I held the box close to my heart. “May I help you with that ma’am?” The very thought of letting it go seemed to break the very fabric of my existence. It was not just precious to me, it wasn’t air that I would breathe or water I would drink. It was my story, our story. Friday nights that were captured under the lights of a football field, mornings met in a deer stand. How could I let someone else bear the weight of our story? No, not this. It had to come with me. It always went with me, 10 moves in 20 years, that box always came with me.
When I received the invitation to the welcome reception and the ice breaker was to bring the one thing you would never let TMO take I could think of no better item then my box.
It was as if I had stepped into Ms. Peregrine’s Home of Peculiars when the first treasure was unveiled. “Fred and Ginger.” Fred and Ginger were ferns if you can believe it. They had survived almost 30 years worth of military moves, not just CONUS moves but international moves as well (don’t ask how). They had to be placed ever so carefully in boxes with wet towels and special soil in order to stay alive and then had to be acclimated to their environments carefully. See Fred and Ginger were a gift, the first gift they received as a married couple so they had to be protected, preserved, no matter the cost.
From there, we would see a beautiful collection of cookbooks including a first edition signed copy ”Mastering of the Art of French Cooking” by none other than Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck which stole my heart. It was a gift from husband to wife during a tour in Europe. Can you imagine a more romantic memento?
Everyone took turns showing various items they received when they were first married and one young lady in particular had an Army Navy tablecloth that had been in her family since 1950. Treasures that they have kept near and dear to their hearts throughout their time in service. This was not an ice breaker merely for the sake of having one, however it was an opportunity for us to share our stories and begin to build community. You see we will spend more time with our Military family then we will our biological family during the course of our careers. Community is vital and our stories are a way we can bridge the gap, connect, inspire and encourage one another. We find similarities, camaraderie, and through our eclectic spirit, a common thread of love and commitment for the country we serve.