Somewhere In Rashid, Iraq
The family could have been any family in the larger Rashid district. There was nothing to truly set them apart in appearance from any other family, nor is their home distinctive. What sets this family apart is not appearance, wealth, or such things, but rather a generosity of spirit.
While many families joke about cooking for an army, this family truly did so -- at least for a platoon. Continuing a tradition begun last Thanksgiving, this family invited a platoon they have gotten to know and respect for dinner. Knowing that these men were away from home and loved ones during special times of the year, this family decided that they would bring the holidays to them. So, they invited "their" platoon over for dinner, and were kind enough to let me come as well.
The greetings were warm and friendly, for they knew the soldiers well. It was an easy time, as jokes and tales flew the entire evening. The friendship and respect were easy to see on both sides, and I was reminded very much of old Southern hospitality.
The meal itself was a feast. The pictures tell the tale, and I will say that it was all good. Bodies were well fed, and spirits were as well. For amidst the easy camaraderie was something even more filling and satisfying than delicious food. It was the care, the friendship, and the respect between all there that fed the spirit in the same abundance did the food. It was the hope seen in a family inviting over as friends those that could just as easily be considered enemies.
There are indeed those who support the troops. They just are not necessarily Americans.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and share with you all this true gift of the season.