When friends surprise friends…
Periodically, I post this short story…usually during Veterans Week or on Memorial Day. It’s performed by old friend and Vietnam veteran, the late Mike Mullins. He surprised me with it. At the time, I didn’t even know he’d read it. That he valued it enough to record it moved me, though.
Mike’s been gone several years now and I fancy hearing his voice brings back good feelings for his wife and family. Hearing it again brings back memories for me too—not because this story is unique, but because it’s common. I wrote it because it reflected how we were in the late1960s. But how we feel about war seems to be the same regardless of era.
I was a student at the University of Arkansas, then…and I had a class near the Student Union two days a week. Many of the folks around me were older and so very sure of the things that they were sure of. Me, I wasn’t sure of anything. I’d get a cup of hot chocolate or coffee, sit at one of the long tables and study. However, it wasn‘t uncommon to have other students sit down and strike up conversations. And once in a while, those conversations were so profound or heartbreaking or unique that I wrote about them.
This piece is really about all the ways we breeze past each other…and never really touch the sore spots. Perhaps we tell the deepest truths to those we know we’ll never see again. And though this one was about Vietnam, it doesn’t matter which war really…or which warrior.