He first called his son. In the boy’s time zone, school had not yet let out for the day so he left a voicemail. “I am leaving now son. It will be difficult to call the next few months so we’ll just do that Skype thing, okay. Be good at school and enjoy the ball game. Love you, bye!”
He then made a second call. This time, he did not need to leave a voicemail. He discussed mundane everyday things, offered some advice on how to get the computer up and running (“and if that does not work, call Dave”). He ended with “Don’t forget your medications, and remember to refill them when you run low. Awright, gotta go now, I’ll see you soon, dad”.
He hung-up and went back to horsing around with his buddies who were all being deployed to Bagram Air Force Base.
It’s a scene that Hollywood has used often with great success, but I found it to be even more effective without the dramatic pauses and the violins. Maybe it was the 3-D effect, since it happened in the seat next to mine on an airplane to Kuwait.
My other neighbor had trouble with his headphones. He had an old-fashioned one that did not work with the socket on his hand rest. My set was missing from my seat pocket and you cannot get an United airlines attendant to help you even if you offer a bribe. My first neighbor offered to share his airline headphones, since he had a personal one. When he took it out however, we found that the cord was frayed and on the verge of snapping. He grinned, displayed a gold cap. “War is hell, ain’t it?” he said.
A friend of mine thinks that everything reminds me of a song by Bob Dylan. I would like to keep that delusion alive, so here goes:
".....the reason for fighting
I never got straight
But I learned to accept it
Accept it with pride
For you don't count the dead
When God's on your side"