Thursday, December 18, 2008

We have a little rhyme for lost things:

Tony, Tony come around
Something's lost and must be found!

Tony being St. Anthony, the patron of lost objects. Tony was working overtime this week in our house: in the space of about three days we found Maria's iPod (missing for a couple of months), Matthew's MP3 player (gone for about one month), and my 2005 calendar which I had not seen since I started writing this blog in June of 2006! I may now have more accurate dates. I find that a comfort.


So now I can tell you with some certainty, we left for Seattle and Fort Lewis on October 26, 2005, a Wednesday. When we arrived in Olympia and found the protestors, I wondered if it was because of the Strykers' redeployment ceremony, but it turned out to be (according to the Daily Olympian) because the 2,000th servicemember had been lost in Iraq. I think Thomas was around 1,258 but I also think there is no way to be sure. An unhappy coincidence for us, and I've spent some time since then wondering if I had stood in front of them and announced my maiden name whether some of them would have realized that they knew me. What that would have proved I don't know, but it was disconcerting to think that old classmates could be there. I elected to not embarrass my family and kept my silence.

Dinner that night was to be at Fort Lewis with some of the other families of the fallen. This had been arranged by Norma Melo, who had lost her husband Julian in the dining hall incident on December 21, 2004. Norma is a natural organizer and had put this together by internet communication. Many of us have shared e-mails and she had shared with me that Thomas had volunteered at an elementary school on post, teaching writing. (Norma was recently interviewed as part of a story on NPR about a returned soldier who had worked with Julian.) Some of the families were local and knew each other, some of us were strangers, but eating together did give us an opportunity to talk a little bit.


Thursday, December 04, 2008

I had one of those ambush moments this morning when I opened an e-mail from the Kodak Easyshare Gallery. Kodak is doing a lot of online promotions this month, and I thought this was one of them, not having read the subject line carefully. Instead, it was their picture of the month, and the month was November. A photograph of a soldier in uniform, tidying the grave of a veteran of World War II, the marker much like Thomas's, on Veteran's Day. The picture is here: Silly of me--I simply wept.

People worry about saying something that will make me cry. Really, you don't know what will do it. I never know when I will open an e-mail or letter or turn a page in a magazine or someone will use a phrase that will set off the tears. There is no point in worrying about it or feeling guilty if you are the unwitting agent who gets me crying for no apparent reason--it will happen and you were just the lucky one that day.