My Old Friend, Now Gone

In the morning it will be Veterans Day and I will wish my fellow Veterans a good day. We will remember family and friends. My Dad and uncles fought World War II and Korea. Part of the Great Generation. Friends too many to count fought in Vietnam. And, of course, our current Iraq/Afgan Veterans.

It will also be a great honor to remember an old friend, now gone. Nelson Greene. We lost him last year. He was 90+ years old, WWII veteran, tail gunner on bombers over Germany. He told stories and jokes all day long. Loved to hunt. That’s where I first met him, on a hunting trip. He loved bird dogs. His Brittany Spaniel was of course named…Nellie. Both loved to hunt ruffed grouse, especially in his native West Virginia. He really enjoyed being with people.

I truly don’t think I ever heard him say a negative thing about another person. He might cuss the weather for messing up his bird hunt. He didn’t have material wealth, but man was he deep in people that loved him.

It would take considerable more space to list the lessons I learned from him from a few hunting trips. Too few.  Lessons in caring for others, humility, humanity and so much more. He was a gentle man and a gentleman. He was short in stature, but he looms large in my life and always will. Take good care Nelson Greene. The hunting grounds are a lesser place for your absence. My heart aches tonight. In your honor I will go out soon and walk a long time. And think of you and thank you and look around the corner for a bird dog on point, or a cover that looks ‘birdy’. Thanks Nelson.

It’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.  A. Lincoln

(I wrote most of this a year ago (March 2014)when Nelson passed away and wanted to remember him again today.)

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