Thursday, June 08, 2006

"Let me not mourn for the men who have died fighting, but rather let me be glad that such heroes have lived."

After Uncle Ted returned home, there is another sizable gap in the remembrances of those around him. My father was only 3 1/2 years old when Ted returned, my grandfather and grandmother have both passed away. Only one person I know still alive would have any idea what the next 40 years held for Ted and I have not yet had the opportunity to speak with him. There was a rumor that Ted married and fathered a child before his wife grew tired of his ways and moved, taking the child with her and never returning. While Ted may have had a liking for alcohol before the war, he certainly took a great liking to it afterwards. Luckily, in our small rural town, the County Sheriff was one of his best friends and when Uncle Ted got too full in his cups, the Sheriff would “arrest” him, dry him out, and then make him cook at the jail. Also, if the jail got without a cook, the Sheriff would call Ted and have him come over and cook until another cook could be hired or located. A mystery of sorts surrounds his death. My father was present at the time and said that Ted was drunk, fell, and hit his head, killing him instantly. Ted’s death certificate said he “dropped dead, striking his head on a table as he fell.” As my grandfather died suddenly of a massive coronary, I’m inclined to believe the coroner, although medical technology just wasn’t the same then as it is now. Perhaps the worst part of this whole scenario, besides the fact my uncle died before I ever had an opportunity to know him or listen to his stories, was what happened after his death. My grandmother, a harridan on a good day, threw away everything she could lay her hands on that belonged to Ted, including all of his service medals. I’m surprised his discharge paper survived, maybe she didn’t know where it was or my grandfather squirreled it away for safe keeping. Regardless, until my father and I can get his record from the government and order his service medals again, hopefully putting together a nice memorial, this is the little I have to remember him by. Thank you, Jack for reminding me of the real meaning of June 6th. The title of this post and the previous post are quotes from General Patton.
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