A soldier’s home coming


A soldier’s home coming

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After fourteen long months in the hell that is the young man stepped off the train taking him home. To most he looked just like all the other young men and women in uniform. Some just looked at him as if he was something to be ignored. More just didn’t care to be bothered. Still more looked away as in shame of what he represented. All of this he was used to, so he just walked on as he had been told to do.

As he past the train stations bar an old man called out. “Hay Green Beret! Care to join me for a drink?”

Looking over at the old man, and then his watch the young Green Beret decided he had enough time. “Sure, sir. I’ll join you.” Walking over to the man the young soldier saw the cane leaning against the bar stool. Setting down his bags he took the stool next the old man. Holding out his hand “Sergeant Tom Highway sir.”

Smiling the hand shook his hand saying. “Mike. Bar keep, two beers please?”

“Thank you sir.” The young reached for his wallet to pay for the beers, only to be stopped the elder gentalman.

“Sorry son but your money so no good here.”

“Sir please let me pay my own way.”

“Son you already have.”

“What do you mean, sir?”

“Son, look around. Tell me what you see.”

“I don’t understand, sir.”

The bar tender leans over and says. “Welcome home trooper. The next one is on the Boss.”

“Thanks, but I’ll pay my own way, sir”

“Son, don’t you get it. You already have paid.” The bar tender says.

Finally the young man looks around the bar. What he sees doesn’t make any sense. The whole place is filled with nothing but soldiers. Soldiers of all ages, counties and ranks. Old foes sitting together sharing a drink, and talking of past glories and pains. Along one wall stands a juke-box playing songs from all ages.

“Where am I?” the young soldier asks.

Looking over at him the old man gives him a said smile. “Welcome to Fiddler’s Green, Sergeant. Welcome to your new home.”

“What do mean my new home?”

“Son, what is the last thing you remember?”

“We were on a routine patrol sweep on the company’s supply rout. We had just past a small town about half way to our base when we came under fire. I saw Thompson and How get hit. I ran out and pulled them back behind my Humvee. I remember firing my rifle in all directions giving cover fire so the rest of the team could get our wounded out. Then a blinding flash fallowed by a whole lot of heat. Then I was waking up on the train, I most have blacked out. I don’t remember paying for my ticket on the train so it must have been on hell of a blast.”

“Son, think it’s time for you to realize just what happen in that blast.” The old man said.

“What do you mean?”

“Like I said earlier, welcome to Fiddler’s Green. This is where all soldiers go when their time is up. Son you died in that exposition.”

“No! That can have happened. I need to get home. I promised my son. You have to let go home.”

The bar tender looked at the young man with a sad smile. “Sorry son, but the Boss don’t let those who have paid the price you have to go back. He does look after those they left behind though. Your wife and daughter will be just fine.”

“I don’t have a daughter, I have a son.”

“You only thought she was your son.”

“Is that what he wanted to tell me before I left? That he was a girl on the inside?”

“Yup. That is exactly what she wanted to tell you.”

“Damn it all to hell! Was she that afraid of me?”

Laying on a hand on the young man’s arm the old man got his attention. “No. son she’s not afraid of you, just of disappointing you.”

“Charley would have never been a disappointment to no matter how she lived her life.”

“Now that is what I wanted to hear son. Come on have another beer before you go on. Bar keep another around please?”

After having two more beers with the old soldier the young Beret got up to leave. “Where do I go now, sir?”

The old man looked up at him and said. “Head out to the number seven platform. Your train will be the shortly to take you on home trooper. Remember you’re a Green Beret.”

“You got it old timer.”

“Oh and by the way that little girl of your’s is going to make one Hell-of-a-Green Beret when she grows up.”

The old man said as the young man just way and walked on down to his next train the one that would take him on to Heaven.

Back at the bar the bar tender looked over at the old man. “Michael you know Dad doesn’t like it when you tell them too much about the future.”

Looking over at the young man behind the counter top he reaches over and tapped the hole in his hand saying.

“Like when you told them that you were coming back to save them all on judgment day?”

“Hay! What can I say? I had to give them Hope Michael. I know you may be an Archangel and all, but every now and then you get to give them a little bit of a left. Me? I’m stuck here tending shop while you guys get to help out in their times of need.”

“Oh poor you. No office sir, but you’re the Boss’ only son. I hate to say it but we all have our jobs to do. Your’s is to wash away their sins and mine is to get to the next stop.”

“Come on Old Timer we need to get ready for our next customer. Do you think they’ll ever learn to live in peace?”

“I hope so Jesus. Because I’m real tried of welcoming those who pay the price for their peace.” Said Archangel Michael. “I hope so.”

Outside on the walkway the sing for Fiddlers Green continued to burn in welcome for all the soldiers making their way home for the last time.

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To all those who have paid the price for our freedom and hope of peace I dedicate this conversation to you. From one Beret to all others I salute you all!



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This story is 1125 words long.