are you a veteran? did you fight in a forward area in a foreign country? are you 65? if you answered yes to all of these questions then you too could join the VFW! well, except for the 65 year old criteria. that is up for discussion as my 35 year old husband did just that last night. we got a babysitter and everything. it was a special occasion.
in all seriousness though, matt was very excited about joining the VFW. it is something that i will probably never really understand. a lady with long blond hair and a weathered face and slightly dazed expression hugged me when i entered the post and said, "welcome home!" i looked at matt confused and told myself, "lydia, just go with it." so i looked at her and smiled sweetly, hiding the laugh that was threatening to escape, and simply said, "thank you". matt just grinned and i felt like i had gone back in time about 30 years.
the meeting where matt was invited to become a member was very top secret and it took some discussing whether or not i should be permitted to snap a couple of pictures. i thought they were joking, but they really weren't. matt was the youngest member in that room by about 25 years and while they were doing the ceremony one of the men tripped over his speech and said, "we haven't done this in years". i thought about that comment a long time last night.
the VFW is literally dying out, the current members are dying and the younger vets aren't replacing them. and as i looked around that dirty, old nicotine stained room i kind of understood why. they have no money to adapt to the fact that on the outside of those walls time is marching on. time hadn't affected that room at all. i am not the most patriotic person around, but right there in that dirty VFW with those few men and women who had fought in a forward area and had been in harms way, i softened a little. this was their safe place. this was where they felt the most relaxed, the most like being home. it made me sad, just a little bit. and though matt wouldn't go so far as to say it felt like home, there was an unspoken understanding between he and those ex-soldiers.
immediately following the meeting the members boned up on their recruitment skills asking matt to lead this and charter that and spear head this committee. i got a bit panicky until i heard matt say, "there will be plenty of time for all of that, but right now we are a little busy with a new baby coming. don't worry, i'm not going anywhere." hmmm...don't worry, i'm not going anywhere....i bet that was music to those old veterans' ears. veterans who hadn't "done this in years."