Harry's Acquaintance and Memorial Day

I like three-day weekends, except this one. Sixteen years ago, Memorial Day weekend became a weekend that will live in my mind forever. Those who know me understand, those who don’t know me, they soon will.

Before that Memorial Day weekend, I most likely, like most of America was looking forward to taking our twin Grandkids camping, enjoying picnics, planting gardens, prepping for the start of summer.


On that rainy Memorial Day weekend Elaine and I lost our son, Ivy lost her brother, and Girl and Boy Twin lost their dad.


That weekend changed a lot of lives. Elaine and I no longer look forward to the “holiday”. Actually, I dislike the entire month of May. I am aware of others that have their own reasons to dislike May. Personally, I don’t know of anyone that died for this country, but I know many hundreds of thousands of families have felt the loss.


My father and Father-in-law served to keep this country free (which allows me to write this “construction language”). While they both made it home, they carried the scars forever Capt. David T. Williams served this country for thirty years. I know firsthand of Capt. Williams notifying a young family in my hometown that their husband, son, and father would not be returning from Vietnam. Capt. Williams carried those scars to his own grave.


My son’s death had nothing to do with saving the country, but it did have to do with changing others. I have a close friend (Harry); I have known for over forty years. Actually, he is my brother’s best friend from high school. Over the years, good and bad, Harry and I have become friends. We see each other once or twice a month and speak on the phone several times weekly.


A month or so ago, Harry was telling me a story about a guy he met in a bar/restaurant while having lunch. Yes, construction workers enjoy having lunch in bars and restaurants. Harry is a retired (sort of) construction worker.


Harry was telling me his acquaintance was from an old northern Colorado family. An old construction family with roots deeply tied to my hometown. Harry told me the maiden name of his new acquaintance’s mother. I started to get a little uncomfortable. I asked Harry what the first name of his new acquaintance.

Me: How old is this guy? Harry: I would guess the late thirties, early forties. Why? Me: I think I might know this guy. Are you going to see him again? Harry: There is a good chance, I see him in there quite a bit. Me: Would you ask him if he knew my son.


I was certain I knew this guy. I was certain this guy’s Mom (who I knew from high school) had called me to inform us she caught her son and ours smoking weed at their house. The boys were in junior high. I was certain my son and this guy were friends.


Harry called me this past week. He told me he had lunch with his acquaintance. Harry told me the guy did know my son. Harry told me the guy told Harry quite a few stories about our son’s and his teen years. And then Harry dropped a bomb, “Monner, he said, we all knew we had to grow up when Alex died.”


Strangely, this was not the only time I have heard similar words. At Alex’s service, a “boy” walked up to me and said, “We didn’t believe you. We didn’t think it could happen. I’m done with it.” I hope he was.


I’m done with this story. It’s raining again. I need to get out of here.