This morning we headed for Winston for a Doctor’s appointment at the VA clinic. While we were there we met with Mrs. Melba Tesh who asked me to sign some of my books for some of her friends and mine. It drew me back to remember all the good old times we had at Pine Grove and the special people who made that such a good place to serve. It was a heart-warming experience. And as Yogie use to say:“It’s like deja vu all over again.”
When coming from the Dr.’s office and heading for lab work I stop dead in my tracks when I saw a couple of old Jarheads wearing tee shirts that indicated that they had been in Khe Sanh back in ’68. I stopped to talk with my band of brothers cause, as they say, we chewed some of the same dirt. I was in 3rd Battalion, 26 Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division. We secured the perimeter of the Combat Base at Khe Sanh. The two Marines I met served with 2/9 who secured Hill 951 just to the right and out front of our position. Both of them had been wounded at Khe Sanh during the Tet Offensive in Apirl ’68. I was wounded the night we were airlifted from Khe Sanh to Quang Tri, when seven rockets hit our tents around midnight. I am surprised we didn’t see each other at the 106th Army General Hospital in Yokohama, Japan. We may have and just didn’t know it. It is amazing all the feelings, both good and bad, that short conversation brought to my mind. It was as Yogie said: “It’s like deja vu all over again.”
My trip to the VA included fasting blood work. My appointment was at 9:00am but we got there the usual thirty minutes prior to the scheduled time. So they took me a little early. Not eating also meant no medicines until I could find some food to protect my stomach. I decided (don’t really know why) that since it was getting near 11:30, that we could eat a late breakfast at What-A-Burger in Greensboro. We walk into this place and it was like going back in time… like the rest of the morning had been. They had an old television set on the end of the counter. Guess what was on? Yep, Bonanza. Mr. Peabody, set the way back machine to the 1960’s. The booth we sat in was old, tattered and tight. It reminded Shirley and me of the time we moved to Triplett UMC in Mooresville. The first Saturday night after moving in we went to the What-A-Burger Drive-In and parked at one of those window side speakers. And yes, the music they were playing was all the hits of the 1960’s. Wow, those were some good times with that family of great church people. One of the funny things that happened was as we were in the midst of unloading the old U-Haul truck, Pete Belk (Chairperson of the Trustees) came by and called me out into the yard. He said, with a hint of mischief in his eyes: “ Preacher, we are in the midst of a drought. It hasn’t rained in seven weeks. You have two weeks to make it rain or you are out of here.” I will never forget these special people. As Yoggie said:“It’s like deja vu all over again.”
I’m not going to tell you that longing for the past is bad and you shouldn’t do it. Don’t live there or let it negatively affect your life. Let it have that positive influence on you because it contains a lot of people who helped to make you who you are; teachers, friends, family, church life, special events that brought clarity to your vision of integrity, honor and self-assurance.
Let me suggest that we take the time to stop our busy lives for a moment and set your Way-Back Machine to special times and events of your past which changed your life, and walk with people who made the difference because they crossed your path. And let it be as Yoggie said:“It’s like deja vu all over again.”
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