… and this little piggy stayed home.

by Bella Rum

The son of one of my closest friends is in Afghanistan. He’s a PA (physician’s assistant) , and he’s most probably attached to special forces. Of course, we don’t officially know this.

I can’t believe that this 6’4″ young man is in the military. I can’t even believe he’s a grown man. On the beautiful June day that I met him, he was two-years-old, in his father’s arms and sporting a new baseball glove that was still too big for him. He was in my house all the time when he was a little boy. They lived across the street from us in Maryland. I remember comforting him when he dropped his watercolor painting in a mud puddle one rainy day. He was so upset; I couldn’t tell his tears from the rain on his face. Now he comforts others.

I told my friend that I wanted to send him a care package. She suggested the large flat rate box for $15.45. There’s a $2.00 price reduction for military overseas. I took the box to the grocery store and filled it perfectly. Nothing was moving or sliding around; it was filled to capacity. I filled it with Oreo cookies (his fave), peanut butter crackers, mixed nuts, soup, etc.  I’m from Virginia, so you know I wanted to send him a ham. I eyed a small canned ham, but it occurred to me that their could be a restriction on pork products. I threw it in the box anyway.

You have to list each product, its weight and price on the customs’ form. H took the package to the post office. When the guy saw ‘ham’ on our list, he regretfully asked H to open the box and remove it. No pork in Afghanistan. FYI – even if the item does not contain an ounce of pork but is only shaped like a ham, it is not allowed. I just knew it, but I tried anyway. This little piggy stayed home. Now I’m thinking about those heavy cans of soup and imagining them pounding those Oreo cookies and peanut butter crackers to tiny crumbs because they can SLIDE around now.

I’m going to make fudge, and bake a pound cake and cookies next time. We weren’t sure about homemade items, but the fellow at the post office said baked goods are a-okay with the Afghans.