In late August, our travels took us up to Belfast, Maine with an Airstream trailer in tow. MyUPSGuy has always wanted a “silver bullet.” We’ve been a couple of times to visit the Airstream dealership in New Jersey, and we talk about “one day,” but to afford one is, well, quite something.
But … the good news is … you can rent them!
So we did just that, took a week off, and made our way up the east coast to Maine. Belfast is a small town north of Freeport, right on the coast and beautiful. We love it. This is our third time visiting this lovely town, which is full of boiling lobster pots, seasoned mariners and the occasional bald eagle resting on the rocks.
On our last day in Belfast, we opted to poke around in some antique shops and junk barns and it wasn’t long before we came across what we felt was a “good find.” At Hobby Horse Antiques Marketplace, chock full of antiques large and small, sun-bleached moose antlers, old bottles, antique tobacco containers and the like, was … wait for it … an explosives detonator.
Now I don’t think either of us woke up in the little tin can that day thinking that we would go buy a detonator, but it was just a unique piece. The shop’s owner shared openly what she had paid for it, could see we were extremely interested and made us a gracious offer that couldn’t be beat. The credit card went down on the counter, MyUPSGuy picked up the wooden box, and off we went. He then surfed the internet to find a wooden dynamite box to sit next to the detonator on the fireplace hearth while holding … the dog toys.
As a writer, things … events … people … make me think of other things, events, and people. Take a writer like me, put her in an interesting shop in an interesting place, and the connections between events and things and people escalate exponentially. Suddenly, there’s a lot to say.
Because I remember going to the Army Corps of Engineers Officer Basic Course in Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri from January to May of 1992, and learning about explosives and how to put them to use. And as any good engineer learns how to do, we learned to build things, and then summarily blow them up.
At the Basic Course, we would rig the explosives to a tree or an I-beam or whatever else we were practicing with and just as I was ready to hasten back behind the largest tree I could find to duck behind, Sergeant Hines would look at me with a grin, add some additional C-4 explosive and say to me, “Ma’am, P for plenty.”
With this additional material in place, we would get behind the tree, set off a mighty boom!!, and then poke our heads up once the dust had cleared to survey the scene, much like a gopher coming out of its hole after a storm.
These memories, all of them, were racing through my mind as we purchased the detonator, which more likely was used to build the railroads of this country.
But there it was. P for plenty. I’ll never forget that.
It made me think of our soldiers, training, working, and soldiering at this very moment in fields far from home. In that moment, the credit-card-down moment, this is where my mind went. To our soldiers.
I’ll say simply this … that I love them … love our soldiers to my core. I see them in the airport in their uniforms and I am so … proud. Because I know some of those steps, some of that training, some of those miserable moments in a foxhole in the middle of a driving rain. Not all those moments. But some of them. As I stood in the antique store and mentioned the “P for plenty story” to the woman who sold us the detonator, it came rushing back. I remembered the many moments of training, hot and tired, cold and wet, in those early days of my time in the Army. I think of our soldiers far and abroad, mostly young, far from home, and I pray that God keeps them safe. Because soldiering is just plain tough, hard work. And I think so often of the many soldiers far and wide who work so hard, sacrifice so much, and make me so proud.
My love and gratitude can never be enough. But it’s P for plenty.