Highway 80 west stories. Chapter nine. The real truth.


                                                Death Valley


Young Johnnie waiting to go home.(1992 photo)

Young Johnnie waiting to go home.(1992 photo)

Highway 80 west stories. Chapter nine. The real truth.

A Chapter by Coyote Poetry


People see what they want. They don’t want to see the truth.


                                    Highway 80 west stories part nine.   The real truth.

I got up early and I found directions to the Family History library and the Mormon Tabernacle. I ordered some coffee in the hotel restaurant. I was joined by a older lady and her son. She gave me her hand and told me. “Thank you for your service. I’m proud of our soldiers.” I told her thank you and I tried to escape. She asked. “Please stay and talk to us. My son want to join the service. I need a real Soldier opinion. His daddy is dead and I know of few men who have served.” I sat down and I knew this wouldn’t be a positive conversation. I asked the boy’s name. He reached out and he told me. “My name is Todd. I’m in eleventh grade and want to be a soldier like you.’

I told Todd. “It is good to meet you and what do you want to know?”  Todd smiled and asked me. “Does it feel good to be a Soldier? Did you see combat? Did you like the Middle East?” I saw in the mother eyes. A sadness. I knew without asking. This was her only son and he needed her signature. I sipped my coffee. I tried not to reflex back to the war. Some memories are better left dead and bury.  I told him. “Wars had no season. Wars will end and more wars will come. I like being a Soldier because my father was a soldier. Today soldiers are used for the wrong reasons. We fight for wars that don’t concern us.”  I looked directly into Todd’s eyes and asked him. “Is it right to kill for oil and profit of the rich men? If the USA isn’t being attacked? Should we kill other armies and destroy cities? Do you want to know their blood on your hands for the wrong reasons?

Todd sat in silence. I told him. “I saw war. At least the aftermath. Took my unit six months to clean-up death valley. The United States Air Force destroyed the Iraqi army in 20 minute or less. They left the bodies of their soldiers and equipment and ran back to their country. My unit found alive men waiting for death. I learn men who are dying. They want to pray and they tried to remember their family. There is no honor in war. Us men learn to hide the memories if we are lucky. I saw war like my father and I learn his sadness. Dead friends lay heavy on my mind and thoughts.” My mothers reached over and she hugged me. She saw hidden tears for good friends who never came home to see their family.  She asked me. “Should we leave you. I’m sorry to make you remember things you are trying to forget.”

Todd asked. “Is the life of a Soldier a bad life? I want to travel and see the world. My only option is the service or saving up money.”  I asked Todd. “Are you going to college?”  He told me. “I have a full scholastic and I do well in school. I don’t want to kill anyone. I want to help.”  I looked into his eyes and I told him. Military purpose is to fight and kill. If you want no blood on your hands. Save your money. Travel, have fun and test life without ransoming  your mind and soul. I won’t allow my children to go to war. I know I can’t stop them. Eighteen mean you can join at will..  Please think first. I know no-one who learn to live better by knowing war. War teaches us. Love and family is the real goal of a life. A lot of walls with names on them and United States flags waving at lonely graveyards for men who didn’t return home to their families. I pray their deaths had reasons and purpose..”

Lana appeared with a strange smile. Listening to the conversation from a distance. She walked up and she gave me a hug. She asked. “Is it time for the world largest library?”  The mother and son stood-up and the mother gave me a hug and she whispered. “Thank you for the truth. Most men forget the bad parts and leave the good stories for their kids. Thank you again.”  Todd took my hand and he told me. “I appreciate the honest words. I don’t want to kill anyone. I will go to college and maybe one day. Study the option of the military. Thank you sir.”

Lana saw the sadness in my eyes. She said. “I’ glad you told the truth. War is no good. The government use up and kill the young before they can live. You are a good man Johnnie.”  I kissed Lana and told her. “Like Jack London said a long time ago. Men are just meat. Waiting to be cooked or eaten.”



© 2014 Coyote Poetry