Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Day in the Life

Here where I live, life is different. As I lay in bed at 6:15am, I hear a short trumpet song play as a "warning" that the day's first formation is approaching. Then at 6:30 the long one plays...and I know that all over post soldiers are in their PT uniforms in formation saluting the flag. Some days I am still in bed and some days I'm outside walking Darby when I hear this. This time of year it is quite cold in the mornings and as I walk the dog bundled up in my Pjs and coat, I think of them just on the other side of the trees in their black winter hats, tennis shoes and "swishy" workout clothes. Makes me miss hearing B get ready in the mornings in his "swishy pants" that are so loud as he walks through the house. Then I can hear the recording over the loudspeakers of the soldiers singing cadences. I assume this is just to add background noise and to build morale as they all work out and run.

When I drive around post, I can see the beaten paths in the grass up and down the roads where they run. B tells me they run everywhere. When he's here, he runs down in the woods on a trail that runs below the main high way. Sometimes he comes home wet from running thorough creeks. His wet shoes sit by the door to dry. I am always afraid bugs will crawl in them as they sit there damp and cold.

When I head out the door to take C to school at 8:40, these same soldiers are now cleaned up and heading to work. I see them walking in to buildings and up and down the streets in the ACUs (the "camo" uniform). Often I see soldiers heading out for a ruck march with their gigantic full backpacks on. Yesterday a soldier was walking with his body armor on (a big heavy "bullet proof" vest) and a helmet in his hand. He was probably heading out to a range. Somedays I see soldiers marching in formation down the street singing cadences. Their canteens hanging around their bodies distinguishes them as soldiers still in training. As I head out the back gates to get to the school, a long line of cars inches through the gates in the other direction. Each soldier getting their ID checked and scanned by a guard.

I love these sights. I love driving past the barracks and seeing a hundred soldiers in formation, or seeing them milling about while their rucksacks sit lined up ready to go somewhere. I love seeing them swiftly and flawlessly flip their berats on their heads every time they exit a building. I love seeing female soldiers walking on the sidewalk in uniform gabbing just like girls do. They may wear combat boots, berats, and ACUs, but they are still girls.

As I write this, I can hear the "booms" outside my house. I never know exactly what they are or where they are coming from but surely they are soldiers training for something. I tell C that the booms are just, "soldiers practicing." Sometimes its so loud my windows rattle, other times, its so subtle I barely notice. Then there are the planes that fly overhead. They fly constantly...some times very low and sometimes they fly in groupings. I will see one, then another, then another fly right over the house.

The sight of moving vans in my neighborhood is constant. Someone is always moving in or moving out. The cars in the driveway across the street haven't moved in over a month since nobody is home. He is deployed and she went home to be with her family for a few months. Next door, he is gone also. Just up the street, there was a huge "Welcome Home Daddy!" sign strung up across the front porch. He had been gone since last December. His daughter is now 5 months old. I can only imagine the reunion of that family :-)

It's different here. I hear the music again at 5:00, 5:10, and 5:15. I hum to myself as it plays. I could sing it in my sleep. I probably do since it plays again at 10:45 and then Taps plays at 11:00. This is my favorite. I love it here. I love my street. I love seeing soldiers. I love hearing the booms. I love seeing MPs patrol the streets. I love driving next to "Army trucks" as I take C to preschool, head to WalMart, or go get gas. I love seeing the different color berats and knowing automatically what unit they signify. I love getting my ID checked every time I go through the gates. I love meeting new women and not even blinking when they tell me their husband is deployed. It is so normal around here. I love being an Army wife. Hooah!

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