Monday, July 2, 2012

Giving Thanks




Charlotte was hotter than it has been in all its recorded history. 105 degrees. I taped my broken toe up really well and called Comer. May as well sit inside reading to him since there was no way I would venture outdoors in this oven of a day. Unfortunately, Comer's room seemed to have very poor air conditioning. I began pouring sweat as soon as I walked in his room. I asked Comer if now that he had heard all the chapters of my book about him, would he like to hear the other chapters?
"I would indeed," he said.

He had not been really thrilled that he was sharing the book with another major interviewee, as well as a very unusual second thread to the story. It is a secret for now what this thread is about. When the book comes out, I will tell you. But I had to talk him into it, explaining I had actually started that part of the book before I even thought of writing about Comer. He had initially not been interested in hearing me read that part as he claimed he wouldn't understand it.

But, trapped by his health, and me trapped by the heat and a broken foot, we decided to read the book now from page one. I read 3 hours in that sweltering room, until I lost my voice. When I finished, he said, "Well now I can't wait to hear how you solved that mystery!" The second thread is a mystery story of sorts.
"Well when I come back and read some more, you will see how it is solved, because I do solve it," I said.
I figure he will not die on me until he knows how the mystery is solved.
"So you don't mind this being in the book with your story any more?" I asked.
"No!" he said, "You, as always, know best."
I of course know I don't always know best, if EVER, but it felt good to have that vote of confidence.

When I got home there was a note from my cousin, Ruth. She and her family had something they wished to say to Comer. With her permission I will print her note below because I thought as I was watching my old friend dying, as all WW2 vets are similarly disappearing from our world, it is a good note for all of us to consider.

" Gary and all of us have a message we would like you to tell Comer. Gary came home from the grocery store with the little veteran's flower yesterday. Told me the Vet was a Korean War vet, and was explaining to the kids why the Korean War is called the Forgotten War. As always, he said that they stopped to give a couple of dollars, and talk to the guy for a minute or two. They always shake their hand and tell them "Thank you for your service to our country." The Veterans are always a bit shocked when they do. Not many people do that, some have said no one has ever done that. If we see men in uniforms, around town, at the train station, when we're out, Gary will always take a minute to go up to them and tell them Thank You for what you are doiing for us, and shake their hand. Now, I have seen Alex do the same thing, even when his dad is not there to lead the way. Allison is a bit small and shy, yet, to go near them on her own. So, after Gary told me about their time spent with the Veterans outside our supermarket, I told him about your recent reports on Comer. Gary asked me to tell you to tell him, for us, again, Thank You for serviing our country and all that you went through for us. Since Gary was a history major, he is familiar with the where & what of the places Comer was in battle that you mentioned a while back, and he has more appreciation than most who weren't actually there, I would guess, for just how bad it was. So please tell Comer, from all of us, Thank You for all he went through serving our country."

I really loved her note, the sentiment, and the kindness. I promised to get the message to Comer. As I lay in bed during the massive thunderstorm that was chasing away the oppressive heat, I spent a good bit of time saying "Thank You" to God, another being that probably doesn't hear that sentiment nearly enough.

Psalm 118:17-24,29 (NIV)
I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done. [18] The Lord has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death. [19] Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord. [20] This is the gate of the Lord through which the righteous may enter. [21] I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. [22] The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; [23] the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. [24] The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad. [29] Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.


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