The quiet man spoke..
The quiet man spoke
My mentor, my friend.
You drank till you could no-more. Five D.W.I’s, left you walking and I was blessed to able to know you. You were a 35 year Veteran who never complained. You took care of us soldiers. You saved me twice before I befriended you.
I drove you to work and back for one year. The whiskey dry-rotten your stomach and the Army forced you out. Even with death near. You loved to laugh and get me in deep trouble.
We shared your last five month at the Seaside bowling and dancing club. Always surrounded by the girls and the old soldiers. We loved the Sergeant Major who fought in the Korea and Vietnam war. Never once did you discuss the war. I remembered he told me. “Johnnie, old soldiers must teach the soldiers right. No mistakes in war. You fight to win and you will lose your soul. Train them boys hard. Hard trained soldiers can survive my friend.”
I was called at work. He died surrounded by his dear friends. My friend left instructions. Sergeant C. will do my final business. He left a Will. A thousand dollar for Sergeant C., 1/2 the money to my niece and 1/2 to the Red Cross.
500 people stood at the Sergeant Major final walk. Tears fell for the kind man. I remembered his face, I remembered him singing Hank Williams songs at the tavern. I remembered his last words to me. “Thank you Johnnie, my good friend. You have accepted my good days and my bad days. You have been my friend. We shall have few people who will walk the final walk with you. You and my kind friends did. I want you to take care of my girls at the bar. They were my daughters, I didn’t have. Johnnie, don’t be sad for me. I lived a wonderful life. I was a soldier and I wouldn’t trade one day. Please Johnnie, quit the service before the blood kill the leftover good in you.”
He left little. His small apartment had his ribbons and many photos. Many photos of him, when he was young. I wrapped them in a box and I send them to his niece. I remember he thanks me often and he told the girls. Be kind to each other. Life is too hard already.