27 April 2008

Comrades in Arms

My father, on the far right, thought the world of the two NCOs standing to his left. He called them real heroes. And while my father was not the warmest man...this picture is about as close as I've seen him with other men.

I remember when he bought a car on a used lot in Fayetteville. A typical used car salesman threw his arm around my father's shoulder upon closing the deal and congratulated my Dad on his choice of vehicle. Dad replied, "Get your fucking arm off me."

I grew up thinking he didn't have many friends. It was only when I was in the Army and ran into some of his NCOs that I found out he had many. In fact, he seemed to be a popular guy. Funny, smart and caring of his men. Also, very effective at what he did in Vietnam. I could have done without some of the stories - - they were not pretty.

I learned he led another life away from home. A life he enjoyed more than the one he spent with his family. It help me understand him and my life growing up under his roof. He was gone a lot. The TDY king. Comfortable with his men and vocation and utterly lost with his family.

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