Saturday, November 11, 2006

A Veteran's Story

Around sixty years ago, a young man joined the army to do his part in World War II. He was not yet married, but had a sweetheart. He entered basic training in the states, a private. She stayed at home and prayed and worked.

He did well in basic, but near the end of his training, in his last exercise, in fact, he made a mistake. In a minefield full of real and fake mines, he misstepped right onto one. He realized his error just before his foot went down, and thought, "Well, I have a fifty-fifty chance."

The mistake was costly. He came home minus one leg, having never seen action in Europe or the Pacific. He brought home no medals, but a prosthesis.

He got married. Quietly and matter-of-factly he worked, went to church, and with his wife raised three sons and a daughter. He worked with his hands, disdaining to pay anyone for work he could do himself. He never complained when the phantom pains colored his days and nights with discomfort. He entertained his kids and their friends with taking his leg off, and later, his grandkids and great-grands.

This man is my Granddad. His quiet dignity and wisdom are a support to many. He is in town now, and we are so thankful. Granddad and Grandmommy have had a rough year or so, and we are glad they can travel again.

Mariel is especially glad because Cornflower has never seen GG Dad take his leg off. It is rather shocking the first time you see it. So now Mariel gets to watch Cornflower be surprised.

I remember the first time I saw Granddad with his leg off. It was a little surreal, a leg with shoe and sock sitting by itself away from its body; but seeing Granddad's calm, patient face undisturbed and even a little amused, I knew it must be okay.

It is good to have faces like that in your family.

God bless you Granddad. And thanks.

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