Thursday, October 28, 2004

Letters, Blessed Letters

Sprout's letters finally started arriving the other day. In this age of instant communications, getting hand-delivered personal mail is quite a novelty. It was so exciting to open the mailbox and get just a glimpse of the corner of his letter beneath a Citibank credit card offer, a bill from the YMCA and a Sam's Warehouse flyer. I swear, I could wallpaper the Pentagon with all the junk mail I get. And it wasn't just one letter, but two. Apparently the recruits thought that their letters were being mailed immediately but they were actually held up in some drill sergeant's office for a week or so. I reckon Uncle Sam didn't want us to have an address to write to our soldiers during the first few weeks. I suppose a letter from home to a homesick soldier during the Total Control phase doesn't help matters much. I sat down and wrote a long letter and mailed it at the post office the next morning, so I hope he got it today.

And now today, there is another letter. His letters are so good to read. He sounds like he is adjusting well, even if it is hard. He says he went to the gas chamber this week, I can't wait to hear about that. He says he will call us the first chance he gets, which I expect will be this weekend since Red phase should end tomorrow, I think.

Until I hear his voice again, a blessing for Sprout:

"May the Lord bless you and keep you; May the Lord let his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; May the Lord look upon you kindly, and give you peace." Numbers 6:24-26

Friday, October 22, 2004

My Favorite Week

No word from my Red Phase boy. An address would be nice but I have come to the conclusion that the Army probably doesn't want them getting mushy letters while in Red Phase. I will probably get his address soon as I'm hoping he'll be entering the White Phase any day now. I'm kind of beginning to understand all the mind games they play. How else can you train a man to kill another man? It's not a natural thing.

All that being said, I don't think Sprout could have picked a better time to join up. It's fall, the air is crisp, those long hot days of summer are could be worse. For me, too, this is the best time. We're heading into my most favorite week of every four years, the last week before the presidential election (better known as The Hitsay It'shay the Anfay Week). Anything can happen politically in the next few days, and I just love politics. It's the only sport I understand. And everything political will keep my mind off of my woes.

This should be a very defining election, the first one with real internet influence. With cable TV and the internet, Americans are finding out that they can customize the news to fit their own views. No more taking the word of a fatherly Walter Cronkite-type or any other news anchor for gospel. We, the people, are now truly free. The SwiftVets and the bloggers have proven that. All of the sudden, the small voice in the wilderness can have a stinging impact.

Think of sentence can be posted and within mere hours or even minutes, can be read by throngs of people. What massive power this is. Makes me wonder if the way we do politics will soon change. If nothing else, it will make reporting politics a lot more honest...just ask Dan Rather.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Vote For Your Favorite Candidate in Drag - Below

A cousin posted these pictures on our family website. They are just too funny. You know, I had planned to vote for Bush, but John Kerry is looking pretty good here. Ooohchee Mama!

Kerry Posted by Hello

Bush Posted by Hello

Where Are the Other Moms of Soldiers

Again no word from "the camp". Sprout laughed at me before he left every time I referred to him as "going to camp". He said "Mom, is that what you think it is? Camp?" Anyway...I've been searching the web for other mothers of children at Fort Jackson at the present time but they are nowhere to be found. I have come across a couple of drill sergeant blogs that are real interesting. One in particular is here. This guy scares the living daylights out of me, but he writes really well. I can't stop reading his stuff. From his archives, I can tell that he is not my son's DI (Drill Instructor) as his cycle started a few weeks earlier than Sprout's but I am sure they will chance to meet before it is all over. (A prayer) "Dear Lord, don't make me have to get that man in the hippie-hold and hurt him. Let him be nice to my little Sprout. Amen". Of course, should he perchance read this and determine which of those maggots is my boy, there could be hell to pay. Oh well, hopefully it'll make my boy a better soldier. He may never speak to me again, but he might not get kilt on the battlefield neither. One day he might even thank me.

Speaking of soldiers, last week a platoon in entire platoon...decided not to show up for an assigned mission to deliver fuel. Now, I'm not sure how to react to this. I have read three or four different says the vehicles they were driving were not in good working order, one says the fuel they were delivering was contaminated, one says the mission was too dangerous. What I'm wondering is how all these soldiers got to make these long calls home from Iraq, a country without hardly running water much less telephone service, when my young'un can't even get a blasted 3 minute call from South Carolina. I sure would like to know all the rest of this story. I bet that smooth-writing drill sergeant has an idea or two. I'll be checking out his site to see.

Be nice now.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

All is Quiet on the Southeastern Front

Another day of no news from my soldier.

I wonder what he would think if he came home and found out we had turned Amish?

Huh? Something to ponder while I wait.

Monday, October 11, 2004

An Uplifting Word

I found this poem and it fits this blog. Kind of reminds me of a drill sergeant. Right now I don't like drill sergeants very much but, hey, they must have the hardest job in the world. Anybody that can take a group of mostly men and bring them under complete control in a matter of weeks deserves my praise. Here's to them.

by Edgar A. Guest
I'd rather see a sermon
Than hear one any day.
I'd rather one should walk with me
Than merely show the way.
The eye's a better pupil
And more willing than the ear.
Fine counsel is confusing
But example's always clear.
And best of all the preachers
Are the men who live their creeds
For to see good put in action
Is what everybody needs.
I soon can learn to do it
If you'll let me see it done.
I can see your hands in action
But your tongue too fast may run.
And the lecture you deliver
May be very fine and true
But I'd rather get my lesson
By observing what you do.
For I may misunderstand you
And the high advice you give
But there's no misunderstanding
How you act and how you live.

