Tuesday, May 31

The Day After Memorial Day

The article said: "Have you remembered the soldiers who gave all?" And I had to think about that. Had I?
Then I remembered a passing instant when I looked at the bedraggled Marine Corps flag of my neighbor, Jack Royston, who died without ceremony at 93 a month ago and said, "Thanks for everything, Jack."
   But my thanks was for the life not given in war, but for the life lived as a husband, as a neighbor, and a father, and as a grandparent. It was thanks for the decency and struggle he lived his life; for building his own house as he could afford to do it. It was for his shirtless lawnmowing perched atop a John Deere mower which was as regular as any clock.
   For the many midnight calls by the county to assist his wife and take her to the hospital and the lights on in his kitchen that followed. It was for the way he carried himself with dignity whether it was on hobbled knee or pushing his trash can to the curb.
   I thanked him for the friendly waves and loud "halloos" from his doorstoop while collecting his morning paper. It was for the tour of his home-made woodshop and his stories of The Old Soldier's Home in Dayton, the city we had in common.
   He was a "desk jockey" during WWII and was glad for that. He was lucky to marry the girl of his dreams and make Iowa City his home for most of his life. To be able to make children's furniture and raise money through a charity golf tournament.
   Thanks for everything, Jack. A life lived in service to others is also a life to be remembered. After 93 years, Jack truly did give all.

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