Sunday, August 8, 2010

I just got back from getting something to eat at the

supermarket and saw an old guy. He recognized me from a chat we had some time ago at the deli-eat in tables that are appearing in supermarkets these days.

The man was an old WW2 vet and fought in Italy with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, aka 'The Christmas Tree Regiment' because they were so highly decorated.

When we spoke at the deli, I had found out that he had volunteered while being held in a concentration camp out in Arizona even though he had been born in the States to parents of Japanese ancestry. Interesting man. Interesting life. Much like me, he had an elfin sense of humor. He is one of those guys that you simply look at and know he's a mischief maker from the word 'go'.

I told him that he could have a little fun by telling some of the newer members of the Legion that he had been in the Japanese Army and joined the Legion because the rules didn't specify which side you were on.

He surprised me by telling me he had done that a few times to newer members over the years and he told a few of the more gullible souls that he had been stationed on an air base where his job was to hand out crash helmets to outgoing kamikaze pilots.

He told me that one guy believed him and tried to get him tossed out of the Legion, much to the amusement of everyone that knew what outfit he had served with. It was a really funny story and he told it well.

Anyway, when he recognized me and waved, I went over and asked him how he was doing.

Meeting guys like that is a real treat, and I seem to have a pretty good knack for it.

These people are national treasures and we are losing them at an alarming rate.

Don't be afraid to address a guy wearing a WW2 ball cap. Generally guys like that have a little time on their hands and are more than willing to tell a story or two.

It's generally worth the time and effort.

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