My younger sister Jamie is an ensign in the United States Coast Guard, and it is public knowledge that my mom is her #1 fan. After graduating from the Coast Guard Academy earlier this year, my sister embarked on a months-long tour of destinations I did not even realize were a matter of national security.
When Jamie began sailing back to the San Francisco Bay area where she is primarily based, my mother began preparing a hero’s welcome for my sister by planning a road trip to meet Jamie when her ship pulled into harbor. After my sister’s commander casually mentioned that they would be sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge, my mom’s weekend road trip somehow evolved into an elaborate plan that included stopping on the bridge to see the ship. It is important to note that my sister’s ship is 418 feet long. And that the Golden Gate Bridge is 4,200 feet long.
My sister: So I think the earliest we should cross the Golden Gate Bridge is 0630.
Me: Mom wants to know where near the bridge you’ll be and that she’ll be waving a white scarf but not surrendering.
My sister: Where near the bridge? We’ll be sailing under it, I will be busy so I probably won’t see her.
My dad: Golden Gate is such a huge bridge – I think mom can see the boat, but I would assume it’s hard to spot an individual person.
Based on the photographic evidence, the trip was a success as far as the whole family was concerned. It wasn’t until after my sister came home to visit my parents in southern California that we learned what truly happened that fateful morning on the bridge.
My sister: So I had four binoculars and everyone looking on the ship. But when the boat docked, all of the families came on board, and I was like “…”
Everyone else: Why? What do you mean? What happened?
My mom: I went to Philz Coffee and we missed the boat pulling in.