I can't explain why, but lately my mind has been filled with recollections, some good and some bad and a few in the that silver-grey area of ambiguity. One memory I have goes back to my childhood. I recall an adult, a neighbourhood guy who was loved by all, both kids and grown-ups alike. He was the best parent on the block, Mr. Keane was. His kindness and generosity touched nearly everyone. To me and my buddies he patiently taught us how to play baseball or he took us ice skating, in short an all round great person. On top of that, he was always good to his son Patrick, who was also the best of us.
But Mr. Keane had a dark story from his past that he didn't keep secret. See, during the war he was an ensign in the U.S. Navy working out of a ship in the South Pacific. He and his buddies got drunk one night and missed their boat embarking from a harbor. It might be easy to see where the story goes, but the ship got hit in some major naval battle and every crew member died.
I don't know why, but Mr. Keane's life was never filled with bitterness nor guilt nor did he try to hide from his past. It seems as if he was a better man because of what happened, and now, after all these years, I think I know why. Maybe to make his own life livable he decided to be the best person he possibly could be, always treat others with kindness, generosity, and respect. Maybe this was his way of honouring the memory of those who perished, at the time young men just like himself. I guess all soldiers should just miss out on war. But if they did, there would be no war at all. Imagine that kind of world.
Poetry Pantry #363
42 minutes ago