At the Beach

I was riding back-seat shotgun, armed but in the back of the deuce-and-a-half roaring along the flat between the ferry landing from our island on the DMZ and the outskirts of Seoul, 30 kilometers ahead.

I was feeling rather put upon, sorry for myself, as it was a blistering-cold, sub-Siberian morning and poor me, I had to ride in the BACK of the truck, guarding against sappers and saboteurs down from the Peoples' Glorious Republic up north, while my two soljer-pals got to ride in the at least somewhat warmer cab.

Didn't matter that I had long johns, fatigues, combat boots, gloves and a fiberglas parka... I had to ride in the cold, so-

Whoa... who's that beside the road?
A kid, walking toward us, wearing a levis-type vest and torn knee-length jeans. I could count every rib as we passed him.

He walked with the gait of one dealing with cerebral palsy, and we were then only 12 years from the ceasefire, so he was probably born in the last year of the war...

And he looked up at me, waved, and flashed a huge, bright smile as we roared past and I waved.

Then, filled with shame at my own smallness, I thanked God through my brief, bitter tears, for the many bounties with which I'd been showered, in America and Korea and in day after day of radiant health and daily food.

"Vaunt not yourselves, one over the other."

Posted by Eye Opener at June 3, 2004 10:23 PM