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Let me introduce myself
I'm Robert K. Wesson,
Sgt. Retired
I like to say the K was for killer,
But, in fact it was for Knowlton
I have no idea why,
Nobody in our family named that, as far as I know.
Anyway, that's out of the way.
35 years served. Can't give away anymore information than that, it's a national secret. I can say, I can cook a mean chipped beef for 1100 men though.

I served in WWII, lost a lot of friends. I'm 97 years young now, as they like to say. I don't, I gave up counting years ago when I lost my wife, but, folks round here like to put on a show every year I get closer to 100. They wheel a cake into me, have me blow out the candles and then I head down stairs to the commissary for a beer. A light beer mind you, but, still a beer. Anything harder messes with my meds.
Personally, I think they give me the beer to shut me up, puts me to sleep in no time. I'm on pills for blood pressure, diabetes, headaches, one to make me ***, one to make me ****. Won't get into those now, rather unsavory things to chat about.

As I said, I served in the big one, came back relatively unscathed. No physical issues that I know of, but, mentally, I saw things no one should. Things that stay with you for ever. I wasn't front line per se, but, I can't tell you what I did, it's a national secret. I can say though, 100 loaves of bread, I can do trouble at all.
Around here, I'm Grampa Bob, or Gramps, depending on who is working. Not many from my generation here now. Oh, here? I'm at a military home outside of Kingston. Some days, it's great, others, I wished I was gone years back. I wish I was gone in the war sometimes, but, then I would never have met my wife and had the fantastic life I did have. No kids, but, we made do.
Met her once I came home. But, that's another story. Wished I'd gone first though, tough watching her pass, cowardly to say, but, it was rough. I came in here after that. Was having trouble sleeping, concentrating, and generally couldn't take care of myself.
Seems strange a man who could do what I could, I can't tell you though, National Secret and all.  But I could field strip my weapon in the dark in a windstorm, and make stew for 1100 men no sweat.
Well, I came here, before I burned out the house. The local fire department got tired of coming out I guess, made a few calls, and here I be. Sold the house, made enough to do ok here, what with my pension and all too.
I'm not one for reading too much, eyes aren't the best anymore, and my hands, well the arthritis flares up and I can barely move some days. There's a computer in the common area we can use, but, I know all I need to know, and some things I wished I didn't.
Never got used to television, especially after it switched to colour. I didn't get the jokes, and the cop shows? I had the murderer figured out in the first ten minutes, why couldn't they figure it out?
Back to here. I'm an early riser, always was. Get up, shuffle to the sink to do my teeth before they come in and give me the whole whang dang doodle wash and wax to get me ready to face the day.
I used to go to the crafts classes here. They were ok, but, a man only need so many fake leather wallets with horses on them. After all, I've nobody to really give one to. If you want one, let me know, I've lots. Did a few of the Christmas trees in ceramics, but, after a while, I lost interest. The wife loved having the trees around, but, without her, it's not the same. Made about 7 or 8, let the nurses have those.
The nurses, great kids. Not the same as the ones we had in the war. Those....well, those were nurses. They could do anything needed, field strip a rifle, put in an IV under fire, drive a jeep, all without getting those starched white uni's ***** or blood stained. And...without losing their caps. Nurses today? good kids, but, not as tough in my book. Things have changed a lot, no uniforms like the old days, pretty casual, and 5 nurses to do what one would do in one quick visit. Now, 5 nurses, 2 hours to do what?
Anyways, I hear one coming now, so I best go. I know it's not my birthday, and VE day was the other day, so, must be tests again for something. I'll be here if you need a wallet remember, lots to go around. Hope to talk soon,
Just ask for Gramps, they'll get you here.
I remember my old Grampa
And the way he used to look
He had so many stories
He was much better than a book

I remember on our visits
While the folks would head outside
Gramps would get us grandkids
And take us for a story ride

He'd hitch up the hay wagon
We'd get up and off we'd go
Then gramps would start to talking
And so began the show

He'd tell us all the stories
Of our folks when they were young
Some he had to censor,
And sometimes bite his tongue

Now, Grandpa told the stories
Whether we were in or out
And we'd all sit and listen
To what they were all about

When we'd gather by the fire
He'd pull up his rocking chair
He'd have his pipe and all us grandkids
And his dog, Whiskey, always there

We'd all sit in front of Grandpa
We'd want to take in every word
And he would speak up louder
To make sure that we heard

He'd tell us tales of Cowboys
Of bank robbers and the trail
Of how the west became the west
And how his horse once lost his tail

The folks would gather round too
When it was almost time to go
But, Grandpa, being Grandpa
Wasn't set to end the show

See, he'd told the tales forever
To our folks and all their friends
You could tell that some were truthful
And in some the truth....well....bends

The older ones among us
Knew deep down that most were fake
But, to see old Grandpa work the room
Man, that man just took the cake

We'd get together monthly
All us kids stayed close to home
We weren't like lots of others
Who had that built in urge to roam

The stories, we'd learn later
Were mostly from TV
He'd be talking of those cowboys
And of how things used to be

A few years back we lost him
His dog had up and died
Gramps old heart was broken
He couldn't take it, though he tried

My brother tells the stories,
Not as good as Gramps at rhyme
But, the kids all hunker round him
I'm sure that he'll be good in time

We still go on the hayrides
Tell ghost stories now instead
To all us grown up grandkids
We still hear grandpa in our head

Each month we get together
There's near a hundred now in all
The kids go with my brother
And he tells tales ten feet tall

The stories are consistent
Of old cowboys and the west
I can close my eyes and listen
And still like Grandpa's versions best
Liam C Calhoun Jun 2015
I remember the restaurant,
The one Grandpa
Had brought us to –
Window panes in patriotism
And pancakes atop, “America,”
The world revolved,
And how we’d made it
“Home” –
So came the syrup, destiny
And fervor caked powder plate.

He knew of my toil, ills, and tolls
Pandered atop horizons
Hindered Mao and red
As we sat near dawn over coffee
And something south of
Conspiracy – opposite my dream
And collusion to **** said
But it was still, “his
America,” not mine and he’d
Sleep when I wouldn’t.

So it pained me, resonant a twitch
Within this small inch of
Remnant family, to tell him,
“We’re going back,
We’re leaving tomorrow,”
And, “I don’t know when I’ll be
Home,” gramps,
“I don’t know if I’ll ever be home,”
And he’d say prior ever’d silent –
“Good luck sleeping on that one,
Son,” I just know he would.

— The End —