Way back in the late nineties, in a small town with a big Trooper Academy, I was known as Recruit Godfrey for 14 of the toughest weeks of my life. Now there is a new recruit in the family, Jeremy. About 10 years ago Tracy and I came to the realization that Jeremy was likely going to join the service. About four years ago, after a week visit to Paris Island, Jeremy decided that he wanted to be a Marine. The pride, the misery and the majesty were simply too intriguing to resist. Three days ago, he started that journey swearing in and shipping off San Diego, and I couldn’t be prouder.
If you know Jeremy this does not shock you. He has lived in camo gear since he was about five, buys knives and guns like my mom used to buy Tupperware, hikes and plays survival by spending winter nights in the woods with no equipment, and studies wars and military in his spare time. Jeremy’s last option was not joining the military, it was Jeremy’s plan A. This is who he is and this I believe is what he is supposed to do; And other than having to be put on double rations because he might be a little too skinny, he is ideally suited for the challenge. He has worked hard to make his dream happen.
The reality of what he is doing didn’t set in until his swearing in. At that time, when the Captain said “Congratulations, you are now active duty” I realized there is no turning back. His life, our life, is about to change forever. I remember my dad sharing that his lifelong dream was to be a Marine, but he was unable to fulfill that dream, so he became and Alaska State Trooper instead. But I could see that look in his eyes, and I knew that there was something about it that still held his heart. I know that if he was alive today, there would be nothing in the world that could’ve stopped him from watching my son get sworn in, and I doubt that we could keep him from attending the graduation in San Diego to see Jeremy in his dress whites.
We know that Jeremy arrived safely at boot camp because he left us such a sweet heartfelt message. My phone rang at precisely 11:15 pm on Monday night, and in my stuper deep into a dream, I didn’t realize that the chanting “Glenn’s the man” ringtone was actually my phone and not the crowd cheering me on as I sang on stage in my dream. By the time I realized it was my phone, it had quit ringing and the red glow of the voicemail message caught my eye. Fearing the worst, I listened to the message that melted my heart. It was so sweet that I thought I would share it with all of you, I am sure Jeremy wouldn’t mind. He was obviously sharing from his heart. Just click on the little play button, but first you may want to get some Kleenex.
I realize this is a long process, and I also realize that until he graduates, he will only be a recruit. But none-the-less I am proud that he has taken the first step, which is almost always the hardest step. Hopefully, the next time I blog about him he will be in his dress whites with his patented Jeremy smile, weigh about 15 pounds more, and be ready to head to his first post. No matter what, one thing I know for sure, the next time I see him, he will own at least two more knives, and possibly another gun.