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January 3rd, 2015 at 4:17 am

What year is it?




I see through your eyes a lot of changes.  Reminds me of a world from a G.H. Wells book. Some things are not to my liking.  What was once clean and kept downtown looks like a downtrodden mess. 


I don’t like the world today.  I’m finished with the world and I resort to my books and writings, for I know my time is now very limited.


What is it you don’t like about your world? Why’d you oust it?


Everything is scary and uncertain.  I feel like the future is ambiguous, that there could be a terrible war.  People are hateful and petty.  My world is cast with black shadows of its misery and it is not a world I like living in.


Did you ever think—there were wars back then, too.  People could be just as mean then as they are now, if not worse.  People always did do bad things to themselves and to one another.


I suppose it doesn’t seem so intimidating—your world of long ago.  It’s like a certain book you’ve read and know how it will end, so you don’t worry for the characters.  You know what will happen.


Think of all the technical conveniences you have now, and all the medicines.  These things seem to make life easy.


They are nice inventions, and useful.  Sometimes, though, I think they complicate life more than ever.  Everyone has their faces cemented to their phones.  In this time, we have not just one idiot box to stare at, but a host of them in the forms of tablets, computers along with the renewed TV as a flat screen.


You can always turn those things off.


I suppose I could.


In 1944 we had blackouts.  Every town in America would turn off the lights at night so air fighters couldn’t see where they were.  We didn’t have much light out there on the ranchito as it was.  I remember laying there in the dark, feeling the hot air, sweating, sometimes hungry. 


In 1970, I slept upstairs in a farm house.  There was an attic door next to my bed and the flies would come in through the cracks of it in the fall.  I laid there in the dark and sweat not because I was hot or hungry, but because I was afraid of the flies.


You’re afraid of the darnedest things.  Flies are nothing. Swat them away. 


I believe I am afraid of silly things.


War wasn’t different back then, either, any more than it is in your time.  In December of 1950 they picked about a dozen of us for Korea.  Drafted.  Seems like the worst of everything always happened in December. 


I don’t remember hearing a lot about that war.


Sometimes they called it the ‘forgotten war.’ We went, we served, and then we all went back to our lives after it was over. 


I see you’re carrying two books at your side—what are they about?


These are about the war.  I don’t have a notion to share my experiences with you at this time, but I can tell you some facts.  Later, if I feel up to it, I’ll tell you what happened to me. 

Lin Piao was the leader of the Fourth Field Army.  He lead a surprise invasion—no one seen it coming. Back then, everyone was afraid of communism—loss of freedom to be what you wanted, have opportunities, everything that this country stood for.  That’s the reason behind the war.  It wasn’t about protecting South Korea. It was about protecting the world from some other threat. 

It seems throughout all of the history I’ve read, people have always been afraid of something. 

Always some shadow of fear hangs over our heads—something imminent and dangerous, promising to ruin life as we’ve come accustomed to.


It’s the nature of people—always need to take away from the weak.  I once told you: Protect what you love. 


I remember.


That goes for everyone.


He’s smiling at us from across the room—Double A.  I see him at the table over there. He’s the one in the white T-shirt. He’s looking at those maps again.

He’s been waiting these days.


What’s he waiting for?


He’s waiting for Lolly.


I see.  Will he have a long wait?


He won’t have as long of a wait for her as I will for you.


I don’t know if that’s good or bad….


In your case, it’s good.  You want to stay alive as long as you can, because you’re learning things, doing things that will matter.  Only so much time to get it finished, so don’t waste it. 


Aren’t you going to tell me any more about the war?


You have the books now—read them.  I’ll tell you one more thing before we part.  Elvis was there, too. 


Was he there the same time as you?


No—he came a lot later.  It was 1958.  It’s funny how one guy gets so much attention and the rest of us were just regular Joes and nobody cared—well, no one but our mamas.  I remember seeing that on the news back then.  We had a tiny TV and everyone bunched up around it to have a look at Elvis getting a haircut at Fort Chaffee.  I already had my tour, finished with college and was working at the time. 

I have to laugh—I can imagine everyone around the TV looking at that!  I can see it as if though it were my very own memory.


It is your memory.  They’re all ours because I’ve shared them, because I live through you and I gave them to you. 


I’ll keep them always in my heart, as I keep you, spirit.  You’ve shown me such beautiful and interesting things.  Somehow, through all of it, though, I believe this is a world you wouldn’t want to be in right now.


You’re very wrong.  It’s a world I wish I was a part of.  Don’t think I can’t leave it of my own will and go deep into my world.  I can, and I have.  Those are the times you don’t feel my presence.  This is a world you should want to be a part of while you’re in it, because you carry the message, and you make a difference.  Don’t be so afraid of it—don’t sweat the little things, like flies.