A United States MARINE, A Greyhound and A Hundred Miles

"Leave the driving to Greyhound".......

It shouldn't have to be a major drawn-out decision to choose a means of transportation just to visit an old friend. How difficult can it be to make up one's mind on such a simple issue?

Driving alone did not appeal to me. I surely wasn't going to fly a mere hundred miles. I could think of only two more options. I jotted down the pros and cons to Amtrak versus Greyhound. After calling each for information, I chose the bus.

It's not much for status or comfort but quite frankly, I didn't care. A good book and a couple of magazines and I am good to go.

On the day of departure, in my usual compulsive fashion, I made sure I was first on board to carefully choose just the right seat. I reasoned the while, that no matter who took the seat next to me, it would be a vast improvement over my last airline buddy. That's all I will say. I can't even go there.

Less than two minutes into position, cracking open my book, I saw by peripheral vision, an enormous figure slide in next to me. "You don't mind if I sit here, do you, ma'am?" A deep, but gentle voice asked as his shoulder slightly nudged me, unavoidably toward the window.

He was a young, handsome man in uniform and my heart melted as I thought of my own U.S. Marine son, my pride and treasure. Through my best welcoming smile, I simply said, "Of course not."

Marines on leave are friendly and talkative. Trust me on this.

We exchanged names and destinations. He stood slowly, all 6'6" of him, removed his jacket and sat right back down, put his head back and closed his eyes.

I gazed out the window to peek at the scenery. We were rolling by farm country on a gorgeous Autumn day...a breathtaking view, to say the least. This was going to be a pleasant and relaxing ride. Plugged in my ear phones and fluffed my little pillow..... I gave myself a pat on the back for my decision to travel by bus..

My bus buddy's name was Peter. Sergeant Peter Bennett, U.S.M.C., on his way to see the love of his life, a couple of cities beyond my destination. I closed my eyes and made a wish. A wish I would make for my own son. Whatever is next for this young soldier...Please let it be here at home.....not in the Middle East....not the war. If he must go to war, please keep him safe and return him home to his loved ones,healthy and whole.. I allowed myself only moments to think back to the torturous months of what is now, thankfully, a blurr.....the months my son spent in Iraq, during "Operation Iraqi Freedom." The second tank over the border from Kuwait into Iraq, the very first day of the war.
I banished the memory quickly. The orders of this day were no painful thoughts...no stress, no worries....just a peaceful ride to Pennsylvania.

The Sergeant's cell phone awakened him from his little snooze and startled me out of my trance. He didn't answer, but hit the reject button instead and apologized to me for his phone having disturbed me. Gosh what a sweetie, I thought, such a polite young man.....of course he is, he's a Marine....Again I smiled at him and told him that I hadn't been sleeping, just day dreaming. He then said something I found quite profound, "Sometimes, daydreaming is better than sleep." I looked at him and wanted to agree, but he kept talking. "When I was in the dessert in Afghanistan, I think I day dreamed my time away." Then I knew it best to say nothing. I remembered the form letters that military families received from Marine Corps Family Support Groups that strongly suggested we leave discussions of the war to our soldiers, if and when they chose to talk about it at all.

A Soldier pours out his memories

It became apparent to me that this young Sergeant wanted to share his story. It also occurred to me, he'd have done this with or without me next to him.. He was intent to clear away some cob webs, to unload the dust that had collected in corners of his mind.

"When you're camped out in the vast expanse of a desert, in a foreign and hostile environment, there's a whole lot of time and silence that lends itself to some pretty deep thinking. I started out thinking there might be a lot of guy-talk and camaraderie, but that isn't how it was. After we'd traveled a day or two and set up our camp, we were pretty beat, I mean really dog-tired. Some of us slept and the rest of us took our shift at being awake and alert."

I couldn't help but notice he stared straight ahead as he spoke, as though seeing the vision of his words play out before his eyes. I knew he was just as aware that I was focused on his every word. It was a strange place for me....somewhere between wanting to be his audience,yet not knowing if I could handle the emotional impact of hearing his tale.

All things are as they should be, at any given moment.

I was feeling a bit smug, relishing how my intuition never fails me. It's such a powerful force within me. it's busy doing it's thing even when I'm not consciously aware. "Good Job, inner self, way to go!" This encounter, the soldier and me.....it was in the Plan. Yes, meant to be. I anticipated his continuing story and was not disappointed.

