I received a call from my 'Navy Son' last night. He called me from Japan where he's been stationed for the past two and a half years. It was great to hear from him. Until, of course, he told me why he was calling.
In hindsight, I should have known that the call would come. And I should have been better prepared to respond to it.
On September 30th, 2013 Congress sent a Bill to President Obama to assure the continued funding for Active Duty Military. It was signed. And then...
My son called me last night to tell me that on October 1st he had a 'pending transaction' for his Credit Union account. This, of course, was his 'normally scheduled' paycheck deposit. Except, for some reason, his 'normally scheduled' paycheck was NOT normal.
The following morning he awoke to find no deposit, no 'pending transactions', only the balance he had in his account on September 30th.
Perhaps it is typical for Federal Workers to be mistreated by their employer? After all, the folks who PAY FOR the Federal Government are often mistreated by it, so yeah, I guess my son NOT being paid should not have surprised me.
I asked him the logical question, "Okay, so, why didn't you get paid?"
His honest, yet unsatisfying response was, "I don't know, and my Commanding Officer doesn't know either, but Dad, it's not just me, it's everyone here wearing the uniform - no one is getting paid. Part-time employees at the base were told last week that they'd have to get 'loans' to pay their bills, but we were told that we were going to get paid. And now..."
The second question escaped me before I could stop it, "Okay, so do you know WHEN you will be paid?"
He got very quiet and then said, "No."
I told him that I'd 'work on it', told him that I loved him, that he shouldn't worry, and then I hung up the phone.
For the record, I haven't seen my son in the two and a half years since he took up his post in Japan. I can still see his face when I close my eyes, but I realize that the face I'm seeing is most likely not the same one that he currently wears. I imagine that his current, more-grown-up face is narrower, and much more serious than the one I remember from the spring of 2011 when he spent a few weeks with us following his time at Boot Camp at Great Lakes, Illinois. The boy has grown up, but hey, he's still my boy.
I will do what the folks in Washington said they were going to do - I'll pay my son's way until the President, the Treasury, and Congress decide to honor the commitment each made on September 30th to the men and women who serve our country. Each is someone's 'kid', they, I imagine, will have to take care of their own, just as I will take care of mine.
In this era of broken promises, broken dreams, and shattered hopes, why would I have expected any other outcome from the rolling tide of ineptitude which personifies the Obama Administration?
We all get wet, our eyes get a bit redder, and we constantly scan the distant horizon for a glimpse of sunshine heading our way.
Just lately, I'm feeling 'soaked' to my bones. My face is wet but I can't tell if it's from tears of sadness or tears of rage.
Probably a little of both, but I suspect more of one than the other.
As for my boy in Japan, you know that we've always got your back, but you're gonna owe us big when you get your sorry rumpus back here to the States. Until then, we miss you every day, and hope that you know how proud of you that we are.
Stay dry kidd-o. The sun will come out - I guarantee it.
One parting thought for the day: I think you need a bigger boat...
Yeah, with three more years of this President, we all need a bigger boat...
Because lately the sharks out there are GINORMOUS...