“Raindrops on Roses, & Whiskers on Kittens…”

April 12, 2017

“Wednesday’s child is full of woe…”  

   

“…bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens…these are a few of my favorite things…when the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I am feeling sad–I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel soooo bad!”                {http://www.metrolyrics.com/my-favorite-things-maria-lyrics-the-sound-of-music.html }

  I was just listening to a blurb on the news concerning the Veterans hospitals, and how they are now finally going to be able to clean up the mess created by the civilian “need-an-act-of-congress-to-fire-them” staff, whose disdainful attitudes towards the Vets shows so often these days, when I suddenly remembered all of the reasons I am so grateful to God, and to the U.S. military, for our very lives as a family.  If it had not been for the Army I would never have met my husband, to begin with–add in the fact that the Army also accepted my husband back again a few years after he got out, we got married, had two children, and the ‘roof caved in’ on our heads, figuratively, and we lost everything we owned.  I was told by a certain family member that I should make him stop believing the Army would ever accept him back in again ‘at his age’, and that he had become the laughing stock among [her] family members due to him applying for re-entry into the Army, ‘at his age’.  Yet, excuse me, but–he was still only 29–not quite ‘over-the-hill’!

Certainly, the Marine Corps wanted him to give up custody of our two children before they would consider allowing him to ‘Re-up’ with them, since his pay would be way too low for him to be capable of supporting any dependants.  So, unwilling to do that, he applied to ‘Re-up’ with the Army [he had been in both branches of service, and had been in the Marines when he went to Vietnam in 1964]  Once he’d applied with the Army, all we could do was wait to find out if they would agree with let him go back in.  We had nothing at that point except the clothes on our backs, so we were having to stay with his parents while we waited to hear back from the Army.  In the mean time, I had become a born again believer in Jesus as my Lord and Savior, so that was a miracle in itself, considering my attitude over the years.  Once I met Christ, I couldn’t figure out why I had ever been so hostile towards even the idea of Him in the first place!  

While waiting to hear back from the Army, I ended up taking a job selling clothing at home parties–sort of like selling Tupperware.  I had to be the world’s worst sales lady, too, with me nearly apologizing to one woman for the prices being asked for the clothing!  However, in spite of that fact, somehow I managed to earn $500 in free clothes from the company, and I nearly jumped up and down, I was so thrilled!  They had the most beautiful clothes, and I hadn’t even been able to afford them before receiving the $500 for selling them, so I spent hours picking out things that I had only been able to dream of wearing before that.  The only regrettable thing, to me, was the fact that they carried so very few items for children, but they did have one adorable jumpsuit for a toddler, so I picked it out for my older son, who was going on 3.  After that, in spite of what I was told by that family member, inside I felt calm, even happy, and also felt very confident that, if it was God’s will, the Army would let Bob back in–and, they did!

By doing that, the Army literally saved our lives as a family.  Over the next 17 years, they provided us with a home to live in, free of the cost of utilities, and my husband with a job he loved–Military Policeman.  Yet, with his pay being so low he had to take a second job, but due to his position in the Army as an M.P., he easily landed a second job as a night watchman for a famous Security company.  He worked hard to be able to provide us with both food and clothing by working the two jobs, but he never would have been able to do that at all if not for the Army accepting him back in again.  Right after our second child was born I became disabled, so working a regular job–outside of selling clothing at home shows, or Avon, which I also tried doing–was almost impossible for me to do.  That’s why it all fell on my husband’s shoulders.  When I did try working selling Avon, it led to all sorts of troubles, due to the children.  I tried taking my 3 year old with me, but that was a disaster! [he kept wanting to go home!]  Then, since my husband was left with having to watch the baby while my toddler and I went door-to-door with the Avon, I came home to a regular mess–he’d had to change the baby’s diaper is why!  I won’t even describe the situation I faced once I walked in the door–with him getting sick in the bathroom! He nearly begged me to quit selling the Avon after that, which turned out to be very easy, since the lady who’d had that route before me suddenly wanted it back–what a relief!

Thanks to the Army, though, we had a roof over our heads again, food on the table, clothes on our backs, and we were able to begin replacing all of our furniture, and that was fun, even if nearly everything we were able to get was second-hand.  That didn’t matter at all.  In fact, that was actually fun.  I never knew what we’d come across, and we ended up with some sofas over the years that would have been way too expensive if bought new!  Also, thanks to the Army, we were able to spend about 2 years in Holland, which is an experience we never would have had if not for the Army.  We also got to spend nearly 2 years in Germany, courtesy of the Army as well.  I nearly got to spend the day in France, too, but I chickened out–it had been a day trip by bus, by myself.  I got on the bus, but I began to fear that I’d somehow miss the bus back home, and if I did I’d be stranded in some small French town with no way home–I know–but I had to be back home when my kids got home from school, and I just couldn’t overcome that fear of being left there if I missed the bus back!  But–I almost got to go, so that’s  a chance I would never have had if not for the Army, too. 🙂

The blessings provided to us by the Army are so numerous that it would take me all day to list them, I’m sure.  However, needless to say, if it had not been for the Army the struggle that faced us as  a young family would have been monumental.  The economy back in the mid-70’s was becoming terrible, which is why my husband was laid off from the job he had driving a truck with his dad at a local company.  That’s why we lost our home, had to sell all of our furniture, and our car.  If his dad had not given us his station wagon to use I’m not sure how we would have been able to get around at all!  So, I couldn’t be more grateful to him for that, among all of the other wonderful things he,and my husband’s mother, did for us over the years as well.  

That’s why, when I thought back over all that the Army had enabled us to have, that we may never have been able to provide for our children let alone for each of us, I can’t help but be thankful, first to God, who made it all possible to begin with, and to the military, who thought my husband good enough to accept back in, even at his ‘advanced’ age. I felt such gratitude for it all.  It was truly a miracle–one of those among the millions God creates every single day of our lives, many of which go completely unnoticed by us, I’m sure.  I know it was the fact that our older son was a member of the military that he was killed in Afghanistan.  However, being where he was, doing what he was, was actually his heart’s desire.  He loved the Army, loved the military in general, which is why talking him out of joining the Army was not even an option.  He wanted to follow in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps, in spite of how dangerous he knew it might be.  God bless him for that.  Without those like him, we wouldn’t even be a country at all.  Who knows what awful fate we’d be facing right now without those like him.  God help all those who ‘despitefully use and abuse’ those like him.  We love him, and will miss him terribly the rest of our lives.  What we won’t do, though, is blame the United States Army for what happened to him.

   “We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” ~Joseph Campbell~

 

                                                                                                          

A “White Knight” Production

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