"It's funny, Peter went on, joining the Military never entered my mind in High School. No way I could have pictured myself being kicked around and beaten up at any boot camp. Nah, I never saw myself in uniform. I'm still wondering what I'm doing ....me, Pete, the screw-up, calling myself a United States Marine, one of the chosen few. Yea, my buddies are still laughing, I'll bet. How it happened isn't important. Once you're in, you're in. You've heard that one, right? Once a Marine, always a Marine.


"Yes, Peter, I have definitely heard that, more than once." I didn't want to sway his train of thought. No need to tell him that both my Dad and my son, served as Marines. I could clearly sense he wanted to talk....no, he needed to talk. I was feeling honored to listen.

Being sent over there was inevitable. My whole battalion expected it. Some of the guys were all gung-ho, real crazy to go fight the enemy. A few didn't really say much at all one way or the other. I'll be honest. I was scared....scared shitless. I know I shouldn't admit that and I never would to my comrades, believe me. I guess everyone just automatically figures only brave, tough guys join the Marines. I'm sure they think we're made out of something beyond human stuff. Hell, most of the time even we believe that. But take a 19 year old kid, stick an assault weapon in his hand and fly him to enemy territory, where people hate you and all they want to do is kill as many of us as possible......it's hard to explain. All the aggressive training in the world doesn't guarantee a damned thing.


Peter paused for awhile, looking pensive, seeming I guessed to be thinking about what he'd just said. I could feel my emotions lining in position to bombard me and fighting against them was never easy for me. For a moment I felt queasy and had to ask Peter to let me out, so I could walk back to the lav.

Alone, in a stainless steel cubby, I realized this young Marine was literally flooding my mind with a hundred thoughts just swirling around in my head. I had questions that I knew I shouldn't ask. More than that, I wanted to say something to him to let him know I was truly understanding but felt it might sound disingenuous, however sincere. I'm never speechless but this was a whole different deal. For once, I decided, my job was just to listen. Barely back in my seat, he turned to look me in the eye for the first time, a sheepish sort of grin on his face.

"I'm sorry, I must be boring you, bothering you. I'll shut up..........I couldn't get the words out quickly enough. I assured him he was not boring me nor bothering me at all ....."No, please," I encouraged him to tell me more.

"It's been a while since I've had the chance to talk to someone other than a fellow Marine. I haven't been back that long and I guess I had more to get off my chest than I knew. I didn't say too much about what went on over there to my parents. My Dad's a pretty quiet, serious guy and...well, we never really talked a lot. My Mom just cries a lot and hugs me and sticks bowls of food in front of me. You know, Moms are like that.. Never tell Mom anything that might upset her. HA! How could I tell my mother how close I came more than once, to getting blown to bits? Or how I broke down and sobbed as I helped carry a wounded buddy into the medic's tent. I don't think I cried that hard since I was a kid. We all cried.....couldn't help it. That's what I mean. We're human beings. We hurt and feel pain. We're not always big and brave.


Now, I wanted to cry. My heart was becoming heavier than I could handle. I shifted in my seat, took a sip of water and glanced quickly out the window,,,,,,took a big deep breath. Thoughts of my son's tour in Iraq had new meaning ...and not in a comforting way. As though the horrid nightmare I had lived through while he was gone, with all my deepest fears, hadn't been enough. Now, my heart was breaking for every single young American who left their home and family to fight a war, halfway round the world. Jesus. Peter took up where he'd left off, as though reading my thoughts.

We all knew what was being said back home...all the anger toward another war. The World News broadcast daily, how Americans wanted to know why our military was in Iraq. They demanded to know what the hell Iraq had to do with 911. And the loudest screaming was..."where are the infamous WMD'S?"
Why did we give a damn about a lunatic named, Sadam Hussein? We don't ask questions. We follow orders and defend our country when we're told and how we're told. There's not much time used up explaining WHY. Know what I mean? The American public didn't want us there and for sure, most of the Iraqis didn't want us there. But there we were, just as big and bold as can be.

We saw a lot of bad....really bad stuff. The battle of the bullets was everywhere. The worst, most horrific thing was how those coward bastards would send young children out with assault rifles ......hell, almost as big as the kids were. The way they strapped bombs around women and forced them out to blow up American soldiers.....suicide bombers who should be honored to die for Allah. No greater sacrifice than to be a martyr for Islam! I don't get it. I mean, what's it really all about?

