Talking With ‘Old Guys’

Joe and I were talking the other day, about how we used to love talking with ‘old guys.’ We learned so much from these guys who ‘went before us’ – about everything, about Life. One of the ‘old guys’ I used to talk with was Carl Gamble.

Carl was the father of a friend of mine. We met in 1964, when I began college. Carl was a grocer and had served as a Forward Artillery Spotter in WW II. To this end he was darned near deaf! (Go figure?). At any rate, one night I happened to ask him if he had any idea how many Germans he was responsible for “taking off the playing field?” He told me that he had no idea but would think about it… Carl was a “ponderer.”

A little later he reported that he felt personally responsible for calling in artillery on 823 unfortunate German soldiers. And we went with that. Then a couple months later he told me that remembered 3 or 4 more he caught sneaking away in a trench one day. Called in the coordinates, and took them ‘out of service.’

It wasn’t long after that, that he brought up another 4 or 5 unfortunate soldiers he found, and “removed from the fight.” And we would laugh about it all… knowing it was just banter.

Truth be told, Carl was, and remains, a personal Hero of mine. He was a true Man of Grace. When you met him he made you feel as if you were the most important person he had ever met. And all levity aside, he had so much to share about Life in general. About Honor, about Integrity, about Work Ethic, your Word and so forth… Our conversations helped shaped me as a Man.

When I went on Active Duty I would seek out the ‘old guys,’ to learn from them. And learn I did, and I prospered from it; professionally and personally.

As Joe and I talked a while back, he remarked that he rarely finds young people today even remotely interested in what he might have to say, about anything. I’ve seen this too…

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