Henry, Who Served

I assumed he stood about 5’4″, stocky, long arms, previously muscled but now leaning toward fat. I assumed this because I heard he’d fought in the war, that he served on a destroyer in the Pacific. I have this image that men in the navy at that time all looked like wrestlers, that they’d spent their formative years grappling with other young men in feats of strength, pushing and throwing to determine who should be king of the hill. I was never king of any hill. Nor, by the looks of him, was Henry. Perhaps, in his younger days he’d been different, but the frail, gaunt man I met challenged my understanding of the way of the world. How could someone this thin or tall, as if his frame were constructed without the benefit of muscle or sinew, serve aboard a ship of war? I didn’t want to believe it, even when he told me.

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