War tough on loved ones left behind

By Grant McGee: Local columnist

My daughter Robyn lives back east and has been seeing a young enlisted man. I’ve never met him. I’ve just heard her talk about him, heard the smile in her voice when she talks about the places they go, the things they see when they get time together.

By all accounts he is your typical young American man. He and Robyn knew each other when they were kids. They went down different paths, both got married, both got divorced and both headed for MySpace.com as many 20-somethings do to do whatever 20-somethings do on MySpace.

What they did was find each other again. They’re not kids anymore. She’s a public school math teacher and he’s a U. S. Marine.

I know other folks around here have had family members sent off to southwest Asia, but for me nothing has hit so close to home about this Iraq thing as when the guy who holds my daughter’s heart was once more shipped off to war.

I got to talk to Robyn’s Marine by accident the other day. I was kicking back watching the sun come up on a Sunday morning, giving Robyn a call to see what’s up.

It was close to 7 o’clock here in Mountain Time, so I figured Robyn’s house would be up and at ’em on the East Coast.

I had the phone in one hand, cup of coffee in the other when a man’s voice blared in my ear. I was so startled I almost dropped my cuppa joe.

I had to think fast, not an easy task for me in the first place, let alone relaxing at home on a Sunday morning.

What was going on here? Had I dialed the wrong number? Or was this the Marine, the man in Robyn’s life?

Yes, it was her Marine. I had forgotten this was the weekend he had gotten together with Robyn and the kids before he had to return to Iraq. I was struck by his strong voice and straightforward way of talking.

I told him how good it was to finally get to talk to him. He said the same.

We laughed about a few things, like when I told him, “I think Robyn kind of likes you, she might even love you a lot.” He laughed like he was a little embarrassed.

I wanted to say, “When are you gonna marry that girl?” I didn’t though. I knew it would probably make Robyn really mad.

“I salute you for what you’re doing, fighting for our country and all,” is what I said. “I really mean that.”

“I appreciate that,” he said. “Well here’s Robyn; she’s been out at the car helping me pack.”

“You come back safe and happy,” I said. Then Robyn was on the phone.

“Dad, what did you tell him?”

“I asked him when is he going to propose,” I said with a smile.


“Naw, I didn’t,” I laughed.

I know there are some folks who think the U. S. should keep fighting until we win in Iraq. I also know folks who ask, “Am I the only one who remembers Vietnam?”

Me? I’d just like our people to come home safe, especially Robyn’s Marine. He’s carrying my daughter’s heart with him wherever he goes. If something happened to him it would surely be broken.

Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at: