Library Book on Hold
This morning I checked one of my email accounts and was reminded I had a library book on hold. I knew this from a week ago, but had forgotten. The hold was due to end and I needed to pick up the book or pay a penalty. I rushed down to the library. They were doing some exterior construction. I thought I would enter in the side entrance, walking past some of the construction workers bidding them good morning.
When I got the the entrance, it appeared to be held open by a folded paper bag slipped in between the door frame and door perhaps to prevent the door from locking on itself. There were people all around, inside and out. I opened the door and entered. The paper bag fell to the floor. I picked it up and started to set it on the table next to the door. A man inside confronted me and scolded we’re not open yet. After a little conversation about my book that was on hold, he said it’s Thursday, we’re not open until 11:30AM. Another lady standing nearby interrupted they wouldn’t be able to check out the book until they were open anyway. Then the man corrected himself and said they opened at 9:30AM. By now it was about 9:12AM, so I excused myself and left with the intention of returning later.
Breakfast at Gus’s
I drove down the street a short distance and have breakfast at Gus’s. My grandfather’s name is Gus. He was a restauranteur in another place and time. He was one of my two heroes—Jesus being the other. Gus was a World War II veteran. He had big strong hands and always knew what was the right thing to say, when to say it, and how to act. He was in the US Army Air Corps stationed in Georgia as a military policeman. He was 38 years old when he was drafted.
I ordered coffee and country fried steak with hash browns, eggs over medium, and a biscuit. It was decent fare. The steak doesn’t compare to that you would get from any of my grandfather’s restaurants, or most any of the other restaurants or cafes you might find in other regions of the country. It’s hard to find a good country fried steak and gravy here unless you make it yourself. But I digress…
Always Go Out of Your Way to Thank a Veteran
As I was being served coffee, an elderly couple was being seated at the table next to me. The man was wearing a ball cap with a logo that read: Veteran World War II & Korea. I watched and ate, and sipped my coffee. After a while, we made eye contact. I said to this gentleman that I wanted to thank him for his service to our nation. He acknowledged me in appreciation. It started to appear they were having the wait staff help set up for a part of 7 or more.
Shortly after more elderly men and women filed in an were seated at the table. Before long there were 9 people gathered at the table. It soon became clear that they were celebrating one of the men’s birthday. Everybody brought gifts and cards. Someone brought a beautiful apple pie, one of my personal favorites. They joked with him to not eat it all in one sitting.
Most of this crew looked like they could be your mom or dad, or your grandmother or grandfather. One of the men used a walker, but he still looked like he had a lot of perk left in him. The birthday fella was in a wheelchair and seated at the head of the table. A couple of them were wearing hearing aids. They were a jovial bunch and by that time it was clear they met at Gus’s regularly on Thursdays.
Hello, My Name Is…
After I finishing my breakfast, I stood up and walked over the birthday celebrant. I offered my birthday congratulations. We shook hands and he introduced himself to me. His commented that those are some pretty good meat hooks you have there. I laughed and told him his grip was like a vice, which it was. His said his name was Truman. He was 90 years old today. I asked Truman if he was a veteran too. He signified that he was, that all four men at the table were. I thanked and congratulated them all for their service and signaled to them what an honor it was for me to meet them as they were part of America’s greatest generation. I insisted we owe them a debt of gratitude for keeping our nation safe.
Turns out all four of the men were childhood friends since 4th grade and all of them attended one of the local high schools not far from here. They were all sailors—US Navy men. I didn’t pry too deeply on what they did in the service, the occasion being a celebration and all. They asked about my service and I told them I was USAF and the years in which I served. They wanted to know what my job was; I told them. They seemed to enjoy the exchange. I know I did.
Sharing the Good News
I took the opportunity to share my faith in Jesus Christ with them and that I prayed if they haven’t come to know Christ as their Lord and Savior that they would. I shook hands again with all the men and offered my appreciation to all the ladies.
On my way out as I paid my bill, I gave the cashier an extra $20 and inquired if she could apply it toward Truman’s breakfast as a birthday treat from one veteran to another. She seemed genuinely pleased to help.
I recently read that we’re loosing our WWII veteran’s at a rate of about a 500 Soldiers, Sailers, Airmen and Marines per day. It won’t be long before they’re gone. If you see a WWII veteran, or any US armed services veteran, I implore you to recognize their service to the country.
Truman and his fellow sailors are the type of men who contribute to the character of our nation. The people of our country should never forget their generation. May the Lord bless them and may the Holy Spirit draw them nearer to God.
Library Now Open
I stopped at the library and picked up my reserved book: “The true believer : thoughts on the nature of mass movements” by Eric Hoffer.
With all the excitement at Gus’s and Truman’s birthday, I forgot to share with him that today is also Mrs. B’s birthday. That’s probably a good thing though, so as not to distract from the import of his special day. It also gives me reason to stop back by at Gus’s next Thursday about this time to see if I can meet up again with Truman and the gang on their weekly breakfast outing. I will have something to share with him that he probably will enjoy.
Note about Mrs. B
I know Mrs. B won’t be reading this and I’ve already shared this story with her… Happy Birthday darling—thanks for putting up with this old jest for all these years. She was delighted at hearing my story about Truman.