Tuesday, March 06, 2007

My Very Army Purim

It has been a crazy week and I had almost no time to do anything that I needed to do. The weekend started on Friday when I spent the morning taking care of school things. Then in the Afternoon I had to pack up and head to Fort Totten and then from there to Fort Dix. As always, this was a rather lengthy process and we ended up getting in really late.

We got in and then there was some setting up and getting rooms and stuff like that. But eventually we got to sleep. Saturday was spent doing physical stuff. First the Leadership Reaction Course and then the Confidence course. The first got me kicked in the face a bit, an injury that put me out of commission for the last 20 minutes of the course and kept me in pain for the next day or so. I still have some residual sensitivity and trouble with chewing gum. But it'll pass.

The Confidence Course was just hard, but I managed, despite the pain to do all the obstacles. I am still sore. It'll take a few days to get the soreness out of my shoulders.

After dinner chow we got back to the barracks, where thanks to some weird circumstance, I had my own room. So I read the Megillah myself. I borrowed my father's. (It is a really nice one.) I am pretty out of practice, but I managed to make it through the whole thing without breaking my teeth. (That's more than I can say for the confidence course.) I was going to offer to read it for anyone who wanted, but one never knows what schedules will be like at these battle assemblies. So I thought that it was better that people do not rely on me for their megillah, and have me not show up. Besides I saw some Lubavitchers on Fort Dix on Saturday afternoon, I am sure they did the reading for the permanent party.

On Saturday night there the whole unit went out to the post bar and we had a goodbye party for our First Sergeant who was being promoted out of the unit.

On Sunday morning after a few hours of sleep we woke up at 04:30 and worked out for about an hour and a half. It was cold and painful, but it felt good at the end. We got changed, ate morning chow and then had a few ceremonies, cleaned up and left in the afternoon.

On the way back I got a ride with one of my Staff Sergeants. We stopped off on the New Jersey Turnpike for lunch. Outside of the Starbucks at the rest stop I saw this very religious-looking man waiting around for his family or for his coffee, I'm not sure. I instinctively wished him a happy Purim. and went back to my Sergeant who was picking out a good pair of polarized sunglasses.

When we got to the parking lot to be on our way, the religious-looking man was there as well with what I assume was his wife and two kids. He asked us if he can give me mishloach manot. I said that if he can do it soon, then "sure". So he went in to his car and gave us hamantashen and some orange beverage. My hispanic Sergeant was a bit puzzled by why a total stranger was giving us food in a parking lot, but he accepted it politely. I sort of explained that this was a holiday where we did this and we went along.

In the subway people were particularly polite, thanking me for my service . . . It is actually something that we appreciate, even though we may not show it.

I got to Flatbush to have the traditional Purim meal with my grandparents. I was walking through the streets (with "D") and everyone was dressed up in their Purim costumes. For the first time I really did not feel out of place in uniform in the streets. I played with my nieces and nephews till I had to go home and collapse out of sheer tiredness.


Shosh said...

Sounds like you had a really nice (if unusual) purim. Take care of your mouth-at least you didn't lose any teeth!

Erica said...

A belated freilichen Purim, and you should never, ever feel out of place in your "Purim fatigues," since you are, after all, doing our country a great service.

bec said...

happy belated purim!
funny about the guy giving you misloach manot in the parking lot. i actually delivered some to the wrong house and left it, then later realized i left all sorts of fun yummies at the house of a non-jew. i can only imagine what they thought when they saw it sitting there....!