My favorite veterans

I love old pictures. Not only do they look cool with their faded grays and sepia tones, it’s fun to hear the stories behind them.

Here are four of my favorites. I have them side-by-side in a frame at my house.

Meet my grandparents when they were beginning their lives together during times of war, conflict and unrest. Probably not so different than many young couples today.

These are my dad’s parents.

Granddad Lee served as Yeoman First Class in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He was stationed in Mobile, Ala., and got a pass one weekend in 1941, when he hopped a bus to Chattanooga, Tenn., and married my grandmother on a Saturday before he headed back south to report for duty Monday morning. He remained stateside during the war, and built a life with his young bride that would last 61 years before my grandmother left for Heaven. Together, they raised four children who gave them eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

These are my mother’s parents.

Granddaddy Langham (everyone else called him Joe) was a Seabee, who spent time overseas during WWII and the Korean Conflict. He told us stories about his adventures abroad, always prefacing them with the statement, “Now this was before I found the Lord.” He became a Southern Baptist preacher, planting several small country churches along the coasts of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. He married Hazel Clark in 1944, raised four children and enjoyed nine grandchildren and a handful of great-grandchildren before Grandmamma Langham passed away in 2000.

It’s fun to relive the romance and nostalgia of past generations, but I’m sure they dealt with many of the same difficulties today’s military families face. Funny how the good moments seem to erase the rough ones over time.

I’m not in the military, nor is my husband or anyone else in my immediate family, so I can’t begin to understand the challenges of those who actively serve our country in times of war and conflict.

I may not be able to empathize, but I can pray. Pray for their personal safety. Pray they have the same rock solid support my grandfathers had back on the home front decades ago. Pray they return to their families unharmed.

Hug a veteran today. Or at least shake his or her hand. What they did for our country, or what they’re doing now, undoubtedly leaves a lasting legacy for future generations.

Cooper’s tree stand

My son, Cooper, is almost 3 and at the age when he repeats what he hears. It’s amazing what his little noggin retains. He’ll pull some zingers from out of nowhere that make me believe he actually does have the ability to listen when it doesn’t pertain to bedtime.

His cranial regurgitations range from funny…

“Milkshakes make mommy’s bottom big.”

to sweet…

“Pop is in heaven now, not Alabama.”

And sometimes they just blow me away, like last weekend when we were visiting my sister. Cooper was drawing with crayons, held up the pad of paper and showed me this:

Remind me in several years to let Cooper hang my tree stands and not CJ, who would NEVER put his steps that close together.

“Look at my tree stand, Mommy,” he said.

Now here’s where we separate the parents from the nons. Those who never have had a child will ask, “Where’s the tree stand?” And those who’ve had a munchkin or two will simply nods their heads and blankly say, “That’s great!”

What really got me, however, was his follow-up statement:

“We’re going to need to move it sometime.”

Who knows how many times he’s heard his dad say he’s going to move a deer stand? Who knew Cooper was even paying attention?

I immediately forwarded the picture to CJ, who was on a work hunt in Ohio. Deer season is a busy time for him, meaning he’s gone from home quite a bit. Constant travel is hard on families, but you can’t complain when we both make a living doing what we love.

But moments like this one make what we do for a living, as well as who we are as people and parents, worth it. Our little Cooper may not choose to hunt when he gets older, but I feel pretty sure he’ll understand why we do.

I believe he already does.