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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Please........

If you think this was plagiarized, please tell me.............cuz I know someone who thinks it was........


Three
Where in the world are those plates?! Exasperation was beginning to set in. It had been 5 minutes since I had begun looking thru our boxes for our plates and I was sure the casserole was going to burn. We had just moved from Miami, Florida, to a little town called Bigfork in Montana. My wife and I had wanted to move into the country for quite some time now. My wife had never liked living in a big city and its crowded, crime-filled streets. And now that we had two young ones with a third one on the way, she had started looking for a house in Montana where her parents and my mother lived. She also thought that moving to Bigfork, with its total population of 3,500, would give us more space, and be a better place to raise our kids. More family-oriented she always said. So I had had applied for a number of jobs, and finally got one as the editor of a newspaper there that was distributed to the valley that the town was in. I quit my job as a columnist, used the money we got thru a garage sale to help buy a trailer, sold our house, and off we went.
I was tired. My wife had been gone for several hours over at her parents who she hadn’t seen in more than three years. And if I knew my wife, would not be home for several more. As I began to open more and more boxes, I saw an oddly shaped box stuffed in the back where light refused to penetrate. Since the garage did not have any light because the light bulb was burnt out. I had left the door to the house open to let in a little bit of light. Because it was in the dark corner of the garage, I couldn't’t read what was written on it. So I brought it out into the light. I could hear the kids laughing in some corner of the house doing God-knows-what, so as long as they weren’t complaining of hunger pains or screaming bloody-murder, I had time to burn. I was reminded of how fast time goes when I had to pull out my reading glasses to read what was written in the box. It said “Johns stuff “. I don’t remember putting anything in this box, but who knows with my wife having packed most everything. I opened it up. It felt as if my childhood had come up and smacked me in the face. Inside the box, wrapped in bubble wrap, was my grandfather’s WW2 helmet. He had never told me how he was able to keep it. I was surprised how my wife had gotten a hold of it. I carefully took it out and looked at it in the dim light.
I was slightly surprised at how good a shape it was in for being over 50 years old. But, on the other hand, why should I be? As a child I had watched over and over my grandfather take it out and gently clean it. As I looked over the helmet, memories once distant and idle became active and soon escalated to a frenzied storm in the front of my mind, giving me a temporary escape from the present moment. As my fingers drifted over the rounded shell, I could still feel the many imperfections that dotted the dark, mossy green helmet. Three dents stood out from all the rest. As I felt them, they each, separately told a different story. Many a time I had heard my grandfather tell me about those three dents. Each story was different. And I never got tired of it. I still remember sitting at his feet, listening, captivated by the same stories, over and over. The first dent was the one he told me about the most, probably because I had thought it was the most exciting.
He had been there on D-Day. He was on the third wave of men to storm the beaches. It came after his unit has just made over a mound of sand and grass and was now lying in a crater, previously home to a pocket of five German soldiers they had killed. The crater offered temporary reprieve from the flying bullets. As they were lying there, waiting for more directions and reinforcements, one of the men who was particularly covered in dirt, blood, and sweat, took off his helmet and was wiping himself down with a handkerchief. Now, he couldn't have known, but in front of them, slightly to the left, hidden behind sand bags that blended into the real sand, was a German machine gun. The Germans saw them, but my grandfathers unit did not. My grandfather was about to likewise take his helmet off when the hidden Germans opened. The man with his helmet was killed instantly; my grandfather got hit in the helmet, but was uninjured. His helmet saved his life.
The second time was the biggest lesson learned. His unit had just taken a strategic spot in a cluster of trees that had taken many men to win. It was dark as a ravens feathers, and they had beaten the Germans back. Time to relax, and make toasts to the fallen. The fire was going, casting its light over everything. Making shadows look like soldiers, playing with your mind. Cards were being dealt, meals being eaten/cooked, and letters for home being written. Confident no more action would take place, many had taken their helmets off, and fallen asleep. My grandfather however, was one of the few who left their helmets on. It was about 1:00 in the morning when they hit. A whole unit of Germans. With revenge and surprise on their side, the quickly caused damage. Caught unawares, many were in killed, only six, including my grandfather, made it out alive. When he later did take his helmet, he found out to hi s dismay, that amongst the adrenaline, and fighting, and a bullet had hit his helmet. That made twice that his helmet had saved his life.
By now, I was usually beginning to fight drifting off, but I always persisted he finish the stories anyway. He always did. He was at camp, back from the front lines a ways. Two weeks away from going home. Another battle fought. More lives lost. Far back from the lines, there was little chance of being ambushed here. At least that’s what they thought. About diner time, an alarm rang thru camp. Grandfather looked at the sky, the feared German bombers where here. He ran for cover as the bombs fell. One of the bombs fell a little too close. Five minutes later he awoke, too red vision, and ringing ears. As quick as they came, they had left. There was screaming, smoke, fire, and running.Off in the distance someone was crying for his mom. He sat up, wiped the blood away from his eyes. As he did, he saw, it. A piece of heavy shrapnel lying right where his had had been. He slowly took his helmet off and looked at. Even with the helmet on, it had cut his head open. But this day, my grandfather says if he had not had his helmet on, he would have been killed. Three times. My grandfather would always say, the devil tried three times to kill him, but failed each time. He always claimed that was something he and Jesus had in common. That and having the uncanny ability to always be right.
I woke up to my son hitting me on the shoulder asking when we were going to eat. Right now, I said. I slowly sat up and shook the memories away from my eyes. I carefully put the helmet back in its box. As I stood up, I could smell something burning. It was the casserole, now thoroughly ruined, I was sure of it. I grabbed the magnet off the fridge with the local pizza place’s number on it. Oh well, I told myself, what is the phone for?

4 comments:

MennoGirl said...

Wow Josh, did you really write that? and, will you be writing more? I really liked it.

Syreena K. Zycest said...

That's really cool!!!

Raja-Man said...

Yes i wrote that.....I would say so if i didn't...

MennoGirl said...

I could tell because of your typos. ;-D I hope you add to it!!