Land of the Shiny Gold Shirts

Last night Brigid and I drove to a local casino.  It isn’t a real common thing, for us to break out of our comfort zones, and travel among strange people and places.  I have actually been to this particular casino a few times but never without my husband…my safety net.  We don’t gamble much – but I really like the buffet.  Any place that I can “pull up my chair” and indulge in some serious glutony…is my kind of place.

I was so proud of Brigid.  The casino is the sort of place that both of us can be swinging on the wild ride of “triggersville.”  There are very few places to put your back up against a wall…and I really like my back up against the wall.

It was an awesome time!  Since we live some distance from one another, we don’t get to see each other near as often as we would like.  We enjoyed a nice, leisurely dinner, although the prime rib was a tad tough, and each brought two desserts back to the table.  No need to hurry.  No one looking at their watches.  Then we wandered onto the casino floor. 

I like Blackjack.  I don’t trust the slots – I figure that is “their” game and someone with a key is running around tightening them up when no one is watching.  The casino can’t really effect the deal of the cards.  I’ve played Blackjack once before at the casino so I knew the dealers were always very nice and they were really understanding of someone who hasn’t played a lot of tables.  Besides – they call out what you are holding numbers wise – so I don’t have to do math.

I did okay.  I left the table with twice what I started with, so any guilt over the cost of the evening was completely erased.  Brigid knows…I worry about money.  I don’t like to waste money.  It is one of those “leftovers” that come from my unfair discharge from the Army.  You go from a paycheck that meets all of your bills to no paycheck it doesn’t take much to make money a trigger.

So we are standing in a corner of the bar watching the band.  (free live entertainment…free sodas and coffee….my kind of party!)  We noticed these two women, probably twenty years older than we are.  They are on the dance floor doing the “Achy Breaky” line dance.  One is wearing a bright paisley shirt and black “hot pants.”  The other is wearing a short black skirt and a gold lame blouse.  You couldn’t help but notice them – they were screaming “watch me!”

I couldn’t help but say to Brigid – “Promise me…in twenty years that WON’T be us!”

Of course, we both erupted into spasms of giggles, and of course, I couldn’t help but ask which one I was.  We both agreed that I would be Ms. Shiny Gold Shirt and she would be Madam Hot Pants.

It was a wonderful time.  One of the best times I have had in a long time. 

It also leads back to the questions about how other people live their lives and how we live ours.  Sure, we looked like any other crazy casino goers.  Elastic pants not included for the buffet – but essentially the same as everyone else.  However, there are always the “tells.”  A “tell” is something that a poker player does that gives away what they are holding in their hands – and I saw each of ours last night.

Cruising the buffet selections we essentially stayed together, or at least in close sight of each other, and never left one another alone.  We selected side by side bathroom stalls.  When a gentleman stepped up behind me at the Blackjack table and asked if this seat was taken – I nearly climbed over the table and onto the dealers lap.  Nothing that anyone else might have noticed…but Brigid saw the sudden stiffening.  So there comes a few moments of slow, deep breaths and careful sizing up of the newcomer.  Was he friend or was he enemy?  That moment of almost imperceptable relaxation as conversation about the intricate details of Blackjack and careful lessons caused me to feel somewhat at ease.  More importantly, the intimate knowledge that the person beside me would die to protect me and that I would do the same.  No fear – we are not alone.

My therapist tells me that girls go out like this all the time.  Guys do to.  In fact, they even seperate at the buffet and use bathroom stalls that are on opposite sides of the room.  They don’t watch over one another’s shoulders to help the other person “watch their backs.”  Apparently, they only make one plan and then stick to it.  They don’t double check and call one another and make specific arrangements of where to meet and how to get there.  I hear that sometimes people even abandon a friend and go home with someone else. 

I sometimes think that we survivors are able to empathically identify one another.  Brigid and I were friends some time before the details started to emerge.  However, I know that from the moment I met her, we were going to be bestest friends for the rest of our lives.  It is that special knowledge that the other person clearly understands my needs and I clearly understand her needs.  This is something that is rare and precious, even my husband doesn’t always get it, but she always does.  It makes us very lucky and very blessed.

More so, it enables us to step outside our “safe zones” and wander freely in the Land of the Shiny Gold Shirts.

Love ya, Man!!




2 Responses to “Land of the Shiny Gold Shirts”

  1. enemyinthewire Says:

    I laughed, I cried. Happy tears, and horrible tears. God, you nailed it on the head.

    I didn’t think that you caught I purposly chose seats that on either side of us was empty, so we wouldn’t get crowded in while playing blackjack. But when the guy sat down, I about flipped too!

    But really? People will actually split up in the casino? That is just unimaginable for me. I looked up once at the buffet, and didn’t see you. Panic seized me. But you were there. And when you left me to go get a spoon, and I just stood there looking dumb, I so wanted to run and find you…but you came back.

    BUT WE DID IT! We are going to do it again, too. 🙂

  2. equalityunited Says:

    Joan sorry but you are wrong as well, here’s my DD-214 and you can see for yourself it is exactly as I said.

    Here is the Bar to Renlistment Certificate (Front)

    Here is the Bar to Reenlistment Certificate (Rear)

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