Recovery of a Hero Ch. 09


When I saw him go down, I couldn't let him get killed. I told the two Marines that were conscious to cover me and grabbed a 9 millimeter side arm and went after him. No thoughts about what I was doing except that George needed help and I was able to give it.

It wasn't a question about bravery in my opinion. That required a conscious decision to do something dangerous. I hadn't made a conscious decision, I acted instinctively. Get my friend to safety.

I also told her what I believed about when someone saves your life. It doesn't incur a debt as it can never be repaid. It's a gift that one person gives another. You don't repay gifts like that because they are given freely with no strings attached. You just except the gift and honor the giver.

To me, bravery like what she thought was why I'd gone after her in the pool and George in Iraq isn't bravery. It's doing something that a normal person would consider extremely stupid. Doing something brave for the sake of bravery isn't bright. Most true hero's became such by surviving an act of stupidity.

I did what I did, not for medals or such. Not for having people think that I'm brave. I did what I did because a friend needed help. Nothing more, but nothing less either.

The medal didn't mean as much to me as the smile that I saw when Sally was happy or excited. It didn't mean anything next to seeing George happily working on a computer he had brought home from work either. What mattered to me was the smile, not the medal. I could live without the medal but I didn't want to think about the world without that beautiful smile.

We talked a bit more, and finally Sally excepted the medal as a remembrance.

Shortly after that conversation, Shelly and Sandra came in. They asked why we were still in there and I said, "I didn't want to do anything much today. I'm just watching t.v. Sally agreed.

Shelly said, "Well you've got things to do today anyway. We've got plans for you and your not getting away from us. We're going out and having fun today."

Sandra said, "Yea. The cousin twins are coming over and we're going out and your coming with us."

"So what's the special occasion?" asked Sally.

Shelly asked, "You don't really know? It's Dar's birthday today. George told us several days ago, so we're taking him out. You're coming too because we know he won't leave you behind, so get up and go get dressed."

Sandra agreed, and grabbed Sally's arm and started dragging her to her room.

I saw George come in, and he took me over to my sleeping room and helped me get dressed too. I was able to use my right arm somewhat by this time, but I still needed help with little things like buttons and tying shoes.

After he got me dressed, we went back into the main room. The girls were already there so we headed out to the front door. When we got outside, I saw a school bus with all the girls from the cheerleading squad inside. I saw several other kid too, and coach Coulter was driving.

Sandra and Shelly pushed my chair over to the bus and Sally helped me get up the stairs while the other 2 folded up my chair and loaded it in the baggage compartment under the bus. Then they got on behind us.

I sat down next to the window with the cousin twins behind me and Sally sat next to me. Sandra and Shelly took the seat behind coach Coulter. When we were all loaded, we took off.

Sally started talking to Ellen and Nancy. I didn't pay much attention to what they were talking about, but when Sally started talking about me teaching them Martial Arts I interrupted and said, "Only if your parents give permission and only if you make two promises. You only use what I teach for self defense or to protect others. I don't teach anything else."

"The other thing," I continued, "is getting your parents to ok you learning something like that. I won't do it otherwise."

I looked out the front again and saw that we were approaching a large carnival. "I think we're here," I said.

"Wow," said Sally. "I haven't been to a carnival since I was eight or nine."

"Sandra said that too," said Ellen, "so we decided to go to this one. We did a car wash at the school and coach Coulter helped us set it up so we could make money for the trip. Lots of kids helped, and the radio station even sent over a D.J. and played music for us while we worked."

I was touched by that and asked, "You mean that you got together to do this trip for me?"

Ellen said, "Well not entirely. We thought we'd do something for fun, and thought that since your birthday was coming up we'd bring you too since you deserved something special. We also thought Sally deserved something so we brought her along. Happy Birthday, uncle Dar."

That last surprised me. It was the first time I'd been called uncle since my sister-in-law moved back east about five years ago. I liked the sound of it so I didn't say anything. I just smiled and let it go. By the end of the day, all the kids on the bus were calling me that. Even coach Coulter did.

Regardless of the motivation, I was still touched by the thought that all these kids had decided to include me in their plans for a field trip like this. I hadn't done anything like this since my older brothers kids were the age of these kids. That was a long time ago.

Ellen and Nancy helped me out of the bus while Sandra and Shelly got my chair out. When I was in it, they told me that they were going to take me anywhere at the carnival I wanted to go. Sally said she was coming with us too. We ended up spending the day as a group, and I loved every minute of it.

I didn't go on any of the rides, but it was still fun to watch the others. I did, however, win a bunch of stuffed animals and gave them to whichever one of the kids were closest. I think I got at least one for each of them by the end of the day. Even Megan, as I learned was the first name of coach Coulter.

It was a great day but by the time we left I was tired. I don't remember the trip home real well, but when we got there my special gang of five got off the bus with us. Megan drove off to take the rest of the kids home and Ellen and Shelly pushed me inside.

I looked at Sally and saw her beautiful smile and decided that the day had been a success. We went inside and had a light dinner as we'd been eating carnival junk food all day, and we all went to bed. I went to sleep thinking that this had been one of my best birthday gifts in my entire life.


This ends Chapter 9. Chapter 10 will continue with Dar telling the story.

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