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Has it been a year already since 'Dub flew over here with that plastic turkey? Man, time flies whether you're having fun or not, so why not have fun?
Here's a thought for the day: if you're at work, on a computer, chances are its called a "workstation". why not call them funstations? It's not that hard a thing to do, and it would change the way people feel about their jobs completely. In fact, why call it work at all? Just call it fun. Perception is everything, after all, and if you insist on calling it fun it will actually be fun in time. It's true, I know from experience. Do you use worksheets of some sort at your office? Call them funsheets. I'll bet you can think up lots of other such examples.
Know why we don't think that way? Because our parents made the same mistakes we did in raising children. We end their "fun" days too early, bring them to the grown up table too soon. Proof: there are no playgrounds in middle schools in America. This is a huge mistake. Turn 12-14 year olds loose in a playground and they'll have a great time - I've seen this happen. We should let them stay at the kids table longer, but no - we turn the fun dial down to about "2" as soon as our kids turn 10. The real world is a harsh place, you know, and it's going to grind you up and wear you down, and that certainly isn't fun. Suck it up. Get used to it. Thus we become workaholics, each and every one of us.
But how rude of me - here you've stopped by, likely taking a break from whatever your job is, and I'm wasting your time with this drivel. That's not why you came here, is it? Throws you off a little. "Hey, I clicked in here to see how goes it in Iraq and you're telling me to have fun! Outrageous!" Sorry, I'll try to fulfill your expectations now, return to what you're used to.
After all, we mere humans are creatures of habit. Nowhere is this more apparent then in a confined environment like that experienced here in camp life in Iraq. We wake at proscribed times, we eat at proscribed times; we conduct our duties on a rigid schedule and return to bed within a few moments of the exact same time every day. If we're not careful we become obsessive about this routine, then little things like mortar attacks really throw us off and we blow them all out of proportion. Damn - that was not on the agenda...
I'm going to avoid that obsession, intentionally bust out of that routine, do something exciting and different. Get ready - here it comes. If you've visited here a few times you've seen plenty of pictures of the moon, but yesterday I pointed my camera at a different target to provide you with this
The sun, in all it's glory.
Of course it's behind an enormous curtain of dust and sand. A storm front made it's way across Iraq earlier this week, and high speed cold air whipped in behind it, lifted the sand and soil, cut visibility down to a very few hundred yards, and turned the sun into something like the pathetic "energy saver" light bulb that even now is "illuminating" an area extending several inches from it's glass shell suspended above my head as I type...
And something somewhere whistled in that wicked breeze. A quiet howl that persisted through the day, a chilling sound to go with the chilling air. Chilling? In the desert? Yes - and given that it's windy and the air is full of solid particles for our breathing pleasure it seems hardly fair (and strangely unreal) that it should be cold too, but it is indeed, though admittedly the sort of cold that causes shivers rather than frostbite.
The sort of cold that reminds hunters that the time has come...
The sort of November cold I associate with Thanksgiving at home, arriving right on time, even in Iraq. Right on time to remind us one and all that time flies whether you're having fun or not, that soon it will be Christmas, and a more intense cold will be upon us. The sort of cold that brings both numbness and pain to the fingertips, and for those far from home and family a different numbness and pain to the soul.
Speaking of fun Christian holidays, lets repel any lost or lingering lefties with a passage from the Bible. Today we read from Genesis, chapter 12:
1 Now (1) the LORD said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father's house, To the land which I will show you; 2 And (2) I will make you a great nation, And (3) I will bless you, And make your name great; And so (4) you shall be a blessing;
"We're going to do great things, Abram, you and me, we're going to really get things started. But first you must get out of this corner of the earth. Put it in your rearview and don't look back." Americans can relate to that - we as a nation came from elsewhere, left home for a promised land. We got there and met other travelers, and sat down with them for the first thanksgiving. Odd that I'm an American writing this from the very same land that is the answer to the question "What did God tell Abram to put in his rearview?"