I had a lot of time to think about things I'd never paid much attention to before going over there. You want a lesson in gratitude and pride in your country? Want to figure out in a hurry, just what's important in life? What really matters? Spend a year in a country run by radical extremists, where there are no rights, no freedoms, and absolutely no regard for human life. Yea, that'll do it. A condensed and speedy type of education on appreciating all we have and all we are. A major awareness and rude awakening to the incredible suffering and oppression elsewhere in this world. I was proud to fulfill my duty. I'm overjoyed to be home.....No matter how bad it gets here, whatever struggles we have or rough roads we need to travel.....We are the greatest country in the world, sure as we're sitting right here. Ah, Ma'am, speaking of right here, I do believe Mr Bus Driver just pulled into your destination station. I'd be happy to walk you off the bus, if you don't mind.


We'd actually gone a hundred miles? I was in disbelief. Gathering my few belongings, Peter motioned for me to walk ahead of him and he followed me off the bus. Hmmm, will you look at me? I thought....my very own bodyguard.

I spotted my friend waiting for me at the curb and motioned to her I'd be with her in a minute. I took both of Peter's hands and squeezed them. "Thank you so very much, Peter. this has been the most wonderfully inspirational hundred miles of my life. I mean that sincerely, and I wish you anything your heart desires." He gave me a shy smile and said, "It was very nice to meet you and Thank you for listening to me ramble on. I appreciate that, ma'am."

He boarded the bus as I walked a few steps and as the bus pulled away, I smiled and waved. Peter gave me a peace sign and off he went.

My old friend Carrie appeared with her hands on her hips...."Well, now who was that and what's going on here?".......I ignored her questions, gave her a great big hug and said, "Damn, girl, it's good to see you. Now let's do some crazy Mall shopping! " It's a beautiful day, to spend some money....don't you think?"


A Veteran speaks

U.S.M.C. Marching Band! AWESOME!

More by this Author


Comments 88 comments

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 3 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Theresa.....Just what I needed to brighten my day! A visit & a smile from you!! YOU are the real "gem." :) :)


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 months ago from southern USA

Hi Lovely Paula,

I was checking out my account under the hubs I still follow to get a good idea of my favorite hubs (as I save them and do not unfollow for reference later), and I saw this gem here. This one certainly deserves an award, so ... hint, hint : )

Have a wonderful Labor Day without too much labor.

I have my creative writing juices flowing this morning in hopes of finishing up my hub to Bill's challenge. Writing is not labor to me, for I enjoying it as a creative release.

Peace always


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 13 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Dear sweet Theresa....Your comment made my day. Yes, I know what you mean about our memories of our old friend "Dusty." He is still with us.

Have a wonderful Sunday. Sending you loving thoughts, Paula


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 13 months ago from southern USA

Oh, I meant to add about our dear friend, Dusty, just how much his comments I cherish, especially those he left on my poem about being a soldier's child. My eyes always well-up whenever I read Dusty's comments to me because I know he knows as he was there.

God rest his soul


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 13 months ago from southern USA

Dear Paula,

I am so grateful that our lovely Maria, shared your powerfully inspirational 100 mile bus ride with me! If I'd known of this hub, I would have voted for it as the Most Beautiful Hub in the Hubbie Awards hands-down. What a way to be reminded of how blessed we are to have the freedoms we have in our great country and that we should never take for granted! I will not soon forget the words of your new friend.

You are indeed a great listener, lovely woman. I hate that we can't vote up and across anymore, but I am certainly sharing this powerful piece here everywhere.

Peace and blessings to all,

Theresa


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 14 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Hey GF, Thanks for stopping by. So good to see you on this chilly evening. (Old man winter around the corner. No stopping him Brrrr already)

I know what you mean about Dusty's comment. I get a little heart tug whenever I come across one of his sweet comments. He was such a cute old guy. How special that we become attached to our hubber friends as though we've known them forever.Cyber pals are as real as can be!! Miss you girl!


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 14 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

Dear Paula,

I am grateful to Linda for sharing this in Sunshine Times.

I am just seeing this for the first time.

How naturally intuitive you are to honor this hero and listen to the memories he needed to express.

It was beautiful reading Dusty's comment as well...like he is still with us.

