A Quiet Conversation

I was down at the  legion
Knocking back one or two
When in walked an old member
Who fought in World War Two

I got in line behind him
And when he ordered  his brew
I made a signal to the barkeep
I paid for his  too

He turned and said  thank you
I’m on a pension as a vet
1100 dollars monthly
Is all the cash I get

I said to him “no, thank you”
I’m happy to buy your beer
I owe a lot to you
I owe you all that I hold dear

He said to me “t’was nothing”
“you would do the same”
“And I’d do it again”
“If the call ever came”

He looked round the room
And he sipped at his beer
Then he leaned in real close
So just I could hear

“Son, I’ll be honest”
“And I don’t make no bones’
“The kids of today”
“They just ain’t got the stones”

“The stones to step forward”
“To get up and fight”
“To defend flag and country”
“To do what is right”

I said, in most cases
He’d hit the nail on the head
It’s a battle at worst
To get a kid out of bed

The times are a’changing
It was different back then
It took a lot less
To turn boys into men

“A soldier’s a cowboy
He’s one for the books
There’s not many in here
I can tell with one look”

“I just did my duty
No less and no more
War isn’t a game
Where someone keeps score”

He sat back and his eyes closed
Said “the next one’s on me”
“I don’t drink that  much
But, at most I have three”

I accepted his offer
And we talked a bit more
We talked baseball, and race cars
But not of the war

That was the past
And the past is long dead
Except for the pictures
He has in his head

I went up to the bar
And I set up an account
I would cover his tab
To a certain amount

What he did for our country
And what he did for me
Is worth a couple of beer
Or at least, each day….three

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