A veteran shares a moment with a passerby about birdseed and birds.
- Posted on Oct 24, 2017
“Excuse me, sir,” I said. I needed birdseed, but another customer’s cart was in the way. The man turned toward me. He wore baggy khaki pants held up with suspenders, a starched cotton shirt and a baseball cap that had World War II Veteran embroidered on it in gold thread.
“Hello!” he said cheerily, as though greeting an old friend.
“Hello,” I said. “Could I please squeeze by you?”
“Sure,” the man said. “You like birds, do you?” I nodded and reached for the seed.
“Me too,” he said. “I just can’t decide what to feed them.” I didn’t have time to talk! I told him that most birds like sunflower seeds. He picked up a small bag and, right before I rushed off, wished me well.
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-Rob Carter, Nyack Hospital's Director of Pastoral Care
As I left the store, I saw him get into a cab. Immediately I regretted not spending a few minutes with him, chatting about my favorite birds or about his hat. Which branch of the military had he been in? Where had he served?
Now when I see someone with a hat that proclaims veteran status, I strike up a conversation. “Oh, you served in Korea,” I’ll say. “My dad did too.” Or “Navy, huh? Where were you stationed?”
Most veterans I speak to are not only willing to chat but eager to share their stories. And appreciative. Especially when I end the conversation with a sincere “Thank you for your service.”
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