In Remembrance of Ishmael


In Remembrance of Ishmael

When I met a Ghost.

Broadcast on The Mike Malloy Show March 18, 2008.

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Below is an excerpt. To read the rest of the words go here

When I was fifteen our family went up to a cabin my Grandfather rented for the week. On the second night two men from the third cabin down from us, a man and his twenty-something son, came over to our fire. Introductions were made all around and it turned out the man knew somebody my grandfather knew so that meant we were all kind of connected somehow so have a seat around the campfire.

After talking about the weather, could be worse, and the fishing, could be better, the conversation died down some and then the man said his son had just returned from Vietnam.

That caused a flurry of comments that were straight out of a 1940’s World War Two movie. The “Glad you made it back safe son.” and “We’re all proud of our Fighting Boys.” sorts of things people say.

And then I asked the son a question. I didn’t know it at the time, but that question, and his answer, would change the direction of my life, and the way I thought about just about everything from that moment on.

I asked him, “What Was It Like Over There?”

And he began to talk.

While he was talking he didn’t look at me, or anybody else, or into the fire. While he talked he was looking into the Night. Someplace off past my shoulder … into the Dark.

He didn’t talk with any expression. No anguish, drama, or emotion. Just one word after another, brick by brick, in a calm, flat monotone.

He talked about … bodies.

In Remembrance of Ishmael


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