We went to dinner last night with friends and the conversation turned to where were you when. I can't retrace the whole thing but the gentleman mentioned the Panamanian War. Of how he remembers watching it on TV.
Trooper looked over at him and smiled. He saw it, also, he said. From a plane. With incoming (green) tracers giving him his first taste of live fire. You could see the light dawning on the man's face and that of his (adorable) wife. She didn't understand - "so you flew out of there in a hurry, then?" And with a very gentle laugh, "No, we jumped out of it. As soon as they would let us."
It is always strange to come against that sort of generational crevasse. These folks are so mature in spirit that we often forget we're almost a generation apart. It is a distance that isn't always easy to cross with other people. We've an entire population that (as noted in an essay on the link below) looks to other people for their opinion and approval. There is no history, only now. There is no real individuality - just group acceptance. You cannot even hold a conversation with them. There is a young lady of my acquaintance who is sweet as she can be but...her thoughts are like paintballs, hitting the wall in a confused splatter. Nothing in sequence, nothing material, and no ability to be QUIET.
(Mind you, I've a theory about all this asthma, poor thinking ability and, of course, Aspergers: all those damned vaccinations. Given when far too young, given all at the same time, and given without even a thought as to if it is even a good idea for THIS child. "It's just what we do," you can hear them say. Well, look around you and see if you don't think there are syptoms at an epidemic level that something is seriously WRONG.)
At any rate, it was an interesting snap of reality. And on the ride home, a remembrance of what he gave up to come here. The years of service with the county, the retirement accrued. All surrendered for a badge with a star. From that queerly lit night sky of thick tropic air to this wide open country...quite the journey for a man. I looked across the truck at him, his handsome profile, the Carhartt coat and Atwood hat illuminated by the passing cars. It was a strange road that led me to this place, also. The odds were entirely against it.
Goes to show you - those long odds are sometimes worth betting on...
I shall have to add this to the link luv list - each post is nigh unto exquisite. I only wish I could write like that.