Saturday, August 25, 2007

The essentials...

Entering the gates of some Army Bases is very serious business requiring each person to exit the vehicle you are traveling in, while bomb smelling dogs go over the vehicle inch by inch. Typically this will be followed by the inspection of each case that any of the passengers have brought with them. In our case this generally means seven book bags and one diaper bag, assuming I have not packed a bag for my husband and I.

One of our frequent business trips brought us to such a base in Georgia last year and each child obediently crawled out the side door of our 15 passenger van while the young officer dutifully stood to attention, his eyes gradually growing wider as the pile of children by his side grew larger and larger. Finally the 15 year old passed out her 1 year old sister to me before jumping out herself, and the soldier respectfully swallowed back the question I knew he was eager to ask: 'Are all of these yours?'
I answered his silent thoughts with a grin. "Yes, these are all ours, and now may they get back in?"

"Yes, ma'am, as soon as I have inspected their bags!"

Deferentially each child handed him their bag and once it was inspected they hopped back in. Finally we came to the nine year old and his bag. Of all the bags, the contents of this one obviously met the soldier's approval as a grin split his face in half before he zipped it back up and seriously passed it back to my son who nodded and got back into the van.

As we drove away, I was curious as to what might have made the soldiers eyes twinkle like that and I asked Benjamin if I might see what he had brought in his book bag. It seemed curiously light for a three day trip. However inside were what are the obvious essentials for a nine year. A full platoon of soldiers and one bathing suit, size 8. Read more!