Loyal reader John Graf sent me a lovely piece responding to Sylvia Newman's excellent essay that I ran on Mother's Day.
Sylvia wrote about war and wounded soldiers as seen by a mother.
John's response could be called "Mother's Day from a soldier," and, well, just read it:
"I enlisted one sunny day I was in an advanced high school with plans for college so I walked in and quit, as I couldn't wait to go to Vietnam.
"The recruiter was more than happy to sign me up since I had a letter typed up. I paid a wino a bottle of Ripple to sign my father's name giving his permission.
"I waited until Christmas to break my mother's heart. When I finished boot camp and advanced training I got leave and, after a few months at my posting, I had my orders.
"While I waited to ship out I fell in love with a beautiful redhead and got married. Soon after, my father told me 'not to be hero,' and he had to leave so I wouldn't see him cry. He was kind of a hardass that way.
"While I was in 'Nam I wrote 'nothing' letters, the sort we all write so no one worries, until my mother complained.
"So I wrote her about the black sergeant who took me, as he said, 'to raise,' which was unusual but he was an unusual man. I told her about one of our little jaunts and the absolute boredom followed by the sheer terror that seemed to last forever and how I lost him to a 'bouncing Betty' (land mine) that day and how I couldn't stop yelling.
"She never asked for real letters again.
"My father was killed during a mugging and was unidentified for three days. I found out while I was in the hospital and pleaded with my commander not to notify my mother or family that I'd been wounded.
"My first child was born and the Red Cross tracked me down to tell me I had a baby girl. She was crawling when I finally came back to the world.
"One day, shortly after, I walked into my mother's house -- unknown to my mom -- and she looked at me and couldn't stop sobbing.
"I guess some of the things we dumb kids do seeking to be a man really put our parents through hell. These men and women go wherever our leaders send them. I hope our leaders could spend one week at war, then maybe things would be different.
"Sorry if this seems maudlin but I was thinking of my Mother today and this is what I felt."
MORE SHOE STUFF: Information about Ogden's unique shoe-shaped restaurant continues to wander in.
Cathy Lykins found a souvenir menu from the original Ann's Shoe Tavern, 1935, amid her mother's stuff. If diversity of menu means anything, the place should have been a success.
You could get a T-bone steak dinner for 65 cents, half a "Uintah milk-fed spring chicken, fried southern style" for 60 cents and a banana split for 15 cents.
Sounds cheap, but 1935 was The Great Depression. Utah's unemployment rate was close to 50 percent, and what we now call minimum wage jobs paid 10 cents an hour. Even average wages were about $28 a week, or 75 cents an hour.
So 65 cents for dinner was an investment.
On the plus side, you could keep the menu (which is shoe-shaped) as a souvenir, and I am very glad Cathy's mom did.
The Wasatch Rambler is the opinion of Charles Trentelman. He can be reached at 801-625-4232, or firstname.lastname@example.org. He also blogs at www.standard.net.