Living in Paradise

Known and Unknown

Known and Unknown

Sometimes you hear things first – or at least early – on our little island. I’m not talking about local gossip but potentially serious stuff that may or may not make you feel good.

Like this morning. I was headed to the post office to pick up our mail when I ran into a friend. I asked her about her Memorial Day, and she said she spent the weekend babysitting with her teenage grandchildren. We both laughed about how spending time with your children and grandchildren doesn’t mean you get to see much of them.

“They were holed up in their rooms the whole weekend. I was by the pool reading a good book,” she said.

She went on to explain that the reason she was babysitting is that her son-in-law had been called up to attend the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, for five weeks. He’s been in the Naval Reserves for 10 years, and this is the first time something like this has happened, she explained.

“That doesn’t sound good,” I responded.

She agreed but had no other information. So I left, mail in hand, to meet another friend for breakfast. She’s interesting but had nothing earthshaking to share.

Afterward, I was off to the grocery store and, again, an accidental meeting with a male friend in the parking lot. We were both leaving, and the noonday heat was building. No time for prolonged chit chat when the chicken in the trunk of your car is working on developing a good case of salmonella.

“Hey, have you heard anything about unusual activity at the Naval War College?” I inquired. Normally that wouldn’t be parking lot conversation, but it happens that my friend is a former Navy man and still heavily involved in all things military, including security concerns.

“I have a friend fishing in that area. I’ll check,” he yelled back at me.

I assumed the friend was also of the military persuasion. Sure enough, in about 10 minutes my phone notified me of a text.

“The short version of what’s going on in Newport is that this shooting war in Ukraine has gone very badly for Russia and yet could get worse … a wounded bear is dangerous,” he wrote.

His text didn’t provide much news but, on the other hand, it felt like it spoke volumes. Once the groceries were put away, I scanned the home page of the Naval War College. There is a lot going on there, as one would expect from a war college. None of it seemed out of the ordinary. But it’s not like anyone there would be publicly talking about heightened military planning and training in places like Newport. And maybe shouldn’t be.

President Biden take note.

Whether or not there is something going on — and maybe it’s good if there is — is all speculation and just between you and me, the woman in the post office and the man at the grocery store for now.

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