This being Memorial Day weekend, I felt the need to acknowledge it somehow. The photo attached to this blog is that of my grandfather. I’ve written about him before. He was an amazing man. I’ve referred to him before as a legend. That’s because I believe he was. He enlisted when he was sixteen to help the war effort during WWII. When he came home, he received his education and began a lifelong career within the Texas school system. Pappaw was also a great story teller in his own right! He loved to tell all his kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids stories of when he was growing up. I’m sure some of the tales were enhanced upon, but that didn’t matter because he had every one of suckered into his stories when we were young.
It has been suggested that I write a book about my grandfather. I tried writing a biographical story about him. I couldn’t do it! It was too hard and I was too close to the subject matter. So, I decided to write about him the best way I knew how, through fiction.
Below is the beginning of a fictional story in which my grandfather is the main character. There is truth as well as fiction, his and mine, mixed into this story. I hope you enjoy what I have decided to share with you. He was a great man and he deserves a little praise on paper!
The Boy Soldier
World War II is entering its third year. Jimmy is working hard in the field doing his best to help his family while his older brother is away fighting.
“Ouch! Dang it!”
Jimmy looks down and discovers that he just tried to hoe his foot. He hobbles back to the farm truck as the blood runs down his foot.
Jimmy curses to himself as he jerks his foot back in reaction to the cold water being poured over it. Overhead, Air Corp planes buzz in the sky. They are practicing maneuvers in preparation of going overseas to join in the fight. Jimmy stares at the planes whizzing by. He wants to enlist and fight, but having tried once already, knows he’s too young to sign up.
“If there was a way, I’d be fighting right now, just like Tommy.” He says to himself.
“Hey, Jimmy!” Jimmy looks toward the dirt road to see his best friend, Peter, running toward him.
“Hey, Jimmy did you hear? Did you hear, Jimmy?”
Jimmy rolls his eyes in irritation. Peter is excited about something, but Jimmy knew there was no use yelling back at him. He’d be here soon enough. When Peter gets to the truck, he bends over gasping for air.
“Did you hear, Jimmy…about David? Did…you…hear?”
“Hear what?” Jimmy asks as he hands his friend the canteen of water.
After a long swallow, Peter finally tells him, “David is going to fight in the war.”
“What? He can’t do that. He’s the same age as we are and they didn’t let us enlist.”
“I know, I know, but David insisted on going to fight so much that his dad went down to the recruitment office to see what they could do. All he had to do was sign a form saying David had his permission to go.”
“I said, David’s dad signed some paper that gave David permission to enlist.”
“You can do that?”
“Yeah, but do you really think our moms are going to sign those papers? Personally, I doubt it. My mom cried so hard when Jeff left to fight. She looks for the postman everyday hoping there’s a letter from him.”
“We don’t have to tell them.”