Monday, April 02, 2012

Military Monday: The Military Spouse's Grog

Most Military members and Spouses know what a grog's a tradition at many formal events. One of my friend's recently hosted a formal tea and put together this version of a Military Spouse's Grog. I loved it from the first sentence. It was written by her husband, an Active Duty Engineer Officer. I was very moved by what he had written and with their permission, post it for you. I'm sure the basket they put together was much nicer than what I quickly gathered from what I had at home, but I really wanted to put a picture of some type with the lovely words.
Military Spouse’s Grog
(A tribute to the military spouse…from the other side)
Mike Mitchell

From the Revolutionary War to the War in Iraq, Military Spouses have set the standard for bravery, resourcefulness, and an unquenchable spirit. As their Soldier trains for combat and deploys to fight their nation’s wars, Military Spouses have sacrificed to defend the home-front. For a tribute to the countless sacrifices made by the Spouses before us, the sacrifices made by those among us, and the sacrifices yet to be made, this Military Spouse’s “grog” will be constructed in their honor.

The basket represents sympathy and service. It is representative of the wagons of old, which only contained the most essential items of the household. Spouses learned that their life was a life of change and sacrifice and only truly important and meaningful things could be placed in the basket. The Military Spouse must learn to carry the burdens of others as well as their own and to sacrifice even that which he/she has for the benefit of others. The Military Spouse knows that it is a basket that may bring their loved-one home.

The coupon divider symbolizes worldly sacrifice. During the WWII, rationing was implemented for things like fuel, tires and food items. Families needed to find ways to cut spending within the home. This led to cutting coupons and being frugal. Today, Military Spouses ration their time, taking advantage when their Soldier is home and saving while he/she is away. They have learned to sacrifice in this time, for the joy to come soon.

The cookbook represents tradition. For over 200 years, Military Spouses have collected recipes to both use and share with other military spouses. It is the wisdom from the older Spouses to the younger, as if to say to them, “I’ve been there.” When a young Spouse leaves home and must learn the hard way to take care of a family, the Military Spouses cookbook is a reminder that they can do it.

The sewing kit represents change. War has always shaped technology, medical breakthroughs, and in this case, fashion. As a result of WWII, cuffed sleeves and large hems were done away with. Clothes were simpler and less expensive. Through the years, Military Spouses learned to adapt and overcome the challenges they faced.

The tanning lotion and eyeliner pencil represent creativity. A Military Spouse is nothing, if not creative. WhenSspouses were rationing for the war effort, women would put makeup on their legs to make them darker and then run a line up the back with an eyebrow pencil so that it appeared that they were wearing nylons. Today, Military wives still use these products, but not for fake nylons. They do it as they prepare to meet someone who had been gone far too long and want to look their best has he steps off the plane and into her arms.

The red lipstick represents faithfulness and passion. The Military wife has a wild side as well and her red lips illustrate it. She wears the lipstick to signify that her next kiss will be with her Soldier and what a kiss it will be. It shows that she is confident in who she is and her ability to take care of herself.

The wrench represents strength. When men went off to war, Military Spouses had to work the fields, raise a family, fill factories, and do whatever else was needed. They simply rolled up their sleeves and literally put on pants and went to work. Today is no different. Military Spouses have proven their strength to accomplish their missions and to meet the demands placed on them by life.

The iTunes gift card represents escape. Music became more essential in times of war throughout the years. “Big Band” music ushered in WWI and WWII and could connect the Military Spouse with their Soldier at the sound of the first note. Today, music continues to connect loved-ones as well as allows the Military Spouse to escape into their thoughts and dreams. The feeling of freedom that comes through music as the Military Spouse dances in their living room or as they sit alone in their car, still parked in the driveway. The song that reminds the Spouse of when their Soldier was there and the ones that the spouse hopes never come true.

Finally, the stationary represents “the gift”. Long days and nights are all that a Soldier has during war. Time blends together as everyday seems the same and the only escape that comes from war is the brief presence of loved-ones through letters. Before emails and Skype, Spouses would sit down and thoughtfully write out the words of their heart to their Soldier. The letter would be filled of encouragement, flirtations, and promises. Today, Soldiers and Family members can see each other’s faces virtually almost every day, but the gift remains the same. Through these communications, military spouses have learned to give their Soldiers the gift of hope. That when the war is over, they have someone who loves them, waiting.

The basket is now full and fit for consumption, but unlike the grog of the Soldiers, the Spouse’s grog is consumed through the use of its contents. It is consumed through time.

1 comment:

Paula said...

This is beautiful! I may have to use something like this in the future. What a great idea. We did our own version of the grog at our "Mock Dining In" it was hysterical. I'll try to get a copy of it and post on my blog.