I’ve hesitated to blog about this for fear of jinxing it or whatever, but Will is coming home. He was supposed to be here a bit sooner, but now they have their flight. He will fly out on the 19th and go to Ft. Bliss to demobilize. That will take about five days.
His last email was sobering and I cried for two days before I pulled it together.
Hey Mom. Just wanted to say I’m still alive. They moved our flight to the 19th so after demob I should be home about the 24th. Well things here are still Iraq. Our replacements are having hell. They’re so ate up they care more about living nice than doing the mission. One of their convoys got hit late last night. One of the guys didn’t make it. It was their first official day of taking over the mission, so it was hard hit for everyone. Well I love you Mom. I’ll be home soon
They had a special salute to the unit one weekend and the hall they used was much too small. There was a Mexican lady there with her granddaughters standing in the hallway with me.
I was trying to listen to what was being said inside, but the trio yammered non-stop.
“I could be outside getting a tan, It’s hot in here.”
I wanted to tell her, “Then go the heck outside and shut up the whining.”
“Why did we have to come anyway?” That was the other whining teenager in shorts so short you couldn’t wad a shotgun with them and the stupidity to wear high heels, then complain her feet hurt.
“Sylvia’s nephew is deploying. The church decided everyone should come, but it’s so boring.”
“How long is this going to last,” Whiner One.
“I don’t know. I hope not long,” Grandma.
“I love those shoes on you, Grandma.” Whiner One
Grandma beams. “Oh, I got them at Walmart. I shopped all over and then found the perfect shoes at Walmart.”
“I like that lipstick. It goes perfectly with your complexion. What color is that?”
Irritated mother who is about ready to scream, “Remember the Alamo,” and kill them all. “Some of us are trying to listen to this. Would you mind being quiet or at least going outside to talk about your fabulous lipstick and shoes?”
Offended grandma. “We can’t hear anything either.”
“Well, of course you can’t. You’re too busy yapping about fabulous lipstick and shoes and whining about not being able to get a sun tan. Perhaps if you shut up some of us could hear.”
The trio did “humph” and shut up after that.
My family was aghast, but not surprised I was on the verge of beating a little old lady and her granddaughters.
Will thought it might have been cool to have it on the six o’clock news. “Mother of soldier attacks little old lady at the prayer ceremony for deploying soldiers. Temporary insanity considered, but sons confirm mother is always like that.”
It’s been a long haul. When they had the deployment ceremony in Midland, the Confederate Air Force had a fly over with vintage planes. It was awesome. I have some of the pictures in the album of the ceremony. A really good band played for the guys and Will is standing next to the singer in one of the pictures.
When they actually deployed from Savannah, it was a much smaller ceremony. Two soldiers arrived in taxis as they were forming up. One was so drunk he had to be helped to the line. I can’t remember what he hollered, but it was something like, “Never fear, I’m here.”
While it got a laugh from the crowd and some of the officers, it came at a price. Will said there were quite a few who were still drunk, but at least they swayed in formation without being noticed. The Never Fear soldier was definitely going to get smoked.
Towards the end of the ceremony, a flock of Canadian geese flew over. They fly in a vee, of course. To me it was almost like God sending the guys their own special fly over. The colonel making the speech and everyone stopped talking when the geese were honking and flying over. Then the entire platoon erupted in cheers for the geese.
I mentioned it to Will later and he said, “Yeah, government cutbacks. Geese were all they could afford.”
He has a lot of decisions to make or maybe not so many, but his life is going to change radically.
I’m going to keep the apartment, and he is going to move in with Don. I can’t afford the apartment, so I’m looking for something else. I had hoped to be able to get an overseas job before the lease was up, but I’m not having much luck with that. Maybe I’ll look for a job as a ranch cook. Anything to get me out of town.
After we decide what to do with the apartment, he will look into going to school and buying a home. We pray he can get custody of Logan.
