Way back in the days of marital bliss I had the greatest father-in-law a person could hope for. Matter of fact, he liked me more than my wife liked me and that was a good thing, until he died.
Wag, as he was known, was the spitting image of the actor Walter Matthau and acted just like his character in Grumpy Old Men. In fact, life with Wag was often like being in that movie as Wag’s curmudgeonly approach to life often brought reprimands from the women in his life, laughter from the men and great admiration from his grandchildren. He was a real character.
He had served in WWII and saw a lot of combat and I loved to hear him talk about where he was and what he saw. Now men like that were real heroes one and all.
There came a time that the Germans decided to make one last gigantic effort and broke through the American lines in a surprise attack later named The Battle of the Bulge. Many Americans were killed, captured or wounded and Wag got shot in the leg which ended his military sojourn in Europe.
It took some 50 years after that injury for Wag to get approved for a military disability pension for the German shrapnel he carried in that leg his whole life. The day his first disability check arrived in the mail, he showed it to me proudly and remarked, “If I had known I would get that much I would have let them shoot me in the other leg, too.”
Now that’s a great attitude about a very serious thing and that’s how those men were. Hardened veterans of life. The greatest generation can teach the rest of us a lot.
Wag and most of his friends have gone to their heavenly rewards, but Ol’ Dutch found himself thinking about that story the other day when I had a similar experience.
No, I didn’t get shot or serve in a war but it’s a story, nonetheless. Back in about February, both Ol’ Dutch and Miss Trixie suffered a bout with some illness. Now this was before the coronavirus was documented in our land so we just thought we were feeling punky.
Miss Trixie, ever her effervescent self, sprung back like a sapling after a hurricane but Ol’ Dutch had a tougher time. As long as I live with Miss Trixie, I don’t know why she isn’t more sympathetic when it comes to me expressing my despair during my time of need. Every cough, sniffle or sneeze may not sound like a lot to her, but for me it is worthy of moaning, groaning and all-out medical intervention.
Now back to our February illness, one weird thing that happened is that we both lost our sense of smell and taste. Again, this was early on in the American experience with the COVID-19 and no one seemed to know this was one of the symptoms of having been exposed.
Now you would think that not being able to taste much would cause Ol’ Dutch to soon find himself in fighting form and able to squeeze into those jeans I have saved since high school, but that doesn’t seem to be the case, yet.
While my taste has not come back, one weird thing did return -- my eyesight. I have worn glasses since I was 25 years old, but since the possible exposure to the dreaded disease, Ol’ Dutch does not need his eye glasses anymore.
I am wondering now if another round of Corona-lite might just heal my hearing to which Miss Trixie says, “Amen.”
And like my father-in-law who would have taken another bullet for a better pension, Ol’ Dutch just might sign up for round two if it was just a light dose.
If Miss Trixie ever begins encouraging me to go out without my mask, I’ll know she either wants me to take a chance it will make my hearing better or she has taken out a life insurance policy unknown to me.
Kevin Kirkpatrick and his Yorkie, Cooper, fish, hunt, ATV or hike daily. His email is [email protected] Additional news can be found at www.troutrepublic.com or on Twitter at TroutRepublic