Friday, February 4, 2011

A special post for my best friend

As I enjoy the peaceful & beautiful morning of February 5th on the island of Koh Chang, I am thinking about my best friend, Amy, halfway around the world in Clarksville, TN. She is probably trying her best to keep a smile on her face as she spends her last evening with her husband for the next six months. She will get to see him for a brief two weeks when he gets R&R midway through his deployment and then will have to say goodbye again for another six months.

Amy's husband, Eric Johnston, is in the U.S. Army. He is a CW4 maintenance test pilot. Eric has been in the Army for almost 18 years. This is his third deployment to the Middle East in the past eight years and his second to Afghanistan. He & Amy also lived in South Korea while Eric was stationed at Camp Humphreys from 2003-06.
Eric & one of his MEDEVAC Blackhawks at Camp Humphreys - April '05
Amy & I grew up together. We were neighbors from the time I was four until we graduated from high school. We went to the same church and were in the same Girl Scout troop, amongst other things. Even though I eventually moved out-of-state, Amy & I always kept in touch and visited each other as often as possible. I sometimes think that Amy knows me better than I know myself!
Amy & I after a hot air balloon ride near Taos, New Mexico - March '09
Eric & Amy have two beautiful daughters, Delaney Mae (8) and Riley Jo (6). They're smart, funny & full of life. I enjoy spending time with them wherever they may be. I visited them in Korea, we've roamed the streets of NYC together, and we've traveled together to & from Eric's parents' house near Charlotte, NC. We've also had some fun times closer to home when I've been able to spend a few days with them in Clarksville.
Riley & Delaney in downtown Clarksville - July '10
As I consider Amy, Eric & the girls part of my family, and am close to both of their parents, it is always hard for me to stand helplessly by when they are dealing with something like this. Luckily, Amy has a large& very supportive network of friends & family in TN & beyond that she can turn to when she needs help. And, much different than Eric's first deployment to Iraq, he is able to take a laptop computer and can stay in touch with everyone on a fairly regular basis.
L to R: Amy's parents Ronnie & Barbara Cowherd; Amy, Eric, Riley & Delaney; Eric's parents Hewitt & Cynthia Johnston; this pic (borrowed from Amy) was taken on 02FEB11 at Eric's promotion to CW4
I hope that in the coming days, weeks & months, no matter what your religious affiliation or beliefs or you're feelings about the war, you will keep this special family in your thoughts & prayers. And, if you want to better understand what it's like to have your family torn apart by war, please subscribe to Amy’s blog: Amy's Annals.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for this Alethea! I love you and am glad to call you my best friend. Through thick and thin and many years, we find our way back to each other and always with a stronger relationship. I do miss you right now and wish there was a way that we could meet up! Love from TN!