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September 6, 2006
I've been thinking of them a lot lately: moms and dads who are overseas on their kids' first day of school. They email and IM, of course, so they can hear all about it. But they can't sit down at the kitchen table and listen to how the day went. They can't see the little face, read the hope or anxiety in the eyes.

As never before, they can keep in touch. They email. They text. As never before, the military helps them do it -- they can read their children a bedtime story and send a DVD of it home. But it's not the same as being there. At night they lie in a narrow bunk; some of them lie on the ground. Some of them don't sleep at all. Nobody clean and sweet and little rushes in next morning to jumps on the bed and hide under the covers and make them guess who it is.

Everyone at home is brave, too. Everyone tries not to dwell. Everyone puts on a good face, except for the ones who are too young to know you're supposed to put on a good face, who don't yet know what a good face is.

Hate the war? Who doesn't? But they sure as hell didn't start it. Light them a candle on the Farm. If you don't know one of them personally, light one for "Joe" or "Jane." And pray for them every day, and for their adversaries and for the hearts of all the political leaders, until they can all go home.

You can light a candle at on the Geranium Farm at

+ On Sunday, September 17th at 2pm, Barbara Crafton will speak and read from her work at the East Brunswick Public Library in East Brunswick, NJ. Many of her books will be available for purchase. Visit the library's website for details at
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