When I woke up a while later on Sunday morning, I went straight to the news. Irma appeared to be quickly approaching the city where Bob lives. I could tell by social media that he was online so I assumed Bob was still alive. I patiently waited to hear from him. True to a soldier’s form, Bob and his service dog, Sugar, survived the hurricane. Even tho Irma had lost some of her energy by the time she blew by his town in central Florida, she still caused some damage.
Bob: May be my last chat for awhile Hun. Keep writing and Prayers to you. Your a very special Lady. Bless her(Sugar). She is going crazy. I’ve had no sleep. It’s like I’m back in Nam waiting for a damn Ambush…48hrs with 2hrs sleep.
Later on he wrote,
Bob: I’ve never been one to give into fear but yesterday evening I had 2 elderly couples on oxygen who were here and needed to go to hospital. So I called ambulance and when they got here, the EMTs said they would take one and not the other. Me being me, I told them they were and off to races we went. I told the one he would or I’d give him a colonoscopy with my 357 and they took both people. They called the sheriff on me. The deputy was very nice. He said he knew how I felt and this time he’d overlook it but not next time….Yes, I was wrong but with my medical training I knew they wouldn’t last through the storm hun. It’s me and my beliefs in always taking care of our elders and it was going to happen or else. I wish you could have seen the look on that EMTs face. The best thing before they left was both ladies gave me a Kiss and said they Loved me. It was worth it all.
We briefly chatted about what Irma had in mind for Florida for the day. He went on to say,
Bob: Sugar’s my baby and I have food for her and MREs for me, that’s the new food they feed soldiers now not like the K rations they gave us. I’ll lose power when it hits, please keep writing…I’ll let you go and take your image with me. Prayers to you and A’ho my Sweet and amazing Lady. My lights are flickering now
Me: I’ll be thinking of you. May Great Spirit and your ancestors watch over you.
Bob: Thank you, they ask me to evacuate(last night) but it’s just not in me. Until we talk again, Steph, know this – you’re the Shining Light in mine and so may others on your page. Bye for now Hun. I’ll will miss you
Me: And I will miss you. Until we speak again. A’ho Healer
At that point Bob needed to take cover because there were tornado warnings for his area. Tuesday morning, he told me,
Bob: Morning Steph, Just wanted to stop in and tell you yesterday I was carrying tree limbs for the people I told you about and a Transformer blew right over me. I hit the ground, it started my Ptsd again very bad. So have a Wonderful day my Special Lady, going back to bed, for car is about out of gas, CVS is closed and no gas getting to stations. Drs. canceled all appts. Out of my meds, so I may not Be on today much.
Thankfully Bob was able to get more medicine but he continues to have problems on and off since then because of his experiences in Vietnam.
He did tell me one weekend about a little fun he had. While they were still cleaning up after Irma, Bob and a friend needed to remove a few alligators from their neighborhood. The fearless Native American warrior and retired Vietnam War veteran threw caution to the Wind and hopped in a golf cart with his friend and corralled the cranky, displaced lizards back to their home.
When he went home, he had a drink and shed a tear. Not because it was refreshing to have on a day like that. No far from it. He toasted the friends he lost from his recon. He’s the only one left. The others have all passed away either in the war, from cancer or from suicide. It’s the only time he has a drink nowadays.
In another part of Florida, another Vietnam War veteran lived a very different life. The following is a social media post that his family posted in an effort to find him. By my guesstimations, this soldier didn’t make it thru Irma’s wrath. To protect his anonymity, I changed his name.
John Doe September 15th
“During the Vietnam War, every night my Mom stayed glued to the evening news looking to see if her son, “Johnny” was being loaded onto a Medivac chopper. Thankfully he never was.
“After high school he was in the Vietnam War. He came back a different person. The war changed him. He withdrew” and ended up living up and down the Florida Keys for 30 to 40 years while working as a carpenter.
“Almost 50 years (after Vietnam), “Johnny” now lives on a boat in Key West and “Johnny’s” little brothers and sisters are currently searching NOAA satellite images post Hurricane Irma … to see if “Johnny’s “ boat is still afloat. As soon as the Keys open back up … there’s gonna be a “Johnny” convoy heading south on US1.
“September 17th. Update on my brother “Johnny”. A news article reported finding a body in a half sunken boat in the area he lived in. The man is in his “60’s, with gray hair and beard”. This fits “Johnny’s” description and the location of where he moors his boat … BUT, BUT, BUT … we have no confirmation. It may not be him. Oh, brother … where art thou?”
***Please be sure to read more of my posts
Come back tomorrow to read my final thoughts.