Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hooked For Life

The Camouflage Effect is about to be undone. Here is the first of our stories about our 2/2 Marines, currently serving our nation as they support Operation Enduring Freedom.

Andy Rooney said “I’ve learned that when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his fist,
that you’re hooked for life”.

Andy Rooney was right!

Chris - nicknamed Boo by my husband who still calls him that to this day - lived with us most of his life. When I think back to when he was little, what I remember the most is how much I loved being with him.

Whether we went shopping, to church or the park for a picnic, he was so well behaved and took an interest in everything.

As he grew older of course, he grew less interested in being with Grandma and more interested in being with his friends and pursuing other interests.

Chris is very social and has always had a lot of friends. He was intelligent and made good grades in school, but as he got older, studying took a back seat to his social life and sports.

It didn’t help that he hated to read. He would much rather go to the gym and work out, or go to the park with his friends to play football, softball or soccer.

Sports were his first love. He played football in middle school and in his senior year in high school and also took part in track when he was in 8th grade. The sport he loved the most, though, was soccer. He played it from first grade until he went into the military.

Knowing how he felt about sports, I was totally surprised when he decided to participate in Chorus when he was in 5th grade. At the end of the year when they put on a program, he played the part of one of the Blues Brothers complete with sunglasses, jacket, tie and black hat.

I have so many memories - mostly pleasant ones but some frightening. Like the time when he was 3 years old and we found him face down in our swimming pool. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Ralph run as fast as he did to jump in and saved him. -I thank God he was alright but to this day I can still see that vision in my mind. He went around for months afterward telling everyone “Papa saved my life!”

When Chris was in middle school, he became interested in the military. At that time he thought he wanted to join the Army. When we were shopping one day he saw some camouflage material and asked me to make him a quilt out of it. I worked on the quilt and finished it when he was in Brownsville visiting his mom for the summer. I guess I got caught up in the camouflage thing - because I decided to paint one of his walls camouflage - sponging it with drab olive, beige and black paint. I also made a lampshade out of left over camouflage material. He was really surprised when he got home. To be honest, I’m still not sure what he REALLY thought of the room - a little over the top maybe?! When he was a sophomore in high school he helped me paint over it!

He began to talk seriously of going into the military when he was in high school. I didn’t want him to do that because I didn’t want him going to war. If it had been peacetime, I would have backed him wholeheartedly. I remember telling him war isn’t a game like he plays on Xbox - it’s real. He still talked of going into the Army and an Army recruiter even came over to the house to talk to us, but in his senior year of high school he went to live with his dad in CA.

His uncle was in the Marines and served in Iraq. The next thing I knew, Chris was calling me and telling me he had enlisted in the Marines. I’ll never forget how I felt the night he told me.

He told me when he was home on leave after bootcamp, that he had accepted Jesus and had been baptized at the top of the mountain at MCRD after the Crucible. He got a tattoo (one of many of course!) that has Joshua 1:9 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Chris is a man and a “tough Marine” now - but to me he will always be that little boy who held my finger in his little fist and hooked me for life.

Written with love by Pat, in honor of her grandson, Chris.

1 comment:

  1. Well Ms. Pat, your story certainly brought me to tears! I loved it!