Love this and you too, Maria


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 16 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

colorful.......Every once in a while, we are fortunate to have an unexpected and heart-warming experience. I think about this young man now and then and hope he is doing well....healthy and happy.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me. I appreciate it. Peace, Paula


colorfulone profile image

colorfulone 16 months ago from Minnesota

Paula, I think it is wonderful that you wrote a hub about that hundred miles with your bus buddy. What an honor for both of you to be able to spend that time together. I am sure your compassionate listening was very healing for Peter and something he will never forget. How could you ever forget like day. Timing is everything with the divine.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 20 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

I will guess Viet Nam.....Thank you by the way for your service and sacrifice. Not only my husband, but many friends & family served their time there. That was the war of our era (boomers)....

My Dad & Uncle served with the U.S.M.C........and of course more recently, my son. I have extreme pride and admiration for our Military....all of them. I also have extreme shame for the lack of care & concern they are afforded once home. It is yet another of my missions.

Thanks Ed.....BTW...my Dad's name was Edward & my son is Edmund!

Peace, Paula


Edward J. Palumbo profile image

Edward J. Palumbo 20 months ago from Tualatin, OR

Thank you for listening...and for writing. Mine was another war, a different time and social environment. I will always be a Marine, and I will always love this country.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 22 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

A---------MEN!


DJ Anderson 22 months ago

I do hope that will be exactly the way things happen. It would be nice if we could back them with armament or other support without sending

any more of our young people in harms way.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 22 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Thanks DJ....Yes, isn't it maddening that things are still a mess? In fact, now we're dealing with the savages of ISIS, here, there and everywhere.

The sick em-effers have pissed off Jordan now.....not a good move. They're about to get their asses kicked.....GO Jordan!!


DJ Anderson 22 months ago

Paula, what a beautiful story honoring one lone soldier.

Every mother would feel good to know their military son sat on a bus and had you listen as he poured out his heart. You did a very good thing, Paula. Sometimes, a good listener is hard to find.

I see that you wrote this piece over two years ago. The Middle East is

still a hot bed of activity with the craziness continuing to grow worse each day.

Great article, Mrs. Feffer.

Love,

DJ.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

itsme.......Thank you so much. I'm glad you appreciate my work. Peace to you, Paula


itsmesudiksha profile image

itsmesudiksha 2 years ago from Nepal

beautiful experience!!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

My sweet Downstate friend......Always nice to have a visit from you. Your comment is quite timely. I just recently had a visit with my closest female cousins (we like to add that we are "friends" as well as family).

As one would expect, we always wind up talking about our youth and all the family "stuff."......our parents in particular.

Although I am well aware I sound totally biased when I speak of my Dad, the sheer truth is that there was not a single human being who knew him who didn't absolutely adore him. My cousins have admitted to feeling closer to him than to their own father.

When I asked them to tell me why (although I can understand this).....they simply said, "Because he was always ALWAYS happy, funny and in a good mood.....and could make any situation easier and more comfortable." The reason I mention this Tillie, is because you mention my sense of humor. In my heart, what I inherited from my father is more precious & valuable & treasured than all the gold, precious gems & material crap in the Universe. If not for that inheritance, I would not have.......could not have....survived beyond the age of 23. I owe him everything....and I TRY to pay it forward.

In the interest of total honesty.....I must also admit, no one wanted to get on our bad side. Life is a continual stream of give & take........Peace GF.....


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York

I just had to read this again GF....your sense of humor sometimes belies the wonderful lady beneath. This country or rather our government, needs to wake up. How sad is it that we need an organization like Wounded Warriors to take care of our men and women?


Vellur profile image

Vellur 2 years ago from Dubai

Thank you for sharing your life experiences with us. Heart rending to read, we learn a lot just by listening.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Whoa!! That's a fine mess of letters above...."f ouerMilitary!!??" Looks like I may have passed out for a second while typing!! Obviously you can figure out I meant...FOR OUR MILITARY....No, I don't have OCD. LOL!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Thank you Mike. I have a huge soft spot f ouerMilitary....especially our U.S. Marine Corps......:)


Mr Archer profile image

Mr Archer 2 years ago from Missouri

Absolutely incredible read! What an inspiring story he had! Thank you for sharing it with us.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Graham......So glad you enjoyed my story. I have a soft spot in my heart for our Military. And I've give anything if we, as a country treated them much better than it seems we do....especially when they've come home from a tour of duty overseas.......Thanks, Graham


old albion profile image

old albion 2 years ago from Lancashire. England.

Hi Paula. So well done. You helped a young man on his road of life that day. I do hope that Peter finishes his time in safety and returns home to his Mum and Dad, just like your two men have done.

