Monday, September 13, 2010

Heroes and Saints Among Us

Audy Murphy was the most decorated solider of WWII and remains one of our most revered heroes of any one who follows history closely. Babe Ruth dead since 1947 yet his name is the most recognized of all sports figures, world wide. Mother Theresa, we all know this little yet strong women who only wanted to give one person at a time a dignifed death and has grown into a giant of our time. Yes heroes and saints among us, in the world. But if we stop for a moment and refelect I would bet we have herores and saints among us that the world may never know but are just as heoric never-the-less, and I would start with our very own families. I have a few I'd like to mention.

My Grandmother was born 1875. In 1889 she found herself in an arranged marriage and one year later she had her first child. Her first seven children died between birth and three years old, the next six lived. My grandfather was not a nice man an abuser and he died in his early fifties leaving his relatively young wife in poverty and a single mom. The poverty the family experienced was so intense that it could be prepared to a fire which left burning sensations all over the body. She once tried for public assistance and was told that the children could be sent to foster homes but that was all she could expect. She practically threw the social worker out and proceeded to keep her family together by cleaning offices while she was a janitor all for practically no salary to think of. Yet she kept her family together until they were old enough to chip in. Now I mean like my Uncle Rock who at seven delived groceries for a nickel a day and the girls who at 12 or so left school for a full time job. On top of all that she was a sickly women yet fought through it all for her family never railing at God, well maybe just once but He understood. She died in 1947 justly revered by her children and all the family. I wasn't the best of grandchildren but she inspired me and still does.

One of my cousins belongs to the greatest generation that Tom Brokaw always talks about. He's around Eighty-four now but when he was about nineteen he was in the middle of the Battle of The Bulge, one of the great turning points of WWII. All of a sudden all hell burst around him and bombs went off, bullets flew by and he got hit and was almost left for dead on the battlefield but was saved because one medic insisted that he be brought back to triage rather then the medic who was also hit. Peculiar, my cousin never knew the man's name who saved him but he'll never forget him. My cousin took a year to come back to health,after much rehab and surgery. He was left with two bullets next to his heart that couldn't be removed, if they were to move the wrong way he'd drop dead. He had schrapnel throughout his body and still does. Yet he lived and still does live a very productive life. He still experiences much pain but you'd never know it since he always has a smile and looks to help who he can never forgetting that God and that medic gave him another chance and he's got to use it well or else it would be a waste.

A slightly different story about a cousin of mine who gains my admiration because he gave up something he wanted badly for something he considered to be of greater value. He was a baseball player who was picked up for a modest sum, this was before the bonus baby thing. Now those of us who ever played the game think, as we watch the game being played, that we can do what the ballplayers are doing but we can't, only the cream rises to the top and only the creme de la creme get to the majors. Keep in mind those who play in the minors are still the cream of the crop, the pyramid gets narrow at the top. So this cousin was one of the cream yet he found himself perhaps not being recognized and the alternative was to go from town to town yet keeping in baseball. I want to remind you Buck Showalter, the ex Yank Manager and present Baltimore Oriel's manager never made the big leagues as a player and spent seventeen years in the minors a tough life on wives and families. But these guys were following their dreams. You have to be somewhat selfish to do this, yet it is a dream realized, hard to give up. Well this cousin of mine, decided to give it up because he didn't want to do what Bucky Showalter did and become a baseball bum. Along the way he met a girl fell in love and realized to be a father and a husband his dream had to take a backseat to his greater dream of living a good life with the girl he loved. The decision to chuck it all coming from a guy with all that talent took a lot of guts. I'm not sure I could have done that. Oh and by the way for any of you oldtimers, he played a bit with the Bushwicks at Dexter Park, a damn good semi-pro team that might of been classified as high minors. At times while being hard to give up dreams, it is necessary to scale even bigger heights.

I guess we really don't need headlines to find heroes and saints all we have to do is look around us.  
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