• Chapter 87: I Didn’t Want Normal

    April 6, 2016
  • I had mentioned in an earlier post about getting a couple of medals that I don't wear. Well, there was also an unofficial promotion while I was overseas. I'll be explaining it all in a separate post, but for now I wanted to mention it briefly as it will come up in today's post.

    I had received so many letters from so many people that I had quite a collection. I must have burned over a hundred in the desert but kept quite a bit in ziploc bags. I received a letter that was written on March 22nd from a family friend named Kay. She was the wife of the soccer coach of my niece Ashely (pictured here).

    "We got your letter yesterday - it was good to hear from you! Robin said you got to call her last week. It really made her happy to hear your voice! We're all glad to know you're back in Saudi (at least they have water, huh?). Of course it will be better when you're home. I'm sure you're looking forward to some real food! From what Robin told us I think we should be telling you congratulations - hear you got promoted - that's really great!"

    "We haven't heard much new on the news lately. They're covering the oil well fires in Kuwait. It's unbelievable, I can't imagine what its like seeing that in person! Hank's company just sent out some metal to Kuwait yesterday. Also yesterday they said some Iraqi jets had been shot down. Saddam doesn't seem to get it, does he?"

    "I think it's neat that you've gotten so much mail, especially from the kids. Joshua wrote to someone back in October but his letter came back (you'd have to know Josh to truly appreciate this - he has the worst luck!). Anyway, it's nice of you to write back to all of us and I know it will mean a lot to you to visit the boy from Mesquite when you get home."

    "There's not really anything new here. Ashley's just being Ashley. Her latest thing is to wear this red and blacked striped dress (with shorts under it of course) to soccer practice. She has, however, stopped wearing her boots! We had a game last Saturday - we got killed. It was about 30 degrees and we had winds at about 200 mph. The other team got a lot of goals, but they were all by 2 boys. You know how it is - no one else on the team got to touch the ball and the two scorers never had to sit on the bench. David's team played last Saturday, too. I think they got beat 2-0. I picked him up because Robin wasn't feeling well and James had a real estate seminar. They came over Friday night for tacos and card playing. Robin is so funny. Our dog really liked her because every time he got near her she screamed. Everyone else was just ignoring him! Then she told us the 'Great Dane' story (Aren't you glad she's telling us these stories about when you were little? Now we have something to kid you about when you get home!)."

    "We were supposed to have a game on Tuesday but it got cancelled because its Spring Break and a lot of the kids are out of town. Ashley and Robin dropped by Saturday afternoon because Ashley wanted to play with Jo-Jo and his friend. She told me she wanted to come over and play because 'they had such a good time Friday night jumping on the beds.' Needless to say Jo-Jo and I had a discussion later on!"

    "I guess I'd better go. I'm sure you have a lot of other mail to read and letters to write. Hope you got the pictures ok. (I'm a great photographer, huh? Maybe next time I should let the dog take them!). Anyway, will try to send more soon (hopefully shots where you can see people's faces!)."

    "I'm going to bake some cookies and will send you some, will try to do that next week. If you need anything let us know! Stay safe and we'll see you soon."

    "P.S. I'm still putting Cpl. on your package because I can't remember your new rank. I'm too embarrassed to ask Hank, he's told me at least 100 times how the ranks go, but I never remember (I think Sgt. is after Cpl?)."

    It was so nice to hear from so many people. Getting mail from friends and family back home meant an awful lot to us. It wasn't just the fact that they were thinking of us and praying for us, or that they would send us anything we needed, but to hear about normal life going on back home somehow brought about some normalcy in our minds, even if it was just for a moment. Dealing with our emotions after experiencing combat was no easy task as you will see in a post next week that includes my final letter home.

    “I didn't want normal until I didn't have it anymore” 
    ― Maggie Stiefvater

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