27 July 2008

Catching Up

So, I have not written since Ireland. Wow. It seems like forever ago, and yet I can hardly believe that I have been gone on this deployment for nearly half a year. I miss my family a lot. This deployment is different from my last one, and I can’t place my finger on exactly why. Maybe it’s because I was deployed before and now, I know what to expect, so it is like anticipating something that you know is going to hurt.

Perhaps part of it is that my first son has married, and now has a child of his own. Yes, that’s right, I am a Grandpa. Before any of you get any ideas, let me quote from the movie We Were Soldiers: “Any of you sumbitches calls me grampa—I’ll kill ya.” I have not seen the child except in pictures and once on a webcam (he was sleeping). He is a cute thing, though. Hopefully, they’ll have him potty-trained by the time I return—I’m through with changing diapers. I changed my two little sisters’ diapers when I was a boy, and did plenty of my share on 5 of the 7 kids I have now. But I digress. I miss seeing my family, especially as it is still expanding.

Perhaps it is because my second son has gone and left on a mission to spread the Gospel in faraway lands. He is in the Philippine Islands. Recently, there was a typhoon there, and it centered on the area in which he is living. We worried, to say the least. He is fine, and though the water in his area got to be as deep as knee height (mid-thigh for the locals), his apartment didn’t get flooded, and he and his companion were fine. The Lord blesses us all in his own way. Anyway, now I know what it is like to be on the waiting for a loved one to come home. Previously, I have always been the leaver, not the leavee (MS Word tells me that “leavee” is not a word—whatever. English is a living language, right?).

Whatever the reason, I am feeling differently about this deployment than I did about the last one. It is more difficult in some ways, easier in others. But still, I hope to be able to return safely. I am not in a war zone, but one never knows. The drivers in Kuwait are not licensed. All you have to have to be able to drive here is a vehicle—and it shows. I have already witnessed one accident in which there was almost undoubtedly a fatality. It occurred directly across from the van I was traveling in, in the opposite lane of traffic. It happened so quickly that when I looked back (I wasn’t driving, so it was safe for me to do that), all I saw was the large 2-ton flatbed truck rolling back onto its wheels. I observed what appeared to be a body flopping out of the cab window. The cab itself was crushed over the driver’s seat. Also, there was a large SUV, perhaps a Suburban, spinning out, almost but not quite tipping over. I am certain that if the driver of that truck is not dead that he certainly spent a lot of time in the hospital. So there are dangers here that have nothing to do with war or combat. But, I am confident that I will return home safely. Then, I can see my grandson for the first time, hug my little girl, who keeps telling Mrs. Carter that I will be home when she is 7 years old, and in general get back to life as I believe it is meant to be: family gathered around, and peace and contentment in the general atmosphere.

I dunno, maybe it was Utah.