H. Neal Glanville: A debt that can’t be repaid
As I’ve grown older, not old mind you, my memory sometimes gets a nudge from something that happens close by, and I’ll recall a person or event that had an influence on how I’ve turned out.
My grandparents and their immediate families have had the greatest influence on how I’ve tried to live my life. I just now understand some of the things they said on a daily basis that I’d been taking for granted.
I once overheard my grandfather and his brothers talking about being “land and cattle poor.”
I remember walking outside trying to figure out how a family that owned all the land I could see, who had so many mama cows that the neighbors all but moved in during the calving season to help, could possibly be poor.
Uncle Blaine often laughed and complained that “this year’s not near as bad as last, and the next will be better than all the rest tied together.”
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
Uncle Barney, who rarely spoke up, would always say “we made it through the Depression and the war, we can surely hold a little longer.”
Grandma told me of the many times Barney “butchered some beef for those in need, and drove wherever to drop it off.”
Uncle Barney also knew about war — he joined the U.S. Marine Corps the day after Pearl Harbor and spent the next four years in the Pacific, “going from island to island, trying to get home.”
I never learned of his heroics during World War II until I attended his funeral at Arlington National Cemetery, and was humbled by what I saw and heard.
I spent five years living next door to a Vietnam veteran and Medal of Honor recipient in Idaho who stopped by every Saturday for drinks and conversation.
We never talked of our own war experiences, nor war in general, but just man-gossiped every day about what was only important to us.
When he was diagnosed with cancer, I moved him home to Casper, Wyo., and spent all the time I could with him. He was never bitter or angry about his condition or its outcome, and during his passing reminded me “that honor and duty do matter and when in doubt, stay to the light.”
This nudge of memory is brought to you by the recent election and the calendar.
I bring up the election because even though times are tough and might get tougher, and even though having three or four jobs to get by on may seem dismal, we still have a voice who we ask to represent us and when they don’t, we can stand up and send them home.
And I think of the calendar because Thursday is Veterans Day. All of us, those who are serving or have served in the military and those who haven’t, owe these men and women a debt that can never be repaid.
If you know a veteran or see a serviceman or woman in uniform, stop, stick out your hand and thank them for their service. It won’t repay our debt, but it will bring the interest rate down a bit.
Hey, you be careful out there.
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