By Andrew R. Duckworth
I was once told of a hero,
A hero whose name won’t be echoed
Through history books and monuments,
But a hero nonetheless,
Who found his bride shortly before
The Second World War,
And landed in Burma,
Crossed enemy lines to deliver correspondence mail,
And when he came home
He raised nine children
With that lady he made his wife
And they made a good life,
Poor in material, but rich in spirit,
Rich in yearning for what matters.
When I knew him, he was hard of hearing,
White hairs and a receding hairline,
Thick glasses and soft in speech.
He let the words fly on the golf course,
Always wearing that white polo,
That white baseball cap,
Those blue dress pants,
And he would let me drive the golf cart
Every now and then.
He would always keep score,
Always fix his divots,
And he had an eye for leftover golf tees.
I never knew a warrior.
I never knew a man who had seen battle.
But I did know an aged man,
Fifty or sixty years home from the war,
Still with the capacity to love,
Still with the capacity to teach.
That aged grandfather would lay on his sofa
And listen to the cardinals game on the radio.
Some things were just better the way they had always been done.
And if he wasn’t in his easy chair or his sofa,
He was at the dining room table,
A green cloth laid flat with cards carefully placed,
After going through a card shuffler.
And then he also loved his western books,
That golfball, brass book mark twirling in his hand.
As I got older, I assumed that memories would fade away.
But, so far, I hang on to those little memories
Of the hero I knew,
My mother’s father,
Who fought in the war,
And came home to live a good life.