furniture, so the base supplied the rest of what we needed! Awesome for a couple who had been struggling financially for the first two years of marriage. ) Once I even became a superhero for a few minutes one night when I drove hot pizza out to Wayde’s company, where they were bivouacked in the woods! Ah, Quantico… Semper Fi.