Making Memories; Shopping Not So Much

Appreciate Your Time Together

Yesterday, I took the day off work so Mary and I could spend the day together. It is something we have not gotten the chance to do often enough lately. Our schedules just haven’t been syncing, to let us see one another more than a few hours a day lately.

This is more than just a what we did post, so bear with me, although what we did is part of the story.

Mary and I ended up going down to Portland (about an hour or so away) and did a little shopping. Neither of us are the shop till you drop types, we are more figure out what you need, go to those places and get it done. So we made 2 stops in Portland, 1 in Falmouth and 2 in Brunswick.

We didn’t go near the Maine Mall or any of the other larger shopping centers.

Hell, we didn’t even stop in Freeport. 🙂

The first stop was the Coast Guard Exchange.

While I was wandering around, I ended up in the uniform section and saw some things that brought back a flood of memories.

As I took them off the wall…

Coast Guard Memories

I thought back to when I put on my first pair on as a Third Class Petty Officer on the USCGC SPAR (WLB 403) and how the other Petty Officers on the ship tacked on my crow (I couldn’t lift my arm too well for a couple of days) and how they threw me in Portland Harbor off the buoy deck that morning. Then how proud I was when I got on the mess deck that afternoon and received my first set of collar devices from YN2 Matthews and SK2 Marasca.


I wonder where John and Freddie are today, Clint McGraw, David Hillier, Dallas Burke and all the rest. When I look back, it was one of the very few times in my life that I really felt that I fit in and was accepted for who I was. All too often I am the square peg, attempting to fit into a much smaller round hole.


I thought about how much I and things have changed since that day so many years ago.

What I was holding in my hand were replicas of the last pair of collar devices I wore as a CWO3 (PERS), while I was looking at the 3rd Class Petty Officer devices on the wall.

Mary came up, saw I was holding something and asked me if I okay and if was going to buy them. I must have had that glassy-eyed “Harold is somewhere else look”. I quickly thought about it, looked longingly at them, but really, when will I ever wear my uniform again?  I told her not today, maybe some other time.

I put them back on the wall and walked away.

An awful lot of life happened for me while wearing Coast Guard collar devices.

Back in the truck we even talked about what might have been for little bit.

Moving on

Then we stopped at Fleet Feet Sports. Bennie got his Portland walk in along the path behind the store. Yes, Bennie even pooped right beside the bird skeleton and had that big-arse doggie smile on his face when he finished. Yes, we cleaned it up with a McDonald’s bag that I picked up earlier just for that purpose.

When we went inside I drooled over some running shoes, disagreed with the salesperson on whether the Inspire 13’s were an improvement of the 11’s I was wearing and yes, I believe that a couple of ounces added to a pair of shoes did make a difference in how a pair of running shoes feel. I didn’t get to look at the FR35 – it was out of stock, Mary almost got a pair of running shorts and we ended up getting out of there without buying anything.

There is just something about the Portland Fleet Feet Sports, that I can’t put my finger on, but it doesn’t seem as warm or welcoming as it did when it was the Maine Running Company, in the old store on Forest Ave. Mary hadn’t been to the new store before yesterday and we talked about it for a couple of minutes after we left. The staff was nice enough and everything, but it just seems to be a totally different atmosphere, something is missing, I don’t know what it is, but I don’t think I will go out of my way to be back anytime soon.

Oh well, I guess I am just an old fool, but I know what I know.

Iimg_20161122_151305057n Falmouth we treated Bennie to his Burger, yeah we ate at McDonald’s. No, not from the bag in back of the truck, which I promptly disposed of in a garbage can. 😉

Yes, we both dote on and spoil Bennie – that ain’t changing anytime soon. He is the closest thing to the two of us will ever come to having a child together.

McDonald’s – I know healthy, but hey, once in awhile ain’t too bad. We both got pretty much the same thing even though we went in separately to order and laughed about how predictable we were and just sat in the truck with Bennie, yakking and talking.

Brunswick was Mary hitting Hannaford for Thanksgiving supplies and then we headed over to Dick’s to finish up the shopping. We decided that we should just get the presents while they were in stock and not worry about getting the best price. I even offered to put my old one in the new box instead, she laughed and said “No.”

We then headed to ACAR to pick up Mary’s Maxima and headed home

So what was so important about this day.

It would seem pretty normal to most people, in fact they would say it was a rather boring day. Another old married couple out shopping, with a dog in the truck with them. The most many people might have noticed would have been two people who are pretty comfortable around one another.

It was much more than that – to me.

You see we love one another and actually do enjoy spending time together.

We just don’t get a chance to do it all that often.

Like for many people  – life gets in the way.

It was special

Yesterday, we got to talk, hold hands, laugh together, enjoy each other’s company, yeah and Bennie’s too. Getting to spend time together as a couple, beyond the house was the important thing. Sometimes the everyday things we do are taken for granted and not seen as the precious time together that it is.

Take it from an old fart, spend time with the ones you love, when and while you can. Life happens and gets in the way more often than not. If you do not purposely make the time to be together, time “suddenly” slips through your fingers.

Then you ask “Where did our lives go, what did we do?”

What I want answer when Mary asks this question.

“I spent it with you, my love.”


Take a day off work in the middle of the week, for no other reason than to spend time with the ones you love. We all do not do it often enough.

Think about what is actually important in your life.

Often it is the simple things in life and how you spend your time, not your money that are what are important.

Every day we add to our life’s story and the memories we create. Mary and I were very lucky to have yesterday and that we were able to add more memories of our life together. So that someday in the future we can talk about the day we went down to Portland shopping with Bennie and maybe have a small tear roll down our cheeks, because it was a wonderful day spent together and a memory that we will not forget.

I know that I won’t.

Like the memory, I had of first pinning on those collar devices so many years ago.

Yeah, the shopping yesterday, was a very minor side note in this part of the story. That Mary and I were together, with Bennie was what was special about yesterday and made the memory one I will not forget.



  1. Wonderful post and thoughts – all of this ‘stuff’ being pushed with HUGE DEALS means so little in the grand scheme, and the moments we can create with loved ones means so much. Glad you were able to carve some special time with Mary 🙂 And hope you guys had a great Thanksgiving!


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