A is for Army
Imagine my surprise when Blake came home one day to our little one room apartment to tell me he had met an Army recruiter on campus during lunch. They had talked about the military and all the benefits that would come from it. Most importantly, they would pay for medical school. I thought he was crazy, but I saw he was serious. We had only been married for nine months and were in the newlywed joy and complete bliss phase of life. This was a hard pill to swallow. We immediately prayed about the decision and I felt that the answer was yes. I didn’t want it to be yes, but indeed it was.
A month later, I saw Blake off for nine weeks to basic training in Missouri. His job would be medic. Of course it would, because he is a kind, caring and generous person. This was two years after 9/11 and he wanted to do his part. We corresponded through good old fashioned mail. I wrote him a letter every day. I would receive his once a week. It was the highlight of my week. He said my letters got him through and he saved every one. His first one read, “The drill sergeant yelled at us and made us put our heads in our duffel bags.” I was pretty upset by that. After six weeks, he was able to call home. I remember waiting for hours by the phone one Sunday and I even skipped church so I wouldn’t miss the call. When the phone rang and I heard his voice, I felt immediate relief. He has the most comforting voice. I could tell he was proud of everything he had done.
Three weeks later, I flew out to Missouri to attend his boot camp graduation. I saw him and it was like a slow motion montage in a movie. The happiest feeling I had felt in nine weeks. He was thin as thin could be: a head on a stick would be a great description. We spent the weekend together before he headed off to Texas for the next four months of training. We were able to talk some nights, but it was still pretty lonely without him. He worked non-stop studying to do his best. He isn’t a partyer and would stay in every weekend polishing boots for extra money and watching movies. He stayed away from all the nightlife and was always faithful to me. Which, in the military is a great feat.
Two weeks from graduation, he got a brown recluse spider bite. He was admitted to the hospital then contracted a staph infection from the hospital. A month in the hospital under the strongest antibiotics available and Law and Order reruns, he managed to make it through. He always remained optimistic. The day came when he graduated from his training—three months later than we had planned on. His parents and I drove down to Texas from Idaho, a non-stop 24 hour drive. But the minute, I was able to bring him back home with me was one of the sweetest moments of my life. He had been through the trenches. He had overcome all odds and come out stronger. And this is the perfect introduction to my husband, Blake. He is a kind, giving and selfless person and I am so blessed he is mine.