Even though our neighbors were pleasantly sociable and cordial, we unconsciously isolated ourselves from the public. Except for our immediate families, Kay and I desired to devote the little time we had left to each other and Sandy. Our days and nights were filled with warm and tender love. We were inseparable.
On one bright and pleasant weekend my parents, Omer and Faye Crawford, brothers and sisters, and Kay’s family visited for a traditional farewell. It was also a farewell for my brother, Mike, who had enlisted in the Marines and would soon leave for recruit training. Though I silently opposed his decision to enlist in the Marines for our mother’s sake, I was extremely proud and grateful that he possessed the youthful courage and patriotic sense of duty in which so many his age either lacked or found disgraceful. In a few months, Mike would voluntarily waiver his right to remain out of the war zone while I was there and would join me in the rice paddies and jungles of northern South Vietnam.
The weekend was filled with many cheerful activities and constant reminiscing. My sister Peggy’s young daughters, Tammy and Debbi, and Sandy were the focus of everyone’s attention and they relished the opportunity to be at center stage. Though everyone knew the purpose of the occasion, there was never any mention of the war, the swirling turmoil over the war or the inherent pain and suffering of being separated. The weekend also marked the only time that Kay’s firm resolve and emotional courage ever cracked. Apparently affected by the persistent cheerfulness and unceasing clamor of many family members at a time in which she felt so much stress, she unashamedly and suddenly broke down and cried. Within a very short time, she regained her composure and everyone seemed to sense the need to be more considerate of individual thoughts and feelings.