Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas Cards

I am worn out - we've been fighting colds and some kind of tummy yuckiness for a long time it seems and the interrupted sleep on top of the regular schedule and then the holidays is getting to me. So I have little to say when I sit down and try to write. But my new friend from "I choose Bliss" stopped by the other day and so I went over to her blog to check things out and noted the Cards for Heroes mention. So i flipped over to their site to check it out. The deadline is December 10th. Gonna have to get on it!

It got me thinking about Christmas 1976. My Birthday is just after Christmas so I was not yet 5 and my dad was in Korea. He'd been there for months by then. Because of the time difference (Korea is basically 12 hours different from Eastern Time) he would call my mom in the middle of the night. We were living in a "summer house" tiny little thing, on Cape Cod with an antiquated phone system. Several homes were on the same phone line. One ring meant one house, two rings meant another, so everybody on the line would ring. If mom didn't get to the phone fast enough, one of the other homes on the phone line would pick up, holler at my dad for waking them up and hang up on him before my mom got to the phone. I remember singing silly songs I'd learned in kindergarten into a tape recorder and my mom sent the tape, and a tiny tree, and a bunch of construction paper cards we had made to my dad for Christmas.

My dad was in Korea for a year. He wasn't in combat, the Korean war was long before, but we still send military personnel to "hard ship" zones for 1 year tours as part of their military duty.

A few years ago... okay... its been more like 15 years now I guess... I cashed in my benefits and spent the summer in Paris studying art. While I was ther France closed its borders to Algerians, something France does periodically when Algeria makes a decision not to France's liking. I was on a train to Belgium for the weekend to see a photography exhibit with my friend. While we were traveling through countryside in the dark, a train official starting moving through the car rechecking tickets, and checking papers and passports. In the front of the car a dark skinned man was questioned, his papers to held to the light and scrutinized, he was thoroughly harassed. They deemed his papers authentic and left him alone. Another victim was picked out again by skin color and this time his papers seemed not quite in order and the train was stopped and he was kicked off the train, in the middle of nowhere! And so it continued. The train conductor got to my friend and barely looked at her or her passport. White and blonde she didn't need to worry. He got to me, we were in separate seats and literally snarled as he barked for my passport. I handed him an American Passport and I swear it was as if I had a squad of Marines behind me. The guy looked like somebody had slapped him across the face. He made a show of looking at my photo but you could tell there was no way he was messing with an American regardless of how dark he deemed her skin. (I know some of you black girls are looking at my photo and thinking "Dark???" in Europe I'm not looked at as "white.")

I was raised military and so "The best defense is a good offense" is the perspective from which I look at the world. But after that experience I really got it. It is good to be the strongest country in the world. Really and truly.

And so, military personnel, dependents left behind. Thank you. Thank you that my kids do not step on mine fields when they go out to play. Thank you that my sons are not likely to pick up a weapon to fight in the streets like some of those kids you see when you are deployed. Thank you that I can sleep in my nice cushy bed and feel safe at night. And thank you for having my back that night on that train in the middle of no-place in a country where I barely spoke the language. Thank you.


Kristina P. said...

Your comment was too funny! The problem with tweezers is that it's not a stray hair here or there. It's a patch! Ack!

And I hope you get feeling better soon!

The Muse said...

What lovely tributes to the men and women of our armed services.

Tabby is a great gal, glad she inspired you.

And sure do hope you get to feeling better soon.

Tabby @ ♥I Choose Bliss♥ said...

WOW! What a beautiful post!
What a loving way to thank those who protect us. I SOOOO loved this post my friend!