My thought process has gone down several rabbit holes as I’ve ruminated about refections this past week so bear with me. It’s a bit of a winding road!
The word reflection immediately took me back to this photograph….the one and only time I’ve used Photoshop to add a reflection to a picture, to alter the reality of what was in front of me.
Which took my memories back to the phone call that put us in motion towards this particular airplane at Tinker Air Force Base.
I was painting a wall at the time. It was the very last wall in the very last room of a home that we had bought in Virginia in 2004. After more than 25 years of marriage in which we had never been homeowners Jim had been assigned to the Pentagon for the fourth time and we were tired of paying other people’s mortgages so we had jumped into the market. Real estate was crazy back then. Jim was already there and working while I stayed behind in South Dakota until the school year ended. Homes were snatched up in a matter of days. I only saw the one we ended up with in photographs. When I finally arrived in Virginia I found it to be a house in a gorgeous neighborhood but it certainly needed some TLC…mainly in the form of stripping wallpaper and painting every single inch of the interior.
So I set to work.
It took me an entire year to make it through the house but there I was, perched on a ladder, paintbrush in hand, when my cell phone rang.
When a military husband’s first words are “Your’e never going to believe this….” you know the rest of the sentence might be something you’re not prepared to hear.
Jim was getting his second Wing Command at a base in Oklahoma after only a year in his current assignment and in a Wing with an airplane he had never flown. At this late point in his career we were moving to a base where we knew no one, to a city that was never on our radar.
And yes, I was just finishing up that last room. My newly painted house would be enjoyed by a family other than my own.
That assignment turned out to be a life changer for us and I can’t help but reflect on how that one phone call impacted our family. I made friends there whom I count among my closest. One of those couples, years later, ended up renting that very same house for seven years, then ended up being awesome neighbors when we kicked them out so we could retire and move back in. Another friend, over the years, has become as close to me as a sister, as we’ve alternately lived in the same town or sometimes continents away from each other. Many others remain a part of my heart and integral in my Air Force memories.
We got to know a community in a city that survived a bombing and was forever changed by it. These photos were taken on Christmas Day, 2011 when we had returned for a visit. These particular reflections mirror the collective sorrow a city has felt in times of crisis.
And perhaps the biggest impact of all….we gained a daughter-in-law from that assignment and as things tend to go….three grandchildren.
I told you this was a series of rabbit holes!
In any case, today I’m remembering the literal reflection in the water that I created underneath my photo of an AWACS and consequently, reflecting on the impact of the community, both Air Force and civilian, that resulted from that particular assignment.
This reflection, taken last night, reminds me that you never know when a phone call, or perhaps your journey over a new bridge will bring about life changes.
Sometimes, it’s only years later, that you realize what has happened.