Lessons from a Colonel’s Wife
I remember the drive to The Brother’s college town for the last time. A short 2 hours from my parents home, the drive was unusually long that day. Although there was a slight feeling of excitement in the air, the atmosphere was almost unbearable. My brother sat next to me in the back seat wearing crisp khaki’s and a tailored white dress shirt. He was chewing on his thumb nail and looking as if he was going to be sick any minute. Next to the window was my brother’s beautiful girlfriend, her long brown hair, tall stiletto heals and black cocktail dress an understated beauty that is impossible to tear your eyes from.
The Brother had been commissioned a few days earlier and came home to Kansas City to spend a few days researching and purchasing a ring for this beauty who would become my sister-in-law. We were headed to the Colonel’s house for a 3:00 lunch. We arrived in town at 2:40 and made our way to the Colonel’s house. In a fit of anxiousness, The Brother said, “NO! We can’t be early! We have to arrive at 3:00.” My mom pulled into a parking lot and gave my father, The Marine, a questioning look.
The Brother grabbed the beauty’s hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. We sat in the sweltering car for exactly 17 minutes before carrying on to arrive at the Colonel’s house at exactly 3:00. The door to the home opened as we pulled up the drive. Standing at the threshold were Colonel and Mrs. Stefan Walker. The Colonel’s arm was draped casually around the waist of this silver haired woman. The smile on their faces reached all the way to their eyes. These people were truly excited to see The Brother and his family.
We made our way into the house and were given a short tour of the home which was set amid the rolling hillside looking down at The Brother’s Alma Matter. The house was filled with unusual treasures: a 1950’s dentist chair made out of turquoise leather, African masks, Tiki Gods, crystal vases, beer steins, Japanese Kimono, and books depicting every battle ever recorded skilfully placed throughout the home. The treasures were everywhere.
Growing up in a home where everything matched and had purpose, I inquired why such an eclectic home? Mrs. Walker explained that the treasures were from the life the Marine Corps had given them. The reflections of the marriage built upon sand, ship and loneliness. 30 years of memories surrounded me in this home that I found inspiring.
After the tour and shop-talk for the men, we sat down to lunch. Colonel and Mrs. Walker were the most entertaining couple I remember. Many lessons were given that day, some to my parents, some to myself, most to my brother and his future-wife who’s life was unfolding at the dinner table.
I took several things with me that day. I was finally single and enjoying the long time ahead of me before I had to make any decisions about life. I had no idea I was to meet The Husband just a few short months later and be married within a year. I had no idea that the stories Mrs. Walker was sharing with my sister-in-law were to soon be lessons for myself.
I hope someday I can be an inspiration to young women entering the world I call mine. This military life is filled with such good things.
Stefan Walker, The Perfect Colonel’s wife, USMC
1 package fresh spinach
2 c sliced fresh strawberries
1/2 c mandarin orange segments (I used canned)
Toasted almonds, for garnish
Celery Seed Salad Dressing
2/3 c sugar*
1 t dried mustard
1 t paprika
1 t celery seed
1/4 t salt
1/3 c honey
1/3 c vinegar
1 c olive oil
1 T lemon juice
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients except the olive oil. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until the mixture thickens. Taste and re-season if necessary.
*I only use 1/3 c sugar (okay, okay, I use about 1/4 c sugar because that’s just too sweet!)
Drizzle the vinegrette over the salad and serve.
By the way: I want to wish all of my military family a Happy Military Appreciation Month. I appreciate each and every one of you, the sacrifices that you and your families make. Come back later this week for an exciting giveaway!