It's that time of the year again. Time to renew my car registration(s). I guess to soften the blow, the man who gave me a ticket with a number on it to hold my place in the queue, told me Happy Birthday. My birthday is still a few weeks away, but what the hey, let the celebrating begin.
Knowing there'd be a wait I carried the 219 page book my writing buddy and friend, Amy, just finished. Members of Chat Noir Writers Circle have been with her almost since the start. We've read the chapters, made suggestions, corrected grammar. Even though it's in a 3-ring binder, I noticed that reading it like a "real" book is a wonderful feeling. It is well-written (duh), clean, tight, funny and poignant. I can't wait for this fine-tuning part is over and she can get on with finding an agent and getting published.
Another member of our group also finished his memoir not long ago. He's a bit shy about it, but he's going to have to get over that when he's nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. By the end of the year, there should be 3 more books finished. Stay tuned, you're going to hear a lot more about some very talented writers. I'm tickled to be a part of the group.
As I waited for my number to be called, I couldn't help but overhear part of a conversation between a man and his mother sitting next to me. He was telling her a little bit about military funerals. Someone else passed by and I heard him say, "yeh, I'm leaving for Afghanistan tomorrow." Imagine, today he's doing something ordinary, some might say trivial in light of what's to come. In the next couple of days, he'll be in a war zone and his mother will be counting the days til his return. I wanted to ask him his name so I could pray for him while he's gone. Decided that was too nosy even for me.
After I finished my business, they were still waiting, so I stopped and thanked him for his service. By the time I got to my car I noticed I was overcome by emotion. A man I don't even know, is going to put his life on the line for me. He made it seem like no big deal just a job. I've known my share of military men, that's the way they are. But to his mother, and me, it's a huge deal, a big sacrifice. In the car, I bent my head and said a prayer for his safety, for his mother's serenity, and for peace to somehow prevail in this crazy world, and cried.
I told Sweetie later, I think it should be mandatory for all citizens of this country to say hello/goodbye to the people who leave home to defend our freedom. Maybe one of those double line things that football players run through, high fiving everyone. Only it should be more solemn. Seriously folks, we are all called for jury duty, it seems the least we can do is stand at an airport, or ship as dedicated sender-offers. I'm not talking about interfering with family farewells. I've waved to ships pulling away from a dock, and stood on a lonely tarmac as helicopters fly out of sight. It's hard. Really hard. It wouldn't be a good place for a bunch of strangers. But I think a street or airplane terminal lined with people saluting, waving a flag or praying a goodbye would let these soldiers, sailors and airmen know who they are fighting for. It would put a face on the masses. I wouldn't take away the pomp and circumstance given a flag draped coffin that makes its final journey home for any amount of money. Just seems like it would be nice if the person inside could see it.
No matter where I stand on the rightness or wrongness of war, I noticed today it is my duty to respect those who go into harm's way. I don't know how your pray or to whom you pray, but how about tonight before you close your eyes, you send up a prayer of gratitude and safe keeping for someone, anyone, who wears a uniform and serves this country.
On a completely different note, I also noticed a strange phenomenon. Well, strange to me. One of those monster jam trucks was on display at the Ford dealership where we went to pick up our car. There was a really long line of people waiting to see it. Maybe there was a driver there, too, for hand shaking. At the risk of calling some of the people in the city where I live a politically incorrect name, I realize there are some rednecks in town who might be thrilled by seeing this mammoth machine up close. I never would have guessed however how many. Men, women, young, old, babies in strollers. Who knew? I couldn't help but remember taking Robert to the Monster Jam when he was about 4 years old. Hmmm. Maybe I better check the color of my own neck.