The Fourth of July has come and gone without you.
I started getting nervous about the upcoming weekend early last week. On ordinary days, your absence feels like a dull, overall ache, but on special days it feels more like repeated jabs to the gut.
Chase learned the twelve disciples and Tish sort of learned three. She reported them to her teacher as “Simon, Alvin, and Theodore.” Close enough, baby, I said.
Friday morning, we were off to the beach, of course.
Order this book, Sissy.
The houses on our street, Sister . . . they each looked so elegant and proud.
I know you are where you belong for now, Sister. But someday soon you belong in a sun dress on one of these front porch swings. With me and Tisha. And some ice tea. With some important things to discuss, and nowhere important to go. Watching little ones running around barefoot in the front yard and feeling the breeze off the water and smelling the crabs cooking inside.
Saturday morning we were up early for the Annual 5 K.
Chase ran the whole thing with Craig for the first time. He was so, so proud, Sister.
Tish requested a chauffeur. Even so, after the first mile, she asked me to stop because her “legs were very sore.” No comment.
After the race, the real action began.
When we were sufficiently soaked and dirty, we rushed home to get ready for the main event, The Parade.
Bubba and his boatshop buddies hung out by the beer on the porch, but they still managed to submit their two cents. For example, when I walked by them during the loudest point of the parade, while the firetruck sirens were blaring so loudly it hurt, Bubba yelled, “Hey, G…it sounds just like your family room.” Things like this. It’s how he passes the time till you get back.
My favorite float of the year isn’t shown here. It carried a family of five – minus one – standing in the bed of a pick-up truck. The truck was decorated with waving flags, dancing streamers, and a large poster that said “My daddy is my hero.” The children had added drawings of families and hearts and soldiers and the mama had written Iraq, along with the date her husband was deployed. The heroes’ kids smiled and waved and threw candy to my kids.
There’s no picture because the truck was moving quickly, and I didn’t have enough time to both salute and shoot. So I dropped my camera and saluted…with the wrong hand, as always. I caught the Mama’s eye and mouthedThank You. And I thought about how brave and beautiful people are and my throat got tight and my heart swelled all by its lonesome since you weren’t there.
I wish I could have stopped the parade and made sure that the children of those two heroes . . . the soldier and his wife . . . knew that all of it – -the decorated homes, the waving flags, the parade, the race, the fireworks, the huge smiles –all of it, was for them. Just for them.There was no time, though. Thank you would have to suffice.
Military families,thank you.
As you can see . . . all was peaceful and beautiful, Sister. Right up until this point:
Sister, don’t worry. I met her at the end of the parade route, beat her severely, and removed the sash that is so rightfully yours.Charges are pending, but it was worth it.
Tisha soaked it all up, Sis, like she does. She clapped her elegant hands and laughed regally and held court over that front yard. I want to be just like her when I grow up, Sis, don’t you? She also started most of her sentences with…”Next year, when Mandy and John are here…” which helped.
Sister, we miss you. We are grateful for you. We know that the work you are doing makes us all safer and truer and braver.
God Bless America. God Bless Rwanda. God Bless us, Every One.
All Our Love,
Hurry Home, Sweet Sister.