There are good reasons for leaving this land. One is certainly the flies. Not the time flies, the real flies. The cold weather brings them in to the tents, like a Biblical plague. They're persistent creatures - small, quick, annoying. Not annoying enough to drive you away by themselves, of course, but enough to make the ultimate good bye to this place a bit less sorrowful than it otherwise might be. Hard to tell whether they're brave or foolish, these little pests, they land upon you while you try to eat - or while you're doing anything, for that matter. This just makes us more determined to swat them, of course, to keep them from taking some of the fun out of Thanksgiving.
And though in the end the flies won't drive us away we know that when we do leave they will remain.
And though it's still a bit too early to talk of leaving that time will be upon us all too soon. The elections here in Iraq will mark a significant waypoint on that road home, one of many, after which things will be different. How so? What then? That's conversation for the grown up table this Thanksgiving season. And how amazing it will be, to be here for that talk, and those elections, and for the American elections that came before, when those seats at the grown up table were divvied out. We'll see soon enough if the right people got them.
Time flies... kids grow up too fast...
Are holidays away from family too great a price to pay to be here in this historic time? Great things have great price, of course. So it goes. And the Mrs. set a fine Thanksgiving feast for us before I left, and I anticipate another on return.
And I realize that wherever I am I've much to be thankful for.
I pondered linking something, someone else's efforts that support my own claims, the fundamental heart of blogging, of course. I realized I have something different for you this time, and it's from a source I?ve already quoted from. On arrival here I opened a Bible to a random passage, read it.
This is what I found:
Fear not, O Jacob My servant,' declares the LORD, 'And do not be dismayed, O Israel; For behold, I will save you (17) from afar And your offspring from the land of their captivity. And Jacob will return and will be (18) quiet and at ease, And (19) no one will make him afraid.
So I've got that going for me - which is nice.
It's Jeremiah, chapter 30, and if you prefer to think I, a guy in Iraq whose family is in Germany, read the whole book just to find that quote rather than discovering it via supernatural guidance then I'm certain there's nothing I can say to make you change your mind.
After all , this is just a blog.
I close with my sincerest wishes that your Thanksgiving is a fun one, free of flies or other foul things that plague us on the edge.
For our time together has certainly flown by, and I'm afraid I must go now - I've got to get back to work.
Greyhawk - May you have a peaceful Thanksgiving, and find some fun as well. Thanks for the picture of the sun (which looks a nuch like the moon with all that sand/dust).
I'm thankful that 'Rough men stand ready' all over the world, keeping me safe and providing for a better future for Iraq and Afghanistan, among others. Your sacrifice is great - our rewards are immense...Thank you!Posted by Barb at November 24, 2004 09:48 PM
Hey lil' bro! Have a happy (well, as happy as you can under the circumstances) Thanksgiving. We'll give the family a call tomorrow. As always, we will be thinking about you and praying for you. Stay safe. We're banking on that Jeremiah promise.
Keep me safe, O God,
for in You I take refuge.
A Happy Thanksgiving to you, too; and a special thanks to you for your service to our country and to freedom. Be safe!
DUTCH in Duluth, GA
(My son moves to Camp Cooke (Al Taji) next week.)Posted by DUTCH at November 24, 2004 11:47 PM
Let me reiterate everything that Barb said above. You sound a little sad, I'm sorry that you aren't with your family, but so grateful for what you are doing.
I love your Bible quotes. Altho Jewish, I am thanking God this Thanksgiving for many things this year, freedom amongst them.
Thanks again, God Bless,
Thank you, sir, for all you are doing. God Bless you and your wonderful family.Posted by heidi at November 25, 2004 02:04 AM
I can tell you are not a half full glass kinda guy. No you must be a three quarters full ok make it 9/10ths. Thank you. God bless you. And the most I am thankful for this year is you and everyone that is missing a great meal for us.
I will be thinking of you all.
Thankful for you all.
God bless you and keep you.
St. Peters, MO.
Posted by zoo at November 25, 2004 04:48 AM
Well, whatever the season, your words warm our hearts. WHEN you come home, and we know you will, if you are ever in NH, then use the email and let us know you're close. We'll get out the flags and baloons and hearts and flowers..and some home cooking...God bless you and keep you safe.
