They Said It Better Than I Ever Could...

These words that I write, they keep me from total insanity. -Charles Bukowski

Who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived, or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed? -Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

Aug 14, 2009

Momma, I'm Coming Home...

A special thanks goes out to Ozzy Osbourne for inspiring the title of this post.

So I’m sitting here in the barracks staring down the barrel of another sleepless night. Why will it be sleepless? Because tomorrow at 0530 I begin the 6,975 mile journey from Afghanistan, home.

I figured this would be my last post for a while. Probably about two weeks. But never fear, I’ll be writing all the way home, and I’ll post it all just as soon as I get there. I won’t have much time for the internet between catching flights and all the “hurry up and wait” the Army is going to have me doing between here and home.

So here’s what I’ve got to do. In the morning I’ll get up and ride a convoy between here and Salerno. From there I’ll catch a flight from Salerno to Bagram. I’ll sit around Bagram for a few days until they can get me a flight to Kyrgyzstan. Manas, Kyrgyzstan to be exact. From there its on to another flight to Azerbaijan. From there to Ireland, and from Ireland to Wisconsin. Then I have to sit and do my out processing in Wisconsin, then hop a bus from Wisconsin to home.

It sounds like a lot, but after all I’ve been through over this past year it won’t even register.

Fun Fact: It took Apollo 11 astronauts 3 days, 3 hours and 49 minutes to get to the fucking moon! Its going to take me about a week just to get to Wisconsin.

But pretty soon, Afghanistan will just be another memory. Another country I’ve been to. Nothing more. And this makes the lord very happy!

Since this will be my last post for a while and by the time I do start writing again in earnest my reflective skills will be retarded by a rather large amount of alcohol, I better say some things that I wanted to say for a while and haven’t.

Where to begin? Let’s start with all of you who read this. Many of you I know, many of you I don’t. But we all became friends along the way. Whether you realize it or not if you have read every word of this blog, as so many of you have told me you do. You know me a lot better than you think. You have come along with me on what has become one of the most difficult and eye-opening experiences of my life.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. This blog was my therapy. It kept me sane, it released every ounce of tension I had. And by default all of you who read my words were my therapists. For that, I am eternally grateful.

Now I’ve gotta go and mix a little sappy with the smartass. The remainder of this post is all for the mom.

You are easily the biggest pain in the ass I have ever known.

You see, my mom has always been a little on the quiet side when it comes to words of wisdom. Don’t get me wrong, she’s got some gems. But that’s not how I learned from her.

I learned to drive, by riding around a cemetery with you.

I learned music, by listening to Magic 104 with you in the car. (Elvira, anyone?)

I learned dedication by watching the mountain of obstacles you dealt with raising us.

I learned to be tough, by watching you deal with the world.

I learned to be a smart ass by making you laugh.

I learned to work, by watching you get up every morning my entire life and going to work or taking care of us.

I learned that school was important by watching you fall asleep on the kitchen table every night so that you could get through college and give us a better life.

I learned to care, by watching you care for me, for my brother and for the family.

I learned to sacrifice, by watching you go without so that we didn’t have to.

I learned to love, by feeling your hugs.

I learned just how much I am loved, when I watched the tears in your eyes as I drove away.

I could go on and on. But my hands are getting tired.

Just a few things for you to remember before I go. Not a day has passed that I haven’t thought of you and of the home you made for me. Not a day has passed that my father’s dog tag has not hung around my neck. And not one day has passed that I haven’t sent you my love.

So thanks Mom. That’s about the best I can do.

I don’t know if you remember this, but there was that night that we were watching Vegas. And Danny went to Iraq, and they played that song. And I asked you what it was...


As long as I can see the light, I’ll be coming home...

Fucking tomorrow!

Alright, sorry about the language. She hates it when I swear. But she’s tough, she’ll get over it.

So I’ve got about 8 hours before I begin the journey home. In a couple of weeks you’ll all get to read the post entitled, “I kissed my mom today...” And all will be right in the world.

Its been a helluva ride, and I’ll never forget it, and I’ll never forget any of you.

So be good, stay tuned, because Momma I’m coming home!


I love you Mom...


  1. Can't comment...crying too much. Hope you have safe, and uneventful, travels. See you when you get here. Can't wait.
    And you told me not to go getting mushy.......

  2. Gotta agree with Jeanne. I'm trying to read this without crying cause my 11 year old (who's looking over my shoulder) wouldn't get it, and I couldn't explain. Just get home safely. See you soon.

  3. Yeah, it's been a helluva ride Mud Puppy. I wish and your Mom all the best that the world has to offer.

    P.S. Dont' forget to write.

  4. Damn Mudpuppy...Pass the tissues! I have enjoyed reading your blog from the 1st time I found it. You have touched all of our lives too. Thank you for all you have been through and put up with. You are one of my heroes!! I know your mom is so proud of the man she has raised and I am sure she will forgive you for your swearing after she hugs the poop out of you! Enjoy home.........WELCOME HOME!!!!

  5. OMG - pass the tissues please - I am crying too - with happiness and knowing how much those words mean as a mom. Just letting it go - as I could have cried so many times with worry and I didn't because I knew if you were posting stuff all was okay - MP/Dan I knew I could count on you if I had a question or 2 and wondered what was going on. Travel safe! I look forward to seeing you and the best #1 ghost out there when you get back to the US.

    Hugs to you and the ghost! See you soon!

  6. It is so hard to read when crying!!! But, Halelujah! And WELCOME HOME !!!!!!! That is wonderful. And if you are ever in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and can stand to be blubbered over some more, please come stay with us. We are boring, but we know some really good places to get ribs. In my opinion, Angelo's has THE BEST RIBS and we'd be glad to take you there just to prove it! WELCOME HOME!

  7. Dude, best post yet. Welcome home!

  8. Welcome home sweet man. Thank you for sharing, for your honesty, for letting us/me be a part of your life. Safe and speedy travels.

  9. Who is this woman you are talking about? Surely you don't mean the person you nicknamed Attila the Mom! Seriously, Dan, I am so proud of you. You've become a real hero, a man among men. If you can get mushy, so can I. I made copies of this post, and have forced almost everyone I know (and some I don't) to read it. I love you and I am so glad and thankful that this year is almost over. Be safe Danny Fanny Nicholas Picklepuss.