Memories of the Past

by S. Larabee Tanner

March 2003

Thanks to Michelle for beta reading it for me.

Josiah sat back watching his great grandkids play in the yard of his granddaughter’s house. He thought back on the day’s news he had heard. The thought of war scared him, and brought up long buried memories of when we went off the Vietnam.

"Great Grandpa, Mama said you were in a war, and that's where you meet who she's named after," his namesake called out to him as he ran up to the older man.

Josiah smiled. "Yes I was. The young woman your mother is named after was very important to me. Come here and I'll tell you about her."

The little boy crawled into his great grandpa’s lap. "Okay. Mama said she was very pretty."

Josiah couldn't help but smile. "Yes, she was. Just like your mama." He seemed to slip back in time.

"I remember it like it was yesterday. I had been wounded. I was laying in a hospital bed feeling sorry for myself. When I heard the other men start to hoopin' and hollerin'. I looked over to where they were all looking, and there stood the most breath-taking woman I had ever laid eyes on, ‘til I meet your great grandma. Actually your great grandma was the only one that could replace her in my heart, until your mother was born."

The little boy looked up and could see his great grandpa smiling. "Please, tell me more."

Josiah nodded. "Alright. She stood about as tall as your mother, but her hair looked like the golden rays of the sun in the early morning. Her eyes were as blue as the ocean, and her voice was as sweet as a song bird in love." He glanced at the child in his lap and laughed when he saw the scowl on his face. "Sorry, JJ."

The graying man thought back to the story. "She was with the USO. They were stopping at all the hospitals, visiting the troops. She made sure she greeted each one of us. They stayed for a few days and entertained us."

A smiled crossed his face. "The troop moved on, but she stayed to help out. By then I was up in a wheel chair, getting around on my own. We would spend hours sitting in the shade of the big tree in the courtyard reading together. On the day she was to leave, we sat in that same spot and read a few poems together. That was when she kissed me, like I had never been kissed before. Then she left to rejoin her USO troop."

JJ looked up and could see the longing on his great grandfather’s face. "You ever see her again?"

Josiah smiled. "No I never did. But you know the memories of that time with her have never left me. Your great grandmother and I decided that when your mother was born she was to be named after her, after losing her mother as she brought her into the world. We made your mother the center of our lives. But, anyway that's another story. That's the woman your mother is named for."

JJ smiled. "Wow. You were very lucky to have known her."

Josiah smiled and nodded in agreement. "Yes, I was, and I am still lucky because I have the best great grandson in the world." He hugged the boy before sending him off the play.

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