Bob Huddleston of Chapel Hill chided me for writing about Mother’s Day on May 8 instead of about the anniversary of the end of the war in Europe during World War II.
I momentarily felt guilty for the oversight. I could have mentioned both.
Not long out of my teens, I was serving in the South Pacific when Adolf Hitler and mistress Eva Braun committed suicide as Allied troops were entering Berlin – he by shooting himself, she by drinking poison.
Bob Huddleston, a P-47 fighter pilot, helped bring about the victory that led to their demise.
My buddies and I were, of course, exhilarated to get the news of victory in Europe, knowing that more firepower would be diverted to defeating the Japanese. But, in our minds, the victory in Europe was only the prelude to the main act, the coming surrender of Japan.
I’ll admit that many of the troops in our theater of war had long carried a chip on their shoulders, feeling that we were given second billing by the news media, the War Department and the public in general.
When the atom bomb was dropped, assuring Japan’s soon and certain defeat, an incredible scene was enacted in our squadron area. Grown men embraced each other, some sobbing with joy, others with tears streaming down their cheeks. We would live!
There will always be “war and rumors of war,” and mothers will always be waving sons and daughters off to battle. Mothers are entitled to their second-Sunday-in-May tributes. Mothers are the caretakers of humanity.
I recently used the word “iconic” to describe the person and personality of the late Rev. W.W. Finlator, longtime pastor of Raleigh’s Pullen Memorial Baptist Church. I’ve since been wondering if iconic was an adequate description of such a remarkable personality.
I asked the minister’s son, Wallace, how best to describe his father’s persona.
“If I were to distill my father’s manifold character into one word, it would be gentle,” he responded.
During the current presidential campaign, one-word appellations of the candidates are as common as fleas on a dog’s back.
How many times have I heard the talking heads on TV refer to GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump as “bombastic”?
A word with “bomb” in it seems apropos, as Mr. Trump is indeed “explosive.”
My dictionary defines bombastic as using “high-sounding language with little meaning to impress.” That also seems to frequently fit The Donald.
Try thinking of one word that best describes yourself. Or, if you have the courage, ask a friend to come up with a one-word image of you.
Many years ago, at a newspaper convention, my then fourth-grade daughter, Melinda, came rushing into our hotel room from the swimming pool.
“Guess what!” she said breathlessly. “I’ve just made a wonderful new friend at the pool. She has charisma!”
Now there’s a word you can wear with satisfaction!
The state legislature’s ban of the Charlotte bathroom ordinance causes some of us to wonder, who are these people making laws as casually as making pork sausage?
And then I remember something author Kurt Vonnegut once wrote: “True terror is to wake up one morning and realize that your high school class is running the country.”
I’m beginning to wonder if some of our state legislators even graduated from high school.
Speaking of best friends, as we were recently, reader Jim Richmond reminds us that friendships can involve strange bedfellows.
“He has been my best friend since First Grade, one of several best friends from the era when a person could have more than one,” Jim writes. “Politically we couldn’t be farther apart. His son jokes that his Dad listens to Rush all day and Fox News all night.
“He claims Bill Clinton made millions of dollars selling drugs at the Little Rock airport, ‘something everybody knows.’ He thinks I am a liberal, though no real liberal I know would think me one.
“So when we get together we know not to talk politics. Our conversation takes up just as if it never left off, something we put on and take off like old, comfortable bedroom shoes. We both know we can count on each other in time of trouble although I know he might want a little interest – a nod now and then to his conservative views.”
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