I'd like to tell you about my friend Nathan. I love him. We've known each other for almost nine years now. I couldn't say for sure, but I'm going to guess that he's been deployed or overseas at Christmas time for at least half of those. Nathan is in the US Army, and works with field artillery. He takes his job and his duty seriously, but is also one of the funnest people I've ever known. He takes care of the men in his command. He counsels them and helps them and protects them. I think of him as a Warrior in the true classic sense - not just a fighting man, but a thinking man and a learned man, a philosopher. He is one of the smartest guys I know, particularly when it comes to history and languages. Nathan's family still lives in Morton, TX, near Lubbock, and he always calls us to get together when he comes through town. My kids are crazy about him.
He and his wife Paula were two of the first people to meet Blake when he was born in 2004. You know up above when I said he's one of the funnest guys I know? Here's us playing ATV polo.
Here's what made me think of him for today's entry: an electronic bulletin board. I was driving past a school the other day, and saw on their outdoor marquee that they would be dismissed early on December 7th. I can't see or hear that date without mentally completing the sentence with "a date which will live in infamy." And that's when I realized that this Thursday will be the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day. Think of that for a second. 70 years. That made me think of the military, which made me think of Nathan. I wrote to Paula to ask if Nathan was someplace where he'd enjoy getting a package for Christmas. She wrote back to let me know that he is, a couple of things that he would enjoy getting, and where I should send it.
I think that Nathan has occasional internet access from his FOB in Afghanistan, so he'll probably see this before the package arrives. I hope you will enjoy it, friend. Stay safe, and know that we think of you often. When I mailed your package today, the man at the post office said, "When you talk to him again, tell him all of us say thanks, and that we appreciate his service."