They came to my door today, seven years ago, solemn faces with unbearable news. News no father should ever hear.
Help? What help can you give me?
Microsecond flashbacks fill the mind of a staggering body as the world blurs and ceases to exist.
The grim look of righteous indignation and commitment on his face when he bounced into my home office a little after the 9/11 attack stating, "I leave in ten days.'
Bewildered, I asked, "For where?" And he answered, "Afghanistan, they shouldn't have done that."
The proud smile of his first fish caught, the look of thankful appreciation for squeezing another box of .22 ammo out of the family budget, the satisfaction of the milk he'd milked with his own two hands being 'drinking milk,' his mischievous deadly aim with the Sweet Gum seeds 'atomic cannon' from high in the tree house, relishing the homemade Blackberry syrup on pancakes hand-picked the day before, the sullen frown from being scolded for not telling his father he'd outgrown his shoes, the determined grunt of unasked or expected to unload a bag of feed that weighed almost as much as he did, sharing life and swimming at the water hole with 'his Rebel,' the look of devilment when no one could catch them playing tag, steadying a step ladder so his sister could pick the topmost okra, his quick smile and quicker lending a hand to those less fortunate, his mischievous grin when he 'gotchaed,', a father's panic as we raced to Longview only to find out one of the nation's best plastic surgeon's had left for Texarkana - so off we went to make certain there was no scar on your nose from the rock at school, off on the 'Brownie Trail' with the herd and late for supper....
All memories, all gone.
Gone, but not forgotten S/Sgt Brian Lee Mintzlaff.
A son any man would be proud to call his own.