Wishes for a White (Toilet Paper) Christmas from Afghanistan

Dorie Griggs

Dorie Griggs

The following post is written by long-time contributor Dorie Griggs who started writing for Off the Base while her son was still a cadet at the Citadel. She’s a new Army mom and he’s now deployed.

By Dorie Griggs

Never again will I look at toilet paper the same way.

My son sent me a private message on Saturday morning. I had missed his Skype call the day before. He doesn’t contact me often so I wasn’t sure what was up. It turns out the toilet paper I ordered through Amazon.com arrived. I sent 96 rolls, enough for each member of his platoon to have a package. He told me the guys were treating it like gold. They received a number of boxes this past week, but the toilet paper was, “the hit of everything.”

I told my son to let his guys know I’ve got their a$$es covered. I am pretty sure he rolled his eyes when read my comment.

This past Sunday was Gaudete Sunday, the time in Advent when Christians reflect on joy. How interesting that something we take for granted, like toilet paper, would bring such joy to a bunch of deployed soldiers. When I go to the grocery store this week and come home with toilet paper I guarantee you my family will not be overwhelmed with joy. It is something they just expect to have. The only time it would become a topic of conversation is if I had forgotten to pick some up and we ran out.

Right after I corresponded with my son I heard from the Family Readiness Group leader for the battalion. I had offered to help gather needed items for not only my son, but anyone in the battalion. It turns out quite a few of the soldiers are in need of socks, t-shirts, underwear, baby wipes, and hand warmers. They are in remote areas without access to laundry facilities. It is getting quite cold and they need these basics. Many of the guys have not had the opportunity to shower. With no laundry facilities our soldiers end up having to burn their dirty socks and underwear with the other trash.

Who among us rejoices over waking up getting dressed and going to work in clean clothes? I know I will look at my everyday routine a bit differently now. I vow to appreciate what I used to take for granted. I have a nice home, with heat, running water, and indoor plumbing. I sleep in a comfortable bed, and have clean clothes to wear each day. I even have a variety of clothes. We have food in the pantry and the refrigerator. If we run out of anything we can find the needed items at a variety of stores near by.

I will never look at a roll of toilet paper or a trip to the bathroom the same way again.

If you would like to help provide basics to some of our deployed soldiers from Fort Stewart, please email me: dorie@dorielgriggs.com
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