With the release of the book No Easy Day, there is a lot of talk about Navy SEALs this week. I can see why so many people want to read about the SEAL team and that particular mission. There is a mystique about who these guys are and what they do. A book from a team member is an enticing look inside for us mere mortals.
I prefer the other side of that world. Some might say it’s the boring side, but I heartily disagree. I was lucky enough to have a SEAL as a brother (from another mother) for almost 20 years. I was obviously not privy to what he did on the job. But I got to witness just about everything else–as a friend, a neighbor, a movie buddy, a dive bar patron, and a pen pal. Here’s what I learned about SEAL life. Or, at least, the life of our SEAL.
- Almost every little kid has superhero aspirations. Astronaut, Batman, cowboy, whatever. How many people do you know who actually did it? I know one. One.
- They really, really appreciate a home-cooked Thanksgiving when they’re far from family. And they’re super forgiving when you’ve forgotten to defrost the turkey and have to give them four hours of appetizers before the meal is ready. Thank God for Doritos and muffins. Just like the pilgrims ate!
- SEALs like to unwind like any other group of young guys. Only louder.
- They will sometimes borrow the tools at the team shop to make homemade wooden birthday presents.
- Some of them read lots of Harry Potter.
- Their big sister is one of their best friends.
- They are awesome at remembering every special occasion. I suspect that they may own stock in Hallmark. No Mother’s Day, anniversary, Groundhog Day, or Valentine’s Day go unrecognized.
- They send postcards from EVERYWHERE.
- If a child hands them a pretend phone and says “Ring! Ring!” they will absolutely stop what they’re doing and answer it. And make-believe chat for 10 minutes.
- They love fiercely, they fight bravely, and they make killer huevos rancheros.
If you read No Easy Day, stop periodically and picture one of the SEALs sporting lambchop sideburns for 70s night at a baseball game. Or bowling in rented shoes. Or thoroughly enjoying a chick flick. These things are just as important to the story even if they’re missing from the page.
For those of us who miss them keenly, the only easy day was yesterday.
I was always so grateful to Gus for being your brother from another mother. Even though you were across the country from us, I knew there was always someone looking out for you, especially when deployment left you alone. I treasure the T-shirt he sent me after I casually mentioned how much I liked the one he had. I feel so fortunate to have known Gus and would have been so proud to have been his “real” mother. How we still miss him……
Wow, just when I think I’m doing fine, I lost it on the superheroes. What a perfect and loving tribute – he would have smiled. And I’m alternating between crying and laughing, so well done, my friend!
He made lots of people’s lives better just by passing through. It made me smile when trying to decide which memories to include. There are way too many!
talking about him just minutes ago…and mike and how monumental an impact they both made on our lives. our rainbow zebra stripe LOVE carving hangs proudly in our bedroom and is a constant reminder of one SEAL’s imprint on our lives and hearts. thanks em…grateful and such a perfectly fitting tribute to such am amazing human being.
Emmy you are such a great writer. Fantastic job honoring these men!
This is wonderful, Em!!! Just like Kristi, it made me laugh and cry. He was certainly our superhero!
Wonderful man. Wonderful writer.
Every time the phone rang and I heard a voice on the other side say, “hair head, I’ll be in LA tomorrow are you free around xx time?” I knew another visit where I felt only days had gone by between our visits opposed to months or even years would soon happen. The best afternoon I ever had was when I was able to be on the field of the Rose Bowl the day the Leap Frogs jumped for one of our games. For a decade, the framed autograph photo of their team has hung in my office. Thanks for writing, thanks for sharing. Miss you buddy.
Mike “hair head” McBride
Oh, the nicknames! He was so fantastic with nicknames that I didn’t know half of his friends’ real names. Thanks for the smile!
So well expressed. Sending a hug that’s good for anytime you need.