My Original Prose and Poetry

My Original Prose and Poetry - Stories


What Is An Army Family?

  • Fort Drum, New York

What Is An "Army" Family?

_I wrote this bit of prose in 1993 to submit it in a post-wide competition which was being held for the benefit of military families assigned to the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, New York. _

Only individuals and families who have "served in uniform" can fully appreciate all which that service entails.  This work was my way of trying to recall those precious moments when it all seems worthwhile.  "Civilians" may not be able to understand nor appreciate these vignettes, but those of us who have worn the uniforms and made the sacrifices have locked them away forever in our hearts.

_After the judging, this piece was selected as representative of what it means to be an Army family.  My spouse and I were rewarded with a complimentary weekend at an area waterfront resort. _

Today, the men and women of our Armed Forces serve throughout the world.  This StoryPage is posted here to remind them of the "little things" for which they sacrifice so very much.

God bless the men and women who serve our nation!

What Is An "Army" Family?

An "Army" family is...

...awakening early in the morning and turning off the alarm clock before it sounds, so the rest of the family isn't awakened.

...dressing in a PT uniform in a semi-darkened room, and trying to leave the house without disturbing the kids...or the dog.

...returning home less than two hours later to find your companion bustling around the kitchen, the kids headed out the door to another day at school, and the trash pick-up man just two doors down the street.

...trying to find a clean towel and washcloth as part of that "personal hygiene" time, and showering in a bathroom mined with Barbie dolls and rubber ducks.

...wondering who used your toothbrush to polish the sink's chrome fixtures.

...looking everywhere for your BDU cap, only to eventually find it on your youngest son's head as he soundly sleeps in his bed.

...lacing up your combat boots on which your pre-teen son practiced his "spit-shining" techniques last night.

...thinking about the other son -- the eldest -- who is on the other side of the continent, pursuing "higher education," and the girls.

....prticipating in Youth Activities and Boy Scouts, band concerts and school open houses, volunteer work, and religious observances.

...short good-byes, and long separations when those "unaccompanied tours of duty" demand sacrifices of everyone.

...friendships which date back over the years, and a kaleidoscope of military posts here and there across the country.

...going to bed at night, mentally exhausted and bone-tired, but ready...and face it all again in the morning.

An "Army" family is:  love and service, dedication and commitment, sacrifice and joy, sorrow and friendships, compassion and pride, and patriotism, and...oh, so many memories!

Copyright 1993 SFC Ralph Lowell Coleman, Jr.

All Rights Reserved


Valley Forge

Believe it or not, it took me more than forty years to complete this little poem!  I first began "writing" it in my head as I peddled my way around my hometown as a pre-teen newspaper carrier in 1955.  I eventually wrote it down and periodically toyed with it over the years.  I was finally satisfied enough with it to have it published in 2002.  It has since appeared in several other publications.

Valley Forge

During a winter, long ago,

Struggling on through freezing snow,

Was an army -- young and small --

With 'nary a musket nor cannonball;

'Nary a bite of food to eat;

'Nary a fire to give off heat;

'Nary the shoes nor clothes nor things;

'Nary the comfort a home-hearth brings.

Only their leader to guide them on;

Only their thought of a war to be won;

Only their vision, their dream to come true,

Of building a nation -- for me and for you.

Copyright 2002  Ralph Lowell Coleman, Jr.

All Rights Reserved


To Be Continued