The official looking packet sat on my desk,
signed for by Angie, and waiting for my signature (and nonrefundable check). The
fact that I’d finally taken the plunge and decided NIMR should be a sponsor in the upcoming Santa Barbara Marathon had
nothing to do with Lee having registered for the main event. Coincidences happen all the time. In fact, I hadn’t even
known he was interested until it was a fait accompli, water cooler gossip that Morton was riding him hard, forcing him to
run up and down the stairs here when they both, by rights, were supposed to be
enjoying a leisurely shore leave!
I even had a call from some of the country
club members as to ‘what the hell
was I thinking, using the golf course for my employees to train for the run!’ What
I was I thinking? A little investigation (asking Angie) determined that the ‘special T-time’ was arranged by Morton. Without any influence on my part,
thank you very much. Besides, Chip and Lee mostly used the perimeter of the course in the few days since they’d started.
What irked some of the golfers was the way their wives, golfers too, some of them, tended
to get distracted. I can just imagine.
Morton and Crane. They usually sent shivers of excitement (or should I say lust) up the spines of most of the female staff
here, why not the women on the golf course or at the breakfast café overlooking the lush green grass. Not my boy’s fault
they were both blessed (or plagued depending on your point of view) with good looks to the opposite sex
I been influenced, I asked myself, pondering the last irate phone call about using my undue influence. Had Lee ever even
mentioned in passing he’d like to attempt bursting his heart along ‘America’s Rivera’ ? Past Lemon and avocado orchards, the picturesque Mesa community then down toward the Pacific to the waiting
fiesta with food, music and fun. Well, maybe he had. I just couldn’t remember and no doubt tongues were already wagging
that the ‘old man’(technically that was a term that should have been used for Lee, not me, in the finest Naval
tradition) might have ‘suggested’ it.
If I denied it, no-one would believe me. I
was Lee’s boss. He’d been compared by some Washington bigwigs as my pet dog who would come to any whistle
and do my bidding in a heartbeat. Hah! They’ve never been aboard Seaview! Lee defies me when it suits him, and that
happens a lot. His job, command Seaview, accomplish the mission, and bring her home safe. Protect his ‘best girl’
and crew from me at times. Protect me from myself. (I’m a scientist first, a sailor second and I freely admit
I’ve put the boat in harm’s way on some of our expeditions, letting Lee fix things and pick up the pieces)
While I wouldn’t be able to stop the
ugly rumors about forcing Lee into the marathon, there was something I could do to show my support.
I called Doc away from his BBQ lunch. (I really
had no choice, this was an emergency as yet another document awaited my signature and check) Then I told him my plans.
For a moment I thought he was going into hyperventilating shock. Then he asked if I was truly serious.
Once it was clear I was, he shook his head
saying there were going to have to be some big changes, set up an appointment with some specialists he knew, then ‘got
the hell out of Dodge’ as I was going to be a bear to live with for the next few months.
I signed both forms, enclosed the checks,
and gave them to Angie to mail. All done.
Now all I have to do is go buy some shoes,
break them in, call Chip and see if he has it in his heart to yell at me as well as at Lee. Will have to do a little persuading,
I’m sure. But it’s for a good cause, isn’t it? Supporting Lee
in his noble quest. I can just see us now as we pass by the avocados. Side by
side, or at least in the same flood of over a hundred runners.
Heavens, what have I done. Too late to back
out, the mail’s already gone, my entry registration with it. Of course,
Doc’ll have to ride shotgun on the golf cart. Along with a resuscitator and extra Gatorade until I he or I call it quits
to the training. Or will we?