Saturday, September 16, 2017

A fellow Vietnam veteran gave me a life-changing perspective

We both served in Vietnam, but we didn't meet until a few years ago -- the small Vietnam vet group in which Paul participates invited me and Fritz the Sassy Service Dog to join them every Wednesday evening in Burbank.

What happens in the group stays in the group, but I can tell you that Paul is a wonderful photographer who sees beyond the camera.

Following last week's meeting, he took me aside and gave me a perspective so powerful that it has changed how I see my own life and legacy.

In the group meeting, I had expressed my envy of others there who smile and laugh when they speak of their grandchildren. They spend much of their time, it seems, doing things with or doing things for the family members they created.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Triage for a man in immediate need of my help -- maybe yours as well.

I'll call him Carl -- not his real name.

I promised my new friend I wouldn't share his name or his address.

He called and left a message for me at the Villa Terraza Restaurant last Thursday evening when I was there telling stories to people -- stories about the place that had once been the Old Vienna Gardens.

When I returned his call on Friday, he started telling me his problems.

Eventually, I asked him about the reason he left me a message. It had nothing to do with the book project we're doing or the storytelling session I had promoted on several Facebook group pages.

"I saw your Facebook page," he told me, "and read that you have PTSD and ADHD, and I thought maybe you could help me."

It took him about an hour to tell me his situation. It was like no story I'd ever heard.

Most importantly, I learned that a very shy man with very serious problems had decided to trust me, a stranger, and that I might be one of the only people who could learn the whole story.

I thought he was right.