This is a conversation I had with my grandfather to the best of my memory. The conversation happened a couple of months ago.
So by miracle, I mean once in a lifetime, unbelievable opportunity.
My grandpa was in the Navy and doesn’t EVER talk about what happened during his time because it was during Vietnam and that shit was cray cray and very shady. And he’s not proud of Vietnam, but also he’s not allowed to say anything, right? Well, unlike my father, he’s very sentimental. He loves us all (he has 3 daughters, 8 granddaughters myself included, and Eli.) He is surrounded by women in the family because until Eli that’s all we had. Men were only married in, So he’s not hardened or anything. But anytime Vietnam is mentioned, you can just tell by the way he slowly excuses himself from the room that it’s a no-touch topic.
Well. You know what is normally known as Thanksgiving for most Americans, and they all get together with their family and eat Lunch or Dinner? Well, my family does that every Sunday.
So, One Sunday a few months ago, my grandpa pulls me aside. He knows I’m the one who enjoys history while my other cousins are all about other girly things. He pulls me aside to tell me a story, which I just engross myself in because (in a way, I think) I am his favorite in these times, and I want him to know that. And he begins to speak:
“You know I was in the Navy, right?” Submarines?”
“Well, this stays between you, myself, and your grandmother.”
“Do you know what a Navy Seal is?”
“Kind of. They’re the super bad ass of Navy? All secretive and special rank?”
“More or less. You hear about them today because news is hard to keep secret. But back then, it was very much honored to keep secrets. Vietnam wouldn’t fly today.”
“Well, one time, we had this mission to coast the area around Vietnam – I can’t tell you where, I”m sorry – and we just had to keep an eye on things. We were stationed there for so long, and it was dangerous because if we were detected.. Well.”
“And since we were stationed in the area, we got orders to play hostess to 8 Navy Seals who were going to go on an operation nearby.”
“We housed them for about three days. During this time, we weren’t allowed to talk to them, bother them, and most of us never saw their faces. Better not to know. Three days later, and we were asked to get them closer to the surface, towards the beach for their mission.”
“So we do, and they depart, and we go back to our section with orders to return when the time is ready and pick them up at the rendezvous point. When it was time, we went to pick them up – but something had gone wrong.”
“They were slaughtered on their way out, but still, they were us – they were American, so our active leader told us to search – long and hard – for ANY survivors of the 8.”
“We didn’t find any bodies but one of the 8, and he was face up in the water, but not moving, seemingly dead. We pulled him up, medical attention saw him immediately and we went back under to hiding.”
“Within the next few days, we met up to transport him to safety elsewhere, and by that time, we had learned her DID survive, and was conscious but not talking. By the Grace of God, I saw his face when he was being moved and I reached out and I touched his hand. I don’t know why, I just figured if it were me, and I”m in a lonely career where I just lost my other 7, I’d want to know there was a reason to stay.”
“And that was the last I saw of him.”
It’s at this point, that I assume that is the end of the tale, but he begins again, shaking.
“Now..That was decades ago, Miranda.”
“But just the other day, I was up in Denison getting my car serviced, and I”ve been going to the dealership up there for the services for years upon years, so I know the Director, and we were conversing.”
“In comes a man who’s in the same boat as me. Known the Director for years, old like I am, and you know me, I’ve never met a stranger, so we hit it off.”
“We get on to the topic of our service history in the military – both Navy.”
“We can’t give too much detail, but we skirt around it, and I am the member of the Navy. And he is the Seal.”
“And when we realized it..”
“How we are such small players in a huge world where he could have been anywhere – or as he put it – that day he could have died..”
“And we didn’t even know each other’s names, or anything about their location..”
“.. And here he was, and when we realized the connection, we never cried so hard.”
“He hugged me, shook my hand, and thanked me. Said he wouldn’t be here if not for me.”
So, by this point, I’m crying and stunned. And he pats my shoulder, and says, “If that’s not evidence of the miracles in this world, I don’t know what is.”