For Memorial Day I thought I would share an excerpt from my recently completed novel, because it is the story of an American war veteran, just one neglected veteran, and how all of society loses when our veterans are not cared for. Feedback most welcome.
An excerpt of Holy Buckets, by Tammi J Truax
Her rayon skirt rippled with the strong spring wind and made her think of the flag that her tired eyes were fixed on. Old Glory, the American flag, was draped across the casket that entombed her Uncle Jimmy. Somehow it had been pinned securely to the casket though the wind wanted to take it. She noticed that the blue field of fifty stars lay at the head of the casket, and it made her mind wander to the crown of stars mentioned in Revelations. Sarah felt somehow relieved that the flag was there. As if somehow it comforted her uncle lying therein. As if somehow it offered some protection, for him, for her. She was painfully uncomfortable here. She hadn't been to a funeral since her mother had died two years ago, and this occasion was bringing back all the memories of that loss, as if they were as fresh as the flowers blossoming in bunches all around the cemetery. June flowers though, are a soft touch. The searing loss Sarah had experienced at the loss of her family one by one over the course of her twenty-four years of life was a harsh reality that couldn’t be softened, only accommodated and tolerated, like the freckles on her face. It was part of her person, and she felt it was visible to anyone who looked at her, like her freckles and her curly auburn hair or hazel green eyes. Now she was here burying her last local relative. Her father’s brother, Uncle Jimmy, a quiet old Korean War veteran and life-long bachelor that she had never been able to really get to know. And now it was too late. He had passed away, as quietly and unceremoniously as he had lived. Sarah was surprised at the degree of guilt she was suddenly feeling.
Standing at the back of the small crowd gathered at the burial, a young man named Richard caught a glimpse of sweet white thigh as a girl's skirt fought the wind in the front near the casket, and managed to show no reaction to it on his face, though he did have a reaction. He turned his face away, standing at attention as his body was still accustomed to doing, while the retired US Army chaplain stepped to the front of the small gathering and silently commanded everyone’s attention.
Richard Morang had known Jim Kelley for just a couple of years since the younger man had returned home from Iraq and taken a job as a laborer in a trucking warehouse where Jim had been employed since he had been discharged from the service himself, and was now a supervising foreman. The guy had always been decent to him, clearly understanding the challenges of reintegrating into civilian life after doing combat duty. He had been just about the only person Richard had been able to talk to about his experiences, both overseas and since coming home. Jim had been a good listener, and Richard had come to the funeral service today to pay his final respects. Richard didn't have a lot of friends, wasn't a very outgoing guy, but he thought of old Jim as a friend. He would miss that man, though he regretted how little he had bothered to really get to know him. And now, thoroughly distracted by a brief flash of leg, he was surprised at the degree of guilt he was feeling.
He turned his attention to the chaplain, who because he did not really know the deceased man either, began to give a traditional talk about the thirteen folds of the flag; ...