A Good Hostess

While we’re working on the next host/hostess of Our Dad’s Flag, this week we have a guest contributor – excerpts from an e-mail from Our Dad in Afghanistan that may leave you reconsidering your traditional Easter Basket goodies!

To: Us
From: Dad
Re: April 2012 – Afghanistan
There are some things that we deployed soldiers miss more than you would think.  We’re missing holidays with our families, maybe a barbeque with friends, home cooking and Opening Day – these are just a few things that come to mind. But your average “Joe” here realizes he can’t have these big things so he tries not to think about them and drives on. I suppose this is what makes us all focus on the silly, little things that we get in care packages from home.  Sure you can get pie at the chow hall on a good day and you might be lucky enough to find a package of Twizzlers at the PX before they sell out (and don’t get another shipment for weeks due to road closures.)  But one thing the Army will never feed you — or apparently even sell to you — in the FOBs of Afghanistan is . . . a Twinkie.  Oh the suffering!

The land of Jelabi and gur>

Over here in the land of Afghanistan the local treats might include Jelabi and gur — deep-fried wheat bread with syrup and molasses. Although I know very little bit about the matter, in print it sounds to me like a donut. So we stick to our chow hall offerings until that care package arrives.
I find that some of the most important people a soldier wants to share with are the junior enlisted in the mail hut.  The Midwestern farm boys in the mail hut can make sure your packages are put aside, or they can follow the usual routine and throw them in a bin and wait for the unit mail clerk to come by, pick them up, sort them out and get them to you a few days later. The trick is: if you share what’s in your packages with the mail guys, they put them aside and anxiously await your arrival. 
I’ve been lucky enough to have family members and friends recently send me Twinkies, I moderated the distribution of some of them with the mail guys.  One of them acted as though he was a deer frozen in the headlights of an oncoming semi-truck and said, “I haven’t even seen a picture of one of these things in eight months.”  The other kid took the Twinkie in his hands as though I was handing him a newborn baby, and I’m pretty sure he tried to hide the fact he was welling up with tears.  And their emotional response is even more telling and entertaining when you think about the fact that both of these kids are over six feet tall and have the build of linebackers literally from lifting bales of hay every day of their lives before joining the Army.  It’s amazing when such a little thing, that most folks can buy at any store; can make someone on the other side of the world so happy.
That’s why the young soldiers here love Twinkies…and so do pilots who fly us safely from one FOB to another and drivers of the rigs that transport us on fun-filled road trips. Apparently, everyone loves a Twinkie. These small cream-filled sponge-cakes are truly a reminder of home and good old’ boy lunchbox days gone by.  



After we heard about the popularity of the Twinkies, it got our family thinking differently about assembling care packages. Mom had stopped in a local deli and eyed a pile of single-serve Twinkies. Hmm. Two older gentlemen standing with their cups of coffee commented about what a good treat they are. Mom explained that Our Dad was in Afghanistan and uses them as a quick pick-me up for his fellow soldiers and that they’re all the rage. This got them sharing their stories of one whose son did tours with the Marines and the other’s nephew who is currently on his 3rd deployment. Mom immediately put in an order of 5 boxes of Twinkies from the deli owner…and the two gentlemen insisted on contributing money towards the purchase knowing that these are going directly to the source – the US Armed Forces in Afghanistan who could use a treat from home along with our best wishes of a safe and speedy return home. 

Need More Twinkies?

Go to the store! Twinkies® are a true American brand have been on the market for over 80 years made by Hostess and Interstate Bakeries Corp. and were created by a man named Jimmy Dewar.  He is known for saying, “Twinkies was the best darn-tootin’ idea I ever had.”   Just remember: all treats in moderation! (Twinkies® are a registered trademark of Hostess Cakes.) For fun and wacky stories about the doings with Twinkies visit http://www.hostesscakes.com/ and read up on recipes and even order The Twinkies Cookbook!

OK, Enough about Twinkies – Where’s the Flag?

It’s a busy week on our end with the holiday and a little girl’s birthday to celebrate while missing her dad — so we’ll get back to it next week. But if you really need a hint about what’s coming up here goes: In general, you’ll give this visit 4 stars! Thanks for reading and we’ll catch up next week on all the travels of Our Dad’s Flag! Remember to be a good “Hostess” and share our project with a friend.  

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