Lest We Forget
As many of you know, I lost my mother last month. As Executor I have found myself going through reams of paperwork, and much memorabilia. I came across the following letter the other day, and was moved by it. The author is one of my fathers relatives, I believe one of my great-uncles on that side of the family. I could be wrong about the exact relationship, I'll find out as I go through more stuff, but, it doesn't really matter. It's the message that counts. Read on, if you will:
August 17th, 1945
Well, I guess the war is over. From the news we have gotten, I gather that there remains only the formality of signing the peace treaty. Boy, is that good news!! I would have liked to have been home instead of at sea in the Indian Ocean when the story broke, but even out here, it still brings a grin on our faces. Don't know when I can expect to be released by Uncle Sam, but you can bet your last dollar, I'll be home as soon as I can.
The end of the war has not, as yet, had much effect on our daily lives. Since we were at sea, there was no celebration. We still stand watches, get up too early and go to bed too late. I'm so far from home that I try not to think of it. When I get home. I don't want to see any more water than six inches in the bath tub for a long time. No moonlight cruises, no night boat trips to Detroit, and no more foreign countries for me for a long time. I want pecan rolls or waffles for breakfast; a gallon of cold milk; a ride in a car at eighty miles an hour; want to see a 1000 acres of wheat rippling in the wind; want to sleep a week straight and that in a double bed with no waves to roll me around; want to get in a traffic jam like I have never seen before; want to wear two tones shoes a bright red tie and no hat; want to go to church and hear a big choir; want to go by a school house at recess time and see a million kids tumble out yelling and jumping around; want to see towns and cities that look clean and drink water that doesn't taste like the sewage from a hospital. All of these little things and many more are what I want to do and see when I get back.
Traveling around the world has been very interesting and educational. I have had experiences which I shall value the rest of my life. However, all of the places I have seen and all of the people I have seen and met, have only made me think that the U.S.A. is the green pastures to which I want to be led. So far as the people are concerned, they were friendly but one simple minded old Yankee forgot more than most of them know. I want to see kids in clean clothes and with faces shining from the food they have plenty of, instead of naked kids with bloated tummeys. I want streets that are clean with people mowing lawns. I want to see neighbors chewing the fat over the back fence instead of fighting over a penny I threw at them. I want to see people riding in cars instead of being pulled around by other people who are doomed for life to their work. I want to get back to a country where you can shake hands with the President or tell your boss you quit. I want to get back to a country where an immigrant can become Mayor and leave those nations which doom a man to being a water carrier because his father was one. I want to see a man help his wife into the car or see them walk proudly down the street arm in arm. I want no longer to see a woman trudging down the road behind her husband, He walking empty handed while she is loaded down. I even want a bill from the income tax collector because I am happy to pay my share for the blessings of democracy. I want to see a big Christmas tree with thousands of bright colored lights. I want to turn on every light in the house and raise the shades and let the rays shine all over the neighborhood.
Maybe this isn't much of a letter, but these things have been on my mind for so long that its good to tell about them. I only wish that everyone had been as fortunate as I in seeing first hand how blessed we in the United States really are. We pray give us our daily bread and then throw enough in the garbage pail from one meal to keep an Indian family for a week. I think God must have had us in mind when he related the story of the talents. To be sure, we got ten talents and then some.
Enough for now. This isn't a sermon. However I think it may help to vision some the my experiences. If I were a preacher, I know I could lend a lot of color to a sermon on "Count Your Blessings".
Expect to get into Australia in about two days. Am not certain where to from there but hope it's home. Lots of love as always. Say hello to everyone for me. I know I owe a lot of letters but just can't seem to catch up.
"If you do not read the newspapers you're uninformed. If you do read the newspapers, you're misinformed." -- Mark Twain