Once, I saw an old man stumble on the curb. It happened outside a Mexican restaurant. He fell hard and cut himself. A waitress ran to help. He was bleeding on the pavement.
“First-aid kit!” she yelled.
He had a gash. She stitched him up with a needle and thread.
“Where’d you learn to do that?” the man asked.
“I was an Army medic,” she said. “Used to practice on tomatoes all the time.”
When she finished, he embraced her and got blood all over her shirt. He cried. She didn’t.
Listen, I don’t care how many election signs pepper the landscape. I don’t care how many horrid disagreements there are. I love this country. Every bit of it. The good, the bad, and the Army medics.
I also love single mothers. The young man who unloads trucks at Winn Dixie. The woman standing outside the hair salon, smoking. The kids holding bake-sales for breast cancer. And anyone strong enough to go down swinging.
Tracy—who got out of jail a few weeks ago. She saw her kids for the first time in two long years.
Arnold, my pal who left his fancy marketing job to drive a semi. His wife goes with him. He sent me postcards from the Grand Canyon. They just found out his wife is pregnant.
I like Pat, who wants to be a welding teacher. The supermarket employee with Downs syndrome who told me, “You have a colorful face, sir.”
Nobody’s ever told me that before.
I like Roger—wounded Afghanistan veteran with mangled hands. Who said, “My therapist says I need to start living my life. So, I’m learning guitar.”
You beat all, Roger.
I love Minette, whose husband is in critical condition. I love the South American woman who dug through her purse for exact change.
I love the man who paid for my lunch. I don’t know him, but he told me to, “Have a blessed day.”
Yeah, well, I am blessed. Not because of what I own, but because of where I am. This country is part of me. It’s where my great grandparents were born. Where I was baptized.
It’s not a place made of mountains and prairies. It’s people. Common folks. Fishermen, guitar players, and medics. People who believe in something so big they string up flags and sing about it.
Go ahead, fuss and fight over who wins the election. I don’t give a damn how hard the folks in business suits try to tear us apart. It won’t work. It can’t work. Because we are still one nation. Under God.
And even if they do rip us to shreds…
I know an Army medic who’s hell with a needle and thread.