Life is Like a Cup of Coffee

Yesterday I was doing some grocery shopping. Kids were complaining of a decided lack of sustenance in the pantry, mainly junkfood. I was complaining of a decided laziness in their bones that prevented them from actually cooking what was available. But I was running very low on coffee and creamer and decided my needs outweighed my crankiness, so off I went to Walmart. Why there? because I didn’t feel like putting on make-up, ok??

Anyway, I got some general school supplies, some new anti-wrinkle cream, just random crap. Eventually I make it to the coffee aisle, whereupon I begin to make my selections: Donut House coffee and some hazelnut cappuccino for Eldest. Standing in front of the vast selection of K-cup coffee is an older couple, looking a bit dazed and confused. Having been in a similar circumstance when I first got my Keurig™, I decided to offer any help in picking out coffee. I’m not a connoisseur by any means, but I figured I knew a bit more than they did. I asked them if they needed any help, and the gentleman turned to me to thank me and asked me for advice.

That’s when I noticed his cap. He was a Marine, and had served in WWII and Korea. He was a little stooped, but when I asked him about his service he stood a little more straight as he spoke of his time in the Marines. He never spoke of the gore and the violence, though. He talked about the field, and his friends, and how even now he sometimes put coffee grinds between his gum and cheek so he wouldn’t wake his wife by using the coffeemaker. He talked about how the only fights he had were over who got the first cup of joe before patrol (first one done, was first one out on patrol). Coffee, he said, kept him sane and kept his world going. As I shook his hand to wish him well, he noticed my Aggie ring. He asked what class I was, and then proceeded to tell me of the Aggies he knew from his time in service: the Aggie who rescued cattle at the expense of a truck’s tires; the Aggie who made pigeon stew; the Aggie who sang before battle. He told me that every Aggie he knew was made from something he could never define, but that was easily recognizable. I told him I felt the same way about my Marine friends. He laughed and told me I was probably right. As I thanked him for his service, he asked me to thank my husband for his. When I asked him how he knew my husband was in the service, he pointed to my purse: Hubby’s Purple Heart, which I always carry with me, was sticking out. I laughed and thanked them both for a lovely time spent in the coffee aisle. They waved and wished me a good day.

In truth the medal could have been my dad’s or my brother’s or mine. But he is a gentleman of another era who learned that only men go into combat. His memories will soon leave us without record but that of what he chooses to leave behind. In that moment, I felt very small. I had been in the presence of greatness by virtue of history. I pray his story is told for a long time, and that children learn good things from it, like the reason those men fought over a cup of coffee.

About LC Aggie Sith

Machete-wielding zombie killer when not shopping for shoes. View all posts by LC Aggie Sith

8 responses to “Life is Like a Cup of Coffee

  • mrfixitou812

    Damn, bit dusty in here. May God watch over him, and all who serve/served.

  • Lemur King

    I told Lemurita it is those chance meetings where you find some of the people that live on through our memories. You never know where you may find them, but I pointed out to her that if you pay attention and are lucky you will meet more than a handful of those people, the ones that are special.

    I met one once, an older man who was walking alone and cold on a snowy stretch of road along a frozen lake in the winter. He traveled with me several hours, as far as I could take him down the road, and because of his genuineness and life story, I think I was the luckier. He was no one most would call important yet he was a treasure for his experiences and his dreams.

    You were lucky to find one of those treasures, and one that served our country so humbly, too. Aren’t you glad the kids complained?

  • Dan

    You were fortunate to meet the old marine….but we are growing a new crop of marines that aren’t bad either. I work in healthcare and there is a marine corp training base about a half hour away that rotates a bunch through every other month. Training done right involves injury etc. so I get to frequently meet some marines in the ER….to a man they are great kids who make me proud. It’s a shame the assclowns in DC don’t like them.

  • RabidAlien

    All the years I slav….er….worked in retail, I met, served, and worked alongside some of the best and the worst of humanity. But it was meeting vets from all generations and getting to talk with them and shake their hands that really made the job worthwhile, especially seeing their eyes light up when they mentioned what they did and realized you recognized their ship type or tank or plane or battle. I’ll never forget the expression on the gentleman’s face when I pointed to his hat and said “thank you for your service, sir”. He was wearing a ballcap with the Army Air Corps (pre-AirForce) symbol. He was a bit surprised that I recognized what it was, then told me I’d probably never heard of the plane he flew, the P-38. Which just happens to be my favorite plane of all time! We had a great conversation. And the elderly woman who was making some copies, asked for some help, and as we were getting her copies run off, I noticed what was on the page and said “hey, that looks like Fifinella!” (of the WAAF’s). Another great conversation.

    As for today’s generation, I still try to shake their hands and support them whenever possible, and do what I can to ensure that those I meet, at least, are not given the “Vietnam” treatment. Even the Vietnam vets.

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