Knowing Him Through Letters

November 14, 2012
By , East Granby, CT
Knowing Him Through Letters

The boy jumped of the steps of the school bus, and began sprinting down the road to his house. As he neared the mailbox, he slowed down to a run, and then finally, to a stop. Reaching into the rusted old mailbox, he pulled out a pile of mail. He scanned through catalogs and letters, clearly determined to find something specific. His young face lit up as he saw a long, red envelop.

He broke into a sprint again, and burst through the door of the small house, yelling, “It came, mom. Right on time.”

A middle aged woman appeared in the doorway of the kitchen, wiping four off her face and hands. She smiled down at her seven-year old son, “Of course it came, honey. After all, it is your birthday.”

“I didn't think that Daddy would have time to remember. He is busy with all that fighting.”

The woman’s face darkened for a moment, as if hearing her son mention the war overseas brought her pain. But she quickly recovered, “Why don’t you open it while I finish making your birthday cake. It is vanilla, your favorite.”

“Cool. I can’t wait to blow out my candles. I get to blow seven out this year. And then I can make my birthday wish,” he chatted as he sat down at the kitchen table. “You know what I’ll wish for? I’ll wish for Daddy to finally come home.”
Unaware of the tears rolling down his mother’s face, he ripped open the red envelop, and began reading out loud,
“Dear Tommy,
Happy Birthday Son! I hope you’re having a great time over there. After all, you are becoming a young gentleman. I miss you terribly, and even though I’m occupied for most of the day, I can’t help but think of you and your mother. Tommy, you better be taking care of her. That’s a big responsibility, but I know you can do. And make sure you never complain about her cooking, because the food over here is not that great. Mostly some meat in gravy. Every day, the cafeteria posts up a menu, and every day, the menu is different. But, the food always tastes the same. So eat your fresh vegetables, and be thankful for them. In one of your mother’s last letters, she mentioned that you’re doing well in school. Keep it up, son. You never know when something you once learned will be needed. Now, don’t forget to say your prayers before bed. Because while you are praying for me, I’ll be here, praying for you. Give your mama a kiss for me.
Love, Daddy”
Tom put the letter down, and looked up. He cleared his throat, trying to swallow the tears that were welling up under his eyes. His eyes wandered over to where his mother was sitting in the first row of pews. Then he gazed at the Flag that was covering the coffin of his father, and the tears finally escaped, causing the red, white, and blue to blur together, until he finally gathered enough strength and continued his speech, “Dad always set me his letters in long, red envelopes, and to me, they were like the Christmas presents that every kid dreams of all year. And every time I received a letter, it felt like a holiday. Like a celebration. Like he was with me. Safe and unharmed, and I would be sure that no gun could kill him. These letters brought me so much joy. The letter I just read was my favorite. It came to me on my birthday when I turned seven. And even though he was always away and he never got to play baseball with me. Or teach me how to drive. Or see me graduate. But now, he’ll be able to watch everything I do from above. I know what he did for our country was worth all the sacrifices he made. My dad and I never spent more than a week at a time together. But I still don’t mind that I got to knowing him through letters.”

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