I was commissioned in the Army at the age of twenty-two and headed off to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. My father was station at Fort Eustis, Virginia at the time. Somehow, and I never figured out how, my wife began to correspond with my father’s wife (his third). The two wives thought it was stupid for the two of us men not to have a father-son relation. After much persuasion and nagging, I finally agreed to visit my father at Fort Eustis.
I didn’t know what to expect. Do we hug or shake hands? Do we salute? When we met, we hugged and it felt natural. From that moment on we had an adult relationship as father and son and visited each other often. I was glad that our wives made us reconcile. Soon after, we both went to Vietnam and over lapped by six months. He was able to take a three-day pass and visit me when I was serving with the 1st Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division. Later, I took a pass and visited him in Long Bien where he was the First Sergeant of a tug boat company.
Over the years we built up memories as adults. One of my fondest memories was when he and his wife came to visit us when I was teaching at West Point. We went to a wine tasting where a band was playing the big bands sounds. I didn’t know my dad could dance – I can’t. He and his wife started dancing and it was like a scene out of the movies. Everyone else on the dance floor move out to give them room and soon everyone was watching them dance. I was flabbergasted. I also caught hell from my wife, because I couldn’t dance.
If you need to reconcile with one of your parents. I recommend you do it sooner than later. You will never regret it.
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