April 04, 2003

Phone Call

JOHN
Hi babe, how are you doing?

ME
I'm in bed, in pain. The yard looks great though!

JOHN
(laughing)
Why didn't you make WildChild cut the grass? She loves to do that. Take advantage of it before she figures out it is really work.

ME
I would have, but the grass was still a little damp and you had to stop every few feet and let the grass unclump from under the mower. I made her pick up grass instead.

JOHN
Did you mail the box yet? I thought of something I could use. My sleeping bag smells as bad as I do. Can you send some Febreeze?

ME
I mailed the box this morning. No Febreeze but there is a nice little surprise for you.

JOHN
(ignoring the surprise comment)
I have to set up a field laundry. The clothes should dry fast enough. (more laughing)

ME
I also had to mail an envelope. I was so smart that I forgot to put the letters in the box. Had everything taped up and then looked on the desk. There they were.

JOHN
(finally registering the word "surprise")
OOOO, what did you send?

ME
The one thing you couldn't fit in with your gear....a pillow!

Y'all, you'd have thought I told him I was mailing a million dollars. In addition to the shower gel and baby wipes there are some newspapers, cigs and the much coveted pillow. Who knew that something so small and cheap would be such a big hit?

We also discussed some of the more personal things that are going on with me right now. John was so sweet and said that he wished he was home to share in my happiness. I told him about the letters and phone call and his response was, "oh....OHHHH!" It was quite sweet.

Someone at work asked me if John and I send letters all the time. We actually don't. I would be the one that writes, he would be the one that talks. When he went to Korea before WildChild and I, the phone calls would be almost comical. It is almost like John has to get out his daily talk quotent. If he doesn't, he saves it all up for me. I am anti-girly in that I usually don't like spending a lot of time on the phone. I am much more comfortable corresponding with my fingers rather than my voice. Strange, I know. Anyway, he had access to regular email and all, but they were always very short and to the point. The phone calls however, were long and sweet. Even the boring details of his day would bring us just a bit more closer. Hearing about how he is sleeping and eating lets me know that he is at least taking care of himself. Having him talk to me about the people he works with lets me know that he isn't just sitting around doing nothing. (actually, that wouldn't be possible....John is always doing something!)

There are times that I think of John and I as some old married couple. We have been together so long that the long, flowery, mushy letters just don't happen. I don't think that either of us is really sad about that fact. It just isn't "us" so to speak. Having the same, boring conversation that we would have had if he was right here with me, those mean more to us than anything. Those are the conversations that I miss the most. I miss the constant hugs and kisses, but mostly, I just miss talking to him on a daily basis.

Posted by rowEn at 10:52 AM | Comments (2)

Women in the Military

I am getting a little tired of the whole "women in the military" debate. As a nation, we have come so far in trying to have equality for women. Why then can't we accept the fact that a woman has decided that serving her country could be worth her life? What has kept us tied to the belief that a woman's life is too precious to give to war? That a man's life is somehow more expendable?

Like everyone else, I am elated that PFC Lynch was rescued. I remember talking to my sister about the female POWs. On a human level, there was almost part of me that hoped they were dead rather than imagining them being raped or tortured. I shudder to think about the other two women that are still either MIA or known POW. Could that be America's position in this big debate? The horrific things that our minds let us imagine happening to women?

Yes, those things are horrible...but couldn't one also say the same thing of men? Can't a man be raped and tortured just as cruelly as a woman? I mean, nobody really wants to think of these things happening, to anyone! But the cold reality is this: It is known that there are people in Iraq who are capable of carrying out such acts against prisoners. I can tell you that this isn't something a woman thinks about when she is joining the military. I certainly didn't think about it.

I was 17 when I joined the Army. I didn't join because I had some burning desire to serve my country. I joined because I didn't want to go to college (hated school) and the job prospects without a college education were pretty limited. Sure, I was proud to serve and felt like I was doing something noble and honorable. I was lured by a decent paycheck (to a 17 year old), job training and travel. I knew that for my time in the military I would be taken care of in a sense. I would always have a place to live, always have food to eat, always have a job. War? Not even a blip on my radar screen. Being a POW? Never crossed my mind while I was perusing the catalog of possible jobs.

Men and women joining the military don't usually join with the idea of going to war. I would wager a guess that the good majority of them join for college money. Free tuition while you are in, college tuition fund when you get out. Where else can you get that while working full time? Where else will also clothe you, feed you and shelter you at the same time? For young adults that perhaps didn't have the grades for a scholarship, don't have parents that can afford to pay for college, it isn't a bad deal. You can get four years of job training, an education, and travel to other countries and have some wonderful experiences. The majority of the time, it all works out. The soldier gets their education, the military gets a soldier, and America gets protection.


Most people who have never served in the military will never understand what it really feels like. I was very lucky that during my time in the Army, I was never called on to go to war. I was sent to Germany during a period of time when terrorists were targeting Americans and trying to kill us. Was I scared? Well...no. I was 19 people, nothing could kill me! Weren't we all invincible at that age? You don't think about your life being in danger. You don't think about people trying to kill you. You are in a foreign country, seeing new places and meeting new friends. Yes, I can look back now and think about all the stupid things I did on my own. Walk around the red light district on my own while waiting for a train? Yes. I even remember laughing at a friend who sounded concerned that I had done so. I had no qualms about walking into a bar on my own and having a beer. I could get small change for the dart machine, a good beer and an even better dinner. I was enamored by the boys wanting to talk to me and practice their English while trying to teach me German. Would I do such a thing now? Probably not....but you never know. :)

This entry brought to you by the words "pain" and "meds"...which means I am off to bed!

Posted by rowEn at 12:47 AM | Comments (0)