First of all, Brian is fine. I found it somehow appropriate to write nothing during the moment of prayer pictured, but hadn't counted on scaring the bejeezus out of a few readers, wondering if Brian was the one being prayed for. I modified the title to make it (hopefully) clearer, and write now to ease your wondering minds. I am so sorry.
I spoke to Brian yesterday; he was in good spirits. The workload has eased up for now. He seems to fluctuate between exhaustion and boredom. Our conversation was definitely more upbeat, he being more rested than other times he's called.
It's cold, and they have new uniforms made of Nomex, which is nice and flame retardant, and also breathes. Fabric that breaths: Nice when it's hot. COLD when it's not; the wind whips right through their uniforms. Overcoats are not allowed, any insulating has to be done via layering under their uniforms.
SO. I'll be trekking out to Champaign Surplus tomorrow, to look for black long-johns, for him and his gunner, Steven Moore (pictured below).
I have been instructed to help take care of Mr. PFC Steven Moore (age 20), also; he has apparently saved my son's life more than once, though exact details are not forthcoming. Steven sits on a turret atop Brian's humvee, and, while Brian stays warm inside the truck, Steven is outside, in the wind and cold, for the majority of each mission's time.
When I tell Brian I'm sending him a pillow, it is "send one for Moore, too, he's saves my ass" that he tells me. Enough said, kid. Anyone that saves my kid's life gets pillows and long johns and space heaters, and anything else he needs to be alert and comfy while he's doing it.
Sounds like Brian is acquiring brothers, while he's there, and Moore is one of them.
I personally bonded with Moore, from across the world, when Brian told me that he's terrified of spiders. "Even more than I am," he added.
He cackled maniacally then, telling of a practical joke that he played on him, placing a rubber spider the size of a man's hand just under the 50-cal (that's Moore's gun) on the turret.
Apparently Moore got halfway into that turret one night, and found himself face to face with the hairy thing. "Hold on!" he yelled, "Hold up! Hold on!" Brian innocently responded, " 'Sup, Moore? We gotta roll out!" "JUST HOLD ON!!" he yelled back, trying to decide which direction to head, slowly pulling out his flashlight, to further assess the situation. After another minute, Brian heard "SOMEONE'S GOING TO GET THEIR ASS KICKED!"
Brian laughed, on the phone, and I could hear Moore in the background, laughing also.
E-mails, and MySpace and phone calls are all good...but I can't tell you hearing the sound of my kid laughing lifts my spirits. I can hardly wait til he gets home, and, of course, brings Moore and his wife over for spaghetti.
I will then bond with Moore further by sharing war stories with him: I will regale him with tales of Brian, as a child, placing a hairy rubber spider between the sheets, and re-making my bed, or placing the thing in the silverware drawer, or in the microwave. We will smoke cigars, and drink whiskey, and reminisce: Ahh, how many times did I almost dropped dinner on the floor, mindlessly turning around to put the rice in the microwave.
And Brian. We will make him wait on us hand and foot, refilling our drinks and buffing our nails, and cleaning our ashtrays. I'll start shopping for a little French maid's outfit right now. Paybacks are hell, and we, the Arachnid-ly-traumatized, will seek our revenge.
Ohhh, this is going to be good.