color: SOME SOLDIER'S MOM: Whiskey For My Men...

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Whiskey For My Men...

As those that have read back that far in my blog know, back in January when our Guys deployed (Lord, is it seven months already??!!) their deployment was delayed a week and I was privileged to spend that additional time with these American Soldiers. Since all personal vehicles had been stored or moved home, my rental car became the lifeline for all the last minute chores and errands needed to get the Guys “good to go.”

In the area of their stateside base, the soldiers will tell you that there are only two kinds of music: rap or country… and since country was the only music acceptable to all of the car’s occupants, the Guys would usually pop in Toby Keith’s “Shock and Y’all”. I have said in more than one forum that the indelible image seared in my brain for all time is of these four young soldiers singing with commitment from “American Soldier”, “Oh, and I don't want to die for you, but if dyin's asked of me…” It’s still a very emotional song for me and I tear up every time I hear it.

It was that immersion to Toby Keith’s music – together with the Guys’ pure merriment whenever they sang “Whiskey Girl” or “The Taliban Song” -- that made me a fan of Toby Keith. I have since purchased a number of his other CDs and enjoy all of them. It was a no-brainer for me when I saw that he would be touring through Phoenix and I purchased tickets for DH and me to his concert last night.

We wore shirts I made that said “Damn Proud American Soldier’s Mom" (and Dad) with our son’s picture on it and some info on his Division and unit.
It was gratifying the number of people that stopped us to ask us to thank our son or say that they would keep him in their prayers. We also had soldiers (some just back) stop to speak with us… and wives whose husbands are also currently deployed. The US Marines had a very active recruiting booth set up amongst the beer stalls and TK merchandise.

As expected, it was a crowd looking to have some fun and to be treated to a show – which TK surely provided. Now, I know that Toby does not need any more cheerleaders, but he played for two full hours -- after two opening acts, including a delightful set by Lee Ann Womack -– and it was a kick ass show. The audience ranged from the very young (3 or 4 years old) to the very old (70’s)… and there sure were a lot of pretty young things there with the short skirts, short tops, low-low jeans (welookedlikethatonce, welookedlikethatonce), and, of course, boots and cowboy hats everywhere!! I was fortunate to have a number of other women my age also willing to whoop it up, dance and sing along – with husbands who not only enjoyed the music but were secure enough to enjoy all us wives having a great time… and their daughters seemed only mildly embarrassed that their moms knew all the words and could dance like that LOL. (Note to young men looking for gorgeous all-American girls that know how to have a good time: go to a country music concert.)

Throughout his show, Toby Keith acknowledged and paid respect to our troops – even changing words in songs to salute their sacrifices – and also saluting fire, police and rescue personnel who put it on the line every day to keep us all safe. He performed his “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)” and “The Taliban Song” and received huge cheers each time – and he received an especially loud cheer when he reminded the audience passionately not to listen to those nay sayers – “WE ARE THE GOOD GUYS AND DON’T FORGET IT!” He talked of his more than 60 USO tours around the world to entertain our troops and how much he admired the soldiers and reminded the audience that the soldiers were ensuring that they could come to concerts like his and live our lives in freedom. He asks everyone to symbolically raise their glasses to those that keep us safe during “Beer For My Horses” as he (and Willie Nelson via video) sing “We’ll raise up our glasses against evil forces…”
But all night I was waiting for “American Soldier”… and as the encore began and the first notes were played, not only did I tear up, but I began to cry… All my worry of this last month since he returned to that very dangerous place together with the week+ of not hearing from our son poured out my eyes as my DH held me tight and those around me – complete strangers before this night – put their hands in mine or touched my shoulder… I saw the moms in front of me tear up and hug their men. It took me to the last verses to compose myself and enjoy the sheer exhilaration of the audience as they cheered those that stand up and serve to keep us free.

And the very last gesture of his evening was when the four wives of the soldiers we had met earlier in the evening held up their hand lettered sign, “OUR HUSBANDS ARE IN IRAQ” and Toby came to the end of the stage near them (they were 20 rows from the stage on a side angle and about six rows in front of us) and first he saluted them, then bowed and blew kisses. The audience went absolutely wild!

So Toby, hats off to you… You are not only a great showman, but also a true American Patriot. We'll be back to see you again – but next time with one or more of our Guys in tow!
[UPDATE Sun., 8/14/05: and, no, still no word from our son… I’m generally ok ‘cause]

Copyright 2005. Al rights reserved.
[Here's a link to the Yahoo video page for Toby Keith's videos, including "American Soldier" and Toby & Willie's "Beer For My Horses" among many others You need a Yahoo membership (free and quick) to view the videos.]


At 8/13/2005 1:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

SSM, Keeping you & yours in my thoughts & prayers. Praying you'll hear from him soon.

At 8/13/2005 3:30 PM , Blogger Stacy said...

Glad that you enjoyed the concert. Sure wish I had been there, cause I would have cried right along with you. Hope that you hear from your guys soon. Take care.

At 8/13/2005 7:59 PM , Blogger StoicMom said...

Wow! I'm going to buy a Toby Keith CD tomorrow.

Hang in there "Damn Proud Mom"

At 8/13/2005 8:38 PM , Blogger Jen said...

I loved Toby's music even before I knew what kind of man he was.

I saw his show here in Detroit late last year.

My mom and stepdad go to see him every SEPT. 11 in West Michigan. You can imagine what kind of show he puts on THAT day. (He's made it a ritual to return to this particular county fair at that time every year.)

At 8/14/2005 12:08 AM , Blogger Erik Holtan said...

Yes, he came to Victory in the spring and he was just fun as hell!
I am not a big country fan, but we felt VERY good that night, and I believe that was the night they telecast that performance over here from Baghdad to the CMA's via satellite! Fun night!
Glad you had fun as well!

At 8/14/2005 9:42 AM , Blogger Call Me Grandma said...

Oh wow! You are my kind of gal. I wish I was there. I would of hooped and hollered and stomped my feet. I had fun reading that post. God Bless America and our troops.
Have you heard from your guys?

At 8/14/2005 7:41 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow!! You got to see Toby! I just love him. He has made himself my favorite star in the last few years since he recorded Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue. It must have been wonderful. I'm so happy for you!

At 8/14/2005 7:42 PM , Blogger Melinda said...

I have loved Toby Keith a good long time and his steadfast loyalty to our military has only built that for me. :)

I really want to see a show and I need to just go and do it!

My husband's favorite is Alabama. Their farewell tour brought them to town while he was deployed--we had tickets, of course!--but, I had to take my sister can be really cathartic!

At 8/14/2005 7:57 PM , Blogger RebeccaMcCormick said...

I'm holding you close in my thoughts until you hear from your son.


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