Two couples in their 50s from Southern California went sailing near Williamsburg on a beautiful fall afternoon with an astonishing statistic between them.

Patty and Chris Davis have five grandchildren while their friends Sabrina and Dave have ten. “That’s 15 of them, up to age 18,” Sabrina said. “They all live nearby, so we don’t have to do much traveling to see them. My ten are with us every weekend, it seems. When the holidays come, the number swells to 25 or 30 with all the cousins. We keep it simple, and everyone brings something to the table.”

The conversation shifted to Navy ships and in their case the USS Iowa battleship, now moored at Long Beach as a tourist attraction. Sabrina said, “As we toured the ship, I saw this little old man moving slowly about. He was looking for a bathtub, of all things. He said he was a young sailor on board during World War II when he was tasked with helping President Roosevelt get in and out of the tub.” This was in February 1943 when FDR boarded in Hampton Roads.

Sabrina also talked about a riverboat cruise she and Chris took down the Mekong River. “We traveled through Cambodia and Vietnam, and we got off to see parts of the war. We saw the Cu Chi tunnels, which were extensive and went for miles. They told us that the French knew of the tunnels from their war in the 1950s but never told the Americans. That’s amazing. You’d think our Intelligence would know that. The North Vietnamese would pop up out of these little openings, fire at US troops, and disappear. We had no idea where they were. I managed to fit in the opening of a tunnel with a box frame covering it. It was only a foot square. I wasn’t about to go all the way down. The people in the south still hate the north. They point to them and snarl, ‘VC! VC!’ for Viet Cong.”

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