Graham.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Sorry Blal, for taking so long to respond......Thanks for visiting my site. I'm afraid I'm not sure who's "hunting" around.....or as to what information you refer , but....I appreciate your comment. Have a great night.... Peace.


Blalpessfralo 3 years ago

whoah this blog is excellent i like studying your articles. Keep up the good work! You know, many persons are hunting around for this information, you could aid them greatly.

Pusequesque


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Oh....I can easily take a trip to Fl.....and one day, in the near future, I will...I plan to travel (not far and wide) more often, now that I have more time! There are so many people I want to visit. BUT.....know you are at the top of that list! Hugs!


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

That sounds like so much fun, but I'd prefer you were here barefoot and fancy free!! I dare you! Double dare! Need I go to triple...


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Linda Sue....Peek-a-boo!.....I think you should hop on a bus, headed for New York! Bring warm clothes....our Memorial day is COLD! I'll lend you my flannels, fluffy robe and slippers and we can watch movies and eat popcorn. A good old-fashioned P.J. Party! LOL......You're too sweet to share my hubs.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

Always a pleasure to stop by to read this story once again, share it for others to appreciate and to visit my Effer :)


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

wilderness......I'm sorry I had not noticed your comment much sooner. I try never to miss a visit from a fellow-hubber! I appreciate you stopping by and sharing my respect and admiration for our men & women in uniform.


wilderness profile image

wilderness 4 years ago from Boise, Idaho

A touching story. Both of my sons have served, one in Afghanistan and Iraq both. At times they need to talk - you were very kind to take the time to listen to this soldier, to help just a little with the memories of war.

Thank you on behalf of all our military, current and past.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

I know that my Uncle (my father's youngest brother and the only surviving child of my grandparents) will know the answer to this. I've been told, numerous times, I'm sure, but what I do recall is that they immigrated to Austria and lived there for years before finally coming to the U.S. In fact, they actually met each other here, in this country. My grandmother's brother also came here....I was really little, but I remember him...."Uncle Wasil Fedko."......I'll get some info, Pavlo and get back to you.. OK?


Pavlo Badovskyy profile image

Pavlo Badovskyy 4 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

Where did they originated from? Ukraine is a big country. Well, may be not that big as Russia, but bigger than Netherlands :)


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Pavlo....What a sweet man you are. BTW, thank you so much for the "follow" and the complimentary fan mail. Of course, I had to go to your site, to at least read your bio and view your collection of hubs. I see many that have piqued my interest and I intend to read. I look forward to our association, Pavlo.

One more thing......My paternal grandparents are/were 100% Ukranian.

Who knows? We may have shared relatives! LOL


Pavlo Badovskyy profile image

Pavlo Badovskyy 4 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

Hi. I do not know what you do for living, but you can be a publicist. I am not a literature expert but I liked the description of a Sergeant, and details of the story. In the comments I found a phrase "entire article is wonderfully provocative" . Nothing can describe it better. Thank you for sharing you life experience with us!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Femme....thank you so much for stopping by to visit and read my hub. I'm glad you enjoyed it and appreciate your comments.....I so happy to finally meet and be able to follow one another. To our future sharing....Cheers!


femmeflashpoint 4 years ago

fpher,

I've been out of the loop for several weeks, on a "recovery" mission (so to speak), and now I'm squared away enough to put in a bit of read time. After your very kind response to Marcoujor's article, I wanted to come check out your work as well.

I'm impressed, and that's an understatement. I found the title to this one, and couldn't wait to dive into it. I was an instant fan at the title, but the entire article is wonderfully provocative. You've done a beautiful job recording this encounter.

God bless you for sharing something .... and "someone" .... so incredibly special.

Semper Fi,

femmeflashpoint


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

rajan.....Thank you so much for visiting and offering your comment. Yes, I do think we should all get into a habit of listening more and talking less! Do you think there's hope for women??!! LOL


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Beautiful and moving story. Sometimes it is better to keep listening to know what is on the other side of the fence. Voted up & beautiful.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

I am speechless that you are so moved, but very pleased, as well, that you appreciated it. I must thank you and InKarn23 for sharing my work. I am flattered but humbled.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border

Voted up and all across. Wow pretty much sums up my emotional level right now. My friend ImKarn23 shared this with me on Facebook and I am so glad she did. You wrote this heart wrenching article filled with emotion and sprinkled with a mother's love. Like so many others here, I too welled up with tears, appreciating this Marines pride, honesty and fear of the unknown. Your article is by far one of the most riveting and wonderfully written pieces I have read here on HubPages. Thank you for sharing your words with us and I assure you, just like ImKarn23, I too will be spreading this with many.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Thanks, Wayne...glad you liked my story and could read the value it had to me. You're right. I've always been very proud of my Dad and son....certainly for more reasons than their U.S. Marine connection...but, "they" really don't talk much about their experiences to family. Maybe a protective thing? I guess I always thought they just wanted to leave it behind...But, how foolish of me. They don't seem to ever be able to that very well or completely. Good to see you here, Wayne!


