Thursday, November 12, 2009

Veteran's Day Wrap-Up

Wednesday morning found me, once again, at Lincoln Trail Elementary School.

It is becoming one of the most exciting days of my year. I worry this post may become rote, but these kids blow me away every year. They started working on this months ago, and it shows!

Diane came with me this year, and we got to be big shots and sit next to the Color Guard.

This year, the students honored, among all others, WWII Veterans.

I love this photo.

I wish I could tell it all. There was singing. And dancing.

I spoke in front of all of those people, plus millions you don't see. I never get better at this. The students talk like they've been in show business for 100 years, and I still have to hold the microphone with 2 hands to keep from dropping it.

The students collected and packed so many boxes for the troops that they ran out of wagons:

They packed Di's car until it looked like this, and our lives were threatened if she hit the brakes too hard on the way home:

One for the record books: Me and the student council (or is it"The student council and I"? I am definitely not smarter than a 5th grader, Mr. Foxworthy.)

I normally have the Post-care-package details done ahead of time, but the USPS delivered newfangled customs forms with newfangled instructions and I had to clear up a few issues at the last minute. Read: Wednesday Night: no customs forms.

I put out a Facebook call: Bring pen to the Esquire, and I'm buying. (For all of you sticklers, I respectfully note that beer and pizza was on my dime. Your tax-deductible donations go strictly to postage.)

We knocked out customs forms in 2 hours.

The next business du jour was to take all of those boxes to the post office. We're a polite organization, so we marched in ahead of time and said, "Post Office, we are coming in here on Thursday!"

Sidenote: You know I've taken to bringing brownies to appease the poor stamp-buying natives that get stuck behind us? Well, guess what? We used the self-cleaning feature on our new oven and 100-million degrees of heat shorted out some bamboozled wires in the doodly-housing. I had to commission brownies from Diana. You remember Diana:

Thanks for supporting the troops, girlfriend.
Raise your glasses to Diana!

The Post Office folks were prepared, and armed themselves against us with extra employees! Normally 2 against 1, with ample time to fill out last-minute customs forms, we found ourselves 3-to-2,

Unfortunately, the first cart-load of boxes was so heavy that we couldn't lift it over the divider thingy in the door, and our alphabetized customs forms went flying all over the foyer (Sorry, Chris, the Alphabetizer). We shuffled through gads of forms Atkins through Zoffman, in the interim leaving a post-office employees twiddling their thumbs a few times.

The beautiful thing?

It was, in the midst of this, festive.

One woman asked if we were really sending all of this stuff to the troops. When I replied, she hugged me. Solidly.

Another gentleman stepped up and asked if he could, himself, send 2 boxes.

And, when all was said and done....

Our clerk, Dawn, who has two (2!)(II!) (DOS!) sons in active duty, pulled out her own purse and handed me $20. The gentleman just behind her (oy, I did not get his name!) paid for a box of beanies to be shipped AIRMAIL (That's $27 vs. $14) to a soldier. How often do you see this: I just HAD to get a picture of the post office paying ME:

Really. She's not taking money, she's giving it.

And people, if this Veteran's Day honor should ever come to my kid when he is about the same age as the gentlemen honored on Wednesday,

(Jolley & Standish, 2nd tour Operation Iraqi Freedom)

It will be in the year 2067.

Gnightgirl will be 104 years old.

Bookmark me.

With my hand on my heart, I promise: If I'm capable, I'll be there for this one too.