The LuLac Edition #2199, September 17th, 2012
A MUST READIt was the summer of 2011 and I was having my first ever meeting with Tiffany Cloud. She had just taken over the Sales Manager duties at WYLN TV 35 and we were going to meet to talk about the station. I had only set aside an hour because I figured what could two strangers talk about in more time than that. Well, three hours after we sat down, we were still going strong. The people at the Roadhouse eatery in Drums had changed shifts and thank heavens didn’t throw us out. After that meeting we became sales colleagues and friends on the Facebook machine. We also became co panelists on WYLN TV’s 3 hour Election Night coverage. Despite our political differences, Tiffany seemed to take to my Attila the Hun perspective on capital punishment and illegitimate births saying “You are not as liberal as you think you are”. Needless to say I was extremely excited when I heard that Tiffany had joined the stable of WYLN authors and wrote a book. (L.A. Tarone wrote a book a few years ago entitled “We Were Here Once”). I actually met her subject matter a few times at the TV station, her husband, Staff Sergeant Erik Olson. Her book is a story of the people who fight our wars and those they leave behind. It should be noted that only 1% of American families are involved in the war effort. I don’t know whether it is the proliferation of our “American Idol” culture or just the fact that people don’t realize it, but the burden of these modern day wars are not shared by the majority of U.S. citizens. And that fact makes the book that much more important to read. Here’s some more information about it:
In 2011 while most were going about their normal daily routine, Tiffany Cloud Olson of Conyngham, PA was thinking of her husband, SSG Erik Olson, a decorated Special Operations combat veteran serving outside the wire in eastern Afghanistan’s Hindu Kush near Pakistan. Based upon insurgent activity in the region, a high probability existed that he would be injured or worse. Olson was not naive to battle, as prior to Afghanistan, he served two year-long tours with Special Operations in Iraq where he was awarded numerous commendations, among them, three bronze stars, including the bronze star for valor. But despite being a seasoned combat veteran, the risks for him were real, and the fears for her, palpable. As self-imposed therapy, Cloud Olson began to write about her experiences as a military spouse lacking sleep, worrying daily, checking the casualty report incessantly, & coping sometimes well (often horribly) while her husband was at war. Her writing evolved into a book entitled Sleeping with Dog Tags, which releases this week and will be available in major bookstores, Amazon.com, and Kindle/eBooks. Sleeping with Dog Tags tracks the emotional rollercoaster of a military spouse’s year at home while her husband is deployed in Afghanistan. Central to her narrative is the conviction that while war is hell for the soldiers, it is also hell for family members manning the home front, and there are few supports for those left behind. But the story is also a love story. A story about two people meeting later in life after divorces and discovering they are soul mates—despite their very different backgrounds. And it is the wisdom garnered from a life of experiences that feeds a very poignant, yet very self-aware reflection on the challenges of dealing with the ever-present specter of death, the “my way or the highway” nature of the military, and the missteps of a strong woman treading the unchartered path of the military spouse. But, her humor and passion elevate the narrative. This is not a bitter or whiny piece of writing—angry at times, yes, sad too, and funny as well—but her objective is not to complain. Rather, she strives to offer some perspective on her experiences in the hopes that other military spouses will take some courage and confidence from the heartfelt reminiscences of a woman who got really tired of saying “good-bye.” -Word Association Publishers She does not only wish to raise awareness of the military family experience with this book, she also wishes to raise money for an organization benefiting her community. Cloud Olson intends to donate a portion of the profits from Sleeping with Dog Tags to The Rolling Angels for Armed Forces, a motorcycle group that supports local military and their families in multiple ways—soldier send offs, return home celebrations, presence at military funerals, and gifts for military children during the holidays, among the many things they do. SSG Olson returned from his Afghanistan tour earlier this year, recipient of The Purple Heart. He is currently recovering from injuries at a military base near Washington D.C. where he is in The Wounded Warrior Program.