Ah, the resteep of the leaves from last night is exquisite!
Hubby is off today – he works on the military base so of course it is a holiday for them – so when he got home from the gym I offered him a cup. He drank it and declared it good, and held out his cup for more. He wasn’t overly surprised when I told him that this is a resteep from last night’s leaves that were a bit strong for him. He generally does prefer the second steep of dark oolongs.
My veteran’s day story is about my godfather, Jim. Jim was a journalist and he and his wife had no children, so when they became disabled I took care of all their affairs. When they died, I inherited Jim’s desk. All of his things were still in it. I found a yo-yo in the top drawer and remembered the day he took it out and showed it to me. He was so excited that he still remembered how to do tricks with it, and so pleased to have it. He was as excited as a little boy when he showed it to us!
Behind the yo-yo, shoved to the back, was something he had never shown me. It was his Purple Heart. When he was very young he had been hit by shrapnel on the beach in the Philippines. His left arm never moved again. It was locked at a ninety degree angle, and no one knew because he covered it so well and never told anyone. When I was very young, I remember him always having a windbreaker draped over that arm, so it looked very natural for him to hold it that way. After his funeral, friends and coworkers from forty or fifty years back were shocked to learn of his disability and how it happened.
I also found the letter that told how he had been hit while storming the beach, how he had been carried into a forest where they waited 24 hours to be airlifted to a hospital overseas before being sent to Walter Reed hospital. I found letters he wrote to his father, letting him know that everything was okay.
When the war was over, he went back to college. He rented the back porch of a house in Chapel Hill and attended the school there. That’s right. A young, disabled vet sleeping on a screened porch summer and winter. (And I complain when my toes are cold.) He went on to become city editor of our local paper here, and oversaw the reporting of the famous Jeffrey McDonald case. He was a founder of Methodist University, and never told a soul. He arranged for scholarships for young people from underprivileged families, and I never knew – no one did – until they came and told me after he died, because he did everything quietly, and because he thought it was right.
I wish with all my heart that I could be even half the person that man was, and I am thankful and humbled to have known him.