Monday, February 13, 2006

Don't Sell the Farm Ray

We're out of Iraq and spending a few days de-compressing in a large transient tent city in Kuwait called Camp Victory before making the final leg of the journey stateside. Our arrival was in the wee hours of the morning and we we're greeted by comfortable buses. The stacks of seabags and backpacks were trucked right to the front of our hooch. We only had to drag them thankfully a few yards to our racks, dig out sleeping bags and collapse. Our flack jackets are now packed away and ammunition turned back in.

I'm writing this in a cozy, and I do mean cozy, internet cafe at the "Paradise Sands" USO center. This large otherwise non-descript building is awash in peaceful atmospheric lighting and comfy IKEA furnishings. If you've ever been in an IKEA store then you've probably seen a glass case with a pneumatic contraption making a kaa-shish sound over and over again flexing their signature easy-chair. Well there are lines of those chairs facing a couple big screen TVs. In the center of this cavernous space are piles of overstuffed pillows piled on top of matching sofa size cushions. I can hear the sound of dice rattling around in a cup coming out from a huddle of Marines playing a game of Phase 10. Along the perimeter are groupings of low over-stuffed sofas worthy of an episode of "Friends". Overhead are hanging playful Alexander Caulder mobiles gently turning in the air. You have to take your combat boots off when first entering and folks are padding about the carpeted floor in stocking feet. I feel like I'm back in kindergarten. God Bless the USO...this place feels a little like a mythic place that's on all our minds...HOME.

Those of you who've been gracious enough to follow my journey can probably guess my politics. I've tried to stay off of that soap box. If you ever read Victor Davis Hanson you'll get a pretty good idea where I stand. When 9/11 happened I was a card carrying dyed in the wool liberal registered Democrat. The religion stamped on my dogtags was Unitarian. Progressive ideas and thinking still inform alot of my core values. So, in many ways I, like alot of you, resist being labeled. But unlike alot of you and many very liberal friends, I have had the benefit being out here on the front lines in the War on Terrorism. I'm like the brother-in-law of Ray Kinsella in the movie "Field of Dreams" who, when finally seeing the ball players, speaks out of his epiphany those immortal words, "don't sell the farm Ray". This is a good fight. It is worth our blood and treasure. Let's not sell the farm just yet.

20 comments:

CJ said...

Love those last lines. Glad you are having a bit of ease on your journey home. Hope the rest goes just as well. Thank you for our freedom!

Lil Toni said...

No mo flak and no mo ammo!!!! Woo hoo!!
Enjoy Kuwaiting, and thanks for ALL you do!
Hugz, Michael.

Anonymous said...

God Bless you Warrant Officer Fay.
May the rest of your journey home be safe.
Becky
Colorado

April said...

The thing about being progressive is that you recognize when you need to change. I'm with you, brother.

Anonymous said...

Mike,

"Is this heaven, no....it's Iowa." Ok, in your case it's the USO. See you when you get back with Craig to either the WNY or Quantico. What a journey I am sure it has been. Have loved your blog over the last several months.

Macon

David M said...

Wonderful, I'm sticking this post in my Web Reconnaissance for today!

Agnieszka O. in CO said...

Happy travels HOME.

Proud Marine Dad said...

Thanks - My son has a close PI buddy also waiting in Kuwait for the next ride home after a year in country.

By the way, your art provides a rare window into the life of our Marines. Keep posting when you get home, please. And stay safe.

Semper Gumby,
Proud Marine Dad

Beth* A. said...

Great news all around! Thanks, and have a good trip (soon) stateside!

LCpl Justin Van Hout said...

Well Sir, I knew you before you became a warrant officer, and I enjoyed every ounce of conversation we shared. This is LCpl Justin Van Hout, whose platoon you spnt some time with in Iraq. I wanted to thank you for the stories and history that you brought back to the states. People here need to read about the true events happening there, the real sacrifices we make for an actually VERY greatful nation.

Buck Pennington said...

Godspeed and thank you, Mr. Fay.

I hope you continue to post when you're back in The World. (Is that term still used?)

Cheryl said...

Well, at last!! I am so thankful you're on your way back home!!! You're absolutely correct, the majority of us have not had the benefit of being on the front lines in this war. I thank God for men such as yourself, who have a deep love for their country and are willing to risk their life for her. Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

yankeemom said...

So glad to hear that you're on your way home! Thank you for sharing your stories and artwork with us, giving those of us at home a view into what our Troops are experiencing. I've so enjoyed your posts.

yankeemom said...

Just wanted to let you know, I linked to you today ~

Michael said...

Just found out about your blog from
http://youbetchaimapam.blogspot.com/.

Am interested to see your back posts and art work.

Glad to hear you and others are coming home. Thank you for your service and sacrifices.
Mike

Rob said...

Congratulations and thank you for your wonderful service to your country.

Now that you're going home, you're going to set up shop on the internet and sell your artwork. Right?

Sean Welch said...

Mike,

I'm relieved to see that you're heading home. I'm revving up to head to Iraq in a few weeks. I've followed your experiences as I prepare for my own. I hope to see you at the annual HMX Avi get together when I get back home. Thanks for your service and all you've done to shed light on the reality of what is being done in Iraq by the selfless patriots who serve. Have a safe trip home.

Semper Fi

Sean Welch

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your site for a few months and I love it.

I work for the USO and I am very, very happy that you have been enjoying your time there. The USO's mission is to provide a 'touch of home' to the men and women in uniform around the world. I am glad to read that the USO is accomplishing that goal in Kuwait.

I am actually jealous of you being there. I have applied for a job working at the Camp Victory USO a couple of times.

SK said...

Thank you so much for all you've been doing and welcome home.

kassi said...

Thank you and God Bless