Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I was in Sam's yesterday. I only had a few minutes - the kids were at piano lessons and I needed to get back to pick them up. I was on the soap aisle looking for body wash and found it but couldn't get to it; an elderly man was standing in my way. He looked perplexed and completely oblivious to my presence, or my need for bath soap, or my time crunch. He just stood there, staring at the shelves.

Hoping not to startle him but also hoping to get his attention so I could reach around him, I said, "Hello." He turned to me and asked if I knew about some stomach pill that used to be right here. He said it was in a purple bottle and started with an O. I didn't, and said it was probably on the other aisle over where the OTC medicines were. "Really, sir, I think the next aisle will be your best bet." He shuffled on, looking for his medicine.

He was an ordinary older man looking for his pills. I should have been able to move along with my business, but I couldn’t. He was wearing a hat emblazoned with WWII Veteran and an American flag. As I scrambled to get the soap and cheese and notepads (don't you love Sam's?) I couldn't stop thinking of that man. I ran into him again a few rows down and he still didn't have his pills. All I could think was, Veterans’ Day is tomorrow; for crying out loud, the man is a WWII vet. The least I can do is try to track down the medicine for him.

I didn't have much to go on: purple bottle, name starts with O, helps with stomach problems. I searched the few aisles I thought would be the best bet but came up empty. I know, it would be a much better story if I’d found the pills. But they were nowhere to be found, and quite honestly, I’m not sure the gentleman knew exactly what he was looking for. Regardless, I did try and I’m thankful I did. I got to spend several minutes talking with someone who gave up a portion of his life to earn my freedom. Giving up a few minutes of my day pales in comparison. No, there is no comparison.

Thank you, veterans. Thank you for serving your country, for serving me. And a special thank you to my family members who served: Dad (Air Force), my father-in-law Chuck and Sean's uncle Beau (National Guard), Sean's Aunt Suzie (US Army Nurse Corps), Sean's Uncle John (Air Force), my cousin Dawn (Navy JAG Corps) and my cousin Beth’s husband, Norm who is currently serving in the Marines.

Happy Veterans’ Day.