Glory be, the day we'd all been waiting for since he left in December finally came last night...Cedric came home from Iraq!!! A little worse for the wear but he's home and he's upright.
Poor guy, he just wanted to slip back into town quietly but his brother Allen, in his excitement, told the mouth of the county-me, the day before. I quickly went into "statewide parade" mode. Running things by oldest son, Andre', and Allen I pared down to big yellow ribbons, alerting the neighbors, and forming a welcoming group for 7:00, his theoretical time of arrival. Allen invited us for dinner to savor the food he'd been working on all day. Justin and I went over about 7:30 to start a vigil, Paul strolled in around 8:00 and by 8:30 we were all getting really jumpy. Andre' was going to call us when they got near but Allen forgot about his cell phone so by the time we got the message and I was headed out the door to gather the neighbors, Cedric was walking toward the door. I hollered to Allen then stepped aside while Allen hurdled couches and chairs to get to his brother and almost hug the rest of life out of him. All the other neighbors had been sitting by their phones in front of their windows so they started streaming in soon after.
Cedric said he had specifically put NO CALL on the paperwork to his C.O. but he temporarily forgot technological advancements because Allen had received word by email. I suppose it could not have been as overwhelming as being under mortar fire in Baghdad but it was a frolicking great celebration except for Cedric coming in and out of looking like he wanted to curl up into the fetal position. We didn't care about him, WE were excited to have him home and we were having a ball.
Here's reason #1 why he didn't take "them" up on the offer to stay for HUGE amounts of money, Alec, just turned 9 a few days ago. This was Cedric's third stint in Iraq, second time to be wounded, and more than a few times to turn down Purple Hearts and other badges of honor. "There are so many people who come home without limbs, eyes, abilities, or not at all...", he says, he doesn't believe in receiving the honors for less. He's really something. Iraq has a new chemical weapon that sounds like something from out of a Sci-Fi movie. It literally melts whatever it hits and they shoot it out of something. Anyway, Cedric's vehicle was hit by it a few days ago and that's all he's saying other than he was hit in the side, they wanted to medivac him out but he refused. He's quite serious about his job, I'm sure that's why he's with special ops. He was supposed to retire in March but with the new backdoor policy that was put into force since he left he'll have to wait and go through hoops of fire to get out. In the meantime we are ready to remove every carburetor in town so he can't go anywhere.
This is Allen, Uncle Allen, the man who took care of the three boys and the home, plus, plus, plus while Cedric was gone. Then cooked up the fab meal we chowed down last night between beers. Allen and Justin got pretty tight recently, they've all become like family to us. I want Cedric to be able to retire easily but that means they move back to Georgia ASAP. I can't even go there for now...