Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Cindy's Bomb

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Happy Birthday Cindy! As a gift, here's a true story from your childhood.

We were stationed on the U S Army post in Grafenwoehr, Germany. I was pregnant with my son and my daughter, Cindy, was a precocious three-year-old. That morning, I was doing dishes at the kitchen sink, watching her from the window. I turned to put a dish away and when I looked back toward the playground, I realized I had been watching the wrong little red jacket. I was outside in a flash and saw Cindy running toward me from the nearby woods.

"Annie*," she said in her dramatic little voice, "come help me dig my bomb out of the ground."

"Is this another pretend story?," I asked. After all, she was known around post by the nickname Sarah Heartburn for all her dramatic monologues which were only loosely based on truth.

In the woods she led me to a heavily shaded area and sure enough, there was a half buried WW II bomb, of a US variety. It looked to be about a hundred pounder with a distinctive fin protruding from the dirt. Cindy's excavation tools were close by; a stick and a large rock. I gulped as I noted the fresh scratches on the bomb. I convinced her that Daddy would be the better person to dig out her bomb and we returned to our quarters (military talk for apartment.)

Out of her earshot, I telephoned her father. He sounded very disinterested and said he would have a look when he came home for lunch. When he arrived home, he insisted on eating lunch before having a look at the bomb. He ate so slowly that I wanted to shovel food into him myself. Then he insisted on second servings; more tea; dessert; brushing his teeth; on and on. Finally he agreed to go.

When we arrived in the woods, the bomb had disappeared. The earth had been smoothed over and Cindy's tools were gone. "There's no bomb here," he said in a tone of voice one uses with a pathetic person given to hallucinations.

"Where is my bomb?, Cindy demanded of him. "I want my bomb back."

After her father returned to work, Cindy and I paid a call on Pat, the wife of the ordnance officer. Pat was fuming. It seems that her husband, Jack, never came home for lunch and didn't bother to call. I didn't mention the bomb, but I realized that Jack and his team had secretly gone into the woods by the back road and removed the bomb. "So let the boys have their little secrets," I thought to myself.

The next afternoon while Cindy and I were visiting with neighbors, there was a distant explosion. The building shook, our coffee cups rattled and we were all wide eyed. But not Cindy, "They blew up my bomb," she shouted angrily and began to tell all who were present about the theft of her bomb. The Army would have few secrets with Sarah Heartburn around.

*Cindy refused to call me Mom, "because that's not your name."

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