Thanksgiving at Home

Friends linked this documentary about Iraqi death squads to me and I’m watching it now. While the U.S. contemplates what it should do to “fix” Iraq, it seems to me that Iraqis have been circumventing our stagnant Iraq policy — indeed what is going on in Iraq is now happening largely without our involvement. We do not have a presence now and we are ineffectual in all regards to what is really going on in Iraq now. We never really owned the streets, but now we don’t even know what’s going on in the streets. The only consolation is that both the American people and the shifting Congress are now far more open to admitting that Iraq is a fucking disaster.

Last weekend I flew home to Dallas. Unfortunately a possible plan to go hang out with my buddy Chris fell through, but the good part is that I’m saving up more leave days so I can leave the Army sooner. We’ll make it up later, bro!

I got a direct flight from American and it was delayed a bit. It was good to have a comfy bed and to see my parents and to play with the dogs. I had been sick the last two weeks from what I think was probably bacterial food poisoning similar to what I got when I went to NYC last year. It’s pretty bad because it just kills my appetite, and appetites and Professor Doublehump go together like Chipotle fajita burritos and Frullati strawberry-banana smoothies.

My mom cooked an awesome Thanksgiving dinner, which we ate around mid-afternoon. Julie marvels at these odd eating times which I assured her were normal in my country. We had a big ol’ turkey, homemade bread, gravy, cranberries shaped with a fancy mold, delicious stuffing, and a bacon and brussel sprout dish. Before that we had a creamy mushroom soup. My mom joked that we had to have all the mushrooms and pork while my girlfriend and my brother’s girlfriend weren’t there. My girlfriend hates mushrooms and Daniel’s girlfriend is Muslim.

We had pumpkin pie for dessert. My brother and I put whipped cream from a can on it, to my mom’s dismay.

After a filling meal, I watched the Cowboys destroy Tampa. Needless to say, everyone’s excited that the Cowboys are coming along so well this season.

Later that night I went out with my brother to have some drinks with his friends from school. Mainly we talked about guy stuff.

The next day we went out to have lunch with my friend Slavek, his wife, and her family. We went to a Mexican restaurant and I had some Elvis enchilada dish that didn’t really make sense since I don’t believe Elvis and Mexico really mix except for that awesome movie where he’s a lifeguard who is afraid of heights but goes to Mexico to make some money and then gets two women, one Mexican and one white, to fight each other for his hunkiness and then there are a lot of segues into song and general cheesiness.

After that, I went to see Casino Royale again with my parents. They both enjoyed it and I really haven’t heard anyone who hasn’t liked it. Daniel Craig makes Bond into a badass again.

For dinner, Daniel’s girlfriend came over and we ate leftovers. She’s pretty funny and intelligent and I asked her a lot about Pakistan. She was the center of attention in a family made up mostly of introverts (and one who claims he’s an introvert but is totally an extrovert!).

That night, I went out to drink with my old college roommate and his girlfriend. His neighbor showed up too, and a guy who used to be in the 82nd Airborne. We got pretty liquored up because his neighbor loves to drink and he bought us a lot of Jaegerbombs and beers. We ended up chilling out in his neighbor’s hot tub until 5AM or so.

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I didn’t get much sleep because the next morning I went with my parents and the dogs to their ranch house southwest of Dallas. It’s out in the country. The thing about the house is that it’s secluded and has a big prairie in front of it with a stream in the back that has waterfalls you can hear while you sleep inside. My parents had furnished the house since the first time I visited and the furniture looked great. It was an extremely comfortable house and it must be relaxing to drive out there for the weekend, kick back, have a nice cook-out, sit outside in the rocking swing, and be away from everything. I enjoyed it muchly. We had steak for dinner along with salad and some local salsa-like corn stuff out of a jar and wine and potato wedges.

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I think Julie objected to my installing the wi-fi router out there. =P But my parents asked me to!

We stayed overnight and left early the next morning. For breakfast we had bacon and eggs and bread with honey and orange slices. Mmm!

I had to go get myself some Chipotle and Frullati for lunch before I went to the airport. My brother took me to the new terminal at DFW, which is full of luxury shopping and grand-sweeping artwork. It’s pretty impressive and kind of cool. Too bad the TSA sort of ruins any sort of pleasure you have being in an airport these days. The TSA sucks because it’s a thuggish group of unqualified louts who eye you up and down as if everyone is a terrorist. These guys seriously need to be reined in.

I got home to Nashville pretty quickly (the Thanksgiving rush was not too bad at all) and drove back to base. I realized how much I didn’t miss being in Clarksville and on post. It’s just so dull here and reminds me why I don’t want to re-enlist no matter how much I enjoy a lot of what it involves being in the Army.

Anyway, I had a blast going back home — I got to reconnect with my friends and spend some holiday time with my family. What I regret most is that I couldn’t spend this time with Julie — I constantly found myself wishing she were there experiencing those things with me.

I really needed this vacation because I’ve been sick and lonely as all my friends here are now in Iraq contributing to the fight while I’m not.

For a soldier, that’s pretty hard to take.

  • I was wondering why your brother’s girlfriend being Muslim prevented her from eating mushrooms.

    Then I reread the sentence and saw the bit about pork.