they just fade away. douglas macarthur got that one right along with a few other things. yeah, old soldiers never die. or so it seems. the sad truth is they often do. the WW2 generation being at the forefront these days. my 97 year old dad being one of them as well. he’d been sick off and on since the end of march. i’d been at his hospital bedside and watched things being done to him that i wish now i hadn’t seen. he was an old soldier almost to the end. my encouragement to him to be that soldier once again and suck it up like the old days seemed to work at times. though near the end his infection won out and he lost what strength he had left for any more fighting. his death came suddenly but not unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago.
while in the emergency room waiting for a bed in the hospital he wanted to leave and go for a ride. ‘let’s get out of here and go for a ride’, were his words. i’d taken him out for a doughnut and coffee a week or so before and then out by the winery ghost town where he had worked and lived for a number of years after getting out of the army in 1945. where i had lived the first two years of my life. he hadn’t seen the place in a few years and was surprised and saddened by it all.
like mom, a few years ago, dad got to take that last ride the other morning. the brown eyed girl and i took dad’s ashes out to riverside national cemetery to be buried with his wife of almost 68 years. it was a small quiet service. punctuated by the volley of shots fired off by the regular army honor guard. a very moving experience if there ever was one. i’m sure dad enjoyed it as much as i did through my tears.
adios, pop. we love you and you will be missed. we’ll meet up again someday. until then, duermes con dios.