My short story about two elderly veterans appears in All Gave Some, (Red Engine Press, 2014, 457 pps) an anthology of fiction and nonfiction military themes. Writers range from well-known historians and novelists to first-time authors. The 2014 edition is produced under the auspices of the Military Writers Society of America.
It begins: Today, while giving CPR to a bed of roses that aren’t surviving a sudden heat wave, I kept thinking about Harry, who’d come to Florida to visit me from up north to get away from what turned out to be a punishing winter on a lake, where winds pushed upwards of forty miles-an-hour, blowing water into huge blue-gray translucent ice sculptures. Even he, a marine who’d survived a Siberian winter, looked to interrupt the cycle of winter days he couldn’t tell apart. He went back this morning, but left me with the thought that old men have always seen more than they can explain, have done things that in hindsight they had no control over, or at the time knew it for what it was and did it anyway.
Harry is eighty, I’m seventy-five, both of us weathered and widowed with grown kids that live halfway across the country. When he visits our afternoons are quiet. He generally reads for a few hours and then naps, where he’s been heard to mumble in his sleep. I work in my garden, waiting for the hour to push past six, when a glass of wine after supper gets us BS-ing about what we’ve seen or lived through, something others may have missed — age has a way of deluding old men into believing that they didn’t live ordinary lives. Yesterday, at four, I heard him moaning; went to see what the matter was; and found him apparently having a nightmare. I decided to relax the six o’clock prohibition and uncork the wine sooner rather than later.