He was about my age, maybe ten years my junior. We met this evening in the lobby of a (closed except for take-out-orders) Denny’s Restaurant located in the middle of a Flying J Truck Stop here in Kingman, Arizona, located across Historic Route U.S. 66 from our Motel 6.
He is a long haul truck driver (St. Louis, Missouri en route to Modesto, California) and although dressed casually, he was a tad on-the-grubby side. His wife was waiting in their big-rig while he came into Denny’s to order two Cobb Salads with Ranch Dressing to-go.
He wore a very worn, black, baseball style cap, with the letters VIETNAM VETERAN emblazoned on it.
As we were waiting (NOT 6-feet away as is politically and covid-19 correct in today’s world) standing next-to-one-another, I said to him..
“Never once, not one time, have I ever heard anyone in authority say the War in Vietnam was a disaster. A total mistake. A mistake that cost 57,939 dead or missing members of the United States Armed Forces not to mention the other thousands who were wounded but lived and the families who suffered their loss.”
He placed his order. I placed mine. Then, as our orders were being prepared, I went to sit on a small couch that would seat three persons. He remained standing. He looked lost-in-thought.
Then he looked over at me. We made eye-contact. I motioned to the seat next me. He came over and joined me. We sat, shoulder-to-shoulder, and I listened to him as he ‘unloaded’ about the horrors of ‘Nam.
Our orders came. He took his and left. I picked mine up and, as I walked out to the street, as fate would have it, he drove up in his enormous black Peterbilt tractor with what must have been a 50-foot long trailer. He rolled down his window, looked down at me, smiled a broad smile, waved, saluted, then eased out onto Historic Route U.S. 66 and Interstate-40 and headed for Modesto, California.
Well Gullible? Was I wrong? I did NOT maintain a 6-foot, Covid-19 social-distance, between the two of us! We got up close and personal because the Vietnam horrors that he shared were VERY up close and very personal in nature.
Covid-19 and social-distancing notwithstanding, in my heart-of-hearts, I did the right thing.
With some deep emotions I sign off .. Cap
- APR 1, 20 .. WE ARE NOW IN KINGMAN, ARIZONA ‘FOR AWHILE’.
- APR 9, 20 .. OH MY OH MY .. HERE WE GO LOOP-DI-LOOP .. COVID-19