Just Plain Foolish

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

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A little bit of home

A few dry summer sausages, a hard cheese in wax, a harmonica, some mustard, some sandbox toys, a couple tins of wild Alaskan salmon, a small balsa plane, rye crispbread, a couple handfuls of candy, a few peace cranes, a magnetic dartboard with darts and a set of toy magnets, a can of tomato juice, a letter, some dry citrus stuff, a kettle, and a whole bunch of hopes and prayers, carefully packed in a cardboard box, neatly addressed and accompanied by a customs form giving the weight and estimated value of each item enclosed. (And no girl scout cookies. Apparantly, my dad's current position is awash in girl scout cookies.)

If I knew he had the means to cook it, I'd also send popcorn. If I could, I'd send a return ticket for everybody. Alas for high hopes.

And I think about the care packages I got in college, especially the one with the encouraging note from Dad that arrived just before finals. And about Alexander Solzhenitsyn's description in One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch of the arrival and unpacking of a care package in a gulag. And about the care packages in the Civil War, neatly packed in buckets and cloth bags that would sometimes take months to arrive. I think about the fact that every war has depended on soldiers having folks at home to send stuff - "Our Boys Need Sox!"

I think about the toy I saw him holding in our videocall - one I sent him in an earlier care package, and how much he says he plays with it. And I think ahead to his birthday, just a week away from mine, and so close to his date of return. Maybe I'll send some "cake" of some sort, and a packet of astronaut ice cream, with some birthday candles. Maybe by then, I'll be able to plunk out a happy birthday song on the banjo.

And I look forward to the day, currently off in the fog of the future "maybes", where he'll be back from deployment, back from "debriefing", back even from the tropical vacation Mom has planned for after that. And then, instead of carefully packing away a set of diversions and snacks, we can really share a meal and a conversation.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like this theme: the history of care packages. It is fascinating and heartrending both. May his return happen sooner than you expect and for all families separated thus.

3/21/2007 8:58 AM  

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