• Chapter 82: “Stay Gold”

    March 23, 2016
  • I wrote to my sister, Robin, in a letter that was actually dated March 20th. I started off talking about the weather. "It's getting hotter every day. Could you send me an air conditioner? How about some ice cubes? A Refrigerator?"

    "Well, we had some Saudi ice cream today but I couldn't eat more than one bite. It tasted terrible. The meal itself was pretty good. Our own cooks from 10th Marines are cooking for us. Today we had chili mac, a choice of green peas or stewed tomatoes (needless to say I picked the peas.), fruit cocktail, a brownie, and a poor excuse for ice cream. I also had an ice cold Pepsi. You can tell everyone that I don't need any more food. An occasional package with chips & dips, crackers and cheese spread, and chocolate pudding will work beautifully. You may also want to refrain from sending chocolate candy since it's getting so hot now. And tell Linda I got her Easter card and package today. I think it's her birthday today too, isn't it? Tell her happy birthday for me. While you're at it tell Ashley, Caron, and James too even though their's is past. Isn't David's in April?"

    "I wrote Kay for the second time today. I wrote about six or seven letters today in fact. I was gear guard so I had plenty of time. A gear guard is someone who stays back at the tent, or wherever there's gear to be guarded, while everyone else is gone."

    "I got the tape recorder you sent. It's a nice one. I'm keeping it in the Ziplock bag whenever I'm not using it. I'll try to make a tape and send it to you when I can. I have a present for Ashley & David.Maybe after making a tape, I'll send a small package home."

    "Well, I have to go for now. Tell Ashley & David I promise to take them to Showbiz when I get back. Say hello to everyone for me. Love you all."

    I got a letter from my best friend, Chris. He writes, "What up homey? You sent me three letters which I really appreciate. Each letter was better than the last. I'm trying to get this letter off before you come back (Lord's will). I miss you man, please be careful coming home. God wants you, but we still need you down here because everywhere you go you are an inspiration. I keep thinking about when you return how we can start where we left off. I never told you this but you are the best friend I have had since I was 12 years old and I know you are worth the wait. You are my closest friend and I love you like a brother. We share the same interests, We are both Christians, And a lot more so 'Stay Gold.'" Chris was a big fan of the Outsiders ("Stay gold Ponyboy").

    "Richard started calling and it was good hearing from him for the first 20 times, then it started getting old. But I still talk to him." Richard was another mutual friend of ours who had no job and was bored so he called a lot. "I called Robin to see if you were in yet, but she said it would probably be late April so I wanted to send this letter off before you got back."

    "Marlene and Billy are doing fine; we have a video and pictures of the wedding so when you get in come on by and check them out." Chris got married while I was deployed overseas. I originally was to be the Best Man but fate had other plans. Marlene was his wife and Billy was Marlene's foster child at the time. "I have it all planned out, when you get in, you ARE going to spend some time with us. You are going to tell us some stories, we are going to sit around and talk, see the latest movies you want to see, go to Bonanza (one of our favorite restaurants), Panchos, Furr's, Taco Bell, and just have a good time. All you have to do is show up." For years our idea of having a good time was eating out and going to the movies. I do miss the Bonanza. For $8 we could get the chop steak, baked potato, and salad bar. We went so often they knew our order by heart, especially since we both ordered the exact same thing.

    "I can't wait for you to see this house, you will not recognize it. Is a far cry from the bachelor's pad we once had (We used to be room mates). There's so much I want to get with you about but I want to save some for the next letter or until you get home. Well Homey I'm going to peace out of here."

    As great as it was to get letters from home, it was also driving up the anxiety level of wanting to go home. We had not been told yet when we could go, but we were hearing rumors all of the time. We were starting to grow impatient.

    “Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” 
    ― Aristotle