"The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only them when they are gone."--George Eliot
I would be remiss if I didn't take a minute on this Veterans Day to honor some of the true heroes and angels among us--veterans--who have fought valiantly and courageously for our country, especially my own brother Val Curran (U.S. Navy), my grandfather Val Marfiak (U.S. Army), and Uncle Tom Marfiak (U.S. Navy). While my brother and uncle are still with us, my grandfather died in 1986. To even say those words aloud--that he is dead--still puts a lump in my throat. He was the most incredible human being I ever met. He was grace, beauty, and light. He was kind, humble, and devout. Besides all that, he was a devoted father, husband, and grandfather. And like so many from his generation, he fought for his country as a young a man. After the war was over and they all came home, they didn't talk much about it. Instead, they got back to the business of rebuilding America. In fact, my grandfather served our country the rest of his life in the U.S. Postal Service.
Though I only had the pleasure of knowing him for ten too-short-years, I will always remember him sitting in our living room smoking his pipe (with a brandy nearby) and stoking the fire from his rocking chair with a book in his hand. He read to me--to all of my siblings--and I read to him on more nights than I can count. Every bit of my love of reading and writing comes from him. He passed it on to his daughter, my mother, and to all of his grandchildren. There is no greater gift an adult can give to a child than the gift of one's presence, attention, and last but not least, the love of reading. He gave it all and then some. He was truly one of those angels in life--who comes in and out--and we only know how enormously important they are after they have left this world for the next. But just by their being here, we're all the better for it. I am better for it. The U.S. is better for it. The world is. And I am so glad he was here, even if only for a little while.
To all those like my grandfather, brother, and uncle who served and continue to serve, thank you.