December Signature Excerpt: Melvyn Ford by Carlos Hazday
Monday I mentioned how much I wanted to feature a story that brought up the family aspect of this time of year. Well you can't read far in this story without hitting on a touching family moment. Read on, I'm sure you'll be following the link to consume the entire story in moments!
“Should I still wash him while you’re gone?”
“I don’t think you’ll have to, Junior. But once in a while, you should remove the cover and dust the inside, so he doesn’t end up with cobwebs.” Doc would have never guessed that within six months, his wife would have learned how to drive. She had the car’s fluids, battery, and tires replaced, and Melvyn was driven around regularly. The car still didn’t accumulate a large number of miles during those years; rationing limited the amount of gasoline people could purchase. Many stored some of their fuel allowance in gas cans, anticipating the need to use their vehicles in an emergency.
Twenty-one months later, a bell chimed at Doc’s home and Junior ran to the front door. A Western Union messenger stood in front of him. His mother, wiping her hands on her apron, came to see who it was. Those hands flew to her mouth, a small gasp escaped her throat, her eyes opened wide, and were soon filled with tears. She knew the presence of that man could only mean one thing.
In a scene repeated across the country countless times, she read the dreaded five words which were the standard opening line in those telegrams: I regret to inform you… Doc’s ship had been hit by a torpedo fired by a Japanese submarine. He had died in the ensuing fire, trying to save the life of a soldier unable to move on his own. Junior sat by his mother’s side as she cried.
“I’ll sit in the back with Mom, Grandpa. I don’t think she should be back there with just Grandma.”
“Let’s have your grandmother sit up front with me then. You’re a good lad, your mother’s lucky to have you with her. She’s going to need you during the service, at the cemetery, and at home, after Grandma and I go home. You’re the man of the house now.”
“I’ll take care of her, I promise.”
The thirteen-year-old boy held his mother’s hand as his Grandfather drove Melvyn. The car that carried the immediate family as Doc was put to rest, became Junior’s obsession. He constantly cleaned and polished the Ford; it still gleamed as bright as the day his father drove it home for the first time. The boy grew up worshipping the memory of his father. Melvyn was a very personal connection to his personal American hero.
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