By Bill and Annalee Hesser
Ask anybody who knows us, and they’ll say that Bill and Annalee Hesser have always been patriotic Americans. We’re all about putting country and family first, which is why we’re happy to announce that our middle son, Connor, recently enlisted in the Navy Reserve. And while there’s no denying that we’ve had our differences with the boy in the past, now we couldn’t be any more proud of our Sailor-son.
Of course, that’s only during the weekends that Connor has to drill. The rest of the month, he’s pretty much dead to us.
You see, between our son's suspensions in high school and his inability to hold down a job, to the time we had to confront him about those skinny people with bad teeth going in and out of the garage at all hours while scratching their necks and mumbling about "killer cicadas," Connor has always been a handful. But now that the boy is so selflessly putting it all on the line for his country, it’s enough to make us see past all of his transgressions and celebrate his patriotism. And that’s something we happily do one weekend a month and two weeks a year.
And not one second more. Thank God.
Just one example of how we honor our son’s service: Every Saturday morning that Connor has duty, we hoist Old Glory up in our front yard promptly at "zero-eight" while humming the National Anthem, because that’s the exact time we picture out little hero on base proudly saluting the flag for morning colors.
It’s also during that time that we enter a magical world of play pretend, kidding ourselves into thinking that Connor would actually be sober enough to crawl out of whatever drug-addled whore’s bed he no doubt stayed in the night before, and that maybe he actually found a ride to base on time since having his license revoked after that third DUI.
To think any less of our son on drill weekend would be un-American.
We even like to fantasize that maybe, one of these weekends, Connor might consider making his way back to our home.
He could show up wearing his crisp and well-tailored dress white uniform, and we could ignore the restraining order we took out against him. He could regale us with stories about all of the trials and tribulations of boot camp, and we could keep our new pit bull, Liberty, muzzled and chained up in the back yard. (We felt it necessary to get an attack dog after the time Connor and "his crew" broke in and ripped all of the copper piping from the walls so he could pay back some Latino friend of his named "Mara Salvatrucha." But that's a story for another time.)
And then, after dinner, we could all pose for a proud and patriotic family photo, which would be just idyllic.
In fact, our imaginary drill weekend dinner scenario goes so amicably that there’s no need to have the Sheriff’s department forcibly remove the boy from our property. And that would buck the trend of the last two Thanksgivings and Christmases, when Connor's shown up drunk on our lawn, crying about being homeless and begging to be forgiven for ruining our lives and retirement pensions.
But the Navy Reserve doesn't have drill on major holidays, so it looks like forgiveness isn't really an option.
Like we said though, that’s just our "fantasy" scenario. In reality, being military parents means having that fear in the back of our minds that the worst might happen, and that our boy might be asked to give what Lincoln called "the last full measure of devotion." For many parents whose children are bravely serving their country, that’s a fear that they have to live with every hour of every waking day, all year-round.
For us, though, it’s something we hardly have to worry about, being that our son was too big of a pussy to join active duty... (Come to think of it, Connor bleeding out on the battle field would probably be just about the only honorable thing he’s ever done.)
Until then, however, we’ll just keep thanking Connor for his service for the two out of every 30 days per-month that he nobly serves his country. And we’ll also keep reminding him that he could be shot on site if he ever attempts to show his face around here during the other 28.
God bless the troops!