Bob is a US Navy veteran and is a semi retired self-employed contractor. He and his bride of 46 years have 3 grown sons and grandchildren. He created and maintains the website for the USS Bexar Reunion Association, of which he is an active member.
THE LONG, DARK ROAD
The old man sat with his grandson,
Quietly by his side,
In a rickety old porch swing at twilight
As they watched the clouds slip by.
The youngster asked of his grandfather
About the cane hooked by the windowsill.
“Why is it, Grampa, that you keep that old cane still?
I never see you limping and you walk real good I see,
Grampa won’t you tell me what could the reason be.”
Sure I’ll be glad to tell you
And I hope you’ll remember well
The lesson you’re about to learn
About Grampa’s trip through Hell.
It was many, many years ago
Before your Dad was born
In a far-off land known to us then
As the Republic of Vietnam.
I was only twenty-two years of age,
Still wet behind the ears.
I knew not why I was there, but
What I did know then was fear.
It as a dirty, dark and strange land
With farm people everywhere:
Some were good and some were bad
And all bore the stench of fear.
We were told we came to this land
To set a people free.
To fight for them and win for them
What we call liberty.
They told us the bad people from the North
Were invading the good in the South:
Strange how telling one from the other
Was so difficult and always fraught with doubt.
Was that your friend ahead
Or the enemy masquerading there.
There was no room for error here.
The wrong choice might mean you’re dead.
One night, my little Joey,
As we forged along the water’s edge
We chanced upon an open field
As a crane I saw took flight.
He passed across the light of the moon
And Hell became that night.
No sooner had the gunfire started
Than I felt a searing pain.
I’d been shot and as I fell, reached out
‘twas then I clutched that cane.
From where it came I knew not then
As I still do not know now.
It served me well and that cane and I
Remained close friends till now.
For we had a bond that none could know.
We’d both made that lonely trip
Down the long, dark road called Hell.
We made it back, both intact…
I and that old cane I knew so well.
©Copyright November 18, 2002 by Robert “Bob” Weiss