Join Date: Nov 2001
Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts
O/T It\'s a Wonderful Life
Iím not James Stewart, I didnít contemplate jumping into a river nor did I get a visit from Clarence.
I got a Christmas card the other day from one of my barracks roommates from when I was in the Air Force, and his wife. The card was sent by his wife and inside she included one of those annual update letters. I usually throw them in the trash after reading the first line or two because they are usually brag rags, people telling you how much theyíve accomplished in the last year and such. As I started to read, it began with her looking forward to this year being over because it had been a trying one, hoping for a fresh start whether the year to come is better or worse. As I read on, she made comments about my friend being able to get around a little with his walker but that his vision is still blurred.
About two and a half years back in my posts, I responded to a thread here mentioning that I had finally made contact with the guy after trying to find him for over 30 years. The last time Iíd seen him was in 1970, just a few months before I was discharged. I hadnít spoken to him since that phone call two and a half years ago either. His wife and I traded emails for a few months but I guess we both got busy and quit writing. I figured that it was about time to make contact again, so I called early this afternoon.
He sounded a little hoarse when he answered but I didnít think much of it. From what his wife said in the letter, I was pretty sure that heíd had a stroke. As I talked to him, I was to find out that heíd had four strokes between July and September. The first one temporarily paralyzed his right side but most of the feeling and mobility cam back with time. The last of the four paralyzed his left side but that too has come back somewhat with therapy. He told me that the doctors say itíll be about 18 months before heís back to anything near normal. Heís too shaky to walk without holding on to something and the hoarseness that I heard was because his right vocal cord had been left paralyzed.
We talked for over 30 minutes. The last time Iíd talked to him, he was at work so this time we were able to catch up a little. I found out that his mother and oldest sister had been killed in an automobile accident nearly twenty years ago. His niece was the only survivor and was a child at the time.
I found out that his youngest son is in prison for murder. He didnít go into detail about it but the son was 18 at the time. From what he said, it seems that the son and a friend got into a squabble with somebody else and the somebody else ended up dead.
I waited to call until today because the letter said that they were going to be on the road visiting family until the first of the year but theyíd have the cel phone. It turned out my friends blood pressure had gotten too high for him to make the trip. Since he canít work, the SSI was supposed to kick in but wonít start until next month. And on and on Ö Through this whole conversation Iím expressing my sympathy for him, but he keeps telling me how thankful he is that these little setbacks are his only problems and that there are a lot of people out there a lot worse off than he is. Iíd have expected most people with his problems to take the ďwoe is meĒ road. Thatís not the path for these people. The wifeís biggest wish is that she gets a 911-operator job that she applied for.
He also updated me on our other roommate too, not that there was much to update. The two of them married sisters so they keep in touch a couple times a year. The problem came about when the other roommate went to Ďnam. When he came back, his wife had found somebody new and divorced him. He has never gotten over it and has been pretty much is a hermit in a city in New York. He just kind of exists, not doing much. Seems he bought a house with acreage in the suburbs recently though.
The whole thing made me feel good about my life. I hope reading this makes you feel better about yours. My friend that had the strokes is less than a month older than I am; it made me feel much better that all I have to do is watch my diet for the diabetes. I saw my son this afternoon, it made me feel good about him being a security manager for the casino even if he doesnít make a lot of money. I saw my granddaughter too; I gave her a great big hug. Iíd have done that anyway but it was different this time after my friend told me he didnít have grandkids.
I enjoyed talking too him again. I wish things had been better for him but when I turned off the phone, I realized how truly lucky I really have been in my life.
If you believe in the power of prayer, his wife would really like that 911 job.
Merry Christmas everybody.