Randy E. Richmond
THE IMPOSSIBLE REUNION
Randy and Tony - June 2004I tried to write a poem bright
spent hours in contemplation
I don’t know why, but when I try
it seems an exaggeration
Can’t seem to rhyme at least this time
my words heartfelt and true
It’s not my norm, but in story form
I’ll share these thoughts with you…
It was two months ago today that Jan and I were standing at the arrival gate, the only arrival gate, at Waterloo International. To occupy my mind, I was admiring the brand new jet-way that Tony would pass through. I actually chuckled to Jan that it was (true) larger than the fuselage of the plane that it was just now mating with.
And… I was scared shitless! Not of course at the prospect of finally meeting Tony… again… after thirty four years, but that something would go wrong to spoil the completion of an ‘impossible’ journey. I tried using ‘improbable’ but even that left the odds too short. I was imagining Tony missing a connection, getting bumped, falling ill with Platypus Fever, Kreeping Kangaroo Kraps, or Wallaby Whooping Cough. SOMETHING was going to interfere with a reunion that just seemed waaay too good to be true! The plane had landed safely, pretty much on time, and without any incident whatsoever… NOW I was really concerned!
After Jan told me to relax and simmer down, we settled in to watch the passengers who were just coming into view. There was no doubt that I would recognize Tony the moment I saw him… and I did… just behind one of the two of our U.S. senators (Grassley) whose home is here! I was in temporary horror as I imagined him and Tony sitting next to one another on the flight sharing the story of our meeting and of this reunion and the senator thinking… “What a great opportunity for some public relations stumping and visibility”… at the expense of the little time we’d have together. Not to worry though, the senator didn’t even give a passing nod or any other sign of acknowledgment as he walked by us. Politicians… God bless them… never wanting to interfere or involve themselves in our daily lives!
Then I moved my gaze back to the line and saw Tony waving frantically and grinning from ear to ear. I knew at that moment that it WAS possible to win the lottery, to have lightning strike two… or three times in the same place, for me to get pregnant next week… uh… well ok, you get the picture…
Thus began the culmination of a thirty-four year odyssey in which travelers on the same trail touched cans, many parts of the globe, and marked time while waiting for technology to catch up with destiny. And then, amazed by the journey… and thankful that the last mile became an attainable quest… I again touched cans (aluminum this time)… with my friend!
Randy, Quincy (Whitey) and Tony at the Breast Cancer
“Run For Life” Rally in Waterloo, IowaMy dear friend Whitey (Craig White – himself a Vietnam Veteran) is active in a number of community service activities (none of which are court-ordered). One of these things is for him to dress and act as ‘Quincy the Koala’ for the Cedar Valley Hospice here… for young children in particular, but in this case, for two old Nam vets.
By the way, I was OK at the airport through that moment when I gave Tony a salute through the security glass and even when he saw me and returned it… but when I saw tears in that young lady’s eyes at the ticket counter as she watched that exchange, I beat a manly retreat.
I hope to see you again my friend… perhaps down-under… before I’m uh… down-under!
©Copyright August 10, 2004 by Randy E. Richmond