However – there are certainly ways to gauge the day based on what is happening on base. For example… Sunday is chapel. Now, this is not your normal, run-by-a-chaplain military base chapel. Nope. There is no ‘protestant’ chaplain on HQ ISAF – to start with. I’ve heard that there is a Catholic Chaplain, but haven’t met him. No – out chapel is run by the laymen. We have Jon, a major from the UK Army, that typically leads the singing – unless of course SFC Handren is in town. WOW – that guy can sing! He has such a deep clear voice – sometimes I just like to hear how he’s singing the songs as opposed to singing with him. Then there’s the US Navy Commander that plays the songs on his computer as we sing along. Now, often Major Jon is seen as the ‘leader’ of the chapel, at least by me. And he will preach occasionally. But the special treat is when MG Kennedy preaches. His knowledge of the Bible is absolutely stunning. His depth and breadth of knowledge is indeed formidable. The man is. . .wise. I don’t know very many men I would call wise. Some wise-guys – sure, but actually wise – few and far between. MG Kennedy is wise. Another interesting tidbit would be that, were we under the auspices of the Afghan law, we would be breaking it – as preaching Christianity is illegal in Afghanistan. Or at least it used to be.
Monday through Wednesday – Groundhog Day – all the same. Thursday night – now that’s party night. Typical signs that its Friday morning on ISAF – vomit on the ground outside the Cadillacs – typically smelling very much like beer; rumors about bunker 5 and a certain nation’s men engaging in what I believe is against NATO policy (I won’t go into that – plus there’s no proof); ‘some’ shops being closed – but not consistently; folks not being at work; the post office on base only being opened from 0930 – 1100 – and only for pickup; the chow hall not opening until 7 – but staying open until 10 (for ‘brunch’); and there are others. Thursday night is the big ‘party’ – for some folks (not all) – and Friday is the NATO holiday.
Saturday and Sunday? Well, outside of having chapel on Sunday nights, the weekend is just pretty much like every other day – nothing different. Everything is open, mail is open – you know, it’s a bit odd getting mail on a Sunday, but you get used to it – all the shops are open, and nothing really stops.
Maybe that’s part of the insanity of war – no days off. That’s why after WWII (or was it I) the world went to a 5 day work week. Maybe that’s when vacations started. Maybe that’s when calling in sick started. I don’t know – but it certainly is a different reality to get used to.
Ok, back to work. . . it’s. . . .