The Woodsman Returns

Eighteen months after the homecoming parades, the woodsman limped into his family’s yard and up the porch, where he dropped into a rocking chair. Pelted with questions, he waved them away.

“That Kaiser Bill,” he croaked, “He was a rough ’un” — and he never spoke of the war again. Over decades, family members were able to fill in some details. He lived, raising corn, beans and two sons, who went back to fight the Hun again. The woodsman had his Croix de Guerre made into a watchfob. He died just after V-E Day, 1945, and his dying words were:

“Don’t get beat, ever, by anything; anyone. You might get killed, but never get beat. Don’t never, ever give up. If your country calls, you answer her! And never ask for nothing but God’s light to see by.”

On Veteran’s Day, November 11th, if you haven’t got anyone else to honor, remember the woodsman. I will.