Maddie wanted cowboy boots for Christmas. I didn’t dare buy them and put them under the tree because (a) invariably they wouldn’t fit, and (b) I would never pick out the right style. So, I gave her an IOU and shortly after Christmas, we went to a country-western store so she could pick out her own. That’s when it started.
On the way home, we tuned in a country-western radio station… to make the boots feel at home… yes… that was our actual rationale. We had never really listened to this type of music before, but strangely, we found ourselves liking it. The songs were about homey kinds of things. The singers articulated the words so that I could understand them. The tunes were singable. Who knew?
Since then, I’ve had the radio on that station rather frequently. I even assigned it to button number 2… right next to the NPR button. When I get tired of talk, I can switch to music.
A few days ago, I was listening to the radio on my way to work and found myself wiping away a tear over John Michael Montgomery singing Letters from Home.
I don’t know any servicemen or women… but I found myself wondering what I’d write if I did have a loved one on the other side of the world serving our country and humanity… Probably just everyday stuff… probably just chatty news from our day to day world… And a lot of I-love-you and I’m-proud-of-you and Stay-safe kinds of things. I composed imaginary letters in my head as I drove.
A week or so ago, I got a phone call at work. The local DAR chapter would be having a luncheon and the speaker they had lined up had cancelled. Would I fill in with a program about Audubon? I was happy to oblige. When I arrived, there were note cards at each place setting. After we ate, the mistress of ceremonies explained that their chapter was participating in Project Patriot. She encouraged each of us to write a note to a serviceman or woman. The cards would be collected and sent off in a care package.
Some of the guests at my table had a hard time getting started and weren’t sure what to write. Not me. I knew exactly what to write… because I had practiced it in my head while driving a few days earlier.
I told my mystery person that it was the end of February and it was still snowing. I told how much my black-mutt-dog loves the snow and how she bounds fearlessly through it on the trail of deer and squirrels. I told about tracking mink and river otter and finding my awesome antler… and I said how proud we are of our service personnel and how grateful we are for the work they do.
I don’t know who will get that card or how they will react to receiving chatty bits from a complete stranger… But it felt good to write it.