Today in the parking lot of Walmart, I was accosted by a man soliciting his wears. He shouted to me “Hey, do you like Christian Music?” I replied with a curt no thank you and started to pass him by. He had inadvertently annoyed me but how could he have known that solicitations get under my skin. (At this point, it’s only fair to inform you all that unless you are a youngish child selling thin mints, candy bars, or front door wreaths- don’t even think about approaching me for solicitation purposes.) If he had only let it go, you all would not be reading this post tonight! Alas, he could not. He made his solicitation 100 % worse. He uttered, “Well you can at least donate a few dollars to the troops!”
What!?! I stopped dead in my tracks. My blood boiled and I literally saw Red. Really? Did that dumb @$$ just say that to me? Did he really have the discourtesy to stop me of all people and say “You can at least donate a few dollars to the troops.’ Are you kidding me? Donate a few dollars? How about trying this on… Popeye and I have donated our LIVES! Those troops? Those are Popeye! and Turtle! and Dean! Those are the three stooges, and Gilligan, and the 203 and the 204.. Names and faces and rates flashed through my mind one after another and I was angry. How dare he! Donate a few dollars to the troops when he was out there hawking “Christian” music CDs?
So much was so wrong….
1.) He was praying on the emotions of a community. This community loves and supports our troops. It’s unconditional. We work hard to send vets to their memorials. We pulled together memorial walls to remember the men and women from our community actively deployed. We hosted a large benefit to welcomed the Red Bulls home. Etc. This community is willing to give it’s life blood to these men and women and this man was praying on that spirit.
2.)Donate to the troops… It’s a great cause wrapped in a shady endeavor. So, sir, let me ask you this: How are you going to help our troops? Are you going to feed them? Because I don’t see you paying Popeye’s grocery bill. Are you going to house them? Because we sure could put that BHA to better use. Are you going to pay for their families insurance? Because I really need to have TRI care send you the bill instead of taking it out of my sailor’s check. Are you paying for the VA hospitals? Because they still need more equipment and staffing. Are you providing mental health coverage and support? Because I’ve had the pleasure to look a family member in the eyes and wonder what the hell happened and if he was ever going to get over his PTSD. Are you providing jobs/ job training to our service members and their families? Because I have a few people’s resumés to add to that list… and while we are at it let me add mine. -OR- are you skimming from the top for your own personal gain?
3.) And even though military families comprise about 1% of the population, we are still here! We are integrated into each and every community. We are living through deployments and separations. We are dealing with it. We are coping to the best of our abilities. We pull together and we pull each other up. We don’t need hand outs and pity. We need help and respect. None of which comes from the man soliciting music and donations at the front door of the Walmart.
I barely heard myself tell the man off. That instead of money, I proudly give my life to one. My mother was the only thing that saved him. Her firm grasp brought me back. She quickly escorted me from his line of sight and set us back to the task at hand- running our errands. After all we were just there to pick up groceries. And after we had finished, as we settled into the car, she chuckled, “Well my dear, that was intense. Does Popeye know about this side of you?’
I thought a moment, then smiled, “Yeah.”
“And what do you think he would say or do?” She asked.
“I bet he would bail me out of jail.”