As I get closer to the end of the final chapter of my life, I realize how much I have been blessed. Mother passed when I was only three years old. She died four months after her 23rd birthday. She was born Jan. 29, 1946. Dad was born Jan. 18, 1919, and died Nov. 10, 1967, at age 44.
I can’t remember her, even though I have spent my whole life loving her.
July 27, 1946, Dad married Mary Halcomb, and she became my stepmother, an event I find extremely hard to even think of, much less write about.
According to the Good Book (Bible), we must forgive in order to receive forgiveness ourselves. But it doesn’t say we must forget.
I left home at 16 and have been on my own ever since.
I went hungry many times, but I never did resort to stealing to obtain food or anything else I needed. If I couldn’t get something honestly, I always managed to do without it.
I guess the smartest thing I did was volunteer for the service in Jan. 1960 at age 17. My father signed my papers and my aunt, Lydia Collins notarized them, and I was on my way.
I spent six years in the Army. I am not a Vietnam vet, but a Vietnam era vet, having spent 38 months in Europe.
I saw a lot of pretty places, but none as pretty as the hills of home. The German countryside came closer to resembling these old hills than any of the rest.
I spent more time in France than anywhere else, but it failed to impress me with its cobblestone streets and narrow roads. There are two incidents that happened to me while I was in France that I will never forget, at two different bases.
The first one — we had a warrant officer by the name of Waller. On a Friday afternoon he gave us a lecture on the dangers of the narrow roads and the huge semis, some pulling tandem trailers.
That very next night, Saturday, he ran up under one driving a VW. They had to ID him by his dental records.
The other incident happened to a good friend of mine, with whom I had spent a lot of time on the road riding ‘shotgun.’ Luckily, I wasn’t with him this time. He hit a tree and the truck exploded in a fireball. They had to ID him using his dental records also.
I had to put all of his personal effects in a wooden box for shipment to his family. That was one task I found very difficult, and very emotional.
I have had to do the same thing once since I left the service in 1966.
Well, that’s all from the funny farm until next time.