Friday, May 28, 2010

Surprise Birthday Party, by Mail

Gone are the days when soldiers would eagerly await the delivery of the weekly mail, bringing word from their sweethearts and loved ones about the world that continues to spin in their absence. Cellphones, text messages and 3G email access have made the precious letter that a soldier would lovingly guard for weeks on end a relic of another age. Relics have their place, however, especially in a unit where regular cellphone use is forbidden.

Several weeks after my birthday, while resting from a draining day of parachute drills, I received a small package from overseas. My sister's long promised gift had arrived! Inside were the gifts every soldier loves: durable socks and energy bars!

But what was this? Buried within the goodies was a small blue notebook. A journal by the looks of it. Just what I need, I feebly smiled, more paper to fill with one-sided conversations. But then I opened the small booklet and my smile took on a warm glow.

Inside were dozens of letters and photos from family and friends, each writing to me at the request of my sister on my birthday. If I hadn't had my fill of tears two weeks before on my birthday, I may have shed a few more. The words were so full of life, so true to the particular relationship I have with a given family member or friend. Reading the letters and taking in the pictures transported me from the muggy tent full of tired and naked soldiers to a surprise birthday party, attended my all manners of dear friends and family whom, with all the time in the world, spoke to me, revitalizing our ties with an energy I can take back with me to my daily reality.


  1. What's this about a tent filled with naked soldiers?! Too bad they do not allow cameras in there :) Glad you enjoyed, I hope it continues to brighten up your long and exhausting days.