It May Be a Dysfunctional Family but It's Ours
Posted on November 22 2018
Thanksgiving is a time for family. Growing up, it meant two or three dinners as we drove across the Midwest to meet with each side. Since joining the military, Thanksgiving has been a little different. If I was home at all, it was distant from my extended family and spent amongst a different sort of family; some might say still a bit dysfunctional. My wife, kids and I would join other military families who also were without extended family and gather for a feast, thanking God for the blessings of the past year.
For those that have deployed in combat, you were introduced to a new family; a family of brothers who were brought together in the fires of war. As I think about this thing we call brotherhood, I wonder what that Thanksgiving might look like.
At the kiddy table, you’ve got the National Guard and Reserve Forces. Those that were Active at one point are angry, stabbing their forks into the stuffing and eyeballing the adult table because just last year they got to sit there. The Marines though are eyeballing the kiddy table for the crayons positioned in the middle. They’re trying to play it cool but the alcohol in their hands won’t help them an hour from now.
The Air Force is there at the adult table but they haven’t eaten anything yet because they’re too busy running their sucks about their “amazing jobs” and the wonderful places they’ve visited in the last year. Everyone just calls them sir or ma’am because you rarely see them, every time you’ve called they’re busy, and you don’t remember their names or how you’re related anyway. You keep waiting for someone else to say their name but all you’ve gathered so far are their call signs and you’ll be damned if you call that one guy “Twinkles” or that other guy “Firefox.”
The Navy is ticked off because the Marines have already needed several rides to the liquor store and will no doubt need a ride home; all this while doing most of the cooking. They tried to enlist a few of the Marines to help but they just made a mess in the kitchen and kept drinking all the wine.
The Army showed up too late to help with any of the cooking or other preparations and are quietly mumbling to each other about the state of cooking. When it’s all said and done, they know they’ll have to clean up the mess.
The SOF guys have already broken 6 different plates or glasses and somehow the TV got busted. They repeatedly deny it but you guess it’s ok because one just handed you a bag of money. When there’s not the smashing of dishware, they speak quietly too each other in one of your other rooms that somehow you’re not allowed into anymore. You swear you’ve heard a muffled scream in there but if you ask what’s going on in there, they tell you not to worry about it. Maybe it's because of the beards but you decide to let it go.
The Coast Guard showed up but everyone is asking who they are and if they’re related to anyone there.
Before everyone leaves, you all gather together around the few empty seats and raise a glass for those no longer with us. And as everyone finally trickles out, with a tear in your eye, you can’t help but smile and think that this may be the best damn family anyone could have ever asked for.
To all of my brothers and sisters out there, and especially to those currently deployed, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.
-Tony / Founder