Jeff is a soldier. He is a Master Corporal in the Royal Canadian Regiment out of Canadian Forces Base Petawawa. I don't know much about what he actually does. It's something to do with reconnaissance, but I only know this because of the jokes that are made about a 6' 5" tall man doing sneaky stuff. "It's a bush, it's a bush, it's Jeff, it's a bush."
When I first met Jeff I'd already heard stories about him. He's a crazy guy, who has a bajillion stories of his own, and when he tells them he always starts with "So there I was...". The first time I spent time with Jeff was at a May 2-4 weekend bash. He took his clothes off and did cartwheels in the rain. He told his famous Edmonton Strangler story and used me as a prop. I am afraid at the time I didn't see what was so great about this guy. I didn't understand why three of my friends were sleeping with him (we're a pretty liberal bunch, if you have a judgement, kindly keep it to yourself.) Sure he was funny, but he was also crass, and didn't understand personal boundaries.
Over the few years since then I've gotten to know Jeff much better. He is the crazy, crass guy with the stories, sure. But he's also a deeply intelligent and sensitive guy. When you get to talke to him alone, or in a small group, you learn things that you didn't know; about him, about yourself, about the world at large.
On August 8, 2006 his company was deployed to Afghanistan. As anyone following Canadian news will know (I'm not sure what kind of news US/UKers get) the NATO forces in Afghanistan haven't been having the greatest time. Yesterday, while knitting a sock for Jeff (we've been working on a care package to send to him) I saw the news about the friendly fire attack. Half an hour later I had one friend on the phone and two at the door.
Jeff is going to be ok. He's in a Dutch Front field hospital and will be moved to Germany soon. He'll be back in Canada in about two weeks (as soon as he's cleared to fly) and then he'll have a couple of weeks of reintegration training (code for talking to a bunch of headshrinkers). With any luck he'll be back in our area around mid-October. We don't know exactly how injured he is, but they offered him the option to go back to active duty after he's healed up. He took the option to come home, which makes his friends and family very happy.
I can't wait to hear him say "So there I was..."