What is a monkeybox?

When I was a little girl, we had a pet monkey named Amanda. My Dad worked in the produce business, so each night he brought home that days culls in a big box - spotty cucumbers, pithy apples, limp celery, moldy oranges and the like. We called it a monkeybox. It was really just trash, but my Mom would take each piece of fruit and trim it, pare it and cut it up to make a beautiful fruit platter for Amanda. Even though it was deemed trash by one, it still had life left in it and was good for the purpose we needed it. That's how I live my life - thrifting, yard saling, looking for another's trash to be my treasure.

Sunday, September 02, 2007


Saturday was a good day of junking and being with DS. And, although I did find some treasures that I will report on later, I want to talk about something that we played a part in today that I will remember the rest of my life.

A local young man of only 20 years old from a neighboring town, died along with 13 other soldiers when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed in Iraq on August 22. This is a very small town of only about 1,200 people and everybody knows everybody. The entire town lost a son.

The Memorial service was held at the high school auditorium. Practically the entire town attended. I did not go to the funeral as I did not know this young man, but I certainly did want to pay my respects in some manner. I knew the funeral procession would be coming through my town at about noon, so I planned on us being by the highway or at our high school parking lot to pay my respect to and to honor this soldier and his family.

About 11:45 we were at a Fundraising sale in the Grocery store parking lot. I heard a Mom explaining to her little son that there was going to be a funeral procession come by and they were going to wait out by the street. She explained to him that the man was a soldier in Iraq like "cousin Jason." Then the little boy understood and said, "Yes, Momma" I heard a little girl yell, "The Police are here." The Police Chief had parked across the intersection and stopped oncoming traffic. Out of nowhere, the parents of these girls at the sale drew out flags and passed them to each child and we all went to the curb to watch the procession go by. DS and I held our hands over our hearts.

Now, what I saw is what I will always remember. I knew there would be a lot of cars. I knew there would be motorcycles ahead of the hearse, because that's what they do - ride ahead to protect the family. But, what I did not expect was a car from every law enforcement agency from the local police to the county Sheriff leading the procession with sirens wailing. And then came the motorcycles. Not one, not five, but hundreds of motorcycles. Each one with a huge full size flag flying on the back of it. They were three abreast and a mile long. Each motorcycle rider gave us the peace sign or held their hands up to as they passed. Then the black hearse with the flag draped casket visible on the inside. Next was the family car with his parents in the backseat. They were looking out the window and held their hands up to the window to us. And, I could tell that this gesture really meant a lot to them. Then cars kept coming, car after car - cars full of young men his age, cars full of military men in full dress, cars of women, cars of families, pick ups full of boys, men in suits, men in overalls, kids, car after car after car. Several hundred, I am sure. And nearly all of them acknowledged the row of us standing there silent. It lasted nearly 20 minutes for everyone to pass and they were driving pretty much at full speed. The end of the procession brought even more County Officials. I read in the paper today that our Governor, the Senators and Representatives were all in the procession too.

My wish is that none of you ever have to see what I saw yesterday. It was a tremendous sight and one I won't ever forget. Heaven forbid that this happens in you area, but, if it does, please, please, please, pay your respects in anyway you can to the soldiers and to the family and friends. One very small gesture goes a long way and it will stay with you for an eternity.

Bless the soldiers and the USA.

5 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post. My husband is in Iraq and travels from FOB (Forward Operating Base) to FOB on Blackhawk helicopters so I was very afraid that day until I heard from him. I understand the pain that the families feel. Thank you for teaching your son the right way.

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  2. Anonymous3:07 PM

    I do not know anyone in Irag, but I appreciate all that they are doing and the sacrifice that they and their families make everyday for all of us. I am so sorry for the young man who died and his family/friends.

    I am sure that seeing all of the procession is something that you and your son will never forget.

    Libby

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  3. Oh my gosh!! The Blackhawk that crashed was part of my brother's unit...he was one of the soldiers chosen to prepare the bodies to be transported back home. He said it was one of the most humbling and sobering experiences he has ever had. He comes home in 23 days and I can't wait!!!!

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  4. Just reading about the procession has brought tears to my eyes, Shara. I'm a soldier's wife, but so far I'm one of the lucky ones. I am so heartbroken to hear about such a grave loss but at the same time heartened to know that SO many people really do CARE, and are willing to show it.

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  5. ...I'm unsure of what to say but "Amen"...

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