jeremy allen


Captain’s Bars…
October 4, 2007, 1:48 am
Filed under: .life, .love, .why

I’m laying here in bed pretty restless, tired as can be and ready to hit the hay, but sort of afraid to wake up in the morning. The last two days have been a surreal merry-land of playing tiger woods and farting around on the computer not really willing to embrace what is before me. I have to pick up my letter of termination tomorrow morning from Vintage21 and face all my old co-workers for the last time. Not in the sense that I will never see them again…but realizing that they aren’t my co-workers any more and I am no longer on the in-circle. Then I have to compose myself enough and go to the unemployment office find out whether I even qualify for unemployment (which I’m pretty sure I do not because I worked for a church). I then have to run around town trying to pay bills with money I don’t really have and have to borrow until my theatre check comes in the mail. I must then chug the bitter turpentine chaser of driving home to help bury one of the most loving and greatest men in my life.

The last words that Charles Taylor ever spoke to me still ring like the Grand Canyon in my ears. “Jeremy, just know that I’m so proud of you son. You are doing such and amazing job down there in Raleigh. I’m so proud of the difference you are making there.” Those words sting knowing that that difference was short lived. On some level I feel like a failure. I’m a year out of college and I was fired from the job that I gave everything up for, health, credit score, comfortable living, security, savings, sanity. It was this very reason that Charles was able to look at me and make me feel special. He gave his last 50 years to serving others and putting his self last and he looked me in the eye as he was dying and told me with every word he spoke…”I’m proud of you for sacrificing or something bigger than yourself…” My only prayer is now that opportunity has closed the door on me, that I will find another way to be sacrificial with my life, not for Charles’ sake…but for my own. There is something so filling in knowing you’re working your ass off and its for something other than a paycheck. I pray that I can always be outwardly focused on my family and friends instead of inwardly focused on what I can do for myself. As I grow up, I only hope I can be half the man that he was.

That is my promise to him, even though my time at Vintage21 has ended, I will find something worthy to work for and pour myself into, something larger than myself. I’ll find my own way…a new way of spreading the Gospel. I’ll give him a new reason to be proud of me.

When I was a child, I used to be so amazed by Charles’s Uniform. I was mesmerized by the camo pattern and the many pins and metals that were strewn across his shirts. I used to ask him what each one meant and how he got them. With a big smile halfway hidden under his large Dale Earnheart mustache, he would chuckle and say Jeremy I’m going to just get you one of your own metals since you like them so much. I grinned from ear to ear as he patted me on the head and told me he would see me next week.

As church hit full swing the next week, all I could think about was the contents of Charles coat pocket. Had he remembered the prize he had promised me? As we sang “Bless Be the Tide that Binds…” I wanted to jump from my PaPa’s side and run over and fish in Charles pocket. My grandma was a “spare the rod and spoil the child” kind of woman and if I had done so… I would have never heard then end of it. The hymnal I know I would have dropped in my frenzy, would have been laid across my back side in several sharp whacks.

After what seemed like an eternity of stanzas, verses and choruses service finally came to an end. There was the usual rush for the door as everyone wanted to shake the hand of Reverend Lewis. I was doing everything I could to get through this crowd, finally finding a gap and scurrying across the isle getting over to Charles before he could even take one step towards talking to any grownups…thus delaying my hopes of reward… He smiled and bent down and reached in his pocket and said… I almost left these at home… I held my breath for what seems like hours. With wide eyes I was mesmerized by the shiney Captain’s bars that he had placed in my hands.

To this day I still hold those bars to be one of my most prized possessions. I plan on wearing at least one of them to both the wake and the funeral. I also have a pair of genuine dog tags that he gave me that I have always cherished.

GI-JOE was a great show growing up…I would sit for hours as an only-child and play “good vs. evil.” Looking back on my childhood the thing that made it real wasn’t the action figures or the cartoons, it was my very own “life size” loving and caring GI-JOE. I knew he would be there to save the day if I ever needed him to.

He was my hero… my role model and he always will be…GI-CHARLES

Who needs Joe…

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