Calming Anger With Sugar

I found out that mail is being stolen where one of my soldiers is deployed. Boxes from Amazon are particularly vulnerable. As someone who puts a lot of thought and heart into making sure a servicemember hears his or her name at mail call, this makes me angry. And that makes me want to do something.

My first thought

My first thought wasn’t a very nice one. I thought about getting an Amazon box, putting in nothing but shredded paper and a sign that said what I thought of thieves. This sign would have words that I’ve told my daughter, “we don’t use in this house.” And by “we” I really mean just her.

However, there are a few flaws in my evil plan.1. What if the box gets through and my soldier opens it? 2. Do I really want to be someone who executes an evil plan? No I don’t. Or, to quote Uncle Si of Duck Dynasty, “Nah!”

My second thought

Plan B was: Write a letter to a government official alerting them to this problem so it can be fixed immediately.

There are several flaws in this plan. 1. Who in the wide world of government bureaucracy, civilian or military, would I write to? 2. Of all the things affecting troops that need to be, “fixed immediately” one immoral mail depot probably ranks pretty low. Is it even a depot? Where in the process is it breaking down? I don’t even know who to be upset with! 3. In the era of sequestration, who has the extra manpower to look into this?

What I wound up doing

I sent a postcard because the message can be read by anyone along the way. This is what I wrote:

I heard your mail service was the worst and that I had no chance to get a card or letter through. Hope to prove that ugly rumor false. 

I think, “proving someone wrong” has a certain appeal. Maybe it will appeal to the rogue mail handler(s.) I have no idea because this is hard for me to understand. I mean, if you know the impact mail has on morale, why would you want to deny someone this? For material gain? What they are really stealing is a touch of home, of comfort, and of love.

After I sent the postcard, I still felt bad. So I decided to do something about that as well. Since I was feeling so negative, I would try to do something positive. I was never good at math, but somehow this made sense to me. Now instead of angry boxes, I want to share with you something infinitely sweeter. It made me come up with another idea of how to deal with my shipping challenge.

Meet Wendy

The holidays are coming and homemade cookies are a special kind of love. So to spread that love, I want to tell you about Wendy. I’ve mentioned her once or twice before but never made a formal introduction. Wendy is a mom who loves to bake and sends cookies to her son at college. She called her care packages The Monday Box. Eventually she started a blog of the same name where she shares her recipes and stories about her family. I was thrilled to learn that after reading this blog, Wendy started including recipes that could withstand the rigors of shipping to deployed areas.

If you go on The Monday Box and put the word “desert” in the search box, you’ll get every recipe that she made desert-friendly for our troops. Below are a few samples.

Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread Cookies (photo credit, The Monday Box)

Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread Cookies (photo credit, The Monday Box)

Orange Creamsicle Bar (photo credit, The Monday Box)

Orange Creamsicle Bar (photo credit, The Monday Box)

Hugs & Kisses Brownies (photo credit, The Monday Box)

Hugs & Kisses Brownies (photo credit, The Monday Box)

As I read through Wendy’s blog for these samples, I felt the warmth she sends with every batch. As I calmed down, I knew…I don’t want to be in some long-distance fight with a mailroom. I’m just going to do the best I can and hope for the best.

Then I thought, maybe if those folks had felt more of the love that Wendy or I try to send, maybe they wouldn’t resort to what they’re doing. If I ever did send a box with a sign, maybe it should be information where they could sign up for support. With cookies, a note could say, “I baked this for my soldier, but if you need it so badly to steal it, then take it. Enjoy it and give it to your friends. But support my soldier because after all that he’s done and all that he’s been through, he deserves nothing less. Send him a dessert yourself to make up for the one you’re enjoying right now. That would be great.”

What if the desert were flooded with sugar? Enough “home-baked love” to have, to share, maybe even enough to warm a heart that needs it. That would be sweet.

© Gina left the mall, 2013

15 thoughts on “Calming Anger With Sugar

  1. Oh, Gina, I LOVE the idea of flooding the desert with sugar! Your sign is perfect. Hateful people expect hateful behavior. They are shocked by kindness. Maybe your note could offer some shock therapy. Thank you so much for your very kind words about me and The Monday Box! It sounds goofy, but I really do believe that care package recipients can taste the love baked into every cookie/brownie they receive. I hope the desert safe recipes on The Monday Box will be helpful for anyone working on flooding the desert! 🙂
    p.s. The Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread is not technically “desert safe”. It travels well and stays fresh a long time, making it a great care package cookie, however, it is not a good choice for hot weather mailing because it is baked with butter. In cool weather, go for it! Both the Orange Creamsicle Bar and the Hugs & Kisses Brownies are all season winners. 🙂
    p.p.s. Thank YOU for pointing me in the direction of the mall exit.

    • Wendy,
      Thank YOU for taking something you love and finding a way to share it with our military families. I appreciate the extra time and effort that goes into your recipe finding and testing for troop-friendly treats 🙂 And thanks for the peppermint clarification!

      I think you’re right about the “kindness shock therapy.” Of course, I had to work through the mad part first but, I got there! I hope all my readers who bake visit your blog. After all, the more home-baked love out there, the better. That’s true in the desert and anywhere.

  2. I have 2 alternate titles for this piece. 1. The best guilt trip ever. Or 2. Trying to teach a jackass how to pay it forward.

  3. I love it! I’m also excited about the Monday box blog to get some recipe ideas. Of course not all of the sweets will make it to Kevin but he’s trying to stay healthy anyway 😉

  4. Ok…. I have a confession. While the hubs was deployed the first time, his Kindle was stolen while out to sea. Grrr! On his second deployment (just a few short weeks after the first) he had a box of goodies taken. Since we were in the middle of recovering from Sandy, we were pretty tapped out and that was really a lot of money for us (even as officers). My evil plan was hatched. I told the hubs I was sending another box on FB and to not eat the brownies if he actually got the box. I put all the regular stuff in just in case he got it, plus some extra special “Ex-lax brownies” (which I learned to make in church youth group – we were a special crowd.). Since he had close contact with the docs, he’d be let in on when someone came in with a special case of “The Angry Dragon”, military term for…. well, we’ll leave that part to your imagination. A few guys came in with some stomach problems shortly after the next drop. Amazingly, packages stopped getting taken for the rest of the cruise? I’m sure there was some “discussions” that went on with the higher-ups, but I never get told the juicy (probably a bad choice of words for this discussion) details. It also served as a great story for the next wives meeting. 😉

    • LOL!!!…I can’t wait to tell my soldier’s wife about this! Since I don’t know docs or have safeguards/connections, I won’t be trying this…but I love that you pulled it off. Stealing from your brothers-in-arms is a sh*tty thing to do. So the poetic justice of having the punishment match the crime is great. Thanks for the confession 🙂

  5. Even while muddling through the anger and hostility that the unfairness of today’s world brings, I still try to remember daily that the only correct way to do anything is through love, no matter how mind-piercingly difficult that is at times. Thank you for yet another reminder to do so, even at a time when lashing out is completely justified.

    • Farrel,
      It is no small thing “to remember daily” and then put that thinking into action. “Through love” is an an excellent guide and increasing the kindness quotient in the world can only better the world for all of us. Of course I did none of that when I first found out. I was just hurt and angry. It took me a little time to get from that place to where I ended up. But I’m happy that I did. Thank you for reading and for the thoughtful comment.

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