The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


Memorial Day Thoughts

One Saturday a month, my husband, Tim, two children, and I pile into the minivan for an hour-long drive from our home in Marin to Travis Air Force Base with the express purpose of shopping in the Commissary. My husband retired as a colonel from the U.S. Army Reserves; shopping at the Commissary is the major perk.

Tim’s father was in the Army, a ticket out for a Depression-era Texas farm boy with a sixth-grade education. Tim grew up on military bases in Okinawa and Germany, Oklahoma, and Texas. When it came time for college, an ROTC scholarship was his best option. The Army paid for medical school.

Food at the Commissary is cheaper than it is at our local Safeway, and we don’t have to pay tax. They check your I.D. at the door -- which is inconvenient when wrangling two small kids -- but they check I.D. everywhere on a military base. Once you’re inside, the Commissary is the same as any other grocery store, circa 1975, which looks to be the year of its last renovation. But don’t buy fruit or the vegetables: they’re awful. I’m not sure why this is, but Tim tells me when he lived in Okinawa, the Army shipped gallons of milk to the troops, frozen, by boat. Maybe the Commissary uses the same technique with vegetables, even in this modern age of refrigeration.

In the years since September 11th, nearly every able-bodied soldier has shipped out. The aisles at the Commissary are filled with people left behind -- Vietnam veterans, Midwestern women with families, Korean War widows. But, occasionally, we’ll encounter a young Marine in desert camouflage and steel-toed boots, his hair in a crew cut. If he’s checking I.D., he’ll salute my husband. The Marine is just a kid, really, the age my husband was when he enlisted. A boy. My husband salutes back.

As I witness their exchange, I visualize my husband as a young doctor, stationed in Saudi Arabia. He is a healer, a man dedicated to preserving life. He hates war with every fiber of his being. I think of my son and my daughter, and remember the sons and daughters of mothers all over the world.

By Jessica O’Dwyer


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Thank you for writing this, Jessica.
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