Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Snow Day!

The weather here, two days before Thanksgiving, is colder than it's been for nearly 50 years. Yesterday evening the snow was blasting madcap out of the north, swirling wildly in the streetlights' halide haloes.

I woke early to moonglow on the back garden, reflecting brighter onto our bed than usual. Checked the school district's website for the news I knew would follow: school closed due to weather conditions. Yahoo for the break in routine!

Today, with customary good cheer, Saint Francis bears his burden of snow. The birds have returned, braving the chill now that the wind is not such a killer.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

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It’s been about 40 years since the much-anticipated day I separated from the US Army. I had been drafted during the last years of the Vietnam War, enlisted for language school, studied Russian for a year, gone to interrogator training, and spent 16 months stationed with a Military Intelligence detachment in Alaska.

It wasn't bad duty at all for that time, although it took me away from one path and set me on another one that for many years I resented.

I've pretty much put all that behind me though now, and hardly ever think about it anymore.

Tuesday, during writing class, we were working on personal narratives about a single event we remembered from our life. This is a new topic and I always begin by writing along with my students. The event that popped into my mind was something that happened during that time 40 years ago.

After writing, we share a little of what we've written. When I introduced my piece, these nine- and ten-year-olds were incredulous.

"You were in the Army?" “Mr. D, were you really in the Army?”

I assured them that although it was a long time ago, I had been indeed. Their response could hardly have surprised, moved and confused me more.

Each one of them applauded.

It wasn't just for me, of course. I stood for everyone who has ever worn the uniform of service to our country.

I can't say what prompted them to that simple and spontaneous act, but it seems churlish of me to hold resentment for something they recognize with such innocent gratitude and honor. Sure, it's much more complicated than that, but isn't it ever.