I left work a bit early today to shop for the troops. I have sent care packages to many people over the years since the Iraq War begun. I am approaching one hundred care packages now, most of them going to people I have never met.
As of late people I know have been deployed and I have concentrated my efforts on them.
Today in my grocery basket was two large bags of Jolly Ranchers, a dozen Hersheys bars with almonds, and a container each of Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and onion powder. The sauces and onion powder will be combined with other ingredients to make homemade beef jerky, always a favorite with the troops. The Jolly Ranchers and chocolate bars were going to be sent as is.
The woman behind me in the checkout line said that I was a sweettooth, just like her. I said that the chocolate wasn’t for me. She asked me “then who is it for?” I usually in these cases just say “for a friend”, but today for whatever reason said, truthfully “these bars and Jolly Ranchers are what a friend of mine who is now serving on an aircraft carrier said he wanted. So I am going to pack them up with some homemade beef jerky and send him a care package”. The woman said that I was a great person for doing that and I assured her that the truly great people are the ones on the carrier.
Just before I went to checkout the woman in front of me turned to me and said that she overheard my conversation with the woman behind me and insisted that I have her change – all $6.23 of it. “This is to help you ship that stuff to your buddy. Tell him he is appreciated.” Before I could refuse it she was gone and I was left standing there with $6.23 in my hand, which I really was quite unsure what to do with. The cashier said “Well put it in your wallet! And tell that guy that we are praying for him and love him and are so proud of what he is doing for us”.
What great people. It gets tiring at times being a conservative living in Madison with all of the hatred of the right that goes on here, but today was special…special indeed.