In Iraq for 365

About my experiences in Iraq... the frustrations, the missions and this country... and the journey home

Friday, January 07, 2005

Presidential Inauguration

So, I’ll be at the Presidential Inauguration this year. That’s right, me, the kid whose teachers said would never amount to anything more than a manure mover wearing overalls every day, not that there’s anything wrong with that. I don’t know how it happened; it just happened. My commander got invites for 10 soldiers in my unit, including me. Since I learned the news, I’ve been picturing the celebrity lifestyle. The food will be fancy, the women incredible, and I’ll probably duck for cover at the drop of a spoon. Considering I’ve worn the same thing every day and I haven’t eaten with real silverware for a year, I probably won’t fit in. Also, I think I still have a pizza stain on my Class A’s. Even still, I’ve wondering about the whole thing…

“Son, my wife and I just want to thank you for your service.” Why thank you, sir. “So where are you stationed?” I just returned from Iraq, sir. “Wow, I was there for a couple days… you know visiting troops.” Yes, sir, we appreciate that. “My wife and I are just so proud of all you brave men and women.” Is this your wife sir? “Uh, no, it’s my… uh third cousin, Trudy. Her daddy is a plum farmer down in Alabama, New York. Fine man. Well, would you look at the time?” You take care now, son.” Thank you, sir.

I’m definitely trying the caviar. “What would you like, sir,” says the tuxedo server man in his snooty wish-I-were-British voice. By the time I get to the service line, I’ll have a couple of beers down me. I’ll have one of them there dilles on a cracker. “Oh, how cute, you’re drunk. You mean caviar. That suit looks good on you. What’s your name?” Uh, Sminklemeyer. “Silly, that’s not what your name tag says. You’re too funny. Say, I’m having a party…” Maybe I won’t have the cracker thing after all.

I’ll get to rub elbows with “W.” Knowing me, I’ll probably poke my eye when I salute. “Easy there, son, you’re not in Iraq anymore.” Sorry, sir, it’s just I’m nervous. “What’s there to be nervous about?” Well, you are the President, sir. “Nah, I’m just a man. Tell me about Iraq, son.” Well, sir, we are doing great things there and our soldiers perform every day, risking their lives to give this country freedom and to keep those assholes – I’m sorry, sir, I didn’t mean to cuss – from entering the United States. “You sound like my kind of soldier. What did you do there?” I’m an Army journalist, sir, stationed, or was, in Mosul. I had the great opportunity to tell their story, sir, a story of courage and sacrifice. I’m proud of my fellow soldiers. “Is there any one thing that sticks out to you from your experience?” Although I want to say you can’t discard toilet paper in the toilet, I’ll refrain… yes, sir, I was at this school opening once and this child read an essay in English to the soldiers. There’s also this time that I saw a soldier take two bullets in the leg and one in the gut, but he kept fighting and saved his fellow squad members. I’ve seen the good and bad, but I prefer to remember the ribbon cuttings, the children’s smiles and the Iraqis who served me tea and bought presents. “You take care now, sergeant Sminklemeyer. Welcome home.”

Truth is, I’m honored to be invited to see good old George W. Bush take his second oath of office. How many times does this happen in one’s lifetime? And I doubt any of the above dialogue will become reality, at least I hope not. I just hope I don’t do anything stupid, like trip over an extension cord or spill a drink on a senator. Eh…. What are they going to do, send me to Iraq?


At 1:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

very good post...why does anything about toilet paper make people laugh? :)
sis from the usa

At 2:40 PM, Blogger Toni said...

Wow - you are one lucky soldier but I can't think of anyone who is more deserved of the invitation. Have fun and enjoy the historical event, forget about what anyone else thinks.

At 2:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations! What a contrast, one week in Iraq and the next in Washington, DC. Say hi to the president for us. The most important thing is to have a great time because you deserve it.

At 2:49 PM, Blogger Huntress said...

Congratulations! You will fit in just fine...the President in more down the earth than most people realize.. and if you still get too nervous welll just picture him sitting on the Presidential "throne" and....'ll be fine! had better write one helluva blog on entry!

I've a been to Quantico and the Pentagon...but never the White House... so.. if you need a date.......:)

At 4:00 PM, Blogger Margo D said...

If you do spill a drink on a senator, aim for a democrat.

Caviar is so gross...I had it once years ago.

Have a great time...take lots of notes. This will be one for the grandchildren!

