I know, I know…I haven’t been around much since the Wrecking Ball of Freedom got elected by the Miracle of Democracy…but it is what it is.
So, while I was hibernating, I got a new job as an Assistant Manager in a little start-up General Store/Gas Station/Pizza and Sub shop. I meet and greet every manner of humanity out here in the country, and this job has reminded me that the root greatness of America (her every-day, common, ordinary people) is alive and well and just getting on with the business of living and doing what they have to do to survive… despite what Uncle Sam keeps doing to them.
What they are ALSO still doing is remembering the great men and women of the Armed forces…still thanking them for their service and sacrifice in the most gushingly grateful of ways, and they aren’t the least bit shy about coming right up to a Soldier and telling them what’s on their mind.
Such a moment happened today, and in light of the holiday that approaches I’ll share an exchange that reminds me how great the every-day American still is…when given the opportunity.
The store policy reads:
We are proud to support all civil servants and active duty military personnel. All personnel in uniform receive a complimentary 20 oz fountain drink or 12 oz coffee. We thank you for your service.
In walks a National Guardsman today, stationed about an hour east of where I work. I tell him if he’s thirsty he can have a drink on me. He seems surprised at first so I point to the sign and thank him myself for his service and sacrifice…and point him toward the soda fountain. He thanks me and walks off to wander through the beef jerky aisle. A big ole boy about 6’4″ and about 60 years old (give or take) steps up to the counter, hands me a 20 oz. bottle of soda, turns around and points to the Guardsman and says “I’ll take this soda and whatever he’s having.”
The soldier looks at us two old guys, seems confused for a second, and then asks “are you sure?” I tell him the soda is on me, and everything else is on the big fella in front of him…and that we thank God every day for his sacrifice, and wish we could do MORE for him than his little pile of beef jerky and bag of crunchy Cheetos. He blushes in humbled appreciation, and says the folks where he’s stationed are fairly nice to him, but that he gets [expletive removed in deference to the posting guidelines] on in a LOT of places…and that he really appreciates it when folks treat him the way we were. The old guy jumps in and says “It’s alright man-I was in when it was unpopular too”…
We shake his hand, thank him for his service and sacrifice…and pray that God blesses him…and the two of them go out the door exchanging stories bout where they’re stationed, what their ranks are(were), etc.
This took all of a minute and a half, but I’ll think of it every day between now and Memorial day. If any you peeps out there come across a Soldier BEFORE Memorial day, thank them AHEAD of time…why wait until the calendar SAYS it’s Memorial day?