War Wounds

I often think of how my children have things better than I did. They definitely are spoiled to a much greater extent than their mother and I. My parents being teachers in Louisiana you would think the state thought they were teaching for fun on their salary. Plus let’s face it, toys are cooler now. Give me some Thundercats and G.I. Joes and that’s all I need. My kids are 7 and 8 now and they have iPads and all kind of other stuff that was technologically impossible. I mean short of a hoverboard they pretty much have all the cool movie gadgets we always dreamt of. (2015 is the year Marty McFly had the hoverboard so there’s hope)

Another way they have a great advantage is they know all of their grandparents and met two sets of great grandparents. That’s something I’m truly happy about because I only had one living grandparent (my dad’s dad) and my great grandmother on my mom’s side growing up. It’s something I missed out on. My grandfather lived far-away in Florida. I didn’t see him much but he was a great man in my eyes. Definitely a man’s man. Loved John Wayne and wrestling. Could probably build a car from scratch. Drove nothing but Lincolns and I understand he liked to pay cash for them. Great grandma scared the shit out of me and I’ll leave it at that.

I’ve always been curious about my grandfather on my mom’s side. Coleman Joseph “Bobby” Alford. He’s always interested me. He was in World War II. Namely Pearl Harbor. My son carries his name. He had his issues after the war. I think this is what has always made me curious. I just wish I could hear his recount of December 7, 1941. One of the biggest days in our history, a day that would live in infamy, and he was there! He was on the USS Nevada. To know what this man went through on that day would be amazing to me.

The sad thing is he went through his greatest struggles after he returned from the war. Raising my uncles being one of them. My mom of course was an angel. He also became an alcoholic after the war. I’m sure not an uncommon occurrence then and it definitely had its effects on my mom and I’m sure her brothers and sister. Some of them very hard for children although I don’t know much about it. He did get help and sober up in the 70’s. About six months later he was hit by a drunk driver and killed. A very ironic and tragic ending to his life.

To me it’s one of the saddest stories my family has to offer. It does teach me something about family and love. I talked to my mom tonight and at other times about my grandad. Even though they had rough times she never expresses anything but love and respect for the man. It just makes me more intrigued and sad that I never met him.

There is something to be learned from this. Sometimes we have a family member or loved one we don’t get along with. Maybe they hurt us or are going through something we don’t understand. Instead of being quick to judge, or maybe even sever the relationship, we should try to show some love and understanding instead. I know I’ve been judgemental before. We most likely all have. Even my mom (who is a saint). I’ve also know what it’s like to never know someone that may have been very close to you. We should all be grateful for the family members we are blessed to have around us. Sometimes family is all we got, and they need us as bad as we need them.

As for my kids, well they may be too young to appreciate how lucky they are to know all four of their grandparents. From listening to my dad play music to hanging with their Mi Mi or granny. Or my son hunting with his Paw Paw. They are too caught up in the excitement of being a child to understand how amazing these people are. Someday they’ll look back and understand how treasured these times really were. Until then they’ll be waiting for that hoverboard to come out with me.

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