Sunday, November 11, 2012
A simple 'thanks'
I'm not an overtly patriotic person. That's a tough thing to admit, given where I live. Not only do I live in a very patriotic country, but I also live in a very patriotic portion of the country. I reside next to an army base where salutes to our military aren't reserved for this day alone, but pretty much every day of the year.
I have no problem with this. I think I live in the best country in the world and our military deserves the credit for helping keep it that way.
But I'm uncomfortable expressing more than that. I'm not sure why. I think part of it is I'm just not given to outward displays of emotion. The other part of it is I have little connection to the military. While I know several friends and acquaintances who have brothers, sisters, fathers who have served, I look around my family and see nothing but civilians.
Although several relatives served our country in the past, they're all gone. The only connection left on this earth is my father.
He served in the Air Force during the late 1950s, not long after the Korean War. It was a high-stress time and there was one time when he cheated death. But he was fortunate to avoid combat.
He doesn't talk about his time in the service very much, probably because he's even less forthcoming than I am. You don't talk about the job you do. You just do it. When it's done, it's done. So without constant reminders, I often forget he was in the military.
This Ted Williams card is what I use to remind me of my dad's service. His favorite player of all-time is Ted Williams. As you know, Williams served our country the way no other player served their country. With the exception of players who died in the line of duty, no ballplayer gave more than Williams.
I hold onto this card tight because of what it means. It is a reminder of my dad, his military service and my imaginings on what that must have been like.
The card means even more to me than this card:
And you know how much this card means to me.
Collecting cards has all kinds of purposes, I've learned. They're a way to educate, a way to cope, a way to bond, a way to appreciate.
And, in this case, the Ted Williams card is a way to say "thanks."
Now go watch some football.