As I was reminded by Facebook Memories, had any of this been normal, The OldOld Man would be headlining a local Veterans Day luncheon event or two back home, again, in Indiana.
A little grub at the Rotary Club.
A little dessert at his retirement community.
A long nap after.
But those events are cancelled, and the OldOld Man gave up the ghost just after lockdown #1. No mixing words. Inmates had more free time in the yard and at meals than he did.
And you can’t cage a Finn.
We all just shut down.
But today is Veterans Day.
One doesn’t dwell on Time and how she marches on even when her bravest soldiers fall. Nah. Not today. Today is the day to honor our brilliant soldiers. With that, I recall the first time the OldOld Man ever saw a Volkswagen Bug (Beetle).
How the story would come up:
The story was immortal, brought back to life whenever we saw a Volkswagen “Bug” in his presence and someone doesn’t immediately reference this story.
For staging, let’s put this instance at a Friday night, late winter, walking up for our weekly Friday dinner at Skip One 41 Seafood Restaurant in Ft. Myers, FL – only so I can re-post this classic:
And we’ll say we saw one in the parking lot on the way in.
His first line to any of his stories always went up a notch in tone, as if he’s inhaling as he’s introducing it. Yeah, not unlike John Wayne.
“Have I ever told you about the first time I saw a Volkswagen Bug?”
“Well, you may have,” I’d say. “But I might need a refresher.”
“I see I’ve been repeating myself, again.”
“Naw,” I’d say. “We’re just bad listeners.”
Now, mix together the chuckles of John Wayne and Eeyore, and glints in a smile, and that’s how I remember his replies.
“Whelp. I’m going to tell it, again.”
And, in order to hear it, again, you’d have to nod.
It went a bit like this…
“We were in Germany. Last days before we were shipping back, and then on to Japan – we were to discover later. We were on cleanup. Checking on homes and buildings. Families in need. Nazis.
“We were in a town. I don’t remember where. All of a sudden, we see these Nazis pile into a Volkswagen Bug. 7, 8 of them. And they head off and around the corner, right into one of our tanks. And that tank didn’t stop.”
“Two dimensional Nazis?” I’d ask, usually.
That chuckle, again. And a little bob & weave nod.
“When I got back and married your mother-err-grandmother…”
Freudian slip, especially towards the end. Sometimes he, too, would forget we had a generation between us.
“…she wanted a Bug because it was cute. It always made me think of that day. Do you remember the Bug?”
“In pictures,” I’d say.
Then I would give our name to the hostess at Skip One 41, who acted like she knew it already. The display case’s HVAC had a soothing white noise. I’d drift into kaleidoscopic thought as we’d wait for a table.
Happy Veterans Day
Seems more and more, I am saying such things to the ghosts in our lives than to the living. I suppose such things are inevitable. Either way, the sentiments are amplified, for without them we wouldn’t have Time or freedom to think of such things.
To you all, I nod in order to have the opportunity to say it all, again.