I have always been proud of Will. He was an unusual boy. If he did something wrong, he came in and apologized and told me what he did. One day he was leaning the garage and knocked an antique whiskey jug off a shelf and broke it. He brought the pieces in to me. I was kind of devastated because Dad had sent it to me from Montana. “I hit it when I was sweeping and knocked it off. I’m sorry, Mom.”
He was about eight and his big brown eyes were quite a bit bigger.
“Did you do it on purpose?” I asked as I tried to figure out if I could glue it back together.
“No. I was just sweeping.”
“Then don’t worry about it. Accidents happen. Thank you for telling me.” I hugged him and that disaster was over.
It never occurred to lie to me about something. If it happened it happened. Take the punishment and go on. In Will’s case a talking to or grounding off something was all it normally took.
He was like a 30-year-old man in a little boy’s body.
He had no fear of anything. That’s not a good thing, but it seems to be in the Weathers genes. He helped me work on the roof of the house and was dashing around like he was walking on the ground. I was slowly inching my way around, scooting on my butt.
When we bought the house, I told Don it was on one condition; I was going to fix this house right. He complained constantly if I tried to do anything to improve the little house we had been living in. I’m not talking about silly décor stuff. I’m talking about replacing a kitchen ceiling that was caving in. I finally got sick of trying to cook and watch for blown insulation falling through the cracks and into the food and jerked the whole ceiling out. I bought the sheetrock to replace it and the boys were going to help me hang it. Don insisted the wall sheetrock had to be replaced so the ceiling sheetrock would be supported by it. We lived in a tiny house with no kitchen ceiling for 3 years because it had to be done “his way.”
He agreed to my condition because he wanted the barns and arena. He could care less about the house.
I had an electrician check the electrical and he said it was about to burn down. It had the old cloth-covered wire in several places and the wires were exposed. So, Will and I started tearing out all the sheetrock so we could rewire. I, being anal, wanted at least three outlets on each wall so it was easier to just take the walls down.
Hmmm. The house is actually two old oil company camp houses put together. They were built to be moved so the ceilings, and every wall was covered with 1×8 heartpine boards, then covered with tarpaper and eventually sheetrocked.
“Save the boards!” (I got custody of the remaining boards in the divorce.)
Will and his friend Wes just started jerking out the boards, destroying them in the process. I wanted to boards to do the living room walls in and wainscot the rest of the house. It took quite a bit longer to take each board down carefully.
We finally got everything down and jerked out all the wiring. Juan wired the house and we started back. It took us a year to get to this point since we also had to tear down and addition and was falling apart. Will and I insulated every wall and put up a vapor barrier over the insulation. I even insulated all of his walls so he could listen to his music as loud as he wanted and arranged it so he could install surround sound.
After eighteen months of living in a travel trailer with little heat, no air conditioning and a stove that didn’t work, we moved into the house, kind of. Will’s room was sheetrocked. The bathroom was done and my room at least had the vapor barriers up over the exterior walls.
The heartpine boards were 1×8 kind of. They were a fraction of an inch off and since I was doing a diamond pattern in the living room, every board had to be exactly the same width. Will and I ran the boards through a table saw to get them the correct width and then ran them through a planer to get the right thickness.
He help me sheetrock, tape and bed, painted the wainscot for the laundry room, put up the wallpaper, border and even helped wallpaper the ceiling so it looked like the old pressed tin. We installed the light fixtures and the washer connection cover. We built custom cabinets for it and hung them. I laid the tile and he put in the dry vent for me. We put up crown molding and trimmed out the room, hung the door and celebrated with a Dr.Pepper. He did say we weren’t wallpapering any more ceilings and I readily agreed.
We were without a stove for 3 years because Don said I couldn’t have one until I got the kitchen finished. Since I was custom building all of my cabinets, it took me a while. I cooked with a microwave and electric frying pans until I got tired of it and took one of my paychecks down to Sears and bought a repo stove. It wasn’t much, but I could bake. We celebrated with homemade potato bread and rodeo cake. Will was happy.
