Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Guardian Angels/ "It's A Wonderful Life"

This Saturday, Oct. 2 is the feast day of the Guardian Angels. Many would say the whole idea of Guardian Angels is laughable, a work of fiction. Perhaps it is but I prefer to think not. Indulge me, please. I couldn't talk about Guardian Angels without bringing up Frank Capra's "Its A wonderful Life". This story of  a man saved from suicide by an Angel called Clarence was first thought to be a failure on the part of Frank Capra, some even called it Capra-Corn, has ended up being one of the most inspirational films which is always played around Christmas time. I have wondered if this isn't some divine intervention taking a seemingly failure and letting it raise to a position of greatness so that an important moral, a way of life can be learned from this "failure". Anyway, I believe in Guardian Angels. I have one as do you. My Guardian Angel's name is Junior and he has been with me forever. When Junior was first assigned to me he thought it would be an easy task but he was wrong. I and he thought my life would be short and he could go into semi-retirement. Wrong again. Just the other day we were reminiscing about the time he saved me from getting court marshaled.
Some 53 years ago when I was in the Army we had a change of company commanders. CWO Marion C. Durban was replaced by WO Scottie Haynes.  Durban really liked me. Haynes really hated me and set out to make life miserable. At the time I had a medical profile that said I couldn't stand for more than 20 minutes without sitting for 20 minutes. I rarely used it except for KP, in fact it got me off the KP roster. Scottie insisted that I go back on and when I sat for my break and the Mess Sargent read my profile he threw me out of the mess hall and demanded a replacement. Scottie sent me up to the Medics where I got the idea, from Jr. I think, to let the Doctor's know that Scottie was challenging their medical decision which led to a full bird Colonel calling him and chewing him out. When I returned to the Orderly Room I overheard Scottie telling his First Sargent to take me outside and ride me until I broke so he could bring me up on court marshal charges. Well, the First Sargent was not a nice guy. He had me Policing, Army for cleaning up, on my hands and knees. He suddenly got the idea that I should crawl under the barracks which were on stilts and clean up everything on my stomach. I told him I didn't think my legs could stand this pressure but you know how persuasive Sargent's can be and so I crawled under to the middle of the barracks. I was laying face down in the dirt thinking , This is a fine mess you've got me into Junior" when Junior gave me this great idea. I started to scream and yell that my legs and back had cramped up and I couldn't move. I started yelling for the Medics. Now the Sarge. remembered how the full bird threatened to bust everybody who challenged his medical diagnoses and so he chickened out and told me to crawl out. I responded I couldn't and he'd have to crawl under and gingerly get me out and then get me to the dreaded full bird Colonel awaiting to bust them all down to Privates. So he in his Khakis nicely cleaned and pleated and me in my OD's came out by him gently pulling a screaming Private out from under the barracks. When he finally stood up his pleats were gone, his face was dirty as was his once clean uniform. When Scottie saw I was insistent on going to the medics he insisted that I stay in the barracks and try and get some rest and gave me a three day pass starting the next day. Scottie never did grow to like me although I must admit he did amuse me. His Sargent's never seemed to bother me after that. Thinking about the good old days gave Jr., my Guardian Angel and me a good laugh. But don't think this is a once in a life time thing meant only for the young and foolish.

About two months ago I was on my morning walk, around 6:30 AM and as I crossed a street that had a full stop sign I noticed out of the corner of my eye something that scared me, Jr. was screaming watch out. I  made a move to get out of the way of an oncoming car that caught me in the left knee and I fell down, rather gently. The driver got out of the car, a young guy a little younger than my children, and as I was holding my knee he stood over me and asked; "Are you hurt?" to which I replied, "I don't know yet.". He offered his hand to help me up and I yelled at him to get away from me since he did enough damage already. Going through my mind was how can I make this a profitable happening and then Jr. got to me and said , "He could be one of your sons." In fact one of my sons did something similar some years back and the guy let him off the hook. I thought, "Thanks Jr. for nothing.". I flexed my leg, tested my back, shook his hand and told him not to be so stupid and run Stop signs and left. I am fine, poorer but OK and Jr. is happy. He did remind me that he helped with that athletic move that helped me get out of harms way and he softened my fall. Yes my Guardian Angel is always on the job. How can I not believe in him? How can you not believe in yours?
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