Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What Chuck Made for Dinner: November 11, 2009

Bacon-wrapped filet mignons, salt-crusted baked potatoes, brownies for dessert.

It is Veterans Day. At our house, we celebrate.

My father-in-law is a veteran of the Vietnam war, where he served in the Army. He was wounded in combat and has scars on his leg and hand from shrapnel. He came home and resumed his life, went back to college and then to law school, got married, had children, became a success. His grandsons think it is cool and they sometimes ask to hear about it, how he was in the Army, or what it was like to be wounded, or to ride in a helicopter.

My grandfather, who lives far away from us, is a World War II veteran. He served in the Army Air Corps. He escaped injury, although his pilot was killed next to him while they were flying a mission over Italy. He did not like to talk about his time in the war with me when I was growing up. But when we visited a couple of years ago, Josh and Alex asked him, and he told them stories I had never heard. He showed them photos he had taken of planes next to his in the sky, flak filling the air. We heard how at the end of the war, he had to fly back from western Africa to Brazil--the only transatlantic route the plane could manage without refueling--while he had dysentery. A couple of weeks ago, Alex sent him an elaborately-colored picture with only two words: "You're brave."

I sometimes can't believe our luck, that these two men are still around for our kids to get to know.

So obviously, every Veterans Day, we have to have a party. The kids used to demand that we take Grandpa to Chuck E. Cheese. We had to kill that tradition for fairly obvious reasons. This meal was better.

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