A heart felt glimpse into a past with an honest realization of the present.
|This piece takes place 6000 miles away from home in the desert of the middle east. There are about 80 of us that work in close confines that military life has thrust upon us. There are no offices, cubicles, privacy or company break room. There are no off comments when one smells of sweat, sand, grease and jet fuel. For just about everyone smells the same. It is the smell of freedom. It is in these confines that we come to understand the habits, tendencies and moods of those around us. With this in mind, I introduce you to C.W. She is typical of the American that serves our country. She leaves behind a husband and two daughters to cope with the daily problems that crop up at home. She doesn't complain and no matter how bad she smells or how dirty and tired, she always has that positive outlook that we all try to hold on too while so far from home. So, while I am on my short journey to get some water, I notice C.W. sitting alone at a picnic table under the tent. While I had not the time to stop and chat, it just seemed so out of place. I stop and ask, "how are you doing today C.W.? She looks up and I can see the glistening in her eyes. Well, this means I really need to sit down and listen. I ask what is wrong and she says with tears welling up in her eyes, "my grandma is in advanced stages of cancer". This hits me like a rock, for I lost my father to cancer. I am just there to listen and offer some sort of encouragement for what ever it is worth. She is not due to head home until November and how she wishes she can see her grandma and share memories rather than go when it is too late. Her family has told her that it is not certain that grandma will make it that long. As shallow as it seems, I ask if they were close. With this question, the gleam and smile we were so a used too returned. She spoke of Moving from Texas to New York and living with her Grandma as a child. Her first day of school was while living with grandma. The Christmas' with wood burning fire places and stockings hanging from the brick wall. Camp fires, hot dogs and special walks. For C.W., this was her idea of a simpler time in life. No worries, Grandma will make things better. So, for this briefest of moments, C.W. is in a happier and more simple place. Yes, she as all of us will be faced with difficulties being so far from home. Yes, it would have been easier to just keep on walking past and not say a word as so many of us do these days.
So, while we chat on our cells phones and block out the world with our I-PODS, just stop and think. Would you want someone to listen or just walk on by?