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 4 years ago from Texas

Some things are just meant to happen and I think is one of them. You probably looked into a Marine's mind in a way that you could never do with your father or your son. But, that experience told you volumes about your father and your son. You really recounted the story well from his perspective too so I know that you were a good listener! Thanks much for sharing! ~WB


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Hi there and thanks so much for the wonderful comment....I know I am following you.......which is how I am notified of your hubs......I am so glad that this has impressed you in the way that I hoped it would impress my readers....It will certainly remain in my heart forever..


ImKarn23 profile image

ImKarn23 4 years ago

i am speechless..my heart rose up to form a lump in my throat almost from the moment she met Peter - and it stayed there till the end of the line..

This is a fabulous story of one man - and yet - of an entire nation as well..

it was an honor to read, in fact - if that is even possible..

Deeply impressed and sharing with the hub-munity - and elsewhere!

I hope the world reads it and thinks twice about what they 'want' or what they 'don't have' or, or or...

why aren't i notified by email - are we following each other?

i'm also going to send it to a few very patriot people i know with kids in the military..

they'll love it..


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Thanks MT....Yes, now and then we get lucky and have some very interesting people to travel with. It's fun to hear so many different points of view. I always hope I will meet people from other countries, so I can ask a thousand questions......


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

Whenever I am traveling alone, I enjoy talking to others and it is amazing the different points of view and different things you can learn.

It does sound like you were meant to have this discussion with Peter. It helped both of you. He certainly is an amazing man, and I wish him the best as well.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Jools

Thank you, dear friend.....I am pleased you were moved by this experience of mine. I believe as you do, of course. All things are as they are intended to be...

MG....

Thank you for stopping by to read my hub. Always good to hear from my talented fellow-hubbers!!


MG Singh profile image

MG Singh 4 years ago from Singapore

A wonderful tale and very well related. Congrats on a lovely post


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

Paula, now it's my turn to get a catch in my chest - this is such a wonderful article. You did that young man a huge favour listening to him; that's all he needed, to offload and talk about his experiences without judgement or comment. And he did something for you too by the sounds of it? The people we meet, we're meant to meet and sometimes the experiences don't amount to much and sometimes, like this time, they do! Voted up etc and shared.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Becky.....Thanks for visiting. My son's MOS was Tank Maintenance. You were spared months of incredible stress and discomfort....I wait for the day, all of our military come HOME!


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

I was honored with one of these conversations once. They always leave our hearts full and our eyes wet. God Bless every one of those young men. My youngest son almost got sent but he sprained his ankle just in time. He would have been in a different place anyway. His MOS was generator repair and he was posted to a psychological warfare unit.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

sjwalsh....Why, Thank you, new follower! I'm happy you enjoyed this hub.....and glad to have met you. Here's to our future sharing!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Alastar....Thank you so much. I agree that we can meet some fascinating individuals while traveling. This is sometimes the best part of a trip. I appreciate your comments, always, Alastar.


sjwalsh profile image

sjwalsh 4 years ago from Brookline, MA

Such a wonderful and insightful article! Proud to be a new follower of your work!


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

Soldiers reflect differently when reminiscing between themselves and when doing so with others. Sometimes they open up more on emotional memories with the later. You can meet the most interesting- indeed be touched by people when traveling. Thoroughly enjoyed this journey with you and Sgt. Bennett, Effer. A hundred miles passes by too soon in such company.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Thanks, Coge.....I'd be honored to sit next to your brother! I will never forget him....it was just one of those things that happened out of the blue...and I believe in all that "meant to be" scenarios....


