Washington column for April 11

Smooth sailing

Steven Nelson left his family on April 2 to serve in the U.S. Navy, due to arrive the next day at Recruit Training Command (RTC, also known as boot camp) in Great Lakes, Ill. When he arrives at boot camp, the recruits will be formed into divisions and assigned three recruit division commanders (RDCs).

During the first week, known as in-processing days, forms are filled out, medical and dental exams given, inoculations administered and haircuts received. Steven would not let his mom give him his first haircut, although she is a hairdresser.

There’s no turning back now for future sailor Steven Nelson (center), posing here with dad Bruce and mom Kim at the Culpeper Armed Forces Recruiting Center on April 1. Courtesy photo.
There’s no turning back now for future sailor Steven Nelson (center), posing here with dad Bruce and mom Kim at the Culpeper Armed Forces Recruiting Center on April 1. Courtesy photo.

During their seven-week stay at RTC, the RDCs work together to mold the new recruits into sailors. RDCs are chief petty officers or senior petty officers specially selected for their leadership and teaching abilities. They represent and teach Navy tradition, customs and discipline.

At the end of the seventh training week, recruits undergo a final evaluation called Battle Stations 21. This 12-hour event culminates in the award of a Navy ball cap to replace the recruit ball cap worn during training. The symbolic change of hats indicate their status as sailors in the World’s Finest Navy.

“Local 4-H has given Steven a good foundation in teamwork and leadership, as well as his five years in the Rappahannock County High School Band, where he again learned teamwork, marching and performance – which he will do a lot of in boot camp,” said Steven’s mother, Kim.

He will miss everyone in his hometown, but will never forget his friends or the Rappahannock night sky. Steven loves the stars out here; I first got to know him through our astronomy class at Lord Fairfax Community College.

Steven graduates on May 24 and then goes on to South Carolina for the nuclear power program for 18 months. Bruce and Kim Nelson, his proud parents, will travel to see him graduate.

Steven – your parents wish you smooth sailing all the way.

Birthday wishes

Birthday wishes go out to my special and only granddaughter, Allie Fox, who celebrates her day next Tuesday (April 16). Happy birthday, Allie!

Adams’ solo show

Washington’s own Kevin H. Adams’ fourth solo exhibition at Gallery Plan B (1530 14th St. NW, Washington, D.C.) is open now and runs through May 12, noon to 7 Wednesday-Saturday and 1 to 5 Sundays. Adams uses the plein-air paintings exhibit to expand on his love of the Shenandoah region where he lives – the feeling of being there, the sounds and smells and the connection with a particular place. For more informtion, visit galleryplanb.com or call 202-234-2711.

Art opening

R.H. Ballard Art, Rug & Home invites you to their next art opening: Janet Brome’s, “Recent Work” opens on Saturday, April 20, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Rappahannock Cellars wines and light fare will also be served.

Riddled in Rhyme

As spring unfolds, Mandalele is planting the seeds of music to sprout in hearts and minds everywhere. “Riddled in Rhyme,” the trio’s debut CD, releases on April 23 and is available on CD Baby, Amazon and iTunes. Come out and help to celebrate the release at a party from 7 to 10 p.m. at the RAAC Community Theatre on April 27. Long-ago Rappahannock resident Bobbi Carmitchell performs the opening set, Mandalele plays two more sets and Ben Stowe entertains guests with his old-time fiddle music during the breaks. There will be refreshments and door prizes.

Tickets are $10 at the door ($8 in advance, children 12 and younger are free). Tickets available at Tula’s Off Main, Sperryville Corner Store, Ginger Hill Antiques and on the band’s website (mandalele.com). 

Mandalele is the collaborative creation of three singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist women: Lorraine Duisit, Frances Miller and Wendi Sirat. The trio blends three-part harmonies with sparkling strings and toe-tapping rhythms. Their spirited sound touches the soul, and brings audiences along on a journey that travels from valleys of deep introspection to promontory reflections on the beauty of nature and joyful expressions of life.

The Trinity Festival

Trinity Episcopal Church’s third annual festival is 10 to 5 p.m. Saturday (April 20) and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday (April 21). Arts, crafts and books are available both days. Saturday features a cookout and auction in the evening, while Sunday features brunch at noon, local music in the sanctuary and Evensong with world-renowned organist Ronald Stolk. For more information, call 540-675-3442 or visit facebook.com/TrinityFestival.

Blaze a new trail

No plans for Sunday, April 21? Then head over to town hall from 2 to 4 p.m. and enjoy a presentation on the Civil War Trail markers by the Rappahannock Historical Society. The program covers information about the markers, their local subjects related to our local history, how they were conceived and what’s planned for the future. Refreshments will be served. For more information, call 540-675-1163.

Have a great week!