StoryCorps Shorts: With Love, From Georgia
Roman felt tired and alone during his time in Afghanistan. He sat down at StoryCorps to remember the day he received a package from his Mema that reminded him of her love.
Roman Coley Davis (RCD): I served in the
United States Army as a human intelligence collector
in the Korengal Valley of Afghanistan.
We were essentially in a black zone.
If you walk outside of the wire, there's almost a 100% chance
that someone's dying or coming back wounded...
if you come back.
We were involuntarily extended.
I remember during that time being incredibly homesick
and just lost, if you will, in the middle of a war.
And one day, a Black Hawk helicopter flies into the
valley, and they kick off bright yellow US mail bags.
And the sergeant called my name, "Peaches."
I was the only one from South Georgia
so my radio call sign was "Peaches."
And they said, "Peaches, come up here, you got some mail."
And I wasn't expecting mail, and it was this box from home.
And I cut it open, and it was this big huge thing wrapped
in aluminum foil.
And so I take off this layer of aluminum foil, and there's more
aluminum foil, and like 30 layers of foil and plastic wrap
and this that and the other...
and my Mema had baked this sour cream pound cake.
I've seen my Mema bake this for people whose mothers have died.
It's something that she takes to those who grieve.
And then here I am, and I'm in a foreign country,
in a hostile environment, and that same pound cake
is now sitting in front of me.
And my 12-man team is there...
And I pulled out a K-bar combat knife,
and I hack into this thing, and I cut it into like
12 massive chunks.
And I ate mine first...
and I cried.
And everyone got a chunk.
And I think that if we had dined in her kitchen the moment that
it cooled, and she took the towels off of it, it could not
have been as fresh as it was there on that mountainside.
And, for that one moment...
I felt loved, even though I was lonely.
The pound cake was clean, even though I was so dirty.
It was cold, and that pound cake warmed me.
It was just like Mema was there.