For a wise mentor and miss friend. “At peace at last.”
At peace at last
A Story by Coyote Poetry
A story for a good friend. Soldiers need to remember the old timers who taught us respect and how to lead.
At peace at last
The Soldiers gave him a 21 gun salute. Only young and old Soldiers came to say goodbye. Old Sergeant Major finally drank himself to death. 35 years a Soldier left him waiting for death to come.
I met him a early morning walking into the base. He told me they take your license away with 5 DWI’s. I told him I come this way everyday from my girlfriend. I would be honored to pick him up.
He told me “You are alright with me Sergeant C. I will meet you at the gate.” I answer no problem Sergeant Major.
He laughed. Told me to call him Paul in private. He slapped my back and smiled. “I will call you John, my friend.”
He got demoted to my company. He told me in private. “I’m glad the Army kept me around. I have no place to go.”
He was my First Sergeant now. At the company picnic. We partnered up and kick everyone ass in horse shoes. We sat and talks with me. He told me. ” I will be dead soon. What will be left of me? Will you remember me Sergeant C? “
I wrapped my arm around him. I told him ” You were with my father on the boat to Korea. Us young Soldiers need to take care of the old one.” He smiled.
A young Soldier was going to lose everything. First Sergeant asked what do you need? The young Soldier told him too damn much.
He looked at me. Handed me his checkbook. Told me take him home and pay all his bills.
He told me write his name for him on the checks. Add it up right.
He has close to $30, 000 in a checking account. I paid the debts of the Soldiers. The Soldier and the wife were very thankful. I asked them never to say a word. First Sergeant wants this to be private.
I drove him home now. He was looking bad now. The whiskey and beer would kill him soon.
I asked him to quit drinking for a while. He looked to the ocean in our view. He told me. “Drinking blind me from the shit I have seen. Wasn’t for you shit head Soldiers. I would have no purpose.”
He drank at the bar around the corner from his small apartment. I started to meet him there. He had many friends. Old Timers who had retire. He loved to sing Hank William, Jr.
Karaoke was his favorite. It was funny to see this 6 foot 4 inch man sing and dance to the old music. I would drink slow to ensure he would get home.
He told me in my truck. “I’m being booted out. Doctors told me liver and kidney are gone. I reached my goal. I will join my friends soon. I drank myself to death.” He gave me a big Texas smile. “Don’t worry John. I will save you a seat. Soldiers must take care of Soldiers.”
I became good friends with him. We drank together till one day he told me. “I can’t walk anymore. Need a Soldier to do his duty.
Take care of a old Soldier.”
I asked what did you need? He smiled. Told me.”Bring me cold beer and whiskey to my home. Don’t ever pity me. Soldier must die.
Some are lucky. They died on the battlefield.”
I sat with many old timers. They came by to show respect. We drank and laugh by the Sergeant Major bed. He was content to be with Soldiers.
I got a call at work. Old Sergeant Major was dead. He left a note. Sergeant C. will take care of my final desires in my Will.
He left me a letter with a thousand dollars. “This is for your inconvenience. My Will is simple. Half my money to the Old Soldier home. The other half to Red Cross.”
At least 200 Soldier stood shoulder to shoulder. Most of us were crying when Taps was played. I smiled and thought what would the old Sergeant Major say.
He would tell us. Be good Soldiers. Take care of each other in War and peace.
22 January 2010