Life in the Edge: “God Bless the USA”

I’m slow on my reporting this week because I have to search for wifi. Typically, I’m happy to disconnect. But when you just started blogging, it’s nice to have access to the world beyond Edgerton. Anyway, if you recall, the Round Table is the sacred table at Harmer’s Café where the locals sit and BS. I’ve been trying to finagle a seat there all week, to no avail. I finally decided, after a transformer blew out the electricity at Harmer’s yesterday, forcing them to close, that maybe I wasn’t supposed to mess with the Round Table mojo. Besides, I was told I can get the same BS next time I visit, as the locals have been swapping the same stories for years. At any rate, the following is my latest attempt at snagging a Round Table report:

June 19, 2015

Not any BS to report from the Round Table this morning. Only two men were there today. I stopped the last one leaving and asked where all his friends were. He didn’t quite know.

“Ma’am do I know you? You look familiar.”

No, we didn’t know each other. He graduated from North Platte in 1964. I was born in 1964. The man wore a white cowboy hat and black cowboy boots. Raised alfalfa, but couldn’t bail the hay because of the rain. Got drafted and shipped to Vietnam in the ‘60s.

“You don’t keep your grades up, Uncle Sam will get you,” he said. “I was too busy chasing women . . . We could get cigarettes and beer over there easier than we could ammunition.”

His squad got fired upon. He got shot in the shoulder, kept the shell as a reminder. As if he needed one.

“Lost Phillips in that battle,” he said.

After serving and finally coming home two months beyond his 12-month tour, a little old lady with a cane, spat on him. He reached behind his waistband, took a knife out of its sheath, scraped the saliva off his uniform, and wiped it on her.

“Ma’am, I think this belongs to you,” he said.

“Wow, I bet that hurt more than being shot,” I said.

He didn’t respond.

Didn’t have to.

His eyes said it all.

No . . . no BS at the Round Table this morning.

* * *

I don’t like war, any kind of war, regardless of the reason behind it. But I am thankful for our unbelievable taken-for-granted freedoms in this country. I know these freedoms well. I have been privileged enough to travel outside of the United States, well beyond comfort. We are a land of plenty. Plenty of food. Plenty of opportunities. Plenty of freedoms that grant us the ability to BS at round tables.

When our servicemen and women sign on to serve this country, they don’t get to choose whether or not they go to war or whether or not they agree with the reasons behind those wars. They go. And fight. For everybody. Even those who spit on them.

I’ve always thought every American should be required to live one month in another country before being granted citizenship as an adult. I don’t think anyone would be spitting then.

With Independence Day around the corner, take a few minutes to listen to one of my favorite songs, God Bless the USA, by Lee Greenwood, and thank our servicemen and women for serving our land of plenty.

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