P.S. You can flush the toilet paper in the White House.

At 4:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just discovered your blog a few days ago...spent an hour and a half reading your entries. You're really a funny guy! Keep up the good work and come home safely. Ever consider writing a book about your adventures in Iraq? At least keep up your've got a growing fan club, did you know that? The blogs we like, we visit every day, ESPECIALLY when we find new entries to read. --from a first-time blog commenter in FL

At 4:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is really deseve it...and more!

Fred - Milwaukee (Franklin)

At 5:31 PM, Blogger Bigs said...

Congratulations for a trip well derserve. You will be fine and in away you will be representing us as well as the military. Can't wait to get a blog on the White House Event. Your family must be proud!

At 7:12 PM, Blogger julieann said...

Hey, I agree with everybody else - no one deserves to be at the White House for a thing like this better than you! And you had better treat all of us, your loyal and adoring fans, to ALL the details. ALL of them, ya hear? Can't wait to hear about it.

I've never 'rubbed elbows' with the Pres. like you are going to do but I did 'rub' George's elbow not too long ago! I'm not kidding - I literally 'rubbed his elbow'. My daughter was shaking hands with him and he was moving down the line so I did the only thing a George Bush fan could do - I rubbed his elbow! Soft and furry it was. Try it Schminklemeyer. No, on second thought, don't. Might not go over well for a soldier to do that. :) Also shook hands with his daddy one time; right after he lost the election to Clinton. What I said to him was stupid and I won't repeat it here. Too embarrassing. Anyway - we are all excited for you and hey, if you get a chance, slip some caviar in the ol' pocket for all of us!

At 9:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

YO! Sminkie, just a tip ... Flush the caviar and speak your mind. You've earned it! old fartess from texas said it and thats my story and i'm stickin to it!! GO SMINKIE!!!!!!!!!!!

At 9:54 PM, Blogger JUST A MOM said...

You should be proud Smink! We all are for sure. I am proud to have just been able to read your words, and feel that you have become another one of my extended family kids! You go guy!!!! Hey,, he has single daughters ya know! You could always ask to meet them.
Hang in there! Just when are you outa there anyway?

At 11:22 PM, Blogger Molicious said...

I'm totally jealous that you are going. But you so deserve it. Give Dubya our best and we know you'll do just fine. :o)

At 5:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You will be amazing!!! Have fun, enjoy the time and let us know how it went.

Thank you for your site. I read it almost everyday.

Sharon M & family

At 10:56 AM, Blogger Lizabeth said...

Please please don't stop writing when your time is done. I've just discovered you and you are an amazing writer and so entertaining. I love to read it. You deserve all the good that's come your way. I hope your trip back to the states is uneventful and safe. My little brother (19) is in the Army and is still currently in Baumholder Germany. They won't be deployed supposedly until next fall. Your blog is informative and interesting. Keep it up. Oh, and toss the caviar- if you spill wine, make it a red and make sure it hits Ted Kennedy, he's not hard to miss.

At 10:58 AM, Blogger Lizabeth said...

I meant he is hard to miss, fattie man.

At 3:57 PM, Blogger Ramy said...

Hey there... I'll be at the Inauguration too! I'm an intern here in DC. I love our President and our troops, and I'm so thankful for people like you. Praise God that you are coming home safely! Have fun this week!

At 11:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wanted to commend you on your service to our country. Now let's get an UPDATE from the Inaguaration!
Did you rub elbows with any senior statesman? Meet President Bush?
The courage and bravery (and modesty) of you and your fellow soldiers astounds me.
I live in NY city and although this is a Blue State and the Liberal Left rages here... I wanted you to know that this Bronx Girl (born and raised) has nothing but love and devotion for our armed forces. God Bless You and Keep You.

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At 6:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Come and check it out if you get time.

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At 5:07 AM, Blogger Bill Adams said...

Veteran's Day is November 11th and I hope that EVERY American will be flying the flag in honor of our troops fighting in Iraq and around the world to preserve our freedoms!

I can even tell you where to get one for free! Visit right now and they'll send you a FREE American Flag. These flags were $19.99, but now they are FREE. You pay just for shipping/handling and they'll ship one to your door. (Actually - I've ordered more than 20 from them to give to my neighbors, as gifts, etc!)

Get your free flag now: **FREE AMERICAN FLAG**

Semper Fi!

Bill Adams

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