Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Musings 68--The man by the side of the road...

We ran out of toner for the fax machine at the old print shop. I decided to drive up to the local Office Depot and buy a couple of rolls.

Now the local Office Depot is not that local, since it is about ten miles up I-64. It was just after noon, and the traffic was not that bad so I just took my time and rolled down my windows to enjoy the late summer breezes. I got to the store, bought my toner and started my drive back to Huntington.

I saw him sitting by the stop sign at the Madison Avenue exit off I-64. He was rather scruffy looking and had a metal crutch laying beside him. There were five cars in front of me waiting to merge from the stop sign, so I got a good look at him. He was wearing a greasy baseball cap and his scraggly hair stuck out on all sides. There was a faded red bedroll on the ground beside his crutch.

In his hands he was holding up a brown cardboard sign that said, "I'm a veteran & I'm hungry." No one in the four cars in front even looked at him. They each made their way into the flowing traffic until I pulled up to the stop sign.

I looked into my rear view mirror and saw that there was no vehicles behind. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a $20 bill and put it in my left hand.

His head was bent and he was looking at something on his bedroll. Still holding his sign, he had not noticed that I had lingered longer than usual. Rejection does not build hope.

"Hey!" I said. "Where did you serve?"

He jumped like he was shot. Like I said, rejection does not build hope, but it does build more rejection. "Whaaa...at?" he muttered.

"I said, 'Where did you serve?'"

His eyes focused on me and as he reached back into his memory for an answer. "United States Army. I served in the Nam...1972 and '73."

I looked him straight in the eye, and I new that life had not been good to this vet. He had either lost a fight with booze or drugs or both. I could see it in his gaze.

I reached my hand out to him with the $20. "Marine Corps, 1971," I said. "Buy a meal or a bottle...your choice."

He quickly snatched it from my hand as tears formed in his eyes. "God bless ya," he muttered.

"He has," I said as I made my left hand turn onto Madison Avenue. "He most certainly has."

1 Comments:

At 10:04 PM, Blogger I Think You're All Idiots said...

Heb. 13:1-3
"Let brotherly love continue.

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body."


Your the good man, Print Guy.

 

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