DRUNKS OR HEROES?

 

“Night fell, and darkness hid the two from sight”

He worked at walking.

Stumbling, weaving, tumbling, falling…and

Each night at dusk he headed home, deaf to traffic sounds.

Sometimes reeling toward the ground, with effort, he would crawl toward pavement edge and work at walking once again. 

 The man continued through his nightly ritual.

Someone approached the sodden hulk. Bending down, they knelt beside the fallen man.  The rescue had begun.

 The rescuer was not a hero.  I was a bystander,  from far away, and watching. Though years have passed, the vivid scene remains.

 Whose life is changed when a journey reaches a crossroad?  What happens when the  path is interrupted by a chance encounter?  Was the rescuer a friend?   Maybe it was my life that changed, as I watched this scene unfold.

 What are you thinking now?

 Night fell and darkness hid the two from my sight.

 THE RESCUE had begun.

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 * * * * * * * *

Many years have passed since this incident took place.

 While my husband and I were standing at our living room window, we saw a man walking along the distant road. The man lived nearby in a broken down old house.

Each morning he walked two miles from his home, to a neighborhood bar, where he spent the day.

 We didn’t see him traveling on the morning journeys to his destination. Nor did we see him when he was going home at the end of the day. But this time, we saw him walking toward his house.  And as we watched, he staggered and stumbled, falling into the deep ditch beside the road. 

For several moments, he was out of our sight.  Then, we saw him crawling out of the ditch and struggling to his feet.  Walking a few steps, he fell once more. Again, he crawled up the side of the ditch on his hands and knees and attempted to stand.

I suddenly noticed my husband had quietly left my side at the window.  Now, in his truck, he was driving down our driveway toward the distant road. Stopping at the place where the man was lying beside the ditch, he left his truck and approached the still figure. Taking him by the arm, he helped the man to his feet.

 My husband later told me his intention was to help him into the cab of the truck, but the man protested. “I’m not clean enough to sit in your truck. Help me into the back. I’ll ride home there.”

 As I watched this scene unfold, I was surely not aware it would be in my memory and my heart many years later.

 How many of us, including me, would leave the comfort of our own home to help a drunken, smelly man get safely to his home? My husband was a caring person. The scene I watched was more than that.

 The experience changed me and maybe it has changed you. At this stage of my life, it’s become clear to me that we all need to be rescued, from something.

Our Friend is on His way.

————–

 In later years, as we discussed the incident, some facts revealed themselves about the man who was rescued. He was a veteran from World War 2.

 As years have passed, we’ve become aware of the experiences our soldiers endured during that time of war. Many were too horrible to remember. We now call it PTSD.

 It has been found, for some of the veterans, that it is easier to drink away the memories than to relive them in their dreams.

 In our village, there were three World War 2 veterans who spent their days at the same local bar as this gentleman.

 The world called them drunks. Should we call them heroes?

 How do you feel about it?

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Loved to write since high school..as the years pass memories and relationships are primary. (There is also room for an opinion or two.) Feeling good at the age of eighty-five, enjoying life and a hobby of photography. Lived on a small farm for sixty-one years. welcomed three sons, two grandkids, and 3 greats. Owned and operated an Ace Hardware and Hallmark Shop, managing also to raise sheep for ten years. Shared sixty-two years of marriage before his passing in 2017. One son has also passed on to the next life, Memories really are "Made From This". Welcome to my world!

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