I have a new article for this weekend’s National Review Online, called “Playing the Deployment Card.”
Dusk had turned to dark, and the campground signs faded into the forest. After eking along for an hour, leaning forward to make out the signs through the windshield, I sadly realized I had to set up my first pop-up camper in the dark. Alone.
“Sir,” I rolled down my window. “Where’s Campground B?”
“First, you’re in Campground A. Second, you’re driving the wrong way down a one-way road.” The man stood in front of grill sizzling hamburgers. Tow-headed boys popped out of the camper before their mother told them to wash their hands.
“All you have to do is back up right there and you’ll be headed in the right direction.” I bit my lip as envy arose in my heart toward the man, his burgers, and the picturesque image of his Winnebago-owning family.
“You don’t know how to reverse, do you?” he asked in more of a lament than a question as he noticed my kids in the back seat. Not only had I never put up a camper, I’d never pulled anything behind a vehicle in my life.
“Sir,” I began, “My husband’s in Iraq, and you’re right — there’s absolutely no way I can back this thing up.” I took a deep breath. “But if you support the troops, you’ll jump in this minivan and back it up for me.”
Which, amazingly, is exactly what he did.
My husband’s departure in October 2007 had the same effect on me as the radioactive spider bite had on Peter Parker. Although I can’t scale walls or spin webs, I do have a unique supernatural ability: I can make friends, family, and even total strangers bend to my will.
Read the rest here.