Just Plain Foolish

Just a chance for an old-fashioned, simple storyteller to say what needs to be said.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Daughter of Solder Seeking Peace

If I were to sum up my life in a headline, that would be it right now.

Sometimes when I'm really angry, I wish that Bush had pictures of his daughters in the situations that I have pictures of my dad in - standing next to a truck with obviously improvised armor, in a hugely long line for Thanksgiving dinner - wearing green armor that sticks out like a sore thumb against the desert background. Or listened to stories like I did when Dad came back, stories of people injured, dead, trying to understand who they were and why they were there. I want him to look in the eyes of people he loves to see how they've changed, to know what he's done to me and mine. I want him to have to think about vacations carefully - picking places without the chance of loud noises. I'll never forget the heartbreak of watching my dad visibly flinch when a truck passed outside the restaurant where we were having lunch. I want Mrs. Bush to have to bite her lip when she sees a headline that another soldier has died, to wonder for a moment. I want them both to know the stomach-churning worry that I know, that Teddy Roosevelt knew when Kermit went to the trenches.

And now he's going back, and it's worse this time, because this time I know what to expect. And it will be longer. Once again, I'll be afraid to go out to dinner anywhere with a television for fear that I'll catch sight of a soldier, a tank, a hummer, and want to cry. Once again, I'll be on the phone with Mom, being her support so she can be Dad's. Once again, holidays won't feel the same, and we'll wait hopefully for a cell phone to go off, his short call the totally inadequate substitute for his presence.

And the worst part is knowing that my dad, even as he came back, had more mercy and charity than I do. My dad, in a war zone, found himself able to find love for the people there. My dad has never met a person he didn't like. When we go out to eat with him, before the appetizer has arrived, he knows the waiter's life story, aspirations, etc. He tells them to email him and he means it. I bet he could even find something good in Bush.

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