What is patience? In my handy College Funk and Wagnalls Dictionary, patience is described as “The act of waiting calmly for someone or something.” Now that we know what it is, can anyone tell me if you have patience? I used to have a lot of patience before I got older.
When I was a young boy, I was taught that patience was a virtue. (My Dad was responsible for me even knowing what patience meant.) I remember when I would ask for a nickel for a candy bar, my Pop would say something like, “If you ask me again, I’m going to teach you some patience.” Maybe it wasn’t the way teachers worked back then, but when I tested his patience by asking for a nickel, his method was quicker than the teacher but it worked. I almost gave up candy for a while.
During this lockdown we just went through, I’ll bet there were a lot of folks that had their patience tested when the “guvmint” would say, “Wear your mask, wash your hands and get back 6 feet.” It’s also easy to say, “Stay at home!” But the folks that say that surely couldn’t have small children who just don’t understand why they can’t go play. Those parents know the true meaning of patience.
I’m not a big believer in anything told to us by politicians because a lot of folks just lost their patience. I tell you these things because I often meet people who have no patience. Put that with parents of children who don’t really understand and lack the mental aptitude of patience and you will have gained a few insights.
I don’t get angry nor suffer as I did during this lockdown we just went through. I’ll bet there were a lot of folks that had their patience tested when the politicians would tell us not to do something and then we would see them violating their own orders.
When my first year in Vietnam came around, I learned a little more patience. In those days you stayed in Vietnam for a year every time you went over there. Believe me, the soldiers could count the days until they get back on the plane to come home. The countdown started as the doors of the plane were opened and you started sweating due to the heat and humidity over there.
When you greeted a fellow soldier by saying hello, the return greeting was made using their assignment “104 days, sir!” or “85 days, sir,” they would respond. And yes! I did count the days, even though I asked to be assigned to the country.
My patience is again being tested. I am going to take a vacation in a few short weeks. The trip has been planned for a long time. I can’t tell you the exact day or where because of other circumstances, but the first thing we thought of when Newsom locked up California was, “Will this affect our vacation?”
Then, as the tickets were turned back to the airline, we had a heck of a time because we couldn’t just ask for our seat when our country was going to keep us under quarantine for some future date. This episode in my life helps me understand what patience means. My pop would have been proud.
My Beautiful Bride has also learned about patience. She was stuck at home with a quarantined man of a certain age who thought that he didn’t have to get off the couch. She was a saint and gave me another reason to love her. However, if for some reason we have to cancel this vacation, I’m moving to another state. I’m not worried about that because her patience has been tested over and over the past couple of years and she always walks around showering me in love and patience.
Did you know Monday is Memorial Day? Yep! We have made it around the sun once again. Gonzales usually shows the world how we honor our fallen on this day. This year will be a little different. We’ll still have the ceremony at the cemetery, but it will be a little shorter this year. Maybe next year we will all be doing the things that we always have in the past. May I just have a moment to address a personal experience that happens every Memorial Day?
People who know me know that I served and being patriotic they almost always say, “Thanks for your service” or “Have a happy Memorial Day!” I know these greetings are heartfelt and I should just be happy because they are honoring our dead. But it is not a “happy” day. It is a somber day chosen on the last Monday of May by Gen. John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic in 1868.
The Civil War was so devastating to our country that it was difficult to find a place or town that didn’t have their own Memorial Day. In Gonzales, we have always honored our lost with a special function that was observed out at the Gonzales Cemetery, where the fallen are honored with flags on their graves, a firing squad and their names being read so that all present know we do not forget the fallen.
Memorial Day is for those who lost their lives during combat, for those who put their duty ahead of their own aspirations. They are not forgotten, they will never be forgotten.