Monday, August 9, 2010

off we go into the wild blue yonder... climbing high, into the sky...

it is the lucky children who are issued at birth two sets of grandparents.  my post from yesterday was in reference to grandfathers. the subject of the post was my dad, their papaw.

my kids were blessed with the requisite two sets of living grandparents in their lives. they called their maternal grandfather--grandpa. to me he was mr. bill.  he too passed out of our lives much too soon.

grandpas come in all manner of shapes, sizes and persona.  mr.bill was a man of significant stature.  not that he was overly tall or large, it's just that his presence filled a room.

having said that, he was not unapproachable. i can see him sitting in his favorite chair, dressed down in a "wife-beater" and boxers, his arms across his generous belly, fingers of one hand entwined with those of the other, thumbs a-twiddle. sitting there, his lids at half mast, grand kids running fingers through his hair, he pretended to be completely unaware of being mauled, given away by a satisfied half-smile.

he flew with the army-air corps in the great war.  not so much in combat, he was asked instead to muscle wounded "birds" back for repair.  his great regret seemed to be that he missed, by a hair, flying with doolittle's bunch as they dropped the bombs that turned the tides of war in favor of the u.s.a. and the allied forces and against japan.

like many vets of the "great war" he held much of the horrors he saw close to his vest. yet he revealed  just enough to keep his grands gathered about his feet, begging for one more story.

he served our country, long after wars end, as an air force academy liaison to local high schools.   he was a loving man of exceeding generosity, taken from us way too soon. 

perhaps heaven needed help getting the wounded "birds" home to safety. aio

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