Just Plain Foolish

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

Friday, January 26, 2007

Folks, go check out Seeking Chivalry. Today, she has a post on the meaning of a surcoat - the garment that went over a knight's armor, and the significance that this can have for us today. There's a lot there about comfort, and about reaching beyond our comfort levels to do what is right. It's well worth reading.

Yesterday, as I walked from work to the train station, it was cold. My poor legs were stiff from it by the time I got to the station, and my hands were cold, cold cold by the time I got to the restaurant for dinner after walking from the station close to my neighborhood. Brrrr. And yet... As I walked, I enjoyed the return of the sunshine. Even a couple weeks ago, I'd have been walking in darkness, but yesterday, the sun was clear, if not enough to melt the little dots of snow that occasionally dropped from the scattered clouds in the sky. And since I was alone on the sidewalk, I sang. It was good, a moment of brightness and joy in what has come to feel like a time of darkness and tears.

To anyone who wants to say that those of us who oppose the war are giving in too easily, I want to know what *you've* actually faced, what you've actually done. Will you sit with a returning soldier, searching for the remnants of the person you once knew? Will you call up a spouse and invite them to just talk? Will you stay up at night, praying with your whole being for the wellbeing of the soldiers? Will you cry? I have.

My granny recently wrote me a note about how we at home are doing our best to carry on, worrying and feeling the pain of this deployment, yet trying to help each other as best we can. When I read that note, I cried. Not little tears that slip down the face silently, but sobs, wracking my whole body as I fought for breath, until there was nothing left in me to cry. And that's something that won't go into my letter to Dad. I'll tell him about the snow, and the singing, and the hoping he's okay, but not the crying. He's got a heavy enough burden on his shoulders.

At no point have I believed our soldiers lacked courage or the willingness to make sacrifices. They do that every day. Nor do I believe the American people as a whole lack courage. I happen to think we also have that famous Yankee levelheadedness coming back, which is causing us to ask why we've bought a pig in a poke, and what we intend to do about it now that it's turned out to be a mess of skunks in that bag. And boy, are they spraying.

It's time and more than time to turn our ingenuity, courage, and hearts to the task of cleaning up. And this one will take more than a bath in tomato juice. (For those who don't know, tomato juice is a traditional remedy to skunk spray.)

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Blogger Marty said...

Well said.

We are certainly in a stinky mess. Bush's answer? Something he calls a "surge". But what it really means is extending the troops already there and sending those already scheduled to deploy earlier.

He's asking us to give this new plan a chance. Trouble is..it's not new...it's the same old failed plan.

I'm praying for your family. I know well those tears that you speak of.

1/26/2007 9:43 AM  
Blogger Plain Foolish said...

I've gotten to the point that I've had to turn off the radio. The word "surge" is literally causing my stomach to knot up. The word "surge" means that they will try to keep my dad longer in this mess. The word "surge" means that he'll be even more messed up when we get him back. (That word, "when", is so important, as I know you know, even as I know there is no guarantee.)

Thank you for your prayers. Right now, I think that hope and prayer are what's keeping us going. What really gets me are these people impugning your courage and mine, even as they profit from our tears and our loved one's blood and sweat. This has *got* to stop.

1/26/2007 10:30 AM  
Blogger Marty said...

It was Maundy Thursday 2004. I will never forget it as long as I live.

I had just received an e-mail from my son a couple of days prior telling me he should be back in Germany early on Good Friday.

I usually check my e-mail before I leave to go to work every morning. That morning I didn't. I waited until I arrived at work. And there it was, an e-mail from my son.

It read:

"I guess you've seen the news. We just got told a few hours before we were suppose to fly that, well, we're not flying anywhere. We are going back to Camp Slayer some time today and our vehicles and personnel in Kuwait are on their way back. No one seems to know any details or time frames, but looks like we're stuck here for a bit longer. Word is going around that we will be moving south on April 20th to re-take/secure the cities down there. Evidently the units they sent to replace us can't handle the job. I'll let you know what I can when I can."

It was the Al Sadr uprising. He was extended another 3 months.

Those who impugn our courage do so out of ignorance.

Hang in there.

1/26/2007 12:10 PM  
Blogger Don said...

Excellent writing as usual. You have a gift and better yet a heart. You speak a language that is heard with the heart and the head. Peace.

1/26/2007 2:24 PM  
Blogger Plain Foolish said...

Fallujah. That was during the first deployment. Yeah, we all have memories of the gut-wrenchers they've thrown at us.

And the thing is that they try to act as though a surge is a way to show strength. But even if I try to think in a war-like way, it's stupid. We're sending already stressed forces to be even more worn down. Do we *want* more guys going postal? We're denying them decent health care - PTSD is barely acknowleged. It's insane. And when our forces are totally worn out and our equipment is destroyed, what then?

1/26/2007 6:06 PM  

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