I met a Hero today ~ His eyes were swollen red a steady stream of tears were slowly making their way down his aged cheeks. He sat hunched over at table one-twenty-four by himself on one side. While I was to learn later a son and daughter sat on the other side of the table hands across the table trying to comfort the timeworn man. A song from 1974 Mona Lisas & Mad Hatters by Elton John played softly off in the distance. I didn’t know it the time, but the song fit perfectly for the moment.
“Hello, my name is Lee, pausing for a moment before continuing I waited for some sort of acknowledgment from a sad table of three. Sensing that this wasn’t a good time. Folks I will be back in a few-minutes.” Starting to turn away from the sad table of three.
“Hello Lee, my name is Robert the timeworn man slowly called out to me holding his hand out to me, His hands were old wrinkled, the black splotches of age were everywhere. His hand was shaking with the many years of his life had taken their toll.
Reaching out taking the man’s hand. “Hello Robert, welcome it is a pleasure to meet you, again my name is Lee.” The lady on the other side of the table joined into the conversation.
“Lee this is our dad Robert he has just moved here from Florida today and will be living with us here in Texas.” Nodding in agreement the man next to the lady continued.
“Yes, dad will be spending time with us and our families here in Texas. Dad is a WWII veteran of the Navy.” And then time seemed to stop and moved backwards as the timeworn man started to talk to me.
“I buried my wife this morning, we had been married for sixty-nine years.” The tears were flowing down his hollow-cheeks. Daughter and son turned to look out at the people passing by the windows tears in their eyes they could not bear the pains of memories that were to come.
“We were married when I got home from the war. She was the most beautiful girl in the world. Pulling out his cell phone he started to show me pictures of his wife from very old photos of when they were married.
“Almost seventy-years ago those pictures were taken we had these pictures of mom put into his cell phone.” His son quietly called out. A cell phone of aged memories for an aged man. The pain was over-whelming as the Veteran of World War Two continued his story of his first and only love.
Glancing down as the man swiped to the next picture. He was right his wife of years gone by with her long curly black hair and high cheeks bones was such a beautiful woman. Picture after picture swiped by. Each with a short story of life at that moment.
The timeworn man had joined the Navy to defend his country that had been attack on that early morning in December so many years ago. He talked liked it was yesterday. Four long years away from his gal. She waited as the man defended his country she waited until he came home and they took their vows to spend their life’s together.
“Your one of them, you are one of the last true American Hero’s. You fought for your country. You fought for my and everyone here futures. You fought for your country in a time that truly meant something. I thank the lord there are people like you.” I said quietly as I shook the hero’s timeworn hand again.
I have meant some very famous people in my time. Philosopher, poet, politician, sport stars heck I even had the pleasure of knowing Angus Tracey (my grandmother). But today I met a true American hero. “Robert I am humbled that a man such as you took the time to talk and share such an important part of life and history with a man such as me. Folks ask me why I wait at the tables of life? It is because of people like you.
You stand at the edge while people run you through And I thank the Lord There's people out there like you I thank the Lord there's people out there like you ~ Elton John