Friday, November 11, 2011

My eighteenth slice-of-life story...

The Colors...

Through a sea of faces and as many insignia,
an experienced soldier hobbled up the restaurant aisle tonight. 
His dark ball cap, tattered and worn, sat squarely atop a thinning tuft of white.
Across from our table, he stopped.
Eyes locked. 
His wrinkly hand pat the diner's shoulder, firm and strong.
Once, twice, three times.

It had to be the colors.

Black and gold for Army,
the colors set in motion a connection
spanning space and time
and melding experience.
In a word: beautiful.

Next through the throng of diners, servers, and trays,
a young buck with shiny black shoes,
dress blues,
and medals blazing
strode with precision
past his kindred:
in sweatshirts, in hats,
clutching picture frames,
their memories.

"He was in my division," my husband spoke up.
"See his colors?"

I honestly hadn't.
In fact, I'm not sure I ever have.

Last night, the third episode of "Vietnam in HD" was on TV.
I watched from over my laptop,
through my presentation planning,
and under the guise of a child whose father never fought.
But he was still drafted,
second to last in our rural county's lottery.
And he still went,
to Germany instead of Vietnam.
And his life still changed,

It had to be the colors...

I used to think that unless a soldier engaged in battle
somewhere scary
with bombs
and guns
and death,
the service wasn't 'real.'

Tonight, I know I'm wrong.
I saw it in my husband's glassy eyes when he studied
the young buck
in dress blues.
I heard it in his sturdy voice when he explained
what divisions are
what each decoration on a soldier's uniform signifies.

The colors tell the story,
written in another language 
only natives 
and immigrants 

It would do me well to listen
because the freedom
I know each day
has been paid for

It has to be the colors...

Write on,

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Hi! I'd love to hear what you are thinking right now, so please take a sec and drop me a line. I'm so glad you stopped by today -- thanks a billion. :)