The Corner

Here, There — Now

A letter from a reader (who doubles as a military chaplain serving God, country, and soldiers in Afghanistan) concerning Jay Nordlinger’s Here, There & Everywhere:

Dear Jay,

At my request, I was given Here, There & Everywhere as a Christmas gift after I got home from Iraq in 2007. (I discovered your work on NRO while I was there in Iraq.) I slowly made my way through it during ’08 and ’09, then brought it with me here to Afghanistan for my current deployment. Many nights I’ve sat on the “porch” in front of the chapel smoking my pipe (a deployment vice — my wife doesn’t allow it at home) here at Bagram Air Field (I’m a chaplain in the Army), reading a chapter or two. Tonight I finished the book, and wanted to thank you for expanding my world and giving me wonderful writing to enjoy.

Some nights I dreaded opening the book — the Cuba/China pieces were hard to get through. But every night I looked forward to learning something new, usually delightful.

I must say that my favorite essay is “‘Gutter’ Politics.” Tonight, after I finished the last chapter (which in my case was the one ending with the obit of Ring Lardner), I still had some tobacco left in my bowl, so I re-read “‘Gutter’ Politics.” My chaplain assistant and I have found it a source of amusement since our arrival here. We often joke about the two cities here in Afghanistan, one named “Cobble” and the other named “Ka-BUHL.”

“Yeah, this week we’re making a trip to Ka-BUHL.” “And the following week to Cobble.” We have similar dialogues about “Gutter” and “Qa-TAHR.”

I said my favorite essay was the above, but as I think about it, it is really “A Voice for Our Time,” about the George W. Bush speeches. I also need to mention “A Name of My Own: Me and Reagan” and “A Man and His Primer: On (not) learning Greek.”

The bookmark all along has been a note you wrote me in response to a letter I wrote you during my tour in Iraq. Thanks for that, too. Most of all, thank you for instilling in me an ever-greater appreciation for my country. I’m a prouder American and conservative because of you.

Please pass along my thanks to your colleagues — I’m not the only NRO reader over here. And I’ll continue reading.

To purchase a copy of Here, There & Everywhere, go here. If you’d like a personal inscription by the author, just say so when you order.

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