Bob is a regular customer at work. He comes riding in almost every day on his motorized “wheelchair.” He had a stroke so he can’t move his hand very well, so he throws his wallet onto the counter and watches us open it and get out the money he owes us for his chocolate milk, or orange juice.
Poor Bob, his ex-wife just died. She died in her mother’s arms, in her bed, with loved ones surrounding her.
“I had to do one of the hardest things I have ever done” he told me. “I did two tours in the Vietnam war. On the second tour, our camp was ambushed, and one of the soldiers got shot in the stomach. Everything was coming out, intestines and all that. And I sat there and held him and I put my hands over the hole to keep everything from falling out. I waited until the medic came, but when they did, it was too late. I thought that was the hardest thing I would ever have to do, but this was harder. I had to close her eyes” (his ex-wife’s eyes).
It was at this time that I really wished that my grandfathers were still alive. I still wish that. I really want to hear stories like this, war stories. I want to hear about “adventure” and bravery and sacrifice. These were men. These are men.
It made me think of Miguel. I went to college with him. He had always talked about either being a musician or being in the Navy. After I quit, and after he graduated, I found out that he had decided on the Navy. He may not be going to “war” per se, but he is still going to protect this country. And I am very proud of him. I will never let him forget it either.