Thank you for your service to keep us safe here at
home. I appreciate your sacrifice for your country. It is true, freedom isn't free. May God bless you and all of our troop across the globe in harms way. Please tell everyone we are thankful for their service.
A great Qoute:
"Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana."
Wishing everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving.
Imperial Minister for Useless Information
God Bless you.
And I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then I said, Here am I; send me.
I volunteered for Iraq. I am a retired 1SG. I will be at D2 in Baghdad Intl Airport w/ KBR.
Since my son and brother were there I figured it was my turn.
I am deeply inspired by your scripture quotations and use of them on your site.
God Bless You,
Thank you and the others from the bottom of our hearts for the sacrifices being made to bring a nation's youth possibilities that they would never dream possible under that dictator Saddam.
No matter what comes, all of you will be able to look those good people in the eye and say "We bring you freedom, don't let it go to waste."
Love and prayers,
The Cathcart Family
Thank you for everything and bless you and yours.
James T CommerfordPosted by jimcee at November 26, 2004 01:02 AM
I respect a man that can throw around quotes from the Bible and Caddy Shack in the same post. Really.
I hope you all (in Iraq and Germany) have a great and Happy Thanksgiving.Posted by Blackfive at November 26, 2004 02:20 AM
Greyhawk and Friends,
This year, Thanksgiving Thursday stateside is celebrated as 'Loy Kratong' here in Thailand. To loy is to set upon the water, and a kratong is a small floater made of different plant leaves, having a small candle in the middle. Hope, set upon the waters...
Different from Thanksgiving, but thought-provoking nonetheless, as Thailand has embarked upon a state-sponsored program of appeasement to the Muslim agitators in the south...
It'll be a long fight, no matter HOW time flies. This appears to be the everlasting battle between Light and Darkness, and I thank God that America's troops are light-bringers, despite all the enemy can throw against us!
God Blesses America!Posted by Carridine at November 26, 2004 04:20 AM
Greyhawk and Family,We wish you all the best from San Antonio, Texas. We think of you often and appreciate very much what you do.Posted by diana at November 26, 2004 04:32 AM
I love this site. So why
does it make me cry?
I am still bummed that you never finished the John Kerry flip flop quotation contest....Posted by Scott from Oregon at November 27, 2004 03:15 AM
Give as many of your fellow military members a group hug for me, without pushing the "don't tell" nonsense to the limits. When I read your postings, I just want to hug all you guys in Iraq.
My former son-in-law was there in August of 2003, and he wrote this incoherent rant about "ants" to my daughter. Sounds like flies will drive you nuts, too. The son-in-law is "former" because he obviously went through something that changed his outlook on the choices he made before he went over there. Sad. But, I truly respect his service to our country. Yours, too!
I have one son that served, and one that didn't. I love them both. I truly respect strong men, like yourself, that protect my ability to go to sleep at night, knowing that I am safe.
THANK YOU ALL1Posted by Pat Adkins at November 27, 2004 03:22 AM
"We end their "fun" days too early, bring them to the grown up table too soon. Proof: there are no playgrounds in middle schools in America. This is a huge mistake. Turn 12-14 year olds loose in a playground and they'll have a great time - I've seen this happen. We should let them stay at the kids table longer..."
Amen! I am glad there is another person out there who thinks like my family. I really enjoy your post and hope you had a nice Thanksgiving. Tootles!Posted by The Violin Duchess at November 28, 2004 01:45 AM
Greyhawk, Thank you so much for your sacrifices and your words. A big hug to you and yours, and all of the guys and gals over there-and anywhere they may be carrying our nation's torch high. Of all that we have to be thankful for, it is the people in our lives (and those whom we've never even met) who are the most important. We are with you. God love you all, I know I do.Posted by American Mother at November 28, 2004 11:16 PM
We missed you and yours. The pictures show the great contrast to what you and your troops are sacrificing. Wishing you all a safe trip home in good health.Posted by nana greyhawk at December 1, 2004 02:21 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(21) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)