Posted by Teri LaFaye / The Pistol Poet on August 15, 2017
When I walked into the feed store, I didn’t expect anything life provoking to happen. I was going to order eight fifty pound sacks rye grass seed for our farm. The aisles are narrow and I moved over to accommodate a man in bib overalls coming by me. At the counter was a man in his 70’s wearing a baseball cap that read VIETNAM VETERAN. He was chatting about getting some chickens and paying for some feed he had bought. Turning to leave he stumbled and began falling when he lost his balance. I jumped backwards as his foot hit my leg and he crumbled to the floor.
Everything in me gasped! I immediately threw down my keys, checkbook, and wallet and went toward him. He was lying in a heap of chicken feed and it was obvious he was hurt. The man in the overalls and I looked at each other and I told him to get one side and I would get the other and we would upright him.
The veteran said, “I am dead weight. I can't help much.”
To which I replied, “No worries; we have you now.”
Funny, how your mind reverts back to automatic modes of doing things … you react without thinking too hard about it. Like riding a bicycle … you never forget. I could remember working as an aide in a nursing home when I was a teenager, lifting the patients in and out of their chairs.
Steadying him to his feet, I asked him if he had “a walking stick” in his vehicle. How I knew that he would have one is beyond me. He said he did and it was in his car parked out front. I had the man in the overalls help me get him to a chair and get him seated. I told him I would go and get his stick for him and then see about his leg.
Going out the door, a man was leaving and said, “Thank you for helping him.”
I told him there was no need to thank me, saying “I don’t mind at all. I just go into what my godsons call MEME MODE and do what I can when I need to.”
I walked back into the store with the man’s cane and gave it to him. His cap had fallen off and I noticed a huge knot on his head. Seeing it too, the man in the overalls asked, “Did you do that just now?”
The veteran shook his head and said, “No…. a rifle got me back in ‘Nam a long time ago.”
Getting closer to the veteran, I pointed to the scar under my right eye and said, “Well, I know that hurt cause my rifle bit me when I was hunting year before last, but I got a 6 point buck out of it! Woohoo!”
“A six point buck!” Said the man in the overalls, “well, that made up for the bite!” Everyone laughed and he said, “Well, you sure are a good nurse maid and I see you are going to take good care of him.”
I told the veteran I had something in the truck I could fix his leg up with. I ran out to the truck to get my first aid kit and baby wipes.
Upon returning, he said, “You sure are prepared!”
I laughed and said, “Well, I will put it this way…when the shit hits the fan, you will want to be in my compound!”
He laughed hard then and said, “It might happen too the way the news is going!”
I said, “yep, mites are on a chicken’s ass too!”
To which the lady behind the counter started laughing loudly.
He laughed harder then, repeating what I had said a couple times…saying he was “going to have to remember that one.”
All the while I had his attention on other things, I was checking out his knee. I asked him if he were a diabetic because the swelling of his thighs and legs. He told me he was and said, “You sure are a good nurse.”
I said, “No, not a nurse, I am in my MeMe mode. My mama was a nurse though, and my brother was a doctor. And Daddy was a preacher. So what Mama and my brother couldn’t patch up, Daddy would pray for.”
He started to grin bigger.
I bandaged his knee and then noticed his hand was bleeding some. As I took hold of his hand I noticed he was missing two middle fingers. I wiped the blood from his hand and asked, “Did you lose your fingers in the war too?”
“No, I lost them in a machine saw after the war.”
I put a band-aide on his hand and then just held his hand rubbing it a minute. My mind was racing with questions about his life as I was helping him up.
I gave him a big hug….a long hug…the kind you feel long after it is finished. A much needed over due kind of hug.
I said, “I thank you for your service. This is the least I can do for you.”
He looked me in the eyes and said, “Oh, my. ...I really could have used those words back then …. And you are more than welcome.”
As I watched him walking out the door, I was thankful to have been in the right place at the right time.
As I’m writing this I am reminded how big the little things are to others.
I never thought about what to do.
I just did it.
I never thought about how to help.
I just did.
In a world of so many detachments it was good to do something for someone I didn’t know.
Upon leaving the store, I walked to where he was getting his feed, reminding him to “put ice on that knee and some Neosporin on that cut.” He smiled up at me from the car and said he would, thanking me again for helping him.
I caught myself whispering a prayer for him and sending him blessings over and over as I made my way back to the truck.
I sat in the truck a little bit and thanked God for putting me in the feed store and letting me be the one to help someone else.
Everyone who was in the feed store will remember this differently… I will remember how the hug felt and the look in the veteran’s eyes.
Be mindful of the little things… they are the most important things.
What a beautiful memory I made today….
I am so thankful to share it with you.
Be blessed always,
Teri LaFaye /The Pistol Poet tm
August 14, 2017