Day 1,987: Hello again from the other side of the world. I've been in a pretty good mood the last couple of days and I've been trying to find something happy to write about without providing the play by play of my daily talks with my wife. Well today, I received my muse in the form of not one, not two, but 5 care packages from a wonderfully thoughtful youth group from the great state of Alabama. Roll Tide!
The guys and gals from Chapel Hill Baptist Church Youth Ministry got together and provided myself and, more importantly, the soldiers, sailors, and airmen that I work with a truck load of great snacks and treats to satisfy every sweet tooth in the place. Since in my line of work I am unable to carry a camera while in the office, I am going to paint a picture of a few of the moments that stuck out to me as ones that needed to be captured.
So once I had checked for mail, I returned to my office (shared with about 10-15 people) with boxes stacked up to my nose. Upon entering, I immediately had everyone's attention because when someone gets a care package, we all get a care package. They had no idea how good these particular boxes were going to be. Before I opened the first box, I had a crowd of 3 to 5 people hovering over me just waiting for a glimpse of the goodies.
The first box I opened had tons of magazines in it. US Weekly and People Magazine are as good as gold to the women working in our office. The "Sexiest Man Alive" edition was nearly torn in two. Before I finished going through the rest of the goodies in that box, every magazine was open and the celebrity gossip was flowing freely throughout. That box also contained a ton (maybe literally, there were a lot) of hot chocolate mix pouches. As I am not a coffee drinker, this received high marks in my book of "awesomeness levels."
Another box contained a seeminly endless pile of Little Debbie snacks. The moment this box opened, I could have sworn all of the air in the building was sucked up by the gasps of everyone within (and maybe outside of) eyesight of the glory that is...the Twinkie. I didn't realize it, but apparently twinkies can be eaten without ever chewing a single bite, as several of the soldiers demonstrated after barely containing themselves long enough to remove the wrapper. After setting a few snacks aside to satisfy my own sweet tooth, the remainder of the snacks were placed on the table front and center of the office for all to enjoy. Hours after placing it there, I noticed several people were still munching away. A huge hit with the masses! On a personal note, I want to thank whoever packed this particular box. You clearly had in mind to pack as much awesomeness between the 6 walls of the box as possible. The fact that you included incredibly soft toilet paper indicates that "you get it." The fact that you then stuffed a twinkie into the empty roll of the toilet paper puts you in the top 5 of my "all-time most brilliant idea kind of guy/gal" list. Congratulations, you sir/madame are my hero.
Now, before I delve into the all out madness that ensued upon my opening the fifth and final box, let me just say that there are times out here when sane men and women lose all sense and revert back to caveman like behavior. Ice cream night at the chow hall is as close as I'd seen people come to being animalistic, that is until today. The very first thing I see in the box is a ziplock bag with "Peanut Butter Candy" written in marker. I know what these are. They are little golden pieces of heaven covered in peanut butter. The rest of the poor fortunate souls have no idea what they are about to experience. I passed them out and heard at least 2 grunts and what I am pretty sure was a bear's growl as everyone scarfed them down. People immediately began questioning how something so perfect could exist. I don't want to say that anyone was crying out of sheer joy, but it might have happened. The fact that I followed that up with homemade cookies pushed several people over the edge (they began running around the office screaming like school girls). As these were grown men wearing Army fatigues, it wasn't their proudest moment.
So all funnyness aside, I hope everyone at Chapel Hill knows what joy you have brought to a group of men and women a long, long way from home. Some of these military people don't get care packages that often and a day like to day helps all of them deal with the stresses that come with this line of work. I hope you all recognize that a group of very strong, very committed soldiers, sailors, and airmen are speaking praises about you and the extremely generous gift you provided. I am proud to say that you are all my friends and that you care enough to take the time and spend the money to send me and my colleagues gifts from home. To Justin and Jennifer Ray, (thanks again for marrying Margaret and I!) thank you for being a continuing blessing in my life. I can't wait to see you both again soon.
Endless thanks and lots of blessings,
PS. The bible verse paper you all sent me is hanging on my wall right next to my door. Thank you for being the vessel for the blessings that God has given me today!