So before all this fever business (which is getting better by the minute, btw. We can tell because H is starting to enjoy the crackers and TV of his sick day...) I took the kids swimming at the Y for the evening. H and I were getting out of the showers when we passed a large naked man heading in. I had already pulled my towel out of the locker and was drying off when I looked back and saw H standing at the shower entrance shivering (at this point we didn't know about fever.) He asked me to get his towel for him and my gut reaction was to tell him to walk the 6 feet and get it himself. But I didn't. I chose not to fight that battle, and as I'm turning, I hear the large naked voice say from the shower, "If you forgot your towel, I have a spare." I replied that he did indeed have a towel but thanks for the totally naked offer. I mean offer.
As H and I were getting dressed, I noticed that the guy's spare towel was personalized and after his name it had the letters 'SMSGT' which sounded military to me.
"Hey Habti, I think that man that said you could use his towel is a soldier," I noted.
"Soldier what mean? Like Police?" He replied.
"Um... not really. Soldier is a man who fights for America," I stammered, but I thought it was a decent description.
"Fight for America," He repeated, trying to processes what heck his Dad was talking about. "Did he win?"
"Win? Him? Uh... Yeah. I guess. He's home now so that's a good sign." Habtamu accepted that answer, as lame as it was, for which I was grateful. Sometime after that it did occur to me that maybe this guy wasn't a frontline grunt or squid or whatever, so I tried to explain to H about how some men actually do the fighting while many others help those men to fight by keeping them fed and getting them in the right place with the right tools. For all I knew, this guy could have been anything from Admiral to chef. H politely ignored me.
Eventually as we were leaving, this guy came back to the locker area. I told H to thank the man for offering his extra towel. H said thank you and looked me square in the eye and whispered, "Ask him." "Ask him what?" I said. "Win," he whispered. I smiled and explained the situation to the man, including my son's question about whether he has 'won the fight for America or not.' The guy smiled and even though I totally put him on the spot, he diplomatically answered that everyday we get a little closer to Freedom. This was not an acceptable answer for Habtamu who then looked to me for clarification. "Not yet win," I said, "Still trying." H was ok with that. "Good guy?" He asked. "Yes," I said. The man smiled. I thanked him for his time and we left.
SMSGT when I got home and turns out, he was far more polite than his rank required. On behalf of myself and two of America's newest permanent residents (soon to be citizens) thank you, Sir, for continuing to serve our country even when you're off duty and caught in your birthday suit.