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Uncle Pete

By John I. Blair

Pete sold cookies town to town;
And when he came to visit us
We ran to greet him,
My brother and me,
For in his Ford he always stocked
Stuff we rarely got to taste
Since Mom baked all our treats.

But we also thought of Pete
Wearing Army uniforms
For a photo in our book
Showed him on some Paris street,
His khaki cap at a cocky slope.

He never talked of being there –
I guess we weren’t old enough;
But back in 1944
Pete had clanked through Belgian woods
Seeking targets in the snow;
And on his leg was a ragged scar
Made by a sliver of shattered steel
When a Panzer shell had holed
Pete’s Pershing tank.

Two friends died beside him then;
Pete spent weeks in bandages
Before going back to war.

Years of nightmares, years of pain,
All so he could park his car
In our front yard in Wichita
And hand out cookies to happy boys.

I hope, I know
That was sufficient thanks for Pete.

©2005 John I. Blair  

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