Returned to Tell Thee
We experienced a rarity when we slept through the night that evening. I think the captain knew how hard we had exerted ourselves and gave us some additional rest. Of course, that rest was so we could go at it again. I awoke with the first rays of the sun and found Alphonso also awake. “How long have you been up?” I asked him.
“In truth, I did not rise, but have lain here for a spell enjoying the quiet.”
He was right. There had been no sound from either side the entire night.
“Do you not think it odd that we were not disturbed?”
“Indeed I do. Something must be up.”
“I fear you are correct.”
“Well, let’s get ready for that ‘something.’”
We prepared ourselves for the day, including having some hardtack and coffee. This much was usual, anyhow.
We had nearly finished getting ready when Alphonso straightened up. Since we were not done with our business, I knew he had seen something unusual. I looked in the same direction as he did, and saw a small figure coming toward us. As he drew nearer, I saw he was missing an arm.
“Adolphus! Is that Hiram?”
“I cannot tell as yet. He must come closer for me to have an idea of it.”
The figure came on, and soon we knew it was Hiram.
“It is he! How did he obtain his release? He was intransigent when we saw him last.”
“I do not know. Perhaps it is another miracle.”
At that moment, apparently Hiram saw us and broke into a run, although he had his back pack on. He came up to us, and we both embraced him. Our words tumbled over each other.”
“Hiram, we did not expect to see—”
“We never thought you would be—”
“We had not been looking—”
Hiram held up his hand. “Please! One at a time. I can’t understand you.”
“All right. What has affected such a miracle cure in you?” Adolphus smiled broadly.
“I do not know. It was as if my true self was deep inside my head, watching all manner of terrible things I did and said. I knew they were wrong, but there was a barrier between myself and my best behavior. If I treated you so, I am truly sorry.”
“That is no matter. What is important is that you are better and now returned us!”
“Hiram, do you consider that your cure is due to a miracle?”
He shook his head. “No. You know how I feel about religion, doubtless brought on by the circumstances of my early life, so I do not believe in miracles or in God either, for that matter.”
I put my hand on his shoulder. “We will pray that you recognize the true nature of your recovery and that you see God’s hand in it. For now, I rejoice with Adolphus at your return.”
“Yes,” said Adolphus. “Since we saw you last, we had a miracle of sorts when Andrew was released from the prison where he was held captive. He does not know why he was let go, or under whose agency the matter was accomplished.”
Hiram frowned. “I am sorry. That does not change my viewpoint.”
“Nor would I expect it to. We will be praying for you.”
“That’s good. I cannot pray for myself or anything else. Tell me, what has happened since my withdrawal from the world?”
“We have gone back and forth across the front line, and now find ourselves here expecting yet another attack.”
“That’s as I would have expected. I shall have to procure another drum and do my duty.”
“The units are in confusion so I may not tell you where one could be found.”
Hiram shrugged. “No matter. I will find my way along until I come across my unit. They have to be here somewhere.”
Once again I was struck by Hiram’s courage and perseverance. We were lucky to know him.
“Very well,” Adolphus said. “You go off and, when you have found your drum, come back to us to stir our blood and give us courage.”
“I shall do so. Until we meet again, then.”
“Good-bye,” I answered, “and God bless you.”
“You know about me and God.”
“That doesn’t stop me from asking Him to bless you.”
“All the same. Good-bye again.”
We watched him walk off. “There goes one of the bravest and resourceful lads I have ever known,” Adolphus said. “And I have know many of them.”
“I would agree with you,” I returned.
“Let’s finish our preparations. I did not expect such a happy reunion, but it has slowed us down.”
“I welcomed it. Such good news.”
I care not what Hiram says, I thought. There is plenty of evidence of miracles of all sorts.