Nancy L. Meek
A FEW TIPS FROM THE WIFE OF A MAN FROM VIETNAM
Never argue over where the two of you will sit when entering a restaurant. His seat will always be the one with the back against a wall (or corner) where he will have a good view of the center of the room and also the entrance and exit doors, if at all possible.
Oh, and if… when you arrive at the restaurant, there is a long “chow” line, never throw a fit if he insists on finding a restaurant where he doesn’t have to stand in line to eat.
Never, ever attempt to wake him up by slapping or even patting him on the cheek. If you need to wake him up, wrap your hand around his big toe and squeeze gently.
Never serve chipped beef on toast… aka “you-no-what on a shingle” or any food item which resembles potted meat or spam.
If he should walk to the window or door to investigate the sound of someone approaching… or any sound at all… don’t try to stop him or accuse him of being paranoid or nosey.
If he wants to “map out” your route when you need to run a few errands, agree to his plan.
Don’t ask him why he must always put his keys, coins, wallet, comb… etc… in the same designated pockets… always.
If you see him looking up and down the body of a man whom neither of you know, it isn’t because he’s gay, it’s because he’s looking for weapons.
If he opts out of going to a fireworks show, don’t ever call him a “fuddy-duddy” or a “kill-joy”.
If you see him cutting his eyes at you and starting to get fidgety while watching TV, pay attention to what type of show he’s watching. If it’s a war movie or a documentary on war, leave the room because he’s getting ready to cry. If you must remain in the room and the lights are off, resist the urge to turn on the lights or ask him why he’s watching TV in the dark.
And here is the last (but the most important) of the tips off the top of my head:
If he ever wants to talk about anything concerning the war… give him your undivided attention and respect for what he endured.
©Copyright May 7, 2004 by Nancy L. Meek