Sunday, September 9, 2007

Don't Try to Fool A Mother!

If THIS was the first thing you saw when you got up in the morning you might think twice about rolling out of that bed!

A picture very similar to this one was sent to me recently by a Sgt. Major who will remain unnamed. I don't wish to embarrass the man. He sent me a 12 mega pixeled, high definition photo with 16 military men/women dressed exactly like this. They were all on their knees, they had their weapons up in the air, and they had their camouflaged foliage covering their faces. There was a caption at the bottom of the photo it read: "Challenge Mom: Find your son!" I called the man immediately on the phone because he had included his cell number in the message as well. "Hello" I said to the man. "Are you ready for me to identify my son?" He laughed at me. He said "No, wait, let me go down the hall and do this right." He walked down the corridor of a building I could not see because he was in Alaska and I was in Oklahoma.

He then knocked three times on the door and yelled "Stringfellow! Get up!" It was about 7:10 a.m. on Saturday, my son usually sleeps in on Saturdays, but sleeping in to the Army means something more like 0600, so he couldn't really get mad at me if his Sgt. Major was demanding his presence. The door opened and I heard my son's voice asking his Sgt. Major if he needed to be somewhere - no, came the answer, "I'm on the phone with your mom, she's going to try and identify you from the shot we took last month of you guys in the clearing." I heard a laugh. I heard my son's voice again, he said "She can. She will."

"Go ahead" said the Sgt. Major, and I directed his attention to the boy (or the person in uniform) that was 7th from the right. He counted, he was quiet - then she said "Son of a bitch!" Reuben laughed and I said "You must be addressing my son Sgt. Major, as I am the Bitch - he is the son of the bitch." The SM laughed and asked how it was that out of 16 uniformed dressed soldiers, all looking what he thought was identical in size, shape, coloring, weapons, everything - how was it that I could find my son that readily? It seemed to him, impossible. I told the truth. I told him it took about a minute, it wasn't an immediate recognition. I had to do a bit of a study - but upon examining the knee caps of all the soldiers, and the stance, and the height and angle of the his elbow I was sure that my son was the 7th from the right. I was correct.

Well, it wasn't the first time I had actually identified my baby from a photo of seemingly identical subjects, but this one was a bit more challenging because of the subject matter. The first had been a football photo, a practice game where the boys were all giving their high-five in masse, and I just found him by his elbow - same right elbow; which today if I had to recognize him would be dressed in a cast since he has broken that arm recently. But the point was simple: Don't try to fool a mom! Ask the fathers to pick out their children, ask a brother to pick out a sibling, but don't try to pull one over on the woman who gave birth to that particular boy! That is MY son - the others are equally talented perhaps, equally good looking, perhaps they have attributes of greatness that my son does not at this time possess - but try as they may, they will never have my son's exact knee. They can not squat the same, bend the same, hold their head or arms the same, and they don't generate a vibration of extreme unity like my boy does when I see him (even in photographs).

I'm not really sure I could do it every time. I'm not sure I would be as successful if one of my girls were in the same situation - I would hope so, but I have not had that challenge come up. There's just something about a boy and his mother - he is the man of our house. He is the protector, he is the one we trust to make some of the difficult decisions that must be made - a role he assumed and has achieved successfully. The Sgt. Major said he was going to call his own mom next to see if she could find him - I warned him, it may depend of whether or not he could pick her out if he needed to. Did he have THAT strong of a relationship with her. He chuckled a bit and said "You know, maybe I could, maybe I couldn't - but I bet that old woman can spot me. I'll let you know!" I await that call.

Go Army!

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