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 4 years ago from Virginia

It sounds like Peter will remain in your mind for the rest of your life. I wish Peter success and happiness throughout his life. A beautiful telling of your 100 mile bus trip....that flew by. My brother is a former marine and he is tall....not 6'6 but tall and I kept picturing him sitting beside you.....very well done....truly a pleasure to read. Voted up and across the board.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

50 Caliber......I take it that you speak of Viet Nam? The war of our generation. I can think of literally hundreds of our boomers who went to war in the '6o's, including my husband., cousins and brother-in-law. I think I must have written more letters and sent packages, during that time, than ever in my life. There always seems to be controversy amongst Americans over wars, Dusty, and all they really need to do is support our men and women, get them back home safely and show our gratitude and respect. Thanks for stopping by.......Semper Fi.


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 4 years ago from Arizona

Fpher, Good old Greyhound bringing folks together, back in the day all of us Marines traveled by Greyhound or hitch hiked, I don't remember what I talked about in the bus or in a complete strangers car that was going my way, but the era was much different there were those who approved and many who hated us. The most part is like today, the media leads the light we stand in be it good or bad. In my days it was bad and now folks want to kiss my ass with thanks. I don't get it, but it is what it is.

I'm glad you were able to write in the positive here and let a soldier vent. Voted up and more,

May the Blessings Be,

dust


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

suzette....thank you for your kind and sincere response. I have serious difficulty watching heartbreaking scenes that involve our military, too. It tears me apart.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 4 years ago from Taos, NM

Oh effer, thank goodness you are a good listener. I consider you fortunate for having that experience. Thank God you listened as he needed to talk. I do believe a higher power brings people together at the right time as the two of you. We do appreciate the service they give to our country. I worked as a teacher for the military many years ago and the saying "Once a DOD employee, always a DOD employee," is so true. I have always considered the military, whichever service, as "family." I can't even watch when the flag draped coffins are on TV - I literally get all choked up. You were wonderful to him and thank you for raising a son or sons that served or are serving our country. This is a beautiful and touching story.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Nell, I share your thoughts....I never know what to say to our military that would adequately express how much I appreciate them and how profound the impact is, of their heroism.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Hi, Wow, that really made a lump in my throat, to hear their side of the conflicts and how he thought was strong stuff, it really brought it home to me just what they have to go through, I can't even say how much I think they are all heroes, it seems such a lame thing to say, I am glad he had you to sit next too, wonderful, nell


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Til.....I am experiencing some of the same issues with not being notified and find I have to go searching for new hubs by those i follow. I'm beginning to suspect it has something to do with the new profile pages. Hopefully they will work themselves out.

Glad you appreciated my hub and have some of the same thoughts on our military....bless your son for his service.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

Damn girl! I didn't get notified about this hub but decided to check your profile as I do periodically. You never cease to amaze me...your loving heart and all you've been through. Your bus trip was a lucky one for that Marine...he needed you and you were there. Of course you wrote this up so beautifully I had tears in my eyes through most of it. There are no winners in war....our boys need our support and love no matter where they are or what they do, God Bless our Military and always keep them safe! (My son is in the National Guard and works for Homeland Security.)

Voted this all the way across, except funny. Your humor showed through but this was never funny, only heartwarming and touching.


Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

What an incredible story and how lucky you were to experience it. I think that would have changed my life. We all get so absorbed in ourselves sometimes. You were obviously what that marine needed that day! Thanks for sharing this. Sharing it too!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

hockey8mn.....Semper Fi! Thank you for stopping by and adding your personal touches to my story. I am so behind our Vets and on a mission to push for better treatment and assistance when our country's BEST come home from the wars. Bless you. We are nothing and will maintain nothing, without our Military.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Bobbi....So nice to see you. Thanks for stopping by. 6 nephews! I'm sure they adore their sweet Aunt Bobbi. You have expressed a keen awareness of the incredible burden and daily struggle it can be to have one's child at war, far from home. It's a period of my life I spent in complete numbness. I could not have gotten through any other way.. love and peace to you, Bobbi.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Tammy....I can understand both your great pride in your brother and the fears and worry you go through.....OMG, 6 years--4 deployments....bless him and your family. Congrats to him for choosing to be a lifer. Our country salutes him.


hockey8mn profile image

hockey8mn 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

Great story. Sgt Bennett told you a story of compassion, heart ache, and pain that not many people see when they view the military. It is always great to hear the perspectives of veterans. Faithful always they shall remain. For if they don't, who will heed the call?


PurvisBobbi44 profile image

PurvisBobbi44 4 years ago from Florida

Paula,

Thank you for sharing your awe-inspiring 100 mile journey with us. I am not a mother, but I have 6 nephews who are like my own.

