1.15.2009

Just a little lockerroom talk

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.
Them's a lot of stripes!

I googled 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.

4 comments:

Katherine said...

that is VERY cool! I wonder who he is? I bet he's someone I've seen around. Oh, once your kids get better, do you want to do a get-together at the pool sometime during the free swim time? There's also a narrow window usually in the afternoon, though I suppose the guys would be working.

Sue L. said...

Dang! My life is really boring. I have never had a story to tell that includes a locker room, a shower, a naked Senior Master Sergeant, and a towel. Who the heck was it that said your blog might someday resemble a happy/sappy/crappy Christmas card?? Ha! I don't think so!!
Love,
Sue L. aka The Bag Lady

P.S. I add my sincere thanks to the generous SMSGT for his service!!

The McEvil One said...

You missed a teachable moment there...you could have explained to Habtamu that when soldiers do bad things, guys like SMSGT tell them to "drop & give him 20!"

Then compare daddy's punishments to SMSGT's punishments & things aren't so bad!!!

Carole S. said...

Even if your life becomes a series of sappy Hallmark moments, please continue to post it. :)

Seriously, I love your blog and sense of humor. I feel like I'm always having interesting thoughts and conversations as a result of reading about your awesome little family, and I've yet to even meet H and Y.

I'm really happy for you guys, it seems like you have been through a lot and gained so much. Your blog is very funny but also touching and ponderous... thanks again for sharing all your personal experiences.

I love this story about the Seargeant because it is such a confluence of ramdom variables. Freedom is exactly all about families/people of all types being able to discuss anything and approach anyone. A few years ago, I saw a little girl of about 8 in D.C. go up to a soldier with a huge machine gun guarding the steps of the Capitol and ask him for directions! I was thinking - only here would that happen.

p.s. This is from Carole, friend of Carrie. I'd love to see the scrapbook pages of some of these adventures in the blog.