Wednesday, January 4, 2012
A Vietnam story
As you all know, I am a people person, a people watcher.
I can't just go into a small store and not find out the history
of the owner, what brought him there.
It's no wonder that I find myself in Gatlinburg
8 mile craft stores speaking to the owner of one of
these stores. His wares are of paintings of
cabins and woods, snow and wilderness.
Behind his glass case is vietnam memorabilia
so I have to ask,
"What brought you here to Gatlinburg and
this cute little store?"
He goes into a long story that had me enthralled.
When he was discharged from the war of Vietnam,
he was lost. A mess who had lost his wife and could
not be around anyone. The vets were not accepted home
so he felt he had no home. He felt that the only way to
save himself was to go away. He sold all he had and moved to
the wilderness of Alaska. He lived there for 22 months
where his closest and only neighbor was 9 miles away.
For almost two years he kept to himself and lived off the
wilderness. Had no electricity except on the coldest of months.
Enjoyed his 6 months of days and then 6 months of nights.
He worked odd jobs only to make enough money to feed himself
and provide the basic necessities.
He shows me this huge scar on his left arm, put there by a bear.
He did not go into society to take care of this.
Rather went to his neighbor 9 miles away and
together they doctored it up and he cared for it every
day until it became just a scar on his arm.
Finally, after 22 months he felt strong and well enough
to enter society once again.
He truly believed had it not been for his time away, he would have
killed himself or been trapped in a drug life.
I share that my brother was in Vietnam and he doesn't talk about
it much and I wondered often had he been a different man
had he not gone into Vietnam.
This stranger who now feels like a friend says
"We all would have been different men without that war."
I wonder, if the scar on his arm is smaller than the scar on
his heart brought on by the things he saw in Vietnam.