First Day Visiting with the Troops (David Samson)
It is 10:05 p.m., and we are all going to sleep because tomorrow at 5:30 a.m. (9:30 p.m. Saturday night), we are all working out with the U.S. Marines. Logan, John, Jeff and I are competing to see who can keep up with the physical activity that awaits us. The Marines will not tell us what is in store, but I will let you know after we are done. In the meantime, our day today started with breakfast with the Troops inside a fully secure Army Base in Bahrain. Andre had a milkshake, while Logan and I shared a dozen eggs. We then drove to another base, where we passed nothing but desert on the way to a meet and greet at a secure location outside Bahrain. We visited with Troops as they told us stories of what they do every day monitoring situations in the Middle East. We were all struck by the seriousness of war, as we drove by the Persian Gulf throughout the day. Lunch was spent with a different Battalion, and I shared a meal with a Lt. Col. in the U.S. Air Force. While she was a fan of the Boston Red Sox, she wondered whether we would miss Hanley Ramirez if he were to change uniforms. After telling her that he is and will be a Marlin, she stood down. Eating lunch in the Mess Hall was fascinating, due in part to the food, but mostly because of the company. We were able to see the living quarters on the Isa Air Base, which made us even more thankful for how lucky we are to be at home each night with our families. We were able to do a clinic with over 100 children of members of military and Ex-Pats. The dads had just as much fun as the children…autographs were signed, photos were taken, and everyone had a great time. On the way back to our living quarters (hotel), we saw the Tree of Life. In the movie L.A. Story, Steve Martin describes the three most mystical places on earth. One of the three is the Tree of Life, which is located in the desert outside Bahrain. To have the opportunity to actually see the Tree was beyond description. In a desert with nothing but sand, there is one tree that stands high and has been around for over 400 years. Legend says this tree, which has no business growing in the desert, marks the location of the Garden of Evil. In any case, we ended the day back at the hotel and just finished dinner. I will keep everyone updated after the Marine workout.