Message in a Bottle

On Sunday, Studley and i drove The Boy to Capital City, where he was to spend the night prior to shipping out for Army training on Monday. He had to be checked in by 3:00pm, but didn’t need to be back until much later, so we took him out for dinner.  Resourceful as ever, i found an upscale establishment featuring acres of football on flat screen TVs, and scantily-clad lovelies delivering beer.

The Boy demonstrated great restraint – ordering a grilled chicken salad and coke, while Studley and i worked our way through the autumn beer menu, bashed a variety of deep fried appetizers and shared a hamburger the size of a watermelon. At Basic Training, The Boy will certainly have to demonstrate discipline in the face of temptation. We figured it would be good for his training. It was the least we could do.

We discussed the timing of Christmas break, and speculated as to whether i’d be able to send him a small gift box. With only a few weeks into his training, i wasn’t even sure i’d have a mailing address for him by then.

Studley: Used to be that all recruits were forced to write a ‘safe and sound’ letter upon arrival. [in his best Drill Instructor voice] “YOU MAGGOTS GET OUT A PEN! YOU WILL TELL YOUR FAMILY YOU HAVE ARRIVED SAFE AND SOUND. MAKE IT SHORT AND SWEET! THIS IS NOT SUMMER CAMP! DO YOU UNDERSTAND?” That was right before you disappeared off the face of the earth…

The Boy: They might still do something like that. Another way to let us know they own our asses…

daisyfae: But you also might have a chance to write sometime when it’s not forced! i want to know whether your communications are voluntary or directed! We should figure out a code word to add… something that lets me know if you were forced to write it!

The Boy: A word I would never use. “Refreshing?” “Delightful?” Yeah, they’re words I wouldn’t use, but if the DI reads the letter, I’m liable to get beat up…

We went back to inhaling food and drinking beer, while The Boy picked at his salad. It still seemed important to develop a code. It finally hit me…

From the time he could write his name, The Boy made it a point to sign every birthday or Mother’s Day card with both his first and last names, as if i need to know which Boy Fae is offering his kind regards on my days of recognition.

daisyfae: i’ve got it! If you are forced to write a letter, just sign your first name – “Boy”! It will look completely normal to anyone screening the letter, and i’ll immediately know that you were directed to write! If you have some downtime, and they give you the opportunity to scratch out a few lines, sign as you normally would, “Boy Fae”. It’s perfect!


My daily alarm startled me at 0600 Tuesday. i grabbed my phone from the bedside table to silence the beast, and was surprised to find a text from The Boy, time stamped just past midnight.

“It’s me letting you know that I arrived safe and sound – Boy”

text message in a bottle

image found here

20 thoughts on “Message in a Bottle

    • Me, too… Don’t expect to hear anything for at least a month, and even then it will be short, burst communication for a bit. i’ll see him at graduation – in March!

  1. I remember a silly ‘Varsity skit about secret messages, code. etc. I think the gist was the invisible ink. “Couldn’t get lemon juice, so used pee!”

    [And I have never bothered to see if this works!]

    • Ha! Reminds me of the time i got stung by a jelly fish and he so very graciously offered to pee on my leg… Yeah, even we’re not that weird! Will skip the invisible ink, too! 😀

    • It hadn’t occurred to me, mainly because i knew they’d collect all of the phones as soon as the recruits got to their post… i remind myself that he IS safe, and starting to push the envelope to see what he’s got. it’s good for him. i know this. but…

  2. I know about basic training as Jesse and Lynette both went through it. You can send a box. Just don’t put any food in it. At all. It will be confiscated.

    They will be completely controlled as to diet for the first month of basic. They will not even be allowed to drink juice at breakfast or any soda whatsoever. Goodies in boxes are strictly forbidden. He will probably let you know that soon. Also, don’t expect to hear from him very much. Cell phone use is also strictly rationed.

    He will come out a different Boy Fae. Probably a better one, if it is possible.

    • Thanks for the insights! You went through this not too long ago! We already knew that there’d be no food/snacks — what he really wants are books! i told him that he’ll have access to a library at some point in time.

      He had already changed his diet over the past year, and while he was home ‘pre-training’, he’d changed it further. even gave up smoking – except on weekends! my best guess is i’ll hear something by thanksgiving, and again near christmas.

      i’m pretty sure he’s on an accelerated path of physicality-based self-discovery. and he’ll thrive… i’m just impatient. and mom. 🙂

    • He had picked up another quote somewhere – Hemingway? Jist of it was that the one thing an old man will regret is never having served his country… You had that experience. i think it’s worth a lot, and especially for the ‘lost kids’ — ones that need structure, discipline, and time to figure things out. The hard part for the past decade? It’s pretty impossible to figure out your own life when you’re getting shot at… :-/

  3. Get used to not hearing from him for awhile.
    Where should I send the bourbon????

    Oh, and what is it with boys?
    Both of mine sign everything with first and last names!
    Like i’m somehow going to FORGET my crotchfruit!

    • i’m stocked up on the alcohol. have laid in provisions that were supposed to take me through the new year, but it’s looking like i’ll get past thanksgiving… oh, and “crotchfruit” is a new favorite word! Thanks for that one!

  4. Sounds like Studley has been around at least one DI. I think they are all from the same mold – only hard and harder. Living in a grown up world is a pain sometimes, probably more for us than for our kids.

    • He is a retired military officer, so he knows his way around that playing field… suspect the ones that my son runs into are going to be of the “harder” variety. Letting go can be hard, but i think he’s got the harder side of this equation! just crossing my fingers… that’s all i can do!

  5. Knowing his mother, as I do, I believe that embarking on this journey, the young fella is at the beginning of a rather large success story. It’s in the genes you see. No witty comments from me this time, nothing funny to add, no tongue-in-cheek adlibs, wisecracks or innuendo. The moment belongs to both mother and son. Why ruin it?

    I cannot offer much at all in the way of succour, apart of course, from letting mom know that I am here should she ever feel the need to talk.

    • You are, and always have been, a true gentleman. Hard and crunchy on the outside, but sweet as a kitten on the inside… But ruin it? Well, you could offer to distract me… i can always dig out the Zimmer Frame…

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