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Thursday, November 11, 2010

November of Thanksgiving: 11

My sister, Mari, who passed away when she was 39, my dad, and me.
I still remember those kangaroo jammas. I loved them so much.
The icicles on the Christmas tree were twisted metal. They twinkled
nicely in the light, but they were also quite sharp.
Eleven: I am thankful to the Lord of Hosts for the strong bodies, strong wills, and brave hearts He has given to the men and women who have served and are serving this country in the various branches of the military. I am thankful for their dedication, discipline, sweat and sacrifice, which has kept our country free. I have many, many friends who are serving even now and I am grateful to each one of them.

For a very particular reason, thinking about this Veteran's Day has left me thinking of one vet in particular, my dad. He passed away in 2005, but for the past few days he has been on my heart. My mother has been sorting through old stuff and recently gave me his dog tags. They are a tangible reminder of his days in the military and they bring back the stories he used to tell.

He was in the army and was stationed in Austria. He was a supply Sargent and I always enjoyed hearing about that time. He was a bit of practical joker and one story he told was of a time when the other guys in the barracks were given passes to go off base, but for some reason that I can't recall, he had to stay and work. An officer came in and told him to mop the floor right here, pointing to the floor as he said it. My dad obeyed. He mopped and mopped and mopped the floor, right there, in the spot where the officer had pointed. When the the officer returned later to check on dad's efforts, he realized what had happened, laughed at the joke and gave him a pass to go off base. Dad delighted in that story, and the others he would tell as well, and they always made him laugh heartily.

Dad had diabetes and I believe he also had celiac disease. He spent the last twenty years of his life in inexplicable pain and was nothing but skin and bones before he died. The diabetes caused him to have dementia, which is very similar to Alzheimer's in its effects on the mind. Because of this, his military stories gradually took on a different flavor. Reality was distorted and for the last couple of years or so he insisted that he had been in the war during the time that Hitler was in power. He spoke often of being present when Hitler "surrendered." He spoke of poor Eva Braun and what she had to go through. These stories were sad and yet comical. He would vary them and elaborate in the most interesting ways. It is amazing how much even those stories mean to me now.

Though they became a regular feature on the landscape of his life, he was not always in this hazy reality. He was able to converse on the normal and understood the comings and goings  for much of the time. He had a routine that he followed and he was the one who monitored his diabetes and regulated his insulin. And he did a great job of it. He loved God and his family and his pets, and in his younger, sturdier days, he was a hard worker.

I loved my dad very much and miss him, though I would not wish him back. He is with our Lord now.

This Veteran's Day, I am remembering my dear father with the fondest memories, and I am thankful to the Lord for him. I am also remembering the countless others who have served; praying for those who are still around to tell their stories, and for those who are even now in the midst of living them. I am also thinking about and praying for Bowe Bergdahl, who has been a prisoner of war for far too long. I am praying that the Lord would be pleased to bring him home.

Join Rebecca of Rebecca Writes and a host of other bloggers as we give thanks to our Lord for the entire month of November.

1 comment:

deldobuss said...

I am thankful for your father's service.