Sunday, May 17, 2009

A feather in your cap....

One of my buddies, who'd been deployed over here to Iraq three times (and each of those three times brought all of his Infantrymen home alive, if a bit worse for wear), had decided he'd had enough of the Army, and left Active Duty. No one was more surprised by this turn of events than I. Of all the Soldiers I knew, I figured CPT J to be a lifer, for sure.

He and his men had been through the wringer over here, and he was pretty angry about how civilians (mostly) were (mis)managing things, so he got out.

I was pretty certain he'd not thrive if he weren't putting a uniform on, on a regular basis. He's just that kind of guy.

Sure enough, a while ago now, he mentioned to me that he'd joined a Reserve Component unit, and would be doing the "one weekend a month, two weeks in the summer" thing until his mandatory term of service was completed. It seems that friends of his who'd stayed in the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) had already been called up and deployed, and he worked some drug deal or other whereby if he drilled on weekends with a unit, the Army promised not to deploy him for a time which will exceed the amount of time left on his contract.

He'd already been stop-lossed so the Army could send him on his third combat deployment, so this plan would keep him in uniform, but out of the pool (at least, supposedly) of Officers who will deploy in the next year or so.

Anyway, we were talking on the phone last weekend, he and I, and I'm not really sure what he was blathering on about (we both blather a lot, so that's a lot of blathering between us, and hard to keep track of), but at one point he said, of something he'd done for his unit that day, "Well, that will be a feather in my cap."

I responded with, "Or in your tar."

Now the phone connection between Down Range and Down Home is surprisingly good at times, and frustratingly bad on other occasions. CPT J thought I'd said something about a car, so he expressed some confusion and exasperation (I say some pretty off-the-wall things, a propos of nothing in particular, so his reaction was understandable and appropriate).

I managed to make clear that I had attempted an off-the-cuff pun: "Tar. As in 'tarred and feathered' -- sheesh!" (As an aside, that punishment was a particularly cruel and brutal one, and a person could die from the burns from the hot tar....)

Well, CPT J began hooting and hollering. He just thought that was the best thing since sliced bread, or something. "'That'll be a feather in you cap or a feather in your tar!' It's perfect for the Army!"

He even wrote about this on his Facebook page.

What's up with that?

Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ

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