Saturday, November 8, 2008

Introspection and A Nice Story

Yesterday was not a good day. Bad days are no stranger to anybody. Sometimes it is bad news, or an unfortunate occurrence that spoiled the day. Other times it is an illness that suddenly appeared. In my case, it was waking with a slight headache, aching joints and a feeling of extreme lethargy and vertigo. It felt different than previous bad days I had experienced when I was younger. I mulled it over in my mind and I coudn't put my finger on why this was so.

Unfortunately, I had an appointment with an out of town stranger that I was to meet in a lobby of a clinic. There was no way to contact her and cancel my appointment; therefore, I had no option but to get dressed and go. I would like to report that as the day progressed I felt better. Such was not the case and I was most miserable as I rode to my destination. It was an important meeting regarding my cochlear implant and it was very productive. I was glad I made the effort to go, but I still felt lousy.

I ended the day by going to bed at 8:30 pm because I could not keep from falling asleep no matter how hard I tried. Obviously I needed sleep so my body could shake off whatever was plaguing me. I slept well but when I woke up I began musing on why a bad day seems so different now.

I think I have worked it out to my satisfaction. It should have been obvious from the beginning. The simple fact is that I am old and parts wear out over time. When I was young and sick I knew that it would be better soon and I would be over it. Now, I am never sure that I will be over whatever is making me feel bad. This time it could be the start of something else going wrong in my body. It might be a symptom of a really serious illness that is just beginning. And you wonder.

While all of our attention has been on the election, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue. I got this from an E-mail friend and want to share it with you. Whether it is true or not, it is a lovely story.


I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned seat. It was going to be a long flight. 'I'm glad I have a good book to read. Perhaps I will get a short nap,' I thought.

Just before take-off, a line of soldiers came down the aisle and filled all
the vacant seats, totally surrounding me. I decided to start a
conversation. 'Where are you headed?' I asked the soldier seated nearest to me.

'Chicago - to Great Lakes Base. I'll be there for two weeks for special
training, and then we're being deployed to Iraq '

After flying for about an hour, an announcement was made that sack lunches were available for five dollars. It would be several hours before we reached Chicago, and I quickly decided a lunch would help pass the time.

As I reached for my wallet, I overheard soldier ask his buddy if he planned to buy lunch. No, that seems like a lot of money for just a sack lunch. Probably wouldn't be worth five bucks. I'll wait till we get to Chicago ' His friend agreed.

I looked around at the other soldiers. None were buying lunch. I walked to
the back of the plane and handed the flight attendant a fifty dollar bill.
'Take a lunch to all those soldiers..' She grabbed my arms and squeezed
tightly. Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me. 'My son was a soldier in
Iraq; it's almost like you are doing it for him.'

Picking up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where the soldiers were
seated. She stopped at my seat and asked, 'Which do you like best - beef or chicken?'

'Chicken,' I replied, wondering why she asked. She turned and went to the
front of plane, returning a minute later with a dinner plate from first
class. 'This is yours, thanks. '

After we finished eating, I went again to the back of the plane, heading for the rest room. A man stopped me. 'I saw what you did. I want to be part of it. Here, take this.' He handed me twenty-five dollars.

Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the Flight Captain coming down the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he walked, I hoped he was not looking for me, but noticed He was looking at the numbers only on my side of the plane. When he got to my row he stopped, smiled, held out his hand, an said, I want to shake your hand.'

Quickly unfastening my seatbelt I stood and took the Captain's hand. With a booming voice he said, 'I was a soldier and I was a military pilot. Once, someone bought me a lunch. It was an act of kindness I never forgot.' I was embarrassed when applause was heard from all of the passengers.

Later I walked to the front of the plane so I could stretch my legs. A man
who was seated about six rows in front of me reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine. He left another twenty-five dollars in my palm.

When we landed in Chicago I gathered my belongings and started to deplane. Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man who stopped me, put something in my shirt pocket, turned, and walked away without saying a word. Another twenty-five dollars!

Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their trip to
the base. I walked over to them and handed them seventy-five dollars. 'It
will take you some time to reach the base. It will be about time for a
sandwich. God Bless You.'

Ten young men left that flight feeling the love and respect of their fellow
travelers. As I walked briskly to my car, I whispered a prayer for their
safe return. These soldiers were giving their all for our country. I could
only give them a couple of meals. It seemed so little...

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life wrote a blank check Made payable to 'The United States of America ' for an amount of 'up to and including my life.' That is Honor, and there are way too many people in This country who no longer understand it.'


Sylvia K said...

It is a lovely story isn't it? I'm glad you've posted it for all the people that didn't read it on mine. The friend who sent it to me is 84 and while she's about as lively as any 84 year old you'll meet, blogging isn't her thing, so she sends me wonderful pieces now and then to use on my blog. I do hope you're feeling a bit better, I've been having the usual fall/winter problem with asthma and surely does take a lot of fun out of the day. I'll hold good thoughts for you to feel better quickly!

Mortart said...

Sorry to hear that you were not feeling well. I hope that whatever was bothering you is no longer around.

Darlene said...

Oh gee, Sylvia, I'm sorry. I didn't see it on yours and didn't mean to copy you. Please forgive.
I'll hold good thoughts for you, too. I do feel better today; maybe it's the change in the weather that has us both down.

Mort, thank you for the good wishes. It wasn't a bug; I'm sure it was just old age. ;).

kenju said...

I hope you will feel better tomorrow, Darlene.

Xtreme English said...

you are so right...there are good days and bad days. hope you're having a good one now. thanks for the story..good things happen to LIBERAL people!! lol

Rain said...

Yes, I have noticed that also that not feeling good, even at 65, makes me wonder if there is some deeper reason where when I was younger, I'd not have been concerned that way

Darlene said...

kenju,I do feel better, thank you.

xtreme english, I hope good things happen to Liberal people because I'm sure liberal.

Rain, glad to know that it isn't just me.

Tabor said...

This post brought tears to my eyes and made me realize, once again, that one person can make a big difference with just a little effort. I have added you to my blogroll and mentioned this in my recent post so that I can remember to visit more often.

Darlene said...

Tabor, thank you for adding me to your blogroll. Please e-mail me with your URL so I can add your blog to mine.

Yes, the story is very touching and I hope it's a true one. It came in an e-mail so I can't vouch for it's authenticity, but it's true that one person can make a difference.