Of foxholes and diners


Men in foxholes and diners change.

Old men hobble to the diner this morning tapping their knotty canes along the walk; their faces tired and haggard. No joy.

But at their table they become young boys, teenagers really, but with deeper laughs, knowing looks, wise insights and experience lines on their faces. They eat their toast and jive ’bout “II” and “Korea.”

White and Black, brothers all. Foxholes will make men brothers and differences recede. Diners keep them together and inject vitality.

Crazy stories: showers once a week, using teletype, warming food on a truck engine.

“Remember when…we fooled that teacher…his sister got killed…we hung out on the corner…we could buy a whole bag of candy with a quarter…we hopped the train…”

Sprinkled between these stories are remembrances of friends no longer with him,”He’s dead, she’s sick, he’s lost his mind.”

The coffee’s drunk, the bill paid. On the street now they’re just some old forgotten men, a retiree, a social security check, a grandfather making due with a fixed income. But at the diner they are brothers, men of wisdom and power–a generation of courage who gave for our freedoms.

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