A Veteran and Our Clocks


I forced myself to do something or not to do something today. I did not go see Al. You may banjo clockthink why would you force yourself that?

Well, I just needed the break. I had to take some time a way from the one thing that brings me down so quick. Not Al, of course, the facility itself.

Being in a facility can tend to take a way smiles and laughter. You walk in and immediately see elderly people sitting alone in wheelchairs. You may hear a few repeating the same sentence over and over. It seems they are talking to non-speaking walls.

Many sleep in their chairs or sit in their rooms waiting to eagerly go to bed or to a meal. So many sad faces. Lifeless bodies consuming a colorless chair with two big black ugly wheels.

Then I step into Al’s doorway. His roommate is quiet as usual, most likely sleeping with head tilted over in his wheelchair. Al is behind a divided curtain either picking his head, or crying or asleep in his bed.

I just couldn’t do it. I had to step back a way. I am struggling with the continuing of writing my two books. I wrote a new chapter to one of my books today, which by the way I have finally titled. I am on chapter 21, which I published today. It is now called A View Backwards.

It took me a large amount of time to write it. It isn’t that exciting of a chapter but my mind kept drifting elsewhere.When I completed the chapter, I made myself leave my four walls. I just got in my car and drove. I wound up going to some garage sales. I  found one thing in three sales. It was a bed tray or you may call it a food tray that will go over Al’s lap while he is in bed. He can use it to prop his Bible and read or eat snacks or a meal on it if he is not feeling well.

On my fourth and last trip to the sales I found two things for me. I found a Redwood chicken. I like to collect chickens and roosters. I don’t have many, but I don’t like the modern silly looking ones. I like the oldies. Then I also found a clock. This clock took me back to six years ago. I was caring for a man and wife. I took care of them for three years, or maybe it was five in total, I can’t remember.

Anyways, he had this clock that hung above his television. I always admired it and the Mr. and I used to talk about it quite often. I am sure his is much older than mine and I believe his is a little bigger. I assume one of his children have it now as both of these dear people passed a way.

I prayed like a silly school girl that it was in my price range and that it worked. I was like a kid in a candy store, slobbering all over myself. I walked up to it ever so slowly. Afraid that it was out of my reach.

I touched it. It was a nice heavy clock compared to today’s clocks. I picked it  up and ran my hands over the inlay and the mahogany. It felt so nice, like it belonged to me. He and I became friends instantly. I couldn’t put it down.

I asked the lady how much it was, and I thought my legs immediately turned to jelly. I could feel them wobbling as I knew I could afford it. I watched her gently take it in her arms and plug it in. Oh my, it worked also. I told her I would take it. I paid and smiled all the way to my car, like two old buddies had just reunited.

While I was sitting in the car admiring my prize I thought back to the man I had taken care of and how proud he was of this same clock. He had been in the war also. Each Memorial Day I took him to the cemetery to reunite with his friends.

He and I spent hours on those special weekends talking about his war days. I thought ahead to where Al is sitting right now and wondered  how many of those empty faces are also veterans.

The stories that are locked inside their head would give me goose bumps when I think of what they did to save us. Maybe if we just took the time and visited these lonely veterans, we could relive some of what they went through.

There are shelves of books and broken chapters hidden deep inside. Willing to come out if only given the chance. My first husband served in the last few years of the Vietnam War. It seemed to me that it was more like a party for him instead of a war. The bad days were over, and life settled down. He was a policeman over in Stuttgart Germany, where I had the opportunity to live many years ago.

My second husband had no heirs so he didn’t go. My father had us children so he was never called. Al had no heirs so he never received the letter either. But thanks to the elderly I cared for so many years, I had a front row seat and got to see the movie in full living color.

God bless our Veterans. They are our heroes. So why do so many people shove them to the back corners of life and watch while they slowly sit in their wheelchairs waiting to die. Waiting for someone to say hello. Waiting, just waiting.

8 thoughts on “A Veteran and Our Clocks

  1. Sad, isn’t it.
    I think you should take more breaks and do something for yourself – you deserve more ‘me’ time.

    Like

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