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Letters to My Son

But More Importantly, My Mother

By Tawn KrakowskiPublished 2 years ago 3 min read
Doodle practice for envelope decorations

You may have noticed—as my mother certainly did—that I haven't kept up my end of the bargain with the daily updates. Although I understand my mother's frustration with my writing pace, I only recently had the correct address to send mail, so I didn't see the point in building up more of a stockpile. I had no news, no way to contact you, and only so much desire to process your absence "out loud" once I noticed that far more people read these posts than our immediate family (yes, I know that's the entire point). It was only then that I realized that these open letters were as much for her—and others—as they are for you.

The Reception-Red Phase time anomaly amplified with the weird time around Thanksgiving and now we are finally synced back up with the (very low) possibility of daily missives being sent as I write them to be conveyed via snail mail. I have sent out a letter a day of prewritten material along with some current news in a highly decorative envelope, and this will be as close to real time as it gets. If anyone would like to send mail to my son, I have his address available on a need-to-know basis. Randos need not apply, but friends/family please text me.

Along those lines, please know that aside from the obvious (fireworks, alcohol, live badgers, etc.), innocent treats like cookies, gum, and breath mints are considered contraband. The military asks that you do not send contraband. Therefore, in the interests of championing anarchy, I will tell you why we should, within reason, send contraband.

Before you were born, I flew cargo in Barons and Lears in the late 90s to early 00s. Flying cargo was a good paying, steady gig which included a lot of flight time in all kinds of weather. We flew the same four to five leg route at the same time four to five nights a week using the same callsign with air traffic control, and so a relationship is formed between pilot and ATC over time. Knowing this, we would occasionally bribe controllers with food for future landing preference.

The theory was that the next time shitty visibility tries to mess up everyone's night, that well-fed controller is going to hear you—their food friend—check on frequency and clear you through like Fergie at the club. And it worked! A little goodwill pizza went a long way toward helping ATC help us keep our schedule.

Here's where the contraband comes in: what if I could do something similar to build a little goodwill toward my soldier? I propose a Drill Sergeant would remember a cadet more fondly should their mom send homemade cookies which were confiscated and distributed among the staff. Maybe they were so impressed with the confections, they give you the nickname "Cookie." Boom. Now you've formed a relationship.

They start noticing you and your shining example: Jones, why can't your locker be as pristine as Cookie's? They encourage you during physical conditioning: That's it, Cookie, gimme twenty more! They joke with each other about whether Cookie or Bubblicious gets better mail contraband. Then, maybe they start asking about mom's next care package. That's when you've got them. It doesn't even count as a bribe because it's contraband!

Then maybe they'd be more inclined to put in that order for boots that fit properly so you get fewer blisters. Maybe one lets your squad in out of the rain a few minutes early—don't want Cookie to catch cold or mom might send chicken soup instead of chocolate dipped almond crescents. Could some illegal pastries subconsciously instill a seed of goodwill toward my son? I don't know, but honestly can't see a down side unless my snowballs game isn't up to par. Then it would be more like "that guy" who tries to buy his way into an obviously busy, overtly exclusive restaurant with a fiver.

Just one more way I'm doing my best to support you in any way that I can, Cookie. All my love,


P.S. To my readers (and my mom): If you're going to send contraband, stick to cookies, gum, or breath mints. Please do not send things that will have ATF, Mail Cops, or Drill Sergeants with angry badger wounds showing up on your doorstep for a discussion involving handcuffs.


About the Creator

Tawn Krakowski

TAWN is a jet-rated Airline Transport Pilot, serial entrepreneur, fantasy author, audiobook narrator, and Dragon Empress of Tawnlandia, an empire forged of dreams, magic, and of course, dragons. Follow #EmpressTawn on Instagram or Facebook.

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    Tawn KrakowskiWritten by Tawn Krakowski

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