A soldier's visit home

By Lemanuel Loley
Navajo Times
CASAMERO LAKE, N.M., June 14, 2012

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T aking the routine hour drive home on June 8, I contemplated what I wanted to say to my older brother Jeremy.

It's been a year since his deployment to Kuwait and my family is overjoyed at having him home, even if it is only for a brief time.

My brother arrived state side on May 18.

At home the smell of mutton on a grill made my mouth water.

And there was my brother, sitting in the chaha'oh, preparing more mutton for the grill.

In that Kodak moment, everything seemed to be right in the universe.

Homecomings are emotional for anyone but even more so for a soldier's family.

There was so much I wanted to say.

I wanted to tell him that we missed him and prayed for him every day.

I wanted to thank him for his service and to tell him that we loved him but I decided to tell him those things later on and stuck with a hug.

My grandmother, Lillie, immediately assigned my sister-in-law, Lariet, and I the task of making tortillas.

We had our doubts that the dough would be enough for everyone but it worked out in the end.

Later in the afternoon, my aunt and her family came over to help cook. My cousin sisters ran up to my brother and hugged him.

It was a dog pile full of love.

During my brother's deployment they had sent him letters and drawings.

My brother and grandfather, Peter, worked on our van and made plans for what they would work on for the rest of the week.

My brother is usually busy during his visits home. His usual routine is to spend time helping our family and visiting relatives. Even before he joined the military, my brother has always been helpful. He enjoys being with family.

Every time I sat down for a break, my brother gave me something to do. From cooking tortillas to learning how to grill, the day was busy.

Things settled down when the meal was prepared.

My grandmother, like all grandmothers, continually offered my brother mutton and being the respectful grandson that he is, he had no choice but to eat.

By the end of the day, he was full. My brother always says that grandma's cooking is the best.

Like any time my brother is home, the day ended with laughs and smiles from everyone. It was even more appreciated since we don't see him for months at a time.

We are glad to have him home and sad to see him go again. He will be returning to his station on the East Coast on June 17.

He has taught me a lot since childhood and continues to do so. He has taught me how to be by doing so by example.

He is my role model.