Sunday, February 04, 2007

From Andrew

Marking days off a calendar is extremely rewarding. I love to do it in chunks, however, and that means I will wait a few days for the satisfaction of marking off a half week at a time, then telling myself, "There. Didn't that go by fast?"

I've been able to talk to Cass more in the last 24 hours than I have for several days. It feels very good to be "caught up" on any discussion or debate and to be able to just enjoy each other's company and meet each other's needs on the phone.

It's quite the contrast, really. I trudge 1/8 of a mile through mud, sand, cold, and sometimes rain. Mud sticks to my boots, making my feet heavy and sticky and my way very slippery. Finally, I arrive at the pre-fab, shaky building who's floor is nearly completely covered with mud in various stages of drying. On either side of the room are banks of AT&T phones set in wooden booth-like constructions. No booth is untouched by the graffiti writing, carving, and chipping of GI hands. I recognize the booths I normally sit at by the names, slogans, and patterns etched on their surfaces.

Picking up the phone, I pray for the blessed automated sound of, "...AT&T. If you are calling using a pre-paid phone card, dial the 800 number on the back of your card now." By this time, I've memorized both the 800 number and the PIN. Finished with these two steps, I dial my wife's cell phone.

I can picture her, beautiful, happy, and safe in a far away land that has grass, trees of immense proportions and orderly buildings lining the paved roads. It's a beautiful sight.

I look down at the crumbling, crusty mud caked on the floor and around the base of the stool upon which I am seated. The markings, cuttings, and writings on the wood before me are surprisingly innocuous in nature - most Army graffiti seems to take on an obscene tone. Perhaps because soldiers think of home at the phone bank, they don't write the normal epithets. Instead, the wood grain is crossed with words like "Chicago" and "Aian & Tez". Thoughts of home have a very calming effect.

"Hello?" The most beautiful sound in the world greets my ear.

"Hey Sweetie!" I exclaim, elated to once again be in contact with my other half.

"Hey Babe!" She replies with my favorite title.

And so, we recharge...She in her clean, orderly, beautiful room, surrounded by the smell of my cologne and her perfume; Me in the mud-caked, graffiti-marked phone booth surrounded by the smell of my uniform. Across the world we connect - plug in as it were - for encouragement and support from each other. God's beautiful gift to me is safe, clean, and peaceful - and that lets me know I can do whatever I need to do a world away. God bless Alexander Graham Bell.


Karen B. said...

Usually, the comments I leave in blogs are quick, trite, and maybe without much sincerity. I feel like I should be writing something deeply meaningful to you here since you're so very far away and especially since you have such an important job. But, here I sit, trying to think of something profound to respond to your wonderful post -- yet all I can think of to write is -- we're proud of you, we love you, and we pray for you all the time.

Your loving mother-in-law

Joy said...

so glad you are getting to talk. I know the feeling. It is a WONDERFUL thing to be able to call home. Love you!!

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