Last week was our "Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Whatzit." The Whatzit was a two-day conference for servicemembers who recently returned from deployment, so that they and their families could successfully reintegrate into civilian life.
Perhaps going from an environment in which our every move was controlled, restricted, and scrutinized to the laissez-faire of modern America is really rough on some people. But the last thing that I needed at the time was more of the former. So I didn't go.
My reintegration consisted of NFL playoffs, church, and lesson planning for the high school kids in Richmond that I teach.
But some time before we came home from overseas, my battle-buddies and I would engage in very serious conversations about our reintregration, with topics like "the first restaurant we'd go to" and "what was the first drink we'd have" (Mine was Pepsi). Such soldier interactions are important components in keeping morale high and the force alert.
One of my favorite topics was the list of things we'd miss about the deployment. A few that topped mine were:
> Cookies: the Camp Bondsteel D-Fac cookies have been made famous on this blog, for good reason. They consistently scored 7 out of 10, but more importantly, were available in abundance every lunch and dinner. Often they were my dinnner.
> D-Fac food: not the food per se, but being able to count on a hot meal at almost any hour of the day was a nice little luxury we had. I may be eating better now, but I'm thinking entirely too hard about it.
> Not doing dishes: 'nough said.
> Not doing laundry: this can't be said enough. Doing laundry stinks, but folding and ironinng is even worse. It has become a Saturday-night ritual for my wife and I, but I'd rather the Kosovars at CBS wash and fold my clothes.
> My NCOIC always mentioned Not having to decide what to wear. I didn't agree until now. After realizing that I need a few new shirts to keep people from thinking I never wash the ones I have, I had a change of heart. It was kind of nice to get up, shower, and put on the same damn thing daily.
If anyone doubts me on the cookie issue, then I challenge you to a duel. But before you accept my challenge, you should know that I've personally eaten 26.9 pounds of cookies since I've been home-- just a little over one month.
Reintegration has been a wonderful thing, and were it not for Otis Spunkmeyer and his deliciousness, I may have forgotten completely about that deployment to Kosovo.