This morning, as part of my preparations for the Blizzard of 2016 (aka Jason, although I hope it will have a hip name such as Snowpocalypse or Snowmageddon) which really weren’t much in the way of preparations since I just needed a few things from the grocery and some OTC medications from Walgreens. As I walked toward the door, I saw a small car with a bumper sticker that read, “Pearl Harbor Survivor.” Those of you who know me know that I am a student of World War II and have the greatest admiration for those of the Greatest Generation who prosecuted the war both overseas and on the home front.
I figured the survivor wouldn’t be too hard to spot since most vets are in their late 80’s or early 90’s. I saw a gentleman in a blue baseball cap who looked to be about the right age, but he was talking on a cell phone with someone, and I didn’t want to disturb him. I got what I needed, and saw him still in the pharmacy section, apparently trying to find something. I went up to him and said, “Excuse me, sit, I saw a car outside with a ‘Pearl Harbor Survivor’ bumper sticker. Are you the survivor?”
His face brightened, and he said, “I am. How do you know about Pearl Harbor?”
“I have an interest in World War II and have even written a novel about it. My dad was in the war and so were a couple of uncles. I want to thank you for your courage and sacrifice.”
He looked troubled. “It really was difficult.”
“I’m sure it was.”
Then he took on a more lively look. “I have that bumper sticker on my car and hope that someone else who was there would come up and talk to me.”
“I hope they will. You’re the first survivor I’ve met, and it’s an honor.”
“I’m honored that you know about it.”
“Thank you. Would you mind if I took a picture of us?”
“Not at all.” He held up a flip phone. “My kids are after me to get one of those fancy new phones, but this is all I need.”
“They do the job, all right. ”
I took the selfie of us, and asked him name. “It’s Steve,” he said.
I said good-bye to him, but then he murmured to himself, “I need to find the aspirin.”
We were one aisle over from that, so I showed him where it was, and took my leave again.
The man Steve noted that there weren’t many survivors of Pearl left. Indeed, we are losing vets from World War II every day. I’m just glad I had the opportunity to meet a Pearl Harbor survivor in a most unlikely encounter.