Oh Starry Night


The air was still, the night was chilly, and the sky was as black as ... well, night. That is, it was black EXCEPT for a few million stars and one, very large moon. The moon was huge, yellow, pock-marked, and seemed to extend almost horizon to horizon. The calendar said it was just past the winter solstice, the phase of the moon was full, and I'd just pulled-up my folding metal chair at my wooden wire spool that served as a table outside my "hooch" on J street ... tent number J124, my prime residence on trip number two and for this trip, day number 147.  I had just walked Tent City's streets to make sure, for my own conscious, that all was well. It was. All was well. Now, I had a chance to sit down and pull out a treasured cigar. I began to think about where I was living, next to a deep oasis, along a historic trail the Bedouin had used for thousands of years ... a trail between the Arabian Sea with its myrrh and frankincense, and a place called Bethlehem. That night and to this day, each Christmas night I find my way outside, late in the evening to look at the sky.  I search for the stars and the moon that a fellow US Warrior may have just looked at and may have wished upon:  Unbelieveably, a wish for all of us at Home,  a wish for safety and happiness to those we love.  To those still there, everywhere in harms' way, I say my prayers ... for ... I ... remember ...

This holiday, The Boss and I were together ... being a former mil-to-mil couple, this wasn't always an easy thing to accomplish, but one that we both learned to cherish. Being a milspouse isn't easy, being a mil-to-mil milspouse is something that is yet again, a wee bit different. You appreciate the holidays together even more knowing there's a 2x likelihood of being separated "next year." You understand you must balance everything that everyone else is balancing plus the understanding that your spouse is doing exactly what you're doing and for the same reasons you're doing it. For those who are experiencing a spouse "away" ... imagine waking up tomorrow and finding orders on your kitchen table telling YOU that YOUR deployment orders were dropped and you were on YOUR way to Timbuktu. Ponder that for a moment, will you? Would I do it again? (Grinning from ear-to-ear) ... Without even waiting for the sentence to get out of your mouth, you'd get a resounding "YES" from both my wife and me. To you Mil-to-Mil spouses I say, Press On, Hang Tough, and know the deep appreciation we have for what you're doing and how you're living. O&O, MaintToad

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