Sunday, May 07, 2006

A Pensive Thought....

I was looking at today's obituaries in the LA Times, which detailed the recent deaths of two U.S. soldiers, and the death of a WWII hero over the weekend.

What really struck how special everyone's lives are. (Yes, I'm in a sappy, sentimental mood right now). The thing is, how many people have crossed paths with Army Pfc. Raymond L. Henry, and looked right past him? Or Frantisek Perina and not given him so much as a second glance, or a second thought, or even the time of day? His life is the kind of story that Hollywood movies should be made about.

I remember at times, riding on a bus or just sitting somewhere, watching the people drift by, asking myself: "...What is his story? What is she about? What makes that person tick?"

Everyone of us has an interesting life. A story to tell. A life given to us to be cherished and not abused; nurtured and not squandered. Each of us is in control of our own little corner of the universe- our own self- to improve upon; we are each one jigsaw piece in the overall collective puzzle that is the human condition.

Life is a precious gift with a finite amount of time for us to enjoy our stay. Each day we wake up, we should make the most out of it; whether it's being productive or being rather lazy, we should enjoy the moment and take something useful from the experience. And we should take the time to really appreciate the person we are interacting with.

I remember around the 8th grade, when my family was stationed in Osan, Korea, I think I came across a Chuck Norris article (I do believe he served in the Air Force and was also stationed at Osan, AFB at one time). In that article, it listed a Code of Ethics and a Code of Conduct that his students were to abide by. The one that had the most profound effect on me was this one: "I will work for the good in all people and make them feel worthwhile."

For whatever reason, looking for the good in others and treating people as worthwhile struck a chord with me.

I wonder how many waitresses served Frantisek Perina in the twilight of his years, and only saw an old man who was taking forever to place his order; not the war hero; certainly not the fighter ace who shot down 14 Nazi war planes.

Or how many of our fellow Americans might have crossed paths with Bunny Long and laughed at his name and his ethnicity, ignorant of his family's history in struggling against the Khmer Rouge; or of their pride and gratitude to be in the U.S.? And not knowing that this young man would go on to give his life in service to this country, credited with saving 21 fellow Marines in the process? Would they have looked at him differently, knowing then what we know now? If they had the crystal ball to peer into the future, would they have treated him a little kinder?

When I teach gymnastics to my kids, it's with the acceptance that each and every one of them might not grow up to be a world class gymnast; but they all deserve to be nurtured to be the best they possibly can be. And when I look at them, I can't help but wonder what they will go on to accomplish in their varied lives? What contributions to society, great and small? Seen and unseen? For every human being that is blessed with fame and fortune, there are countless many that have neither, but who are the invisible hands that push our civilization further in the direction of enlightenment and betterment for us all.

Always remember those
who serve.

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less,
a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and
sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in
front of him.

"How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked.

"Fifty cents," replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and
studied the coins in it.

"Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired.

By now more people were waiting for a table and the
waitress was growing impatient.

"Thirty-five cents," she brusquely replied.

The little boy again counted his coins.

"I'll have the plain ice cream," he said.

The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on
the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice
cream, paid the cashier and left. When the waitress
came back, she let out a gasp, then swallowed the lump
that caught in her throat. She cried as she wiped down the
table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish,
were two nickels and five pennies..

You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had
to have enough left to leave her a tip.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...


Monday, May 08, 2006 8:50:00 AM  
Blogger Curt said...

Hmmm, wanna guess which party Anon comes from?

Good post Word. Sometimes you think about these things. I have been to many a death scene, and have seen people die in front of me. Now most of those are gangmembers who died as they should have, since many of them took the lives of others exactly how they died. But for example, when I see a older person dead I sometimes wonder how their life turned out....guess we just have too much time on our hands wondering about this stuff.

Could drive you crazy.

Monday, May 08, 2006 7:55:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Hmmm, wanna guess which party Anon comes from?

Gee...could it be the party that fancies itself the champion of non-discrimination, of tolerance, of acceptance and understanding? All the while its entire history is splotched with examples of racial intolerance, and prejudice against blacks?

My guess is it's Buster. A thin-skinned loser whose throat I pissed into over at Mike's America. Not that it matters.

Monday, May 08, 2006 8:28:00 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

Word, it's weird, but I have often wondered about people's stories. Just today, I was at a coffee shop with my friend and a couple at a table behind us got up to leave. This tiny little woman who was probably in her 70s had been having coffee with her husband. When I glanced at her she gave me the sweetest smile and saw how her husband was so gentle with her. I couldn't help but smile back!

BTW, I coached gymnastics for three years!

Monday, May 08, 2006 9:02:00 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

Sorry, my point was that seeing them had me thinking about what their life has been like over the years. What were they like when they were young.

Monday, May 08, 2006 9:07:00 PM  

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