Thursday, March 02, 2006

"Stay away from that racist." The warning was clear, blunt and hostile. The sergeant getting the warning was African-American, the person he was being warned against eating lunch with was my dad, another sergeant. The guy giving the warning had an extra stripe or two, but was part of the squadron.

"He's a Mormon *&* and you know how they are."

"Yeah, I know" replied the sergeant. "When the shippers screwed up and I went more than two months without my car showing up, Marsh here was the only person who would give me a ride to work. Every morning he drove over from Landstuuhl, crossed the base, out the other side, to my house, picked me up and drove us both to work. Every night he drove me home. Never asked me for a penny, never hassled me, the only one of you man-jacks who doesn't swear at me."

"I know who the racists are, and I know who the Christians are in this group. I'll sit with Swampy here."

Made me proud of my dad. Kind of like how I felt on learning that when my grandfather's first pastor joined the KKK my grandfather found another church. Sometimes actions are the only true message.

6 comments:

john f. said...

Very insightful post. Thank you. I hope we can all be the kind of examples for our religion that your dad was!

annegb said...

Yup, I'm proud to know you.

Téa said...

Amen and amen!

(is there a story on how he got the name 'Swampy'?)

Stephen said...

Last name "Marsh" ... worked in "the swamp" at Denang ... thereafter called "Swampy" ever after.

He did six months forward fire control for the Korean ROK dragon battalion. Never hunted again after that. But he could do his Expert qualifications on full auto.

Anonymous said...

My dear friend Stephen, from the moment we met on the internet I always knew our friendship was destined to last. This is one of those reasons. Thanks for sharing so much of who you are with everyone. This is a great example for me to teach my students in my cross-cultural course. I'd like to use it with your permission. Blessings,

Stephen said...

You are more than welcome to use it in class.

Best,

Stephen