But I still cannot comprehend what it is like having a son fighting in a war in a foreign land, out of my reach.

How anyone’s heart can take it is beyond my grasp. I admire all the parents who have gone through this sharing of their child to fight and risk their lives---this makes me cry just writing this and thinking about it.

I am however happy you had this life sharing experience with this young Marine. This is a rare and precious gift he shared with you---you were blessed on this journey; and it will stay in your heart and mind for a long time, if not forever.

Bobbi Purvis


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina

This one really brought tears to my eyes when the soldier said you can never tell your mother how close you were to death. My younger brother is a 20 year Marine. He has spent 6 years in Iraq and Afghanistan during 4 separate deployments. When he is over there we stay on pins and needles. He told me about one close call but I am sure he didn't tell me everything. This is a beautiful story and I am glad that you have honored the Marines in this way.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

RUCHIRA..LYN...SUSAN & DRBJ.... Thanks so much! I'm thrilled to know you all enjoyed my story and agree that it was meant to be....oh, lyn...correct. I have never believed in "coincidence.".....Susan....Thanks, I wonder if Peter remembers me now and then the way I do him. drbj...destiny is powerful, yes?

Ruchira....I'm happy you feel safe. You're too sweet to ever feel fear!.

Thanks everyone!!


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

There is no question in my mind, Paula, that you and the Marine were destined to meet on that bus ride. How well you told this engrossing story! Brava!


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

What a beautiful story. I'm sure that Peter remembers this bus ride as fondly as you do.


craiglyn profile image

craiglyn 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Paula - no such thing as "coincidence" It is "syncronicity" at its best. : )


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

Gosh...Paula while reading this I had a tinkle in my eye.

Feels so fortunate to be on this side of the plate where, there is comfort of home and known faces and even if life throws pebbles at me once in a while, I still gotta count my blessings for there are many who get grenades thrown at and are running for helter shelter.

God bless America and all the countries that are at war.

Bless you, my friend for taking me on this wonderful journey. Voted up as awesome and sharing it across


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

bill...you weren't late.....I only published this very late last night. Besides, when I throw a party...it never ends!

Thanks for the boost and of course I'll read your hub........

Yes, my heart is definitely with our guys and gals! They're the BEST.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

Sorry I'm late to the party; again, no notification!

I have tears in my eyes and I'm proud to say that. I have a hub coming out tomorrow on this subject....strange, don't you think? Read it if you get a second....you'll understand then.

Powerful, Paula, very powerful! I'm not sure you could describe me ass a flag waving patriot to the extreme, but you can describe me as an avid supporter of the troops who go into harm's way daily. Thank you for a great glimpse into the life of a soldier.

bill


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

LOL......Yes, Linda! I actually didn't gab my head off. It's a miracle! But I knew from the second he sat down, it was directed by a part of Karma.....He needed someone to listen to him purge his soul. You're right. We can learn many inspiring lessons from complete strangers.

lyn....I actually felt I was placed there, specifically for that purpose, that day. I do not believe in coincidence. We both received a "gift," that day. He felt lighter and felt grateful......Thanks, lyn


craiglyn profile image

craiglyn 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

A beautiful story Paula, so very well told. I believe as you do, that it was meant to be - that young fellow sitting down next to you and pouring his heart out to you. You were the ears he needed for that day and doesn't that make you feel glad!!


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

It's amazing how much you could learn from "listening" to someone. Some of my most memorable conversations came from total strangers who I knew I'd probably never see again. I've learned so much from them. Things I probably never would have known if I didn't give that person my time.

I'm actually impressed you let Peter do most of the talking! :)


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York Author

Martie.....We can learn things we'd never imagined, just riding on a bus. We never know when someone can come along and touch our hearts!...........

Banks......From one Marine parent to another......I thank you all for your patriotism and protection. I relate to your feelings, banks. Thanks for reading our story.


bankscottage profile image

bankscottage 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

What a touching story Paula. I too have had a son that has served in Iraq and another who will join the Marines in January.

A special thanks to Pete and every other service member for their sacrifices as they defend our country daily.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 4 years ago from South Africa

Paula, what an eye-opener! It is so important to always know "the other side of a story"...

We also have Greyhound down here and I have learned a lot during conversations with fellow-passengers.

Voted up and awesome. Worthy to ponder!

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