As I turn the corner, one of my colleagues yells out to me from down the hall, "Come get this dang box." He's carrying a box big enough to fit a spare tire in. As he hands it to me and I feel the weight, he reads off something he noticed on the shipping slip taped to the outside of the box. "Nerf guns/Bullets" it reads. He then takes off down the hall to our office at a dead sprint. Flinging open the door, I hear him yell into the crowd, "MIKE'S GOT A HUGE BOX OF NERF GUNS!" And so the fun began.
As soon as I walked through the door, everyone was up from their desk and crowded around the center table in our office. I didn't have to ask for a knife to cut the tape, as I was offered no less than 4 before I could even speak. I opened the box slowly in order to build anticipation from my crowd. Right on top of everything, is a football. Now, Mamma Case had told to expect something from "Nick Saban". Knowing her brother Butch, I took that to mean I was getting some underwear or maybe even some "lawn decorations." This football was neither. Right on the side was the signature of the man himself. What was my first reaction, you ask. Total disbelief. I know my mother-in-law and to think that she held this ball in her hands and then showed the sheer willpower to place it in a box and ship it around the world, simply blows me away. Thanks Mamma! Oh, and my second thought was, "Margaret is going to be SO jealous!"
Unfortunately, there aren't any other true Tide fans in my office and the football didn't garner the type of response from the crowd as it certainly warranted. However, directly under the football was what everyone was waiting for. In all of its yellow, black, orange, plastic, NERF-y glory. I pulled out a revolver-type NERF gun. There were literally shrieks from the men in the crowd. Of course, with all of these people and just one gun I'm sure there were some sinking hearts in the crowd. But alas, I then removed a second, and a third gun. Then I removed two giant bags full of extra darts. Finally, after digging through mound after endless mound of snacks, beef jerky, breakfast bars, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer I found the item that would throw the office into pure chaos. What was it? You guessed it, another NERF gun.
Within seconds, there were little styrofoam darts flying through the air in every possible direction. There were guys laying prone under desks, guys jumping behind chairs and shooting while in the air. There were guys bouncing them off the walls Robocop style. There was even a guy sprawled out on the conference table using the piles of treats I was still removing from the box as impromptu bunkers! Needless to say, the guns stole the show. In this 4 or 5 days since we received them, I have not gone a day without someone doing target practice or an all out NERF war being waged. Just tonight, I witnessed two young men use the NERF revolvers to play out a riveting game of Russian Roulette.
Despite all of the guys being occupied by the toys, there were still plenty standing around when this next part occurred. As I was pulling out goodies by the fistful, I started setting aside the Gold Bond body and foot powder. After 3 bottles (the biggest bottles anyone had every seen) of each, I began to notice a lot of awkward looks from the people around me. After the Gold Bond creams began coming out, I felt it necessary to clarify that not all of them were for me and I did not have some strange illness that required my bathing in medicated powder every night. About half of the office believed me. The other half still won't come within 5 feet of me though.
Mamma Case, Mr. Case, and everyone that contributed to this care package, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for such great gifts. I hope that my blogging does justice to the amount of joy you are bringing to the military men and women out here. There are a lot of people out here that now recognize packages originating from Alabama as ones to behold. I'm extremely grateful and proud to be known as the most popular guy in the office thanks to you. I love you all and cannot wait to thank you in person the next time I'm down to visit.
PS. Here is a picture of me and some of the guys representing for the hometown football team. Note that they haven't been able to put the NERF guns down, even for a picture.