I’m gonna start this column off on a somber — but thankful — note. My uncle, Ellwyn Worley, died last week in the Veterans Home and Hospital in Mt. Vernon, Mo.
Uncle Ellwyn was 94 and an injured survivor of World War II’s Battle of the Bulge. He nearly lost his leg, but the doctors saved it. However, that leg pained and troubled him through his long, productive life. He was the last member of my parent’s generation in our family. He outlived them all.
He was an accountant/business manager by profession and served a term as the national president of his business organization. He was a whiz at numbers, a skill that I often envied. He could just glance at a long column of numbers and then write the correct answer at the bottom.
Uncle Ellwyn fit like a glove into the avid card and game players on my mother’s side of the family. He would always be a member of the card games that continued all weekend — day and night — at family gatherings.
Uncle Ellwyn laughed and smiled a lot during his life. Perhaps, it was because he was grateful to have survived WWII, when so many thousands of his peers did not.
I recall two stories about Uncle Ellwyn’s recovery from his grievous war wound. First one, when he was in a body cast from head to toe, the military transferred him back to the states for treatment. However, it insisted on following military protocol that every transported veteran had to wear a parachute on the trip across the Atlantic. Uncle Ellwyn wryly commented that, if his plane crashed, a parachute would make no difference at all because he was headed to the deep briny bottom like a body cast sinker.
The second story I recall happened during his rehab. In trying to find enough of his own skin to cover his leg wound, one step was to grow one arm to a roll of skin on his belly. He wuz mobile during that time and he and my aunt and my mother were eating at a diner in Kansas City when a dear old lady hobbled up to my uncle, who looked like he had his arm in a sling, and wondered aloud to my uncle how he got his obvious war injury.
As the family narrative goes, without a sign of humor crossing his face, my uncle patiently related this story: He was assigned to the chaplain service and was responsible for cranking the pipe organ during in-the-field church services. During one service, just as he got the old pipe organ up to full capacity, the engine on it backfired and the crank recoiled and broke my uncle’s arm.
The little old lady replied how terrible that accident was and then thanked my uncle for his service.
So, as I sit here this moment writing this column, I am once again reminded of how thankful and grateful I am for my uncle’s life and for all those who served in The Greatest Generation.
I’m thankful to Uncle Ellwyn and his generation that I’m still a free American and that speaking German, Japanese or Italian is optional, not mandatory.
I can only observe that I wish the fervent protesters, of all political stripes, knew enough of history to be thankful for the members of The Greatest Generation. It is only because of their effort and sacrifice that we have the right to express ourselves openly.
My Uncle Ellwyn will be buried with full military honors in Springfield, Mo. I’ll be there. Thankful and grateful for his life.
Well, the drought in the Flint Hills is definitely over. We got about seven inches of rain the past few days and my pond, that was near dry a month ago, came within a few inches of over-topping the dam. The ponds have been replenished, which is good. What’s bad is the flooding ruined much of the area’s bumper crop of soybeans. Now harvest looks like a salvage operation from the flood waters.
Heck, we even had to cancel our weekly Old Boar’s Breakfast at the Saffordville School. We couldn’t find enuf row boats to get everyone to the island school. Just kidding. But we did have to cancel because of the high waters.
A good friend of mine has been bothered by unsolicited cell phone calls from so-called “comfort women” from overseas. He gets enuf of them that his patience is wearing thin.
Well, last week, during a card game, this friend received a cell phone call from a number he didn’t recognize. He said to his card playing friends, “Watch this.” He answers his phone, hears an unfamiliar woman’s voice, and booms into the phone “Is this another one of those sex calls?”
After a few seconds, his eyes got wide, his face blanched, and he stuttered, “Walmart Pharmacy? Oh, I’m sorry. What did you say about my insurance?”
His friends almost stroked out from laughing so hard.
Gonna close out for this week with several words of wisdom. As a poultry flock owner and fresh egg eater, I can tell you that a chicken is the only pet that poops our breakfast. Also, cows and elephants teach us that it’s impossible to reduce your weight by eating greens and walking. Have a good ‘un.