Monday, June 26, 2017

So... I Shook His Hand...

While standing the other day at the luggage turnstiles in Las Vegas's airport among what had to be over 2 thousand people I noticed him from across the large room.  He was standing quietly beside what I was soon to find out was his wife.

The people bustled around them, hugging their found travelers or Sons, Daughters, Friends and whomever had arrived for a visit.  But they stood there alone, no one there to greet them nor help them if there was a need.

I excused myself from the person that was waiting with me for our incoming relative and made my way across the room.  As I approached, I read the emblem and the name of the ship that was on his ballcap that he had served on.  I smiled and I extended my hand in fellowship as another sailor and introduced myself.

"Veteran Petty Officer John Glass Sir... I just wanted to Thank You for your time you gave to save our country." He took my hand with a smile and held it strong.

"This young lady with you? Can I assume she waited for you at home back then?"

She nodded and I gave her my thanks also.  A lot of people don't realize what woman like her have and still do go through during those times.

I kidded with him about serving on a Aircraft Carrier and how I didn't think I could have handled being with that many people on one ship.

He smiled and asked what type of ship I had been on and I shared that it had been one of those "little bitty" Destroyers that followed his ship around all the time.  He smiled and said that he could remember standing on fantail of his carrier and looking back at a Destroyer that followed them about a mile or so back serving "Life Guard Duty" during one of their Flight Operations and thinking "no way would he ever be on a ship that small"

We laughed, we both smiled and watched as the luggage started making it's way towards us on the turnstile.

I asked "how many pieces do you have? and he said "Only one, we're only in town for a couple of days. Then he looked away quietly as if not wanting me to see his face.

"We're here to say our goodbyes to one of his best friends who had served with him" came the answer from his wife.

I nodded and understood the reason now for their travels...

"Here it comes now", he said pointing out the small bag and I stepped up and pulled it off the luggage carousel for him...

"Aw ya didn't need to do that" he said quietly regaining his composure.

Sir... If he wound have been able to met you here, he would have done the same right?  It's my honor....

Before they turned to leave, I handed him my business card... "If there is anything I can do while ya'll are in town.  My numbers on the card...

He smiled, and she took it and put it in her purse with "He'll lose it for sure, let me put it where I know we can get it if needed.  Thank you Petty Officer Glass..."

They turned and started to walk away, but then he turned again and asked "What's your first name son?

My name is John, but my good friends call me Johnny Sir.

"Take care Johnny,  Mine is James, never did like that "Sir" title.  And His name was Walter, we all called him Walt."

I smiled back as we shook hands again, this time a little stronger. Then they walked away as I walked over back to my friend and we we watched them go towards the door, her hand holding him at the left elbow while he pulled the rolling suitcase with the other arm.

"Who were they? he asked.

"Oh just someone I just got the privilege to meet" I said as we watched the exit door closed behind them..

"They were in the Navy... a long time ago"... I replied, as I closed my eyes for just a second and threw them a prayer....

New friends can be made so easily....


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