Columbus Day Blues

Yesterday was Sunday, and I sat near the phone all day. It occurs to me that I cannot do this for the next nine weeks. Sprout's girlfriend checked her messages and said he did try to call her, but she had left her cell phone in the car and missed the call. I hate that he didn't get to talk to anyone. Of course, Dad is wondering why he called the girlfriend and not us. Well...duh Dad! He's young and in love and away from his comfortable home and under a lot of stress. The last thing he wants is us peppering him with questions like "is it hard?", "have you made any friends?", "do you need anything?".

I don't want this blog to become a "weeping mother's forum" although the intermittent depression that falls on me when I don't get a letter or a phone call would make that appropriate. I want this to be an uplifting blog so I will look for good things to add here. No more sappy "he didn't call....waaaaaaaahhhhhh" posts.

My next post will be a fun one. Consider this a fair warning.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Thank God for Snail Mail


Sprouts letter arrived today. Who knew my son could write? I have been anticipating and dreading this letter, both at the same time. Anticipating it just to know that he is still there, but dreading what he might say in it. Well, my son is much more grown up than I expected. The letter he wrote to us is one I might have expected to write to him. He says that "it is hell's okay though because I'm gonna try my hardest to get through it all". His words are encouraging, boosting me up when I expected them to be more hopeless. I think I have underestimated my child. His letter is just what I needed. Of course, it made me cry. But I'm so darn proud of what he is doing. I hope this will affect him in a good way all his life. Maybe this weekend, a phone call.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Still No Letter -

No letter again today.


Please God, a letter tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

No Letter Yet But The Garbage Man Cometh

Well, that fifteen-second phone call on Sunday only served to make me feel sad for a day and guilty every time I open the fridge or sit in front of the TV or do any other normal thing that Sprout is now not allowed to do. He said he had written us letters so I rush home from work each day, ready to pounce on the mailbox or mailman, whichever holds his letter telling me not to worry, but alas, none yet. Perhaps tomorrow.

It's funny, as mid-life approaches, the things that make us happy. Trying to get my mind off of Sprout and his current arrangements, I have become obsessed with the garbage. Yes, the garbage. Today was the first day of garbage pickup with our new automated garbage trucks. The city issued all households a brand new, nifty ninety-six gallon trash can with the city seal emblazoned on one side and a twelve-digit serial number on the other side. I love my new trash can. Heck, it's large enough to hold 2 dead bodies. I named it Brownie. It's brown. But, with the new truck, comes new pickup times and I had to leave for work and missed the debut pickup by two hours. But I heard from neighbors that it was an incredible show. With only one operator instead of the usual three, and two (count them, TWO!) steering wheels, this machine is on par with the International Space Station. A huge arm swings down and picks up Brownie like a soldier returning from war picks up his five-year-old daughter (who was only four when he left) and lifts her high into the air as if to send her soaring to heaven, but never letting go. I'm sure Brownie smiled her trashy smile when it was her turn to be lifted. Unfortunately, garbage pickup with this new stud-wagon is only once a week, instead of twice, so Brownie will have to wait a week for her next thrilling pickup. She sits and waits near the back gate with bated breath resting on two back wheels, lid slightly open, awaiting gifts for her beloved.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Speaking of Empty Nests

Years ago when I was a young mom, an older woman I worked with found this cute little poem and I've never forgotten it. I don't know who the author is but I'd like to give them due credit, so if you know, let me know. There may even be more to this poem, but these lines are all I remember.

The doctor says that I'm depressed
Because I fear the empty nest.
But doctor, if the truth be known,
My full-fledged birds won't fly alone.
They like their freedom, true enough
But wing back home when winds get rough.
Yes, the empty nest may make me cry
But, Doctor dear, I'd love to try.

Well, He's Gone

Blogger: User Profile: StoicMom
A few days ago my youngest son left to join the U.S. Army. It seems like it's been months. As I was creating this weblog, he called for the first time since leaving. He sounds so...sad, and he hasn't even left the reception battalion yet. From what I have read online, things began to get much worse next week when he actually begins his training. I have successfully fought off tears all week, until today... until I heard his voice. That was thirty minutes ago and I am still wiping away tears. And I ain't no crying woman.

I know he will do well and he will succeed, but I admit I am a mother hen and will need some bayonet training of my own to relieve my aggressive tendencies toward any Drill Sergeant that yells at my baby. It's alright for ME to call him the scum of the earth, but I'll be day-ummed if anybody else will do it. Perhaps that is why I am not allowed to go to basic training with him.

Anyway, I'll use this blog as a diary and sounding board until graduation day when I get my boy back as a man. If any other new (or old) military moms have any advice for this empty-nester, I'll take it.