1. in ref to; “It is something of a military axiom to say never leave an enemy behind you- I say it applies to wounds as well, never leave them behind without first addressing them-if not they never heal. They become a part of the shadow that follows us through the course of our lives.”

    a friend in nam was left behind, and he was taken to a village by the N. Vietnamese. Daily they had him soak in a sauna in a cave, and when he was strong enough to leave an elder woman gave him 4 small stones, and told him something along the line you “must” carry these with you at all times, for it is part of what you are leaving behind in that cave”.

    Tommy returns to that village every 4 yrs, in his own way, to give back a bit, to receive a bit, to re-establish himself and remember what helped him become a stronger human being. He is quite the character, especially as he fiddles with his stones (always with him) and rants about people who haven’t found a way to heal from that era. That community of the Viet Cong gave Tommy something no other could or would, i.e time and help to heal.

    Before leaving the end of the Mississippi, He gave me his Army Coat, insulated liner, with the back pack straps still in place (those shoulder straps that were normally cut of when a soldier returned his gear at the end of duty, He told that clerk, those are my straps, i earned them, and no one will cut them off 🙂 , to me he mentioned “this coat will serve you well in the north”.

    There is no doubt in my mind, Tommy is a man who understands the depth of the referenced quote above, and within his shadow is one of great giving.

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