Economic Downturn + Military Stress = Duress

First of all, let me say I am not a military wife, nor am I in the military.  But with as stressful as the holidays can be financially and otherwise for civilians, I can only imagine how hard they might be for folks who have a spouse half-way around the globe.  For a couple of years I engineered lights for a country-western band that toured the tri-state area, and during that time, one of the guys asked me to do some song-writing for him.  Here is a sampling of some lyrics I wrote that seemed particularly timely with the economic woes people are facing.
Tireless Wireless
by Casey A. South
2.22.08 @ 10:55 pm
She sees him there…
A continent away.
In the glow of the blue screen,
Same time each day.
How unfair her lover is cold to her touch,
Warmed only by the memory that is fading too much.
“I’ve got this,” she said as he boarded the plane.
How could they foresee the depths of her pain?
Her passion is wireless,
Goes ‘round the globe,
This love is tireless,
But, Lord, bring him home.
She hears the kids crying as she opens the mail.
Bills are a mounting… that never fails.
Too tired to cook and the place is a mess.
It weighs on her greatly, this military stress.
Another paycheck – it comes and it goes,
How they will make it, Lord only knows.
Payments are missing.  Creditors calling.
Into an abyss she knows she is falling.
But same time each day, she puts on a smile.
She wipes her mascara, hits the icon to dial.
He needs no distraction:  it could mean his life.
“For better, for worse,” she alone bears this strife.
“Everything’s great, hon. Couldn’t be better.”
He feels reassured… his girl’s a go-getter!
But ‘Let’s stay connected’ is really a lie.
She shuts down her Mac and has a good cry.
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Tireless Wireless by Casey A. South is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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Mental Yoga

I find writing to be a cathartic individual activity that relaxes me and keeps me balanced, a kind of mental yoga!

Writing, for me, produces a variety of outcomes: poems, stories, song lyrics, some sappy stuff and some cynical and funny little snippets of thoughts.  I’m not claiming they are perfect or award-winning by any means, but I do think they have some value.  For someone.  Even if that someone is only me!

WARNING: Sappy Alert!  :o)

Here is one piece I wrote as I was reflecting on the eighth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  It was a beautiful morning on Saturday, September 12 of this year.  The night before, on September 11th, our high school band performed a patriotic medley of songs at half-time of the home football game, accompanied by fireworks and the honoring of veterans and our service people.  Folks in the stands were so very moved! Such an excellent patriotic display I had not witnessed since after the attacks in 2001.  Some people find it so easy to be cynical and negative about our country, but everyday someone is saved by Her graces: a life is improved, an injustice curbed, a future is launched.  When asked what surprised him the most about America, a 17 year old Chinese boy in my English class today stated, “The fact that not everyone in America is filthy rich like I was taught [was surprising].  There is a lot of poverty here.  Yet people are happy and hopeful with opportunities.” Amen, Chiang!

What is America?
by Casey A. South
2.23.08 @ 6:10 am

“What is America?”
The teacher wrote on the board.
His assignment for the weekend
Due Monday he was told.

How was a kid to define Her?
He wondered on the bus
How could he put on mere paper
What She means to all of us?

Was it the warmth of the saddle
On his Daddy’s favorite horse?
Or the countryside they cantered
That described America most?

Was America in the stadium
In the cheering of the crowds?
Or the marching band that’s playing
Our anthem full and proud?

Was She the courthouse in the city
Gracing the downtown square?
Or the Corvettes and Camaroes
At the car show he strolled there?

Was America the President in his motorcade?
Or the lights on the fire trucks shining in the parade?

Was America the colors streaming from the flag?
Or the tears shed when laying that soldier in his grave?

Could it be She was the sunrise on golden waves of grain?
Or the faithful and strong whistle of the daily train?

Was America the comics in his Sunday paper?
Or the place where he worshipped his one and only Maker?

Was it the smell of Grandma’s baking apples that they’d picked?
Or the packages Mom was making, waiting to be shipped
To some brave soldier somewhere out across the sea
Fighting for our freedom – For them, For you, For me?

He went to school that Monday, a furrow in his brow.
“Hang up your coats and hats, please.  Take out your papers now.”

The teacher seeing his dismay asked why he was upset.
“Do you have your assignment, honey, or did you just forget?”

“I’m not sure I did this right: the assignment that you made.
The one defining America, the one that’s due today.”

He looked his teacher in the eye, not wanting to make a fuss.
“I wrote a lot but left bunches out: She means so much to us.”

“She’s something different to Rico and to Chaing and Emmalee:
America is dreams come true: our hope, a future, security.
I couldn’t nail Her down, you see, to just one simple thing.
We can’t define her completely, M’am… ‘Cause America is Everything.”
Creative Commons License
What is America? by Casey A. South is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at