I fell in love with men in uniforms in high school. It only makes sense that I married one.
Dressed in his Boy Scout browns, my husband proudly walks with boys from our town in the Fourth of July parade. The boys run from one side of the street to the other passing out packaged s’mores they’ve assembled the night before at Swaim Park.
People cheer and wave as the boys pass by. Some yell out a boy’s name as they recognize a child from the neighborhood. At the parade’s end, kids wait red-faced and breathless on the curb for their parents.
“Drink, boys. Drink,” my husband tells them. It’s another hundred-degree day. The kids oblige by guzzling water like it’s an Olympic sport.
The heat is doing a number on folks. A squad in the parking lot reminds us all how dangerous hot, hot weather can be. Many families abandon festival plans and head home for air-conditioned rooms and relief. The usually crowded Montgomery Park is empty.
The boys and I decide to stay as Chaz heads back towards the junior high and the start of the parade route to pick up our car. “I won’t be long,” he says.
After half an hour, I start texting: ETA? Fifteen minutes later, I shoot off: Where are you? The kids and I are cooked. We want to leave.
Thirty minutes later, Chaz strolls up.
“Where have you been?” I start.
“We were walking up Jolain when we saw her. She was laid out,” he says. “Done.”
She is an eleventh grade girl with special needs who’s fainted from the heat. Chaz and another dad came upon her and her mom while walking back to the car.
The two men carried a cooler full of melted ice from the parade and find an extra shirt to dip in the water to help bring her body temperature down.
“We waited while the other daughter ran to get the car,” he says explaining the delay.
My frustration evaporates. He was late because he was helping a stranger. Would I expect any less from my man in uniform?