For God, Country, Mom, and Apple Pie
by Faye Sizemore - May 8, 2012
The old man seemed not to notice the buzz of the green blow
flies as he lifted the lid off the dumpster and flipped it back
out of his view...
It was hot. The heat index must have
been 110 degrees. The man was sweating profusely. He could
hardly stand it. Dan had told him he sure wouldn't have survived
the Nam... and he had agreed, wiping the moisture from his brow
only to have it appear again almost immediately.
MacDonald's shift had just changed and so had the food in their
warmers... not to mention their prepared salads from the noontime
meal. This sweet dumpster held it all.
Inside there might
be food fit for a king... or a trip to the hospital if it had sat
too long... you took your chances.
He let his nose judge
the freshness of the contents before he stuffed the packages
into his crumpled paper bag. Damn, he said... if they'd only toss
a few drinks out too but I guess one couldn't ask for more than
was already there... stale hamburger sandwiches and lots of fries...
even a few crushed small apple pies... He knew old Dan loved apple
Gently lowering the cover he started with his
prizes back down the alleyway from whence he had come... It had
been worth the effort today and he smiled as he went along...
clutching his bag to his chest.
A small black, and once
white, dog pranced out to meet him. “You again,” he said “here
you go” tossing a container of fries at the dog's feet. I know
you're too dang short to reach in that dumpster and git yore
own. Now leave me alone; the rest belongs to me and ol' Dan'.
With that he walked faster down the alley... only slowing when
his limp became more pronounced. The smell from the bag spurred
him onward. He was tempted to nibble a bit on the way but that
wouldn't be right. Not with Dan countin' on him to bring supper
Dan couldn't scrounge like he could, not with
both of his legs gone, blown away in a Vietnam jungle long ago.
He used to have artificial limbs but they wore out and Dan
wouldn't go about the VA doctors anymore. Dan had told him when
they had first met and shared that first bottle that the VA just
didn't understand and he was tired of treatments that went
nowhere so he was content to stay here with his friend and sleep
in the alley behind the MacDonald's Restaurant...
Here's to a good meal today, my friend. Apple pie Dan? Dan...?”
Dan didn't answer... Dan would never answer again... It was to be a
lonely meal tonight.
Faye Sizemore makes her home in the beautiful foothills of South Carolina with Grant, the love of her life, as well as three dogs, two cats, two parakeets and four nanny goats. Grant is a Vietnam Veteran having served with the US Marines in 1968-69 and is, of course, Faye's muse. Faye is deeply interested in Veterans' Affairs and Veterans' Causes. She is very proud of Grant and her poetry is an off-shoot of that pride.
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