We started this project when he was fifteen, when most kids are out cruising around or crowding the malls. He came home every night from school, changed clothes and started helping me on the house. He took care of the horses without being asked to.
His room could use a little work, but I wasn’t complaining.
He worked like a dog through high school and appreciated everything he got. I had to fight him to buy him school clothes. The only thing he asked for was a computer, an X-box and a paintball gun. He never cared for the designer labels or what was in fashion. A pair of boots or shoes, Wranglers, tee shirts and long sleeve, solid color western shirts with buttons, not snaps. He was good to go.
If there was a particularly pretty sunset, he would run in the back door and holler, “Sunset alert!” Then we would go out and sit on top of the arena fence and watch the sunset together.
In school, he hung around his best friend, the football star and an odd boy named Michael who looked like his head was three times too large for his body. I’m sure there was something wrong with him, because he was kind of awkward, but he was a talented musician and he and Will were in orchestra together. Will made friends with a wide variety of kids. He wasn’t picky as long as they weren’t asses. If they were, the crew usually found a way to bring them down a notch or two. They didn’t tolerate anyone being mean to Michael. Of course, Will, Wes and Michael were merciless on each other.
In JROTC, the Colonel put Will in charge of all the paperwork and records. Will developed the powerpoint presentation each unit had to have each year. He’s a natural at accepting responsibility and making things work.
He joined the National Guard when he was seventeen and a junior in high school because he could join early and then transfer active to the Marines later. He spent his summer between junior and summer at basic training. His unit deployed to Iraq in December, but he still had to finish school and couldn’t go. Two days after he graduated, he shipped off for AIT training. They decided not to ship him to Iraq in the middle of a tour and he didn’t want to transfer to a new unit. He had bonded with the guys and decided to stay in the Guard instead of going to the Marines.
Will has always had an over-developed sense of humor and his laid back attitude makes him popular with just about everyone.
He, Wes and Wes’ girlfriend went to music concerts a lot. At one, a beautiful girl was sitting on her boyfriend’s shoulders. She was wearing shorts and one of their friends commented about how pretty she was.
“Lick her leg,” Will whispered.
His friend was shocked nearly speechless. “I ain’t doing that. Her boyfriend will kill me.”
“No, she’ll love it. Lick her leg.”
The boy still refused, so Will showed him how to do it. He stepped away, leaving the friend to face the wrath of the girl, who apparently didn’t like strange people licking her leg.
At another concert, the bass player kept watching Wes’ girlfriend and Wes was getting irritated.
“Why does he keep looking at Steph?”
Will, being a diplomat, “Wes, back stage passes. Think about it.”
“Oh, yeah.” Wes pushed Stephanie closer to the stage. “Smile at him.”
Sometimes we strolled across a parking lot and one of us would start singing or humming a song and he’d grab me. “Come on, Mom. Let’s dance.”
And we did.
One day we were in Midland picking up building supplies and we decided to stop and play putt-putt golf. Then he suggested we play laser tag. I had never played it, but he assured me it was easy. I got drilled. I think I set a record for getting hit the most times. The kid at the counter called everyone else over to look at the score card. “Whoa, lady, that’s impressive.”
I didn’t know laser tag had black lights and my long sleeve white shirt and new white shoes would make me a perfect target. Will did.
He previewed movies and music for me to see if they were “Mom safe.”
We took him to Golden Corral for his birthday usually. The waitresses would come over to sing happy birthday, as usual. One time, a waitress handed him two salt shakers and told him he needed to dance along. Mistake. He got up on a chair and was shaking his booty and his salt shakers.
Don threatened never to take any of us out in public again, even though Will got a huge ovation.
Yes, I’ve missed my boy. I’ve worried about him and cried. I remind myself to put him back in the hands of the Lord when the devil plants the what ifs in my mind.
We had planned on going to Ireland together someday. It won’t be this year for several reasons. I think I will take him to Medieval Times in Dallas when he gets home and maybe over to Hobbs to the casino. He deserves a break.